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 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.

Unleashing the Power of Disruptive Imagination in Every Citizen to Avoid Linear Thinking

Educators, think tanks, and other social scientists are not the only ones who can ‘backwards map’ from desired individual and social outcomes to the policies that need to be prescribed by law to put them in place. We writers can also use papers on desired New Forms of Governments by 2030 to lay out the new citizen characteristics needed to supposedly get these transformations. As a recent paper from the EU laid out the FuturGov game creates a process (bolding in original):

through which participants immerse themselves into the future, take on roles that are not theirs, and strategize the achieve their goals…[This will] Trigger imagination and creativity [and] Immerse people into possible futures…shaking up people’s preconceived ideas about the future. The aim is to avoid linear thinking in order to be more receptive to emergent changes…New literacies will be needed for the future. Futures literacies are needed to enable citizens to participate in anticipatory decision making recognising the context of uncertainty and complexity and building up individual and societal resilience to work collaboratively to address these…Critical thinking should be nurtured, through the education system and beyond in the workplace and civil society, including understanding digital media [media literacy] but also other aspects of people’s lives. Policy literacy is also very important, both for the present and for the future.

[Prescribing and standardizing values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors is simply part of the] “New practices and innovative strategies needed for governments to be able to tackle the emerging challenges. It is essential that governments nurture the culture of innovation, as well as the openness and responsibility for society.” Student-centered learning then, and a 21st century focus on prescribed outcomes on what is to be internalized at the level of the mind and personality. should be seen as simply a necessary component that are “enablers of new forms of government from 2030+ onwards…[part of] Putting citizens at the centre, not only is an opportunity to rethink government formats, and individual relationships with the state and institutional ways of working.”

Apparently an Axemaker, linear thinking, logical mind with a store of factual information is an impediment to an envisioned “‘hard-wiring’ of equality into the economy.” In this other recent, complementary, vision just quoted:

It is not only ‘economic’ institutions that require transformation. The power of disruptive imagination needs to be unleashed in every citizen. Education systems and participative democracy needs to encourage a spirit of experimentation. Critically, these must be accompanied by the protection of vital stakes, safeguards, and endowments, making it possible for people to remain unafraid in the midst of quickened change.

Somehow I can just hear Sean Connery’s voice from The Hunt for Red October, but instead of the accented “One Ping Only”, we get policy planners and politicians all over the globe with these transformational plans for us insisting students now just need “Essential Content Only” and then attributing that to the presence of AI or search engine and Internet availability. Factual knowledge and a logical mind gets in the way of being ‘unafraid’ as the above quote called for. It gets in the way of the supplied conceptual understandings and prescribed categories of thought designed “to realise this cultural change, [which needs] education that fosters an attitude of lifelong questioning.” Going to the title of the previous post, genuine factual knowledge impedes the willing use of:

alternative pictures of how the future world, in which citizens live and governments operate, might look. Narratives do not claim to be unique truths, they are considered as frames that facilitate making sense of the world, frames that usually combine past and future, fact and fiction. Made of hopes, desires and fears, narratives frame people’s understanding of the past, perception of the present and imagination of the future. We took into account assumptions about the situation in 2030+ that related to the following categories: society, technology, economy, policy/legislation of the state, relationships between citizens and the state, new actors in citizen-government relationships, and role of corporations.

It is a vision that claims to be “citizen centric” and responsive to societal needs and it requires an education system where the obligation “requiring citizens to engage in regular and ongoing local policymaking” has been joined with ‘numeracy’ and ‘literacy’ as “the key pillars of the school system from Year 1 of schooling.” Anyone with actual, unrestricted knowledge of history and political theory would read aspirations of a future where “To avoid a divided state and a broken social contract, democracy work needs more resources and extensive engagement from all citizens. Democracy needs to permeate the entire society” and recognize it for the authoritarian, anti-individual, conception it actually is. Therefore we get Essential Content Only because it allows the necessary “shaping and constraining how governments, citizens, businesses and others interact with one another.”

Factual knowledge gets in the way of the transformative need to “generate conversations about what the future may look like by allowing us to displace our understanding of the present.” Provided concepts that can be used to address perceived problems “produce new ways to explore uncertainty and to have dialogues with stakeholders about complex and dynamics issues.” Making so much K-12 and higher education about the use of computers and virtual reality allows the needed “expressing different ideas and stories of the future through tangible objects allows the public to challenge their imagination; to see the possible future more as a multiplicity of ideas rather than separate space and time as well as to address the present critically.” No wonder we have such an emphasis now that all curricula be Relevant to the lives of students and perceived problems.

Let’s go back to that Nesta vision with its desire to create “an inclusive knowledge economy” that “gives expression to our distinctive human ability to reimagine the world around us” to advance ‘human freedom and realisation’  for everyone. That requires “promoting experimental government,” reforming education, and altering the “stories societies–and politicians–tell.” No wonder I keep encountering False Narratives from think tanks on education, data privacy, and how evidence-based policymaking really works if the crucial lever towards these transformations is to create stories to engage “the power and potential of the individual and collective imagination.” Factual knowledge and a logical mind get in the way of Nesta’s story of a reimagined vision for education where (bolding in original):

We must equip citizens not only to participate in the economy and society but to transform it, through a lifelong education system that promotes cooperation and prioritises the power of imagination…[Required Learner Profiles and Portrait of a Graduate come in handy where] the knowledge economy, therefore calls for education, both in youth and throughout life, that develops character, mindset, and non-cognitive as well as cognitive skills. This style of education crosses the divide between general and technical education. Rather than emphasising job-specific and machine specific skills, it requires a new model focusing on generic, flexible, high-order capabilities…they also form part of a larger challenge: how to equip every student with the tools they need not only to flourish within their societies as they currently exist but to transform them for the better. Teachers and students must have the political, legal, and financial means to deal experimentally with the central tension in education under democracy: preparing people to flourish within present arrangements and assumptions while equipping them to defy those assumptions and arrangements.

That flourishing and defiance requires “Essential Content Only” with prescribed beliefs, values, and categories of thought. It requires active learning so the needed Habits of Mind that will motivate the requisite transformational change in the present are embedded at a neural level in each student’s mind and personality. It creates a Marxist Man as a Maker of History which is not a surprise to anyone familiar with the work of its author, Harvard law prof Roberto Unger, which is why he has a tag here at ISC already.

If we have been led to see Marxism though as about the USSR and the Iron Curtain, and to believe socialism is about state ownership of the means of production, we will never recognize in time the little ‘c,’ Human Development Society vision, embedded in both these linked documents. If we only know what the think tanks tell us about education reforms and how standards, competencies, and social emotional learning work, we will not grasp that the requisite education laid out above to fit this sought transformation to ‘democracy’ is precisely the education being imposed by public and private schools right now.

Factual knowledge and a logical mind are viewed now by  institutions, politicians, think tanks, and civil society operators as impediments to this desired “push forward into the realm of the adjacent possible.” It is the only thing that can liberate us from this clearly planned intention to enslave the mind and person in the name of inclusion for all. flourishing, and meeting our needs.

History as a body of knowledge, and not as this planned march to alter and control the future politically, would reveal this will not go as planned. The question becomes though how many of us will recognize in time where these education visions are actually going.

My thanks though to all the promoters of the deceitful narratives. It made the desired Super Collaborative Government, Scenario #3, easy to see because it was full of all the many things I had noticed, that were factually not true, in various published White Papers.

The Future of Government is apparently all-intrusive according to anyone, of every persuasion, involved officially with formulating public policy. Education reforms are their favorite, largely invisible when misexplained, tool.

Good to know now, huh?