Blending Sustainability and Education to Gain Arational, Nonlinear Minds and New Behaviors

For me, the US discussion over the Common Core national standards and content feels like a “Look Squirrel!” cry to redirect our attention from what is really going on. That’s partly because I track these education shifts globally and over time so I can see the actual template. More importantly, I think, is all the different subjects I track every day to catch how education fits into a much broader planned transformation. When you are also reading the planned economic and social changes that treat the economy and the environment as a co-dependent Ecosystem in need of governmental redesign around the declaration that “Spaceship Earth faces an ‘all hands on deck’ emergency”, you see the preferred redesign tool of education differently. Plus there are always multiple pages just on how to use education to create the desired values, attitudes, minds, and behaviors.

Likewise it is hard to pretend Common Core is about content when I read yet another report on creating this new Ecosystem. This time it refers to people, that’s you and me and all those captive students, and our behaviors, which ought to be free and based on personal decisions, as “sociotechnical systems.” That’s from this summer’s fun report on using the computer and IT industries to promote “greening through IT.”  It turns out that a different kind of future mind is key to the “massive cultural, social, political, and economic changes” self-interested politicians and bureaucrats and their Big Business allies are relying on for this lucrative for them planned redirection. I guess that gives new meaning to education for future citizenship. Really not about the Bill of Rights or why the Founding Fathers set up a republic and a federal system.

Following Paul Ehrlich’s co-author from the previous post on new mindedness,  I located a 1995 book, The Axemaker’s Gift, laying out the desire to move back to the “primitive” intuitive mind lost when certain humans began creating tools like axes or the phonetic alphabet. Or mathematical symbols and explanations for real-world phenomena. These inventions and innovations can create artificial private mental worlds or a means of artificially changing the environment. They also foster specialist knowledge that is not accessible to everyone. According to the book it is that rational, logical axemaker’s mind that created the modern world. And they do not like it one bit. The sequential, analytical mind that can create innovations like the ax or the printing press or the combustion engine is precisely what has been and is under attack. It certainly puts the so-called Reading Wars and Math Wars in a new light, doesn’t it?

Here’s the kind of thinking that the authors, James Burke and Robert Ornstein, defined as “arational” from our title and want to get us back to. They believe “axemaker gifts” unnaturally alter the environment and would like the developed West to shift back to a more natural relationship with the environment and self-sufficient economies that reject fossil fuels. Since we might not be willing to go along, the decision gets made for us by pushing initiatives like digital literacy and Competency and 21st Century Skills and Learner Outcomes in education, K-12 and higher ed, that have planned aspects the typical person is unlikely to appreciate. At least in time. In this vision “Knowledge would then be the experience of having traveled on the web.”  In case that dramatic statement is not enough, the computer will allow everyone access to information and data and “users’ would not need to ‘know’ anything.” It turns out that interacting with a computer if you have not yet developed an axemaker mind is conducive to never developing one.

I am not going to belabor the point now except to mention that some of the digital literacy advocates are simultaneously doing blurbs touting a successor to capitalism or that this new kind of thinking is for a more pastoral, desired mid-21st century future. Delivery of Common Core is being premised on all this IT technology being a primary platform for the student and their daily interactions at school. Advocates do not get to revel in the revenue potential of education and an economy centered on sustainability principles and then pretend this is just about individualizing education around the student’s interests. A suspect goal from the beginning if you ask me. So we are now aware of the real focus of these education reforms and we know what the consequences of previous attempts to plan economies and alter human minds has been. It’s not good.

The report “Computing Research for Sustainability” seems to assume that the problem with centrally planned and directed economies in the past has been an inability to grapple with all the relevant data for decision making. That computers can fix that problem and then model desired plans and acceptable behaviors. If it sounds Orwellian and delusional, it is. Or at least it is if you are in the Payor/manipulated class and not the Beneficiary or Manipulator class. I am going to quote from these plans for our future. I want you to recognize you are reading this post with an axemaker mind. You are imagining this scenario I am describing and plugging in your own life experiences to understand how disastrous it will be. You have more factual knowledge than virtually any teenager is getting from their education anymore. So imagine this planned approach for an intuitive mind trained to respond from emotion to visuals (that’s my snark in parentheses):

“suppose there was a network supporting online deliberation among scientists concerned with sustainability (So our future planners will be the grantmaking class that brought us ClimateGate) for developing key points, areas of strong consensus, areas of disagreement, and supporting evidence (does anyone recall a degree program that would equip anyone to do a good job at this? These arrogant grantees would not know what they do not know). Those deliberations would produce a sustainability action agenda that could be introduced to the public by means of interesting interactive environments designed to appeal to those of all ages. . . One highlight of this system would be a series of consensus news stories, perhaps on a weekly basis. These stories could be based on agenda items created by scientists and rated by public interest.”

We will only know what we are supposed to know to create a consensus for the already planned social and economic policies. And first and foremost to get to this imagined new future is to create new motivating values and a different mindset to filter experiences. So we get a new curriculum and new ways of measuring learning and different classroom activities in order to try to shift students away from logical, analytical, fact-filled minds that create their own conceptual understandings. That creates independence and really helps define each person’s individuality. If you wonder why these initiatives are going on all over the world now, apart from the UN and OECD and the green economy push, I think yet another report this week has more answers.

It declared that both advanced as well as emerging nations “are developing and pursuing policies and programs that are in many cases less constrained by ideological limitations on the role of government and and the concept of free market economics.

That’s the real reason new minds are needed. It’s the same reason slaves were not to be taught how to read. Our political class and their cronies think we need minds of servitude. There are to be no more axemakers gifts without official permission.


8 thoughts on “Blending Sustainability and Education to Gain Arational, Nonlinear Minds and New Behaviors

  1. Thanks for a very interesting & thoughtful posting! It’s really scaring how various ‘interests’ have nestled their ‘ideas’ into all of societys cells. It’s kind of likening to a form of societal fibrosarcom, which – per definition – is 100% lethal.

    A survey here (in Sweden) showed that 27% of 9 – 12 yrs old children suffered under acute sleeping problems because the believed that the World is going ‘kaputt’ tomorrow… and they’re all under medic care…
    Thanks a bunch, Swedish ‘education’ system, MSM, etc… /sarc off

    Brgds from the Bestcoast of Sweden

    • I am so glad to hear from you. Pushing the US to emulate the Ed practices going on in Scandinavia is a big aspect of the UN’s World Happiness Report and the Student Wellbeing movement. I wrote about that here:

      It is also a factor in getting countries to chase after the practices that perform better on the OECD’s PISA assessment. PISA is actually open-ended and based on DeSeCo. Definition and Selection of Competency. Competences in turn are a mixture of desired generic skills and outcomes.

      President Obama has indicated he wants to make PISA the definitive measure of whether American 15 year olds are “college and career ready.” Of course that would be in this new reimagined future economy that blurs the distinction between public and private.

      I did a different story that makes it clear these psychological practices are knowingly trying to create physical changes in the brain. That would certainly explain the sleep problems.

      I traced CASEL’s work to Australia’s new focus on Student wellbeing recently. So we now this manipulation is international. Plus I see how many of the conferences are in Sweden.

      Welcome aboard.

      • Txs Robin for replying. The ‘funny’ (?) thing is, that Sweden and Finland have just about equal legislations of/on education and, yet, the Fins are 1/2-3 up front in the revolving PISA-surveys, whereas Sweden lacks at around 17 – 22 place…
        (SF is competing for 1st place with Korea & Japan. luckily SF isn’t that far from here…) (SF=Suomi Finland, or FI more commonly known in the IT-world).

        As former living in Germany for many a years, I’m really abashed at the ongoing brain-washing of the youth here, only by [their] response that the ‘Algoracles’ movie (‘The inconvienieant truth’) is being shown – w/o citations of all the falsaries/lies/bogus – to 6 – 9 graders here 1:1.

        With horror, this remind about how Joseph G. in the 30-ies ‘got’ the people into trusting his agenda. Brrrrr, scary! 🙁


  2. In 1989 I retired from my employment as a chemist and drom my service in the US Army.Army Reserve and moved to the Area near Arlington Washington., Almost immediately I began hearing complaints about the poor education offered by the Arlington School district. Prents were unhappy with the curricula and started the Home School Movement. Some weeks I saw a note on the bulletin of the Arlington city Hall about an election to the Local school board. I ran and was elected.
    I suggested ahanges in the curricula and almost immediately I found the Superintendent aided by three members of the school board who represented the town political establishment.
    Over the next months I read about education and found that the curricula was based on comments by John Dewey, the patron saint of the education establishment. Dewey wrote in 1896 that the US much be converted to a socialist nation, but that the public would never accept that due to the level of education and culture of the American public. In 1903 he became head of the graduate school of Education. He then proceed to recurit graduate students who accepted his ideas of a sociaslist nation.
    In 1923 Deweyt visited the Soviet Union and returned extolling the virtues of a communist nation. His return was followed in 1924 by two members of the Coninterm who began a long effort to penetrate the Democratic Pary and recruit people in the various universities. By the beginning of WWII Dewey’s people were directors of almost every Normal College, the teacher training institutes in the US. At the end of WWII the Normal colleges were converted into four yrear colleges to take in the vast number of veterans seeking an education.
    Also by the beginning of WWI, three communits party members were servicg as members of Preaidents Roosevelts Staff.
    About 1950 they controlled the National Education Association and the schoolsof education in the various colleges and universities. Then tne began a long term program to dumb down the education of the citizens and to destroy the nations Judeo-Christian culture. In this they were aided by the ACLU and several of the Major labor unionns. .
    Now this has resulted in a national drop out rate of about 35%, an out of marriage birth rate of 75% for Black girls, 65% for hispanic girls and 30% of white girls. In addition the use of drugs and violence has escaleted in the schools and the number of graduates seeking scinetific careers has droped by 50%. Of those sdtudents who students who do go to college, the drop out rate at the end of a year and half is over 50%.
    In effect our nation is being destroyed by the liberals in their lust for political power and greed for ever more money. Even if the conservatives take political power this fall it will take a strong president and congress to reverse the damage. I am extremelt pessemist that there will be any real change and in effect we will become the Socialist United States and eventually civil war.

    • I hope not Glen. That’s why I write. Just treating education as its own domain when it is so clearly a cultural, political, and economic weapon has been a real mistake.

      The mentions in my posts to the Eight Year Study which began outcomes based education in the 1930s tie into Dewey’s work. It was conducted by the Progressive Educators Association and NSSE, a collaborative of the regional accreditors. I deal with Dewey more in the book but many of the people most involved with Common Core have said when they did not think anyone was listening that Common Core’s implementation will finally achieve Dewey’s dream of making the emphasis social and emotional learning. is the original post on the Eight Year Study and the deception involved in hiding the turn away from the transmission of knowledge.

      I deal with Dewey’s vision specifically in this post

      I am seeing so many references now to Quality Education and Excellence in Education with this upcoming school year. Parents, taxpayers, and school board members all need to appreciate those are defined terms that mean a social-emotional emphasis.

      Please be wary when you hear or read those terms if you are dealing with an administrator pr principal. You may well be authorizing or funding something 180 degrees from what you think you are getting. With a genuinely tragic track record beyond poor academic results.

      With the new measures of student achievement being pushed under Common Core, Race to the Top, and the NCLB waivers objective testing that would set off alarms is quickly vanishing.

  3. Picked up from your post at joannenova …
    You have company. I have the bullseye t-shirt. Then they find I have a fairly thick hide, and I fire back …
    The issue you are concerned about is certainly a problem in Australia, but there are signs that it is cracking a bit, eg recent moves in Queensland against “post-normal science”.
    I have 42 years experience in town & regional planning and building design, including 7 years of tertiary teaching.
    I tend to concentrate on the “earth and environmental sciences” aspect of the curriculum, as this is often a feed-in to my area of work. I am becoming very alarmed by what is going on.
    As I am known to be a heretic, I don’t get invited to my nearby institution as a guest lecturer. My situation is similar to a fellow staffer at the same institution, Bob Carter.
    From time to time I still get to talk to students, and preface my words with something like “… If you haven’t yet graduated, maybe it’s best if you plug your ears …”
    It is gratifying when the effect is the opposite.
    Half my career has been in the public service, and when it comes to politicians, I am aware of the characteristics of the species, so I practice the “pebble in the pool” approach. Make the points carefully and politely, and sometimes the ripples will spread. What you say may sometimes re-emerge later as “their” idea, or particular phrases you have used appear in documents. Provenance doesn’t matter.
    Just one approach of course.
    It is perhaps more urgent to do something about “9 – 12 yrs old children suffered under acute sleeping problems because the believed that the World is going ‘kaputt’ tomorrow”. I’m glad that my kids finished their education just before all this nonsense started. Parents all over the world are becoming horrified by what is going on, and need help reversing the brain-washing.

    troppo19 at

  4. Thanks for the John Dewey references. Is there a way to search your information?
    I’m especially interested in the Maxine Green-William Ayers attacks on America?
    Thanks for all your efforts. May God bless you and your efforts.

  5. Pingback: Are the New 3 R’s and the Student-Centered, Inquiry Driven Classroom a Means to Eastern Spirituality? | Invisible Serfs Collar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.