Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

We stopped to pick up that nerdy expression Triune Consciousness in the last post because it rather succinctly explains why nothing in education over the last several decades makes much sense to us. We have a worldview on what education should be that makes it very difficult to accurately perceive that education has become about creating a new “framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion surrogate to live and to understand by.” The German expression for such an all-encompassing guide of daily perception is weltanschauung. We just translate it Worldview and it has been officially under attack for decades. Why? Because of a belief that humanistic psychology could adopt the human development component of Uncle Karl’s vision and use K-12 and higher ed institutions to invisibly change personal perceptions and culture. Shifting “personal politics can make for a more humane politics for both America and our larger world.”

Triune consciousness then simply reflects the idea that a new, radically different structure of social relations needs to be grounded in emotion and passion. In order to create a need to act to change the world as it now exists to the vision desired. I think such “a ‘knowing-of-the-heart’ which is not an unambiguous knowledge like that of clear and distinct ideas…” is a dangerous thing for our schools, churches, or universities to be cultivating. But I am also warning everyone that such a dramatic shift is precisely what is being sought in the Positive School Climate, Flow, systems thinking, happiness, mental health first aid, and other pushes we have discussed previously. How do I know for sure? Why the people involved have told me in their books and conferences and websites. It is all grounded in the humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. That appears to be the all-encompassing vision we are dealing with. Still.

I am beginning to think that this naive idea that we can redefine what humanity is and promote specieshood and use education to target the foundation of all social institutions: “how people think and feel, how they comprehend the meaning of being human, how they experience the self, how they perceive their relationship to the environment and each other” really came under an organized, global attack back in 1962. First we have Robert Tucker, the Princeton poli sci prof laying out the idea that the US was closer to little c communism than the USSR and pushing Uncle Karl’s human development vision of the future. Then we have Evald Ilyenkov coming up with his new dialectics that supposedly will later inspire Gorbachev but was also very interested in altering perceptions. Remember our trips through the nerdy expression “Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete” and how Ilyenkov’s work has recently been brought back into print in the US by those Cultural-Historical Activity Theorists in San Diego?

To that interesting cauldron of timing that was almost certainly impacted in a delaying way by the Cuban Missile Crisis later in 1962, let me add a fascinating link. In 1962, the ASCD, then a division of the National Education Association–the NEA–published Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming: A New Focus proposing that the nature of education be dramatically shifted with Maslow and Rogers among the authors. The new type of education would be centered in the psychological tenets of humanist psychology in order to build on human potential to change, instead of the transmission of knowledge. Sound troublingly familiar?

The 1960s and taking these ideas in the direction of hedonism may have stopped much of the historic role of schools in academic learning but the desire to use school’s to alter student’s personalities hit a snag. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology created a dialogue all through the 70s and early 80s on what a good instrument for changing society and the nature of the economy HP (no, not Hewlett Packard even though all the foundations now are imbibing these theories deeply) would make.

Somehow that magical year of 1986 became the point in time to put all those broader political and social intentions and Maslow’s ideal of using education to integrate self-improvement and social zeal into another book. This one was called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate with Maslow, Rogers, Rollo May and others participating. One of those was a Walter Nord who pointed out that the “writings of Karl Marx have much in common with what modern writers have described as the essence of humanistic psychology.” That’s our HP and we had noticed that striking resemblance in function and sought effects. Nord simply points out that HP needs to be used to create support for “major changes in economic organization and the distribution of power.” Systems thinking and outcomes-based education to the rescue please!

Then in 1999 during the last round of Radical Ed Reform at the federal level before Gore’s loss slowed down the full implementation, the ASCD published an updated book edited by H Jerome Freiberg. It contained the original 1962 essays with new contributions from people like Barbara McComb’s from the Aurora, Co ed lab, McREL, involved in the A+ Achieving Excellence systems thinking, OBE innovation, that would later become an issue in Columbine. This “Motivation and Lifelong Learning” paper published in 1991 gives a good feel for what HP sought whatever it calls itself. Plus it makes its links to the current lifelong learning push and what that League of Innovative Schools is really trying to research on suburban school kids without parental consent. The 1999 book was called Perceiving Behaving Becoming: Lessons Learned.

In 2013 HP comes in as the social and emotional learning mandate that the accreditation agencies are requiring in their standards for what constitutes “Quality” as well as what gets incorporated into all that planned gaming. How am I so sure about Positive School Climate though? Because Carl Rogers writes repeatedly about what he calls the “psychological climate” and the “growth-promoting climate.” It’s the necessary school, classroom, and social environment that may prove Rogers belief:

“I do not find that this evil is inherent in human nature. In a psychological climate which is nurturant of growth and choice, I have never known an individual to choose the cruel or destructive path. Choice always seems to be in the direction of greater socialization, improved relationships with others. So my experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences which are the major factor in our evil behavior.”

I think Rogers is wrong. Rollo May did too but that is the guiding philosophy behind the Positive School Climate mandate. Use education to change the student’s values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions and you can change future behavior. Do it in enough students, especially if the heads of foundations and other social and political institutions are quietly on board with this invisible revolution and you can supposedly get an out of sight revolution.

How else do I know for sure that we are still dealing with HP in 2013 in the plans for the actual Common Core implementation? Because Martin Seligman of the Positive Psychology and global School Wide Positive Behavior and Happiness pushes said it tied to Maslow’s work. Because Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, whose work is described here  also ties his work back to Maslow and does the research on that nerdy word “conation” that is tied to the OECD’s Subjective Well-being excuses for making us the Governed.

Finally there was the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, June 27-30, 2013 in LA that Seligman and Csik basically led. is the program that clearly ties it all to Maslow and shows the global importance of the Positive School Climate model to achieving the desired transformations.

I think I will close with the admission from the End of Innocence book (citing Frankfurt School member Erich Fromm) on how important it is to use education to reframe “all perceptions of reality” whenever social change is sought. School then becomes a method of social conditioning that gets at the “system of categories which determines the forms of awareness. This system works, as it were, like a socially conditioned filter; experience cannot enter awareness unless it can penetrate the filter.”

Whoever creates that mental filter creates what is perceived as reality. What will guide future action and what will be ignored despite real consequences.

Now you know why we keep hearing about conceptual lenses and Understandings of Consequence and Generative Metaphors and Mental Schemas and frameworks. Every radical with plans of transformations is familiar with Fromm’s insight. We needed to be too.

Student-centered learning=humanist psychology emphasis in the 21st century classroom

Now you know why all recourse from an alarmed parent or taxpayer or teacher is being turned off.

12 thoughts on “Psychological Approach to a Humane Politics: Restructuring the West Quietly and Effectively Via Ed

  1. What’s really amazing is that these folks are utterly oblivious that ALL of the “humanistic psychology” experiments in history have ended up in genocide.

    • It’s amazing to me that there is such a declaration that they are reaching back to Maslow and Rogers. I found these books because they are being cited. Another author being cited with was unfamiliar. Turns out he wrote a book called Psychosynthesis.

      I have to get to the bottom of this story as a mom and taxpayer but the typical player pushing this only does as they are told to get the next promotion or retain a job.

  2. Robin, did you give a cite for the End of Innocence book in a prior post? I tried googling and of course many books have that title. And the quote you draw from it is just chilling.

    • The book is called Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate

      The use of the lesser known Rollo May as primary editor means you will not find it unless you know it exists. But Maslow and Rogers are listed on cover and Maslow and Fromm were apparently good friends. Maslow, much like UNESCO’s chief, Julian Huxley (Aldous’ brother) took in the Frankfurt School theme of attacking the West through its prevailing culture as the desired invisible way in.

      I will talk about what is in those books some more but what was essential yesterday was to show there was a consistency across decades and what it went back to. I looked and can find no one who has written about the 1962, 86, or 99 books or the ties to the global positive psych movement that commenced in earnest in 98 when Seligman was President of the American Psych group.

    • David,

      There’s another element to this story that is unappreciated. Seligman and Dweck (she is being classified in insider lit as one of them) and Duckworth of the Grit push who works with Seligman have created curricula that can be used in Language Arts classes where it will be invisible and influential.

      I was going to talk about this in next post but this link makes it to important not to also mention now.

      Much curricula materials are being prepared as part of the Common Core to see lit characters and historical figures and analyze them through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once I pursued this angle as the only explanation for some known facts out came those planned materials. Then that link is proposing the same analysis in history without mentioning either Maslow or the much bigger M word.

      Also teachers are being encouraged to analyze students through the pyramid of needs as part of the Common Core.

      As you can see I was busy while hand was taped up but all this comes from analyzing what it was that the League Of Innovative Schools was wanting to focus its research and future innovations on. Numerous AHA! moments led to yesterday’s post and the previous one on triune consciousness even if all is not apparent yet.

  3. I’m forever digging for the underlying truth of a matter, which nearly always can be ferreted out by scrutinizing the driving forces of human nature, i.e., spiritual/biological. In unabashedly over-simplification I’ve come to realize that all humans fall into one of three broad categories, those who wish to dominate others, those who do not mind being dominated and actually prefer it, and those who wish to be neither a dominator or dominated. Psychopaths easily fall into the first category and often rise to power in one way or another over the masses, those who fall into the second group, who do not wish to think for themselves and are easily duped and quickly willing to trade individual freedom for security. This is easily accomplished with good sounding words, tried and true rhetoric. 

    The last, third group, comprised of the smallest number, are those who have no desire to tell anyone else what to do or how to be, and resent those from the first category who attempt to impose their will on everyone else. 

    In regards to education being hijacked in order to redesign society to fit the socialist world view, the first category type describes the Common Core railroaders perfectly. In my quest to understand the fundamental thought processing of those who would steer the world into a condition that has historically NEVER worked, I further realized that those who fall into the first category do not acknowledge history.

    This morning, with that epiphany still glowing in my mind, I read Sultan Knish’s blog which wrapped it up for me.

    “One of the biggest differences between conservatives and liberals is that while conservatives believe that history is an expression of human nature, liberals don’t believe in history, they believe in historical processes.

    The liberal understanding of history is so hopelessly dominant that it never occurs to most of them that countries can’t be fixed. They aren’t leaky sinks, but systems emerging from a national culture.”

    For the whole blog:

    • Thanks meema. What a great quote.

      Used all my typing time replying to David to give cite to book.

      By the way I also managed to get hands on the 62 book. I always try to secure the proof before mentioning sources.

      • Which is a testimony to my deep concerns about publishing going all out electronic – meaning no printed books. Granted books can be destroyed too but not as easily as digital books that can be altered and/or deleted with a key-stroke. Books in hand are hard to refute.

  4. School Transformation. Any Texans reading here might want to check that out. online tool for teachers to control kids behavior. From what I can tell there are no educators who designed this “student information” tool. It’s silicon valley-backed. I’m very afraid this takeover of our nation via our children is already mostly complete. I feel real despair at times, but I have to remind myself that God is my refuge.

    • Hi Beatle. Welcome to ISC. Yes Class Dojo is tied to the new Schools Venture Fund that I have written about.

      Notice that its founder is tied to McKinsey, just like David Coleman and Angela Duckworth who pushes Grit and Positive Psychology with Mark Greenberg at Penn.

      Michael Barber who has his own tag was also at McKinsey pushing the global idea of high performing school systems without calling too much attention to the social equity key components. He heads Pearson Education now whose foundation is in today’s post allied to OECD in its skills juggernaut.

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