There was a wave of change sweeping over England, and the old fashioned way of doing things is being eroded. A great preacher such as Bishop Wilson teachings seems to hold water to this new generation members no longer as they even do not know the Bishop. It burdens the author to see that the new light people do not think highly of what the preachers are saying. The Christian knowledge society which had the responsibility of printing the works of Bishop Wilson and sending them abroad was no longer doing that. The author believes it is pivotal for the bishop teachings to be in circulation as much as other religious readings. Moreover, the concepts in the book should be in practice by all the citizens. The texts will serve as an example through which how other holy books should abide. Culture is valuable, and we should not let the newfound machinery take precedent for everything in life. Its objective is to serve us and not turn as into dependents. This paper aims to show how pivotal culture is in attaining perfection within our society.
The author's purpose for writing the book is first, to show the masses the importance of culture and why it should not wash away (Arnold 4). The medicine for the current ailment facing society brought about by industrialization is culture. Culture in this context is defined as the pursuance of perfection by striving to get to comprehend all that concern us and following it strictly. The major undoing is that now people follow culture a lot, turning them into machines (Arnold 5). A good example is England which is rich in culture that people are afraid of the interaction of their learning with others. Those who follow lifestyle mechanically have gone astray and need to see the way. They should understand that cultures objective is to allow fresh perspectives into the matter at hand and not to satisfy the ego of an opposing side. Thus it is primary that this misunderstanding of culture is done away with otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the importance of learning to non-conformist people in the society. Heritage looks into matters beyond machinery, something that if the machine fails or becomes obsolete, it will still exist.
If an opinion is criticized, it should be by reason and justice, and that is how the reformist Protestants will embrace an established culture. No one is at war with anon conformist because the main agenda is pursuing perfection which is critical in culture. When one human is suffering, there can be no harmonious human perfection as we all suffer (Arnold 8). It is also important to note that English Protestants who are also criticizing the Church of England suffer from the same fate. They have developed maxims that they abide by at the expense of other citizens. This has led to their dislike because of the lack of harmonious perfection. So rather than the misunderstanding being decreased by the non-conformist, they add to the problem.
The author other reason for writing the book is also to show the effects of Hebraize to the community. Hebraize means an individual lives all that is associated with humans and pursues religion. This notion though it promotes belief, is narrow-minded and can be disastrous to the community as it leads to failure in perfection. If an establishment is Hebraized, there are some aspects of life which will is in neglect as there is no mechanism to prevent that. On the other hand, if one is a member of a national church and abides by the set maxim of the church, he can achieve both personal satisfaction and those of religion. But the problem comes with the non-conformist who pursues own gratification and not that of others. To salvage this misgiving, they want the universities to be open to all members despite their religious background. They want the culture to erode. They are people rooting for provincialism in the country. Provincialism means grouping people together despite their differences (Arnold 10).
The third reason as to why Arnold wrote the book is to refute the claims that a country without religious institutions functions better than a State with religious institutions. Religious establishments play a pivotal role in the culture. Proponents of the author are saying that America has made significant miles stones in light and mind than Europe without religious establishments. Another proponent said America is on an upward trajectory in all sectors because of the ability of all its social classes read and comprehend (Arnold 35). Americans do not have a higher power guiding them on what to do as they have created their instructions. Albeit this leads to lack of general intelligence and leads to mediocrity. To them, the liberals are the one who has brought change, leading to industrialization. Unknown to them, the present challenges brought about by industrialization are as a result of this ignorance perpetuated by the proponents. The liberals are sure that with their political activities, the issues brought about by industrialization will seek themselves out. Consequently, America does not harbour religious establishment, which are primary in culture.
Fourthly, the author wanted to line out how the society has distributed itself into the following groupings; Philistines, Barbarians and the Populace. The Philistines pursue wealth with their mind and efforts at all times. It is the people who use machinery not to serve them but as a means to an end. Wealth and machines need to help us, and we should not behave like we cannot live a perfect life without them. The Barbarians, on the other hand, favor individualism (Arnold 37). They pursued their activities as one so fit without minding his neighbour. The ruling class fall in this category. They care so much about how they look, complexion and how the society at large judges them. They mostly drive with outward gifts, but they lack the inward gift.
The first target of the author dissent is the establishment in England. They are rich in culture but are failing in showing the non-reformist how their culture is an open, and anyone can embrace it. If the reformist can see the traits, there will be no criticism. The main objective as to why they are striving to maintain culture is to have perfect harmony in the society which can only be met if they are all considered. The non-reformist are also cutinized for not being accommodative to other people so that there can be a perfection in all aspects of life. There are so mechanical and follow their maxims to the latter and brandish those who are not of their ideas as old fashioned. How are people going to accept their maxims if they cannot see what they are preaching? Consequently, they will always be mutilated by the rest of the citizens and widen up the misunderstanding.
The author also targets those who have put all their fate on machines. The objective of tools is to serve, but people view them as precious ends to themselves. Railroads are machinery, so is wealth and coal. Mechanism has led to even the supporters of perfection to be swayed. Some people were of the notion that if coal supply is cut short, that would be the end of great England (Arnold 18). Here we are left to ask the question of what constitutes greatness. Greatness is spiritual and never-ending that everyone wants to associate with. Currently, everyone sees wealth as an end in itself. If one thing is driving people now is wealth and people see it as the perfection culture is striving to get, which is wrong as we should regard wealth as something that serves us. Consequently, we all at the verge of being Philistines who whose efforts and life are dedicated to becoming wealthy (Arnold 40). It is not worth it if one has to spend most of his life looking for richness at the expense of spiritual calmness, inward peace and satisfaction.
He also targets the social classes who are seen as drivers of the vehicles heading far from the culture with their actions and mannerism. Here we have the working class, the ruling class and the middle class (Arnold 45). The working class is anxiously working diligently and waiting for the time it will become the ruling class. The liberals, on the other hand, are seeing that one day if they are not careful, the working class will take their position (Arnold 46). Such courses should not exist in our society and have one thing in common they are all humans. Happiness comes when one does what he loves the most. Each individual should have the curiosity to know what fits him the most in each class and pursue it to the fullest.
In conclusion, Mathew Arnold in the culture and anarchy sets out recommendations if followed, and there would be less drift between the establishment and the non-reformist. He emphasizes the importance culture plays in ensuring there is perfect harmony in our daily lives. People can have different ideas but learn to accommodate other people's opinions. The industrial revolution is essential, but it should not be all that is driving everyone. The liberals seem to be driven by unrestricted competition and the creation of wealth by industries. To them, it is through this channels people can secure their future. If we are not careful, we are at risk of being Philistines who whose efforts and life are dedicated to becoming wealthy. It is not worth it if one has to spend most of his life looking for richness at the expense inward peace. Therefore, it means there was no spiritual guidance that was guiding their dissidents; instead, it is the creation of wealth. Culture, therefore, ensures continuity, one generation can learn from the other, and where the other made mistakes, the current generation will take corrective action.
Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy. Barnes & Noble Digital Library, 2011.
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