Philistinism In England And America Essay

649 words - 3 pages

Comments on Matthew Arnold's "Philistinism in England and America" In his essay, "Philistinism in England and America," Matthew Arnold examines the ancient ideas of Plato in the context of a twentieth century, capitalist society. As he agrees with almost all of what Plato had to say, he also admits that he is outdated, and that some of his teachings cannot be applied to us, living in an industrial superpower such as the United States. Still, though, Arnold defends the ancient philosopher. Education as a route to mental and physical righteousness is always a good idea, whether it is in modern America or Ancient Greece. I disagree with this, and it is here that I must contest the writings of Plato, as well as the essay by Arnold, for he is definitely a strong backer of the ancient ideals.In Plato's mind, the value of an education is to clear one's mind of impure thought, bring it to a higher lever than at the start, and attain a certain level of righteousness. This may have been a good idea 2300 years ago, but today, I see it as very limiting and impractical. In his time, only the rich aristocrats went to school. It's purpose was not for the students to learn skills or ideas that would help them later in life, but to expand their minds, thus making them into 'better people.' There was no need for them to learn any job skills. Back then, if you came from a rich family, you were rich. Working at simple jobs was for the peasants and slaves. Today, life is different. Our society is completely unlike that of the ancient Greeks. We have no caste system limiting the wealth and prominence of any citizen, we have no slavery to handle all the manual labor, our army is proportionately smaller and much less honored, and...

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