Can anybody explain this quote for me, please? I understand "have, rest, grow, become" but I can't understand this quote.

Not a having and a resting, but a growing and becoming is the character of perfection as culture conceives it. —Matthew Arnold


2 Answers 2


having and a resting : getting everything/ wanting to have everything, but showing laziness
a growing and becoming : keep working hard and evolving

So, the quote means that "the definition of perfection, according to the culture, is not having to have everything and doing not much to have it, but to keep striving for becoming a better version of you."

Usually, people consider the life of rich people as perfect, as their family/children does not often do much, but still have all the luxuries of life. This quote opposes that thought and calls hard work and evolution as the real perfection.


All those things are describing perfection

He's saying that perfection is not something you have, or a place where you rest. Perfection is about growing to be better, becoming perfect through hard work.

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