All Cultures Need an Ideal

 All Cultures Need an Ideal

“There must also be an element of striving toward a goal.”

A culture cannot be conceived as a mere collection of individuals. There must be a unifying element that gives the community expression. There must also be an element of striving toward a goal.

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Historian J.H. Huizinga explains that, “This aim is always an ideal not the ideal of an individual, but an ideal for society. The nature of this ideal varies greatly. It may be purely spiritual: celestial bliss, nearness to God, liberation form earthly ties; or: knowledge of self and the mind, knowledge of the divine. It may be a social ideal: honour, respect, power, and greatness for the community” (In the Shadow of Tomorrow, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1936, 1964, p. 42).

The breakdown of a culture is caused by the loss of an ideal and the failure of a people to strive toward it.