Tickling the Brain to Invisibly Assert Control: Guard Rails and Common Rules, Student, Then Citizen

When I laid out the authoritarianism from the inside-out definition of the Chinese term–Tianxia in the last post, regular ISC readers may have seen the reference to a “common choice” and remembered that UNESCO has made “decision-making” a main focus of its education efforts globally. Likewise, last week UNESCO was one of the key sponsors of this event https://www.aiathens.org/ , where one of the highly influential speakers https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210430005340/en/Bruce-Simpson-Former-McKinsey-Company-Senior-Partner-Hired-as-CEO-of-the-Stephen-A.-Schwarzman-Foundation-Co-CEO-of-Schwarzman-Philanthropies made a reference to the 3 Rs no longer being enough. He envisioned “tinkering with our brains” so that “Aristotle and Ethics” could be integrated into a focus on gaining knowledge via education.

It’s Tranzi OBE (covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy) all over again but now with access to Digital Technology and Immersive Learning Experiences tied to learning standards grounded at the neurological, intrapersonal level too few are aware of. It is how the Sustainability Agenda is actually to be implemented as an article in AI and Ethics called “Conceptual and normative approaches to AI governance for a global digital ecosystem supportive of the UN SDGs” laid out. It seeks to get to people at the level of “what people are able to do and to be” and have “government, private sector and others coming together to promote guard rails and common rails” so that people will develop “a common purpose” and “shared principles and values”. See why I brought the term Tianxia to our attention? We all see these same aims when Portraits of a Graduate or Learner Profiles lay out creating a common North Star to guide student’s actions.

Anyone who has read CtD and reads ISC understands what is really going on in education–K-12 or higher ed–but I was quite struck by two different quotes recently where the writers were responding to the Pandemic hype and what governments have mystifyingly decided they now can and MUST do, See what I mean? From this essay https://dailysceptic.org/reaping-the-whirlwind/ from December 7th:

…In each case, we find the same conclusion that to successfully govern complex, massified modern societies is not to thrash citizens to within an inch of their lives (the state riskily showing its hand), but, rather, to mould and shape those citizens into people who won’t ever need to be thrashed (the state remaining safely in the shadows).

Doesn’t that perceptive quote get at the aim I had in mind when I created the Invisible Serf’s Collar metaphor for what is really going on in education? The author may not be aware of the global education learning standards and competency frameworks but he grasps that their essence is government mandated action to ” help inculcate certain values, behaviours, habits, mores and beliefs within the hearts and minds of Italian citizens.” And not just Italy we can all add in unison. We also have the insightful essay–“The Death of Europe” cited to here https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2021/12/13/2021-the-year-freedom-died/ that aptly recognized that:

we are living through a chilling overhaul of the entire relationship between the state and the individual, with the state empowered to such an extraordinary degree that it can now instruct its citizens on what to inject into their bodies, and the individual so politically emaciated, so denuded of rights, that he no longer enjoys sovereignty over himself, over that tiny part of the world that is his body and mind.

I think that is precisely right, but my point is that required vaccinations to avoid punitive measures and learning standards aimed at controlling hands, heart, and minds to create Habits that guide at an unconscious level are part of the same aim. The idea that Tianxia is an acceptable aim of governments in the 21st century. The belief that neurological synapses can be tinkered with to fit collective normative aims no one asked us to consent to. It all comes out of the assertions we are seeing all over the world that Wellbeing is THE Goal of Government in the 21st Century. That means there are no barriers to regulation, even if the realms to be dictated and controlled are far more out of sight than Lockdowns and required vaccinations.

That “Death of Europe” essay may have helpfully gone back to English philosopher John Locke’s assertion in 1689 that “even if a man ‘neglect the care of his soul’ or ‘neglect the care of his health,’ still the authorities have no right to interfere with him. No man can be forced to be healthful'”. Well, that kind of vision may have stoked the Glorious Revolution Locke had just lived through, and ultimately the American Revolution, but it is certainly in the way of all these 21st Century plans for us that require a common purpose, values, principles, and common mentally and emotionally tools grounded habits of “sensemaking”. That aim gets us back to the real meaning of the Social Credit System being pushed by the Chinese beyond its geographic boundaries once all these education initiatives and Pandemic remedies are better understood.

An Essay by Braden R. Allenby called “World Wide Weird: Rise of the Cognitive Ecosystem” published in Issues in Science and Technology lays out just how crucial control over cognition is for all these plans for us. As the article subtitle tells us that “social media, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and the data economy are coming together in a way that transcends how humans understand and control our world”. Yes, that’s the aim, which is why I write. Quoting usefully, we should never forget what Allenby owned up to here:

As historical examples suggest, the emergence of the cognitive ecosystem has the power to transcend and radically reshape everything from individual psychologies to institutions to societies and geopolitics, and indeed the world.

That’s the real purpose of Critical Race Theory under its various aims or Intersectionality to give two current examples. To change how this world is seen and motivate beliefs about what must be done to transform it. Same reason learning standards now make Knowledge about Concepts that then must be tied to current real world examples illustrating Global Challenges. Interestingly, Allenby then pivoted to the Soviet Union in the 1970s as his illustrative example and its desire for what it called ‘reflexive control’ over people who had no idea they were being programmed.

To understand what this looks like today, and how it differs from the past, remember an example from the Cold War. During the 1970s, the Soviet Union developed a theory of ‘reflexive control,’ which involved structuring narratives and disinformation campaigns causing people, such as activists in the United States, to act in ways they would believe were voluntary, but in fact were predetermined by the Soviets to benefit their country’s interests, Such a strategy, while seductive, proved difficult to implement given the technological and geopolitical environment of the time.

Well, it’s no longer difficult to implement, which is why I included the Marc Tucker interview link in with the last post. It’s why it matters that the IEEE discussed here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/stealthily-weaving-cybernetic-citizenship-at-the-requisite-neural-level-in-the-name-of-universal-well-being/ was a major sponsor of that AI Athens Conference. Not only have they incorporated normative goals into their standards for educational digital platforms, but the US entity–NIST–that gave the Chugach School District in Alaska its innovation award https://www.nist.gov/image-19594 for its Competency-Based education learning standards, had a speaker at the conference–Elham Tabassi– who spoke about how closely NIST works with IEEE and ISO–another global standards setting organization. Guard Rails and Common Rules–that’s what standards are, even when what they target is the human mind, emotions, or the soul itself.

Allenby’s second case study was China’s social credit system and he recognized that digital technology and the “rise of the cognitive ecosystem” now allow the targeting of “the individual citizen” with “a degree of granularity”, which was previously impractical, if not impossible. Much like the quote above that recognized a subtler shift away from directly “thrashing” citizens, the Social Credit System which can use “data regarding many aspects of an individual’s private and public behavior” [now do vaccine passports make more sense regardless of the efficacy of the vaccine?] evaluates “how good a citizen that person is”. Do that exhibit characteristics and behaviors showing they adhere to the Common Rules and stay within the desired Guard Rails? Digital technology, the common learning experiences it can easily provide, and the tremendous data it produces when tied to standards offers “For the first time, this powerfully ubiquitous tool offers governments the ability to design social and cultural stability with reasonable efficiency and cost.”

It’s supposedly a way around “traditional authoritarianism” being implemented that represents a “new technological reality that the Chinese are using well, and the Americans and the West, so far, are not.” It may be true that the Chinese are successfully targeting the cognitive, social, and emotional realms of their citizens, but the truth is the West, and especially the US, are trying to keep up. I think it’s why we have had so much organized deceit around the Common Core learning standards and what competency-based education really is. I think it’s why we have the overlap laid out here between the targets being aimed at in the name of the Pandemic or Structural Racism and what must be transformed in the name of a new kind of education to be grounded and shrouded by the term Equity. It must be Equitable because it aims at All Hearts, Hands, Minds, and Souls.

The banner being raised and the rationale being offered change depending on the audience. The targets never do. Well, maybe, the lexicon of vocabulary does, but it’s why we keep track of the targets by the function of the tools used. Learning Standards being a misunderstood, global favorite.

Ubiquitous being one of my favorite words. Good to be able to spot Ubiquity, even when it utilizes a variety of words to obscure its continual presence.

See you in 2022.