What does it mean to be cultured

Being cultured permeates how you think, how you act, how and what you speak, how you dress, and how you respond to situations in your life.

They say Old civilizations are cultured. They say a person is cultured (or not). What does it mean to be cultured?

Being cultured permeates how you think, how you act, how and what you speak, how you dress, and how you respond to situations in your life.

A cultured person lives with a sense of history and purpose. He thinks deeply and avoids superficial judgment. He weighs different points of view and recognizes that the distinction between two choices might be subtle, but could lead to vastly different consequences. He recognizes he has limited information and knowledge. He is open to being wrong. He doesn't acknowledge fashion or political correctness.

A cultured person understands abstract thought and dilemmas. He understands the fine balance in nature and civilization. He doesn't talk about people or events, but about abstract concepts. He rises above the pettiness of most day to day events. He sees patterns rather than points.

To be cultured is a state of mind.

It is not always immediately obvious if someone is cultured. Since being cultured is not about appearances, one can walk by a cultured person and not recognize him. It might take more than a few words before the cultured trait shines through. It also takes a cultured person to recognize another cultured person.

Doing cross-word puzzles, learning new languages, education, doing yoga, undertaking a spiritual journey, going to the theater, pronouncing words with the correct accent, using chopsticks, reading quality newspapers, not swearing, traveling, drinking fine wine and cheese, wearing a suit, reading, watching films or documentaries of a particular type, doesn't make you cultured. A shepherd living in the mountains might not be able to do all the above, yet still be cultured.

If in doubt whether having or doing something will make you more cultured, ask yourself if a shepherd in the mountains can do this. If a shepherd doesn't have access to it, it is probably not required to be cultured.

Being cultured is not cultural. Traits that make one cultured are exactly the same across all cultures. Cultured people in the Middle East have exactly the same traits as cultured people in Japan, Chile, France, and Namibia.

Being cultured is different from having a rich culture. A person from a rich ancient civilization may have a rich culture but may not be cultured.

It is true that people in old established civilizations are more likely to be cultured. The Anglo-Saxon New World has relatively fewer cultured people. This is probably cultural.

Just like high IQ, being cultured is something you are probably born with, but it also needs to be developed for it to shine through and be of any benefit.

A cultured person is not paralyzed by his legacy, or complexity of the situation, and can provide and justify a good course of action for any complex situation.

Not all of us can have high IQ or be cultured. However, all of us can admire it and aspire to it. Aspiring to be cultured makes us almost cultured.

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