Lack of appreciation of cultural objects and affairs may result from a puritan or populist ethic, from a scientific or technologically orientated education, from materialistic values and commercialism, or from the gradual stifling of indigenous or ethnic cultural heritage through forced assimilation and standardization. Fine arts may not be appreciated due to lack of understanding or anti-intellectualism and class conflict. In developing countries, educational methods may be imported that attach little value to, or do not recognize, local cultural achievements, so that while literacy may be taught, for example, local literature is not used as illustrative material. Lack of cultural appreciation implies the loss of cultural heritage, perhaps involving ethnic disintegration and an unfulfilled need for the aesthetic and spiritual. Lack of cultural appreciation contributes to a loss of identity, disorientation and possibly social breakdown. It leads to a decline in fine arts and letters.
Culture is a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world; and through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits (Matthew Arnold).