We shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. After all churches and religions, like schools and universities, are cultural institutions. They therefore also make very useful tools for accessing a person’s inner values, attitudes, and beliefs and changing them. At a 2007 UNESCO Workshop in Spain we were once again not invited to, the world’s religions were called on to “assist in the great transition to a viable future for all species.” http://www.arcworld.org/downloads/Barcelona%20Report.pdf Religions were called on “to renew and transform themselves” in italics just like that and to begin to “present alternative visions to counter the allure of endless consumption and endless economic growth, opening us up to something bigger than ourselves.” The workshop declared that the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development that commenced in 2005 was “not just about the environment, it’s about social change and transforming economic and political structures.”
Education for sustainability “should aim towards ‘a change in mind and heart, changing who we are.” That intrusive goal of course gets much easier if schools globally are being pushed quietly to make new values, ethics, and moral development the invisible center of all instruction and assessment while religions are told they must now “come together” to push towards comparable personal and social transformations. The title quote comes from a Rabbi Arthur Waskow:
“the whole world is today in an earthquake: politics, economics, sexuality…all is off the ground. People look for something that isn’t quaking, desperately trying to find something stable, and so they don’t pay attention to the state of the Earth…Our calling today is like ‘learning to dance in an earthquake.’ This quaking will transform everything including religions: ‘We know what religious traditions were like three hundred years ago, but we don’t know how they will be after learning to dance in an earthquake.”
Now if an earthquake does come, I personally think survival will call on all my wits and knowledge about what has worked in the past and what consistently leads to tragedies. But then I am not a current or former politician or NGO bureaucrat. I am not even a professor. Just a lawyer seriously tracking all the things being pushed now in the name of Common Core in the US and why the required classroom implementation never looks like all the hype used to try to gain popular support for our own political and economic execution. If you are wondering how on earth today’s post veered into discussing religion when we were just overseas visiting with the Swedes from the 1960s, here’s my reply. It’s the same vision and really the same means as well.
In the kind of collaborative effort now going on between me and blog readers who have also read my book Credentialed to Destroy and thus really mastered the overall framework of the sought transformation, they find troubling documents and ask me to look at them. In this case it was UNESCO’s push of the acronym KSAVE as what the new assessments should be measuring globally as they looked for the students to change to reflect the desired Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Values, and Ethics. At the center of what the student was to become via education according to UNESCO were the Core Values. Next was an outer circle of what were called Social and Emotional Competencies that coincide perfectly with what David Conley listed in 2007 in a paper for the Gates Foundation as “College Ready Skills.” Renamed duplicitously in the US to try to hold off a full taxpayer rebellion from the reality of Social and Emotional Competencies and a commitment to Communitarianism as the new goals of K-12 under the Common Core.
It was Singapore’s new vision that was featured in the 2011 Keynote Address in China for the vision of Next Generation Schools, which is interesting since I happen to know Singapore is a listed partner in the global Curriculum Redesign Project. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/drawing-back-the-standards-curtain-to-discover-the-global-coordination-to-redesign-the-very-nature-of-curriculum/ The key question of course is what values and ethics are to be that guiding core. That’s where both UNESCO’s entire Values Curriculum and Peace Education push and the determination to shift all religions in an Eastern spirituality direction came tumbling out. Quickly. With very little effort. Clearly a core component of the transformation via education vision.
So that’s why once again we have to talk about religion. It’s where the values, attitudes, ethics, and vision of the transformations and the future are coming from. In his 1989 book The Inner Limits of Mankind Ervin Laszlo, who we first met acting with the Dalai Llama to urge education to create a Holos Consciousness, described the Baha’i Faith as the emerging global religion. Apparently it is what all the others are supposedly transitioning to. The Encyclopedia of Peace Education from 2008 created by Teachers College at Columbia has an article by Marie Gervais laying out the close working relationship from the beginning between the UN and representatives of the Baha’i Faith. Me? I had never really heard of the “world’s newest major religion” until references to it began pouring out on where the values and transformative vision of education were coming from.
Interesting for us in trying to figure out the implications of all this is the acknowledgment quoted by Gervais from the Chancellor of the University of Maryland in 2004 that “What the Baha’i Chair is all about, is the elevation of the common good. It seeks this higher ground by focusing not on what divides people, but rather on what unites them…we must ensure that throughout their higher education journey, our students travel with an open mind while exposed to the widest variety of ethical, spiritual and philosophical thought.” Which of course the students are to view in the desired way much like marionettes on the end of a puppeteer’s strings. i don’t think the Chancellor was just referring to religion majors.
In the 2007 Workshop I wrote about above, one of the participants was Arthur Dahl. He is listed as representing the International Economic Forum based in Switzerland. In the 2012 UNESCO and Earth Charter paper called “Exploring Synergies between Faith Values and Education for Sustainable Development” Dahl wrote the Baha’i Faith vision (pages 44-48). He stated that the “transition to a sustainable world is the fundamental aim and purpose of the Baha’i Faith” and that this transformation “will entail no less than an organic change in the structure of society itself.” I know you will be stunned to hear that the vision then goes on to basically replicate what we have taken to calling Uncle Karl’s vision of a small c, Marxist Humanism, human development society (that the Swedes pioneered) that meets everyone’s needs in the world as a matter of right just from being born. Just think of all the administrative jobs trying to fulfill that vision the UN and governments at all levels get to create.
And guess what institution is first and foremost the way in? Yes, ten points, but it is not education in the traditional sense anymore. Here’s Dahl again in as concise an explanation of what transformative education is all about as I have ever read.
“If education is to effect the profound changes in the minds of people and in the structures of society needed to shift towards sustainability, the nature of the educational processes will need to be rethought. As a starting point, the programme of education must be based on a clear vision of the kind of society we wish to live in, and the kind of individuals that will bring this about. It needs to help learners reflect on the purpose of life and help them step out of their cultural realities to develop alternative visions and approaches to the problems at hand, and to understand the manifold consequences of their behaviours and to adjust them accordingly.”
I could go on and point out how the various elements of the required transformations, including the ubiquitous service learning, replicate listed elements and practices attributed by one of these cited sources to the Baha’i Faith. I could point out how the required Communities of Learners and Positive School Climates sound just like Dahl describing people working “constructively to shaping communities that reflect principles of justice, equity and unity.”
I think this is enough for now though. We really are dealing with an official vision that seeks to regulate through the schools AND religious institutions what MUST be believed and valued and thought.
Conspiracy is certainly the wrong term for such a coordinated effort to make each of us servile to the exercise of political and economic power.
Now that these goals and the means have been once again pulled out of the shadows into the sunlight, what shall we do?
Some things really do need to be repudiated by individuals learning to act collectively against taxpayer funded planned predation.