An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Every man's ability may be strengthened or increased by culture.


John Abbott (1905-1996, American actor)


Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888, British poet, critic)


Culture, then, is a study of perfection, and perfection which insists on becoming something rather than in having something, in an inward condition of the mind and spirit, not in an outward set of circumstances.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888, British poet, critic)


Popular art is the dream of society; it does not examine itself.


Margaret Atwood (1939-, Canadian novelist, poet, critic)


A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning.


Roland Barthes (1915-1980, French semiologist)


Here in the U.S., culture is not that delicious panacea which we Europeans consume in a sacramental mental space and which has its own special columns in the newspapers -- and in people's minds. Culture is space, speed, cinema, technology. This culture is authentic, if anything can be said to be authentic.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


Here in the U.S., culture is not that delicious panacea which we Europeans consume in a sacramental mental space and which has its own special columns in the newspapers -- and in people's minds. Culture is space, speed, cinema, technology. This culture is authentic, if anything can be said to be authentic.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


That is true culture which helps us to work for the social betterment of all.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


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 (1944-, American journalist, writer)


We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.


Allan Bloom (1930-1992, American educator, author)


General jackdaw culture, very little more than a collection of charming miscomprehensions, untargeted enthusiasms, and a general habit of skimming.


William Bolitho (1890-1930, British author)


Our attitude toward our own culture has recently been characterized by two qualities, braggadocio and petulance. Braggadocio -- empty boasting of American power, American virtue, American know-how -- has dominated our foreign relations now for some decades. Here at home -- within the family, so to speak -- our attitude to our culture expresses a superficially different spirit, the spirit of petulance. Never before, perhaps, has a culture been so fragmented into groups, each full of its own virtue, each annoyed and irritated at the others.


Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004, American historian)


Culture:  the cry of men in face of their destiny.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


What culture lacks is the taste for anonymous, innumerable germination. Culture is smitten with counting and measuring; it feels out of place and uncomfortable with the innumerable; its efforts tend, on the contrary, to limit the numbers in all domains; it tries to count on its fingers.


Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985, French sculptor, painter)


Culture is the habit of being pleased with the best and knowing why.


Henry Van Dyke (1852--1933, American protestant clergyman and writer)


In the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo.


T. S. Eliot (1888-1965, American-born British poet, critic)


Culture is one thing and varnish is another.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favor with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of "quaint," and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.


Northrop Frye (1912-1991, Canadian literary critic)


Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948, Indian political, spiritual leader)


No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948, Indian political, spiritual leader)


Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.


Hermann Goering (1893-1946, Nazi military leader)


One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie have armed themselves against the rising proletariat with, among other things, "culture." It's an old ploy of the bourgeoisie. They keep a standing "art" to defend their collapsing culture.


George Grosz


One of the surest signs of the Philistine is his reverence for the superior tastes of those who put him down.


Pauline Kael (1919-, American film critic)


Culture is the tacit agreement to let the means of subsistence disappear behind the purpose of existence. Civilization is the subordination of the latter to the former.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


There is no comparing the brutality and cynicism of today's pop culture with that of forty years ago: from "High Noon" to "Robocop" is a long descent.


Charles Krauthammer


High culture is nothing but a child of that European perversion called history, the obsession we have with going forward, with considering the sequence of generations a relay race in which everyone surpasses his predecessor, only to be surpassed by his successor. Without this relay race called history there would be no European art and what characterizes it: a longing for originality, a longing for change. Robespierre, Napoleon, Beethoven, Stalin, Picasso, they're all runners in the relay race, they all belong to the same stadium.


Milan Kundera (1929-, Czech author, critic)


Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.


Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964, Indian nationalist, statesman)


Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear, their table talk, gossip, controversies, historical sense and scientific training, the values they appreciate, the quality


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Eclecticism is the degree zero of contemporary general culture: one listens to reggae, watches a western, eats McDonald's food for lunch and local cuisine for dinner, wears Paris perfume in Tokyo and "retro" clothes in Hong Kong; knowledge is a matter for TV games. It is easy to find a public for eclectic works.


Jean Francois Lyotard (1924-, French philosopher)


Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and the sciences and a flourishing culture in our land.


Zedong Mao (1893-1976, Founder of the People's Republic of China)


If mass communications blend together harmoniously, and often unnoticeably, art, politics, religion, and philosophy with commercials, they bring these realms of culture to their common denominator -- the commodity form. The music of the soul is also the music of salesmanship. Exchange value, not truth value, counts.


Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979, German political philosopher)


The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


A society person who is enthusiastic about modern painting or Truman Capote is already half a traitor to his class. It is middle-class people who, quite mistakenly, imagine that a lively pursuit of the latest in reading and painting will advance their status in the world.


Mary McCarthy (1912-1989, American author, critic)


Our culture has become something that is completely and utterly in love with its parent. It's become a notion of boredom that is bought and sold, where nothing will happen except that people will become more and more terrified of tomorrow, because the new continues to look old, and the old will always look cute.


Malcolm McLaren


Men are not suffering from the lack of good literature, good art, good theatre, good music, but from that which has made it impossible for these to become manifest. In short, they are suffering from the silent shameful conspiracy (the more shameful since it is unacknowledged) which has bound them together as enemies of art and artists.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Popular culture is the new Babylon, into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols. The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once!


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


If everybody is looking for it, then nobody is finding it. If we were cultured, we would not be conscious of lacking culture. We would regard it as something natural and would not make so much fuss about it. And if we knew the real value of this word we would be cultured enough not to give it so much importance.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?


Stephen Sondheim (1930-, American composer, lyricist)


The violent illiteracies of the graffiti, the clenched silence of the adolescent, the nonsense cries from the stage-happening, are resolutely strategic. The insurgent and the freak-out have broken off discourse with a cultural system which they despise as a cruel, antiquated fraud. They will not bandy words with it. Accept, even momentarily, the conventions of literate linguistic exchange, and you are caught in the net of the old values, of the grammars that can condescend or enslave.


George Steiner (1929-, French-born American critic, novelist)


We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day's work at Auschwitz in the morning.


George Steiner (1929-, French-born American critic, novelist)


For the rest, whatever we have got has been by infinite labor, and search, and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is that instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745, Anglo-Irish satirist)


The manner of their living is very barbarous, because they do not eat at fixed times, but as often as they please.


Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512, Italian explorer who discovered America)


We now have a whole culture based on the assumption that people know nothing and so anything can be said to them.


Stephen Vizinczey (1933-, Hungarian novelist, critic)


Culture is an instrument wielded by teachers to manufacture teachers, who, in their turn, will manufacture still more teachers.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Mrs. Ballinger is one of the ladies who pursue Culture in bands, as though it were dangerous to meet it alone.


Edith Wharton (1862-1937, American author)


Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.


Thomas Wolfe (1931-, American author, journalist)


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