Matthew Arnold and Three Classes – The Barbarians, the Philistines and the Populace


Matthew Arnold is truly an excellent fighter of the true mainstream culture in London society. He finds the realm of materialism that seeks to strangle true culture. Thus, in this chapter, Arnold divides English society into three classes: the aristocratic class, the middle class, and the working class. He finds the anarchy very common in these classes and analyzes them with their virtues and their flaws. He refers to the aristocratic class of his time as the Barbarians, the middle class the Philistines and the working class the people.

His careful examination of three classes of his time proves that he is a good critic of the experience. For the aristocratic class, he believes that this class lacks the courage to resist. He calls this class barbarians because they believe in their personal individualism, their freedom and their deeds; they had a great passion for sports in the field. Their virile exercise, their strength and their good looks are certainly found in the aristocratic class of his time. Their politeness resembles chivalrous barbarians and their outward styles of manners, achievements, and powers are inherited from barbarians.

The other class is the middle class or the Philistines, known for their mundane wisdom, industry experts and active in the industry. industrialization and trade. Their eternal inclination is to the progress and prosperity of the country by building cities, railroads and spinning the big wheels of the industry. They produced the largest merchant marine. So, they are the builders of the empire. In this material progress, the working class is with them. All the keys to progress are in their hands.

The other class is the working class or the populace. This class is known in the raw state and half developed because of poverty and other related diseases. This class is mainly exploited by barbarians and philistines. The author finds democratic emotion in this class because they acquire a political conscience and come out of their hiding places to claim the heavenly privilege of an English man to do what he loves, to meet where he loves, to shout what he likes and break what he likes. he likes.

Despite such a system of classes, Arnold finds a common basis of human nature. Thus, the spirit of sweetness and light can be founded. Even Arnold is called Philistine and rises above his birth level and social status in his quest for perfection, gentleness, light, and culture. He adds that the three classes find their happiness in what they like. For example, barbarians like honor and consideration, outdoor sports and fun. The Philistines love fanaticism, business, and earn money, comfort, and tea, but the Populace class, hated by both classes, likes to scream, shove, and break the beer. They all have different activities depending on their social status. However, there are some souls in these classes who are hoping for a culture with the desire to know their best or see things as they are. They have the desire to seek the reason and to make prevail the will of God.

For the pursuit of perfection, it is not only about genius or talented people, but also about all classes. In fact, love or the pursuit of perfection are within the reach of ordinary people. He calls the man of culture the true nanny of love, sweetness and light. He finds such people in the three classes who have a general human spirit for the pursuit of perfection. He says that the right source of authority is the best self or good reason to achieve by the culture.

The best self or good reason and the ordinary self:

Here he discusses the best self or good reason and the ordinary self that can only be felt in the pursuit of perfection. In this regard, he speaks of the bathos, surrounded by nature itself in the soul of man, presented in the literary judgment of some critics of literature and some religious organizations of America . He adds that the idea of ​​the best self is very difficult for the pursuit of perfection in literature, religion and even politics. The political system, which prevailed in his time, was that of the barbarians. Chiefs and statesmen praised the barbarians for winning the favor of the aristocrats. Tennyson celebrates in his poems the glory of the great English generous, with broad shoulders, with his sense of duty and his respect for the laws. Arnold claims that Tennyson praises the Philistines because this middle class is the backbone of the developing country. Politicians sing the praises of the people for bringing their favors. In fact, they play with their feelings, having shown the most brilliant powers of sympathy and the quickest power of action. All these praises are just traps and tips to win applause. It is the taste of bathos surrounded by nature itself in the soul of man and that enters the ordinary me. The ordinary self compels readers to deceive the nation. It's more admirable, but its benefits are perceived by representatives and leading men.

Arnold is bowing to reason just as the supreme authority that has the greatest appeal. All classes must follow it, otherwise anarchy will prevail and they will do what they want. In education, he wants to override himself because it was threatened. He is of the opinion that when the particular taste of a man for the bathos must tyrannize over that of the other man, it follows that the good reason or the best oneself should not govern in education. He insists on the right reason that is authoritative in matters of education. The situation in the field of education stems from the lack of intellectual flexibility among teachers who neglect the best reason or reason and try to appeal to the great taste of the bathos; and tears it because of its natural functioning and its infinite variety of experiences.

Arnold wants to bring education reform by transferring the management of public schools from their former board of directors to the state. As in the case of politics, in education, the danger lies in an uncontrolled and unguided individual action. All actions must be verified by the real reason or the best self of the individual. Some people think that the state should not interfere in the business of education. Liberal Party men believe in the freedom, the individual freedom to do what you want and claim that any interference by the state in education is a violation of individual freedom. Arnold says that such an ideal personal freedom still has an indefinite distance.

Arnold's mission is to make every individual act for himself and be perfect himself. The chosen people or classes must devote themselves to the pursuit of perfection, and he seems to agree with Humboldth, the German philosopher, in the pursuit of perfection. Culture will make them perfect on their own foundations. It is therefore essential that man seeks to achieve human perfection by installing his best or using the real reason. the culture would eventually find its public reason.


Source by Ali Asghar Joyo

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