Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Our cultures

Below is a letter to a friend. Those who have followed these columns will know that I do not mention the names of friends since there is a need to respect their privacy. However, this piece touches on concerns which may be of interest to readers. The pieces is short and much more could be said on its topic.

France is, by and large, an agricultural country and has, with some notable exceptions, been a cultural desert since the end of the Second World War.
The German culture, by comparison, draws upon a deep past and continues to be interesting a every sense across the spread of the cultural landscape. The only similar culture in Europe is Russia, where the sense of the tragic is unmatched by anyone else.
Yes, our backgrounds are so different. Each of our heritages set well apart. I have a tremendous admiration and deep attraction to the German. I wrote some time ago a wonder speech that a German academic, a woman, gave at a famous university here in the US, entitled “I am German.”
Having been a self-imposed exile since 1 January, 1974, I continue to be bemused by my fellow countrymen, speaking as an English person. I don’t know what to make of them. No single set of phrases describes them. They, the English, are like no other group on the planet. The shortest way to describe them is to say that they consist of a series of paradoxes.
And, yes, our cultural outlooks differ. How could they not. I am more straight down the line. You are dense, complex, insightful, penetrating and have a cultural grasp and insight that far exceeds anything I posses. In part, this derives from you academic background. I trained as an engineer and that period is lost in the sense that did not study the Humanities, which were so fervent at the time, the early sixties. All that happened around me left me quite unmoved. I did not enculturate until I went to South Africa, where i buried myself in a study of the Western Tradition. That work, that study, rewards in that it serves as my bedrock now, as I come so late in life, to the practice and profession of the Artist.
Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 25 August, 2918

Filed under: art, Literature, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

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