Instilling Desired Dreams to Cultivate Personal Identities and Purpose to Achieve New Future Directions

Let’s go back in time again to a 1955 book cited in some footnotes on social and emotional learning. Called Utopia 1976, it alerts us why values, virtues, and imagining a different tomorrow are suddenly the focus of all forms of education. “…we must recognize the most dangerous–those who do not dream at all. Even if the pessimistic dream is defeated, the nondreamers may prevent any Utopia. Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history. Nineteen seventy-six is of course not ineluctably determined in 1955, but here I write the story as I see it and as it will be–if enough men and women so want it.” From now on, when we hear or read a discussion about learning standards like the Common Core in the US or competency frameworks or learning objectives, I want us to recognize that the actual purpose is to get enough people signed on to a common vision so they are motivated to make it happen.

Math or science class, a book from literature, or a social science project then become vehicles to create a recognition of what the social problems are. They create a means to instill common desired dreams so that people begin to have common mental models of what is wrong and what they must do. Let’s come forward to 2008 to a philosopher and religion professor, John Haldane, I found following up on the False Narrative. The book Seeking Meaning and Making Sense reminds us that “human experience is structured by meanings and values” and whoever controls the prevailing “standards of value and virtue” controls an intermediate layer of our world that most of us rarely pose to think about. That’s the layer that guides our purpose in life and everyday actions and it’s also the bullseye of what many members of that NCSEAD Council of Distinguished Scientists focus on in their remaining academic research. Here’s Haldane again:

“…we are imaginative and creative animals that construct an intermediate surface between ourselves and the purely material world, an intermediate lining on which we draw and colour our compositions.”

Anyone controlling the construction of that intermediate layer, in other words, can drive cultural evolution. Getting at that intermediate layer can be called an SEL focus to prevent bullying and create a Positive School Climate. It can be called creating the attributes or dispositions for good citizenship. It can sold as instilling self-esteem and a sense of agency by creating a Learner Profile of personal characteristics that together amount to a student’s Identity. It’s all the same bullseye, with varying rationales that obscure that reality. One of the members of the NCSEAD Council, David Yeager, turned out to be involved with the New Paths to Purpose Project, funded by the same Templeton Foundation behind so many of the Character-building curricula, the Science of Virtues, the UK Jubilee Center, the US Constitution Center, and the Positive Education push of another member (see tag), Martin Seligman.

Let’s use their definition of purpose and their italicized “central question: How might individuals actively shape–rather than merely inhabit–their environments, and thus become more purposeful, powerful creators of their destiny?” That would actually be ‘our’ destiny given the nature of these plans and the constant use of the community and culture-shaping institutions, so let’s quote that purpose definition–“Purpose is a stable or generalized intention to accomplish something that is meaningful to the self, and often is of consequence to the world beyond the self. Purpose provides a guiding light as we forge a path through the frenzy and chaos of modern life.”

All those constant references in education reform to ‘grit’ and ‘perseverence’ are about practicing to achieve purpose and closing the gap between what is sought and what currently exists. That’s probably why Angela Duckworth was also a member of the NCSEAD Council. That also means we, our children, and our psyches are to be the sources of the experimental research and putting political theories into practice. One more note, Richard Thaler, the U-Chicago prof who won the Nobel Prize in Economics last week, led this NPP Project. Another example of the level of proof and the ubiquity of Templeton funding in this area is the Youth Purpose Project at Stanford with an explicit paper that “Exploring Empathy, Discovering Roles, Shifting Priorities, and Creating Pathways” is the way to shift this guiding light of Purpose.

NPP then turns out to generate the very useful to anyone desiring transformational change-“‘mindsight, dedication, and grit” . Purpose can quietly and invisibly “reflect and propel everyday patterns of human thought and behavior.” Very influential and not what anyone thinks is lurking behind rhetoric about “higher standards and local control” or the constant offering of Classical Education as the panacea to the created controversy over the Common Core and Child Abuse in the Classroom. In case anyone thinks I am picking on Classical Education, remember how its mantra is the True, Good, and Beautiful? This is from the Institute for Cultural Evolution and was a speech given this past July. . It informs us that the “art of intentionally fostering cultural development is still in its infancy.”

The recommended means to foster that development though is by “framing culture in terms of worldviews.” For once that was not my bolding and the definition of worldview fits with what Templeton is funding in the name of Character or Positive Education and how learning standards like Competencies really work as “a worldview is a coherent set of values and ideals that persist across multiple generations. Worldviews are large-scale social agreements about what is good, true, and beautiful [see my concern?]. They give meaning to reality and help us understand the world.” So where Stanford and the Aspen Institute want to lead us in the name of purpose is also where the False Narrative surrounding the Common Core and SEL Standards takes us as well. Let’ s go back to a longer definition again from that same July 2017 paper on cultural evolution.

“In fact, worldviews are arguably the basic units of culture . And while we can certainly identify thousands of different worldviews in American culture, for purposes of understanding cultural development the worldviews that matter most are the historically significant ones that organize society, frame values, provide personal identity, and play a recognizable role in world history.”

In fact, that ubiquitous aim now at controlling internalized worldviews via education and the media is precisely why Larry Arnn’s vision of The Founders’ Key struck me as very similar in effect to where admitted communitarian and transformationalist, Amitai Etzioni, wanted to take us in the name of the New Golden Rule. With Hillsdale’s sponsorship of the Barney Charter School Initiative with its openly-declared Classical Education template we really do have all education leads to Worldview Cultivation in 2017, much as all roads used to lead to Ancient Rome. It’s where the desired action is to get the future influential people hope to achieve. After all, no recognition equals no effective opposition. Other papers in that series on cultural evolution admit that evolving human morality and controlling conceptual cognition are the keys to these plans.

I want to close with a passage from the admittedly progressive and tied to our Search Engine Overlord, New America, called “Building Civic Capacity in an Era of Democratic Crisis” that just came out. It wants to reject what it refers to as ‘exclusionary populism’ by consciously striving to “build constituencies and identities that are more inclusive and accommodating.” So everything laid out in this post, whatever the offered rationale, plays right into using education to do just that. Probably not a coincidence.

Remember how I warned that we cannot fight against what we are unaware of or have been misled about? The transformationalists all want cultural evolution via values and ideas at the level of the mind and personality and they no longer regard democracy as being about elections. No, now “at its core, democracy is fundamentally about a type of relationship between citizen and state–one where constituencies can mobilize and make binding claims on policymaking institutions.”

Those constituencies are built up from students who have Instilled the Desired Dreams and are ready to join together to “play a recognizable role” in history. All that comes quite effectively and invisibly from making education about Worldview cultivation instead of the transmission of knowledge.

All education unless we catch on to the Bait and Switch and how the internalization works.

I am trying my best to warn. Instead of “the British are coming” though, it seems like the 2017 version is that the Deceivers are already Here. They are consciously targeting the ears of any parent or politician worried about these education visions.

Let’s start to pierce these False Narratives so we can really protect our children and this great country.

12 thoughts on “Instilling Desired Dreams to Cultivate Personal Identities and Purpose to Achieve New Future Directions

  1. Isn’t it interesting that the two examples of values convergence that the Cultural Evolution presentation offers, gay marriage and marijuana legalization, are basically capitulations, not convergence. Why do all the “evolutions” move steadily left? Simple. The postmodern “value” that all truth is malleable permits one to place the label of “marriage” on homosexual unions and declare that they are. The postmodern “value” of “if it feels good, do it” (not included in the presentation, but who would deny that it is a postmodern value?) is labeled as “freedom” and there is one more victory lap for “cultural evolution.”

    It is clear to me that “the Good, the True and the Beautiful” has become one more weapon of indoctrination in the classroom. I have been asked by people of good will, concerned about the deterioration of the culture (er, make that the Evolution of Values), what’s wrong with wanting our kids to be exposed to the noble rather than to the base. I have always believed that education consists in the transmission of a body of knowledge, the inheritance of our culture. Among “the best that has been thought, written, painted and composed” are true, beautiful and good artifacts. What is troubling is the shift away from respect for the subject matter in itself and for its own sake, and toward its subordination to a set of “concepts” for which the subject matter now serves only as the means or the vehicle. The goal is no longer to read and memorize this particular poem, to understand its metaphorical language, its scansion, its structure, its technique; to understand how this poem fits into the larger context of its literary time; rather it is to be viewed simply as material from which to extract discussions of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Or maybe, Wisdom and Virtue. Those who promote and write about classical/Christian education are quite open about the fact that it is “worldview” education. A classical/Christian piece I just read online said, a little nervously, that it could be alleged that students were being “programmed.” Well, yes indeedy. I am a Christian who believes that human knowledge should be seen in the light of eternity, but I also believe that God gave us an intellect in order to explore and master, as objects worthy of our study, the various aspects of the world He created for us, and in so doing, to shape our own understanding of human reality rather than having it shaped for us. There is really nothing different about this approach from the Common Core approach with its own set of conceptual lenses. Only the lenses are different.

    In the classical/Christian context, the shift is a move away from the Aristotelian view that truth is to be derived from the particular fact or the particular artifact, and toward the Platonic view that the singular fact or artifact is to be subordinated to and interpreted in the light of the Higher Concept.

    Dorothy Sayers’ essay, the Lost Tools of Learning, which is cited as the basis for the classical/Christian movement, is quite problematic. I have done a fair amount of reading about classical education historically, and I believe that although Sayers is entitled to her interpretation, it is merely that. Sayers, too, subordinates content to an abstraction, to “mental training,” “learning how to learn,” “learning how to think.” She may be correct in her criticisms of what she saw in contemporary education, but I do not agree that she arrived at the proper formula for correcting it. Although she grants that the “grammar” phase should be a period of accumulation of a lot of information, she doesn’t much care what the information is; it is merely grist for the mill of “mental training.” She calls the trivium, collectively, “tools.” For her, they are processes, not bodies of knowledge. She places dialectic after grammar, which historically is inaccurate; rhetoric normally followed close on the heels of grammar, with dialectic being deferred until the student had achieved a certain level of maturity. She claimed developmental grounds for saying that dialectic or logic was appropriate for young adolescents, because this is the “pert” phase, in which youngsters like to challenge and ask questions. This was the very reason why Plato said dialectic should be postponed to the age of 30, because of the mischief that could be caused by a misuse of dialectical technique! Maybe he was thinking about the Sophists….And incidentally, the grammar phase historically was far from an abstract study of “how language works”; the study of Latin included the study of literature. Summing it all up, Sayers’ trivium is process-oriented, placing it very much in the current of progressive education.

    Finally, the prominence of Character Education in the typical program of classical/Christian schools ties in with the Truth-Beauty-Goodness mantra. There is a dangerous tendency these days for “character” to devolve into social engineering to produce approved “values, attitudes and dispositions” in the children. Yes, Christians wish to see their children grow up to be individuals of faith and of integrity. In my view, the tenets of moral theology should be taught in the context of explicit religious instruction, and children should be held to high standards of behavior within the school. But by saturating the school environment with Character Education projects and encouraging students to adopt certain postures either of piety or of approved opinion which do not grow out of a solid bedrock of maturity and extensive study and reflection, we are in effect indoctrinating them. C.S. Lewis condemned this approach, saying it turned students into “prigs and hypocrites” and he charged teachers who did this with “pawing and dabbling in [the students’] souls.”

    This has gone long, but I hope it may be helpful to readers seeking to understand some of the dangers inherent in the modern classical or classical/Christian movement.

    • That was eloquent and this is a good recent example of how a factually-oriented worldview is viewed as in the way of a willingness to act to change this world.

      William Spady, best known to Credentialed to Destroy readers as the primary inventor of Tranzi OBE, redefined the same theory as authentic reforms after Columbine made OBE notorious. Yet it kept the same targets as what Classical Education rolls into True, Good, and Beautiful with Virtue and Character thrown in by emphasizing that the curricula, learning experiences, and group activities like PBL get at each student’s “purpose, philosophy, and principles.” That would be what cybernetics/systems science hiding as Competency-Based education in the rest of the schools simply instills as that internalized steerable rudder. If you have instilled and know what a person’s purpose, philosophy, and guiding principles are, they are as predictable and manipulable as can be.

      I have been working in the last several days on how a so-called Integrated Curriculum and student-centered working fit with this broader template and I have a quote that goes precisely to your point. It takes factual knowledge to recognize the self-serving BS being pushed as education reform and how it is actually backward mapping to find a tool to instill a political, economic, and social transformation vision. Controlling individual consciousness is that tool. It is thought control brought to us by people who are either poor at thinking or on the take to pimp these theories.

      “This new understanding of the nature of knowledge makes it clear that facts have no intrinsic meaning. Every fact represents a point of view, created and shaped within a specific cultural context and meaningful only within that context.” Very useful in other words for a theory seeking to ignite history via human action to change the context. Here’s more:

      “Conventional curricula are structured inductively, from bottom to top, treating facts as the building blocks of knowledge. Recognizing the role that context plays in thinking and learning, an integrated learner-centered curriculum will be organized deductively, from top to bottom. It will begin with thought systems–the ‘big picture’–as a context from which concepts, basic ideas, and facts can be deduced and understood. When a curriculum is organized in this way, students experience using both deductive and inductive thinking/learning processes in an integrated, systemic manner. Because it resonates with a child’s natural way of thinking and learning, this way of organizing the curriculum enhances their ability to select, organize, and apply concepts, ideas, and facts in meaningful and creative pursuits.”

      If that instilled, and internalized at a neural level, Big Picture is designed to motivate students to act as Makers of History and to view transformational change as a 21st century necessity, then we are programming our students just as surely as any software designer. That’s precisely what is happening. It’s how the MH vision gets implemented with ordinary people none the wiser and most of our institutions like the churches in full cooperation.

      The book I pulled that quote from kept citing Mary Catherine Bateson as an authority to support this new vision of knowledge. No mention that her famous parents, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, were pushing the cybernetic vision globally back in the 60s or were at the famous Macy Conferences in the early 50s. No mention that Mary Catherine herself was at that World Order Models Conference in the USSR in 1987 to help plan the rework after the ‘fall’ of communism. No mention of her ties to ISSS now or the fact it absorbed the General Systems Research Group launched at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in the 50s.

      In other words, we are supposed to use the supplied Big Picture to make connections to guide our thinking so it can be controlled and circumscribed. A storehouse of personal facts lets someone do what I just did to make the relevant connections as to why someone would be advocating for such a new view of (very limited) knowledge.

      • I am of two minds about that Circe essay. For the believing Christian, the affirmations of the Creed are facts, every bit as factual as the affirmations of science. If I have to take it on faith that Jesus was the Son of God and performed miracles, so do I have to take it on faith that matter is made up of molecules, which are not evident to my senses, and that the next time I jump in the air, I will not continue to rise indefinitely (there’s no proof that I won’t). Of course there is plenty of evidence to support my belief in the truth of the affirmations of the Creed; a Catholic’s faith is never blind, rather faith and reason go hand in hand.
        My problem comes here:
        “In the Scriptures, natural processes are observed with attentiveness, set down in detail—and ascribed to the voice and hands of God. What if our science textbooks read that way? What if our conversations sounded that way? What if our minds thought that way?”
        What if our science textbooks read that way? No. Although the existence of a First Cause that sustains everything else in existence can be proven through metaphysical demonstration, it lies outside the purview of science and within the purview of natural and sacred theology. There is a difference between a mother taking a child on a hike through the mountains, and as they look over the stunning vista, commenting, “God made all this, and he keeps it in existence. Jesus tells us that His Father is working, and that He is working.” A difference between that and a textbook purporting to be about science and actually being about theology. After acknowledging that God is the Lord of Creation and gave us minds to be able to study it through the disciplines of science, students must buckle down and gratefully use the faculty He endowed them with — to learn science.

    • Take a look at the materials from this August presentation. This is the same language used in the Integrated Curriculum book and why it emphasized Context and making connections. I think this is also why the False Narrative wants to emphasize Behaviorism and Skinner while the admitted progs and all the ed preparation institutions hype the learning sciences and especially cognitive science. It’s all through that “Quality and Equity By Design” paper. if you understand cognitive science, you recognize it in what Flinders is pushing and how it is used to have emotions drive the mind.

      Now, if in fact, having the desired internalized Big Picture that guides future action is what leads to immortality and eternal life, as these presentations say, that would explain all the deceit accompanied with a desire to use this type of education. It would explain why the Vatican launched IMBES. It would explain why Betsy DeVos has incorporated every cybernetic Hominus Sovieticus preparation pedagogy and psych theories into recent regulations she issued that no one seems to be reporting on. It fits with what her alma mater, Calvin College, pushes and Abraham Kuyper’s vision of politics too.

      I only looked at that website because of the Circe article hyping ‘agency’ and remembering there was an upcoming annual conference. There are even parts of that Flinders presentation that dovetail with what Benjamin Bloom really meant by Mastery Learning.

      I just looked into another one of the speakers at the upcoming conference, Adam Hailstone, and he is clearly training these naive home school parents to target their children as if they were systems just like they were in a public school using Competency-based ed. is the 2016 presentation of “The Science of Motivation”. Narvaez’s book kept citing Deci & Ryan too. Just like this post is pointing out the homeschoolers are being trained to get at a student’s purpose and use it. All the autonomy and accountability measures and daily or weekly checking in is straight out of systems theory.

      No port in the storm indeed.

  2. And it is for that reason that there is a push not to store the knowledge or the grammar essential to our ability to to form connections by developing workable models of the natural and social worlds and challenge the logic of statements or events that contradict those models.

    Children and adults alike are asked to believe that they can retrieve information, data and concepts from Google when needed. All you will have are the big ticket, programmed ideas and nothing floating around in your head to bump against these and cause discomfort due to inconsistency.

    Have you noticed how the mind makes connections to knowledge so quickly and comprehensively that to do the same task even with a computer would be very difficult because of the need to categories and order information in such a way that it can be examined and tested in a multidimensional way. Such analysis is difficult. As time moves on and the narrative changes, more and more iterations are needed and you just give up and accept the narrative as it is given to you.

    So, the more you know of the natural world, of the past, of human nature, of the main ideas that were asked by people over time, the more they have to model the current world.

    If they are being asked to be empathetic to others, to think of the collective good of the others, to consider the feelings of the other as paramount, then facts must be subordinated and so it is best that they are not considered at all.

    For example, in the current debate about immigration from nations with vastly different cultures to established western nations like Australia, it is a cultural norm (with great sanction, socially and legally) to raise a view that it be curtailed or stopped.

    You are attacked for bigotry, hate and other human rights crimes if you challenge the validity of the positive assertions made for the migration or the negative effects of such migration. The facts are immaterial, the goals of diversity, inclusiveness, common good (global) are needed because of the migration (currently for Australia, we have an intake of 190,000 people mainly from Asia) and its disruptive effects.

    The virtues are the mechanisms for their acceptance. The virtues are to create resilient citizens capable of dealing with the sustained dislocation and disruption that is and will happen in the coming years. In such a state of chaos, facts are inconvenient and dangerous because they allow you to make such connections.

    This is a cunning strategy. They have convinced people to accept terms, goals and values that should only exist between people which live together and have mutual obligations to one another (family, community and nation) and extend these to the entire world. We now cannot rest until we put the ills of the entire world to rest.

    Thus, to refuse anyone entering your nation from any country (especially from one that is different culturally and religiously from your own) is immediately met with accusation that you are racist, parochial, nativist, essentialist or white supremacist, rather than it simply being a rational assessment of the effects of such population flows on the cultural fabric of your state and communities; and on the economic and political primacy of your family and fellow citizens to the resources and opportunities of your nation.

  3. John, so well articulated. It seems everybody just accepts that this immigration is happening like rain from stormclouds, rather than a globally orchestrated manipulation by actual governments, and actual people.

    Instead of feeding the poor like they have been saying they are doing ( the hunger project) since the 70’s, or before, they are taking them away from their own nation, culture, land, history. Exploiting both sides of the equation.

    A n exanple, Tom’s shoes gives a free pair of his ugly cheap chinese labor shoes to African’s (who may actually prefer barefeet) when a rich westerner buys a pair at Nordstroms or the like. Selling the cheap chinese peasant labor shoe, made by chinese peasant labor, as a hip and sustainable and politically correct shoe at great profit in the west, while exploiting the workers who actually are forced to wear the cheap ugly shoe, exploiting the rich western consumer paying designer price for the cheap ugly shoe, fascilitating the free cheap ugly shoes to be given to the Africans who do not need cheap ugly shoes. “This is how they do it baby!”

    • MM-take a look at the Hour One of the Neil Flinders presentation I linked to and tell me how someone advocating for that vision of education as ‘educating our desires’ can then turn around and complain about an sel orientation. It does the same thing. No wonder we have the PII deceit over what SEL is all about.

      I read them all this morning, but am now taking notes to make comparisons such as how the offered definition of Intelligence fits with Mastery Learning. That’s also a reminder that the tarbiyah Project said it fit with Bloom’s Taxonomy as well.

  4. More than any other brand, Toms has integrated old-fashioned, for-profit entrepreneurship with new-wave, bleeding-heart philanthropy, bonding moneymaking and giving in an unprecedented manner. The company has become so closely identified with giving away a pair of shoes to a poor child for every pair sold–Toms has trademarked the tagline “one for one”–that it’s often mistaken for a charity.


  5. Not to harp on Tom’s shoes but the do gooder good intentions often have bad consequences ( see Africa) and when those are across the globe we rarely hear about it, but the emotion driven young person feels good, feels empowered by their perceived contribution to ” saving the world”, by buting the shoes!

    What is never discussed is that posession of luxury as perceived as salvation from “poverty” is completely disassociative. The idea that people can be happy or ” successful” with little is unknown anymore. The commercialized communitarian.
    MadAve and Media look with pity at anyone not posessing the western bling bling and look at the ” working class” or ” middle class” American or anything beneath a Kardashian or Beyonce as pathetic. Not Successful. So the Every Student Succeeds Act paints success as the only goal, and success is only being rich, and famous and giving to ” charity” in an ostentatious way or serving that said same borg, fighting for social justice for distant causes, Say, bill gates vaccines in Africa. You can’t be a success unless it is defined by the rubric of social emotional empathy, service to saving the world or the appearance of that just as good.
    You cannot just do a job come home and eat dinner, read a book, raise your kids, etc anymore without that 3rd space componant that the empathy training demands, and which keeps us within the system. Communitarian demand your success within the community as defined by your devotion to the common good, which you are reminded of on your human scale lighting lampost flags, next to your speed humps, in your school motto, your wholefoods check out, your yogurt container, your bicycle shop, your hotel bathroom, your lipstick, and your tv. Thats lifelong learning.
    It does not have to be real or actual or true, you just have to think it is by doing. Constructivism. Buy the Tom’s shoes! A poor person will get a pair, buy the yogurt, they give back! Rake the woodchips at your kids playground you paid for and dont use, that gets vandalized by maruding ethiopians! You are acting for the common good!

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