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In society, in the best institutions of men, it is easy to detect a certain precocity. When we should still be growing children, we are already little men. Give me a culture which imports much muck from the meadows, and deepens the soil,--not that which trusts to heating manures, and improved implements, and modes of culture only!
Self-culture has been loudly and boastfully proclaimed as sufficient for all our ideals of perfection. But if we listen to the best men and women everywhere … they will say that science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.
I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.
The sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation; in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society — and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic. In the context of this study the crucial question is whether the hypothesis of a quasi-autistic or of low-grade schizophrenic disturbance would help us to explain some of the violence spreading today.
In the products of the culture industry human beings get into trouble only so that they can be rescued unharmed, usually by representatives of a benevolent collective; and then, in illusory harmony, they are reconciled with the general interest whose demands they had initially experienced as irreconcilable with their own.
The sceptics, a kind of nomads, despising all settled culture of the land, broke up from time to time all civil society. Fortunately their number was small, and they could not prevent the old settlers from returning to cultivate the ground afresh, though without any fixed plan or agreement.
Similarly the men who produce works of genius are not those who live in the most delicate atmosphere, whose conversation is most brilliant, or their culture broadest, but those who have had the power, ceasing in a moment to live only for themselves, to make use of their personality as of a mirror.
All human activity takes place within a culture and interacts with culture. For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good.
Treating women as second-class citizens is a bad tradition. It holds you back. There's no excuse for sexual assault or domestic violence. There's no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation. There's no place in civilized society for the early or forced marriage of children. These traditions may date back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century. These are issues of right and wrong — in any culture. But they're also issues of success and failure. Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allowing them to maximize their potential is doomed to fall behind in a global economy.
With respect to a true culture and manhood, we are essentially provincial still, not metropolitan, — mere Jonathans. We are provincial, because we do not find at home our standards, — because we do not worship truth, but the reflection of truth, — because we are warped and narrowed by an exclusive devotion to trade and commerce and manufactures and agriculture and the like, which are but means, and not the end.
Culture is the suggestion, from certain best thoughts, that a man has a range of affinities through which he can modulate the violence of any master-tones that have a droning preponderance in his scale, and succor him against himself. Culture redresses this imbalance, puts him among equals and superiors, revives the delicious sense of sympathy, and warns him of the dangers of solitude and repulsion.
In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.
Let a man attain the highest and broadest culture that any American has possessed, then let him die by sea-storm, railroad collision, or other accident, and all America will acquiesce that the best thing has happened to him; that, after the education has gone far, such is the expensiveness of America, that the best use to put a fine person to is to drown him to save his board.