Last updated: 23 December 1998
One must speak for a struggle for a new culture, that is, for a new
moral life that cannot but be intimately connected to a new intuition of
life, until it becomes a new way of feeling and seeing reality
A given socio-historical moment is never homogeneous; on the contrary,
it is rich in contradictions.
It is too easy to be original by doing the opposite of what everyone
else is doing; this is just mechanical.
The people themselves are not a homogeneous cultural collectivity but
present numerous and variously combined cultural stratifications which,
in their pure form, cannot always be identified within specific historical
Folklore should instead be studied as a 'conception of the world and
life' implicit to a large extent in determinate (in time and space) strata
of society and in opposition (also for the most part implicit, mechanical,
and objective) to 'official' conceptions of the world (or in a broader
sense, the conceptions of the cultured parts of historically determinate
societies) that have succeeded one another in the historical process.
In history, in social life, nothing is fixed, rigid or definitive. And
nothing ever will be.
I give culture this meaning: exercise of thought, acquisition of general
ideas, habit of connecting causes and effects ... I believe that it means
thinking well, whatever one thinks, and therefore acting well, whatever
A concept which is difficult in itself cannot be made easy when it is
expressed without becoming vulgarized.
The abolition of the class struggle does not mean the abolition of the
need to struggle as a principle of development.
This revolution also presupposes the formation of a new set of standards,
a new psychology, new ways of feeling, thinking and living that must be
specific to the working class, that must be created by it.
He who by profession has become a slave of trivial details is the victim
In reality one reads a book because of practical impulses (and one should
find out why certain impulses are more general than others) and one re-reads
for artistic reasons. The aesthetic emotion hardly ever comes on the first
The collectivity must be understood as the product of a development
of will and of collective thought attained through concrete individual
effort and not through a process of destiny extraneous to individual people.
Common sense is not something rigid and stationary, but is in continuous
transformation, becoming enriched with scientific notions and philosophical
opinions that have entered into common circulation. 'Common sense' is the
folklore of philosophy and always stands midway between folklore proper
(folklore as it is normally understood) and the philosophy, science, and
economics of the scientists. Common sense creates the folklore of the future,
a relatively rigidified phase of popular knowledge in a given time and
Politics is conceived as a process out of which a morality will emerge;
that is to say, it is conceived as leading towards a form of social coexistence
in which politics and morality along with it will alike we superseded.
Man was not 'discovered', rather a new for of culture was initiated,
a new effort to create a new type of man in the dominant classes.
Taste is 'individual' or a matter for small groups.
That the religiosity of the Italians is very superficial is undeniable,
as is the fact that it is of a strictly political nature, one of international
In any case art itself is interesting, and interesting from its own
sake, in that it satisfies a requirement of life.
It indicates a person who has not only good manners but who possesses
a sense of balance, a sure mastery of himself, a moral discipline that
permits him to subordinate voluntarily his own selfish interest to the
wider interests of the society in which he lives. The gentleman, therefore
is a cultural person in the noblest sense of the word, if by culture we
mean not simply wealth of intellectual knowledge but also the ability to
fulfil one's duty and understand one's fellow man by respecting / every
principle, every opinion, every faith that is sincerely professed.
Copyright © by Eberhard Wenzel, 1997-2001