Collective Cognition: Stipulating Right Thinking and Prescribing Prevailing Ideas to Defeat Polarization

Never heard the phrase ‘collective cognition’ before? Wouldn’t creating required learning standards and then assessing for their presence in guiding a student’s thoughts and actions amount to learning How to Think as a Community? After I wrote last week’s post, but knowing we were about to pivot next to something called the Hidden Tribes Project, I was fascinated to read the bio of the co-author of this recent article https://behavioralscientist.org/the-cognitive-science-of-political-thought-practical-takeaways-for-political-discourse/ where Professor Sloman admits that the cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences can be used to create Collective Cognition. If only some ultra-rich person would bequeath mega-millions to his employer, Brown University, to set up a Center to create models for K-12 education reforms.

Think of the Hidden Tribes Project as what to do about the adults whose minds and values got away when earlier versions of K-12 education reforms, like outcomes-based education, failed to shift as desired away from subject-content to changing:

the ideas that give your life direction. And the answers fit together into a larger picture–what we call a ‘worldview,’ a way of understanding and making sense of our world. Your worldview determines (consciously or unconsciously) how you interpret and respond to everything in life. This is why it is so important to begin thinking about your worldview and the ideas you believe to be true…develop a worldview that influences everything you do.

That is a really useful definition of worldview and why, I believe, we have found it as the aim of what my book laid out as Tranzi OBE from the 90s, and what we are seeing as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles now. It’s why learning standards globally carefully lay out the desired elements and seek to prescribe the ‘learning experiences’ that will create the characteristics at an internalized, physiological level. The Hidden Tribes Project, clearly related to the same aim but geared to adults and located at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, stated that its “focus is to better understand the forces that drive political polarization and tribalism in the United States today, and to galvanize efforts to address them.” I found the Project after it was hyped here in July https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_are_the_solutions_to_political_polarization and I recognized the links to both Seedbed of Virtues and the 1997 “A Call to Civil Society”.

George Will, in his Soulcraft book, kept using the same term “Better Angels of Our Nature” so let’s look and see how ‘our nature’ can be reengineered with education reforms and other social science projects. After all, one of the co-authors of the June 2019 More in Common report “The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart” is tied to the Templeton-funded Positive Neuroscience initiative at U-Penn that is also tied to the World Happiness Reports the UN has taken to publishing. If he states that “in coming years I plan on continuing to use the tools of social science to improve human interaction and society. Through teaching, speaking, researching, and writing, I hope to do my part to help humanity realize the best possible version of itself,” we would be wise to listen.

Humanity is so grateful, I reply with my usual sarcasm. Hopefully such aspirations and scholarship in “studying how social context in various populations can impact people’s moral judgment and behavior…” will get Mr Yudkin tenure somewhere. According to the 2018 “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” the “work of rebuilding our fractured society needs to start now” and it needs to occur at the level of each person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. This will allow “re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to building a renewed sense of national identity: A bigger story of us.” More in Common believes that “a healthy democracy…requires a sense of shared values and commitments, and a willingness to find common ground”. That desired answer to polarization and tribalism, a desired standardization at the level of “mind, heart, and soul” for all citizens, young and old, requires deliberately targeting:

At the root of America’s polarization are divergent sets of values and worldviews, or ‘core beliefs’. These core beliefs shape the ways that individuals interpret the world around them at the most fundamental level. Our study shows how political opinions stem from these deeply held core beliefs. This study examines five dimensions of individuals’ core beliefs:

  •  Tribalism and group identification
  •   Fear and perception of threat
  •   Parenting style and authoritarian disposition
  •   Moral foundations
  •   Personal agency and responsibility

This study finds that the hidden architecture of beliefs, worldview and group attachments can predict an individual’s views on social and political issues with greater accuracy than demographic factors like race, gender, or income.

So education at every level and the media, whether broadcast, print, or websites of various supposed spectrums, need to get at and change that hidden architecture. To uncover and understand core beliefs, and “explore how this understanding can be used, not to deepen polarization but to bring people together.” Does the coordinated effort to pretend that the Common Core was about workforce preparation or a database of personally identifiable information about students instead of an effort to change those prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs suddenly make more sense? What if I told you that the initial indented quote on worldview came from something called the Lightbearers Curriculum from Summit Ministries that I found after a Daily Caller article this summer made a reference to something called a Blue Sky Worldview and a camp to create it? What if the same article simultaneously misrepresented socialism and asserted that Marxism is only what was found in the past in Communist countries or is what Bernie Sanders pushes?

Let’s just say our False Narrative purveyors were well-represented among the advocates for this curriculum that also seeks to control “what ideas will rule the world” and provide “guidelines for shaping society for everyone’s benefit”. It is a curriculum intended for “endowing [the student] with the responsibility for shaping the future of the world.” Theoretical Marxism, the non-historical kind that is a theory of Man as a Maker of History seeking to drive a transformational process in the real world, would recognize that aspiration as bringing about what Uncle Karl called the Human Development Society. It is still the same theory even when the M word is not used and the sales pitch is the need to “redeem culture as part of God’s creation.” Worthy aspirations and a theological emphasis do not change the nature of this theory or who created the idea of how to get such a theory into practice (Praxis?).

Calling it “faith in action” instead of praxis, or opining that “without action, students may relegate what they are hearing to dry academic philosophies and not realize that these ideas should become part of their lives on a daily basis,” doesn’t distinguish aims that function the same with comparable purposes. So religious based or classical schools want ideas embodied into action as an integral part of the curriculum to create Desired Habits and Behaviors and so do public schools now as part of learning standards and what is called High Quality Project-Based Learning. See what I mean about going to the same place and targeting the same normative realm in each student?

Tranzi OBE, in function even if now euphemized into a myriad of new names, still is in play if the curriculum actively seeks to tell students they should be change agents and

stop being conformed by the ‘water’ around them, the culture they were in. Rather, they should be transformed by renewing their minds. The idea behind the word ‘transformed’ is that of metamorphosis–changing into something different. While conformity to the world is something that happens passively, being transformed is something that happens actively. Conformity just happens, but transformation requires effort. Transformation only happens through mind renewal, changing the way you think.

I bolded that last part from the Lightbearers Curriculum to call attention to a discussion in the comments from the last post when I said that the predecessor to the Common Core was something in the 90s called the New Standards Project. Before Professor Lauren Resnick helped create that initiative, she called her curriculum a Thinking Curriculum to be grounded in HOTS–Higher Order Thinking Skills. Stipulated Ideas would dominate so that the real world perceptions would be controlled by Desired Ideas and Theories of What Could Be. The Soviets in 1962 called this a new kind of Dialectic Materialism that would allow a transformation of the existing world via a theory they called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete.

Its ideals still work the same today whether pushed on adults to supposedly bridge a Perception Gap and create a Convergence to defeat Polarization, or on children via mischaracterized learning standards and Thinking Curricula.

All of these advocates recognize that changing how we think leads to “transforming our behavior” in predictable ways. If anyone wants to prescribe “the basis of our decisions and actions,” as these various NGOs like UNESCO or the OECD, faith-based institutions, think tanks, or any other institution have explicitly said they wish to do if we know where to look, we should all be aware that has become the new purpose of education and the goal of much of what is broadcast or published by the media.

I suppose I should be grateful my book and then this blog set off such an orchestration of False Narratives. The deceit left the crumbs that enable us to see the common vision. Everyone seems to want to get at what we believe and feel in order to control how we will behave.

And it has nothing to do with training pigeons except that once installed in our neural circuits via cognitive psychology, we will be programmed indeed.

 

 

Standardizing Self-Transcendence & Psychological Attributes to Deliberately Converge Prevailing Consciousness

Since none of us were probably invited to NYC for the United Nations General Assembly last month, they just announced the roll out of a Futures of Education initiative with a ‘Learning to Become’ theme. It “invokes the need to develop the capacity to imagine a good and fulfilling life.” Sounds like Statecraft as Soulcraft, doesn’t it, taken to a current, global level? If anyone is still wondering too why there is so much hype about how all weather disasters must be due to Human-Caused Climate Change, we have this next quote as part of the Learning to Become agenda:

As we come to terms with human-caused changes to the planet and face the possibilities of fundamental transformations in social organization, human consciousness, and human identity, humanity needs to devote attention to the question: What do we want to become? Knowledge and learning are at the core of transformations in human minds and societies. Learning to Become invites us to become something we have not yet become.

As usual, I think that ‘we’ is rhetorical and ‘we’ are not supposed to really have a choice. I have warned repeatedly going back to Credentialed to Destroy how learning standards really work, but this NSF-funded paper “Understanding Standards” from Michigan State’s Center for the Study of Standards and Society really does an explicit job of laying it out. The paper is from 2011 and is part of this Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences 2020 Agenda.  https://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sbe_2020/Abstracts.pdf Yes, that would be next year.

We live in a world in which we are surrounded by standards for people, processes, practices, and products. These standards structure the sociotechnical world as well as the behavior of people in a variety of ways…Standards may best be understood as a means of governance that fall (largely) between laws and social norms…Standards are exemplars against which people and things are judged…[They can also be used to mandate] ethical codes of various sorts…Since standards are all about what and whose values shall be incorporated in products, processes, and practices, they are as much ethical as technical phenomena.

That is especially true when the ‘standards’ are prescribed to organize how the human mind and personality are to work, with that mandate carried out through poorly understood educational processes, locking in the desired changes at a physiological, neural level. When I was reading about both the Vatican’s Humanity 2.0 Initiative and the Jubilee Centre’s new curriculum on Virtue, as well as the Templeton Foundation’s mega-million funding of planned social evolution, a name kept cropping up, Professor Candace Vogler, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago. I located this interview with her on a Templeton supported research project https://news.uchicago.edu/story/qa-philosopher-candace-vogler-virtue-happiness-and-meaning-life where the repeated use of the term ‘self-transcendence’ struck me as the newest euphemism for what George Will called ‘soulcraft’, Amitai Etzioni calls ‘communitarianism,’ and the Marxist Humanist vision called little ‘c’ communism to be enabled by a high level of technological prowess and inventions.

Professor Voglin also came up as involved with numerous Lumen Christi Institute presentations including those pushing something called ‘Right Reason,’ which I am probably not exhibiting in writing this blog post. Templeton has now launched this initiative https://www.lumenchristi.org/news/2019/03/lumen-christi-receives-john-templeton-foundation-grant-for-science-religion-project to fund research at the so-called “intersection between science and religion”. Just imagine how useful learning standards are to THAT agenda, and why it would provide multiple incentives for think tanks with common funding to Professor Voglin and George Will to misrepresent how those Catholic Curriculum Standards REALLY work. Professor Voglin said the Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning of Life Project had its ‘genesis’ in her “thinking about what the difference was between the people whose daily lives could be a source of happiness and purpose, and the people whose daily lives were a giant to-do list that was mostly a slog.”

I will let everyone guess which expletive I wrote in the margin after that quote rationalizing this push towards collectivism, but the next quote did strike me as far more truthful:

We are mostly investigating the possibility that a fundamental attachment and orientation to a good can make your daily life into a source of happiness that can sustain you through struggle and trial and give you resilience and a sense of purpose.

That rang true because Hillsdale Barney Charter Initiative has used similar language, as do the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, and the concept of a moral compass and guiding North Star also shows up in charters being funded by the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative. Tell me this next passage does not sound like Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s definition of Excellence as aligning what is thought, wished for, and felt as the goals of Education. Remember too that various civil rights mandates now require Excellence and Equity as an education requirement as a matter of law.

What does virtue mean to you in the context of this project? Virtue is a kind of strength of character that helps you organize the things you take in from the world and the way you respond to them in the service of the actual good. And virtue helps to do that by harmonizing your thoughts, feelings, actions, and aspirations in good ways.

There is a new Personal Growth Framework out that calls precisely that-‘self-authorship’- and we now know UNESCO calls it Learning to Become. A 2011 book I just finished called From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education says  educational practices designed to create such harmony intend to get at, and rewire, something called the Anterior Cingulate part of the human brain. That’s one way to turn Mind, Brain, and Education into a true science, isn’t it? Let’s see what the two-day capstone project held in October 2017 had to say about this so-called virtue of ‘self-transcendence’ so we can appreciate what it means to enshrine it in learning standards, a school charter, a Portrait of a Graduate, or Curriculum Frameworks:

Our conviction that virtue is essentially related to self-transcendence has grown out of engagement with research throughout the humanities and the social sciences that has continued to suggest that individuals who understand themselves to be practically oriented to something greater than the self–a family with a long history and the prospect of future generations, a spiritual practice oriented towards due reverence for the sacred and the need to live right by and be consciously united with others, work on behalf of social justice and the improvement of one’s community–often feel happier, have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and have overall better life outcomes than those who do not. Some psychologists have labeled this necessity for locating one’s self within a broader context ‘self-transcendence’.

That phrase has more universal appeal, doesn’t it, than when George Will defined those same aims as ‘Conservatism’? We have a global convergence going on now to use education, governments, regulations, think tanks, and faith-based organizations, among others, to push a vision that seeks to instill, via each person’s central nervous system, “a deep attachment to an overall good (happiness or living well) that individuals cannot attain through dispositions of thought, action, and feelings that are ordered to securing individual benefit…One commonality explored in this volume [from capstone conference] is the way that virtue is intimately connected to a social or communal vision of happiness, and how virtue can play an instrumental role in securing this goal for us.”

All this manipulation via education and, quite frankly, also the media is because we apparently don’t know what is best for ourselves or our children so we need a reimagining of education to lock in the desired visions of transformation. Plus lots of deceit about what is really going on so not enough of us can balk at the requisite neural nets of ‘new citizenship’ in time.

As usual, I have too much going on to continue today, but I want to get back next to what is planned for us to force the so-called Better Angels of Our Nature to bloom. George Will used that Better Angels phrase a great deal and it showed up tied to yet another Kennedy School of Government Initiative from this summer.

I said I had to take a break from writing. I did not take any break from my reading.

Totalitarianism or Rightful Regulation? The Reasons for the Redirection of Education Fall into Place

When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy and then later started this blog, I knew I could trace what was actually occurring, even if I did not always understand precisely why or the reason for so much deceit. After all, I am a lawyer and so many of the changes were being enshrined into law so that the tracking was easy and the intended results mandatory. When I wrote about the Social Reconstructionists I did not yet grasp that in the early 1980s, after a series of lectures at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (no wonder it later created a PEPG-Program on Education Policy and Governance to implement its aims), that laid out how Conservatism was now to be redefined in terms of a new role for government that would create institutions and new ideas that would “retrace our cultural steps, and rethink what we think.” That would certainly explain the sudden interest in using the techniques of Tranzi OBE and mandated learning standards, wouldn’t it?

Apparently, after “two centuries of cultivating the physical world, Americans have been prodigies of productivity” so that now it was time to “place the focus of government on the intellectual and moral world within us.” Do tell. I am quoting from a George Will 1983 book called Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does that I found as I was following up on both this push for Cultural Evolution using a so-called Science of Virtue as well as the communitarian push I kept stumbling across as supposedly necessary for ‘citizenship’ in the 21st century in a Republic. Brought to us by the same people who work for think tanks that cannot manage to accurately explain what the Common Core is really about and what competency-based education really entails. Perhaps this is why:

that inner world is what ‘concerns fitness for republican government’…the most important revolution of all is the ‘revolution in sentiments, manners, and moral opinions’. It will be said, instantly and energetically and broadly, that ‘sentiments, manners, and moral opinions’ are none of the government’s business. Are they not ‘private’ and properly beyond the legitimate concern of public agencies? No, they are not…

political order needs to be concerned about the inner lives of the people…and the character of the citizenry…By the legislation of morality I mean the enactment of laws and implementation of policies that will prescribe, mandate, regulate, or subsidize behavior that will, over time, have the predictable effect of nurturing, bolstering, or altering habits, dispositions and values on a broad scale…

Government would do better if it admits what it is doing.

Yes, it would, but since that might create a public outcry, create repercussions at the ballot box, or affect fundraising for think tanks, it is left for me to lay that out. Explains so much, doesn’t it? Especially my documentation of the affirmative, normative use of the law in a revised vision of education. George Will emphasized his point by quoting US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, in a famous case concerning compulsory flag salutes, as writing that “Law is concerned with the external behavior and not the ‘inner life of man.'” Then Will responded with “The purpose of this book is to explain why that proposition is radically wrong.” I had called attention in my last several posts of the use of Greek philosopher Aristotle as a substitute for a vision that I recognize as Marxist Humanism. Hyping the Claasical roots in antiquity lets the vision escape the infamy of that ‘M’ word.

Will may well be the originator of this substitution as he expounded on how Aristotle was “a founder of:

conservatism, properly understood, because his realism did not preclude a politics that takes its bearings from what ought to be. The United States acutely needs a real conservatism, characterized by a concern to cultivate the best persons and the best in persons…A purpose of politics is to facilitate, as much as is prudent, the existence of worthy passions  and the achievement of worthy aims. It is to help persons want what they ought to want. Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.

I keep thinking of the Chinese Social Credit System that so-called ‘conservative’ writers keep calling attention to, and wondering if the real concern is simply that the Chinese are being too overt with their Reeducation or Recrimination Program to get desired Results. What precisely are these ‘worthy passions’ and ‘worthy aims’ in a vision that goes on to describe a vision of education where “true conservatives have a soft spot in their hearts for organic collectivity.” So do admitted progressives and they too have big plans for also using education for “nurturing of the shared ‘national mind’.” Heck, at least the Progs admit that the desired transformation of the individual’s ‘inner life’ is just  a tool to get a desired global consciousness amenable to the desired changes and the “bridling of egoistic motives.”

My accurate tracking all these years using the law makes far more sense now that we have found this reimagining that “we must rethink today’s constricted notion of the legitimate uses of the law…It is time to come up from individualism.” After all, in this new vision of Conservatism, “a function of government is the modification of [citizenry] habits.” The Diversity of this country back in the 1980s, which is nothing compared to what immigration has done in the interim to now, was supposedly a reason that necessitated “law concerned with values as well as actions–with mind as well as body. They necessiate law as a ratifier and stigmatizer, in which role law is a tutor.” In other words, government at all levels and education as its favorite tool committed to realizing a vision where:

what is at issue is not coercion, it is not compelling persons to act against their settled convictions, it is not a collision of wills, the state’s and the citizens. Rather, it is a slow, steady, gentle, educative and persuasive enterprise. Its aim is to dispose citizens toward certain habits, mores and values, and to increase the probability that persons will choose to will certain things.

One of the discussions I have had when I first called attention to Tranzi OBE and commenters I later found to be involved with the False Narrative would treat the problem as simply a wrongful area for the FEDERAL government, while I saw the shift as Totalitarian for ANY level of government, came to mind when I read this passage from Will’s reenvisoning:

…proper conservatives proclaim, as Burke did, the gentling functions of government. Proper conservatism teaches that authority does not form on high, in the clouds, and clatter down, painfully, like Kansas hail stones. Rather, conservatism teaches that authority grows organically from the rich loam of social mores and structures.

…the urgent tasks of government include mending and maintaining the ‘chain of community’…The political system must also incorporate altruistic motives…Altruism–principled regard for others–is not optional.

No wonder we have had such a dance over what social and emotional learning is and whether it can be discussed, if, quietly, the authors of so many books or articles have their income from a source that pushes covertly this reimagining of what Conservatism and a new role for governments actually is. Someone who believes in the following quote needs the tool of Tranzi OBE, whatever they mask it with as a euphemism:

Justice depends, therefore, on a certain disposition, It depends on–in a sense, it is– a state of mind. A society that is organized socially and justified philosophically the way ours is must take special care to supply itself with the rhetoric, institutions and policies that encourage that state of mind.

And try to silence interlopers like me who accurately lay out what education is really altering and who actually benefits from the shift. After all, this may be a vision that wants to use the “skill of disposing persons to think of public as well as private interests,” but if the history of the consistent outcry over Outcomes-Based Education tells us anything it is that no one really wanted this level of forthcomingness to be tied to these education reforms that have functioned the same in terms of the true desired results over the intervening decades. Virtue and Character sound so good as a major goal of ‘student-centered education’ that is holistic and creates agency. Those euphemisms sound so much better, don’t they, than the actual aspiration:

That is why I am so concerned about the shaping of passions and desires in the direction of virtue. By virtue I mean nothing arcane or obscure. I mean good citizenship, whose principal components are moderation, social sympathy and willingness to sacrifice private desires for public ends.

What happens to citizens in a polity where education is being covertly hijacked to “nurture the habit of regarding our fellow citizens as united in a great common enterprise”? Especially one that touts School Choice as a feint to obscure the actual coordination and sought transformations in the student and to the polity?

Good to be back. Hopefully there will be no more unexpected interruptions as there is so much going on now.

Epiphany Moment: Education as Cultural Transformation Using Heart and Mind Manipulation

Eureka! When I wrote the last post I recognized the common vision, but had not yet fully tracked down the why. That shifted quickly though when I followed up on one of the attendees at the Humanity 2.0 conferences at the Vatican, U-Chicago prof Candace Vogler, since I remembered she was also tied to the NIH-funded Science of Virtues Project covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/locating-the-internalized-information-guiding-human-behavior-so-it-can-be-controlled-and-transformed/ . Rereading that post was a reminder of just how very tied the players covered there are to the organized False Narrative of what the Common Core, competency-based education, SEL, and data gathering are all about. That much coordination and coincidence cannot be accidental. Discovering then just how much of Vogler’s work has been financed by the Templeton Foundation, and finally that Templeton had announced its intention to finance and investigate cultural evolution via the individual human mind was my epiphany moment.

Suddenly we were no longer talking about the Social Reconstructionists, UNESCO, and its founder, Julian Huxley’s vision, as covered in Credentialed to Destroy, but think tanks across the purported political spectrum. All the pushes about values and Character initiatives and an emphasis on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness make sense if you believe that “Moral systems are the psychological and sociological ‘glue’ that holds human groups together as adaptive units, at the scale defined by the moral system, establishing a fundamental connection between morality and group-level intelligence” as this Templeton announcement put it https://evolution-institute.org/prosocial-world-receives-grant-from-templeton-world-charity-foundation/ . As a recent book by the Director of the Templeton-supported Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues in the UK (where I first found the reference to Humanity 2.0) put it in his book Flourishing as the Aim of Education:

In general, human associations across the globe seem to be moving in a morally progressive direction despite recent ‘post-truth’ blips: a direction that makes educational discourse ripe for accounts of human flourishing as its ultimate aim…[The sought self-change in the students occurs because of] these ‘Damascus experiences’ that comes about through the recognition of transpersonal ideals that inspire awe…The awe and wonder we experience in the face of such self-transcendent ideals enables us to envisage new horizons for ourselves; we suddenly see ourselves and the world in a radically different way.

It turns out there is a word for this, ‘cultural cognitive models’ and transforming these has become the stealth means of evolution in the 21st century. As best I can tell, a 1973 paper (tied to the same Palo Alto behavioral change research center now tied to the National Growth Mindset Network) called “Theories of Culture” hatched the plan in earnest. Its author, Roger M. Keesing, laid out a desire for:

Conceiving culture as an ideational subsystem within a vastly complex system, biological, social and symbolic, and grounding our abstract models in the concrete particularities of human social life. [Today’s Evidence-Based Policymaking!]…attempts to map cultures as ideational systems in the light of an emerging understanding of mind and brain should enable clearer insights into the organization of experience and the nature and depth of variation in the thought worlds of men.

With prescribed, globalized learning standards, there won’t be much variation for long! If anyone does not believe me that the ‘thought worlds’ are a bullseye for standardization we have this 2017 paper financed by Templeton called “Cultural evolutionary theory: How culture evolves and why it matters” https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/7782 stating:

Deeper analysis of how human culture, human ecology, and the human environment coevolve is necessary for understanding historical and present dynamics, and for predicting future trends. These analyses will provide much-needed tools for the planning and direction of such dynamics. Humans’ worldwide well-being and that of the ecosystem we live in depend on our ability to make such predictions and act accordingly.

Here is another confirmation of this intended aim tied to another Templeton grantee https://singularityhub.com/2018/02/22/cultural-evolution-can-provide-the-tools-to-build-global-scale-resilience/ and on July 17, 2018 the American Anthropological Society announced its intention to make ‘cultural models theory’ (CMT) the path for future research grounded in CMT’s ‘fundamental assumption that the locus of culture is the minds of individuals.” I have alluded to this before since conceptual frameworks and Disciplinary Core Ideas are being laid out in learning standards mandates, but this paper “From Cultural Models to Cultural Categories”  helps make the bullseye and the rationale for targeting it even more clear. http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/8631/volumes/v29/NA-29 Making sense of the world and your experiences or ‘cultural meanings’ :

are created and maintained by the interaction between an extrapersonal world of objects and symbols and the intrapersonal world of individual’s mind. Thus, to understand and analyze culture in totality we need to to take into account both the intrapersonal world of cultural values and cognitive structures of mind and the extrapersonal world of cultural symbols and artifacts. The main objective of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework, which derives cultural categories by analyzing culture at perceptual, behavioral, and symbolic levels.

Precisely what outcomes-based education in the 90s and competency-based education tied to learning standards targets now. All designed, then and now, to force a cultural evolution grounded in transforming Values and Thought Patterns as illustrated here https://www.spps.org/cms/lib/MN01910242/Centricity/Domain/125/iceberg_model_3.pdf It really does make the ubiquity of Tranzi OBE quite clear, doesn’t it? No wonder it has been renamed now as Portrait of a Graduate or Learner Profiles. That does sound more appealing than transforming the mind to fit the global collectivist vision for the desired 21st century comrade. Here is one last link that did a succinct job of laying out why altering cultural cognitive models is the new stealth means of revolutionary change that may initially be hard to discern.  http://trnerr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Cultural-Models.pdf which usefully italicized the fact that : “Cultural models are important for communicators to consider because they shape and constrain how people think about an issue and the solutions that they see as effective and appropriate.”

The widely-shared nature of cultural models makes them incredibly valuable for strategic framers who wish to change the conversation about a complex social issue…models derive from exposure to common experiences over time. If communicators can change the context in which people experience an issue–through the media, through advocacy and through policies that change the context–[now just imagine adding the immersive possibilities of digital learning and virtual reality!] they can, over time enact deep, meaningful, and sustainable changes at the level of cultural models. The durability of cultural models means that communicators need to be aware of these ways of thinking and that they need to work hard to create new ways for people to think about social issues.

This has truly been a fascinating journey, especially because of the amount of clarity surrounding what I can document and thus prove. All the sudden references to Aristotle in a recommended template for change in the student that certainly looks to me like the Marxist Humanist template make far more sense if, like me, you located the PhD thesis of the author of Flourishing as the Aim of Education where he laid out the ties between Marx’s thought and its foundations in Aristotle’s. Suddenly the multisyllabic title of “A Neo-Aristotelian Model of Moral Development” created by the Jubilee Centre in 2017 can be accurately seen for the euphemism for an infamous ideology it actually is.

We cannot fight against what we cannot see and as usual, this post is an attempt to create the needed illumination. Otherwise, our childrens’ minds and personalities will remain tools for transformation in what is actually a global Social Reconstruction Project.

 

 

 

Rebooting the Mind and Heart to Get at Humanity 2.0 and a Global Convergence

We are going to do a travelogue today using quotes from a UNESCO institute in India with a vision written by American education profs, hen a May conference at the Vatican we were not invited to, on to Washington, DC and a think tank tied to Betsy DeVos, and an upcoming August 8 conference at UN HQ right there along the East River. Then we get to visit the Silicon Valley to finish up. All of these initiatives are pushing the exact same visions and many are tied to the same institutions and people who worked so hard to misportray the Common Core and competency-based education in the US. None of these conferences though are mentioning each other unless you recognize common attendees and funding.

I don’t think the ties to the False Narrative are an accident and if I, and my book Credentialed to Destroy, are going to be an irritant to that vision, I might as well be highly effective and revelatory in precisely what we are really jousting against here at ISC. In fact, it was following up on things that were put into print that were provably untrue that led me to the Humanity 2.0 conference so let’s start there. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/05/11/humanity-2-0-answers-popes-call-for-entrepreneurs-with-a-conscience/

The full name of the Vatican’s new initiative, now with co-sponsorship from Google, is “Humanity 2.0: A Shared Horizon for Humanity” that quotes its CEO, a Canadian tech entrepreneur, as stating that:

All that is required to change our destiny is prudence and the will to act. If history has taught us anything, it’s that humans rarely rise to the occasion unless they’re inspired by what ‘should be’, and this is why Humanity 2.0 is committed to articulating a common vision.

And then using education and the news media and social media platforms to impose that ‘common vision’ and create a “shared horizon to unite humankind.” Humanity 2.0 also intends to facilitate “collaborative ventures between the public, private, and faith-based sectors.” That convergence of every institution with the ability to forge policy probably explains why the website headlines with a quote from Thomas Aquinas that sounded eerily reminiscent of the Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi definition of Excellence in education we tracked to the General Evolution Research Group from the 1980s–education should tie together in the student what is wanted, known, and felt. These ties make sense since both GERG and Humanity 2.0  see education as the primary tool to create “the kind of human civilization we should be striving to build” in the internalized attitudes, values, and beliefs of the students.

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

Now, let’s switch to India to MGIEP–the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education for Peace and Sustainable Development which has its first ever World Youth Conference on Kindness coming up on August 20-23 in New Delhi and its second TECH–Transforming Education Conference for Humanity in December. MGIEP:

employs the whole-brain approach to education, with programmes that are designed to mainstream social and emotional learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies, and put youth as global citizens at the centre of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development…In addition to giving youth the agency to lead the process of societal transformation, we need to rethink how they are educated…We should not [be] continuing with the same modality of preaching and instructing. This prevailing practice of making an intellectual case for peace is not sufficient. The seat of human behavior, including hatred and violence, is the emotional brain. Understanding this seat and the emotional stress of violence at individual-societal levels, and aligning education accordingly is, therefore, the first step in the pursuit of peace.

Let’s switch to that invite https://peaceandthebrain.eventbrite.com/ so that I can point out it aligns with MGIEP’s push that as so important that it bolded the following statement just like this: “There is a need for education not as the usual intellectual exercise of regurgitation but a journey through self–of building peace first with the self, before the society. Education that is aligned with neurobiological development [my italics] and aimed at nourishing the whole person.” See what I mean about rebooting the internalized neural wetware we humans use to process our experiences, set goals, and make decisions? That August 8 meeting in NYC for “Brain-based Holistic Education for Peace” intends to:

discuss how violence happens in the brain, and ways to work towards creating peace in our brains and project that peace onto society.

That UN agenda fits right in with what Humanity 2.0 describes as its “Faith and Integral Human Development” vision where the Catholic Church, which the CEO described in the Crux linked above, as “the largest and most influential institution in human history,” [Ideas and Institutions are how we change public policy in the 21st Century, remember?],

intends to propose a humanism that is up to the standards of God’s plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic, and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice, and solidarity.

Achieving that vision will be a lot easier if we access the Working Paper “How Mindful Compassion Practices [more WTPs!] can Cultivate Social and Emotional Learning” from this site https://mgiep.unesco.org/academic-publications that is also grounded in achieving neurobiological change.

The good news is that the brain is highly plastic and as such, the brain develops from experience. In other words, what one pays attention to and focuses upon changes certain portions of the brain and thus, the related primary functions also change…of specific interest is the notion of cultivating humane or compassionate behavior.

Another word for that desired behavior used elsewhere in the “manuscript” reminds us that “the way SEL is defined allowed us to introduce a specific set of SEL skills and then illustrate how they align with Mindful Compassion outcomes.” Those outcomes fit with many a school’s Graduate Profile now or what the US think tank (where Betsy DeVos was on the Board) pitches as a desire for “connecting moral and religious instruction to SEL.” http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Moral-and-Religious-Roots-of-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.pdf Talk about removing silos between public, private, and faith-based! Also, its ‘character’ and “cardinal virtues of Greek and Christian thought” are just the euphemisms for what MGIEP calls “Mindful Compassion Practices”. The last week we had a followup paper http://www.aei.org/publication/the-f-word-of-social-and-emotional-learning-faith/ , which really caught my eye since I was familiar with UNESCO wanting to use whole child education to target each student’s internalized KBVAF–Knowledge, Beliefs, Values, Attitudes, and Faith.

The latter paper even urged that “education leaders should explore ways to partner with communities of faith.” I guess AEI was afraid someone would notice if that silo analogy was used yet again, but the aim is clearly the same. While it sells the idea of interjecting faith and character practices into public schools, MGIEP is qualifying its observation that:

Mindful compassion practices (MCPs) are not new to many world cultures. However, they are new to many schools that are exploring how to best integrate them into existing curriculum in a secular manner.

Whatever argument gets the desired results in the student at a neurobiological level, right? Now, if you do pull up that paper, make sure you look at Figure 3 on page 11 called “Map of Executive Function and Related Terms to Intra-and Inter-Personal Skills” because it is the final proof that we are looking at the same global template. The last stop in our Travelogue is a Jesuit institution in California called Santa Clara University. Its Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is involved with Humanity 2.0 and its Trust Project involving the Future of the Internet. It also has Lesson Plans to incorporate SEL into academic curricula practices just like MGIEP advocated. https://www.scu.edu/character/lesson-plans/ I also watched the video found there “What is Character Education?” and took verbatim notes. That is why I am so certain I am looking at precisely the same vision as to what must be changed, where, and why all over the world.

What gets sold at MGIEP as Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, which needs MCPs, and Humanity 2.0, which does too, gets pitched by Markkula (fitting well with that MGIEP Figure 3) as:

Character development impacts three key domains: moral behavior, personal performance, and civic engagement. Virtues ethics, one of the prominent ethical frameworks, sees moral behavior as the way to live the good life. Through the enactment of virtues such as honesty, kindness, forgiveness, and respect we can flourish while behaving responsibly within family and society. Performance virtues, such as perseverance, resourcefulness, open-mindedness and determination, enable us to maintain healthy life habits, work toward personal goals, and adapt to life changes and demands.

Civic engagement virtues such as justice, leadership, sense of duty, and environmental consciousness are important for becoming contributing and lawful citizens in a democratic and thriving society and a sustainable environment. Character development requires that all three components of virtue–affective, cognitive, and behavior–will grow through social interaction and personal reflection.

I am going to stop there for now, except to say that I have no doubt the commonality I am seeing and have documented (this post is just the tip of the connections) is due to the need for what Uncle Karl called a Moral Revolution once a certain stage of technological development was available to the world. Rather than pitch infamous political theories accurately so that their attendant baggage from history can be examined in time, we get illusory sales pitches that nevertheless get to the same realm that must be changed. Closing once again with MGIEP:

Social-emotional skills and abilities are important because they affect how and what we learn, and the way in which we apply that knowledge to our relationships, our work, and our navigation through our world.

 

 

Stifling the Individuality of Thinking to Standardize WTPs–Ways of Thinking and Practices

Yes I do know it is summer, but the UN was busy last week putting out the global ed vision at a High Level Policy Forum we were not invited to (as usual). Plus my life seems to have calmed down from the multiple pots overflowing stage to just a slow simmer so let’s use this post as an opportunity to get out of the sun and heat and talk about these laid out plans for us so we will develop the desired skills and dispositions https://education-reimagined.org/hey-teacher-what-shall-we-call-you/  , WTPs, “21st-century student outcomes” (iNACOL, July 10,2019),  or “the achievement of relevant and effective learning outcomes” from  https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/hlpf2019 in the Beyond Commitments link. To really appreciate what all these references actually have in mind, let’s go back in time to 1967 when E.D. Hirsch was not yet writing about what every American needed to know. Instead, he was writing the following in his book on the topic of ‘Understanding’ called Validity in Interpretation. The passage really clarified for me just how learning standards or competency frameworks can quietly force ‘shared meaning making’ and prescribed ways of thinking.

The inadequacy of identifying textual meaning with ‘tradition’ or some other changing norm is seen first of all in the total impracticality of such a norm on the level of scholarly interpretation. Certainly, in scriptural questions, changes in interpretations can be institutionalized at any moment by an authoritative pronouncement about the ‘consensus ecclesiae’. Similarly, in legal questions, changed interpretations can be institutionalized by a pronouncement from the highest court. But in the domain of learning such pronouncements cannot carry authority. No one, for example, would hold that a law means “what the judges say the law means” if there were not a supreme tribunal to decide what, after all, the judges say. There could never be such arbitrary tribunals in the domain of knowledge and scholarship.

Now, when I read that passage, I immediately wrote “not true” in the margin since I have documented that Common Education Data Standards and UNESCO’s education standards classifications do, in fact, operate quietly as just such arbitrary tribunals. More fascinatingly, a few weeks after I read that passage and objected (with at least one cat as my witness), an Elements in Public Policy White Paper by Daniel Beland confirmed I was right in my analysis by laying out “How Ideas and Institutions Shape the Politics of Public Policy.” Once again I wrote in the margin of the paper that it’s no wonder think tanks of various purported visions keep misrepresenting how learning standards work or what Competency education really is. They are part of the process of quietly institutionalizing these ideas, just like legally mandated learning standards themselves.

Let’s go back to something else Hirsch wrote earlier in that same book where he pointed out that the “necessary requirement” for the “shareability of verbal meaning” is the “existence of shared conventions.” That’s precisely what learning standards specify, as well as prescribed DCIs-Disciplinary Core Ideas, Enduring Understandings, and other ways of stipulating the desired categories of thought students are to use. Here’s Hirsch:

An implication belongs to a meaning as a trait belongs to a type. For an implication to belong to verbal meaning, it is necessary that the type be shared, since otherwise the interpreter [aka each student in a standardized classroom] could not know how to generate implications; he would not know which traits belonged to the type and which did not. And there is only one way the interpreter can know the characteristics of the type; he must learn them. (For those characteristics are not usually ‘syncategorematic’ or absolutely necessary like color or extension. Even the Pythagorean Theorem is a learned characteristic of a right angle, no matter how ‘necessary’ it may seem once it is learned.) Implications are derived from a shared type that has been learned, and therefore the generation of implications depends on the learner’s previous experience of the shared type. The principle for generating implications is, ultimately and in the broadest sense, a learned convention.

I quoted that passage in its entirety because as soon as I read it I realized that everybody involved in education reform wants to control not just the meaning of words we decipher, but also the implications we draw from interacting with any text. It answered my question as to why suddenly so many states are pushing phonetic reading via regulation or statute after years of citing Marie Clay, Guided Reading, or a Balanced Approach. Because now we have conceptual frameworks in place to act as the circumscribing barrier of shared meaning that all students are to interpret with. That passage helped reaffirm my intuition that had been brewing this legislative season.

Even more confirming was this passage from a more recent book by Noel Entwistle called Teaching for Understanding at University which laid out the true purpose of the use of academic disciplines and what the ‘intended outcomes’ for the students would be. The acronym WTPs comes from that book complete with italics as the ways of thinking and practicing in the subject.

The great disciplines like physics or mathematics, or history, or dramatic forms in literature, were…less repositories of knowledge than of methods for the use of the mind. They provided the structure that gave meaning to the particulars…The object of education was to get as swiftly as possible to that structure–to penetrate the structure, not to cover it…[And] mastery of the fundamentals of a field involves not only the grasping of general principles, but also the development of an attitude toward learning and inquiry, toward guessing and hunches, toward the possibility of solving problems on one’s own…

Now let’s go to yet another source to confirm yet again what kind of desired mental structures and new ways of thinking, and the extent to which both will be politically imposed, from the related world of Classical Education and a book by Vigen Guroian called Tending the Heart of Virtue. It recognized the same point we have found behind the terms Guiding Fiction and Anticipatory Assumptions (related to UNESCO declaring last year ‘decision-making’ to be the new global purpose of education). As Guroain noted:

while not all seeing is believing, believing is still a form of ‘seeing’. Or putting the matter somewhat differently, one truly ‘sees’ when one believes. When one believes, then the scales fall from one’s eyes and one ‘sees’ into the deeper reality of things.

Or at least fervently believes that you do since this “way of knowing and experiencing the world is not the objective knowing normally associated with physical science; nor is it the subjectivity of solipsism. It is an intersubjective and relational way of experiencing and knowing. It is a way of interpreting the world that requires memory and a moral imagination; otherwise a moral self cannot come into being.”  Whether it is the so-called Right wanting to promote a moral transformation at an internalized level in the name of virtue necessary for a “Constitutional Republic,’ or an admitted progressive pushing the same transformation in the name of Democracy and Uncle Karl, the bullseye euphemised as Student Success or Achievement is the same in the individual human being. So is how it will be instilled.

Fairy tales and modern fantasy stories project fantastic other worlds; but they also pay attention to real moral ‘laws’ of character and virtue. These laws ought not to be high-handedly shoved down the throats of children (or anyone else). More accurately, they are norms of behavior that obtain in patterns of relation between agent, act, other, and world. Rational cognition is capable of grasping these norms. They become habit, however, only when they are lived, or, as in the case of fairy tales, experienced vicariously and imaginatively through the artful delineation of character and plot in a story.

See why we get so many euphemisms for what must be changed? Can any of us imagine the outcry if people understood that education globally is now about prescribing norms of behavior without that being readily apparent? Can we all see why standards of achievement and student success had to cease  to be about what is rationally known so that students had provide behavioral performances or tasks instead? Proves it is a habit and neurally hardwired to lock in that desired future decisionmaking and motivations to act.

Now that we have put what is aimed at into context and stripped away the deliberate vagueness of ‘outcomes,’ let me end with another, much shorter, vision UNESCO put out last week in the form of a comic book called ‘Let’s Work Together’ https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000369006/PDF/369006eng.pdf.multi on the role education is to play in the UN meeting its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. As GEM put it in a blog post on July 10, “every goal in the 2030 Agenda requires education to empower people with the knowledge, skills and values to live in dignity, build their lives and contribute to their societies.” If we wonder why implications of words must be shared and constrained, why knowing must become a matter of habit and grounded in emotion, and why our very categories of thought must now be prescribed in advance, it would be hard to put the reason more succinctly than this quote from the second page of that link since in order to “work together” apparently–

Education must teach people to think collectively and not individually.

Explains so much doesn’t it? I feel like I should end this post with a declaration of still being a defiantly individual thinker. Who would have thought that would become such an issue in the 21st century?

Tapping the Assumed to Be Real and the Logic of What Might Be to Control Purpose Here and Now

Once again, let’s go back in time to the 50s, to another episode detailed in Dark Hero of the Information Age, because it illustrates the very organic processes of the human brain that learning standards and competency frameworks want to manipulate covertly. It’s my job as a writer to make that documentable manipulation explicit. In the early stages of computers:

another breakthrough in brain science defied the digital computer models that were becoming the rage in cognitive science. artificial intelligence, and many other fields. The discovery, based on a whole new approach to neuroscience theory and laboratory research, confirmed that the human brain did not process information in the mode and manner of a digital machine… [From the neurophysiology lab at MIT, Jerry] Lettvin and his crew made their finding that turned a half century of neuroscience on its head. Their study of vision in frogs revealed that the brain’s most basic information-processing operations were carried out by analog means to an extent never before considered possible. They discovered that the neurons in the lowly frog’s eye were capable of sophisticated activities of image detection and analysis, and routinely performed complex tasks, such as determining the size, shape, and motion of objects in the frog’s field of view, through analog processes innate in the structure and communication operations of each individual neural cell…Published in November 1959 with the tantalizing title “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain,” [it] forced a sudden rethinking of everything that was known and assumed about sensory perception and the brain’s cognitive operations…It strengthened the biological foundations of cybernetics and unveiled a new order of living processes in the brain.

It is those living processes that are being manipulated by Constructivism, Whole Language, DJEM ,or by Exemplary History Education Programs seeking to control the categories of thought that guide consciousness. That control of consciousness can, in turn, guide purpose and the behavior it motivates. To quote briefly from a 1943 paper called “Behavior, Purpose and Teleology” Wiener co-authored: “The term purposeful is meant to denote that the act or behavior must be interpreted as directed to the attainment of a goal.” The goal (or standard or objective) provides “a continuous feedback that modifies and guides the behaving object.” The student in K-12 becomes that behaving object able to compare the difference between where they are “at any time and the final state interpreted as the purpose.” Now, to bridge that gap, cybernetic education hypes “sensemaking as a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively…Sense-Making reconceptualizes factizing (the making of facts which tap the assumed-to-be-real) …as an action oriented process that people automatically go through in order to integrate experiences into their understanding of the world.”

So students are encouraged to use the “logic of what might be” and act using inference or ‘best guess’ leaps. See what happens, collect that evidence, and adjust accordingly as needed to move closer to the laid out goals. Now, back in 1978, with a 2nd Edition in 1995, the co-authors of Dark Hero published a book called Snapping that explained the process of communication [a 21st century skill, remember?] in a way that is useful for recognizing what is being manipulated by K-12 learning standards all over the globe. It gets at why it is so crucial for learning standards to include social and emotional learning as well as controlling the categories of thought and concepts that are the representational level that exists in the space between the neurons of living biological systems and the prevailing collective culture.

The process of communication reaches far beyond the mere exchange of spoken and written messages among individuals. This complex and sophisticated process controls both our bodies and our minds. Communication, in fact, governs everything we experience as human beings. It is the basic organic process that regulates the everyday operations of the human brain and nervous system, and it is the main channel through which the new cult methods of change and control turn inward and take root in the mind. The principles of communication that underlie…rhetoric,…propaganda and …group dynamics are one with the natural laws that direct and control the flow of experience throughout the body, brain and mind. By this common process, acts of speech, from sermons to hypnosis to casual conversations and every other form of communication [which is what any curricula is], may affect biological functions at their most rudimentary levels and human awareness in its highest states of consciousness and spirituality.

Controlling sense-making then is a powerful tool indeed. It seeks to target the means by which “human beings exchange thought, feeling and experience with one another.” Suddenly, we find education methods being prescribed on the basis of “a new view of human beings based on dynamic, organic processes of human awareness and experience.” We saw that in the Reimagining American History Education exemplars and goals from the last post and I saw it in a May 2019 letter from Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, laying out Ohio’s vision for 2019-2024. It has Four Domains of Learning and wants to prescribe what must be experienced. It demands “clear standards that define social-emotional learning” because:

Human beings are social creatures. That means in society, successfully interacting with other people is essential to the effective functioning of a community, workplace, or even a family. People need to know how to successfully interact with each other, establish and maintain positive relationships, feel and show empathy, understand and manage their emotions and set and achieve positive goals. Social-emotional learning improves children’s mental health and helps them avoid risky decisions, make healthy choices and stay drug free.

Nice sales pitch, but “Each Child Our Future” is really about controlling those organic processes of inner communication, isn’t it? When Snapping reminds us that:

Experience, in our perspective, was not just another name for information. It was the living embodiment of the stuff in human terms, the active form in which people come to know and feel the flood of information they take in and process daily…[so that] each piece adds some small measure to the greater whole of the mind, and each becomes an ongoing part of that individual’s awareness and personality…the human brain physically metabolizes experience through its natural capacity for transformation…Like the other organs of the body, the heart which runs on blood, the lungs which run on air, the human brain–the seat of the mind and main stage of awareness–runs on experience.

See why it became so crucial to reform education so it became about goals and prescribing desired student learning experiences? Like blood to the heart, except that:

this life-giving information does not merely fuel the brain as gasoline fuels a precast auto engine. In human terms, experience plays a much more vital role in fundamental processes of brain growth and development…the intricate synaptic connections between and among those neurons, the living information processing pathways that determine how an individual’s experience will, in fact, become ordered and interpreted, are only minimally organized at birth. The fundamental workings of the mind–the labyrinthine networks of synaptic connections that create the brain’s higher communication capacities–are determined by experience…Experience literally creates the everyday workings of the mind, transforming the raw material of billions of loosely connected brain cells into a living triumph of communication. Experience also shapes the distinctive patterns of thought, feeling and self-expression that underlie that larger human form–personality.

Now look at the Four Domains of Learning set forth here http://education.ohio.gov/About/EachChildOurFuture or in other comparable state or district plans and see a means of prescribing that living triumph of communication in ways that lock in governance of each person at a biological level at the point of their minds and personalities.

Something to reflect on as our summers begin.

Aspirations of Controlling Consciousness, A New Kind of ‘Thinking Beast,’ & Another School Shooting

In the last post, we talked about the planned evolution of human cognition using curricula for K-12 and higher ed, as well as through learning standards that are consistently misexplained to obscure their actual intended effects. Then we had the tragedy last week at Highland Ranch STEM, which turned out to be about ten miles as the crow flies from the McREL ed lab, which has long hyped cybernetic ‘Second Order’ Change at the level of students’ minds. When I pulled up Highland Ranch in a map location search looking for McREL, in my left hand corner (representing to the west) was the now rebuilt Columbine High School. I am familiar with the interest of what was called the General Evolution Research Group in the 80s in education reforms and their piloting in these school districts of a template called ‘Achieving Excellence’. Excellence had to do with reimagining Consciousness so that what is thought, felt, and desired are united as motivation to act.

Now before I shift to what I found at Highland Ranch where “Our goal is not only to prepare students to thrive in the constant world of re-invention, but to lead it,” while hyperlinking to the UN Sustainable Summit page https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/summit/ as well as the also relevant https://woodrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WW-Reimagining-American-History-Education.pdf released last week, I want to go back to a 1968 international conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation. What the STEM ‘About Us’ page says it desires, and what the Remagining History Education declares as its intended effects on how students “make sense of a chaotic present and inchoate future”, fit with:

we ought to look toward our willingness to enter our individual consciousness into the system comprised by this new kind of organism. We have to ask ourselves whether in some way we can understand the world and act on it better, with passion and commitment, through becoming an organ in such an organism…[sensing] the need for a new kind of ‘thinking beast’ in order to cope with the crisis the world is in.

Just after that quote, cyberneticist Gordon Pask, whom we met in the last post as relevant now to all sorts of 21st century plans for us and our children, spoke up about the need to “redefine an individual” as “one named class of programs,” which fits perfectly with what I have been warning about the way learning standards are actually intended to work. He went on in an explanation that makes Whole Language in reading and constructivism in math and science make far more sense, than the repeated bogus explanations that they are simply “another way of teaching.” It’s about controlling and evolving consciousness in predetermined, politically useful ways.

…Because of this interpretation of the individual, one can perceive a separate sort of evolution that I refer to as ‘symbolic evolution,’ which is perhaps exemplified by this conference. To avoid overpopulating the world with general-purpose machines, what we have to do is control the symbolic evolution process. To do so, I believe that the first thing we must do is redefine what we mean by an individual, get away from this idea of individuals as heads.

Before I get back to that conference, let me excerpt from the About Us page found here https://www.stemk12.org/ under the “Never Stop Innovating” link in case accurate perception of the intended changes in consciousness results in a subsequent takedown.

“Welcome to STEM School Highlands Ranch. We are an innovative, free, public, charter learning community that exists to innovate K-12 education in order to prepare every student to lead change, solve problems and succeed in an exponentially changing world.

We are more than a school. We are a think tank, a learning lab and a catalyst for creativity. We are a haven for continual innovation, creative exploration, and rigorous discovery. We defy definition and break with convention. Because that’s what innovators do.

We see school differently.  Although our curriculum has a college preparatory focus with emphasis on developing core liberal arts skills in reading, writing, mathematics and science, we use creativity, problem-solving and innovation to inspire and challenge our students.

We are more than just STEM. We infuse STEM into all classrooms. We challenge students with STEM-based, real-world problem solving fueled by constant exploration, inquiry and discovery.

We foster innovation. We equip every student, every day in every classroom with the knowledge, skills, confidence and character to thrive in a constantly changing world. By using continuous inquiry, constant discovery and trial and error as critical pathways to new discoveries, we create a culture of safe failure and fearless innovation.

We empower students. We put students in the driver’s seat of their learning, engaging and empowering them to push their own unique boundaries of innovative learning, thinking and doing.

We see teachers as catalysts. Here, teachers are role models and innovation coaches who provide the framework for learning. Our teachers are experts in teaching appropriate use of technology, collaboration, and teamwork that sparks interest in STEM and learning at an early age.

We innovate and learn together. Here, we leverage the power of collaboration, teamwork and group think to build, design and create solutions to real world problems.

We’re fostering tomorrow’s innovators, creators and change agents. We work tirelessly to nurture and develop integrity, respect, responsibility and honesty within our students and take pride in encouraging well-rounded student development. Link here for some of our notable student accomplishments over the last school year.”

That’s a school grounded in manipulating and practicing with the created neural change in its students. It wants to control their purpose in the same way that the cyberneticists envisioned. So now let’s go back to that conference again and see what they wanted to do to the mind “to act, again to use the Marxist terminology, as midwives to a humanistic change…where we might have to change man radically, give him a new morality or something, otherwise we might fail.” That reference to Uncle Karl was not gratuitous or inflammatory as a personality theory psychologist with a 1949 PhD from Harvard explained to the conference that “the notion of transforming thought, taking actuality and changing it through work, was the crucial concept in Marx.” Euphemizing that same aim as a 2011 chartered STEM School and then hyping yourself as a global template makes it much harder to see for anyone who doesn’t already possess all these detailed plans for change where the mind and its instilled ideas can be a “cause of history” defined as “movement that gets someplace.”

That’s precisely how that link above wants to Reimagine American History, while pretending it is a matter of Equity and Reaching ALL Students. Yes, because of the needed changes to all those conceptual systems to reestablish “the common bonds that all Americans [should] share in a time of deep national political, economic, and social divisions in which Americans’ differences overshadow our commonalities.” Pask would call that a new set of programs because our cyberneticists believe:

that it’s impossible to get at this supposedly real world independent of some sort of conceptual system, so that if the real world in real time is filtered through successive conceptual systems, then the history of these conceptual systems is the ‘history of consciousness,’ I think, [and] highly relevant to anything you’s like to say about the ‘real world.’

The Highland Ranch vision, the new history education vision, and that conference are all about change in the material world of reality created by controlling the conceptual systems of students. For “establishing the engaged and informed citizenry needed to preserve a democratic society” is how the Woodrow Wilson history vision pitches it. The 1968 conference said the purpose was to create people “whose point is not homeostasis, but change.” Today, that gets euphemized as Change Agents, Lifelong Learning, and Growth Mindsets as a STEM vision. All are grounded in treating people, and the mind especially, as not independent in the actual historic sense where the King could not cross the private threshold of a citizen’s home without permission. Now we stealthily get governments, at all levels, using prescribed learning standards to form:

a system which is self-corrective, maintaining constants about relations between the parts and relations to the environment: a steam engine with a governor. Mind is immanent where energy is stored so that the system can be responsive to abstract cues. [Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequences?] Mind is related to purpose, especially the kind of goals which Gordon [Pask] called evolutionary goals, and any material system with an evolutionary goal deserves to be called historical in a sense going beyond the simple fact of change.

Do you think it is accidental students are being bombarded with terms like “chaotic present and inchoate future” or have the word ‘innovate’ thrown at them constantly as Highland Ranch does? Even that link to the UN and its Sustainable Development Goals using students and education fits with the idea that creating a “system of ideas and ideals” can allow the systematic control of prevailing consciousness using “internalized, conceptualized goals.” Remember too that the word ‘standards’ is just another word for goals. Let me close this disturbing, but illuminating, post with another quote from “A Human Family on a Ledge” from the last day of our 1968 conference.

We need to become, uniquely in the history of life on our planet, a species that does not compete with every skill and weapon to monopolize resources and guarantee the survival of as many of our immediate offspring as possible. Instead, we must begin not only to include ourselves within our understanding of nature, but include our understanding of nature within our understanding of ourselves, consciously fostering natural balances because we have a vision of the whole, rather than simply moving within it. We need to see ourselves as parts of the system, and we need to develop an internalization of that system, like an actor turned director who must discipline his wish to steal the show.

STEM is no longer actually about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as bodies of knowledge and History must be reimagined to create a new kind of conceptualization of what the world ought to become. Consciousness itself has become the point for creating change, while parents and taxpayers get misled to believe that these shifts are about better Engagement and Achievement.

And once again I find school shootings occurring in schools adamantly announcing their innovative changes to the human psyche. At least we no longer need to wonder why no amount of shed blood will cause a deviation from this transformational template with such a troubling history in its documented implementation.

Evolutionary Epistemology: A Mouthful Term that Euphemizes a Wholesale Education Shift

In the last post we looked at Professor Cabrera’s DSRP template. I laid out its connections to current curriculum practices that get euphemized as ‘rigor’ or ‘high-quality instructional materials’, but left out a curious quote about targeting the human conceptual system via learning standards so that DSRP “provides a mechanism for the memetic behavior that must exist in order for evolutionary epistemology to be a viable proposal. For these reasons, DSRP should be considered a more robust alternative to logic where complex cognitive systems are concerned.” I am rather fond of logic myself, but apparently that’s no way to get a theory of how things might be different in the future into practice. Recognizing that the mouthful term obscures the reality that seeks to change prevailing culture by systematically prescribing new values and beliefs via poorly understood ‘standards’ in K-12 and higher ed, I looked up the term.

It turned up this 2018 Abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29199093 from the same US government agency funding Science of Virtues and the BRAIN Initiative to create a Research Programme for Distributed Biological Intelligence. No wonder logic needs to be jettisoned. Suddenly the reading, math, and science wars and the focus on ‘close reading’  and ‘conceptual frameworks’ click into the appropriate context when we read:

The concept of ‘information’ acquires a new meaning because information processing is at the heart of biological intelligence. All biological systems, from bacteria to Gaia, are intelligent, open thermodynamic systems that exchange information, matter and energy with the environment. (v) The organism-environment interaction is cybernetic. As much as the organism changes due to the influence of the environment, the organism’s responses to induced changes affect the environment and subsequent organism-environment interactions. Based on the above principles a new research agenda can be formulated to explore different forms of biological intelligence.

I bolded those references to changes because they too get euphemized as student learning, even though the desired changes are not really about passing on a body of knowledge as in the historic conception of education. EE, as I am going to abbreviate it, “aims at understanding the complex relations between biological evolution, especially the biological evolution of human cognition, and the cultural evolution of scientific knowledge.” Because federal laws, mandated learning standards, accreditation criteria, and curricular materials and online activities are all aiming to change the nature of that cognition and then prescribe it for the masses, this is not a matter of speculation. Let me read a passage from a Norbert Wiener biography called Dark Hero of the Information Age that should make what is being stealthily targeted and why more clear:

As he made clear from the outset, the universal processes and principles of cybernetics–information, communication, feedback, ‘circular causality’ or reciprocal influence, and ‘teleology’ or purposeful, goal-directed action–apply equally to technology, biology, and all the complex systems of society. The biological and social dimensions of cybernetics were widely overlooked in Wiener’s day and in the decades since his death, as technology loomed ever larger. Yet those neglected aspects of Wiener’s science hold some of the most powerful insights cybernetics has to offer, and they are as important as any technical tool for understanding the complex forces that shape and influence all our lives.

The conceptual tools of cybernetics can help people think in more effective and productive ways, to create, innovate, and perhaps even begin to envision at the levels to which Wiener raised his most talented disciples to ‘see over the fence,‘ as he did, and down the road to the end result of any effort. Cybernetics, its sister sciences of information theory and systems theory, and their descendants in the new sciences of complexity and human communication offer scientists and nonscientists alike new ways to think systematically and strategically, to solve problems, paint scenarios, and identify potential trouble spots before disaster strikes…[It is] the next step on the learning curve of the global society.

Wiener and his colleagues could ‘see over the fence’ because they had huge stores of factual knowledge that allowed their brilliant minds to make connections that could then be proved in experiments. Prescribing the methods of seeing over the fence to evaluate the future for all without any ‘vast stores of knowledge,’ or even much in the pantry beyond the prescribed conceptual frameworks, means there is no safety catch between what is factual and what is a politically useful fiction. Now before I get to the curriculum I mentioned from Developing Minds in the Digital Age, I want to mention one more book, from 2015, called The Cybernetics Moment or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age that was funded by the National Science Foundation. That matters because that Developing Minds comes from the NSF Science of Learning Centers, as have so many of the curricula involved with the reading, math, and science wars (covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy).

The book’s author, Ronald R. Kline, who is a Professor of History and Ethics of Engineering at Cornell, where Derek Cabrera and his DSRP work is also based, has the Cybernetics Moment as ending in the 1970s despite its promise. I maintain that is not true since it migrated to education ‘reforms’. It thoroughly saturates the actual Common Core implementation and now what is known as competency-based education, correctly construed (which so few do these days). See if this sounds familiar from the discussion above.The NSF/OECD conception of a “Science of Learning for 21st Century Education…encompasses complex changes in the learner from his/her dynamic engagement with an equally ever-changing environment.”

Now I promised last time we could recognize the DiaMat/cybernetic intentions in the OECD/NSF DJEM–Designed Joint Engagement with Media. Since I initially read that report I also learned that some of the cited researchers are involved with the now 20-year old Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition that is a joint project of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. That matters because Carnegie Mellon gets NSF funding to create a great deal of immersive online learning curricula. U-Pittsburgh was involved with the New Standards Project, which is the forebear of the Common Core from back in the 90s. Both are in a position then to implement DJEM as:

purposefully created, shared experiences where individuals interact with one another while simultaneously attending to a media. DJEM can take many forms, including viewing a video, playing a game on a mobile device or reading a digital book together. DJEM grows out of the idea that joint attention or the coordinated focus of all interacting individuals on the same phenomena, is a necessary condition for joint engagement and is fundamental to human learning from an early age.

Now, if you have a goal of fundamental transformation in social, economic, and political systems, which the OECD and its affiliates in the UN make no bones about as in Leave No One Behind by 2030 and Equity for All, the Number One prerequisite is to get people to “common forms of sensemaking”. Precisely, what DJEM is designed to do so that:

Both the speaker and the listener play an important role in establishing, monitoring and sustaining joint attention during interactions, drawing both on non-verbal communication (e.g.-pointing, moving to share visual perspective, etc) and on meta-communicative verbal comments. The use of such strategies helps create a ‘between-person state of engagement‘ that draws on both the cognitive and the social dimensions of communication and helps partners develop a shared conceptual structure in which they collaborate and learn as they engage in media together…These shared conversations-joint social engagements–serve as sites for knowledge construction and meaning making.

So the purpose of these  prescribed learning experiences is not to learn math, science, history, or to become a better reader. It is to instill a common internalized conceptual structure about some real-life phenomena in each of the interacting students. And the NSF is simultaneously financing books saying the Cybernetic Moment is over, while funding online curricula and activities that use cyberneticist Gordon Pask’s conversation theory. No, they didn’t cite him in their Science of Learning push, but they did describe and use his Conversation Theory. We do get to recognize by function, not assigned labels, since I am still driven by logic and a vast storehouse of facts instead of an assigned conceptual framework. Anyway, the Center for Curriculum Reform’s recent book on Artificial Intelligence in Education happened to mention that the desired AI platforms to be used with students were based on Pask’s theories.

Cybernetics is not dead as all these links show. The new Science of Learning wants us to accept that “Expertise lies not so much in the number of facts an individual can state but in the way in which that knowledge is organized and the ability to apply it flexibly and appropriately in new situations.” My book and this blog exist because I have a highly organized understanding of where education is going, how it intends to get there, what the likely impacts are, and how the theories of cybernetics matter to all these efforts. It does not represent an Approved Conceptual Framework though, which sometimes makes me a persona non grata to discussions. Imagine instead that your child is in this Sid the Science Kid animated programme for preschool children from the Jim Henson Company that “explores everyday phenomena and provides models of science practices and science talks…to deepen and reenforce target concepts.” Tell me this doesn’t sound to you like Code the Kid at the Level of the Mind and Start Early to create Binding Habits of Mind.

To test the feasibility and promise of the DJEM theory, we developed and refined a curriculum supplement…[that] comprised an eight-week experience on change and transformation, foundational concepts across science content areas. Modules were two weeks long and included two to three days of instruction each week that integrated video episodes, classroom discussions, teacher guided book readings, and hands-on investigations. The curriculum supplements four modules targeted types of change that children likely observed in their daily lives: decay, growth, reversible change, and irreversible change.

Learning as creating common conceptual frameworks tied into emotion and the visual to guide perception and the interpretation of experiences in predictable ways at the level of a preschoolers mind. That is a vastly different realm to be standardizing than measuring weight or distance. Cybernetics requires common goals and learning standards are a means of dictating goals without that shift being readily apparent to the typical parent or student. It is up to those of us with Unapproved Conceptual Frameworks to grasp where these learning standards really seek to go. This is not a discussion on the metric system vs miles. There the chosen standard has no impact on the distance being described. Here, the purpose of the learning standard is to reimagine the mind and then turn it from the open system it can be to the closed system that will behave predictably. Which will change the environment, which will impact the mind and personality, which will then change the now altered Environment. Etc. Etc. Etc.

We need to wake up to how many of our young people are to be in this EE Research Programme. Anyone think it is coincidental preschoolers are being instructed on transformation and change? Me neither.

Focusing on the Conceptual System of the Mind for a 21st Century Imposed DiaMat

What if I told you that global conferences none of us were invited to have Slideshares available laying out “By transforming individual conceptual systems, we can change society?” All of a sudden all that emphasis on New Kinds of Thinking and stipulating the desired categories of thought and, even in the US, making annual assessment of those ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills’ a federal mandate for virtually all students, begins to make sense. Transformation plans need malleable citizens either unaware of the plans for them or eagerly on board. There was a meeting in October 2017 in Chengdu, China of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences where the IASCYS President usefully pointed out the desire to examine the “effect that a theory has on the system observed.” If you control the conceptual framework of a student or adult citizen’s mind, you control the theories they will use to perceive and interpret the world.

Very handy for anyone seeking to reject the status quo in terms of political, economic, and social structures. Suddenly, science needs to shift to include purposeful systems and education needs to shift to control the purpose of human systems. In a Newtonian, transmission of knowledge world via textbooks or lecture, “scientific theories do not alter” the physical structure of the world and how it operates or can be made to operate. “Theories do not change the way that nature works…But theories of social systems are constructed in the hope that theories will guide actions that will change the way social systems operate. There is a dialogue between theories and societies.” If theories are to be introduced via public policy think tanks and a new vision of the law to transform social and political institutions and practices and economic structures and activities, controlling the human conceptual system turns out to be the foundation for making the change without overt coercion.

IASCYS is a cybernetics honor society that features many names we have stumbled over in education plans such as Ervin Laszlo, Mary Catherine Bateson who was at the 1987 World Order Models Project meeting in Moscow (her dad Gregory Bateson coined the term ‘framing’ back in 1972 in his Ecology of the Mind), Ernest von Glasersfeld of constructivist math fame (covered in Chapter 3 of CtD), and George Soros, international mischief maker. If the President of that society on one of his last slides stated that “If Cybernetics is seen as a theory of experimentation and reform in social systems, it will connect the earlier work in cybernetics with political reform and the evolution of society,” then we have powerful people wanting to use the mind’s conceptions to change how the world works. They can do that if education targets people’s goals and purpose by altering how they make sense of the world.

Almost simultaneously with stumbling across that slideshare, the globalist Center for Curriculum Reform published Artificial Intelligence in Education: Promises and Implications for Teaching & Learning which also stressed targeting a Core Concept emphasis where the curriculum would develop the highly malleable ‘expert amateurism’ that “aims for ‘a robust and flexible understanding of the fundamentals.’ By internalizing the most important concepts of each discipline, and across disciplines, which we call core concepts, students are better equipped to deal with multifaceted problems and have a more diverse set of tools with which to interpret the world.” Then in Appendix 1 under desired Cross-Cutting Themes we are told that students need to have Design Thinking because “the twenty-first century challenges we now face are demanding a major rethinking and redesigning of many of our societal institutions from education, to agriculture and energy use, to product design and manufacturing, to economics and government.”

Well, that’s confessional, but it followed a push for the theme of Systems Thinking which “requires a shift from the mechanistic and reductionist model of twentieth century Western culture [where the theories did not impact nature. See Slideshare above], toward a more balanced approach.” You know who else wanted to get Theory into Practice? Uncle Karl and John Dewey. The Appendix then goes on to hype:

According to educational theorist and cognitive scientist Derek Cabrera, students should be encouraged to consider distinctions, systems, relationships, and perspectives (DSRP).

**Distinctions: develop increasingly sophisticated characterizations of ideas and objects

**Systems: Deconstruct ideas and re-constructing new integrated concepts with a variety of part/whole interactions

**Relationships: See connections between things

**Perspectives: See things from different points of view

By considering the common properties of complex systems, learners can apply this approach to view more traditional disciplines from a modern, systems perspective.

Now two things jumped out at me when I read that, DSRP functioned just like Dialectical Materialism did as a guiding philosophy of academics in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Plus I remembered reading that after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Soros’ Open Society funded the conversion of the DiaMat departments in Eastern European higher ed to a sociology (science of society) emphasis. Secondly, I had never heard of Derek Cabrera which is a tad unusual at this point. I was able to locate his “Simple Rules of Complex Conceptual Systems” paper and was told that “Context is a set of processing rules for content,” which seems highly useful for someone seeking transformative change in the status quo. Even more forthcoming was his statement in pushing DSRP that:

all human and group identity is derivative of the aggregation of conceptual systems for the individual or group. In other words, humankind is what it thinks either alone or in groups or sub-groups…In general, human beings are not irreparably divided by biology or geography, but instead by their conceptual systems…What causes humans to be incompatible are their conceptual systems in the form of beliefs, ideologies, ideas, and assumptions.

Another speaker at Chengdu also wrote a paper “Addressing the Critical Need for “New Ways of Thinking’ in Managing Complex Issues in a Socially Responsible Way” which ominously has a section called “Starting with the Young”. It made it clear that the foundation that must be changed to achieve sustainability is to alter Prevailing “Mental Models/mind Maps/ People’s Understanding”. That is the prerequisite transformation which is precisely why it gets pitched euphemistically as ‘student-centered personalized learning’ or ‘citizen-centric governance’. Having targeted the individual mind and imposed the desired theories, categories of thought, values, and attitudes practiced until they are Habits of Mind, “Systemic Structures–What does the System Look Like?” can be adjusted. That’s exactly what Cabrera’s DSRP trains students to do (and motivates them to want to do it.)

It’s not just CCR advocating this type of thinking, the website features school systems touting his Systems Thinking Made Easy “will transform your school district” and that “Developing every child into a systems thinker is an ethical imperative.” If that is not alarming enough, we have a closing quote around “developing shared consciousness across the district.” How very comradely. Cabrera did rather betray the transformational intention by admitting that “DSRP also provides a mechanism for the memetic behavior that must exist in order for evolutionary epistemology to be a viable proposal.” In other words, a transmission of knowledge curriculum does not force the needed change in worldview and daily behaviors desired for the Inclusive, Equitable, Transformative vision all these education reforms and new ways of thinking are tied to.

To add to the global push for these changes  I found this https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/K-03-2017-0120 showing the Russian Science Foundation’s current interest in this kind of conceptual, 3rd order cybernetics. Finally, school districts may be imposing Cabrera’s DSRP, but Cornell Policy Review clearly shows it is a university level textbook intended for public policy coursework. Two purposes in social science achieved with one book. Changing the conceptual mind’s function via K-12, and also using it to credential in higher ed so that students can go to work for think tanks, philanthropy, governments at every level, or even run for office implementing these theories in the real world.

Today the OECD, working with the US NSF Science of Learning Centers Project released “Developing Minds in the Digital Age: Towards a Science of Learning for 21st Century Education” that laid out precisely how curriculum and technology will quietly implement this agenda. In a preschool, no less. I guess that fits with Cabrera’s quote that “When a mind is young, few conceptual bonds have been made and there is still much conceptual space in which to work.”

Practically a blank canvas is another way to put that aspiration. Just the vehicle for DJEM–Designed Joint Engagements with Media.