Parrhesia, Bill Ayers, Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making, and Rewiring Teens’ Brains

Does that title seem a bit like a Jeopardy Question that starts with an unusual word and then leads to a notorious name for click bait? I wish, but Parrhesia is a Greek word that was in the last post’s paper on how John Dewey’s Ethics of Moral Principles and Deliberation were to be incorporated per IEEE Standards (no one was to tell us about) into the ‘adaptive instructional systems’ being touted as the answer for the Pandemic’s need to social distance. Until a Vaccine!! The systems of ethical deliberation becomes a component via required practices adaptive instructional systems incorporate into supplied student experiences. These are to “allow participants to safely engage in parrhesia.” No mention of “Guilty as *, Free as a Bird” Ayers yet, as the definition is a democratic mode of being, that is “an ancient Greek concept…[of] telling truth as one sees it with honesty and integrity…parrhesia qualities include engaging in dialogue, questioning, having a passion for public affairs and human equality. Parrhesia requires intellectual courage and risk-taking in truth telling and pursuits of inquiry.”

Ok, then the footnote goes to a paper by Kerry Burch on “Parrhesia as a Principle of Democratic Pedagogy” helpfully placed on US education websites with the heading “Social Justice: A Language Re/Considered”, which seems to be something we should know about before assuming digital learning is the answer to all our problems. It starts with quotes from Cornel West (whose self-professed ties to the Marxist Humanist vision we have covered here at ISC) and Paulo Freire, whose name is associated with rejecting the so-called Banking Theory of Education. Bill shows up later in the paper, but not by his nickname or standing on a flag in a New York Times article published just before 9/11/2001. No, here’s the passage:

Few educational thinkers describe the kind of democratic personality traits [Dispositions or Attributes of cybernetic citizenship or Character Education?] that need to be cultivated today as elegantly as William Ayers. These traits cannot easily be brought about by relying on the mechanistic knowledge ordained in conventional approaches to ‘learning’ about ”democracy’. Ayers’ charts a different course: ‘We want to teach them to take initiative, to be creative, to be imaginative, to take risks, to question authority, to wonder about the world. This means fundamentally, in a school system based on democratic values, we really believe that the full development of all is a condition for the full development of each.’

Ayers said that and the footnote goes to a Winter 2009 published interview, but Ayers is in turn quoting from Uncle Karl and his Human Development Society vision of the premise for his little ‘c’ communism ideal. No wonder the Chinese and the UN love this vision of cybernetic citizenship, but what a mandate for ‘adaptive instructional systems’ to be cultivating in students to prepare them for parrheistic modes of being. Sounds a bit like the call for an Arational mind that we have discovered lies at the foundation of what is really student proficiency in a competency-based system. When we think of ‘adaptive instructional systems” for K-12, who thinks it is something that would please Bill Ayers and fulfill Uncle Karl’s plans? Who will be looking for “how the buoyant sociality of parrhesia would promote the creation of critically awake democratic personalities”?

Another paper I located called “The Ethics of Critical Inquiry: Educational Research Informed by Parrhesia” attributed this push to notorious French philosopher Michel Foucault, who in turn talked about Aristotle. Which one gets cited later for a similar vision with differing sales pitches and rhetoric does not seem to be about any disagreement on what is being sought through education. Instead, I believe, the different approaches stem from which name the audience, including people being solicited for donations, are likely to revere. Parrhesia here is an attempt to “contribute to social good and bring about positive change” by fostering educational practices that will create “an ethos of disrupting human subjectivities from within”. That sounds a bit disruptive to the student’s personality, doesn’t it? The

early meaning was to open one’s heart and mind completely to other people through his or her discourse…Parrhesia … became associated with transforming the soul of an individual. Most importantly the concept developed political dimensions indispensable to democracy. Parrhesia meant to engage socially and politically as a consequence of integrity of the heart. It required one to courageously say truthful things that are useful for all to hear…It’s not a ‘body of knowledge’ but a ‘body pf practices’ without reference to an external order…It allows for mediation between the ethos of an individual and the well-being of society. In short, it is through parrhesia that an individual constitutes him/herself as a moral subject in relation to others.

Just the thing if a moral revolution is sought at the level of the human mind, heart, and soul as Uncle Karl envisioned. If you don’t want resistance create a need for digital learning because of something like a Pandemic and then mandate ‘parrheistic practices’ into the programming the learning experiences provided by ‘adaptive instructional systems’ offer up. Now before we turn to the latter part of this post’s title I want to link to this article on the failure to properly respond to COVID-19 which calls for cultivating minds that can “understand complex systems in crisis”. Since we keep coming across the behavioral sciences and their desire to create a new kind of educational template going back to the 1950s at least, I thought that article’s confession that:

Behavioral public policy is rooted in the idea that biases, heuristics, and mental models determine behavior. If you reframe or alter individuals’ decision making context, you change their behavior.

We now know that is precisely what learning standards like the Common Core in the US or any tied to UNESCO’s ISCED globally and competency-based education frameworks are designed to do. The Pandemic simply makes this desire for “shared frames of reference” for meaning-making supposedly necessary. It’s to be perceived as a crisis, like climate change, that necessitates common ways of looking at the world and what must be changed to meet the demands of the crisis. Individual deviations are not allowed. Yes, tell that to Shelly Luther in Texas or that barber in Michigan.

Timely too is that the May 2020 issue of Educational Leadership published by ASCD, which is now independent of the NEA, unlike in 1985 when it first introduced an internalized common core as I covered in Credentialed to Destroy. The issue is devoted to “Learning and the BRAIN” and one of its articles called “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” lays out how “Connecting adolescents’ concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time.” Research for the article was provided by the National Science Foundation, which certainly explains why they also funded the math and science constructivism covered in Chapter 3 of CtD, and the Templeton Foundation. It would explain the latter’s funding of the Jubilee Centre in the UK and its Virtues curriculum, which we have since tied to the Pope’s new Humanity 2.0 initiative and its new vision for education. Templeton also funded Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience work, among other things we have covered.

Remember so long ago here at ISC when I mentioned a new vision of Dialectical Materialism, a mouthful term, created in the USSR by Evald Ilyenkov called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete? We have now over time here at ISC tied to cybernetic designs, conceptual frameworks, and the now federally required assessment annually of Higher Order Thinking in virtually all US students. Now we have this new article informing us of the need for “Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making”. What it bills as ‘narrative building’ by students certainly sounds like what the others described above suggested as parrheistic modes of being.

These curricular practices turn out to be expressly designed to rewire what the neural networks in teenage brains look like and what the students can do. In fact, by going to motivation, these practices act as an accelerant of future likely behavior. All of these intended interventions are probably helped by the co-authors connections that I have encountered in my research over time. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang shows up at both UNESCO conferences and Aspen’s NCSEAD on the need for social and emotional learning, as well as the NSF’s Brain Initiative. Perfect places to push a vision of education globally grounded in DiaMat that asks “How can we know when young people are building [brain networks]…predictive of success in school, self-actualization, relationship satisfaction, and other positive indicators in early adulthood?”

Think of the parrhesia invisible focus of ‘adaptive instructional systems’ and then ask the article’s question of “What kind of learning experiences strengthen connectivity across these networks?” Remember Bill Ayers’ mention of democratic traits above, which is why I bolded it? The ASCD article focuses on a similar target it italicized as dispositions of mind, which it goes on to say is not a new goal of education, citing to John Dewey among others. These are the stories or narratives the students tell themselves:

their inclinations to engage reflectively with issues and ideas, their tendencies to be curious and compassionate, and their proclivities to use what they learn to inform their emerging values…the patterns of thinking and feeling associated with these dispositions appeared to be influencing the growth of the networks of their brains.

Sounds like Parrhesia’s vision too, doesn’t it? That’s what education for meaning-making and tied to Big Ideas is targeting and it is what grounding adaptive instructional systems in John Dewey’s work also seeks to reengineer. No question about it anymore. This is not a peripheral aim and it’s not really about education per se. It’s education as a tool to reengineer at a neural level the citizens available for the global future. At the service of governments and their cronies.

As I will cover in the next post, it turns out that the stories we tell ourselves, and the concepts and categories of abstractions we use to interpret our daily experiences, are key to how we see the world and plan to act in it. Let me close with another quote from the EL article and just imagine the effect of the Pandemic on “The Stories Teens Tell” or at least what they will tell in the future.

…tying these dispositions to neural development, life success, and mental health gives this effort new urgency, and points us due north in an attempt to reimagine adolescents’ schooling. Evidence suggests that educators can learn to recognize, model, and support the development of these dispositions if they know what kinds of narratives to listen for and what kind of learning experiences lead to these patterns of thinking?

Now imagine the utility of standardizing ‘adaptive instructional systems’ in John Dewey’s work and Parrhesia will do for controlling the needed learning experiences to produce the desired ‘patterns of thinking’ and feeling for the new type of future citizen.

Gives new meaning to calls of May Day, May Day, doesn’t it?



64 thoughts on “Parrhesia, Bill Ayers, Reinventing Schools for Meaning-Making, and Rewiring Teens’ Brains

  1. I’ll take “parrhesia” for $40, please.

    This term was frequently appeared in my graduate studies program (Organization Development), and with reference to:

    Also, I recall it being used by Foucault to discuss his concept of “Care of the Self”. I recall considering if/how this might have applications to the coaching field, have a folder of notes on parrhesia.

    Does this harken back to “Self Management”, or “Self Regulation”?

    Also, I had asked earlier about “intersectional theory”, which may or may not be related to Ayers’ equity agenda.

    What I have personally witnessed in products of programs (subject irrelevant) in which intersectional values have been embedded is a kind of disdain for the knowledge and experience others have accrued. Expertise is, by its very nature, inequitable.

    • I wanted to get this post up before answering your intersectionality question because it do think it marries cybernetic goals of Equity for all, enforceable by governments as a matter of law, and no disproportionality between % of population and capturing the so-called ‘goodies’ generated by the economic ‘system’ and Foucault’s ‘critical consciousness’. The “Ethics of Critical Inquiry: Educational Research Informed by Parrhesia” paper mentioned here said this

      …it is through parrhesia that an individual constitutes him/herself as a moral subject in relation to others. Parrhesia has a strong connection to democracy. Foucault explored this connection as he became increasingly concerned with the divide between the idea of constitutional equality and actual inequality stemming from concentrations of power. He saw the notion of parrhesia as involved in the active confrontation with power and with the continuity between one’s beliefs and the way one lives: between bios and logos.

      The latter is not really different from Larry Arnn and others insisting the purpose of education is to cultivate the character that is driven by a communitarian ethos. Remember too we found that the Templeton-supported National Constitution Center in Philly had created a curriculum that redefined the concepts of freedom and liberty in communitarian terms? I covered that here and was later able to tie this to the Hardwired to Connect paper as well as the Call to Civil Society.

      The co-author of the “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” paper, Douglas R Knecht, is at Bank Street where Ayers got his ed degree despite his notoriety. Ayers has stated he views Maxine Greene as his mentor as I covered in this 2012 post that covers numerous educators being cited in the footnotes of these various papers on Parrhesia. The paper above cities to Maxine Greene’s The Dialectic of Freedom in its Bibliography. Nel Noddings also gets cited a lot with no mention that Australian educators hired her to help with their SEL curriculum, which we now know is designed to get all the regions of the brain rewired as needed. No mention either that Noddings was involved with the Darwin Project to push deliberate cultural evolution via education. Now we know that the planned pathways are neural change.

      The “Ethics of Critical Inquiry” paper goes on to describe the kind of mindset in students that these required practices would create. It fits right in with language we are seeing in Learner Profiles and Portraits of a Graduate.

      When exploring the notion of parrhesia Foucault was concerned with a philosophical framework that would endow the individual with the moral equipment [Remember the Valor Collegiate Academy Due North curriculum funded by Chan Zuckerburg?] to fully confront the world in an ethical manner. In a related manner, a reflexive ethics should be infused throughout inquiry calling for the development of a critical consciousness. Parrhesia can support this inquiry elevating a commitment to engagement over self-interest. Critical inquiry informed by parrhesia is not a matter of saying things are not right as they are. It is a matter of drawing attention to familiar and unchallenged modes of thought. This mode of critique disrupts a priori frameworks and agendas… This kind of critical scrutiny helps negate forms of intellectual control that often accompany approaches to understanding issues in education. Our world is always already emerging, changing, and methodologies always ‘becoming’.

      When Classical Education becomes conceptual first, as Barney Charter head Terrence Moore pushed in its teacher training according to a story in The Federalist, or when APUSH became about conceptual frameworks, which Jane Robbins, Rick Hess, and Stanley Kurtz were never willing to explain the significance of in their critiques, they are making a shift that fits with the desired critical consciousness. These are lenses of how the world is seen and how students see the past and the future. It’s why the Rockefeller Foundation first began pushing this conceptual orientation in a Humanities/ English Lit focus back in 1980. It fits with a Becoming focus.

      When Howard Zinn is critiqued as pushing bad history, it misses the point of the change from a body of knowledge approach to history which has become passe across the board to the real purpose of cultivating the needed critical consciousness. That’s the real danger of Zinn. The categories of thought being pushed without an underlying body of knowledge that will recognize the redefinition of terms to have a different focus.

      • Thanks, this is very useful. On the Lit front, I think deconstructionism was used to accomplish the same thing.

        I still remember a university friend, English Literature major, whose thesis project entailed reading ten great books. You would think that she might have accomplished this via the normal curriculum but this was not the case.

        A friend and I did a big read of Foucault a few years back. I have to say that I liked his work more than I thought I would, and think, perhaps, many of his messages have been misappropriated. Just a thought.

        • As I recall Foucault, is focus on power relationships and inequities therein was focused on the mental health system, the penal system, and, I suppose, conventions governing human sexuality. It was not my perception that he developed a unified field theory of power and it has struck me that he might be pretty appalled by what has become his legacy. Bill Ayers strikes me, however, as being without redemption.

          • My. My.

            A first priority for schools should always be fulfilling their roles as democratic institutions that support a flourishing human community. Right now, our flourishing demands we place an emphasis on protecting health, and that encompasses mental health.

            That doesn’t mean we can’t engage with academic content — the current pandemic provides lots of opportunities for students to engage intellectually with disciplinary content we teach now in schools. The challenge is that the pandemic itself doesn’t know traditional school subject boundaries. To teach in the present moment is to embrace an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach to teaching, and one that is going to have to engage fully students’ affective responses to what they are experiencing and learning.

            Learning has always been an embodied, affective process, bound up with our concerns and with who we are. The present moment just makes that fact harder to ignore and escape. To rise to the challenge means to see students as whole human beings, full of dignity, and capable of great ingenuity and resourcefulness in the face of a world crisis.


            Yes, foucault came up when I was researching chapter two of ctd, but the cybernetic citizenship push of parrhesia, plus the fact that the Critical Issues paper I quoted from is on ERIC, the federal dept of ed’s database means that we have this as an aim, even when the word itself is not used. In both the ASCD paper and in that Panuel quote, we have the vision regardless. I think it fits with interviews I have read of Arnn where he attributes a similar concept to Aristotle and the crucial role of education in Character Formation. The Problem is the desired Character is most definitely not that of the historical sovereign individual. It is subservient to the will of political authority. No one should be subject to the ghastly antics of a Governor Whitmer, Newsome, Cuomo with his atrocious comment about elderly deaths in his state, or pelosi now with her doggy-do comment.

            These are all individuals with political power constantly showing poor judgment.

          • OK, I read a biography of Foucault, and think I did so because he cut such a figure in the Bay Area. His biographer asserted that Foucault’s intellectual life was informed by four questions that occurred to him in his youth. One of these involved a woman in his village who was kept chained in a shed. He was VERY disturbed by the treatment of the ‘mentally ill’, how they were diagnosed, classified, warehoused, etc. I don’t recall that he prescribed school/education as a means of ensuring ‘mental health’…I think he rejected the idea of mental illness. But, hey, I could be wrong.

          • I remember hi support for the Ayatollah Khomenei, then still in exile. Not sure why. Also he didn’t believe in a transmission of knowledge conception of education, which of course is viewed as preservative of the status quo.

            Adding this from today on how the Pandemic is the accelerant for long sought transformations, truthfully going back to John Dewey’s aspirations.

          • I probably need to stand corrected. My thought was that someone who was so virulently anti-psychiatry would not endorce psychologized education programs.

          • I don’t see how you can ‘create’ the desired consciousness without a psychologized vision of education. Again this is from the ERIC paper with the footnoted passage from his The Hermeneutics of the Subject

            Education is imposed against a backdrop of errors, distortions, bad habits, and dependencies, which have been reified since the start of life. So that it is not even a matter of returning to a state of youth or infancy where there would still have been the human being; but rather of a referring to a ‘nature’…which has never had the opportunity to emerge in a life immediately seized by a defective system of education and belief. The objective of the practice of the self is to free the self, by making it coincide with a nature which has never had the opportunity to manifest itself in it.

            That was my bolding but that coincides with the Maslow/ Rogers/ NEA 1962 humanist psychology Becoming or Education for Character in manifested in everyday decisions in several Federalistarticles on Arnn’s lectures that he attributes to Aristotle. So does Foucault who focuses on Socrates in a phrase we also see resonates with the Templeton-funded Science of Virtues or hyped as Citizenship Traits necessary for a Republic like the US: “This question raised by Socrates was how to teach virtue and knowledge required to live well and for society to truly function.”

            As I keep reiterating the sales pitch varies but not the destination a new vision of education is to instill or that we are talking about neural reengineering to anchor what is instilled. Virtual experinces just make it easier to standardize and monitor, which is why the IEEE Standards incorporating Dewey matter so much.

          • Also a yikes on this just out–

            The paper examines the legal and political impact of the Covid-19 crisis, drawing the attention to fundamental questions on authority and political legitimacy, coercion and obligation, power and cooperation. National states and sovereign governments have had and still will have a crucial role in re-establishing the public health sector and addressing the colossal challenges of economic re-construction. Scholars have accordingly discussed the set of legal means displayed during this crisis: emergency decrees, lockdowns, travel bans, and generally speaking, powers of the state of exception. The aim of this paper is to stress the limits of such perspectives on powers of national governments and sovereigns, in order to illustrate what goes beyond such powers. Focus should be on the ontological, epistemic and normative constraints that affect today’s rights and duties of national states. Such constraints correspond to a class of problems that is complex, often transnational, and increasingly data-driven. In addition, we should not overlook the lessons learnt from such fields, as environmental law and internet governance, anti-terrorism and transnational business law, up to the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Such fields show that legal co-regulation and mechanisms of coordination and cooperation complement the traditional powers of national governments even in the times of the mother of all pandemics. The Covid-19 crisis has been often interpreted as if this were the last chapter of an on-going history about the Leviathan and its bio-powers. It is not. The crisis regards the end of the first chapter on the history of today’s information societies.


  2. Excuse me, excuse me — care of the self, is also described as “culture of the self”, or, as though moving into Erhard’s territory, “‘technologies’ of the self”.

    Thinking a bit more, too, about the anti-, or post-expertise crowd, we do have a guy w/o a college degree in ‘any’ field dictating public health policy (globally), and a 16-year-old leading a (global) climate change movement.

    Also, I have been noting for quite a while that a doctoral degree in ‘any’ field seems to confer to recipients the perceived right to speak ‘knowledgeably’ about ‘every’ field. Biggest sophists, hands-down, are the ideology workers involved in ‘mental’ health, education, and, I am guessing, journalism.

  3. Well, I KNOW what E. Michael “Degenerate Moderns” Jones would say about all of this…and Foucault’s rationale and agenda.

    And, I know that pop philosophers like Steven Hicks say that Foucault and his immediate contemporaries were as able as they were to effectively drive their post-modernist agenda BECAUSE they had been classically educated…

    I, am just saying that I found quite a lot of his writing/his publications, e.g.:

    to be VERY comprehensible.

    Maybe, the extreme remedy proposed related to extreme dysfunction he attuned himself to?

    I just think that there are A LOT of actors in all of this, but Foucault is a convenient fall guy.

    • Take a look at this

      Learning standards certainly appears to me to be consistent with this concept of ‘governmentality’. You will see a link at the bottom to a different spelling of Parrhesia.

      This came up after this paper “Sovereigns, Viruses, and the Law: The Normative Challenges of Pandemic in Today’s Information Societies” was linked to by the same group that focused me on cybernetic citizenship. is a better link than the one they provided.

      I also need to pull my notes on the World Summit on the Information Society and its follow-ups, but I seem to recall one of them was in Turin, where Ugo Pagallo is a law prof.

    • Ding. Ding. Ding.

      n terms of a research agenda, Larner and Walters, and indeed many others already cited here, have noted the extent to which governmentality offers an agenda that is problem centered, and accepts an account of power as fragmented, shares many of the assumptions of social constructivism regarding intersubjective understanding and constitutive explanation, and embraces the contingency of identities.

      From here

      Looks like good reason to make Foucault someone that others want to represent instead of allowing us to read what he wrote ourselves and recognize, as I have, what else it relates to currently in play.

      • Ding, ding, ding…

        Foucault, in a nutshell, and right or wrong was CONTESTING modernity in so far as how we have been led to conceptualize ‘progress’ in education, penal systems, medicine — and particularly, the mental ‘health’ industry — and sexuality.

        I think that his work variously questions whether ‘modern’ education is more efficacious and ‘humane’; modern penal systems more just; modern medicine more ‘curative’; modern mental heath constructs and treatments more ‘humanizing’, modern ‘sexology’-based sex, sexier?

        I think he makes valid points about ‘power’ in so far as if agents of the state draw and quarter a person in the public square, it is quite clear to all who controls the levers of power; whereas the current prison industrial complex makes this less clear.

        On ‘madness’, well he does point out that in pre-modern societies the ‘mad’ were construed as people who were simply different and to be tolerated, whereas ‘now’ they are to be cured of their difference.

        Yes, he did creatively mine the historical record to support his various theses, but I am not sure this is in anyway akin to the construction of an entirely false narrative by a Howard Zinn.

        So, yeh, I agree that:

        “Looks like good reason to make Foucault someone that others want to represent instead of allowing us to read what he wrote ourselves and recognize, as I have, what else it relates to currently in play.”

        and, further, might it be that they have taken one of their fiercest critics and posthumously flipped him into an advocate? Wouldn’t be the first time.

        Reply ↓

        • The idea that he picked up on the potential if governments began to dictate prevailing categories of thought and gave it a name ‘governmentality’ is fascinating since it is precisely what learning standards are now doing globally and, mostly, invisibly except here. Yesterday I found this paper that is once again from a law school. This passage seems to go to your point and fits, quite frankly, with where Tranzi OBE under its various names also intended to go.

          In this view, therefore, the role of analysis is not to point the way to some new programmatic politics which will liberate us all. Paradoxically that would only expose us to new forms of subjection and ‘subjectification’ – prescribed forms of identity or self such as ‘proletarian’ or even ‘feminist’ – for such programs always tell us both how to be free, and what we must do to achieve this state. For Foucault and his colleagues this was the main lesson to be learned from the politics of Marxism. Instead, the focus was to be on destabilising and questioning the present by revealing its contingent formation, its non-necessity. In governmentality, emphasis would be on how that which appears as necessary is to be understood as assembled together out of available materials, ideas, practices and so on, in response to a specific understanding of the nature of the problems to be solved. In tandem with this, emphasis was placed on the understandings and constructions of the world that give rise to efforts to change it. In this view, that which appears natural is not to be taken for granted as something – like ‘population’ or ‘the economy’ – unproblematically real and just waiting to be discovered. Rather, it is to be regarded as invented, reflecting or embodying governmental understandings of the way things are. In the same moment, as the arbitrariness of many taken-for-granted categories in the present is made visible, possibilities for change emerge – the analytic gives rise to insights into how things might have been otherwise, and thus how they could be different in the future. Thus while the response of many was to regard the Foucaultian project as pessimistic or nihilistic, its self image was of an analytic that invited us not to look for simplistic formulae for freedom, but to examine the implications of all governance for how we should each live, for an ethic of the self rather than a programmatic politics for others – in terms of which all will be governed ‘for their own good’.

          The idea of risk is also important because the kind of decision-making education is pushing now is probableistic and the author is giving all these risks that the welfare states had government take on. Now with the Pandemic we have governments stepping in and shutting down healthy people prophylactically by saying there is this unknown, serious risk and it’s our job to control most aspects of life “for your own good.” Government’s perception of ‘subjective well-being’ overrides the individual’s perception of it, even though as you have noted there is no indication that whatever his degrees the individual Dr Fauci has particularly good judgment when interpreting models. Many of us would ask much better questions and scrutinise the data and the unseen consequences of these shutdowns than he has done in any of the purported plagues he has hyped over the years.

          The lockdowns are essentially a rejection of the sovereign individual as a self-governing entity. Education will dictate your categories of thought and assess it at least annually to make sure the student is in compliance and the categories have become neurally embedded habits of mind. That’s the internal. The Lockdowns represent an external assertion of override power against individuals. The perceieved common good must prevail in the 21st century. Apparently both are essential components of no one left behind by 2030.

          Did you know Fauci is on the Gates Foundation Global Challenges Board along with someone from Imperial College with its massively wrong model behind the lockdowns. Gates also funded the global Achievement Standards behind the dictated categories of thought, now turned into learning objects. Internal and external–think that’s a coincidence?

          • What if we think about Foucault and the expropriation of his thought in the same way we looked at Buddhism, “mindfulness”, etc.?

            His theses, outlook and output have an ‘integrity’ (LOGOS) like any other body of work. You can agree with it, disagree, but you can also misrepresent, misappropriate, cherry pick.

            A collaborator of mine critiques the Erhard ‘coaching’ bag of tricks for its ‘eclecticism’ — there is a lack of internal coherence.

            Seems like we see the same thing prevails in ‘edu’ constructs. Maybe, we see the same things, too, in the historiography of Howard Zinn?

            I am sitting here looking at a slide depicting the ‘history’ of the coaching field, philosophical and cultural antecedents. In the upper left quadrant there is a group entitled, “philosophers”. In that group are: Jesus Christ, Buddha, Lao Tsu, Martin Heidegger and Fernando Flores.

            Most people laugh when they see this, but, I think it reveals that the creator has simply failed to understand the ‘work’ of any of these people, or intellectual integrity, in general.

            And, I saw the very same thing in my HBS collaborator(s).

            So, one can map all of this and wonder at it, but, maybe, it is just as important to look at the M.O., and, what my friends calls ‘eclecticism’ is most definitely part of the M.O.

            My belief is that there IS a coherent structure underneath it all, coherent in so far as it is emating from a common source of body of thought, but this cannot simply be put on the table.

            I might liken this to the current COVID-19 sophistry, or to HIV/AIDS for that matter. Neither construct is based on medicine or science, as usual. In neither case has rigor or peer review been brought to bear in even DEFINING what these constructs ARE. They ‘seem’ to be part of a religious belief system, are taken as being true, on faith…right?

          • You mentioned Fernando Flores and as I was organizing some notes because one of my daughters wants to turn that room into a work at home office I discovered that Flores was a co-author with Charles Spinosa and Herbert Dreyfus (Arationality advocate as a rejection of the historic Western Mind) called Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity. Published in 1997, it appears readily available via several sources on web. My hard copy was a review of the article with the title: “Action Research as History-Making”.

   is still available more than 5 years after I first encountered it. Seems pertinent to OD and coaching as well in all the ways you do not care for.

          • Enter Larry Brilliant, slayer of viruses.

            Brilliant has a VERY interesting background. He was propelled to fame by the media when he agreed to act as a physician to dissident Native American prisoners during the Alcatraz Prison siege.

            He has connections to Stewart Brand, and spent time in an Indian ashram where he received his mandate as global virus killer.

          • Amazing Polly made a very interesting discovery about Fauci. His wife is Christine Grady, Chief of the NIH’s department of bioethics, Head of the Section on Human Subjects Research. Polly reports that as revealed in a 2005 paper by Grady, the approach to research on “human subjects” was “communitarian,” ie said subjects were coming to see it as their duty to sacrifice themselves for the sake of medical research as guinea pigs. And lo, what do we see? A bunch of healthy volunteers lining up without monetary inducement to receive coronavirus experimental vaccines, untested in animals, warned about as potentially very dangerous even by strong advocates of vaccination in principle; these volunteers being heralded as heroes. This is Grady’s vision of “bioethics.” Polly also notes that by 2017, G. had dropped the uses of the term “communitarian” because people were on to it. I wonder of Grady has had an influence on Fauci’s neural pathways?

          • That is fascinating Deborah. Not communitarian as a code word, how about solutionary?

            In fact, given that the educational system lies at the root of so many other societal systems that we’ve created, failing to take this opportunity to examine schooling and transform it wisely means failing to effectively address every other problematic system that emerges from “educated” minds. Our political, economic, energy, healthcare and production systems, just to name a few, could be dramatically improved by a generation that was simply educated differently.

   is the full article.

            So, let’s put on our solutionary glasses and make this vision a reality. When our children return to their school buildings, let them find a new system starting to take root—a system that will not only help humanity avert future crises but will also offer young people an education rich in meaning and purpose. Let school become the place where students learn what it takes to create a future in which all can thrive. If we transform schooling in this way, we’ll create an educational system worthy of our kids and the world they will both inherit and shape.

            “A future in which all can thrive” is the MH society and little ‘c’ communism. Yes, those vaccines are quite dangerous, especially since they are going to RNA of each volunteer with potentially tragic results.

        • Gee, right on cue to my point above.

          Can these five elements of a reimagined capitalism really take hold in the world we have today? Sometimes the case studies suggest that all we need is a leader with clear vision to step in and take charge. In most examples, however, a crisis of some kind triggered the change—such as a personal tragedy, a financial downturn, a spectacular Greenpeace protest, or, in the particular case of Mauritius, a revolution. Even then, the transition sometimes took 5 or 10 years.

          If crisis is needed to trigger a fundamental reform of capitalism, might the coronavirus be the catalyst? The pandemic certainly demonstrates the essential role of government and collective action to sustain capitalism. If corporate leaders and investors ever fooled themselves into thinking that their success did not depend on the well-being of society, their mistake is now plain to see. It would be hopeful to think that the dreaded toll the virus is taking on human life could lead to a fundamental reshaping of capitalism along the lines that Henderson suggests. If the global economy remains moribund, it might actually give rise to renewed faith in government and a more beneficial version of capitalism. Conversely, if this disaster is not enough, it is truly frightening to think about the crisis that might be necessary.

 So Harvard’s MBA program is pushing a reimagining of capitalism. Does that explain some of your experiences with them?

          • My experience of ‘them’ was one of BAD BOUNDARIES, meaning, “what is yours is now ours”…your ideas and contributions are now ours; your clients and network are now ours. FYI, my legal advisor told me that no less than 100 Harvard graduates are fronting fraud schemes in the country.

          • Lowest intellectual standards I have ever seen, ZERO integrity in research or business — arrogance and contempt for others. Really just a ‘clown school’. Also felt there was a lot of dirty investment money in the wings.

          • ‘Harvard’ as prop in so many stories. Think Epstein with his Harvard sweatshirts; think, more recently, ‘Dr.’ Paul Cottrell wearing the ‘H’ props in every COVID-19 video.

            I meet a lot of people in the business world, people from many backgrounds. I cannot think of any group other than ‘one’ in which men in their 40’s and 50’s do not seem to have mentally matriculated beyond their university experience, and find the need to reference this in every other sentence. Maybe, better than Harvard products considering the fate of capitalism, they might want to consider whether their institution is producing functional adults.

            What I experienced, too, in these folks was virtually no interest in any scholarship accomplished outside of Harvard, or its ‘sister’ institutions, and that seems JUST A BIT presumptuous.

            Also, it became apparent even from my backwater vantage point that what was being called ‘research’ are Harvard seemed more like the pet musings of professors who were exempt from peer review.

            I would also point to the paucity of applied research in the fields of coaching and OD (global), as noted by my Japanese professor colleague, and imagine this pertains to ‘edu’, too.

            I would note that much of the language in the excerpts you have posted is utopian and messianic in nature — it is not the language of social science; science, period.

            See COVID-19, the magical ‘virus’ that infiltrates churches but not liquor stores, or hardware stores…the one that can infect at 6, 18, 30 feet and can lie fecund on surfaces, forever; the virus that kills 6/1,000.000 in Japan, but, 500+/1,000,000 in Italy, and I guess, New York State.

            My head hurts!!!

          • One thing I became aware of in the course of my interface with HBS is this. HBS runs research and education facilities in many countries, including Japan. An ostensible goal of this network is the compilation of ‘international’ case studies. These facilities also promote cultural exchange, e.g. HBS professors, in theory, visit the HBS global hubs and experience the business cultures of the countries in which they operate. Very little of this exchange actually goes on — little interest in international anything, and this would include HBS professors neglecting to even visit businesses in their mandated international junkets; which are treated more like vacations.

          • You might want to check into the Monitor Group and what led to their 2011 bankruptcy filing. The story popped into my range after some of the principals showed up in Dubai at that summit I wrote about as the dog that did not bark because I also recognized the names from what Massachusetts had been pushing in ed.

            Same with the Pioneer Institute when I went back to what they were trying to push as the problems with the Common Core, that much like the Witherspoon push in 2011 were counterfactual if someone knows this realm like I do. I saw through the narrative, but did not yet grasp it was a narrative.

          • Deborah…good find on Polly, who is AMAZING. Self-sacrifice was kinda the vibe among the 90’s victims of Fauci’s HIV/AIDS solutions, as well. Like, “We gotta try something, let ME be the first.”

            AZT was toxic as hell, but people lined up for it.

            Awhile back, I was monitoring the YouTube vlog genre, which I will call, “My Cancer Journey”, and you can see ‘it’ here, too. Cancer becomes a communal experience to be shared with one’s fan club of — given the odds — future cancer journey vloggers.

          • You asked me earlier about Intersectionality. Here is a quote from the just released Toolkit for Achieving Racial Equity through Data Integration. It involves the Broward County Schools.

            Intersectionality is simply a prism to see the interactive effects of various forms of discrimination and disempowerment. It looks at the way that racism, many times, interacts with patriarchy, heterosexism, classism, xenophobia—seeing that the overlapping vulnerabilities created by these systems actually create specific kinds of challenges. ‘Intersectionality 102,’ then, is to say that these distinct problems create challenges for movements that are only organized around these problems as separate and individual. So when racial justice doesn’t have a critique of patriarchy and homophobia, the particular way that racism is experienced and exacerbated by heterosexism, classism, etc., falls outside of our political organizing. It means that significant numbers of people in our communities aren’t being served by social justice frames because they don’t address the particular ways that they ’re experiencing discrimination.

   Financed by the Annie B Casey Foundation that finances a great deal of ed reform work.

    • Just remembered something. Gramsci argued for classical education (presumably, in the traditional sense) for the oppressed classes. No Paulo Freire for his classrooms.

  4. One of the better independent researchers,;-).

    “the digerati”

    Another individual ‘discovered/connected’ while just walking through a park…and, do remember that reality is not just “this thing before us on a proscenium stage but a movable feast”.

    Interesting comments on Ted Kaczynski…

    Additionally, intellectual dark web maestro and Harvard Ph.D., Eric Weinstein has been telling apocryphal stories about Brockman and the concern he rather recently expressed about the activities of one, Jeffrey Epstein. This story of concern falls rather flat in the light of a decades-long collaboration between Brockman and Epstein. Are these people deaf, dumb, and blind?

    Brockman is also connected to Stewart Brand.

    • Well, I will reply to this. Did a bit of research and it would appear that Mr. Brockman’s “Billionaires’ Dinners” have been well-publicized in MSM for many years, as was Mr. Epstein’s involvement. I guess now we know that he was basically financing the operation of, over much of it’s organizational life. Clearly, too, the ‘girls’ were involved from earliest days, and I found reference to one as young as ’12’ attending a Billionaires’ dinner event.

      Mr. Brockman — and, it is very difficult to get much background on this person other than he attended Babson College — liked to ask provocative questions about society, social trends and to publish the answers.

      I question might be: To what degree have Americans allowed their intellectual culture to be shaped by ongoing exercises in honey-trapping?

      The stuff has absolutely been right out on the table, in plain sight for a very long time, and it should not have been up to heavily-tatoo’ed, chain-smoking musicians to surface it.

  5. I would like to talk about a person called Dr. P. R. Dr. P. R. is a product of MIT Sloan School of Business. Here in Japan, she is an adjunct professor in the business department of a prominent Japanese international university. She instructs courses in a global MBA program, and, possibly, the DBA program.

    Post 3/11 quake, and when I had heard that the prominent Japanese university had lost many of its international students, and, maybe permanently, I approached Dr. P.R. and asked if we could build an admit a local cohort to study X. She agreed to champion this with faculty. I, and a number of parties interested in this program (all highly qualified) received a series of instructions regarding how we were to apply, quality for admission to the university’s business program, e.g. take the GRE, write a research proposal — usual stuff. Where it god dogdy was the research proposal. First of all, it is a little odd to be required to do this on the front-end of a doctoral program, and the parameters described were ‘odd’, as in, “just use Google for the literature review, just “throw in four or five citations”. During this prep process, Dr. P.R. invited me and another applicant to attend a dissertation review session the faculty was hosting. At this session, Japanese students presented their research projects and received f/b from faculty. These students ALL seemed to have Dr. P.R. as their advisor since they were publishing in Engish.

    This is an adult education program, for the most part, and these gentlemen were senior business leaders, VERY. The research topics were really quite interesting, but there did not seem to have been a lot of scholarship involved. I talked to one candidate after the presentations and he informed me that Dr. P.R. reversed-engineered all of their projects…meaning they wrote them UP, and she attached citations (quite creatively) after the fact. The point was, why they wanted to work with HER is that she had ‘in’s’ with NYC publishers…and, could get their not so rigorous efforts published as books in the U.S. Now these guys were not ‘physicists’, or science writers, but they were opining on some pretty important matters related to the Japanese economy, geopolitics, etc. Additionally, some had teaching roles in local universities or had strategic planning functions in their organizations that might have benefitted from their developing skills commensurate with doctoral studies.

    Saw same in my own research project, also sorta stewarded by an HBS product — no idea about how to do a lit review, or that such things are even necessary — YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW SOMEBODY. This party was also teaching (WIDELY) in local business programs.

    And, this would be WHY I now urge client organizations not to educate their employees at these brand institutions.

    We can discuss the finer points of parrhesia, BUT, and I realize the flight from rigor is related to TRANZI OBE — but, this stuff is just rotten, and fraudulent, and dangerous, and damaging to all concerned, IMHO.

    End of rant.

  6. How, ‘exactly’ did a guy, who presumably has an undergraduate business degree — Babson College, become an editor, promoter, and impresario of the most luminous science minds on the planet, whilst running a dating service with Mr. Epstein? How, exactly, does that work? I guess there would be a ‘staff’ involved, somehwere…and, maybe, offshore?

  7. I have been listening to these stories for years…and, there is a common theme, which I will call, “I was just…”

    “I was just driving down the highway looking for a hotel, late at night, when I found The Esalen Institute.”

    “I was just walking through Central Park, playing my bango, when…”

    “I was just chatting with an Indian spiritual master on a mountain top, when…”

    “I was just driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, when I was TRANSFORMED…”

    Does anybody else have these experiences? I don’t.

    • Those are simply plausible stories that are difficult to disprove that hide the fact that so many Transformationalists have ties to each other. At least an early Robert Kegan book has him thanking hismentor and, I think, thesis advisor, Lawrence Kohlberg of the Moral Development Framework China used as part of its CCP-approved new Citizenship curriculum for HK. shows the stepping stone point we have been making. Notice the reference to the International Science Council. They were involved with the Belmont Challenge and the Future Earth Partnership, which MIT is also a partner in. I wrote about it in the early days of this blog after stumbling across. It was one of the reasons I started this blog. To be able to talk about all these explicit transformational plans while the book was being published. Also remember MIT is a partner in Charles Fadel’s CCR–Center for Curriculum Redesign. Remember they too are obsessed with Character.

      As the Social Credit post put it on cybernetic citizenship and its need for a certain kind of habituated Civic Virtue: “citizens ought to have certain qualities to sustain social order and harmony.” That is, ordinary citizens do. Your stories reveal that there is an express lane to ‘success’ and lucrative offers for an elite willing to ape the right points and push the desired memes. Sounds much like the lucrative District Super jobs, doesn’t it?

      • Well, notice the de-emphasis on literature reviews and real research. I guess they can’t come right out and say that this ‘learning program’ is not about learning but meme recitation — AND YOU WILL BE REWARDED.

        I can report, too, that I worked for a consulting firm (that shall go nameless) in which managers were known to conspire to operantly condition employees — and, I don’t mean usual performance management, but something much closer to say what Ted Kaczynski experienced in his Harvard ‘study’.

        There is a high degree of convergence of thought and action and a shared vision. I am thinking, for some reason, of, say, the British colonialization of India — the colonizers shared a cultural ‘ideal’ or way of being, which they rolled out in lock-step on a population. That ‘ideal’ way of being was, however, formed via centuries of collective experience. One might think of the Catholic Church, as well. The formation of these thought systems is not difficult to trace and understand. In the instant, case, though, we seem to have a more diffuse culture and one that does not identify itself, though I have picked up on various ‘code’ words.

        For instance, I know a consultant, here, who manages to drop the name “John Dewey” into WAY too many conversations. I think that “OD” is another ‘code’ term. I mean one thing when I use, but fellow travelers have a whole other meaning.

        That said, I think the commissioners of the British Rag, or Catholicization campaigns HAD personally experienced the sort of social or intellectual order they wished to impose on others. For the ‘transformationalists’ I have to believe this is more of an imaginative exercise — though I may be wrong.

        I do recall no less than Noam Chomsky describing his brief stint working on a kibbutz as having been ‘transformational’ — that he could imagine no more perfect human organization.

        I feel the same sentiments coming from members of my undergraduate cohort — this effort to recapture and/or continue to live an experience that was lost on my the first time around.

        We talk a lot about China, social credits, and inculcated civic virtues. My own interaction with that population suggests that people have learned to feign attitudes and behaviors but a WHOLE other life is going on, under the surface. The Chinese may be more resistant to the boot stamping on a human face, forever, than certain Western populations.

        • On another note, and this relates to COVID-19 conditioning, I have been engaging with Filipina expatriate to Japan and hearing of the efforts of their local community, here, to aid people back home. Based on the stories, I imagined an entire country ravaged by the virus. When I checked, last night, the official stats on infections and deaths in that country, I found these to be approximate to those of Japan. NOT SAYING people are not dying — just that it seems quite easy to create mass hysteria.

        • Maybe, this discussion does loop back to Mr. Foucault in terms of understanding ‘power’ that is, essentially, faceless?

          • I sent this to a college English prof who pronounced it tragic. Look where Equity gets you. Talk about spouting memes.

            High school literary analysis and theory can be more engaging if the reading material is changed from complex literature to basic stories, 12th-grade English teacher Crystalee Calderwood writes for Edutopia. While she typically used texts from Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe, Calderwood flipped to children’s books and fairytales like Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” to examine base-level components.
            Calderwood started by having students examine the stories through different viewpoints in small groups then share their findings with the entire class.​ Students were told there weren’t wrong answers to their analyses, but that they needed to support their theory with examples from the text.
            Opening students to other points of view can help them gain life skills in addition to improving their academic work.

   is the underlying Edutopia story. Notice all the emphasis on using ‘theory’ to analyze the world and experiences. This is something I have been working on as I believe it links together all the conceptual frameworks where students are trained to use theories for interpretation without underlying collections of factual knowledge. Think like a Scientist, Mathematician, Historian, Literary Critic. It’s Arational, not Logical. Nothing to recognize an Inapt Metaphor when it is being pushed to be an interpretive tool. Or as the Edutopia article called it “the assigned lens’.

            As a summative assessment of my students’ ability to analyze using a literary theory, I gave them two versions of the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea”: Hans Christian Andersen’s and “The Princess and the Bowling Ball” by Jon Scieszka. I once again allowed them to choose their own lens to look through—I felt it was more important for them to feel confident about their ability than to force them to use literary theories they might not understand. Although some students used the same theory as before, I was happy to see that others chose different lenses with confidence. They each wrote a multi-paragraph analysis using their chosen lens, and I provided them with written feedback that clarified any misconceptions they had about their chosen theory.

            It’s easy for students to see things as black-and-white or right and wrong, so it’s no wonder that learning how to apply literary theory is so difficult. Throughout the process, I emphasized that there are no right or wrong answers in literary analysis, as long as they could use textual evidence to support their analysis.

            My ultimate learning goal for my students is for them to apply this type of thinking to real-life circumstances. I hope that by having open and honest conversations about our perspectives, I’ve at least encouraged my students to consider alternative points of view to be just as valid as their own.

            Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete. We are using children’s lit to teach children to think theoretically about ‘real world circumstances’. That’s DiaMat. Ilyenkov would be so proud.

      • You know, I think I have had such an interesting ‘ride’ in all of this because JAPAN, along with a few other nations, has been a perennial thorn in the side of ‘globalist’ anything and, by extension, transformationalist, anything — which I think is why I think they tried to get their hooks in pretty early. The NTL was all over this culture in the 70’s, trying to REFORM Japanese hierarchical corporate structures. And, then we had Erhard setting up shop, here in the early 90’s…to school the Japanese in FAKE Zen.

        Maybe it is a matter of wildly eclectic b.s. structure, v.s. another wildly eclectic b.s. structure, ZOOMING each other, as Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul liked to say.

        I can tell you who I am betting on.

        JP just did a FAKE Covid-19, Kabukii-style lockdown, kept its industrial capability,.in tact, and will make it up with the little people on the back-end.

        I have been meditating on the activities of recently-incarnated folk hero, Ted Kaczynski.

        I had always thought that his targets were quite random, as in what individual or organization was pissing him off during a given cycle — but, now, I am thinking, .method to the madness; it was a multivariate approach, with a couple of variables receiving exquisite attention — his attacks were CODED.

        Perhaps in the next creepy cycle of broadway musicals, we will have instead of “Hamilton”, “Kaczynski”, played by a Sigiourney Weaver, or Pam Greer…director, Quentin Tarantino…

        • Why is he a folk hero? An acquaintance of mine had clerked for that federal judge he killed.

          One of the things fascinating about the book that covered the experiments done on him at Harvard when he was there as a prodigy was what else I knew from my research into ed activities was going on there at the time. It was like getting another puzzle piece in the cybernetic journey.

          All of this Pandemic hype though has really allowed the CCP to turn Hong Kong into something it rules, not something governed. Tranzi OBE will have the same effect as does cybernetic citizenship using it. I was working on a point yesterday after insights from an article on Zinn directed me to with this spiel

          The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

          Principles and Practices–motivation and action, inside and out–just like the cybernetic template. I started reading other essays and discovered that. like Arnn’s Founder’s Key, bad history is just a template to pitch theory and desired lenses like ‘human equality’. I started looking into the background of the authors of the essays and they were virtually all political science profs. Imposing political theories while pretending they are Founding Principles. One even got his Masters and PhD from the New School–an excellent place to swim in MH theory and learn to impose it while never using the M word.

          As with your experiences, people are being trained to ape memes that are not their own without a body of knowledge to back up the creation of the memes. Everyone is interested in controlling the likely nodes of the mind these days. Turns out the financial backer of that site is also on the Board of The Federalist, which is always pushing Hillsdale, Arnn’s courses, his Aristotle vision of character as the purpose of ed which looks like the MH vision, and the Barney Charter Initiative several years ago as the supposed antidote to the Common Core.

          As I keep stating. Same destination, same techniques aimed at controlling ‘principles and practices’ to inculcate desired thinking and right actions until they become neurally established Habits of Mind. No wonder the Hillsdale grads in economics I sat next to at a Cato luncheon several years ago could not actually discuss economics very well. It was a collection of memes to them, not a body of knowledge thoroughly established and analyzed from a variety of directions. (I majored in History but minored in economics. Both have been areas of interest in non-fiction books for decades).

          • I suppose because he had a prescient vision about the techno nightmare and tried to do something about it, albeit, wrong-headedly.

            What is that adage about the mark of an educated person being they can speak with reasonable knowledge for five minutes on a reasonable range of subjects. I know Ph.D’s who cannot knowledgeably speak for five minutes on their own area of expertise..many.

            My Harvard and MIT buddy castigated me because I am curious about a number of things. I had the impression that, for them, you only acquired knowledge so you could monetize it.

            In that John Brockman piece, the journalist ascribes to Brockman the full-monetization of the internet, digital media. This would align with the full -monetization of the academy.

            On another note, friends and I are discussing the failure by the Catholic Church to catechize children or converts. This is very widespread.

            One thing I realized during the ‘act’ of finally being trained in the ‘rosary’ is that contained in this prayer cycle are most of the values of Western Civ. These are embedded in the traditional liturgy, as well.

            If you were intent on destroying Western Civ, you would end or subvert catechesis.

          • Ugh, I read the Zinn piece. It reminded me of a rather shocking experience I had a few years back when I did some teaching for an international language school that shall go nameless. There I encountered recent graduates of American social science programs. I had one tell me with ALL seriousness that the U.S. was founded with the Treaty of France. This person also believed that ‘Moors’ had written the Declaration of Independence and had contributed to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. When I asked him who/what ‘Moors’ were in this case, he had no idea. This fellow had the interesting history of having been a Korean orphan, adopted and raised by a ‘white’ family in the Mid-West. It sounded like a very loving family, and not a half bad place to grow up, but my colleague characterized his Kansan community as having been brutally racist.

            One wonders where Howard Zinn’s utopia was/is located.

          • The irony of the Zinn piece is that it makes ‘prominent historians’ the refutation to Zinn instead of taking on his bad facts directly. Do you know how many places I have where the MH narrative lays out how Bailyn’s analysis is a classic example of a Marxist analysis without using the ‘M’ word. Same with his student Gordon Woods. All that emphasis on the categories of thought. Its not my assertion, but others.

            My point is that like making communism about China or the USSR instead of what Uncle Karl laid out as his Human Development Model that needs a moral revolution that the Parrhesia ed model coupled to Tranzi OBE certainly delivers, we get the MH vision and requisite thinking changes all while complaining about Zinn the Marxist. He unquestionably was, but we are being corralled into misunderstanding the brand so that our students are still being taught to think in terms of supplied categories, concepts, Big Ideas, Lenses–in other words THEORIES is still on the table for a charter school to use or a private or a school district while hyping itself erroneously as being Common Core free. They are constructing a desired internalized common core of Knowledge, Skills, and emotional Dispositions. That’s the desired Common Core Goodlad laid out.

            I took a nice walk earlier in an area park and was thinking about how all these students are being given the theories they are to use. It’s nothing like what an Isaac Newton did during the Plague Summer when he was stuck in Cambridge and developed the Theory of Gravity and Calculus to fit his experiences. He had the facts to have some idea whether theories make sense in a given circumstance. Not these students. Their first inclination they have been taught an erroneous concept on something like gravity will be when the ground approaches because they did not see the danger of a leap.

        • I think I have mentioned that as an undergrad I was allowed to create my own curriculum in lieu of my enrollment in a Classics Department that had just been dissolved. My university had just imported nine professors from Cornell. One of these was a Freud scholar. I read Freud and the neo-Freudians with him for a couple of years. During this time, he showed me seminars he was conducting on Maurice Sendak. He was using children’s books as vehicles of literary analysis. I thought he was NUTS and I wondered where in the hell this was coming from. The cluster college he was attached to was pure CRITICAL THEORY. It produced a lot of damaged people.

          I am always struck that we dealing with a group of people who have a malevolent hatred for Western Civ but have nothing to replace it with.

  8. To Leslie’s point about catechesis: The trajectory of instruction within the Catholic mainstream perfectly mirrors that of progressive secular education. Systematic catechesis would demand rote memorization of the facts, and we can’t have that, you know. And of course, typical RCIA courses are poor, dessicated affairs in terms of content. I once had a conversation with a convert who had recently joined our traditional parish, and she told me she learned more about the faith from the first homily she heard there than she had learned cumulatively since she had become Catholic.

    The same is the case with Catholic schools, which typically teach a mishmash of social justice progressivism and little that can be termed rigorous instruction either in the religious or secular subjects. That’s why many reflexively embraced Common Core Standards without blinking an eye. In mirror image, those which rejected the Common Core go in for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, abstractions to which content is subordinated; I imagine the kids put through that kind of curriculum would betray the same kind of superficiality Robin reported in her conversations with Hillsdale students. I wrote a whole series of articles laying out this thesis.

  9. Uh oh is Hillsdale a faux conservative and/or communitarian educ institution? I thought they were pro-Constitution?

    Regarding the Ivy Leagues, did any of you ever watch the 60s movie “The Brotherhood of the Bell”? It’s hard to find; starred Glen Ford. Wonder if it is not in play in high level education – not with every student of course, but with the chosen few.

    Excellent very brainy articles and posts! 🙂

    • This from May 2018 lays out some of my concerns when the focus is on the conceptual as Knowledge. The Barney Charter Initiative is what first caught our eye here at ISC. I also wrote a post about Arnn’s book The Founder’s Key and how much it reminded me of what Amitai Etzioni was pushing as well. Mr communitarian himself who also showed up at cybernetic conferences back in the 60s.

      Will try to locate that as well. I found the post where I talked about the book in question . It was Etzioni’s The New Golden Rule

    • Hi Lee, I hadn’t seen “The Brotherhood of the Bell”, but I have NOW. There is a full-version of the film available on YouTube. The “Bell Brotherhood” seems to be an allusion to Skull & Bones-type secret societies that were/are attached to fraternities at elite universities.

      I guess it is harder to imagine these things ‘not’ existing.

      I attended a baby Ivy League liberal arts college, which did feature a fraternity and sorority row. The institutions were really out of favor at the time, or at least with my cohort, so I had little interaction.

      Later, however, and during my “cougar” period, I dated a member of the infamous Chi Phi chapter at U.C. Berkeley. I was sheltered for four days by the Chi Phi brothers after the 1989 Bay Area earthquake, and experienced, vicariously, fraternity life. This seemed to be all about condom jokes, running around naked save for towels, drinking too much, whilst probably studying rather hard when no one was looking.

      That said, my young Chi Phi persistently complained about his having been approached by more ‘elite’ and secretive orders on that campus, and he maintained these guys got up to really creepy things. I will spare us all the details, but will say that these creepy activities were of the sort that would have been HUGELY interesting to a certain French philosopher we have been discussing, and who had taught on that campus, and in that same department to which my Chi Phi was attached.

      This brings me to the point of how ‘some’ academics seem to lead really charmed lives, and despite what might otherwise be career-derailing moral flaws. We had one such individual on my own campus, a ‘cultural’ anthropologist — whose Martin Buber lectures I unfortunately attended — was not dismissed even after he had been charged with kidnapping a co-ed, trafficking her across an international border and hanging her naked and screaming by her feet from the veranda of his Mexican hotel room.

      My take on at least CA-based academic institutions is that some/many are secret societies in and of themselves, though there are, no doubt, normal and oblivious students AND faculty ..going through the motions in these places of higher learning.

      • WHY I think Ted Kackzynski is the embodiment of culture HERO.

        Sadly, it is only in the telling of the story above that I recognize what my Chi Phi was experiencing. He was a VERY bright individual, and I was never put off by the age differential. His dream had been to study philosophy at Cal with John Searle, et al, and this he did.

        We had a long-term Cougar/Chi Phi relationship, and I watched without complete understanding his radicalization against ALL things CAL, all thinks Berkeley, and all things ‘hippie’. It became VERY extreme…he would beg me to drive him around S.F. ‘hunting for hippies’. ‘Hippie’ spotted, I would slow the car, he would jump out an PUNCH ‘it’ in the face. Just a little pop, and then back in the car…

        I know this sounds AWFUL but I got it/get it. Never wanted to work up to his incredible abilities…joined bike messenger culture — after relocating to Japan, hooked up with tech team monitoring ice flows in Tasmania — which secured the ultimate goal — no contact with human beings.

        Let’s just say there is, has been for a long time, something going on in CA institutions of ‘higher’ learning. I have felt the world-class ‘programming’ every time I have interacted with one.


        • Martin Buber lectures, it figures. Did he mention anything about Truth and Beauty, in addition to Luv?

          Your story ranks with that of a gentleman who murdered his girlfriend, a classmate of mine at my Ivy League college, stuffed her into a trunk, and high tailed it to Sweden. This after taking credit for founding Earth Day.

          Ira Einhorn, RIP.

          I’ve been sympathetic with Kaczynski ever since I learned about his abuse at Harvard some time ago. A culture hero or a profoundly tragic figure. Robin has made some very astute remarks about some of the worst shooters, for example the perp of the Aurora theater shooting.

          • He did indeed mention Truth and Beauty. He insisted on holding these Buber seminars in his apartment — a not uncommon custom among faculty. He hosted these seminars wearing a sort of male sarong… lots of flesh showing and made inappropriate comments about female students in attendance. Had I been told he had a dead girl hidden in a trunk in his closet, I would have believed it.

            So, you knew Holly Maddox? I have been investigating the Einhorn murder; there occurred a spate of murders attached to people who had been attached to the Esalen Insitute. Do you recall Richard Bandler being charged with the murder of Corine Christensen? There are also questions about the death of his second wife. Quite a few ‘suicides’ among Esalen key leaders, too, and the mysterious death of Dick Price who was allegedly killed by a falling boulder on a path he walked every day.

            You may be interested to know that Ira Einhorn and Werner Erhard were both members, at Esalen, of a group called the “Council of Nine”. This group was attempting to channel the voices of a variety of deities, and, most particularly, Egyptian deities. They were also doing illicit experiments on children deemed to have paranormal powers — Uri Geller was one of these research subjects. I have found anecdotal accounts of meetings between Erhard and Einhorn in Paris and believe their association extended beyond the Esalen group. I think Robin has, maybe, talked about, is knowledgeable about some of the human experiments Erhard financed at Esalen; UFO stuff, remote viewing stuff. Bandler had some involvement with this as well…was a military contractor…did some kind of work to develop super-soldiers.

            It seems to me that this stuff exists on a spectrum…ranging from the blatantly illegal and abusive experiments Ted Kaczynski was involved in, to the molding of young minds by sybaritic cultural anthropologists wearing sarongs…to whatever happened to my former boyfriend in the philosophy department at CAL, and which sent him fleeing to Ice Station Zebra — and, Common Core, and other programs that re-engineer neural pathways, and thought processes.

            Have you noted the absence of ‘informed consent’? I have.

            Also, in that so much of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology is NOT grounded in rigorous, peer-reviewed research…can we call this and ALL transformational development programs ‘religious’ in nature, and proscribe these from the workplace, using Title 12?

            Most recent Title 12 cases seem to focus on protecting the right to religious expression in the workplace, e.g. the wearing of hijabs, but very few seem to be aimed at protecting employees from the covert expression of religion, or ideology contained in training programs.

          • Take a look at this and its aspirations for K-12. Notice too the reference to Empathy.

            You may have heard the phrase, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” voiced by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz many years ago. Her problems seem small in comparison to some we’re facing in today’s world. Many of our problems keep repeating themselves throughout history, finding their way into our popular culture, including fictional stories. So in this era, rather than lions, tigers and bears, we might think about zombies, vampires and other fantastical scenarios, OH MY! Even though these types of situations may seem a little silly, exploring them can help increase understanding of some of those more real, difficult problems we’re working to solve. So, given that…

            How can zombie chickens taking over the world be similar to a growing national debt or the possible extinction of an endangered species?
            How can the distribution of a new mind-control technology be similar to working toward a goal, like improving your grades?
            How can vampires spreading throughout a big city be similar to the spread of a new deadly disease?

            These and other included explorations are about deriving helpful answers, but the REAL point is to see how the underlying system works. As an example, if we were talking about automobiles, one set of lessons is to learn how to drive a car, but another – deeper – set of instructions is how to build and maintain an automobile. In the following chapters, we are going to be looking “underneath the hood” of each model.

            Also, it’s important for us all to recognize that no model is ever going to be perfect, but model makers know that, and they continuously work to improve them to make them behave closer to how things work in the real world.
            Why should you care?

            Barry Richmond, creator of STELLA® software,coined the term “Systems Citizen.” The term is grounded in his idea that if people increase their awareness and insights about the systems around them, they can better make logical decisions while increasing their empathy at the same time. He illustrated this point by showing an image of someone who was clearly not aware of how his actions impacted others. Chris Soderquist later wrote this definition, “Systems Citizens have empathy, they respect others, and they wish to make the world a better place for everyone.”

            As you use this book, your understanding of systems in general and these systems in particular will increase. If our understanding of systems expands, the hope is we’ll also make decisions that result in a better world for all.


            It certainly puts Mind Arson and a push away from lectures into perspective.

          • Do you remember that the definition of what constitutes Evidence-Based Education comes from the Kellogg Foundation? This is their statement from yesterday. Notice it is all about the need to “build equitable systems”. Those need Managed Minds of the cybernetic citizenship variety.

            The outrage continues to grow and with good reason.

            The horror of watching one Black man’s life being choked off requires outrage. The violence and inhumanity that killed George Floyd, minute by awful minute, is a prism for the callous force of structural racism. Every screen is witness to its brutal contempt for human life.

            The resulting fury — first locally, now nationally and internationally — expresses our collective grief in a moment of solidarity.

            Because when no version of “the talk” can keep a person of color safe, when leaders fail to lead and systems don’t protect, fury only rises. That’s why the crowds are growing and filled with people of every color and age. They voice a common humanity crying for leadership and resolve.

            We stand with them today, as we have for decades.

            The communities where we work intensively, and our grantees and partners, recognize the root cause in this moment. People of color, immigrants, Native Americans, people in jails and prisons, the poor — the ones suffering and dying in greater numbers — bear the brunt of racial inequity in every system. Their work, our shared work on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is to address the structural racism behind inequities — to expose it, undo it and help communities heal from its wounds.

            At this point in time, when COVID-19 deaths have surpassed 100,000 lives lost and the effects of structural racism are exposed on every screen, we stand with our grantees and partners and call upon leaders in every circle, large or small, to raise their voices on behalf of our common humanity.

            Now is our opportunity to commit to building the equitable systems that will safeguard children, their families and communities everywhere.


            And I could walk to the area set on fire here Friday night. Soon I will be able to bike there. Rhetoric matters.

          • On “Empathy” below…well, I live in an end-stage Marxist society, which I would also describe as a ZERO empathy for the individual culture. For sure, there is an almost insane focus on making systems better, and ALL seem to derive satisfaction from sharing a better system — BUT, interpersonal relationships are pretty horrific — flat, bland, and never deepening. The ‘self’ is essentially gone.

            Deborah asked me in personal communication, how I felt the Catholic rosary was an embodiment of Western Civ, or contained key elements of Western Civ. I have been thinking about this more, and would say the key is that it trains ’empathy’ — the reciter is asked to focus on and vicariously experience the PAIN, and sacrifice of other individuals, real people. It simultaneously requires that one sublimate ego and individual will to a higher authority.

            On systems, I have had quite a lot of interaction with the Japanese health care system — as a consultant, as opposed to a client. It does most likely provide the greatest good for the greatest number…but, seems more like a machine than individuals involved in doctor/patient relationships, which are, can be intrinsically healing in and of themselves.

            Likewise, I recently requested that a retired consultant present to my intern on urban planning in Japan. He did this with extreme expertise…we learned about the logic of train lines, shopping hubs, and suburban developments, but human needs, quality of life for an actual human was never mentioned. There were no people in this picture.

            AND, really, I don’t think this behavior is intrinsically, or culturally Japanese…yes, yes, nation of engineers and the whole thing…but not, formerly, so devoid of life — see Japanese cinema of the 70’s.

            No, I just think Uncle Karl got his hooks in Japanese humanity left the building. It is a good cautionary tale.

          • When the system supersedes the human you have 1,000,000 Hikikomori (mostly men) who won’t leave their ‘rooms’; you have ‘cuddle’ cafes in which (mostly men) pay a LOT of money to spoon with a girl; you have a pandemic of stress leaves, as high at 10% in some firms; you have chronically-low performance and productivity; you have architecture, quite a lot of it, that is DEAD, or mouse-a-tat-like; you have the highest ‘happiness’ ratings being registered among men, age 80> because they don’t have to do it, anymore; you have young people who are kinda afraid of everything…foreign people, foreign travel — just want to be safe — and, you have an UNSUSTAINABLE birthrate.

            This system was great but nobody wanted to live in it, or to give birth to people who would inherit it.

  10. On a related note, I have been very dubious of the progressive left’s characterization of university environments as “rape cultures”, but, I have to say that back in the day members of my female cohort and I were really made anxious by the behavior of professors, one of whom I can remember running half-naked down the hall in a co-ed dorm. This stuff comes up every time we have a virtual college reunion; and that many professors married students, and sometimes in a serial fashion. Something really wrong with this.

  11. Expanding upon the John Brockman profile, it looks like he completed an MBA at Columbia, and also married into a family with publishing connections. Strangely, both his father, and his wive’s family have connections to flower marts, West and East Coast. Brockman also had connections to Alan Watts, which suggests connections to the Esalen Institute.

    I would also note that Werner Erhard did his own kind of digital genius club in the form of something called “Technology Transformations”…and, he produced a number of interviews with ‘thought leaders’ of the day; that there is a certain overlap between members of Erhard’s digerati, and that of Brockman. The M.O. seems to be the same, though, in so far as the focus on ‘futurism’, ‘technology’, ‘transformation’ and the shining a light on certain cultural influencers. There is also this idea of self-aggrandizement based on associating with ‘brilliant’ people, and hoping that people don’t notice that one is less brilliant.

    • In following up on Jay Forester and Peter Senge’s systems work I began subscribing to their related K-12 Creative Learning Exchange. I think back when I looked into Camp Snowball and what it pushed on students that was contrary to what school boards were told about the ‘experiences.
      Got this paper from them they are using with students without ever noting that these same loops form the essence of competency-based education and what ‘continuous improvement really means. Unlike the thermostat or robot, the student creates their own goals. It’s why Character and interpretive concepts like Truth Beauty and Goodness must be enculturated. In student-centered learning the student is the system whose capability, motivation, and opportunity to perform becomes the emphasis for change.

      Erhard knows that as it was part of the SSRN paper I wrote about before it was withdrawn from public access after I wrote about it. Esalen knew about it. Senge knows it, which is why one of his protegees, David Cooperrider, now at Case Western Business School with Ervin Laszlo’s other son, Chris, created Appreciative Inquiry. Atlanta used that with its K-12 students and so does Houston ISD. Donald Schon whose work with Chris Argyris on Action Research has been so influential, created the concept of Generative Metaphors for the sluice effect to thinking when embedded via practice in a student’s brain. His PhD work was on John Dewey.

      Warren Wagar who was involved with the World Orders Model Project launched in 1973 with Rockefeller and Ford Foundation funding wrote about being recruited to transformational work while still a student. I think at Yale. WOMP came up again when it had a 1987 conference in Russia that Mary Catherine Bateson, Margaret Mead daughter with Gregory, was at. I have the books of aspirations from that as well. I could keep going but yes, people in this area become familiar with others already doing it and that their is philanthropic or government money available once school became non-subject based. Subjects are just the delivery system for right motivations and actions or Ideas and practices or whatever synonyms get used for how controlling the internalized makes a person into a predictable system who only believes he or she acts autonomously.

      • Actually, I don’t think Appreciative Inquiry is intrinsically BAD. I, perhaps, say this because I operate in a culture that tends to be hyper-critical, and will focus what is ‘wrong’ in every human or situation, as opposed that what is working pretty well.

        I am not sure that Appreciative Inquiry connotes, or is contingent upon a self-defined universe…though it would be in Erhard’s world.

        So, there was this guy, a JP Morgan Head of a Trading Desk…and, his team consistently outperformed every other. So, we took a look at what he was doing. The standard compliance drill required a daily debrief, which focused on what went wrong, or could have…and, this was important. This guy checked this box, but added a ten-minute examination of what went REALLY right. Morale improved, but more importantly, traders started sharing better practices, and they became more aware of what was contributing to successes. This was an exercise in Appreciative Inquiry.

        But, to your point, Cooperrider did NOT really hear my mountain of negativity about organizations with which he is intimately involved — and, I was describing issues that jeopardize the integrity and future of the field.

  12. Regarding the creation of “equitable systems”, the leitmotif of all of this stuff:

    OK, and going back to Brockman’s Edge Foundation, I spent a year working as an editorial assistant at the L.A. Weekly, an impeccable Marxist rag. What I finally figured out — though I think it was obvious to everyone else on the staff — IS, that all the heavily biased lifestyle journalism we were generating was just an excuse, or a wrapper for the classified ad section, which was, basically, the TINDR, GRINDR, and Craig’s List of the day, with some pedo action thrown in. I understand that this was the business model for the Village Voice, too.

    So, given what we now know of Mr. Epstein’s financial contributions to Mr. Brockman’s digital and publishing enterprises and what was going on at “Billionaires’ Dinner Parties’, it would seem that Mr. Brockman was utilizing the same model to advance his Brave New World.

    I am wondering what slave trading kids and adults has to do with the creation of ‘equitable systems’. I guess, of course, for followers of Uncle Karl — who, btw, sexually exploited his household staff — it is ANY MEANS TO AN END.

  13. OK, Robin, ALL, I asked David Clutterbuck if he will join us for a discussion. He said, OK…if we can coordinate schedules. Shall we engage him in a chat about AI?

    Let’s make this GOOD…let’s talk to these people instead of always talking about them.

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