“The exorbitant power of the baron had been gradually reduced. The condition of the peasant had been gradually elevated. Between the aristocracy and the working people had sprung up a middle class, agricultural and commercial.”
Excerpt From: Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1848
“The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 1”
In a society which protests so liberally against the caste system in India we North Americans (and to a lesser degree Westerners generally including most Europeans) have willingly adopted the expressions of Upper, Lower and Middle Class. It is not a refinement as distinguishable in England or Zurich but it is tolerable enough to be a point of candidacy in American presidential election; viz., make the rich pay, help the poor and do everything else for the betterment of the Middle Class. It is for some an unlikeable label but it captures the hard truth.
There are two hackneyed indicia of the Middle Class; namely, subdivisions and high-rise apartment buildings. I’ve lived in both. It is I am sure different from living in a castle or a hovel; but I am equally certain there are accommodations. Anyone who has read Angela’s Ashes 1996 memoir by Frank McCourt knows the drama with which poverty can be iterated. We have however a similarly distorted view of abundance (consider the Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B by J. P. Donleavy). Whether the Middle Class with its repetitive environment is any more colourful is both doubtful and irrelevant.
The reason there is no indignity in being Middle Class is that there is no greater or lesser dignity in being Upper, Lower or Middle Class because I’m afraid the entire batch is contaminated by that overwhelming characteristic called humanity. Since it appears that the class system is here to stay I prefer to address the privilege of classification as no more than an act of nature, an outright stroke of luck one way or the other, a mere throw of the dice. That is, there is nothing religious, Arian or mystical about the result of one’s birth and fortune thereafter.
Arianism | ˈɛːrɪəˌnɪz(ə)m | noun [mass noun] Christian Theology the main heresy denying the divinity of Christ, originating with the Alexandrian priest Arius (c. 250–c. 336). Arianism maintained that the son of God was created by the Father and was therefore neither coeternal nor consubstantial with the Father.
There are always weighty influences for the view of the pasture on the other side of the river. Smetana’s Moldau speaks to that.
In these works Smetana combined the symphonic poem form pioneered by Franz Liszt with the ideals of nationalistic music which were current in the late nineteenth century. Each poem depicts some aspect of the countryside, history, or legends of Bohemia.
There’s glory in everything. But if you’re not just reading books or listening to symphonies it’s easy to overlook the attraction beneath your feet. Nor should you. The peril and allure of life is its uncertainty. Too often we extend that observation to our own circumstances only while fantasizing about those of others.
One only need contemplate the ingenuity required to create any one of us fully to appreciate the exquisiteness of the product. Even a moment’s reflection discloses the extravagance of what we have at any price. The longer we distract ourselves from the reality of our life the longer we deceive ourselves. No amount of deflection competes with what’s at hand. Classification of any other sort is utterly superfluous. The insistence upon classification will only complicate and delay the only useful analysis.