What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be Cultured ?

What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Well the title says it all, but I would add that I'm not interested in the pure semantics, but what combination of traits and experiences people in this forum associate with a cultured individual? I'm not trying to get into value judgments, but a recent thread has me wondering what people perceive to be critical in forming this gestalt that is the cultured man or woman. Who do you know, or have met, or read of that strikes you as cultured, and why?
 

OmCheeto

Gold Member
2,071
2,430
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Well the title says it all, but I would add that I'm not interested in the pure semantics, but what combination of traits and experiences people in this forum associate with a cultured individual? I'm not trying to get into value judgments, but a recent thread has me wondering what people perceive to be critical in forming this gestalt that is the cultured man or woman. Who do you know, or have met, or read of that strikes you as cultured, and why?
You. But I do not know why. It's just an uneasy feeling that you have seen things, and know things, that would separate you from someone I considered uncultured.

I'm afraid I don't spend much time in the Philosophy forum, nor do I spend much time dwelling on individual words(except for that time when I became obsessed with that Russian word: stremnaya), so for my benefit anyways, I'll post a few definitions:

wiktionary said:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cultured" [Broken]
Learned in the ways of civilized society; civilized; refined.
Though it might be easier to define what is not cultured:
wiktionary said:
Uncultured
Not cultured or civilized; lacking in delicacy or refinement.

Delicacy
Refinement in taste or discrimination.
Tact and propriety; the need for such tact.
Tact
Careful consideration in dealing with others to avoid giving offense.​
Propriety
correctness in behaviour and morals​
Refinement
The uncanny and extraordinary ability to properly utilize the indent function​
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

You. But I do not know why. It's just an uneasy feeling that you have seen things, and know things, that would separate you from someone I considered uncultured.

I'm afraid I don't spend much time in the Philosophy forum, nor do I spend much time dwelling on individual words(except for that time when I became obsessed with that Russian word: stremnaya), so for my benefit anyways, I'll post a few definitions:



Though it might be easier to define what is not cultured:
Thank you OmCheeto, and I have to say the feeling is mutual. I didn't expect a compliment to be part of this. I tend to agree that the definition of cultured is ephemeral and a judgment call by a given individual, mostly as a reflection of their experiences and how they integrate them into their everyday life.

I wouldn't say that your extensive linguistic talents make you cultured, but HOW YOU ACQUIRED them, and use them, made friends in those cultures... that probably does. You may be right that winnowing out what is not cultured, or cultured behaviour is the easier way here. I admit that I hope apeiron chimes in... his views are invaluable in these situations.
 

OmCheeto

Gold Member
2,071
2,430
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Thank you OmCheeto, and I have to say the feeling is mutual. I didn't expect a compliment to be part of this. I tend to agree that the definition of cultured is ephemeral and a judgment call by a given individual, mostly as a reflection of their experiences and how they integrate them into their everyday life.

I wouldn't say that your extensive linguistic talents make you cultured, but HOW YOU ACQUIRED them, and use them, made friends in those cultures... that probably does. You may be right that winnowing out what is not cultured, or cultured behaviour is the easier way here. I admit that I hope apeiron chimes in... his views are invaluable in these situations.
Well, I can't remember the last time aperion and I crossed paths in the forum. Perhaps we have different interests.

But anyways, defining who I think is cultured takes me to some of the threads I've been subscribed to, either now(482! Gads, I do have ADHD), or in the past:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=270543" [Broken] I had to unsubscribe from this one, as it consumed massive amounts of my spare time. But Andre, Borek, Fuzzyfelt, LisaB, et al, would fall under my categorization of highly cultured. Turning a simple game into a globe trekking and extremely entertaining and educational way to spend ones spare time is one path in my definition of the unconscious pursuit of "becoming more cultured".

The "Food Thread" and "How does your Garden grow?" also seem to attract who I would consider to be cultured people. Though I had to unsubscribe from the Food Thread as well. It always made me hungry. :redface:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Evo

Mentor
22,873
2,349
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I am cultured because I watch gourmet cooking shows like Hell's Kitchen. We all know that fine dining is a sign of being cultured.

I also vote for Nismar, OM, and MIH as meeting the culture requirements.

gokul is a Highbrow, so I guess that he is, by default, cultured.
 

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,547
1,682
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

cultured = cultivated (adj) : refined, educated as in <cultivated speech> <cultivated tastes> or cultured person. Erudite would seem to be synonymous.

e.g., William F. Buckley.
 
4,453
57
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Why thank you, Omcheeto. It's indeed my objective to make my postings in the landmark game cultured, interesting, and challenging to more thinking. Since the responses have been greatly reduced in the thread, to the die hards, it seems, I have wondered if it would serve a purpose anyway. But this is encouraging.

Anyway, cultured, More synonyms: knowledgeable, sophisticated, understanding, accomplished, appreciative, intellectual, enlightened, very close to 'snob' actually. Instead, my main take for cultured is tolerance, patience, the ability to put things into perspective, contemplating both sides, avoiding jumping to conclusions and avoiding hostile fallacies in disputes, etc. But that's probably called 'civilized'.
 
Last edited:

OmCheeto

Gold Member
2,071
2,430
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I am cultured because I watch gourmet cooking shows like Hell's Kitchen. We all know that fine dining is a sign of being cultured.

I also vote for Nismar, OM, and MIH as meeting the culture requirements.

gokul is a Highbrow, so I guess that he is, by default, cultured.
Yes. There is not one of the PF sisterhood that I would consider "uncultured". Now the brotherhood on the other hand.......

as I just finish sweeping out the 47 empty Budweiser can's from the bilge of my boat that have been sitting there for a whole week! And no, they were not all mine...."No. That's fine. Just throw them in Om's boat. He's an eco-nut. Look. He's got a http://www.solv.org/" [Broken] bag in there."
 
Last edited by a moderator:
4,453
57
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Yes. There is not one of the PF sisterhood that I would consider "uncultured".
I second that.
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I knew a man, his brain was so small,
He couldn't think of nothing at all.
He's not the same as you and me.
He doesn't dig poetry. He's so unhip that
When you say Dylan, he thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas,
Whoever he was.
The man ain't got no culture,
 

OmCheeto

Gold Member
2,071
2,430
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

And let's not forget the boss.

Having been to Tanzania has got to way up your culture points.

the_boss_in_tanzania.jpg


btw, does anyone know where Tanzania is? Somewhere in outer Mongolia isn't it?
 

Evo

Mentor
22,873
2,349
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Greg is the epitome of culture.
 

apeiron

Gold Member
1,971
1
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

a recent thread has me wondering what people perceive to be critical in forming this gestalt that is the cultured man or woman.
We all reflect our cultures, so "cultured" would perhaps suggest our personal reflection of a rich culture. So it says more about a society than a person, in the first instance?

The key attribute that springs to mind is "a person who you can have a good wide-ranging conversation with". So someone with broad knowledge and insight, but also detached enough to see conversation as a game, opinions as a form of play, beliefs as theories.
 
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

A cultured person is somebody who shows interest and can grasp topics and ideas even though they are outside what his immediate environment provides or demands.

It has nothing to do with travelling, visiting museums, or about knowing how to act around the higher classes, etc... It is more than just being able to get by at cocktail parties.

In this day and age one can get cultured by never leaving their house.
 
Last edited:
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I second that.
Third the motion, by the unspoken rules of the thread the motion is carried.
Oh, and I think "civilized" is integral to "cultured", much as civilization is based on an aggregate of interacting cultures... or maybe the other way around. I need a nap!


Apeiron: I like the conversation standard... someone who has the capacity for empathy to the point where they can truly imagine what it is to be another person, in another place and time. Someone detached enough to do so analytically at times, rather than just passionately, and someone with the knowledge to bring to bear that ties it all together perhaps?

Evo: Thanks. :)
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I enjoy cooking, but my forte is basic stuff like traditional New England and French-Canadian dishes that I learned from my mother and grandmother. I'm comfortable in the kitchen, though I prefer my grill many times. I enjoy playing guitar and singing, but my strong suit is blues - pretty much the most laid-back music around, though it can be performed with passion. I love gardening, and enjoy canning, making preserves and salsas, etc. I like my tractor, and the extra capability it gives me to do landscaping projects for my wife when brute-force and wheelbarrows fall a bit short.

Does any of that satisfy requirements for "culture"? It's all pretty much stuff that make life more enjoyable for me, but apart from the cooking and music, much of it would have little value in urban environments.

Maybe a cultured person is someone who is well-rounded and comfortable in many settings? Our neighborhood has talented people who are great wood-workers, welders/metalworkers, heavy equipment operators, etc. You'll never see us sipping tea with an extended pinkie, but there is some real talent kicking around here. The town's fire chief has a pulp truck with a headboard loader, and I swear that he could take the watch off my wrist with that loader (without damaging me). He is really good at what he does.

I've thought about this a bit from the perspective of a rural Mainer, and "culture" might take some odd turns here. I have a neighbor who likes to hunt, but I can't seem to get him interested in learning how to dress game. I grew up knowing how to field-dress and butcher deer, so whenever he shoots one, he calls or comes up asking me to dress it for him. In return, I get the heart and liver right away, and packages of steak and burger after his butcher packs it. In this case "culture" was handed down from my French-Canadian and Indian heritage - necessary survival skills.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Evo

Mentor
22,873
2,349
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

When I think of "cultured", I think of the guy I dated that held two chairs at the Smithsonian. A silver spoon baby, exclusive boarding prep school, undergard at Yale, PhD from Harvard. The guy oozed class, culture and upbringing. But he was also fun, we would sing opera together over the phone at night, but he also introduced me to "69 love songs" by the Magnetic Fields, which has songs so inappropriate that I can't link to them here.
 
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I enjoy cooking, but my forte is basic stuff like traditional New England and French-Canadian dishes that I learned from my mother and grandmother. I'm comfortable in the kitchen, though I prefer my grill many times. I enjoy playing guitar and singing, but my strong suit is blues - pretty much the most laid-back music around, though it can be performed with passion. I love gardening, and enjoy canning, making preserves and salsas, etc. I like my tractor, and the extra capability it gives me to do landscaping projects for my wife when brute-force and wheelbarrows fall a bit short.

Does any of that satisfy requirements for "culture"? It's all pretty much stuff that make life more enjoyable for me, but apart from the cooking and music, much of it would have little value in urban environments.

Maybe a cultured person is someone who is well-rounded and comfortable in many settings? Our neighborhood has talented people who are great wood-workers, welders/metalworkers, heavy equipment operators, etc. You'll never see us sipping tea with an extended pinkie, but there is some real talent kicking around here. The town's fire chief has a pulp truck with a headboard loader, and I swear that he could take the watch off my wrist with that loader (without damaging me). He is really good at what he does.

I've thought about this a bit from the perspective of a rural Mainer, and "culture" might take some odd turns here. I have a neighbor who likes to hunt, but I can't seem to get him interested in learning how to dress game. I grew up knowing how to field-dress and butcher deer, so whenever he shoots one, he calls or comes up asking me to dress it for him. In return, I get the heart and liver right away, and packages of steak and burger after his butcher packs it. In this case "culture" was handed down from my French-Canadian and Indian heritage - necessary survival skills.
When you add all of that, to the knowledge of your ancestry, the people around you, and oh yeah... you enjoy chatting on PF... I'd say yes, you strike me as cultured. Surely cultured can't just mean people in the audience at the Westminster Dog Show... it's situational, and reflected in the manner that people interact.

Evo: What a guy... and what a song! :bugeye:
 

turbo

Gold Member
3,028
45
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

When you add all of that, to the knowledge of your ancestry, the people around you, and oh yeah... you enjoy chatting on PF... I'd say yes, you strike me as cultured. Surely cultured can't just mean people in the audience at the Westminster Dog Show... it's situational, and reflected in the manner that people interact.
It's a bit odd. I went to the University of Maine at Orono with every intention of becoming a Chemical Engineer. I ended up in the honors program, and was mentored by Cecil Reynolds. Soon after, I switched to Liberal Arts with a double major in English Literature and Philosophy. Dr. Reynolds may have turned me from the "dark side", but I ended up working as a chemist, papermaker, technical consultant and troubleshooter in the pulp and paper industry for decades.

I'd love to be able to talk to him today.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,873
2,349
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

I enjoy cooking, but my forte is basic stuff like traditional New England and French-Canadian dishes that I learned from my mother and grandmother.
I'd rather have you with your down home skills than someone cultured if I was stranded on a deserted island.

Culture is over rated when it comes to everyday functioning, so I wouldn't worry about being considered "cultured".
 

Pythagorean

Gold Member
4,133
253
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

In my anthropology, it was portrayed as a term used by conquerers and imperialists to justify expanding their territory and spreading the "better" way of life to the "uncultured primitives".
 
1,444
4
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Being cultured has little value of its own, I think. Being knowledgeable and cultured that's a different story.
 
4,222
1
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

You. But I do not know why. It's just an uneasy feeling that you have seen things, and know things, that would separate you from someone I considered uncultured.

I'm afraid I don't spend much time in the Philosophy forum, nor do I spend much time dwelling on individual words(except for that time when I became obsessed with that Russian word: stremnaya), so for my benefit anyways, I'll post a few definitions:

Though it might be easier to define what is not cultured:
Originally Posted by wiktionary

Wikitonary Uncultured
"Not cultured or civilized; lacking in delicacy or refinement.
Delicacy
Refinement in taste or discrimination.
Tact and propriety; the need for such tact.
Tact
Careful consideration in dealing with others to avoid giving offense.
Propriety​
correctness in behaviour and morals​
Refinement
The uncanny and extraordinary ability to properly utilize the indent function​
"​

Fascinating. All of these attributes ('cept maybe the last) concern behavior that optimizes one's personal well-being in a civilized (city) environment where one comes in frequent contact with potentially adversarial strangers.

On a more personal basis, there is the little city called Physics Forums, where the more cultured among us daftly defy Infraction awards handed out by those who, by their occupation, are not required to have such lofty, self serving, cultural concerns. These are freer to be themselves.
 
Last edited:
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

Maybe we should draw a distinction between 'cultured', in the sense of being deft in the navigation of the highest expectations of a given society, and other terms sush as:

Polite.
Mannered.
Urbane.
Worldly.
Empathetic.
Knowledgeable.
Experienced.
Witty.
and so forth...

When we winnow out those elements that are, for lack of a better image, social lubricant... what do we mean when we think of a cultured individual now? Probably it doesn't have much to do with knowing which fork to use first at a meal, but more to do with wide ranging interests, a certain flexibility in thought... you get the idea.

Maybe cultured isn't worth the money, so to speak... in which case, what is it that we value most in people now?

Recurring themes I've read here are: Knowledge relevant to everyday life to the point where it appears effortless to navigate social norms. Interest in art, music, and other cultures, but not one particular type, which might be best summed up as "cultural curiosity". Affability and the capacity to carry on a genuinely fulfilling conversation, and the willingness to do so. Intelligence, which seems to be a pre-requisite for most of the other qualities, but not genius. Enough empathy to be able to imagine the positions of others and consider them, even if that person disagrees with that view. A desire to better yourself, and a willingness to share that experience with others. Experience... it seems there needs to be a kind of critical mass reached before the aforementioned qualities yield sufficient fruit to produce our "cultured individual".

What do you ladies and gentlemen think? I think we have a lock on the classic definition, and what it means to be classically uncultured... what of a new definition (or tweak) which applies to life in this day and age?

A final thought: A cultured person, when placed out of their element (an American in a middle eastern country) is willing to share something of themselves, but also adopt some of the cultural norms around them. Perhaps a cultured person in this shrinking world needs to have a speck of the sociologist/anthropologist in them, but tempered with empathy.
 
1,444
4
Re: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be "Cultured"?

As for "Polite" I am not so sure. I would replace it with something like that "Polite unless the objective circumstances and wisdom indicate using a different approach".
 

Related Threads for: What Do You Believe IT Takes or Mean To Be Cultured ?

  • Poll
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
30
Views
4K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
30
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
19
Views
2K
Replies
150
Views
11K
Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
5K

Hot Threads

Top