Culture in Private and Public Life

Culture in Private and Public Life

Culture in Private and Public Life

Culture in Private and Public Life

Excerpt

Sharing what now seems to be a very general impression that the whole subject of culture is tremendously important and is soon likely to become much more so, I have for some time past been on the search for a satisfactory account of it. So far however, such pronouncements as I have been able to come across show that scarcely two people can be found to have the same ideas on the subject or to be willing to say precisely what they mean by culture. More than one eminent person seems to have given up as hopeless all further effort to find a good definition.

It seems both unfortunate and strange that the meaning of what is clearly a key-word in the discussion of a great number of contemporary questions and problems should be left so vague. At the same time it also seems almost impossible to believe that anything very new can be said upon so well-worn a theme. To try in such circumstances to meet an obvious challenge with another statement about culture is both presumptuous and hazardous, and I would not attempt it had I not thought that mine succeeds better than others. With its aid at any rate I have gained what seems to me to be a new light upon a number of obscure and difficult questions, some of which are briefly and summarily mentioned in the pages which follow.

Perhaps the best way of deciding whether my effort has been worth while would be for those willing to look at it to write down, before they begin, what they consider culture to mean and then to compare their results with mine. It is a test which I should particularly welcome in the hope and expectation that those with a clearer vision, a richer experience and a greater knowledge and skill in expression than mine will be able both to improve and to correct my work.

How badly such aid is needed will be evident to anyone embarking on the subject, because culture touches human susceptibilities on very many sides and therefore magnifies the . . .

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