Science Fiction Made Real: Were We Ever To Know In Time?

This is not the kind of science fiction we read in Frankenstein where the experimentation is physical change. Well, it might be physical, but it will be at the mostly invisible neural level. MRIs would do it though. What lights up and where is a very good indication on whether classroom practices are having the intended effect of putting certain capacities like reason and logic to sleep, while building up the habit of channeling all thought through emotions. Hard not to think of that functional MRI study I went over in the book isn’t it? Political purposes for educational manipulation via the schools. Now see this October 2013 paper on using values analysis and psychology to shift and manipulate a “new electorate.” http://www.cultdyn.co.uk/ART067736u/new-electorate-voter-values_Oct2013_11359.pdf

The new central role of the behavioral and social sciences in trying to create and manage an entirely new and theoretical vision of the world turns out to be openly announced, repeatedly, if we know where to look. I was not particularly looking. In fact, my intention was to make this post about Connected digital Learning and how that initiative is openly grounding itself in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, our beloved CHAT, and proclaiming the plan to remake the American economy and society in the name of equity for all. I have been writing for a while about the kind of personal, unconscious level, data adaptive software and gaming and virtual reality exercises will be accumulating. I have also been researching the new federally established Learning Registry (linked via its ADL partner to comparable global initiatives in other countries) and recognize it is about accumulating practices shown to create desired change at the level of a student’s mindset–what they believe and value.

So when the federal DoED this week put on a well-attended Dog and Pony Show around ensuring student data privacy blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/Student Privacy and Online Educational Services (February 2014).pdf , my reaction could be succinctly described as “What a sham!” and “So not the point.” I actually have been doing my homework around the aspirations for Big Data. My musings though pulled up intentions I never would have guessed about where all these pushes around systems thinking and ICT were going. And what’s more it even announces its links to IBM (Smarter Planet from Conclusion of book), Microsoft (Models of the World, who knew?), Alex Pentland and his MIT Media group (that new Social Physics book I wrote about recently), and George Soros, among others. Oh, and working with Oxford University. Remember that 2013 book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think I wrote about?

Imagine forgetting to mention the FuturICT Project and its plans to remake the world and “manage the future,” that would be our future, you and me, around Big Data and social science theories? To shift to an interaction-oriented view and to seek to change human behavior and values and how we govern ourselves. How COULD you forget to mention those essential facts in a book on Big Data? In all these pushes about the need to shift to digital learning? I cannot quote the entire over grasping and very real agenda so here’s the link http://www.futurict.eu/sites/default/files/docs/files/FuturICT_32p_Project%20Outline%20WITH%20LHS.pdf . I do want to quote a particular passage though that captures the massive, experimental plan of social engineering we are dealing with here (Page 6, my bolding and my voice in the brackets):

“In order to understand systemic risks resulting from the new interdependencies and develop the ability of integrated risks management [telling each of us what we can or may not do or know or value], we need to overcome the classical silo thinking and even more than that: We need a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift from focusing on the components of a system [that would be us] to focusing on their non-linear interactions [what we are to be allowed to do or required to do], as studied by complexity science [a theory not necessarily factual]. This paradigm shift will be of similar importance as the one from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview (without which modern physics and launching satellites would have been hardly imaginable). It will promote a new understanding of our techno-socio-economic-environmental system and facilitate new solutions to long-standing problems.”

Not so fast on the likelihood of solutions. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike lousy metaphors? They are generally the mark of either a weak mind or a deceitful one. When the prevailing perception of how our solar system was structured shifted to the heliocentric view, it was simply shifting to reflect demonstrable reality. The solar system as it existed. That is a far cry from analogizing to a paradigm shift grounded in theory of how reality and human behavior and human institutions might be restructured around ICT and Big Data. Especially hoping for new forms of governance with an emphasis on collective behavior and deferring to the democratically adopted consensus. These are theories designed to alter reality, not reflect it, and that is all the difference in the world in whether a paradigm shift is desirable. Especially one that is essentially taking place under cover of darkness.

All the intended modelling via the behavioral and social sciences, by the way, is openly acknowledged by FuturICT to not be an actual forecast. Its admitted purpose is to alter and constrain human behavior. The project intends to “develop a visionary information framework, considering insights from social sciences, complexity theory, and ethics.” It just keeps getting better and better. “The framework would analyze data on a massive scale and leverage them with scientific knowledge [behavioral, not physics!], thereby giving politicians and decision-makers a better understanding to base their decisions on.” And you wonder why the typical legislator or City Council member or Governor is gung-ho on the Common Core. What a king-maker vision.

It gets worse when you tie FuturICT with another recent report that seeks to base “long-term public service reform strategies on themes of reciprocity, responsibility, trust and partnership, and the need for a much closer understanding of how people behave, and what they want, need, and aspire to.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1540126/RSA_Managing-Demand-FINAL.pdf Information that Big Data, especially Big Data coming in through education and connected learning initiatives, has in abundance. Plus in preschool and elementary school it likely reflects what was absorbed from home too.

That RSA report envisions a cultural shift towards what can only be described as the kind of communitarian agenda Amitai Etzioni has always hoped for. No wonder RSA had Harvard’s Robert Kegan (also the OECD’s Key Competences) and his stages vision over to speak. No wonder the Positive Behavior Mandates in the US and the actual definition of Career Ready track back to Etzioni by both function and a cited reference source. No wonder the architect of RSA’s UK ed vision, Guy Claxton, can also be found as the co-author of that 2002 book Learning for Life in the 21st Century that coughed up the importance of Piotr Galperin’s Soviet psychological research to creating desired predictable future behavior.

The hardest thing about writing this blog is synthesizing so many books, reports, and videos that I read all the way through. Condensing is never easy, especially with complicated material, but these aims are quite clear. The use of education as the means is THE essential component of the sought transformations. These reports keep saying this is untried theory, but that does not seem to be stopping a massive social experiment on us, our children, our society, and our economy. Everything I have (too much to cite on a blog) aligns with this vision and the urgency with which it is being pushed from every direction. This idea that the public sector and universities and NGOs and foundations and Big Business are entitled to remake citizens in order to entrench their own power. It’s not an unprecedented aim, but, with Big Data and ICT, the tools of manipulation have gotten so much better.

The theories remain revolting. The way out is to understand this for precisely what it is and to recognize this grasping in real time. It’s why I write. This is not fun, but I believe it is necessary for there to be a way out in time. Perhaps the hardest part of that RSA report on Demand Management is its recommendations to politicians on how to sell this vision without really admitting what is being sought and transformed.

Guess what? We figured it out anyway. No chance of the trust of the public sector and governments that these theories all mention as essential happening now. Let’s see what we can do about the rest of this juggernaut going on at our expense.

We also need to strike the term ‘public servant’ from the way anyone is allowed to describe themselves from now on.

 

Selling Remedies that Actually Destroy Precisely What the Sales Pitch Touts

Now if the Common Core and digital learning were being sold as destroying future American prosperity and allowing China and India to become the world’s dominant economies, politicians and taxpayers at all levels and in every other country would hopefully hit the brakes. So that’s not the sales pitch. In fact, as we have seen the book Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School is getting touted in Brookings Institute programs and a September 12, 2013 Wall Street Journal article on “The Vital Link of Education and Prosperity” by authors Paul E Peterson and Eric Hanushek. Now I am also getting webinar invitations to discuss the book. A full court press would be the basketball term. And the fact that what we are actually getting is the OECD’s promotion of the humanist psychology practices into the classroom via PISA gets omitted from all the discussion. It is the sought remedy, transforming education to perform well on the poorly understood PISA, that actually will gut mass prosperity and promote a crony capitalism instead.

Politically directed public money that benefits a chosen few at the expense of the many, while gutting the transmission of knowledge and substituting a psychologized Curriculum of Affect and Guided Perceptions that are Politically Compelling in its stead, is a lousy deal for most of us. Something to be opposed vocally and frequently. Which is why the real implementation of the Common Core is hidden in side reports and accreditation standards and ridiculously erroneous readings of federal disabilities and civil rights laws.

Likewise, if the attached economic vision were accurately pitched as part of China’s policy of ‘picking corporate winners’ who will become multinationals and eventually become the dominant companies in the global markets, governors and mayors and Congress critters might surmise that this is not a good long term growth strategy for the US. If all of us properly understood that these education reforms are tied to a “collaborative relationship between state and business” we would immediately discount the Chamber of Commerce or political or media support that this is all “a good thing.” Only if you have access to that gravy train of public money taken from taxpayers or charged to them as debt and that prosperity cannot last with education determined to manipulate minds and changing higher ed to give diplomas out equitably to demographic groups.

Last week there was a World Economic Forum in Dalian, China that was invite-only. 1500 invites to movers and shakers from all over the globe for the New Champions annual conference that is now called the “Summer Davos.” It was the seventh such confab and I was quoting from the original intentions of this event from back in 2007 from a prof at Stellenbosch University. Should we be blindly adopting the education proposals that are tied to this vision of the future?

“Who then are the new champions? It is very apparent that China and India are fast becoming the winning economies. Their companies and government bureaucrats are equally impressive with their financial acumen and drive toward their objective–capturing markets and creating a winning national economy.” Note: They are not talking about the US economy being the winner but a loser. No wonder the Chinese are willing to finance so much of our public debt that then gets used to pay off states and localities and school districts to push a government-planned economy that seeks to extinguish individualism and high mental capacity. All at the same time. Does anyone think the Chinese will continue to finance all this deficit spending once the mental aptitudes of the US masses have been effectively extinguished?

Did the typical American attending the “Meeting the Innovation Imperative Summit” last week bother to check out the actual definition of innovation being used? I have it from the program materials. Innovation is “the effort to create purposeful, focused change in an organization’s or institution’s economic or social potential.” That’s not innovation of the ‘free lunch,’ Lever of Riches, capacity that created the current levels of economic prosperity that too many people take for granted. That’s innovation in the Governors-Governed distinction. Which is not terribly surprising since the promotional materials acknowledge that “For decadesĀ  the economies of China and India floundered due to the inability of their governments to create enabling environments of business. The state prioritized political ideology over the interests of business.”

So what is the current desired vision? Let’s go back to that 2007 document again:

“What then is the option for economies that are grappling to come to grips with the new competitive reality of the global economy that is being shaped in Asia? The most successful economy to understand as well as manage these competitive forces is Singapore. It has embraced global business through providing an enabling environment for business that is fully in line with the market. Rather than intervene in the economy, the Singaporean government creates the environment which allows business to effectively compete.”

Now I would argue that a conference planned by the Chairperson and founder of the joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy still has great intentions about intervening in the name of Green Energy, but then I do not tend to take self-interested statements at face value. But this IS the vision of the future that is tied to all the US Governors wanting to take control over education in their states so they can plan “Workforce Development” consistent with “Economic Development” and social equity. The last one gets marketed with its own concentric circle labelled “Justice Too.” People from both sides of the aisle are chasing after this dirigiste-vision that ultimately promotes a China as the ascendant power trajectory. And China, with its one-child policy and reams of corporate and public sector corruption, needs the US to unilaterally hobble its future capacity via poorly understood education reforms. Except I understand them and now so do you.

We also understand the significance of having Dennis Meadows, one of the original co-authors of the controversial 1970s Club of Rome book, Limits to Growth, leading a Dalian program this year on “Decision-making” and systems thinking. Leading no fewer than 3 different programs was the Institute for the Future’s Marina Gorbis who we met in this rather chilling post. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/weak-humanscomputersexpert-modelling-of-captured-data-is-this-your-approved-vision-of-the-21st/ . And when I wrote that I did not know Marina had spent years doing psychological research at SRI. Something she openly acknowledged here. http://odessatothefuture.com/?page_id=2 Have you ever noticed it is a lot easier to accurately predict the future if you push a government-centric vision and education premised as a platform to push Humanist Psychology on unwitting parents and students? It’s also easier if you openly push radically new forms of political governance.

Since we were not invited, here’s the Rethinking Education visual put on there by MIT. http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/ideaslab-rethinking-education-massachusetts-institute-technology . That would be where Peter Senge teaches and is a reminder of the tight links between digital learning and systems thinking. And the unappreciated economic and political vision attached. And here http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/strategic-shifts-societal-ecosystems is the graphic that goes along with the envisioned New Roles for Business and Civil Society in the 21st Century. Might as well know what is intended for us. And here http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/reversing-income-inequality is the intended plan to use the powers of government and education to reverse income inequality.

That should give you a good idea of where this is all going and question whether this in fact is a vision US schools should be pushing without realizing it. I am going to close with a story that illustrated to me the extent to which US politicians are being told whatever story it takes to get them to sign on to supporting these transformative vehicles. Usually touted as “public/private partnerships.” Without having any clue what they are really advocating for. I listened to a presentation from an elected official recently whose bio indicated he was personally and politically quite conservative. He closed by citing to Peter Senge and his book The Fifth Discipline and how we could restructure businesses and governments to eliminate the current Limits to Growth and Prosperity.

Now clearly he had never actually read Senge’s books but someone had led him to believe Senge’s vision aligned with his own. Which it does not if you read the various posts under the Peter Senge tag. My point is pushing Senge’s vision and methods is about 180 degrees from his vision for the US and its future. All someone had to do was misrepresent Senge to gain his advocacy.

I think there is a tremendous amount of that going on now as we get a full court press in the US to get all these policies and practices in place without a protest. You align these misrepresentations to entities or people who want to continue to rely on taxpayer money funding their salaries and companies. But what is being advocated for is ultimately the equivalent of letting in a horde of locusts.

But the few who benefit either don’t know what is going on or they are not telling because the benefits of this cronyism are so huge right now. But the OPM-Other People’s Money will run out. And the WEF definition of innovation will destroy genuine innovation in the US.

And then where will we be? Asking the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations to help average Americans out instead of sponsoring the Dalian Annual Meeting to put this pernicious vision in place?

Dialectical Integration of the Person as a Totality: How Can That Make Anyone Competitive Internationally?

What do you mean no one describes the goal in that language in their powerpoint and it’s rude of me to interject such a graphic description into the public debate? Should it count if the clear trail from what is being pushed in the name of making countries or states internationally competitive in the 21st century global economy tracks back to that kind of explicit language? I think it should too even if the 1990 book I took that language from was intentionally withdrawn from the library shelves at Colorado College precisely to prevent anyone from doing just what I did. Recognizing what the editor had been up to in the last 10 years in his work for the OECD and ordering the previously unknown book when a cite to it cropped up in the footnotes on the psychological, Social Brain Project, focus. Truly as much as I love to read, some descriptions that make it to print need to be buried deep or burned if you want to keep the aim and mystery of “college and career ready for all” and everyone should try to excel on international assessments like PISA.

Otherwise a pesky writer might chase the vision back to lots of references about how to get social systems to evolve to new kinds of mindsets that would no longer see the Soviet Union as the ‘other’ and risk nuclear annihilation. What is it about psychologists and educators who keep insisting we must have empathy towards cultures where the facts actually show plenty of leaders would like to eliminate us to put it mildly if they could. USSR in 1990 and the Alliance of Civilizations in 2013. Dialectical Integration of the Person in 1990 and a Growth Mindset and systems thinking and metacognition and Kegan’s self-authoring, 4th stage, in 2013. Now I think we have had to wind our way through too much psychobabble in recent posts precisely so we could appreciate the sought emphasis coming to schools, classrooms, and maybe your next corporate retreat soon.

I want to talk about how all this rhetoric about being “high performing” and “internationally competitive” and ensuring “economic prosperity” is forcing us to adopt that very psychosynthesized, dialectically integrated, inner core driven by love for all vision accidentally. Because no one seems to bother to look into the actual definitions of terms or the nature of these international assessments. Busy, famous people who hopefully mean well with all their advocacy are pushing ideas that are not actually aimed where these professors and politicians and business executives claim they want us to go.

Now a Swede by the name of Torsten Husen laid out the function of these “tests’ in driving a global socialist, welfare state vision decades ago in his 1974 book The Learning Society and then later in 1986 in The Learning Society Revisited. Not really a dispute over that one.

Likewise the true nature of PISA and the OECD term Competencies and the intentions were well-laid out in February 2002 at the Second DeSeCo Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Which again we were not invited to. We could have brought our ski boots and a cute jacket and drank brandies by a fireplace with a view but no. DeSeCo by the way is an abbreviation for Definition and Selection of Key Competencies but how do we, I mean the OECD officials, get to decide what will be key? Well, we could have Robert Kegan come be the keynoter of the symposium. That’s the same person we encountered in the last post and previously when the Hewlett Foundation hired him and Peter Senge to make sure the Common Core vision in the US would align with Hewlett’s deep learning emphasis. And deep learning says the OECD as of 2010 means the same as its term “adaptive competence.” It all fits together like a designed blueprint, huh, once we focus on the actual implementation instead of the PR powerpoints?

So Kegan focused on “Competencies as Working Epistemologies: Ways We Want Adults to Know.” Now he left out the part about “so they will be suitably malleable in our evolving new social systems and take action to achieve what we wish” but that is the gist of it. If you remember genuine disciplinary knowledge and a well-practiced logical mind leads to overintellectualization. And that proves to be an obstacle to the desired consciousness that never forgets it is part of an interdependent collective. Seeking harmony with all others and nature…

So that’s the vision the OECD is chasing with PISA and it’s also the vision the RSA is pushing in its Social Brain Project so that students will be ready for what the OECD regards as a well-functioning 21st century society. Which is still about a public-sector administered subjective well-being society of equity and justice…

Oh quit laughing. Who says it will end poorly this time? We can dream, can’t we? As you can see there’s a reason everyone uses vague illusory phrases and misleading definitions to obscure the real vision. A book came out last week called Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School published by the Brookings Institute with Larry Summers writing the Foreword. Mr Soon-to-Be-Head at the Federal Reserve Maybe. It laid out the need to do well on PISA and other international assessments as a means of “guaranteeing a vibrant economic future.” Poppycock! That’s not what is being measured and chasing after that type of excellence virtually ensures no continuation of economic prosperity.

I mentioned the Brookings angle because chasing after getting good at dialectical thinking and the integration of feeling into thought and new values as PISA actually pushes and monitors fits in perfectly to Brookings’ Metropolitanism, Regional Equity, Let the Public sector and Private sector work in partnership crony economic vision that we have already encountered. Like most things having to do with ed reforms these days the truth is behind the curtain and under the sofa but it IS there. And it is all linked. And surprisingly consistent across the decades once you see the vision of transformative change.

But a means for economic prosperity? No. I went back to another 1990 book so I could explain what really causes the kind of economic success and technological progress that is being used as the misleading sales pitch for all this psychological, change-the-student and society crap. Written by an economic historian, Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress lays out the necessary ingredients. And unfortunately for all of us, they are precisely what is being shut down by these ed reforms.

Mokyr points out that what always stops technological progress in its tracks is “social forces that for one reason or another tried to preserve the status quo.” Now the benefits of ed reform and especially the digital literacy focus involve concentrated benefits to a relatively few companies and consultants and widely dispersed costs. Many of those are not even financial but the invisible shift to more malleable mindsets and personalities. Benefits to a few and dispersed, almost unseen costs, are a classic case of when the winners will try to lobby politicians and regulators to “help them out a bit.” And that’s apart from the paranoia that putting Worldcom and DEC on the list of former leading companies will do to surviving tech companies. Can’t imagine being dropped from the Dow Industrial Average will slow down HP’s push into ed in the least. Probably will become part of the turnaround plans. That’s how the cronyism instinct works once the public sector controls so much of who gets what.

Progress requires just the kind of willingness to manipulate the physical environment and nature that the ecologists are trying to shut down. The emphasis on holism just does not fit with the reality from history that “Teasing these secrets out of [nature] and then manipulating them for material benefit is the essence of any technological breakthrough.” Moreover, “technological change involves an attack by an individual on a constraint that everyone else takes as a given.” Now how will that happen in a society trying to wipe out the very legitimacy of individualism? Let’s run through the conditions required to be technologically creative and thus economically prosperous and let’s decide what is left standing after these ed reforms:

“First, there has to be a cadre of ingenious and resourceful innovators who are both willing and able to challenge their physical environment for their own improvement. ..Second, economic and social institutions have to encourage potential innovators by presenting them with the right incentive structure. In part such incentives are economic; technological creativity is more likely if an innovator can expect to become rich…Third, innovation requires diversity and tolerance [of ideas!! not skin color or gender]. In every society, there are stabilizing forces that protect the status quo… Technological creativity needs to overcome these forces.”

So the parts of the economy and educational institutions that do promote genuine technological creativity are becoming captive to the public sector and businesses wanting to make sure they don’t become the next defunct or greatly diminished company.

And all those slogans about innovation and entrepreneurship turn out to be about new social systems or different ways of organizing an economy or new kinds of human nature.

In other words, if we are to have ANY chance of preserving mass prosperity and technological progress going forward, we have got to keep our eye on the real implementation.

Verify everything from now on when it comes to education.