A philosopher in pursuing truth has a natural interest in culture. If our notions are true at all they can be shared by others. So we seek fertile ground for bearing philosophical fruit together.
Few writers are as mature and thoughtful as Ralph Waldo Emerson on culture. In this essay, Emerson puts culture in dialogue with american individualism. He challenges us to think more essentially about what culture means at both an individual and societal level. This brings in important considerations for education as well.
These essays refer mostly to "self-culture" which goes pretty deep and isn't accrued simply through travel and books. It is a quality of character we walk with every day made possible only within a nourishing epistemic environment. Self-culture involves remaining true to one's deepest commitments in a way that requires recognition of our thoroughly dependent and relational nature. This means "being true to ourselves" requires moving away from simple self-absorption toward a more fulfilling and responsive engagement with the world.
The essays are below. However, the main goal of this meetup is to open a creative space for sharing our own reflections. Also in this sprit, feel free to comment below.
ESSAY: Self- Reliance
If you have time, try and read both. If time for only one, choose Self-Reliance.
This audio of Self-Reliance is recorded by one of my favorite Librivox readers: