Culture is a very complex phenomenon which usually means all the variety of human activity focused on acquiring and accumulating knowledge and skills, as well as the perceptional understanding of the world.
Historians believe that humanity is at least 2-2,5 million years old. This period means time during which our species has been separated from many others. But how exactly was it separated? First of all with its longing to know and to create. All the knowledge and skills humanity has acquired though this time is what makes up the concept of culture.
We make use of the material goods, speak one or several languages, are subject to traditions and rituals, social norms and existential values. We are the society and as such a carrier of the human culture. Thus, to be a human means to use the experience that has been acquired by all the previous generations.
A special part of our history is an artistic culture or the art as a manifestation of the human spirit. This is a particular world of thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, embodied in words, shapes, colors, and gestures. This is a special harmonic and authentic space that has been created by the splashes of inspiration of million minds, who lived before us and create today.
Some might consider the art to be something which is not necessary, existing at the margins of the mainstream, out of the intensive current of our lives. A modern man, as a rule, is an expert narrowly focused on some areas of the material production. Focusing all his efforts on some particular areas, a person can develop into a successful personality able to make serious progress in a chosen domain.
Is it worthy then to deviate from a chosen path to spend time and efforts on something else, something like a personal cultural development? Could we live several lives, it would be only natural to spend one of them on achieving a certain social or material status, and others on enjoying the life itself. However, we have but one and it is up to us to chose how we do it. Rejecting the idea to develop the understanding of culture as our heritage, we are risking to become a meaningless part of a complex structure of the modern material production.
The great playwright Bertolt Brecht once said: “All artforms are in the service of the greatest of all arts: the art of living,” which is difficult to argue because it is understanding the culture what makes us more spiritual and crowds our lives with emotions. This is what makes us a personality, after all.
Enculturing is a great way to widen our horizons. For our civilization to develop, to progress, it has to produce individuals who would be able to look and see new unusual features in some long known and appearingly banal things. That is exactly the way the great, fateful discoveries are made.
However, a person capable of such a vision has to have a versatile personality, able to make use of knowledge from totally different cultural swathes — this treasure trove of the human experience. Thus, culture with all its artistic directions can be of totally practical importance.
Yet another invaluable significance of culture is the ability to carry and transfer the social experience of humanity. Following the progress, we cannot neglect the lessons history teaches us. Too many mistakes have been made to understand that there is no other way to pass on our historical heritage but culture.
The manifestation of culture as a general phenomenon are frequent and various. Religious and secular, popular and exclusive, professional, official, as well as various sub-cultures are always a manifestation of a creative mind and spirit. We are all dust in the wind of eternity, but with culture — it does not matter in the role of a creator or a consumer — we are a stroke on the great picture of creation.
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