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This article is taken from PN Review 48, Volume 12 Number 4, March - April 1986.

A New Scholasticism Anne Cluysenaar

Thoughts neither parochial nor solely academic: by asking for these, you are perhaps asking for such thoughts as one may risk elaborating to a friend, late at night or on a long country walk - those thoughts which, though not solely 'professional', drive our more specialized activities, the tending of relatively parochial gardens. (Ultimately, of course, as William Carlos Williams suggests in the story Jean Beicke, if we all did tend our own gardens . . .) So here, without alas the late-night drink or the blessed unevenness of the terrain is my response to your statement on 'a new orthodoxy', or at least the outline of that response.

All living involves interactive processes of reception and production.

The evolution of human beings involves two kinds of interactive process: biological and cultural. Evidence suggests that humankind has remained biologically the same over the last fifty thousand years: the great changes that have occurred in our ways of living over that period are due entirely to cultural evolution.

Cultural evolution depends on two major factors: the immediate environment into which one is born (which brings one, as it were, 'up to date' in terms of the current local culture) and a cultural environment which is distant in terms of time and/or space so that it is mainly mediated through education.

Education enables us to make choices amongst the various models of living offered by ...

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