Culture Quotes

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light. He who works for sweetness and light, works to make reason and the will of God prevail. He who works for machinery, he who works for hatred, works only for confusion. Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates hatred; culture has one great passion, the passion for sweetness and light.

Matthew Arnold

Culture is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection.

Matthew Arnold

I am a Liberal, yet I am a Liberal tempered by experience, reflexion, and renouncement, and I am, above all, a believer in culture.

Matthew Arnold

The whole scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world; and through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically.

Matthew Arnold

Art is always aimed (like a rifle, if you wish) at the middle class. The working class has its own culture and will have no truck with fanciness of any kind. The upper class owns the world and thus needs know no more about the world than is necessary for its orderly exploitation. The notion that art cuts across class boundaries to stir the hearts of hoe hand and Morgan alike is, at best, a fiction useful to the artist, his Hail Mary. It is the poor puzzled bourgeoisie that is sufficiently uncertain, sufficiently hopeful, to pay attention to art. It follows (as the night the day) that the bourgeoisie should get it in the neck.

Donald Barthelme

We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.

Carl Bernstein

We are all such accidents. We do not make up history and culture. We simply appear, not by our own choice. We make what we can of our condition with the means available. We must accept the mixture as we find it the impurity of it, the tragedy of it, the hope of it.

Saul Bellow

Much of junk culture has a core of crisis shoot-outs, conflagrations, bodies weltering in blood, naked embracers or rapist-stranglers. The sounds of junk culture are heard over a ground bass of extremism. Our entertainments swarm with specters of world crisis. Nothing moderate can have any claim to our attention.

Saul Bellow

Equal wealth and equal opportunities of culture...have simply made us all members of one class.

Edward Bellamy

The more local and settled a culture, the better it stays put, the less the damage. It is the foreigner whose road of excess leads to a desert a man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence. He shakes more than he can hold.

Wendell Berry

Does there, I wonder, exist a being who has read all, or approximately all, that the person of average culture is supposed to have read, and that not to have read is a social sin? If such a being does exist, surely he is an old, a very old man.

Enoch Arnold Bennett

However, living in Tel Aviv, he was spared the fate of equivalent figures in English culture, an endless round of arts programmes where those who have known the famous are publicly debriefed of their memories, knowing as their own dusk falls that they will be remembered only for remembering someone else.

Alan Bennett

Our code must be framed to speed the absorption of immigrants into our economy, culture and society; to fuse the returning tribes into a homogeneous national and cultural unit; to forward our physical and moral healing and the cleansing of our lives from the trivia and dross which gathered upon us in dependence and exile. To maintain the status quo will not do. We have set up a dynamic State, bent upon creation and reform, building and expansion. Laws which lag behind development, merely a digest of experience and the lessons of the past, are useless to us. We need to anticipate the character of the times, discern embryonic forms emergent or renewed, and clear the path for circumstantial change.

David Ben Gurion

Contemporary culture is not very good on responsibility.

Simon Blackburn

Having only briefly summarised the dominant social order above, none of these traits we know hint in the slightest towards the idea that the people [of the Maternal Megalith Culture] in question were at their time aware of the causal relation between sex and giving birth.

Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg

We are disposed, somewhat by culture and somewhat by nature, to solve our problems by violence, and even to enjoy doing so. And yet by now all of us must at least have suspected that our right to live, to be free, and to be at peace is not guaranteed by any act of violence. It can be guaranteed only by our willingness that all other persons should live, be free, and be at peace and by our willingness to use or give our own lives to make that possible.

Wendell Berry

We're the world's second home, the place where every religion is practiced and every culture is celebrated.

Michael Bloomberg

The distinction between the world of commerce and that of culture quickly became the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, with the former clearly determining the latter.

Allan David Bloom

Only when the true ends of society have nothing to do with the sublime does culture become necessary as a veneer to cover over the void. Culture can at best appreciate the monuments of earlier faith; it cannot produce them.

Allan David Bloom

To recognize that some of the things our culture believes are not true imposes on us the duty of finding out which are true and which are not.

Allan David Bloom

We often find that we cannot easily give up the tendency to hold rigidly to patterns of thought built up over a long time. We are then caught up in what may be called absolute necessity. This kind of thought leaves no room at all intellectually for any other possibility, while emotionally and physically, it means we take a stance in our feelings, in our bodies, and indeed, in our whole culture, of holding back or resisting. This stance implies that under no circumstances whatsoever can we allow ourselves to give up certain things or change them.

David Joseph Bohm

The society of the Culture-Philistines makes life a burden to exceptional men.

Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

Nietzsche asks how it has come about that so prodigious a contradiction can exist as that between the lack of true culture and the self-satisfied belief in actually possessing the only true one and he finds the answer in the circumstance that a class of men has come to the front which no former century has known, and to which (in 1873) he gave the name of Culture-Philistines.

Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

He maintains that culture shows itself above all else in a unity of artistic style running through every expression of a nation's life. On the other hand, the fact of having learnt much and knowing much is, as he points out, neither a necessary means to culture nor a sign of culture; it accords remarkably well with barbarism, that is to say, with want of style or a motley hotchpotch of styles.

Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
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