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The perception of general culture is changing as access to information has become so easy. Indeed, you can find the answer to any question you have in just a few seconds. You type your question on google and the answer comes immediately to you.
Does this mean that general culture is becoming redundant? Not really. Actually, you could argue that it is even more important than before. Here are 10 reasons why you should improve your general culture
1) It makes you a more interesting person.
When you know things about different subjects, you can easily adapt to the person you are speaking with. If he or she loves reading, you speak about books. If he or she loves art, you can speak about different painters and their works. This was considered as very important in France in the XVIIth century. According to moralist La Rochefoucauld, “Le vrai honnête homme est celui qui ne se pique de rien.“ (Truly upright people never boast about anything). This means that specialists who know everything about one only topic are less agreeable in society than a generalist who can say a little about any topic. The influence of this ideal can still be noticed in France in the way the school system is built. When I studied business in France, you had to pass a general culture test (among others) to enter a business school.
2) You are more likely to recognize thought patterns.
It is indeed good to have some notion of big philosophical or political ideas to be able to understand better most society issues we may be facing. For example, you can understand a political speech much better if you know which political line the speaker represents and what defines it. By the way, when you speak with random people about politics, you will notice that many do not know much about the political line they claim to belong to. You can hear highly conservative people defending purely marxist opinions without even knowing it (or the contrary).
3) You can understand jokes and references better.
When doing jokes, people often use cultural references. If you do not know what they speak about, you do not understand the joke.
4) You can use your culture as inspiration to solve the problems you are facing.
Many situations we can face as a person or as a society have already occurred in another form in history or are depicted in a novel. This can be a great inspiration to find out your own way to solve the problem
5) You can connect better with people of different backgrounds or cultures.
General culture can make you more open-minded and more able to communicate with people who are different from you. Literature for instance is a great way to understand better about foreign culture. For instance, I hardly knew anything about Indian culture and had little interest until I read „the Heart of India“ by Mark Tully. Suddenly, it was all about real people, their lives, feelings and the way they saw their lives, and suddenly it was fascinating.
6) You can find more role models and people to relate with.
Finding a role model is indeed a well-known strategy to be more successful in life. If you are acquainted to the life of many historical or literary figures, you can more easily find your perfect role model.
7)You can share what you know with friends and relatives.
The more you know, the more you can share with your dear ones. Especially if you are a mother, you can use your knowledge to tell your children stories or to explain to them the mysteries of life. Children have always a lot of questions, like „Why do you only see the moon at night?“ or „Why does it rain?“. The more developed your general culture is, the better you can answer to their questions.
8)You can better sort information and find out which one is relevant.
Searching the Internet is not always as easy as it looks like. The information you can find on the Internet is not always the clearest or the most complete. And there are even people who publish false information on purpose. If you want to find the right information among all the existing information, you need direction. You can find your way on the Internet through your general culture.
9) You see the world in a different way.
If you read Proust’s novels, you can see how his culture influences the way he sees and describes the world around him. Swan, one of Proust’s most famous character, knows so much about art that he compares automatically people or things he sees to paintings and art works. However, it is sometimes for him more a curse than a chance, like in his relationship to Odette de Crécy.
10) It’s fun.
Not only it is fun to discover new things every day but you can play at quiz games such as trivial pursuit and have a real chance to win. And really, who does not want that?