Discerning and then Retraining the ‘In-Order-To’ Image that Will Guide Future Action

From the Ford Foundation’s Realizing Democracy template that lays out how “Fixing Democracy demands the building and aligning of people’s motivation and authority to acthttps://ssir.org/pdf/Winter2020-Supplement-Han-Problems-Power.pdf to the recent WISE Summit in Qatar with its “Unlearn, Relearn: What it means to be Human” theme, which even had our Blueprint author, Nicholas Christakis, as a keynote panelist, to the new Catalyzing Change plans for remaking high school mathematics around goals of Equity so that math can become a tool to “challenge injustices and contribute to societal improvement,” we have lots of openly declared education missions that reminded me of the goals of the Lame Demon from the 1967 book The Art of Conjecture, which the Ford Foundation also funded. It’s clearly part of the behavioral science file cabinet still in play so let’s take a look back at it to better appreciate all these similarly aligned goals.

After all if you are a social scientist intent on transformation and believe that “any power, whether social or political, is maintained by people’s attitudes; any project, short or long, shallow or profound, is founded on their attitudes and behavior” then you might make use of:

a Lame Demon who unroofed houses to reveal what was going on inside. Let us suppose that this diable boiteux could reveal people’s minds in the same way, enabling us to surprise the projects each member of a society forms in his inner self. We could then apprehend, at their origin, those shoots which as they grow will deform the familiar social surface and produce swellings, fractures, and cracks.

Those ‘swellings, fractures, and cracks’ are to an imaginary world that could supposedly exist if people simply had a different set of beliefs, attitudes, values, and motivations to act. Precisely what all those links above to recent publications aim to do.  Precisely what was laid out here as the new role of social science and the research university https://issues.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Prewitt-Retrofitting-Social-Science-Fall-2019.pdf , which once again seems to be hyping Aristotle and his action-oriented phronesis as a less infamous substitute for what Uncle Karl laid out as Man as a Maker of History once the needed moral revolution could be made to occur.  Let’s go back then to the 1960s and the first time the global Marxist Humanist vision was launched to see the domain to be targeted and those blueprints for change.

I have formed a representation that does not correspond to observable reality and placed it in a domain suited to receive it; now my activity tends toward the validation of what my imagination has constructed. For the event to comply with my design, the moral force of my intention must hold and push me on the road to the goal [AKA ‘meeting the standard’ or ‘achieving the learning objective’]. ..The image that I have formed and placed somewhere in ‘time to come’ is like a beacon beckoning me…Hobbes put it like this: ‘For the thoughts are to the desires as scouts, and spies to range abroad, and find the way to the things desired.’

The book called that the ‘motive power of the image’ and we also saw it as a focus in the last post as to how to create a new ‘ontological reality’. Control a student or adult’s mental images and you control future behavior and motivations to act, as well as how current experiences are interpreted, and what gets perceived and what gets ignored. Behavior becomes a science via a certain vision of education for reasons that have nothing to do with Skinner or his pigeons as learning analytics and digital learning environments act as the Lame Demon getting inside the roof of the mind’s house in the brain. Again to Jouvenel:

Images are formed in our mind and inspire us; we know this from daily experience. It is absurd to look for explanations of human conduct that disregard this essential phenomenon. Our actions properly so called seek to validate appealing images and invalidate repugnant ones…Time future is the domain able to receive as ‘possibles’ those representations which elsewhere would be ‘false’. And from the future in which we now place them, these possibles ‘beckon’ to us to make them real…

the sufficient reason of human action is…[that] man acts, not ‘because…,’ but ‘in order to…’ Action is explained by its final cause, its goal: ‘In this sense we may say that in volition the practical motive lies in the future. We are to understand by this that the future is the domain into which a man has projected, and in which he now contemplates, the possible he wishes to make real, the image that is and will be, as long as it subsists in the mind, the determining reason for his actions.’

That change in the focus of education can be masked under terms like Standards-Based Reforms, High Quality Project-Based Learning, the AAR Inquiry of Anticipation, Action, and Reflection (part of the OECD’s Compass for Education 2030), or action learning as Doers of Mathematics laid out here  https://www.quantamagazine.org/math-and-the-best-life-an-interview-with-francis-su-20170202 .Ultimately, all these visions seek to control the nature of the Images in the mind because the imagination can be used as a place:

where I can place images that do not correspond to any historical reality. An image of this kind is not a mere fantasy if I have the will and feel I have the capacity [hence all the hype about student agency!] to bring about at some later time a state of affairs that corresponds to the image. The image represents a possibility because of my power to validate it in this way, and represents a project because of my will to do so…

For man as this role as an active agent the future is a field of liberty and power, but for man as a cognizant being the future is a field of uncertainty. It is a field of liberty because I am free to conceive that something that does not now exist will exist in the future; it is a field of power because I have some power to validate my conception (though, naturally, not all conceptions indiscriminately!). And indeed the future is our only field of power, for we can act only on the future. Our awareness of this capacity to act suggests the notion of ‘a domain in which we can act.

That Erhard/ Jensen Framework coaching adults from the last post called that domain the ontological.  K-12 learning standards simply get there by insisting that Equity mandates that student achievement be recast away from the mental to the domain of action–disarmingly called ‘performance standards’ to mask the shift to the realm of action. What about the Lame Demon’s goals to get at the contents of the mind we might reasonably ask? Let’s go back to a paper Michael Barber co-wrote in the 90s with Vicki Phillips before he moved on to working for Prime Minister Tony Blair on learning standards and then Pearson and before she moved on to Oregon and then the Gates Foundation. It was called “Fusion: How to Unleash Irreversible Change–Lessons for System-Wide School Reform” and I picked up my copy from a Hong Kong server where the protests of recent months might indicate that the mind might not be quite as malleable to change as the Chinese authorities and the paper’s co-authors laid out.

The popular conception is wrong. Winning hearts and minds is not the best first step in the process of urgent change. Beliefs do not necessarily drive behaviour. More usually, it is the other way round–behaviours shape beliefs. Only when people have experienced a change do they revise their beliefs accordingly. [Imagine the uses of digital virtual reality environments in the context of this quote!] And often they must experience change over a period of time for such beliefs to change permanently. Denial is a powerful force and it is not possible to overcome resistance simply by attempting to win hearts and minds, Sometimes it is necessary to mandate the change, implement it well, consciously challenge the prevailing culture, and have the courage to sustain it until beliefs shift. In other words, sometimes it is more effective to show people something or let them experience it than to tell them about it.

That quote would certainly explain why the law became such a useful tool for transformationalists seeking to force a change in the nature of education without the nature of the change or the reasons for it being apparent. It’s basically why I write and what brought me to the story that became Credentialed to Destroy in the first place. Because unlike those Hong Kong protesters who clearly always intuited the future impact of the collectivist vision the Chinese authorities had in mind with their Citizenship curriculum hyping Universal Love, most parents and students in the Western democracies have no idea the true nature of the transformation or how long these same plans have been in play.

The contemplated Futuribles has not yet been realized, but all the links in this post show that there is a clear and coordinated global march to realize this vision via experiential education grounded in specified guiding concepts. Controlling the Images of the Mind and the Actions that will create those desired Images.

Or as the French social theorist from the 60s put it above, controlling Attitudes and Behavior surreptitiously controls future Projects. Ultimate power then comes from making K-12 education about those bullseyes as the domains targeted for Continuous Improvement.

How to close the gap between what is desired under the roof of the Mind and what currently exists?

Gives a whole new meaning, doesn’t it, to what Standards-Based Reforms are really about?

17 thoughts on “Discerning and then Retraining the ‘In-Order-To’ Image that Will Guide Future Action

  1. UGH…

    On Erhard/Jensen’s “Ontological” coaching thing, consider that this is just EST in a new bottle, and the stated creed of EST was/is “creating a world that works for everyone”….so, you have the equity of outcome mandate and the only way to achieve that is to re-groove the old neural pathways….right?

    • Correct, but we can use The Art of Conjecture and the fact that it was originally written in French to see our global original vision. Don’t forget as well that Ford provided the original seed money for the hatchery extraordinaire–the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science in Palo Alto. It was Kenneth Boulding there who created and wrote a book about the importance of controlling the mental Image. Gregory Bateson was there frequently and when Daniel Bell was a fellow there in 1957 he wrote about how much better Marx’s Human Development Society was understood in the 50s than anything Lenin possessed in the early 20th century. We are not stretching here.

      It is helpful to recognize the concept of the Masterable Future. “The masterable future is what I can make other than it now presents itself.” Make that the focus of student activity and their learning tasks.

      It is important to realize that neither a primary forecast nor a secondary forecast constitutes a historical prediction. The primary forecast is not an inevitable course of things; indeed our motive in formulating it is to provoke action apt to change it. A secondary forecast is meant to display what, to the expert’s best estimate, can be brought about if the corresponding action is taken

      I will close with this quote:

      The hold of Marxism on our minds is comparable to the hold Aristotelianism once had, and its effects on our actions even greater–this whether we have read Marx or not and whether we acknowledge him or dispute him. I have often been struck by the unconscious Marxism of American students.

      • I will open with this quote:

        The hold of Marxism on our minds is comparable to the hold Aristotelianism once had, and its effects on our actions even greater–this whether we have read Marx or not and whether we acknowledge him or dispute him. I have often been struck by the unconscious Marxism of American students.

        I did some probing into the mind of one of my wards, today. My mission was to understand the abject lack of curiosity. I was informed that interns believe that the most important thing they can achieve in this ‘experience’ is to work for a mid- to large-sized company. The country/culture in which that company operates is, apparently, of no relevance — why, evidently, one travels half-way around the world to experience an INTERNATIONAL internship; why too, one of the most glorious cities on earth, a treasure chest of learning opportunities, is simply an inconvenience to traverse on route to said mid- to large-sized company.

  2. This speaks to the formation of mental pictures and how the kiddies are influenced to imagine ” the world as it should be/world we want/ world that works for all of us.” Yes, let’s have ideologically brainwashed, yellow bellied educators closet our children in ” Nurture Rooms’ ( so Huxlian ) to take advantage of the trauma they have already induced via tranny-gender bending education, the world is ending climate baloney , school shootings, Constructivist math, Close Reading, Urban Dictionary etc…so they can be hugged and loved into perceiving and behaving and voting along desired visions for us all. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/nurture-rooms-how-schools-are-boosting-pupils-wellbeing-1.4094188?mode=amp

    • Thanks mc. And we have this announcement from the last week to remind us why there is a need to control learning and thought.

      Our municipalist patrimony, key to achieve universality and solidarity

      We call for a more united membership of associations of local and regional governments, that works together to prepare for the so-called implementation decade to achieve the SDGs. Our networks are convinced that through learning and through decentralized cooperation we will be able to develop new instruments to further knowledge and cooperation…The Durban Political Declaration encompasses the municipalist patrimony of our movement: the values, the experiences, and the collaborations that we have carried out for over a century are key to aid our communities in achieving the transformation towards sustainable, fair, and inclusive societies that can find a hopeful future society and the planet.


      • See Catholic intellectual E. Michael Jones’ fight to save the IRISH. I understand that citizen groups are quietly forming and for the purpose of doing an about-face on the culture war being waged by MNC employers, and ball’less educators. Jones describes Ireland as a “crown jewel” in the take-down of Western culture.

    • This goes to the Social Justice Reading Guide I put up yesterday on the previous thread, but we have the Southern Poverty Law Center developing this so-called Literacy curriculum designed to embed its anti-bias framework as well as it Social Justice Standards. https://www.allourchildren.org/recommended-resource-perspectives-for-a-diverse-america/ I put up that particular link because you can see in the sidebar that the vision ties to the Beloved Community MLK pushed toward the end of his life that was unabashedly tied to the MH vision as Bernard Rustin laid out. It also ties to the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards designed to become Images in each child’s minds and Habits of their personality. https://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/2017-06/TT_Social_Justice_Standards_0.pdf

      All of these activities are designed to alter who the child will become at a neural level a la Irreversible Change.

      I have warned before about Facing History, but see their excitement. https://facingtoday.facinghistory.org/new-resource-from-teaching-tolerance-features-diverse-readings-on-identity-and-action

      • I also found this on the Essential Questions to be discussed starting very young. https://www.slideshare.net/PaulaHoustonAllen/teaching-toleranceessentialquestionsnov2015

        Notice that Colorado has included this curriculum as part of its Equity toolkit as an exemplar of “Inclusive Teaching and Learning”. http://masterplan.highered.colorado.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CDHE-Discussing-Race-Racism-and-Other-Difficult-Topics.pdf

        Notice that date of just over a month ago. Equity aligns with phenomenologist Mihaly Csiksentmihaly’ s vision of Excellence and again the focus is on changing who the child is at an ontological/neural level.

        Here’s a quote:

        Educators play a crucial role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of social inequality and discrimination. Learning how to communicate about such topics as white privilege, police violence, economic inequality and mass incarceration requires practice, and facilitating difficult conversations demands courage and skill—regardless of who we are, our intentions or how long we’ve been teaching. Use the strategies in this resource as you prepare to facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism. You can also use them to build competency when discussing other types of discrimination, such as gender bias, ableism, and religious or anti-LGBT persecution. We hope you find the resource useful, and that you will share it with colleagues. And don’t forget to check out the list of additional PD suggestions and classroom activities starting on page 13.

        • Robin/all,

          I do find that the OBSESSIVE focus on how we speak to each other actually stunts any real ability to communicate.

          Sometime back, when I was still trying to interface with people in my field, I participated in a global diversity discussion group (on-line). Most of the participants were American, and all were aligned with the speech codes you outline above. I tried to explain that in a REAL international work environment the pace of business and communication does not permit people to check their alleged biases, yet we somehow manage to get along and get work done. I instantly received a url for the brown eye/blue eye experiment, to which I replied that I was a green-eyed person living on an island of brown-eyed people. This did not compute, could not be processed.

          The flip side of this, or possibly an extension of this is the manifest obliviousness of my international interns to CULTURE.

          I think the damage done cannot be undone…and the ability to relate to others in a genuinely caring and respectful manner is all but gone.

          • Many of us still think straight. The task now is to keep the freedom to avoid the wackos in our lives and businesses, and leave them essentially to their own devices to sink or swim.

            They might even grow up, some anyway.

            Needless to say the hostility between groups is such that trying to accommodate will just result in exploitation. I’d say we’re well beyond the point where that would be appropriate, which may be what you meant.

        • What I have observed in the products of these conversational containers, i.e. U.S. universities is an inability to adapt to environments, groups that are not similarly constrained, and the NEED to control every environment they enter.

          I will cite, here, a husband/wife couple of returnee Japanese, who after years of higher education in the U.S., cannot live in their own country…nor can they live in environments, cities, towns they do not consider “cosmopolitan”….and, I received a list of these zones.

          Golly, I cannot imagine being so UN-ADAPTABLE…, and, yes, I have seen
          this over and over — as with my interns who huddle together in the dorm space they can control, or who do not go out on their own and explore the world…

          The speech/behavior container needs to be maintained.

          • This goes to something I am working on this weekend that builds on the previous post https://wfsf.org/about-us/leadership-core-team/79-president-s-envoy2 as well as going back to the founding of the Institute for the Future, which ties to ISTE, KNOwledge Works ed forecasts, as well as digital environments. Notice how what she is linked to ties to many of the players both you and I in different domains of education and what is being mandated have looked at. WFSF is also partnered with UNESCO.

            ISSS brings in Gregory Bateson and his daughter as well as Alexander Laszlo. Remember too it absorbed the General Systems Research Group in the 80s after its creation in the 50s at CASBS. Humanist Psych gets us Maslow and Rogers, but is also linked to Martin Seligman and his Positive Psych and Neuroscience work now that Templeton funds. Transpersonal links to Ken Wilber and Robert Kegan and then her writing gets us explicitly to Wilber. Remember how Hewlett Packard hired Peter Senge and Kegan to evaluate whether the Smarter Balanced assessment under Common Core would be assessing Deep Learning?

            If I had a musical button on the blog we could play “Hey Hey, the Gang’s All Here”.

      • As you noted years ago, Robin, this social engineering stuff is the sort of “nonfiction” reading that was intended by the writers of the Common Core State Standards. Not cookbooks and auto repair manuals.

        • I knew you’d appreciate this story.

          By signing the Climate Neutral New pledge, schools commit to monitoring their carbon emissions annually and making an ongoing effort to reduce them. In Port Chester, they are trying to reduce emissions through measures like motion-activated lights and water fountains that double as bottle refilling stations, O’Brien said.

          “You have to keep working at it,” O’Brien said. “It’s become part of our global education, our science. I really want the kids to internalize it.”

          O’Brien said that when she started teaching 30 years ago, it never crossed her mind that climate education would become such a large focus of her instruction. She teaches second- through fifth-grade science classes, and at every level, “I’ve tried to incorporate something about how we can save the world.”

          At Park Avenue School, students in all grades learn about global issues, from sustainability to world hunger, and how their community is connected. Each grade does service learning projects to supplement what they learn, like the kindergarten’s recent Thanksgiving food drive.

          Since the district was already focused on global and environmental issues, the carbon pledge was a natural fit, said Jennifer Carriero-Dominguez, who runs the One World club at Park Avenue.

          “It’s interesting how passionate [students] are becoming about these topics, and how they always want to give more, do more, help more,” Carriero-Dominguez said.

          “We’re such a diverse school district,” she said. “We knew about the world because we’re from the world, and now we’re going to make the world a better place.”


    • Take a look at this https://danaklisanin.com/ stated aim of “Using Digital Technology to Promote Human Values and Tackle Global Challenges”. Found it following up on this NESTA paper

      https://media.nesta.org.uk/documents/Our_futures_by_the_people_for_the_people_HrqsGPo.pdf that in turn ties to learning standards if you look at the Individual aspect of the desired Framework. Fits with UNESCO being a partner of WFSF and also the creator of the ISCED vision of global education standards to remake who the students are from the inside-out.

      Adding this https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/digital-altruism since Martin Seligman was president of APA and Jeb Bush has Jonathan Haidt as a keynoter in San Diego at his annual conference.

  3. Thanks ‘mc’, I will create a “nurture room”…to ensure enhanced well-being. Last year, I had one intern (U.K.) inform me that she had received ‘upsetting’ news (family issue), and would not be able to really focus on her work. I have had two ‘on the spectrum’, males who came equipped with verbal lists of tasks they could not perform…”my brain does not send messages to my hands, … I cannot type”…and assurances that my firm would benefit from neuro-diversity. Make that ‘3’, another told me that he could only be assigned one job at a time.

    Recently, too, the Japanese government issued an edict related to stress-reduction. This means that managers now walk on egg-shells and cannot have, shall we say, performance conversations with their staff members. There is much research to indicate, here, that so-called ‘stress’ is more often than not the result of the employee’s almost zero understanding of the business rationale for projects and/or tasks, but NO MATTER.

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