Deep Diving to Internal Mental Models to Increase Leverage for Accomplishing the Great Transition

No, deep diving is not a Grab Your Attention Play on the ubiquity of the ambiguous term ‘deeper learning’ as a fundamental goal of 21st century education globally. The last fundamental transformation confession that was lurking in that IPCC definition of Adaptation we have been discussing in this Spheres of Desired Transformation Quartet was from a 2011 Conference in London where once again our invitation went missing. Sponsored primarily by the World Wildlife Fund-UK and called the Smart CSOs Conference, the report was called Effective Change Strategies for the Great Transition: Five Leverage Points for Civil Society Organizations. Troublingly and in disregard of my recollection of civics in the US, the document seeks to achieve invisible global change because “similar to governments, CSOs have a mandate to serve society’s interests, but they do not face the same constraints as governments.”

Oh, goody. Especially since the report notes in discussing the leverage points for the wholesale transformations intended by the Great Transition that “increased leverage can be found by diving to the deeper levels of the iceberg depicted [in the report but taken from Peter Senge’s 1990 book The Fifth Discipline Handbook] and draw our attention to and shift system structures and mental models.” When people tell me they wish my book or this blog would simply stick to education, I keep repeating that I cannot. The constantly recurring end goal is always that education is a means for obtaining a new kind of consciousness and revised societal values for desired fundamental transformations “across every realm” at both a “broad and deep systemic” level. The report states that this “includes technologies, legislation, economic and governance institutions, social relations, culture and values.”

Education is deemed to be the key means of leveraging the transition because it is the “internal models of the world” that will allow the needed changes in behaviors going forward. All the explanations of mandated Constructivism and Curriculum Redesign and Gaming and systems thinking and digital learning all become clear when we read the complaints of how existing political, social, and economic structures are resisting the desired transformational changes. The key the report says is to “go even deeper and explore how real structures are shaped by our thinking. We create internal models of the world–mental models, which we use for making sense of the world and taking action.” The fact that these internal mental representations are the target gets hidden behind euphemisms like deep learning, brain-based learning, teaching students ‘how to think,’ and rigor and higher order thinking skills that will allow Transfer.

Unless, like me, you read the underlying cited psychological research the true definitions and aims remain obscured. In my world though, the intentions could not be more clear. As the CSO report recommended, systems thinking and conceptual ‘lenses’ generally “allows us to open these black boxes.” Numerous papers I have seen in just the last week make it clear this is exactly what the new assessments delivered via adaptive software and the computer are designed to produce data both looking at and changing what’s inside the ‘black box’ within a student’s mind. It is the aim of this recent Nellie Mae report as well as “Measuring Learning Success: Rethinking Assessment to Improve Student Outcomes” from the Center for Digital Education (that is actually a sub of media company erepublic that works with state and local governments on innovations based on Big Data). Can you say “No one will see this coming until it is too late?”

All of these intentions are laid out, including specifically “simulations and role playing games” that let students explore in cyberspace with visual images the “dynamic consequences of our assumptions” in our existing mental models. No one will be tipping off teachers or students that those consequences are simply what has been programmed into the simulation to guide beliefs and values in desired directions. If you are wondering if I am perhaps too cynical on the intentions here, the CSO report wants a new narrative so badly they italicized it that will “speak to the hearts and minds of a very large number of people and tell a creative and emotional story of who we are and who we need to be and tap into the creative worlds of mythmaking.” The narrative will appeal to people’s intrinsic values, which will of course have been cultivated by ed using contemplative education or positive psychology methods and the Positive School Climate/ Fostering Communities of Learners requirements.

Whatever method gets used to embed new communitarian oriented values via school and higher education, CSOs are exhorted to use the laid-out “understanding of values, frames and narratives in their policy and their communication.” Remember the desire of cybernetic theory to create an internal keel that could be used to steer people’s future behavior with? CSOs, the media, governments at all levels with help from companies like erepublic, are all planning to steer as a means of finally achieving this Great Transition. Did you know the report defines narratives as “frameworks for people to understand their lives. They are a way to make sense of life”? Those narratives are being consciously created to get at emotions. They are designed to utilize research from cognitive science obtained from real people via formative assessments, adaptive software, or data from MOOCs (hence all the interest from the Artificial Intelligence community. It is also a research method).

That cognitive science research so far says that to change values in people and ultimately institutions, education needs to target the “mental structures that allow human beings to understand reality.” Accessing these “deep frames–the cognitive structures found in long-term memory–are closely linked with cultural values. Deep frames are relatively stable, but are not unchangeable.” Let’s stop again to remember and discuss why these deep mental structures are being deliberately targeted for change. Politicians, public sector bureaucrats, foundation employees, CSOs, and apparently the entire UN apparatus that guarantees lifetime salaries for all vision-compliant former politicians once voters tire of their shenanigans, have all decided to fundamentally redesign all our civic institutions and economic and political structures in ways that benefit them and screw us. Since we would be crazy to go along if we were asked, we are not being asked.

Education again is the way in. It is why it has become a Weapon to Destroy the world we currently take for granted. It goes to accessing the deepest structures of our minds and the fundamental drivers within our personalities. To dictate that it is now to be “the will of humanity to invent an economic system that is guided by different parameters and that would work for human wellbeing and the planet.” That’s doubtful, but it’s such a nice slogan for the reality of personal greed coerced via the public sector. Schools and higher ed are now to ensure graduates have a “bigger sense of interconnectedness with nature and with others and an empathy with humanity as a whole (global empathy).” And no matter how much a student knows, without hitting that Universal Love stage of Global Citizenship, there will be no badge or diploma. The student will be regarded as Not Ready to Move On.

I want to end on one of the same notes that I drew attention to in my book, especially now that the same vision featured prominently in the recent book Imagine Living in a Socialist USA. The intended redesign of the global economy, especially in developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, is to “start with the question: What level and what type of consumption do people really need to live a good and fulfilling life?”

This is not a minor point. In fact the Ford Foundation funds Global Transformation research around this so-called Line of Plenty. The Thanksgiving 2077 conclusion to that Imagine book talks about how people probably would never have supported the Great Transition if they had realized it would mean meat consumption would be rare and that medical care would cease after a certain age. But those recognized realities are not in the Talking Points for the Great Transition being offered for public consumption. It’s not designed into the scenarios offered by virtual simulation either.

We have a great deal of intended aims and consequences laid out in the documents discussed in this IPCC Adaptation Quartet. Fundamental transformations in all areas without any intention of asking for consent from the so-called Governed. Only calling attention to these intentions and the fact that education is the way in can stop it.

I can and have tracked all this and more. Can you help me spread the word about these dangerous declared intentions?

Why Make the Long Sought Goal of Anarchists and Socialists the 21st Century Education Ideal?

That quote involving the democratic purposes of schools that emphasized how the “democratic approach creates opportunities for local communities to publicly deliberate and self-govern” that we talked about sarcastically in the last post just kept gnawing at my subconscious from the time I published the post. It was no accident that Equity Pushers put such a place-based participatory democracy and create consensus and majority rules position in an October 2012 Position Paper to guide the CCSSI implementation. It is a shout out to the Bela Banathy and Texas Super position of making education about a New Desired Collective Future. That Future that needs a New Kind of Mind and Heart. Which is precisely what all these reforms we have chronicled seek to create.

That quote not only implies resuscitating John Dewey’s ideal of Participatory Democracy (which would explain all the push around Quality Learning and the Arts inclusion) but also its previous modern incarnation in the 1962 Port Huron Statement that created the Students for a Democratic Society. No wonder so many former SDSers like Bill Ayers or Mike Klonsky were drawn into education. Perfect cultural weapon for mass political, social, and economic Transformation. Go after the noetic system and change beliefs, attitudes, values, and feelings (sound like a familiar goal by various names?) and predictable future behavior will soon follow. People in fact may be easier to program via education than computers are for a developer. One need not be specific and logical to achieve the desired outcome in people.

That quote also reminded me especially of the Regional Equity Movement we have talked about several times that is to be a primary goal of an Obama Second Term. is the discussion of the Building One America conference and how I see this as relating to education and the Future Earth Alliance.

But the Regional Equity Movement is a political means. The broader movement is called Bioregionalism and it unites systems thinking, new 3 R’s, education with ICLEI and Agenda 21. I have had all the Bioregional implementation books from the early 90s for a while. But when I read the plans they always struck me as so ludicrous to be proposing as 21st Century aspirations that I would get frustrated and put the books away. But the ludicrous aspirations just kept coming up over and over as real goals. Actual intentions. Where Banathy and Peter Senge and Paul Ehrlich and the No More Axemaker Minds and Democratic Purpose of Education were going. So I gathered the books together and took them to my favorite place for systematically taking on a really troubling book or concept–the Beach. I firmly believe lovely vistas help bolster the soul whenever life’s ugliness must be dealt with.

We could describe the last few days research on Bioregionalism as Revelations from the Sand and Surf. Vacationers who did not know me probably wondered why the lady sat scribbling furiously in the margins while sitting under the beach umbrella. The very picture of the Quintessential Nerd in Paradise. Well, in my defense it is not every day that you get so many open declarations and admissions against interest describing a Long Term Political Scheme in detail. With memorable details like “the murderous sociopathology of capitalism” or how:

“Cancer stalks the Earth. Its name is profit, its nature poison. In the name of profit our lakes and rivers die. Our oceans are dying. . .For the sake of profit our food, water and air are poisoned.” It goes on but you get the idea. No wonder so many new college grads think they must work in the nonprofit sector. They have been inundated with a very false view of the world and how it works and they lack enough historical knowledge to reject such foolish propaganda. After all they grew up in an education system that is preaching that process and theory are more important than facts. Guided already by this several decades old Transform the Future vision without bothering to tell the students, parents, or taxpayers.

The Bioregional vision goes on to make the municipality (after being broken up into authentic communities “scaled to human dimensions”) the place (and they do seem to mean this in the sense of physical space and physical activity) where:

“the individual can be transformed from a mere person into an active citizen, from a private being into a public being. Given this crucial arena that literally renders the citizen a functional being who can participate directly in the future of society, we are dealing with a level of human interaction that is more basic (apart from the family itself) than any level that is expressed in representative forms of governance, where collective power is literally transmuted into power embodied by one or a few individuals. The municipality is thus the most authentic arena of public life, however much it may have been distorted over the course of history.”

Now I did warn you civics education and the Civic Mission of Schools can be a dangerous thing to advocate blindly for these days. It is a different view of citizenship and government than what the US Constitution laid out. The mayors, however, are delighted and this explains their enthusiasm for Sustainability and Green Initiatives apart from federal dollars. They think they get to be where the long term action is in a world that really is envisioned to work like a commune with transportation by “collective vehicles.” A world where there ceases to be “independence or dependence.” In its place we are supposed to have “a more richly articulated form of interdependence” after each person has engaged in “a conscious reconstruction of our relationship to each other and the natural world.”

Now, you must be wishing you had a lovely vista to stand up and walk around in and then glance away to the horizon before reading more such nonsense. But when you have monopoly power through government, access to taxpayer money, and little real knowledge of history nonsensical visions can still be very real. Literally be the impetus behind actual education reforms and political policies and regulations and sought economic transformations. Which is precisely what is going on right now in so many areas. It tracks back in the US and globally (yes, the UN is behind this. 1973 was the initiation date days my books) to this Bioregionalist vision. That hits us as nonsensical.

And do you know where this no more Division of Labor or market exchange economy and society starts? The one to be a sharing society “based on the pleasure that is felt in distributing among communities according to their needs”? Why it starts in a new vision for education for the Full Personality. Education to “reflect on what it means to think–yes, to reason–and to live ecologically in the full meaning of the term.” That sure does sound like Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer’s Systems Thinking and the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development.

Education that makes “for more rounded personalities with a rich sense of selfhood and competence” which was a goal “long cherished by the anarchists and socialists of the last century.”

Really? Are we really going to keep implementing K-12 and college education designed to unite us all “in an ecological continuum to feed the spirit as well as the body, sharpening one’s sensitivity to the nonhuman and human world around us.” No wonder it is to be about hands-on science instead of the science in textbooks. No wonder school is now to be about Relationships.

Can we stand up now and look at the full future vision of society that this Equitable Education and democratic purpose of schooling and systems thinking and Competence is taking us to?

We Need a Radical Change in Our Mode of Consciousness, Even a New Sense of Being Human

And a “new sense of reality and of value.” And our “primary allegiance” needs to be to the “larger community, ” not just of people but all life forms. And the Earth itself. No more using “human cunning” to dominate natural resources. And, Oh yeah, we also need “planetary socialism” as an explicit goal and the Christian religion needs to lose its dominant emphasis on redemption. Those are just a few morsels from one of the primary books cited and used by many of the systems theorists and Sustainability advocates.

Published in 1988, Thomas Berry’s The Dream of the Earth is the blueprint for the Green Movement and Bioregionalism and Sustainability. It literally sees human intelligence and reason as a problem because it allows people to use and change nature. It really does sound just like Paul Ehrlich’s desire for Newmindedness (Berry cites him a lot) or James Burke’s disdain for the Axemakers Mind that we have discussed.  As far as Berry and Ehrlich and Burke are concerned, we humans are entering an emerging Ecological Age and we need to fit our thinking and our actions within this desired shift from the “human-centered norm of reality and value to a nature-centered norm.”

Now I am going to stop this troubling but highly influential vision for a minute. In my role as the Miss Marple of education and economic detecting I encounter lots of different visions for a radically altered future. It is my informed belief after reading so many of these cited works and blueprints that the various end games like Bioregionalism or Future Earth Alliance are primarily designed to build electoral coalitions among various interests and grievances to get control over economies and human behavior through the ballot box and regulation. And to get local and state officials to hand over power to the federal level and federal officials to push it to a global level. That’s the consistency throughout. The statists are not going to give up fossil fuels but pursuing that unrealistic goal accretes power to government officials because they must intervene in what should be private decisions. And it creates tremendous opportunities for Cronyism. Be a political player or be no more is the way Crony economies work and there is no widespread prosperity there.

The other consistency throughout is dramatically changing the nature of education away from the transmission of knowledge and the cultivation of reason and logic. And it is a front-end tool so the education vision gets implemented first as a means to gain the desired economic control and redesign. Education then becomes about changing values, attitudes, and beliefs to affect human behavior without being open about such personal control over citizens. That is the essence of Transformational OBE and Systems Thinking and why attempts to push it under various names never go away in middle and suburban high schools despite all the blood shed at Columbine.

Human Consciousness is still the desired target and grounding decisions in unconscious emotions is still the most successful way to control behaviors permanently and from afar. And the Gypsy Principals and Supers will not stop pushing these toxic ideas with a bloody history they may not even know because that’s the path to the lucrative promotions. So it is up to us parents and taxpayers to understand this template and stop the educators and the politicians and bureaucrats. All of whom live at our expense.

Every totalitarian dictator in history wanted control over Consciousness. It remains tyranny when it comes in through the schools and classrooms through an administrator who insists on being called “Doctor.” Because I am on so many internal distribution lists I know that educators all over the world–US, Canada, Australia, UK, and Europe in particular–have recently been recirculating a 1990 speech called “What is Education For?”. Oberlin Professor David Orr was and still is a well-known member of the ecological movement although that is not in the speech or article. And the vision for education in the article replicates much of Thomas Berry’s vision for education from The Dream of the Earth. Like Berry, Orr believes that modern education and contemporary culture has created a “monster” in the form of the “modern drive to dominate nature.” He goes on to assert that:

“It is a matter of no small consequence that the only people who have lived sustainably on the planet for any length of time could not read or, like the Amish, do not make a fetish of reading.”

How’s that for explaining the reluctance to use effective reading techniques? Reading phonetically allows access to soon-to-be impermissable knowledge. It has the undesirable side effect of honing analytical skills and the ability to internally weigh alternative mental scenarios and possibilities. That’s not acceptable in a community comes first world since all those capabilities enhance a sense of individuality. Orr even goes on to complain that “Galileo’s separation of the intellect foreshadows the dominance of the analytical mind over that part given to creativity, humor, and wholeness.” I’d really like to object to that last point because I think an analytical mind is capable of great humor and more than a little snarkiness. After all who else sees irony everywhere they turn? I must admit though I do find the Three Stooges annoying. And I am very fond of building up my Wholes from lots of different parts as long-time readers know.

Now when the analytical mind itself is so regularly disparaged as an undesirable goal of education is it any surprise that we spend so much for such poor results? What we taxpayers and parents and tuition paying students think we are getting and what the educators intend to sell are two radically different products. Both of which call themselves education. Which is why we are in such an expensive mess. When educators are pursuing a vision for their product that the Earth itself cannot be managed but:

“What might be managed is us: human desires, economies, politics, and communities.”

Like trying to control any of those things, especially by stealth, does not have a tragic track record. And then goes on to say:

“the planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.”

Now remember this is getting circulated all over the world as an inspirational vision to start the new school year with. It goes on to quote Holistic Review which is important since my Gypsy Principal is openly proclaiming that high school education is now to be holistic. My bet is you should ask yours. Here’s that holistic vision citing Ron Miller:

“Our culture does not nourish that which is best or noblest in the human spirit. It does not cultivate vision, imagination, or aesthetic or spiritual sensitivity. It does not encourage gentleness, generosity, caring, or compassion. Increasingly in the late 20th Century, the economic-technocratic-statist worldview has become a monstrous destroyer of what is loving and life-affirming in the human soul.”

Needless to say, those educators now feel primed to make SEL and a Positive School Climate the focus of school. And the new economy push that surrounds all these ed initiatives? Well, Orr opines that “Communism failed because it produced too little at too high a cost” which is a ludicrous way to describe an ideology that killed 100 million. But how many educators know that? And then Orr claims that “Capitalism failed because it destroys morality altogether.”

I could write a whole blog post on the ignorance in that statement but most educators will believe it and implement curriculum, assessments, and instruction changes accordingly. Blissfully unaware of the seeds they are actually sowing. It is thus up to us. All of us. To take education back. To get the product we are paying for, not the one we are being sold.

It sounds hyperbolic to say human freedom is at stake at its most basic level. But that’s the result of tyrannical overreaches. Describing the actual effects does sound sensational. But it remains an accurate description of why we must speak up and fight. It really is our essence, our souls, being targeted. Pity the children under this vision.