chapter  10
25 Pages

Culture, mind and education

Culture in this sense is superorganic,2 But it shapes the minds of individuals as well. Its individual expression inheres in meaning making, assigning meanings

order to know 'what they are about.' Although meanings are 'in the mind/ they have their origins and their significance in the culture in which they are created. It is this cultural situatedness of meanings that assures their negotiability and, ultimately their communicaLbility. Whether 'private meanings' exist is not the point; what is important is that meanings provide a basis for cultural exchange. On this view, knowing and communicating are in their nature highly interdependent, indeed virtually inseparable. For however much the individual may seem to operate on his or her own in carrying out the quest for meanings, nobody can do it unaided by the culture's symbolic systems. It is culture that provides the tools for organizing and understanding our worlds in communicable ways. The distinctive feature of human evolution is that mind evolved in a fashion that enables human beings to utilize the tools of culture. Without those tools, whether symbolic or material, man is not a 'naked aDe' but an errmtv abstraction.. _ j-- - X J - - - -

are always situated in a cultural setting and always dependent up>on the utilization of cultural resources.3 Even individual variation in the nature and use of mind can be attributed to the varied opportunities that different cultural settings provide, though these are not the only source of variation in mental functioning.