Standardizing Self-Transcendence & Psychological Attributes to Deliberately Converge Prevailing Consciousness

Since none of us were probably invited to NYC for the United Nations General Assembly last month, they just announced the roll out of a Futures of Education initiative with a ‘Learning to Become’ theme. It “invokes the need to develop the capacity to imagine a good and fulfilling life.” Sounds like Statecraft as Soulcraft, doesn’t it, taken to a current, global level? If anyone is still wondering too why there is so much hype about how all weather disasters must be due to Human-Caused Climate Change, we have this next quote as part of the Learning to Become agenda:

As we come to terms with human-caused changes to the planet and face the possibilities of fundamental transformations in social organization, human consciousness, and human identity, humanity needs to devote attention to the question: What do we want to become? Knowledge and learning are at the core of transformations in human minds and societies. Learning to Become invites us to become something we have not yet become.

As usual, I think that ‘we’ is rhetorical and ‘we’ are not supposed to really have a choice. I have warned repeatedly going back to Credentialed to Destroy how learning standards really work, but this NSF-funded paper “Understanding Standards” from Michigan State’s Center for the Study of Standards and Society really does an explicit job of laying it out. The paper is from 2011 and is part of this Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences 2020 Agenda. Yes, that would be next year.

We live in a world in which we are surrounded by standards for people, processes, practices, and products. These standards structure the sociotechnical world as well as the behavior of people in a variety of ways…Standards may best be understood as a means of governance that fall (largely) between laws and social norms…Standards are exemplars against which people and things are judged…[They can also be used to mandate] ethical codes of various sorts…Since standards are all about what and whose values shall be incorporated in products, processes, and practices, they are as much ethical as technical phenomena.

That is especially true when the ‘standards’ are prescribed to organize how the human mind and personality are to work, with that mandate carried out through poorly understood educational processes, locking in the desired changes at a physiological, neural level. When I was reading about both the Vatican’s Humanity 2.0 Initiative and the Jubilee Centre’s new curriculum on Virtue, as well as the Templeton Foundation’s mega-million funding of planned social evolution, a name kept cropping up, Professor Candace Vogler, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago. I located this interview with her on a Templeton supported research project where the repeated use of the term ‘self-transcendence’ struck me as the newest euphemism for what George Will called ‘soulcraft’, Amitai Etzioni calls ‘communitarianism,’ and the Marxist Humanist vision called little ‘c’ communism to be enabled by a high level of technological prowess and inventions.

Professor Voglin also came up as involved with numerous Lumen Christi Institute presentations including those pushing something called ‘Right Reason,’ which I am probably not exhibiting in writing this blog post. Templeton has now launched this initiative to fund research at the so-called “intersection between science and religion”. Just imagine how useful learning standards are to THAT agenda, and why it would provide multiple incentives for think tanks with common funding to Professor Voglin and George Will to misrepresent how those Catholic Curriculum Standards REALLY work. Professor Voglin said the Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning of Life Project had its ‘genesis’ in her “thinking about what the difference was between the people whose daily lives could be a source of happiness and purpose, and the people whose daily lives were a giant to-do list that was mostly a slog.”

I will let everyone guess which expletive I wrote in the margin after that quote rationalizing this push towards collectivism, but the next quote did strike me as far more truthful:

We are mostly investigating the possibility that a fundamental attachment and orientation to a good can make your daily life into a source of happiness that can sustain you through struggle and trial and give you resilience and a sense of purpose.

That rang true because Hillsdale Barney Charter Initiative has used similar language, as do the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, and the concept of a moral compass and guiding North Star also shows up in charters being funded by the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative. Tell me this next passage does not sound like Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s definition of Excellence as aligning what is thought, wished for, and felt as the goals of Education. Remember too that various civil rights mandates now require Excellence and Equity as an education requirement as a matter of law.

What does virtue mean to you in the context of this project? Virtue is a kind of strength of character that helps you organize the things you take in from the world and the way you respond to them in the service of the actual good. And virtue helps to do that by harmonizing your thoughts, feelings, actions, and aspirations in good ways.

There is a new Personal Growth Framework out that calls precisely that-‘self-authorship’- and we now know UNESCO calls it Learning to Become. A 2011 book I just finished called From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education says  educational practices designed to create such harmony intend to get at, and rewire, something called the Anterior Cingulate part of the human brain. That’s one way to turn Mind, Brain, and Education into a true science, isn’t it? Let’s see what the two-day capstone project held in October 2017 had to say about this so-called virtue of ‘self-transcendence’ so we can appreciate what it means to enshrine it in learning standards, a school charter, a Portrait of a Graduate, or Curriculum Frameworks:

Our conviction that virtue is essentially related to self-transcendence has grown out of engagement with research throughout the humanities and the social sciences that has continued to suggest that individuals who understand themselves to be practically oriented to something greater than the self–a family with a long history and the prospect of future generations, a spiritual practice oriented towards due reverence for the sacred and the need to live right by and be consciously united with others, work on behalf of social justice and the improvement of one’s community–often feel happier, have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and have overall better life outcomes than those who do not. Some psychologists have labeled this necessity for locating one’s self within a broader context ‘self-transcendence’.

That phrase has more universal appeal, doesn’t it, than when George Will defined those same aims as ‘Conservatism’? We have a global convergence going on now to use education, governments, regulations, think tanks, and faith-based organizations, among others, to push a vision that seeks to instill, via each person’s central nervous system, “a deep attachment to an overall good (happiness or living well) that individuals cannot attain through dispositions of thought, action, and feelings that are ordered to securing individual benefit…One commonality explored in this volume [from capstone conference] is the way that virtue is intimately connected to a social or communal vision of happiness, and how virtue can play an instrumental role in securing this goal for us.”

All this manipulation via education and, quite frankly, also the media is because we apparently don’t know what is best for ourselves or our children so we need a reimagining of education to lock in the desired visions of transformation. Plus lots of deceit about what is really going on so not enough of us can balk at the requisite neural nets of ‘new citizenship’ in time.

As usual, I have too much going on to continue today, but I want to get back next to what is planned for us to force the so-called Better Angels of Our Nature to bloom. George Will used that Better Angels phrase a great deal and it showed up tied to yet another Kennedy School of Government Initiative from this summer.

I said I had to take a break from writing. I did not take any break from my reading.

22 thoughts on “Standardizing Self-Transcendence & Psychological Attributes to Deliberately Converge Prevailing Consciousness

  1. In other words to put it in simple terms they want to cultivate global communists whether you want to or not makes no difference. They will do whatever it takes to make us compliant even if that means messing with your mind.

    This quote from your article is all people need to understand about what is happening and that education (fooling with the affective domain is more like it) is being controlled from the UN (UNESCO):
    “Our conviction that virtue is essentially related to self-transcendence has grown out of engagement with research throughout the humanities and the social sciences that has continued to suggest that individuals who understand themselves to be practically oriented to something greater than the self–a family with a long history and the prospect of future generations, a spiritual practice oriented towards due reverence for the sacred and the need to live right by and be consciously united with others, work on behalf of social justice and the improvement of one’s community–often feel happier, have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and have overall better life outcomes than those who do not. Some psychologists have labeled this necessity for locating one’s self within a broader context ‘self-transcendence’.”

  2. I am more than a little concerned that Candace Vogler uses the word “virtue,” but neglected to point out that the concept contains a moral—or even spiritual—dimension. It seems part of her mission is to alter the concept of virtue, therefore altering a baseline of worldview that does not contain moral or spiritual components. Just whatever makes you feel good. Dangerous, dangerous.

    • Her panels with Robert George would indicate she is quite religious in her vision of virtue. Notice the reference though in this interview to the participation of Islamic Studies scholars and then remember my post several years ago on the Tarbiyah Project.

      Prof Vogler is wonderfully candid in her responses when asked about the secret of happiness.

      “Stage one is, ‘Get over yourself!’” she says. “Don’t worry so much about self-actualisation, self-expression, self-development, self-this, self-that.

      “See if you can break the fascination of your own ego for a little bit. See if you can turn your attention to something that is genuinely self-transcendent, that connects you to a world bigger than your intimate circle – and engage there. That is likely to be where you will develop in virtue and character. Your character develops when you get opportunities that are expressive and productive of goods bigger than you are.

      “Do you engage at the soup kitchen a couple of times a week because you know you are supposed to be charitable? No, you volunteer at the soup kitchen by opening yourself up to the possibility that you could be drawn out of yourself rather than affirmed in a sense of your own goodness. The self-transcendence provides the context in which virtue is at home.”

      Prof Vogler has little time for self-righteous navel-gazing, adding: “You don’t have a beautiful soul if it’s useless to everyone around you. You don’t have a beautiful soul if you can’t be bothered to think about how to engage more effectively in the world that you find yourself in, not just for the sake of your own success but for the sake of contributing to what is good in that world and helping it struggle against what is bad.” has her at the Wiherspoon Institute with Robert George of APP, remember he is also on the Board of the Bradley Foundation with George Will. I have also documented Witherspoons active role in 2011 to disseminate a false narrative surrounding the Common Core that seemed to coordinate with PEPG of the Harvard School of Government. Also Greg Forster was involved with that and he is also tied to the Kern Foundation which has shown up at Jubilee Centre programs. is a series on Faith and Ethics that quotes her in conjunction with the devotional as stating: Vogler concludes, “We are charged both with developing plain, earthly courage and with orienting ourselves to the specifically Chris-tian mode of standing firm in our faith when the world counsels siding with sin. Being called to Christ is being called to cultivate good character in the firm knowledge that both faith and reason teach that avoiding sin is crucial to this task, even though no amount of plain good conduct will lead us home to God. Our destination, like our source, is a gift of God.”

      Also remember John Haldane has gone to Baylor now as a professor and he is heavily involved with the Vatican and the current pope down to pictures He was involved with Robert George in this Thriving Society vision that certainly looks like a repackaging of the MH vision.

      • Speaking of the Tarbiyah Project, this is worth noting:

        “Hitler told his opponents ‘Your child belongs to us already.’
        Are we coming to the point where well-funded Islamic proselytizers and their collaborators in academia will be able to say the same?’

        The article makes reference to a book written by an old classmate of mine, Dario Fernandez-Morera, which I recommend.

        • Are you familiar with something called Catholic Republicanism> It certainly seems related to this Self-Transcendence push.

          Catholic social teaching also emphasizes the importance of democratic participation for the common good. In Pacem in Terris, Pope John writes that “[a] natural consequence of men’s dignity is unquestionably their right to take an active part in government,” and likewise in Centesimus Annus John Paul claims, “The Church values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility both of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate.”

          John Paul emphasizes democracy’s ability to check the power of political authorities, but the Church has also said that democratic participation fulfills an essential human need to cooperate with others to achieve the common good. In this regard, Catholic social teaching introduces an Aristotelian element into republicanism, an element emphasized more recently by philosophers like Hannah Arendt. For both Aristotle and Arendt, citizens’ participation in the life of society is not just a means to some other end, but is itself a form of human flourishing. Pope Paul VI expresses a similar idea in Octogesima Adveniens (1971), when he contrasts individualistic autonomy with “true freedom” that aims “to involve itself and to spend itself in building up active and lived solidarity.” This solidarity, he proposes, is the true goal of democracy.

          Catholic social teaching also suggests, however, that the root cause of solidarity lies outside the political system, and here we reach the limitations of republicanism. In his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI insists that both the political sphere and the market must be suffused with charity and solidarity if they are to promote human flourishing truly, but neither is able to generate these “moral energies” on its own. John Paul makes a similar point in Centesimus Annus, remarking that it is “intermediate communities” such as the Church, the family, and other associations that build up solidarity and inculcate the unique value of life “which the State and the market must serve.” It is in these communities that we most clearly learn the truth of what it means to be human, a truth that must then penetrate political life. A Catholic republicanism, therefore, would recognize that political institutions, no matter how well-designed, must be suffused with “moral energies” that arise in the heart of civil society, and ultimately in the Church.

          Freedom in the Service of the Human Person and the Common Good

          At a time when many are calling for a radical re-thinking of American political life, Catholic social teaching suggests that republicanism is a promising and viable path forward.

          Like liberalism’s critics, Catholic social teaching rejects any social order based on the ideology of personal autonomy, because the latter denies the truth about the human person. At the same time, the Church has come to recognize that political institutions that promote civic freedom and democratic participation, and that check arbitrary political and economic power, play a crucial role in achieving the common good. One realizes the truth about the human person only if one accepts it freely.

          At a time when many are calling for a radical rethinking of American political life, Catholic social teaching suggests that republicanism is a promising and viable path forward, provided that it place civic freedom and civic virtue at the service of a more substantive view of the purpose of human life.

          From here and written this week.

        • Wow, Qatar is really pushing its influence at universities.

          The caption under that picture says
          Healy Hall of Georgetown University. Since 2012 Qatar and Saudi Arabia have donated $357 million to Georgetown.

          I just read that Qatar is funding some school in California, I can’t remember which. They are definitely funding the Biomedical Engineering program at Cornell through a recent large grant.

        • No, the birthplace of the Common Core was the University of Pittsburgh where Lauren Resnick launched her learning to think curriculum grounded in soviet psychology work like Luria’s that came to be known as the New Standards Project in the 90s. It is also where Candace Vogler got her PhD about the same time. Totally coincidental.

 Won’t a cultural studies PhD be helpful in pushing cultural evolution by means of education?

    • I do not know the answer to that, but I do know both entities are involved with desired cultural evolution using education. Nicholas Negroponte, who has ties to the Media Lab, was also one of the key pushers of the Holos Consciousness push along with the Dalai Llama IIRC.

      I just found this quote of Vogler’s from a paper of hers I am still reading.

      For obvious reasons, acquired virtues—strengths developed through education, acculturation, practice, and such, the nascent forms of which may begin in dense and complex attachment to caretakers very early in life—are the strengths of interest to most people in my line of work, to educators, and to social scientists. The other sort of virtue important for Aquinas is infused virtue—strength that comes from God and orients us to a supernatural end. I am among those fans of Aquinas who think that we ignore infused virtue at our peril if we are interested in his account of human life, human nature, and the place of substantive good in understanding how things go for human beings. Nevertheless, in what follows by virtue I will mean acquired virtue.I will begin by giving a quick and crude sketch of Aquinas’s understanding of human moral psychology, by way of introducing his diagnosis of how it is that acting well can be such a problem for us. Moral virtue will come into the story to help us begin to address the problem, without entirely solving it, and practical wisdom—an intellectual strength—will help steady and steer the vessel whose patches and ongoing repair have been the work of moral virtue.

      UNESCO has openly declared that controlling human decision-making is now its major focus via K-12 education. We are dealing at every level with people who intend to try to neurally rewire the mind to get the desired “receiver/transducer” function without being explicit outside closed doors that that is what they are doing.

    • brings together your interests and mine and also shows that Baylor U is partnering with the Jubilee Centre. Puts their new George Center in DC into context and makes me think about his roadshows with Cornel West, who is openly a purveyor of the MH vision.

      Virtue and Character are currently the focus of extensive international philosophical and psychological research, as well as being introduced as themes in educational formation at different levels from primary/elementary schooling through to professional training in business, health care, policing and the military. From a philosophical point of view these features raise a number of conceptual, normative and philosophical-historical questions:

      What is character? Is it something real and enduring or a figment of folk-psychology? If it is real to what extent is its development within the power of an agent, or open to the influence of others?
      J.S. Mill wrote “It matters not only what men do but what manner of men they are that do it”. How important is character as an element in moral theory and in practical ethics?
      What is virtue? Is it a real feature of agents or a notion left over from earlier theories of human nature? What is the relation between judgements of moral dispositions and judgements of actions, and evaluations of intended and for seen outcomes?
      What in general is the relationship between familiar descriptions of moral motivation and action and theoretical accounts of psychology?
      What is the place of assessments of character and virtue in evaluation of public figures, politicians, policy-makers, role-models, service providers, etc?

      This would also explain why the False Narrative pushes the workforce prep angle so much when it is the internal compass that competency-based ed is really getting at.

      Also found this on Forming Character in the Classroom . Vogler is one of the speakers and that electrical engineering prof is a reminder of those IEEE Standards I warned about last year that were also tied to False Narrative purveyors.

      This ties well to my previous post too and Vogler is involved in creating curriculum

      The project will examine how educational experiences that incorporate active community engagement as part of the curriculum can enhance the development of civic virtues such as civility, compassion, and fairness, as well as improve wise reasoning.

      Henly is especially interested in understanding how education in the humanities influences basic cognitive and affective processes within the individual and this project provides

      “an exciting opportunity for a new collaboration between the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago that will explore the impact of art on society through its effects on how we engage with others.”

    • is funded by Templeton and has Vogler and the co-PI Jennifer Frey as keynoters. Stockholm, Sweden is certainly a good base to launch a global template from.

      In fact, I just remembered that Stockholm is where the Earth System Science Partnership and the Belmont Challenge were located. Uncovering that is part of what caused me to start this blog in the first place and MIT is a named partner of the UN’s in that partnership that went more covert after I wrote about it.

      Here are those two posts from 2012. Prescient title too. is the first one. is the second part . Puts Greta Thunberg into her real context too. Now what country is she from?

  3. Hi Robin,
    Hope you are well. Have you read the book by Malcolm Gladwell “Outliers”?. I’m completing my MBA and it’s required reading for a comm class. In of course subscribes to the theory that those who are extremely successful with a higher intelligence level have had life advantages over other with a lower intelligence making the world biased against those of higher intelligence because of course It is unfair advantage. The book talks about the study by Lewis Terman who studied and tracked kids with IQ’s over 140 from a young age. It made me think of you and started wondering how those kiddos were taught to read. It appears the study could have begun in the 1920’s. Wouldn’t that suggest that those kids may have benefited from phonemic reading? I could not find if that was a statistic even recorded by Terman. Since you know history so well I’d like to know your thoughts.

    • Hi LL and good luck with that MBA. I suspect that you are correct on the learning how to read back when the technique was still what I used with my own children “it’s not that letters have sounds, it’s that sounds have letters and sometimes it is only a matter of probability as to which sound the letters stand for”. Learning to read phonetically wires the brain in a certain way that takes it outside the prescribed neural net that learning standards are creating with their prescribed immersive experiences and prescribed ‘content objects’ and thinking categories masked as Higher Order Thinking or Disciplinary Core Ideas.

      Have you noticed states are suddenly prescribing by statute teaching letter sounds again? Notice that the techniques that work are only now on the table now that certain words as in categories of thought or Enduring Understandings are being laid out in competency frameworks. Now that the corral of knowledge has been effectively circumscribed by learning standards, we get sounds and letters hyped again. Zull in his book talked about the importance of symbol systems being married to Images and then footnoted to Howard Gardner’s The Disciplined Mind. Since I used that book in writing Credentialed to Destroy I think it puts the revelations in Chapters 2 and 3 especially into the appropriate context. It was also a reminder that when Kenneth Boulding was first introducing the manipulation of the mind’s thought processes as a means of social transformation via the ‘behavioral sciences’ and ‘systems thinking’ in the 50s he titled his book The Image.

      A phonetically fluent reader with access to real books full of history and science can recognize that they are being provided with Inapt Metaphors and that the Guiding Narrative is a fiction. That gets in the way of the template that all these social reconstuctionists via education are pushing–shared meanings and values permeating the population and guiding and motivating their decision-making from an unseen habitual level.

  4. Robin, I appreciate that you are looking at the 50,000 foot view. All the while, these plans are enacted around us with very little, if any push-back. The gradualist approach means that we don’t know what’s coming until it’s already been implemented. 2014 saw POG announced in FCPS. Now in 2019, teachers are being trained how to assess for these attributes.

    If you want to track a Personal Growth Framework like Portrait of a Graduate you can get a good idea of implementation by looking at this educator’s public twitter feed in Fairfax County. She’s an ES Coordinator for Curriculum Integration & Management. This is where the nitty gritty of POG comes into play. Now it’s real.

    You can see her photos of professional development for teachers and how they are trained to measure growth in students’ POG attributes. Here is one goal at a particular school: “By June of 2020, all teachers will have planned and implemented at least two learning experiences (such as PBL units) aligned explicitly with a POG attribute of the team’s choice and measure student growth within those units using a pre- and post- assessment of teacher choice.” POG attributes are

    The teachers will go along with whatever nonsense is thrown at them, including the “I used to think POG…” and “Now I think…” statements after the POG training.
    I think the teachers are pawns in this game, along with the children.

    • I absolutely agree with your analysis and will note that the terms attribtes vs dispositions are used interchangeably by various school districts, but consistently have the same purpose–to get at that motivation to act in the future and on what basis. POG has the same function as Tranzi OBE did as laid out in Credentialed to Destroy, as well as the related term now of “Learner Profile”. It is end internalized characteristics we are talking about here and truly it is social engineering when we track back to the creators of these templates, which is what I do. helps make it clear why the attributes or dispositions must be targeted. The OECD says that “self-regulation” is the purpose of K-12 education in the 21st century. The experiences being provided are actually about rewiring the brain. It’s probably why there are so many interviews with Erin Clabough about that book in a myriad of language. My copy, and this is a 2019 book, was already Discarded by the Phoenix library system, probably for being too forthcoming. Wouldn’t want a parent to recognize those same characteristics listed in charters and private school mission statements.

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