Tackling the Dilemmas of Collective Action Requires a Shared Cognitive Base: the IPCC Adaptation Trilogy Begins

You know if we were radical political schemers or simply bureaucrats or politicians addicted to Other People’s Money, and the ordinary people we wanted to have behave as we wished were resisting our rationales and explanations, we might decide to jettison the top-down, visible, policy-making approach. Instead, we might take our control over all levels of education and develop a “cognitive climate change strategy.” We might turn to systems thinking or social and emotional learning as curricular pushes to establish that “shared cognitive base” and published articles in international journals such as “The Art of the Cognitive War to Save the Planet” that urge a “bottom up ‘social learning’ experimental approach.”

We could simply decide not to actually focus on physical reality as much anymore since it is rather hard to control. Instead, we could turn to education with its invisible ability to focus “on the belief systems with which individuals make sense of their interactions with the social and biophysical environment.”  Recognizing this “need to change values, beliefs, and worldviews as a response to [assumed] climate change,” but also that “forced” transformations are generally visible, controversial, and subject to being blocked, we could use “transformative education” as a means of altering consciousness. We could even come up with a catchy phrase about a Common Core that allows physical movement among states and  lets a student be internationally competitive in the fast-changing 21st century.

Earlier in the week the IPCC, the UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released its Working Group II Summary For Policy-Makers, http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf with its language on pages 22-23 about Effective Adaptation. Suddenly, the discussion was not about science in the physical sense. We were talking about education and new forms of governance and what is called systems science and no one was talking about waiting to see what happened in the physical world. I recognized the crucial importance of this language about adaptation and immediately put on my Deerstalker Hat and turned on my printer to collect more proof. That has turned the last few days into a whirlwind of in-motion plans, with cites to many of the same ed schemers we have been so horrified by–both in my book when I explained constructivism over the decades, or on this blog as we explored the cybernetic theory of control over human behavior.

Those of us that remember the Tyndall Centre in the UK for its participation in the email obfuscation of ClimateGate may see the need to obscure reality deviating from models when we look at how they are now pushing an Integrative Worldview Framework. Reminiscent of Ervin Laszlo’s Holos Consciousness that we have covered, it goes after the “Overarching systems of meaning and meaning-making that to a substantial extent inform how we interpret, enact, and co-create reality.” Can you say Intrusive? Authoritarian aspirations unsuitable for a free society? Me too.

Alarmed by the language in that Summary Report with Policymakers and how it fit with so much of what I had read as intentions in education or heard in terms of new forms of governance at that (co)lab summit last September, I went to the full report itself. Chapter 20 lays out the Climate-Resilient Pathways and no one is waiting for permission. Think of Common Core and 21st Century and Deep Learning globally as action research. Implement and see what happens to real students in real communities. The paper Chapter 20 actually cited was from a June 2013 conference in Oslo, Norway we were not invited to called “Proceedings of Transformation in a Changing Climate.” IPCC was one of the sponsors and it is clearly tired of waiting for the weather to coincide with its plans for “shared action to transform social structures and institutions,” while pretending it is necessary “in service of climate change adaptation.”

Climate-Resilient Pathways is all about  a priori, or in anticipation of, Transformational Change so supposedly the need to mitigate later will not be as catastrophic. Professors O’Brien and Sygna laid out “three interacting spheres or realms where transformational changes towards sustainability may be initiated.” The actual diagram had the Practical Sphere–Behaviors and Technical Responses–as the central core within a larger sphere of Political Systems and Structures. Are you still wondering why there is such a push to take decision-making power away from elected local officials while replacing with appointed regional bodies unaccountable to voters?

Finally we have the Outermost Sphere–the Personal Realm of “Beliefs, Values, Worldviews and Paradigms”. Let’s just say that altering that Personal Sphere is seen by O’Brien, Sygna, and the IPCC “can lead to different ‘action logics,’  or ways of understanding and interacting with the world.” We could call meddling in this area How to Create a Revolutionary Change Agent, or an army of them, with no one’s permission, but maybe I am being snarky from frustration at so much active and coordinated deceit. Think of all the parents who know something is fundamentally wrong at school, but have no idea there is such an active push for transformative education altering this personal sphere. Why? Because say O’Brien and Sygna:

“Discourses and paradigms emerge from the personal sphere, and influence the framing of issues, the questions that are asked or not asked, and the solutions that are prioritized in the political and practical spheres. Changes in the personal sphere often result in ‘seeing’ systems and structures in new ways…place attention on actions that benefit all humans and species…[and] influence the type of actions and strategies considered possible in the practical sphere.”

In part 2 of this Trilogy of Planned Adaptation and Unconsented to Change, I will lay out a new official definition of Knowledge. Mental representations that lead to predictable action. No need in the 21st century apparently to be true, only influential. Theories and models are fine as long as they can be used to alter behavior in the future. Returning now to that 2010 article by Miklos Antal and Janne I Hukkinen that was cited by O’Brien and Sygna, the IPCC’s current methods are “counterproductive” because of “equating the policy mode of operation with the science mode of operation.” That “in fact keeps opening up potential points of attack for the climate skeptics and gives new grounds for psychological defense strategies.” So reports can discuss science issues as if it really mattered as an obfuscation tactic, but the real battlefield will be at the level of the human mind and a student’s personality.

Instead of “individual safety” being “strongly linked to individual performance” as is presently common, people need to be convinced of the “vulnerabilities of the current economic system.” Then they can be convinced of the need to “restructure it by prioritizing system level stability over individual level gain.” Likewise, Antal/Hukkinen wanted to create ” a viable mental representation of the contradiction in people’s minds.” They suggested using “simple, unambiguous, and credible” language and visuals to establish a direct connection between individual safety and system survival” within each person’s belief and value system. They noted that many people will respond to such a simple “We have to save our civilization” statement. I would note that jettisoning textbooks, lectures, fluent reading, and all the other elements we have talked about keeps pesky facts from interfering with this desired worldview and belief system.

Just head straight to the “cognitive underpinnings” they recommend. This “opens up an inspiring perspective” as “the spirit of including individuals in collective efforts for the planet has the potential of enriching personal and collective social identities.”

Glad something is enriched at least in theory. The real world consequences of such transformative education are likely to be anything but for everyone not pushing these visions for hire.

Even they are consuming seed corn without knowing it or apparently caring much.

7 thoughts on “Tackling the Dilemmas of Collective Action Requires a Shared Cognitive Base: the IPCC Adaptation Trilogy Begins

  1. Robin,

    “prioritizing system level stability over individual level gain”… Could be income inequality? Maybe outcome inequality? Certainly goes with anything with an “inequality” tag in my mind. “The need of the many outweigh the need of the few”. I do wonder how far that concept can be pushed before the young thinkers and doers come out from under their system-inflicted comas.

    • Mike-these materials are hard for those of us who live in the real world to read, but there is no ambiguity here. Sometimes when I do a trilogy I have a vague idea of the remaining parts. For this one the seminal articles are read and haunting, numbered off, and tied both to the IPCC’s pursuits and both the common core and higher ed globally.

      The only good news is the book just keeps getting more relevant. It truly is the foundation for what has come.


  2. Robin,

    I read this essay this AM, http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/whats-wrong-with-zen/, and considered at the same time what you stated in this blog post.

    So not only will unambiguous, picture forming, language and ” jettisoning textbooks, lectures, fluent reading, and all the other elements we have talked about keeps pesky facts from interfering with this desired worldview and belief system.” but so will programs like MindUP in schools or Positive School Behaviors mandates.

    The Faux Zen that Jon Rappaport describes in his article has been disseminated quite persistently throughout our culture for decades. At least since the 50’s. We can probably look to the UN for their help in this effort. Regardless, the pump has been primed. Society globally is saturated with Mindlessness/Nothingness is the Ultimate Goal.

    Whether one subscribes to it or not, enough people have a grasp of the basics as ‘taught’ via Herbal Essence shampoo or air freshener commercials that having programs like MindUP or Positive School Behaviors mandated in school will seem almost de rigueur.

    You have shown so incredibly clearly that these plans to use education to Transform Society have been in the works for decades. At this point I don’t think it is a stretch to imagine that this faux Zen religion and what I call the Fantasy Island mentality of ” Smiles Everyone! Smiles!” is simple happenstance either.

    It is frightening.

    Robert Muller, former Assistant Sec Gen of the UN along with several Sec Gens were Big Fans of faux Zen. Well, actually they were devotees of Alice Bailey her Spirit Guide as you know but that is a different blog entirely. My point is that Muller and Co. started disseminating this stuff back in the very early 60’s. http://robertmuller.org/rm/R1/World_Core_Curriculum.html

    Puzzle pieces that all fit together.

    • Mari-thanks for that. I think what we are dealing with is only one acceptable form of consciousness or acceptable beliefs and values. All of this comes back to that over the decades. I have always told anyone who asked me that yes I do believe this is all grounded in Muller’s work, but others have written about him. As you know I have read a couple of Alice Bailey’s books. I think terms like “intellective competence” or Sharmer’s and Senge’s Presencing are reminiscent or her desire that there not be a well=stocked, rational mind that would be a barrier.

      O’Brien and Sygna’s paper discussed in this post and the IPCC and thus UN view of the importance of personal transformation from the inside-out that is now to be hidden behind an innocuous term like ‘adaptation’ is grounded in this paper from 2007. http://www.kosmosjournal.org/wp-content/article-pdfs/personal-to-planetary-transformation.pdf

      I am rather swimming in info for this Trilogy. I also do not think it is an accident that so many of the creators associated with Transformational OBE were interested in alternative forms of spirituality. It is also consistent with the administrators that I see going through Spence Rogers’ PEAK training who cease to be driven by rational thought and who get an eyes glossed over, beatific look at the mention of his name or Teaching for Excellence.

      The moderator of the program I attended last Wednesday at Emory, Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, states he “is one of the lead meditation instructors for the Cognitively Based Compassion Training research program at Emory” and that he has “worked to bring compassion training into Atlanta elementary schools.” That will go so well with that cultivated inability to actually read. He is also a Research Fellow for the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

      Part 3 of the Trilogy, again all from papers that came out of what was cited in Chapter 20 on what Adaptation was going to mean, is the 50 lesson module, compliant with the Common Core and other curriculum standards, created by the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Again I did not go looking for that. Reading troubling references simply turned that up.

      As the book noted, citing history prof Richard Pipes of Harvard, ultimately it is always about control over an individual’s consciousness.

  3. Robin-

    Yes! One Acceptable Consciousness is the goal and anticipated Outcome.

    From Rappaports article:
    “Breaking apart, exploding the primary illusions and fears that hold an individual in check is not the goal of most Zen as it is now practiced. That objective has been replaced with the false promise that some ultimate “ordinary consciousness” will reconcile the soul with itself.

    The way this promise is offered and the way it is taught and the way its surrounding social culture is embroidered is a dud. Dead on arrival.”

    As I absorb your Lawyer’s research and steep myself in the facts, occasionally the philosopher in me reads paragraphs like the one quoted above and it all comes together in an undeniable knowing. Fact and Feeling combine. Cognition as it supposed to operate when the person has been ‘educated’ in the way that we traditionally have understood education to work.

    Reading ‘Dead on arrival.’ I thought, yes again. Exactly a civilization of numbed and deadened souls. How tragic.

    I’m looking forward to your part 3 anyway.

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