Friday, May 01, 2009

The Trivium Applied to Culture?

Dorothy Sayers suggested that the medieval trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric ought to be applied as an educational methodology in the progression of eduction. Douglas Wilson popularized this suggestion a few years ago in his book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning.

As I've read Veith's Postmodern Times over the last week or so, it has struck me that in many respects the shift from modernism to postmodernism is a lot like the transition from the logic stage to the rhetoric stage. It represents a shift from rigid categories, demanding precision, answers, questions to an emphasis on presentation, style, appearance, and beauty. I'm no cultural scholar, but what if cultures always do this (allowing for progression and different expressions of course)? But what if the transition from modernity to postmodernity is a fairly routine transition, like the transition from middle school to high school. It's still kind of scary, and we still say and do plenty of incoherent and irresponsible things. But maybe this is just the path to maturity.

1 comment:

Remy said...

Interesting thought. Virginia Postrel has a book called "The Substance of Style" in which talks about the increased attention to aesthetics. This would align with the poetic stage.

I imagine that like the priest, king, prophet cycle there are cycles within cycles.