Britain Observed. A Russian's View by V. V. Ovchinnikov

By V. V. Ovchinnikov

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Relative as such questionnaires may be, the results are in many ways revealing. In particular, Gorer generalises on thousands of opinions as to the qualities to be valued most highly in one's husband or wife. In reply to questions about their husbands, 33% of English wives picked out understanding. 56 Britain Observed as the most important quality and at the bottom end of the scale 17% chose love and 14% tolerance. According to English husbands, a wife should above all be a good housekeeper (29%), after which came such categories as understanding (23%) and love (22%), with intelligence (18%) as the least important quality.

It is also remarkable that the English Church lays greater emphasis on the moral rather than on the spiritual aspect of religion. Its main aim is to influence people in their be­ haviour for it considers the upholding of moral standards a more effective path to human perfection than direct influence on the individual by such means as, say. Catholic confes­ sion. It would be no exaggeration to say that England is a Christian country first and foremost in the ethical sense, in which the role of religion is very similar to that of Confucianism in China or Japan.

And in this country an amateur who has become an expert at his chosen hobby is more likely to gain respect than a successful businessman who has no other interests in life. When you have visited half a dozen English people you become convinced that it is indeed the search for common leisure interests and pursuits that forms the basis of social intercourse. The more a person has achieved in his own profession, the less likely he is to talk about anything connected with his particular field. Yet if talking about one's career is considered immodest, it is per­ fectly acceptable to show off one's expertise in any amateur pursuit.

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