How, then, does one attain culture? Superior intelligence isn't the key. I have known high-level physicists and mathematicians—people whose IQs are doubtless stratospheric—who were, so to say, culture-proof. Even the most adroit teachers cannot hope to bestow culture on their students; the best they can do, if they are themselves cultivated, is provide a glimmer of what the real thing looks like. A university education is never sufficient in itself, though it can give its interested students useful guidance about where culture is available. In the realm of culture, as in all non-vocational education generally, we are all autodidacts—all, that is, on our own. No approved method for acquiring culture is available: There is no useful list of the 100 most important books, 200 essential musical compositions, 300 significant paintings, 400 hundred best films. So far as I have been able to determine, no Culture for Dummies has yet been published, though one may well be on the way. No guides, no lists, no shortcuts to attaining culture exist; nor will they ever.
Friday, March 10, 2017
… The Cultured Life | The Weekly Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)