Prospection: Training the Mind to Reject the Pre-Given World In Favor of What Might Be

Most of us, at least of a certain age, see the word ‘Understand’ and then it has something to do with how the world actually works or events that transpired in the past and what likely caused them and their ultimate consequences. This is from the Science Direct article called “Understanding is a Design Problem” written by Michael Lissack of the American Society for Cybernetics. It supplies the use of Understanding being pushed by Positive Psychology and its PERMA Model for education globally as well as other initiatives.

**  When the act of understanding becomes a design problem, we can more readily recognize the role played by individual agency/construction in shaping these understandings, and also our next moves.

**  Understanding is not about cognizing a pre-given world, it is about becoming aware of and consciously choosing the aspects of the world that we decide to cope with.

Those were from the bullet points of the abstract, but the following quote is from the paper itself under a heading of “The Role of As-Ifs,” which will fit nicely in a minute with what Positive Neuroscience and Psychology co-creator Martin Seligman calls Prospection and what the Templeton Foundation funded found here https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/learn-more/readings-and-videos/selected-scholarly-articles called “Navigating the Future or Driven By the Past.” First, here is Lissack and think again of the Reading, Math, and Science Wars as we do:

Understanding requires agency. We do not nakedly receive meaning, nor do we just perceive the world as it is. Our cognitive equipment demands that we intervene to filter, prime, and frame some portion of the world, attend to that, develop an understanding and move on…The notion of as-ifs is critical to the argument that follows. Because of our limited cognitive resources, we cannot deal with the world as it is. We are stuck dealing with what our minds can process and treat that as if it were the world itself. The implications are vast. There may be fixed facts and absolute truths that apply in the real world, but we have no way of knowing such things…

We are stuck having to deal with as-ifs and not the real world. Where we do have choice is in the composition of those as-ifs. This is the context in which design [especially when mandated via learning standards like competency frameworks] can make a difference. ‘The object of the world of ideas as a whole is not the portrayal of reality–this would be an utterly impossible task–but rather to provide us with an instrument for finding our way about more easily in this world.’ [and] ‘Knowledge is not a matter of getting reality right…but rather a feature of acquiring habits of action for coping with reality.’

Gives new meaning, doesn’t it, to the emphasis now on Concepts first and whether the student applies the concepts in real world simulations and new situations that get required via Equity mandates like this one from yesterday? https://www.inacol.org/resource/how-systems-of-assessments-aligned-with-competency-based-education-can-support-equity/ Success for All suddenly means all students must have their mental models reengineered. Equity does sound better.  All students need the so-called higher performance (as in action, not grades) measures of achievement because as Lissack explained it:

Attention and ascription–giving a label to something, and thus providing a means of reference for it–entail a continuous circular reflexivity which drives our decision making and actions at any given instant…Only attended-to possibilities can afford an option for action. Unattended-to affordances, while theoretically available, simply do not afford. Action is dependent upon recognizing an affordance, which is dependent upon attention, which in turn is dependent on priming (preparedness to be attended to), which is itself dependent upon prior ascriptions, prior attention, and prior actions.

It is this context that I would put this mandate https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/13/new-zealand-schools-to-teach-students-about-climate-crisis-activism-and-eco-anxiety as the desired attended-to concepts are instilled in students’ minds to necessitate future action. Now to Seligman’s 2013 article which claimed that “Prospection, the representation of possible futures, is a ubiquitous feature of the human mind…Prospection involves no backward causation; rather, it is guidance not be the future itself but by present, evaluative representations of future possible states.” Sounds like Lissack’s desire to design the as-if conditionals that will become students habits of mind and motivators to act to me. Suddenly the need for Character Education and Virtue Training makes perfect sense if the emphasis is to be on decision making in light of ‘needs and goals’ as in this passage from the first paragraph laying out the new model of human psychology.

We suggest an alternative framework in which people and intelligent animals draw on experience to update a branching array of evaluative prospects that fan out before them. Action is then selected in light of their needs and goals. The past is not a force that drives them but a resource from which they selectively extract information about the prospects they face.

One point of contention between this blog and my book Credentialed to Destroy and other education writers has been a tendency for others to hype Behaviorism as the inspiration reforms, while I have seen cybernetics and the desire to control perception and the internalized mental models as the aspiration. Seligman shed meaningful light on this point where “the failure of behaviorism lay in its overreach, trying to use a theory that worked for rats and pigeons in the experimental setting to explain human psychology in unconstrained situations…we believe that the crucial failure was in eschewing teleological explanation, which followed directly from the exclusion of mental events in favor of drives and habits.” He then goes on to detail how the rat experiments actually “pointed clearly away from the idea that behavior was under the control of past motor ‘habits,’ suggesting instead that an acquired ‘cognitive map’ governed navigation flexibly, permitting goal-directed behaviors of unprecedented kinds.”

Seligman then made the fascinating point that the oft-cited Russian psychologist Pavlov’s research had been mistranslated into English “in such a way as to underscore the lack of teleology. His ‘conditional’ and ‘unconditional’ were rendered ‘conditioned’ and ‘unconditioned’ and this shift to the past participle brought with it the connotation of a fixed relation, whereas ‘conditional,’ Pavlov’s term, allows the ‘if-then’ representation of possibilities.” Remember our ‘pragmatic inquiry’ from Part 1 of what I am ultimately going to call this Enactive Cognitive Science Trilogy? Seligman goes into more detail about the actual rat experiments and then concludes that:

Rats, it seems, are more predictable when we postulate that they act through complex expectation-based representations of possible actions and outcomes, behaving more like inquirers actively seeking to anticipate the future than creatures of habit-channeled drives? Perhaps humans should be given as much credit…A conceptual error seems to have animated behaviorism, in which something genuinely suspect–a metaphysical teleology of causation backward in time, of the present by the future–was conflated with something not at all mysterious, namely, guidance by a system bearing causal and evaluative information about possible futures.

The quotes above from Lissack about ascriptions and attended-to affordances fit with what Seligman calls the Logic and Benefits of Expectation. Try not to compare 21st century students to Lashley’s rats in this quote:

Choice now makes sense. Lasley’s rats, even when confined to the narrow channels of the maze, appear to have been building up ab evaluative map of the possibilities their environment afforded, stretching well beyond actual experience and enabling them to improvise opportunistically on the spot. Such behavior draws attention to another core aspect of cognition that is oriented toward prospection: the active, selective seeking of information (‘exploration’), which, if we are right about prospection, should be as vital as the active, selective processing of information…Expectation is pivotal in schema (1) [adaptive feed-forward/feedback models of learning and control] because it transforms experience into experimentation–continuously generating a ‘test probe’ so that the next experience always involves an implicit question and supplies an answer, which can then function as an error-reducing ‘learning signal’.

Doesn’t that sound just like what the Formative Assessment hype brought in above in the name of Equity calls Continuous Improvement? It is what Seligman called “such active, ongoing prospection nicely illustrates teleological control–navigating into the future by considering future possibilities and electing action [student performance] in light of the benefits and risks they promise.” All the emphasis on Virtues in the Portrait of a Graduate or in Classical Education https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/four-pillars-educating-america/ , for example, make far more sense if there is a perceived need to educate Desire: “because desire provides an intelligible teleology for human action, a narrative arc stretching from discovery of a transfixing but distant prospect, across the drama of longing, seeking, and overcoming obstacles, to arrive at a denouement in union with the object of desire.”

What a student likes and values then affects their action in light of perceived possibilities and the “motivation for such action is not determined by fixed drives or past conditioning but is elicited by the evaluative process itself through the normal working of desire…Our title emphasizes navigating the future because, like a navigator, the organism must not only act but also mentally explore options and keep track of progress.” Let’s close not with the theory, but with the OECD’s Future of Education and Skills 2030 aspiration. In the ironically called Conceptual learning framework for Student Agency for 2030, where the children are already in our schools:

The concept of student agency, as understood in the context of the OECD Learning Compass 2030, is rooted in the principle that students have the ability and the will to positively influence their own lives and the world around them. Student agency is thus defined as the capacity to set a goal, reflect and act responsibly to effect change. It is about acting rather than being acted upon; shaping rather than being shaped; and making responsible decisions and choices rather than accepting those determined by others…While a well-developed sense of agency can help individuals achieve long-term goals and overcome adversity, students need foundational cognitive, social, and emotional skills so they can apply agency to their own–and society’s–benefit.

The illusion of choice using a contrived cognitive map created by mostly mandated learning experiences that over time have turned into habits. Predictable actions in the future engineered by all those as-if scenarios practiced in digital learning environments and role-playing online and in group activities.

Part 3 whenever I get a chance. Bon Chance!

 

 

 

Eradicating the Axemaker Mind via Schools to Supposedly Promote Global Flourishing

Welcome to the 2020s! This is the Decade where Governments all over the world intend “to act as an instrument of the common good” and use the schools to rewire students’ brains so that they are more amenable to the plans political leaders have for us in the 21st century. I wish this was fiction or just a theory of mine, but it is not. I certainly was not going to write about this during the holidays, but there were quite a lot of white papers put out in December on this point, and being the careful researcher I am, I then followed up on the books and papers cited in the footnote and here we are. This is not a one shot post, but the beginning of what has become a well-documented armada of coordinated initiatives to use schools to cultivate “positive attitudes and activities” so that students can “develop the inner means to handle distress themselves when it arises. In other words, we should aim at a society in which people have the inner resources to flourish.”

About the same time those words were published in the inaugural 2018 World Happiness Policy Report presented at the World Government Summit in Dubai, a retired MIT professor, John Ehrenfeld, submitted his vision of “Flourishing: Designing a Brave New World” to she ji, a journal of design and innovation, asserting that “Flourishing is possible only when the right brain hemisphere is the master, but balanced with the left. The ultimate goal of every designer should be to foster flourishing…For humans, flourishing requires (1) restoring the supremacy of the right brain through direct practices, for example, mindfulness training, and (2) re-designing institutions and artifacts to enhance presencing: the perception of being connected to the contextually rich surrounding world.”

Well, that got my attention since the actual classroom practices now tied to learning standards all over the world fit with what Ehrenfeld wrote would be needed to make the right-brain dominant. I have school mandates under Positive School Climate prescribed materials that turn out to be renamed cognitive behavioral therapy practices. I poke familiar names and find books like Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient that plan to use digital learning virtual reality and videogames to Hardwire the Brain via “repeated activation of specific neurological circuits that train the brain to be motivated by challenge, rewarded by feedback, and more resilient in the face of temporary failure.” Use the fact that “neurons that fire together, wire together” to create digital learning experiences to hardwire “cognitive habits that lead to lifelong success and psychological well-being.”

If “Schools are the primary place where the values of a culture get instilled in young people” and the materials quoted above and conferences like Learning and the Brain repeatedly declare that the ‘instilling’ is to be neural, we need to think about the implications of poems like the following created as part of the Search Inside Yourself e-book “Practice Kindness” created for students in honor of World Kindness Day.

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

The new way for governments, political leaders, and their cronies to control behavior in the 21st century is not overt coercion, but by controlling the inner psychology and the practices and experiences known to instill desired neural and cognitive structures. Let’s get back to how Ehrenfeld laid out the how and why, but never believe his is a voice in the wilderness. Instead, it is entirely an accident that I came across his article while following up on something else and, using my experience from writing what is detailed in my book Credentialed to Destroy, recognized how his prescriptions for right-brain dominance were already enshrined in what has been misleadingly labelled as the Reading and Math Wars. Right Brain Dominance “can create a pull towards a different kind of future.” A future where the focus is no longer on the individual as those of us located in the West have always believed, but on the collective and its supposed needs. That shift needs to get at “the way we hold reality” itself and shift it to focus more on empathy or caring.

Think about all the changes in the nature of education and the new purposes of schools and higher education as you read this Ehrenfeld quote:

With new understanding of how the brain functions, the root causes can be traced to an imbalance between the two cerebral hemispheres. Modern culture is the product of the left-brain dominance, but flourishing can arise only from the opposite: the mastery of the right over the left. The challenge ahead is to reverse this through design and practice…Only the right connects to the [world as it is, with its rich context] , and can produce empathy and enable authentic caring…A key to increasing authenticity is the ability to delay or stop the left brain from taking over–that is, to remain in the present moment…Mindfulness offers a possible way to maintain the attentional stance of the right.

Now all the hype about bullying, where mindfulness practices are held out as the remedy and we happen to also notice that the trainer for the teachers does New Age Buddhist retreats on other days of the week, make far more sense. In fact, in Super Better, McGonnigal notes that “mindfulness meditation, for example, has been measured to have quite similar physiological benefits as casual game play…game play is a way to learn to control our attention–which is one of the primary aims of Buddhist practice!” Neuroscientists have shown that attention is a necessary component for neural rewiring and certain kinds of practices make the emotional side of the brain dominant. Here’s the sought practice beyond mindfulness training under “Reflective Practice”:

Reflective practice is a general label for the interruptive process by which experience can be embedded to the brain as part of learning. Reflective practice in design is driven by direct experience (right-brain) [virtual reality counts as direct!], rather than the mere application of abstract, general rules (left-brain). In terms of the divided brain model, reflection is the process that new experiences, under the control of the right brain, are passed over to the left hemisphere.

How often now are we hearing hype about students needing Whole Child instruction in controlling emotions to “develop five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. All correspond to right brain activities.” Those of us who have ever had a child in an IB Program who were paying attention know we got almost as tired from hearing hype about “Inquiry Learning” as we did from the “Are you an IB Learner?” question. Now we discover that Inquiry is a right brain activity and Lecture is a Left:

Science is the paradigm of the left brain at work. Conversely, pragmatism is based on paying persistent, broad attention to the whole system and creating new understanding; it depends on holding the left at bay. Meaningfulness, or pragmatic truth, is not to be found in the abstract, left-brain, self-consistent, world of science. It is to be found in the real, right brain, phenomenal world…Pragmatic inquiry is a method that keeps the right brain engaged over extended periods in order to capture the dynamic, context-dependent character of complex systems…Presencing is a form of attention, which exploits the right brain’s attributes of breadth, persistence, and exploration/creativity. Presencing restores context to the external world that has been lost while the left-brain was dominant. Such context is necessary for flourishing.

Presencing looks at the world as a domain for acting and transforming. The focus becomes on what could be, instead of what is. Now that we have covered this desired rewiring, in the next post we will cover how this new right-brain vision of what it is to Understand in the 21st century is “not about cognizing a pre-given world, it is about becoming aware of and consciously choosing the aspects of the world we decide to cope with.” That quote was from a paper featured last week in a newsletter I receive and was written by a member of the American Society of Cybernetics. It fits with what the Father of Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroscience who presented at that World Government Summit says should be the new focus of Models of the Human Mind.

Are we going to be Driven by the Past and the dominance of the left brain or shall we make the focus of education “Navigating into the Future”? No, we are actually not the ones who get to design that future. It gets selected for us and then hardwired into our brains neurologically so we can “draw on experience to update” our choices and then act accordingly based on our “needs and goals” that have also been the aim of Right-Brain focused education.

It truly is a Brave New World once we read certain influential journals and look at the programs being put on at the certain well-attended conferences. No need to theorize about this coordinated effort at all. Just review the documentation. At least that is still possible for those of us for whom the left brain remains dominant.

Here’s to the Axemaker Minds who are not yet left to accepting an offered narrative of where education is really going and why it must be changed.

 

 

Ubiquitous Coincidence or Deliberate Targeting? The New Science of Mind, Brain, and Education

Let’s start with a quote from November 2018 and an international adult leadership seminar tied to one of the creators of the K-12 MBE model referred to in the title and then tie it to the use of learning standards from the last post as ‘self-regulation’ and exactly what is being targeted as the missing elements in the Iceberg Problem. Sorry for the delay in writing, but I needed to be sure of how everything fit and one of my sources was a more than 700 page book. This is from a man called Werner Erhard who came up quite often when I was researching Esalen and Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory and its ties to the K-12 actual template.

We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world to be what are lives are really about.

Each of us now has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity, and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution–it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us as human beings.

Those aspirations fit well with that Blueprint from the last post, don’t they? The quote came from the materials found here https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1263835&download=yes and it is a co-author, Michael Jensen, whose personal bio ties him to the creation of the MBE program at Harvard in the 1990s. By Autumn 2011, we can find an article by Michael Ferrari and Hazel McBride called “Mind, Brain, and Education: The Birth of a New Science” on “the benefits as well as the difficulties involved in integrating neuroscience into education policy and practice.” We parents and taxpayers have every right to be properly informed as to what is meant by the following terms and also the real links between this vision and Mr Erhard’s quote above. After all, as the article’s conclusion stated:

Educators and school boards are increasingly coming under media scrutiny and increased pressure to improve educational outcomes at a time when educators, policy makers, and the public have become fascinated with ‘brain research’. At the same time, governments and policymakers are promoting and supporting Evidence-Based Decision Making and Knowledge Transformation. These are ideal conditions for the Growth of Mind, Brain, and Education.

Do Tell. Notice the reference in that quote to Knowledge Transformation because it goes to the mouthful distinction between what those course materials call “An Ontological/Phenomenological Model.” Before I quote what that transformation means, let me remind everyone that Mihaly Csiksentmihaly [see tag] describes himself as a phenomenologist and it is his model of Excellence being mandated now in the US under civil rights calls for Equity and Excellence. It matters greatly that his model was pushed globally at the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai as I covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/radio-silence-and-the-dog-that-did-not-bark-positioning-positive-education-globally/ . According to those course materials, an “ontological exercise…is about a transformation in who you ‘wound up being'”.

Since the course materials were created for adults, a comparable ontological/phenomenological exercise in children and teenagers through deliberately created learning experiences also goes to who they are at a neural level. Let me go to that 700 page book, Humans as Self-Constructing Living Systems, and what it referred to as ‘person-based self-regulation.’ That New Science article hypes the role of the OECD in pushing the MBE model and, like Professor Clabough from the last post, the OECD has said ‘self-regulation’ is the purpose of K-12 education in the 21st century. Let’s quote what that really means:

Humans have developed two interrelated social-regulatory methods: (a) to impose and enforce regulatory rules on social components through power and physical arrangements external to the organization’s components, whether social groups or individuals (e.g., through laws and punishment, police action, imprisonment); (b) to make the regulatory rules and processes properties of the components themselves so they become self-regulating in relationship to the social organizations of which they are a part.

I bolded that particular phrase because it is actually what George Will called Soulcraft and the rightful domain of governments, what Erin Clabough pushed as neural and second nature, and what we keep encountering as personalized, student-centered, competency-based learning. In the Karoly paper on the “Mechanisms of Self-Regulation: A Systems View” from the last post under “The Activation and Use of Standards” think of it as why the Iceberg Problem created an Appendix III on the role of learning standards to change the nature of K-12 education.

Having a goal (or a specific performance level to which one aspires) and being able systematically to surveil goal-relevant activities do not alone provide the impetus to self-regulated modulation of thought, affect, or behavior. Before the all-important comparison of the feedforward and the feedback signals can occur in human control systems, the goal or standard must be triggered, activated, or called up from long-term memory.

The adult leadership course materials spend a great deal of time undoing what is in long-term memory that is judged to be an impediment to the desired way of being. The materials lament that the neural wiring of the adult brain is too tied to the “realization of that past-derived predicted future“. The slideshare bolded that phrase as neural wiring is viewed as in the way of the Creating a Desired Future and “What Happens in the Brain with Such a ‘Created Future'”. K-12 grounded in phenomenology can go directly to shaping who a student will “wound up being” by pushing transformational learning that goes directly to controlling “who you are as a product of the beliefs you assimilated concerning yourself and the world, and the socialization and roles you learned.”

The MBE/ontological/phenomenological emphasis with adults has to “explore our worldview and frames of reference themselves–their genealogy, internal logic, uses–as well as assess the costs and benefits, and advantages and disadvantages…[in order to provide] the opportunity to discover and eliminate the constraints and shaping imposed by your worldview.” K-12, with the same emphasis, gets to head directly to ‘Go’ in most students and simply impose the desired worldview and frames of reference and then have the federal government (in the US) mandate all students have those assessed at least annually as Higher Order Thinking Skills. HOTS then has always been more about what will guide students ways’ of being, goal setting, and decision-making in the world than about what used to be known as epistemological or information learning.

No wonder lectures are passe and textbooks must be electronic and experiential. I want to end with an abstract from a May 2019 essay from World Futures that ties to the Global Education Futures Forum 2030 that uses language that also ties to that 1968 Bellagio conference at the Rockefeller Foundation villa. The Erhard/Jensen materials used similar language seeking to make the present about the future to be created, not the past. Alexander Laszlo stated his intention “to bring into being a world and future where all of us can thrive has been shared by numerous people. Yet despite these intentions, we have not yet been able to effectuate the deeper transformational change required for bringing this forth at the pace and scale now required.”

If that gain sounds remarkably like the Blueprint, both authors have fathers who have been at this Social Sciences Altering Consciousness to Change Social Systems vision for decades. Let’s finish with what Alexander (the son) described in January 2008 about how this transformation could occur in “The Making of a New Culture Learning Conversations and Design Conversations in Social Evolution.” You would need to target the “confluence of values, beliefs, ideas, and forms of expression characteristic of interpersonally aligned individual cognitive maps.” Alexander Laszlo said those arose “from a community,” but we have met them recently as Collective Cognition and it is what learning standards tied to competency-based frameworks and the Common Core create. They target the needed “psycho-personal and socio-cultural to bio-physical and process-structural” all at once.

If all the authors cited in this and recent posts are writing and speaking about the “importance of learning for the purposeful design of the future,” don’t we have the right to know about this hijacking of purpose? That suddenly classes labelled as reading, math, history, or science are more about a physiological change at the level of the mind and brain than they are about information transmission? When schools or even higher ed regard themselves as “learning communities to foment doing the right things” at a neural level in their students in order to effectuate a transformation to act to create “changes that will approximate their visions of the future,” we need to understand this deliberate targeting.

Especially since it turns out that actual factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind in the student are the ultimate bulwarks against this neural and psychological manipulation.

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.  https://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sbe_2020/Abstracts.pdf 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 https://news.uchicago.edu/story/qa-philosopher-candace-vogler-virtue-happiness-and-meaning-life 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 https://www.lumenchristi.org/news/2019/03/lumen-christi-receives-john-templeton-foundation-grant-for-science-religion-project 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.

Rebooting the Mind and Heart to Get at Humanity 2.0 and a Global Convergence

We are going to do a travelogue today using quotes from a UNESCO institute in India with a vision written by American education profs, hen a May conference at the Vatican we were not invited to, on to Washington, DC and a think tank tied to Betsy DeVos, and an upcoming August 8 conference at UN HQ right there along the East River. Then we get to visit the Silicon Valley to finish up. All of these initiatives are pushing the exact same visions and many are tied to the same institutions and people who worked so hard to misportray the Common Core and competency-based education in the US. None of these conferences though are mentioning each other unless you recognize common attendees and funding.

I don’t think the ties to the False Narrative are an accident and if I, and my book Credentialed to Destroy, are going to be an irritant to that vision, I might as well be highly effective and revelatory in precisely what we are really jousting against here at ISC. In fact, it was following up on things that were put into print that were provably untrue that led me to the Humanity 2.0 conference so let’s start there. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/05/11/humanity-2-0-answers-popes-call-for-entrepreneurs-with-a-conscience/

The full name of the Vatican’s new initiative, now with co-sponsorship from Google, is “Humanity 2.0: A Shared Horizon for Humanity” that quotes its CEO, a Canadian tech entrepreneur, as stating that:

All that is required to change our destiny is prudence and the will to act. If history has taught us anything, it’s that humans rarely rise to the occasion unless they’re inspired by what ‘should be’, and this is why Humanity 2.0 is committed to articulating a common vision.

And then using education and the news media and social media platforms to impose that ‘common vision’ and create a “shared horizon to unite humankind.” Humanity 2.0 also intends to facilitate “collaborative ventures between the public, private, and faith-based sectors.” That convergence of every institution with the ability to forge policy probably explains why the website headlines with a quote from Thomas Aquinas that sounded eerily reminiscent of the Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi definition of Excellence in education we tracked to the General Evolution Research Group from the 1980s–education should tie together in the student what is wanted, known, and felt. These ties make sense since both GERG and Humanity 2.0  see education as the primary tool to create “the kind of human civilization we should be striving to build” in the internalized attitudes, values, and beliefs of the students.

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

Now, let’s switch to India to MGIEP–the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education for Peace and Sustainable Development which has its first ever World Youth Conference on Kindness coming up on August 20-23 in New Delhi and its second TECH–Transforming Education Conference for Humanity in December. MGIEP:

employs the whole-brain approach to education, with programmes that are designed to mainstream social and emotional learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies, and put youth as global citizens at the centre of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development…In addition to giving youth the agency to lead the process of societal transformation, we need to rethink how they are educated…We should not [be] continuing with the same modality of preaching and instructing. This prevailing practice of making an intellectual case for peace is not sufficient. The seat of human behavior, including hatred and violence, is the emotional brain. Understanding this seat and the emotional stress of violence at individual-societal levels, and aligning education accordingly is, therefore, the first step in the pursuit of peace.

Let’s switch to that invite https://peaceandthebrain.eventbrite.com/ so that I can point out it aligns with MGIEP’s push that as so important that it bolded the following statement just like this: “There is a need for education not as the usual intellectual exercise of regurgitation but a journey through self–of building peace first with the self, before the society. Education that is aligned with neurobiological development [my italics] and aimed at nourishing the whole person.” See what I mean about rebooting the internalized neural wetware we humans use to process our experiences, set goals, and make decisions? That August 8 meeting in NYC for “Brain-based Holistic Education for Peace” intends to:

discuss how violence happens in the brain, and ways to work towards creating peace in our brains and project that peace onto society.

That UN agenda fits right in with what Humanity 2.0 describes as its “Faith and Integral Human Development” vision where the Catholic Church, which the CEO described in the Crux linked above, as “the largest and most influential institution in human history,” [Ideas and Institutions are how we change public policy in the 21st Century, remember?],

intends to propose a humanism that is up to the standards of God’s plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic, and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice, and solidarity.

Achieving that vision will be a lot easier if we access the Working Paper “How Mindful Compassion Practices [more WTPs!] can Cultivate Social and Emotional Learning” from this site https://mgiep.unesco.org/academic-publications that is also grounded in achieving neurobiological change.

The good news is that the brain is highly plastic and as such, the brain develops from experience. In other words, what one pays attention to and focuses upon changes certain portions of the brain and thus, the related primary functions also change…of specific interest is the notion of cultivating humane or compassionate behavior.

Another word for that desired behavior used elsewhere in the “manuscript” reminds us that “the way SEL is defined allowed us to introduce a specific set of SEL skills and then illustrate how they align with Mindful Compassion outcomes.” Those outcomes fit with many a school’s Graduate Profile now or what the US think tank (where Betsy DeVos was on the Board) pitches as a desire for “connecting moral and religious instruction to SEL.” http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Moral-and-Religious-Roots-of-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.pdf Talk about removing silos between public, private, and faith-based! Also, its ‘character’ and “cardinal virtues of Greek and Christian thought” are just the euphemisms for what MGIEP calls “Mindful Compassion Practices”. The last week we had a followup paper http://www.aei.org/publication/the-f-word-of-social-and-emotional-learning-faith/ , which really caught my eye since I was familiar with UNESCO wanting to use whole child education to target each student’s internalized KBVAF–Knowledge, Beliefs, Values, Attitudes, and Faith.

The latter paper even urged that “education leaders should explore ways to partner with communities of faith.” I guess AEI was afraid someone would notice if that silo analogy was used yet again, but the aim is clearly the same. While it sells the idea of interjecting faith and character practices into public schools, MGIEP is qualifying its observation that:

Mindful compassion practices (MCPs) are not new to many world cultures. However, they are new to many schools that are exploring how to best integrate them into existing curriculum in a secular manner.

Whatever argument gets the desired results in the student at a neurobiological level, right? Now, if you do pull up that paper, make sure you look at Figure 3 on page 11 called “Map of Executive Function and Related Terms to Intra-and Inter-Personal Skills” because it is the final proof that we are looking at the same global template. The last stop in our Travelogue is a Jesuit institution in California called Santa Clara University. Its Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is involved with Humanity 2.0 and its Trust Project involving the Future of the Internet. It also has Lesson Plans to incorporate SEL into academic curricula practices just like MGIEP advocated. https://www.scu.edu/character/lesson-plans/ I also watched the video found there “What is Character Education?” and took verbatim notes. That is why I am so certain I am looking at precisely the same vision as to what must be changed, where, and why all over the world.

What gets sold at MGIEP as Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, which needs MCPs, and Humanity 2.0, which does too, gets pitched by Markkula (fitting well with that MGIEP Figure 3) as:

Character development impacts three key domains: moral behavior, personal performance, and civic engagement. Virtues ethics, one of the prominent ethical frameworks, sees moral behavior as the way to live the good life. Through the enactment of virtues such as honesty, kindness, forgiveness, and respect we can flourish while behaving responsibly within family and society. Performance virtues, such as perseverance, resourcefulness, open-mindedness and determination, enable us to maintain healthy life habits, work toward personal goals, and adapt to life changes and demands.

Civic engagement virtues such as justice, leadership, sense of duty, and environmental consciousness are important for becoming contributing and lawful citizens in a democratic and thriving society and a sustainable environment. Character development requires that all three components of virtue–affective, cognitive, and behavior–will grow through social interaction and personal reflection.

I am going to stop there for now, except to say that I have no doubt the commonality I am seeing and have documented (this post is just the tip of the connections) is due to the need for what Uncle Karl called a Moral Revolution once a certain stage of technological development was available to the world. Rather than pitch infamous political theories accurately so that their attendant baggage from history can be examined in time, we get illusory sales pitches that nevertheless get to the same realm that must be changed. Closing once again with MGIEP:

Social-emotional skills and abilities are important because they affect how and what we learn, and the way in which we apply that knowledge to our relationships, our work, and our navigation through our world.

 

 

Aspirations of Controlling Consciousness, A New Kind of ‘Thinking Beast,’ & Another School Shooting

In the last post, we talked about the planned evolution of human cognition using curricula for K-12 and higher ed, as well as through learning standards that are consistently misexplained to obscure their actual intended effects. Then we had the tragedy last week at Highland Ranch STEM, which turned out to be about ten miles as the crow flies from the McREL ed lab, which has long hyped cybernetic ‘Second Order’ Change at the level of students’ minds. When I pulled up Highland Ranch in a map location search looking for McREL, in my left hand corner (representing to the west) was the now rebuilt Columbine High School. I am familiar with the interest of what was called the General Evolution Research Group in the 80s in education reforms and their piloting in these school districts of a template called ‘Achieving Excellence’. Excellence had to do with reimagining Consciousness so that what is thought, felt, and desired are united as motivation to act.

Now before I shift to what I found at Highland Ranch where “Our goal is not only to prepare students to thrive in the constant world of re-invention, but to lead it,” while hyperlinking to the UN Sustainable Summit page https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/summit/ as well as the also relevant https://woodrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WW-Reimagining-American-History-Education.pdf released last week, I want to go back to a 1968 international conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation. What the STEM ‘About Us’ page says it desires, and what the Remagining History Education declares as its intended effects on how students “make sense of a chaotic present and inchoate future”, fit with:

we ought to look toward our willingness to enter our individual consciousness into the system comprised by this new kind of organism. We have to ask ourselves whether in some way we can understand the world and act on it better, with passion and commitment, through becoming an organ in such an organism…[sensing] the need for a new kind of ‘thinking beast’ in order to cope with the crisis the world is in.

Just after that quote, cyberneticist Gordon Pask, whom we met in the last post as relevant now to all sorts of 21st century plans for us and our children, spoke up about the need to “redefine an individual” as “one named class of programs,” which fits perfectly with what I have been warning about the way learning standards are actually intended to work. He went on in an explanation that makes Whole Language in reading and constructivism in math and science make far more sense, than the repeated bogus explanations that they are simply “another way of teaching.” It’s about controlling and evolving consciousness in predetermined, politically useful ways.

…Because of this interpretation of the individual, one can perceive a separate sort of evolution that I refer to as ‘symbolic evolution,’ which is perhaps exemplified by this conference. To avoid overpopulating the world with general-purpose machines, what we have to do is control the symbolic evolution process. To do so, I believe that the first thing we must do is redefine what we mean by an individual, get away from this idea of individuals as heads.

Before I get back to that conference, let me excerpt from the About Us page found here https://www.stemk12.org/ under the “Never Stop Innovating” link in case accurate perception of the intended changes in consciousness results in a subsequent takedown.

“Welcome to STEM School Highlands Ranch. We are an innovative, free, public, charter learning community that exists to innovate K-12 education in order to prepare every student to lead change, solve problems and succeed in an exponentially changing world.

We are more than a school. We are a think tank, a learning lab and a catalyst for creativity. We are a haven for continual innovation, creative exploration, and rigorous discovery. We defy definition and break with convention. Because that’s what innovators do.

We see school differently.  Although our curriculum has a college preparatory focus with emphasis on developing core liberal arts skills in reading, writing, mathematics and science, we use creativity, problem-solving and innovation to inspire and challenge our students.

We are more than just STEM. We infuse STEM into all classrooms. We challenge students with STEM-based, real-world problem solving fueled by constant exploration, inquiry and discovery.

We foster innovation. We equip every student, every day in every classroom with the knowledge, skills, confidence and character to thrive in a constantly changing world. By using continuous inquiry, constant discovery and trial and error as critical pathways to new discoveries, we create a culture of safe failure and fearless innovation.

We empower students. We put students in the driver’s seat of their learning, engaging and empowering them to push their own unique boundaries of innovative learning, thinking and doing.

We see teachers as catalysts. Here, teachers are role models and innovation coaches who provide the framework for learning. Our teachers are experts in teaching appropriate use of technology, collaboration, and teamwork that sparks interest in STEM and learning at an early age.

We innovate and learn together. Here, we leverage the power of collaboration, teamwork and group think to build, design and create solutions to real world problems.

We’re fostering tomorrow’s innovators, creators and change agents. We work tirelessly to nurture and develop integrity, respect, responsibility and honesty within our students and take pride in encouraging well-rounded student development. Link here for some of our notable student accomplishments over the last school year.”

That’s a school grounded in manipulating and practicing with the created neural change in its students. It wants to control their purpose in the same way that the cyberneticists envisioned. So now let’s go back to that conference again and see what they wanted to do to the mind “to act, again to use the Marxist terminology, as midwives to a humanistic change…where we might have to change man radically, give him a new morality or something, otherwise we might fail.” That reference to Uncle Karl was not gratuitous or inflammatory as a personality theory psychologist with a 1949 PhD from Harvard explained to the conference that “the notion of transforming thought, taking actuality and changing it through work, was the crucial concept in Marx.” Euphemizing that same aim as a 2011 chartered STEM School and then hyping yourself as a global template makes it much harder to see for anyone who doesn’t already possess all these detailed plans for change where the mind and its instilled ideas can be a “cause of history” defined as “movement that gets someplace.”

That’s precisely how that link above wants to Reimagine American History, while pretending it is a matter of Equity and Reaching ALL Students. Yes, because of the needed changes to all those conceptual systems to reestablish “the common bonds that all Americans [should] share in a time of deep national political, economic, and social divisions in which Americans’ differences overshadow our commonalities.” Pask would call that a new set of programs because our cyberneticists believe:

that it’s impossible to get at this supposedly real world independent of some sort of conceptual system, so that if the real world in real time is filtered through successive conceptual systems, then the history of these conceptual systems is the ‘history of consciousness,’ I think, [and] highly relevant to anything you’s like to say about the ‘real world.’

The Highland Ranch vision, the new history education vision, and that conference are all about change in the material world of reality created by controlling the conceptual systems of students. For “establishing the engaged and informed citizenry needed to preserve a democratic society” is how the Woodrow Wilson history vision pitches it. The 1968 conference said the purpose was to create people “whose point is not homeostasis, but change.” Today, that gets euphemized as Change Agents, Lifelong Learning, and Growth Mindsets as a STEM vision. All are grounded in treating people, and the mind especially, as not independent in the actual historic sense where the King could not cross the private threshold of a citizen’s home without permission. Now we stealthily get governments, at all levels, using prescribed learning standards to form:

a system which is self-corrective, maintaining constants about relations between the parts and relations to the environment: a steam engine with a governor. Mind is immanent where energy is stored so that the system can be responsive to abstract cues. [Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequences?] Mind is related to purpose, especially the kind of goals which Gordon [Pask] called evolutionary goals, and any material system with an evolutionary goal deserves to be called historical in a sense going beyond the simple fact of change.

Do you think it is accidental students are being bombarded with terms like “chaotic present and inchoate future” or have the word ‘innovate’ thrown at them constantly as Highland Ranch does? Even that link to the UN and its Sustainable Development Goals using students and education fits with the idea that creating a “system of ideas and ideals” can allow the systematic control of prevailing consciousness using “internalized, conceptualized goals.” Remember too that the word ‘standards’ is just another word for goals. Let me close this disturbing, but illuminating, post with another quote from “A Human Family on a Ledge” from the last day of our 1968 conference.

We need to become, uniquely in the history of life on our planet, a species that does not compete with every skill and weapon to monopolize resources and guarantee the survival of as many of our immediate offspring as possible. Instead, we must begin not only to include ourselves within our understanding of nature, but include our understanding of nature within our understanding of ourselves, consciously fostering natural balances because we have a vision of the whole, rather than simply moving within it. We need to see ourselves as parts of the system, and we need to develop an internalization of that system, like an actor turned director who must discipline his wish to steal the show.

STEM is no longer actually about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as bodies of knowledge and History must be reimagined to create a new kind of conceptualization of what the world ought to become. Consciousness itself has become the point for creating change, while parents and taxpayers get misled to believe that these shifts are about better Engagement and Achievement.

And once again I find school shootings occurring in schools adamantly announcing their innovative changes to the human psyche. At least we no longer need to wonder why no amount of shed blood will cause a deviation from this transformational template with such a troubling history in its documented implementation.

Systematizing Human Nature Via Internalized Marxian Standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Welcome to 2019 as we continue to watch where all the education reforms converge under a variety of names and rationales. We get to watch where various narratives that appear coordinated misinform and whether we can draw a useful picture of omission that we are supposed to be unaware of, while we lobby in outrage for remedies that simply make the neural enslavement worse. Time for some specifics then that I kept track of amidst the wrapping, cooking, and decorating that dominated last month’s activities. A 2003 book by Georgetown law professor Robin West called Re-imagining Justice: Progressive Interpretations of Formal Equality, Rights, and the Rule of Law is being brought back into print later this month so let’s look at what it sought to make operational and how it pertains to education. West explained in her conclusion that:

the idea that subjecting human behavior to governance by rule is, all things, considered, a morally good thing to do–is gaining adherents, worldwide, as the force of positive, international law extends its reach around the globe, and domestic law, both here and elsewhere, deepens and broadens its penetration into social life…law is gaining momentum as the preferred vehicle for control of social relations between nations, entities, or individuals.

Professor West then cited the ubiquitous Positive School Climate mandates as an example of how “the schoolyard playground, once a sphere of insulated political sovereignty dominated, Lord of the Flies style, by bullies, has been tamed by the intrusion of positive law.” Now, I am not as optimistic as Professor West on the ability of new rules, learning standards, and Graduate Profiles to remake human nature, but there is no question whatsoever that the schools intend to try and do just that. Nor is there any question that this admitted Progressive desire to remake human nature, with frank admissions like “the goodness of law lies in its paternalistic capacity” or “subjection of human behavior to the governance of rules, at times, better promotes human wellbeing than does the sovereignty of choice” also hides behind banners about School Choice, Classical Education, Conservatism, Founding Principles, holistic education, and learner agency.

It can even be found, most alarmingly, as Chapter 1–“Character Development and a Culture of Connectedness” of the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety released December 18, 2018. It’s no secret I believe that there is a correlation in both timing and locations between the push to use schools to neurally install a new code of ethics and morality to drive a cultural evolution, and school shootings, where the shooter clearly sought mass murder on the school grounds. It is horrific therefore to follow the cited materials in the Chapter 1 bibliography to people who make no pretense of wanting to turn the human mind and emotions into a system that can be manipulated for purposes of political transformation. I guess that’s what we get for a federal Ed Department staffed with Jeb Bush lackeys.

If the federal Commission cited this paper called “Towards a Science of Character Education” https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/e9b8fc57/files/uploaded/berkowitz_bier_mccauley_jce_2017.pdf , which they did, then all the aims of what is in its bibliography come in as well. I have read many of those books and articles over the years. I know where all this is going. I know precisely what Professor West means by using the law as a positive force to remake social relations and that is exactly what that Federal Commission intends to have done, at a local level, to be binding on people and places and easier to monitor. Insisting that the answer to school shootings is to use the PRIMED character education program so that schools can “help youth internalize ethical and performance values. Effective programs focus on integrating activities that promote self-growth, such as personal goal setting” is to make schools the vehicles for the Marxian moral revolution at a subjective level that both Uncle Karl, and his acolyte John Dewey, said would be necessary for the desired transformation.

See what I mean about how the remedies touted actually bring in more of the poisons that created these problems in the first place? Professor West and other admitted progressives would like nothing more than to make school about character development as “key to a successful society.” They are all on board with the transformative potential at an individual and collective level of “intentional efforts to foster both the academic advancement and the moral, ethical, and social-emotional development of students.” Communitarians of every creed and political party love the idea of school being centered around “the promotion of core ethical values such as fairness, respect, and personal responsibility can create a caring community that fosters students’ self-motivation and positive interactions.”

The idea that the Commission pitched “practices to help students develop a growth mindset” as a solution to school shootings when its creator, Carol Dweck, was originally a Vygotsky scholar seeking to implement his theories on using new classroom practices to create the transformed mindset needed for a new kind of Soviet Man, would be funny in an ironic way if it was not so ridiculously ignorant of these practices. Tragedies like Parkland and the rule of law get used to force poisonous collectivist ideas down this nation’s throats and into our children’s minds and hearts. https://www.learningandthebrain.com/blog/we-can-no-longer-ignore-evidence-about-human-development/ from November 29, 2018 from Professor Immordino-Yang involved in both the US and UNESCO’s neural redevelopment efforts via education is at least honest about the intentions to use new practices to”support the development of our full humanity.”

Do you believe the purpose of education is for students “to question and rethink their ideals, to build their deep desire for inventing themselves“? If not, wouldn’t you want to know if the remedy of a new kind of education to supposedly avoid mere workforce training actually used the techniques of transformative learning? Wouldn’t you want to know the documentable transformative aims of the practices being recommended as the remedy?

I covered Harvard education professor Howard Gardner’s books and goals for a reimagined vision of education and its ties to Lev Vygotsky in my book Credentialed to Destroy so I was quite taken aback to learn that he had a new book come out in 2011 called Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed since it essentially tied the motto of the remedy–Classical Education–as a solution to the hyped concerns over the Common Core to Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory. It turns out to be Integral Theory’s motto too. How’s that for a convergence? In the book Gardner talked about his work on Ethics with Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi without noting that it was Csik and the General Evolution Research Group’s Achieving Excellence transformative template being piloted in certain Colorado districts (introduced in the 80s) that had been used in the Columbine district for years before that 1998 tragedy.

Let’s see what Gardner wanted, since it reminds me so much of what Professor West and that Federal Commission report also seek:

we reserve the term moral for these interactions that exist between or among human beings by virtue of their common humanity, their mutual recognition of this fact…socialization by the community–whether carried out in a harsh or benign fashion–entails broadening and leavening the sense of the good so that it becomes less self-centered, less egocentric, more cognizant of the welfare of other members of the group, and more alert to the ‘common good’. I contrast morality, a neighborly concept, with ethics, a concept appropriate to complex societies…[where] one thinks of oneself in terms of roles. The ethics of roles entails a crucial additional component…that feature is the concept of responsibility.

That quote is long enough for us to catch the drift that the moral transformative revolution Marx said was necessary for his Human Development Society once a certain level of wealth and technological development was achieved, and what John Dewey sought in the name of Democracy, is what Gardner seeks in the name of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It’s the Character Development the Federal Commission on School Safety seeks even if it’s unaware of what its admitted bibliography really ties to. What Gardner wants, just like where I have documented the phrase School Choice consistently leads us to, is for Young Americans to have “an ethical compass that governs their own behavior.” It is for curricula and classroom practices that create “a new, truly universal belief system, which could be religious or spiritual in tone, to emerge and to help individuals carry out various roles in a more ethical manner.”

When Gardner mentioned responsibility in italics he wanted students to assess “what is ‘good’ (or ‘not good’)” by applying these abstract notions to “human relations: the relations that govern how we human beings act toward one another, locally and globally.” That would be the same as Professor West’s belief that human behavior can now be governed by positive law. I guess Professor Gardner would add “and student-centered learning via prescribed standards and goals of what is to be learned as the basis for future behaviors and motivations to act.” I want to end with this recent essay https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/11/civility-and-the-challenge-of-ordered-liberty/ because it illustrates well how the same Progressive concepts and ends can be pitched with different terms by someone with ties to supposedly Conservative publications and think tanks.

The author, Alexandra Hudson, came on my radar yesterday after Politico reported she was leaving her job as an advisor to Betsy DeVos to work on a book with the working title of Redeeming Civility: How the death of true civility threatens America’s future.” Civility struck me as another euphemism for what Gardner called Goodness and Professor West called positive law. I had to wonder if she was leaving because the Federal Commission report was now out, especially with its emphasis on Character Development as its first remedy, so I looked up the author and found that essay. I eventually also found out she has a Masters in “comparative social policy” from the London School of Economics. Perhaps she stood there below the Fabian window thinking that if only she could be an advisor to a US Education Secretary she would in fact be in a position to advocate global policy to in fact fit the motto at the window’s top to “Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.”

Hudson is reviewing a 20-year old book by a Yale law prof called Civility because she thinks it “could just as aptly describe today. Civility adds a moral dimension to the way we interact with our fellow citizens–our ‘fellow travelers’ as Carter calls them. He makes two distinct but related moral arguments for civility. First, our shared humanity gives us all a duty to respect one another. Second, life of our republic requires us to show regard for one another through our actions, great and small.”

See what I mean about the banners varying, but how the remedies, destinations, and aims do not? If you read the whole essay, notice her citing of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation as an exemplar and remember we covered the Rockefeller Foundation-funded NCDD when we covered their advocacy of Communication for Social Change.

Small world, isn’t it? Also, notice how Ms Hudson uses the terms democracy and republic interchangeably. Let’s finish with a piece of history I learned from Professor West’s book on Re-imagining Justice because it fits so well with what Professor Gardner wants–people working together to achieve desirable goals.

Whether or not a government is republican, [Thomas] Paine urged, is entirely independent of the form it takes: a democracy, monarchy, or aristocracy all might be, or attempt to be, a republican government. Rather, a republican government is defined by its purpose, which is to serve the well-being of its citizens.

Just like Professor West said was the purpose of Positive Law and where Professor Gardner wanted new notions of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness to lead. Do you know another word for something that is guided by purpose, whether italicized or not?

A human system. All it needs apart from instilled purpose is shared sense and meaning-making. Precisely what all these visions of standards-based, student-centered education hope to instill.

 

Coercing the Will and Priming the Pump of Purpose to Control the Neurophysiology of Learning

One of the most fascinating sources of my insights into what is actually driving education reforms is when I read something that is demonstrably untrue. One fairly recent example is this 2013 article from the American Psychological Association insisting that Positive Psychology (PP) is not grounded in Humanistic Psychology (HP) from the 60s. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Humanistic-Positive-Psychology-Divide-AP.pdf Now I happened to know that was not true from many other sources, and although that misleading article does not mention education, we know from my research just how crucial PP is now to the mandated classroom and schoolroom culture. It’s a theory that can force “Developmentally rich contexts [that] can function as a ‘constructive web’ through which complex dynamic skills are developed and positive adaptation is fostered. Such experiences lead to the integration of neural structures that establish representational templates through which future experiences are interpreted, reappraised, and processed.”

Talk about neurophysiology! That quote was from the Turnaround for Children touted paper “Drivers of Human Development: How relationships and context drive learning and development” mentioned in the last post. It sought to “integrate the underlying processes of neural malleability and plasticity with the dynamic relational interconnectedness of children and the adults with whom they interact in their social, cultural, and physical contexts” so that schools and other contexts can “operationalize ‘relationship’ in a manner that accounts for the power of relationships in constructive ways.” Constructive for whom, we might ask? Sounds much like the Humanist Psychology research from the 60s, that the NEA underwrote, where the student’s prescribed experiences of Being could alter the nature of what they would be Becoming. “Drivers of Human Development” simply called for:

“Schools with instructional and curricular designs that support learner-centered instruction and learning environments that successfully integrate affective, cognitive, social, and emotional processes with curricular content to accelerate the developmental range of students.”

The nice thing about having been at this for so long now and in such depth is simply the ability to know where I can go to disprove a point or find a common aspiration decades ago. Language in a 2017 Australian paper called “Education for a Changing World” reminded me of how prescribed learning standards and competencies could be used to force the neurophysiological changes described above. I remembered reading the 1972 UNESCO Faure report called Learning to Be and how creepy the political use of reimagined education was in that report. At the height of the Cold War, we have authors from France, Chile, Syria, the Congo, the Soviet Union, and the USA (specifically tied to the Ford Foundation) laying out a desire to target the brains of students globally because

“what is known as formal democracy–which it would be wrong to deride, for it marked great progress–has become obsolete…the aim and content of education must be recreated, both to allow for the new features of society and the new features of democracy.”

That convergent vision of what education could do to literally change people always seems to lay at the center of all the deceit surrounding education reforms, the sought Human Development Society grounded in Uncle Karl’s work, and the true nature of his little ‘c’ communism vision. Tomorrow is Election Day in the US, but all over the world people running for office are advocating for the new vision of ‘democracy’ laid out in that Faure Report. Education reimagined was a primary tool for achieving a new vision of ‘democracy’–“conceived of as implying each man’s right to realize his own potential and to share in the building of his own future. The keystone of democracy, so conceived, is education–not only education that is accessible to all, but education whose aims and methods have been thought out afresh.”

That’s exactly what Outcomes-Based Education, Positive Psychology school climate mandates, Competency Frameworks, and Learner Exit Profiles all do when accurately understood, which is why there has been so much organized deceit around them to create a different narrative. We are not supposed to recognize the Marxian Human Development Society when it gets repackaged as Democracy. We are not supposed to recognize that all those listed, misrepresented education ‘reforms’ as well as social emotional learning mandates now go to fulfill the next Faure assumption after reconceiving Democracy:

“The third assumption is that the aim of development is the complete fulfillment of man, in all the richness of his personality, the complexity of his forms of expression and his various commitments–as individual, member of a family and of a community, citizen, and producer, inventor of techniques and creative dreamer.”

How to operationalize that aspiration in the 21st Century? How about Turnaround for Children’s work or Strive Together’s framework on necessary conditions for children to thrive? Use education reforms to take advantage of “The ability of contextual influences to encourage adaptive epigenetic signatures and to buffer factors that contribute to maladaptive epigenetic signatures provides a powerful lever to unleash children’s genetic potential.” Turns out the author of that APA misleading article cited above is an expert in something called Eudaimonic Identity Theory. In other words, he desires to use education to operationalize what the Faure Report, HP supporters, and PP advocates all say they want from education.

Basically, in order to operationalize the Human Development Society, it needed to be renamed and misdescribed to the average parent, taxpayer, and voter. But I have more than average knowledge, and I do get to recognize the significance of what I am looking at, what it ties to from the past, and what those theories originally aimed to do. Following other false narratives about a week ago pulled up a connection between Positive Psychology; what is called Self-Determination Theory that I first stumbled across tracking down the history behind school charter language; and using Neuorophysiology to create both a sense of Subjective Well-Being and a culture of horizontality. Then I noticed that the culture of horizontality fit with what public schools call Positive School Climate and what Common Core alternatives, like Ridgeview Classical charter School, laid out as its Five Pillars to have its curriculum instill in students. Too much convergence in other words to be coincidental.

If this seems like a lot of acronyms and theories, what if the mandated practices and prescribed learning experiences seek to rewire the brain for political purposes towards collectivism? What if ‘evidence-based policymaking’ seeks to utilize the so-called “universal importance of felt autonomy'” to rewire the brain so that there is only the perception of autonomy, not any actual autonomy? Is this what Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev told Urie Bronfenbrenner would be the Great Experiment on the West? The timing of that statement fits with the Faure Report and the use of Bronfenbrenner’s Theories so that “properly designed action-contexts meet or enhance peoples’ basic psychological needs and allow people to fully internalize the motivation to engage in that context: as a result, they learn, thrive, and grow to the maximal extent in that context.”

That came from a 2011 book Human Autonomy in Cross-Cultural Contexts where I took notes until I encountered Chapter 4: “Dialectical Relationships Among Human Autonomy, the Brain, and Culture” that so thoroughly fit with legal education mandates that I printed the whole chapter so I could write in the margin as it discussed targeting the neurophysiology of the areas of the brain “associated with deciding when to act, which actions to perform, and the feeling of ownership of these actions.” See what I mean about the feeling of autonomy not reflecting actual autonomy? If education is reimagined to ‘train’ the “fundamental capacity of human beings to construct a socio-symbolic reality that constitutes the essence of their living environments” and prescribe the “meanings and practices that govern their lives,” we have perceived autonomy, but not actual autonomy.

Yet it is apparently the perception of autonomy that provides the access to changing the brain physically. It is the “Open, Sesame” equivalent to gain neural access. If theories on the “role socio-cultural conditions play in the emergence and operation of human autonomy” are being imposed in the classroom or in an online digital experience to ‘train’ students “in the appropriate use of” their ‘symbolic reflective capacity’ to manipulate their goals, purposes, and emotions and then rewire the brain accordingly through prescribed experiences and ‘training’ activities, we only have the illusion of autonomy. The Faure Report’s reimagining of education in the name of Democracy has truly found its way in.

If the source of an “individual’s own regulative activity: wants, desires, and thoughts” must be targeted by education to meet civil rights law mandates of Equity, then the autonomy is once again illusory. If the Learner Exit Profiles get at the “values, life-goals, and world-views that people internalize from their socio-cultural environments during their socialization and develop in later years as an autonomous system of their own moral laws and values,” then the extent to which these moral laws and values are their own is once again illusory. All of education then seeks to interfere with and manipulate the student’s “goal-setting process.” It is being engineered for “providing the means and conditions under which they can exercise this emergent capacity [of the brain] to the fullest extent” so that the students will fit into a desired culture of horizontal collectivism.

Since no one is telling the truth except in papers we are not supposed to possess, let me close this post with the definition of horizontal collectivism italicized just like that for emphasis. It is a:

“set of norms and practices that are built around the values of cooperation, interdependence, and solidarity and that are practiced on the background of the norms of equality and respect for each member of a community regardless of his or her social status. People who endorse horizontal collectivism on a psychological level take into account and acknowledge other people’s needs and goals and attribute to them the same level of respect as one gives to oneself. They mindfully listen to other people’s opinions and perspectives and take them into account when making their decisions. This type of interpersonal relation has been labelled ‘dialogical’, ‘democratic’,  and ‘autonomy supportive’.”

This transformative vision is not limited though to education or the targeting of the psychological self at a neural, biological level. No, this required ‘horizontality’ is to be “exercised in the most important areas of a society’s functionings–parenting, education, work, and politics.”

Keep that last aim in mind as we go vote for candidates who love to use words about transformation, Democracy, and a world where All can Thrive. Bet they envision using education to create the conditions laid out in that Faure Report, whatever the level of governmental office they are running for and whatever the party.

This is a global, Bipartisan, long-standing vision to use education, political mandates, and the Rule of Law to force internal psychological change for political purposes towards collectivism.

It’s no wonder I keep stumbling across the aims of communitarianism on both the Right and Left from public policy think tanks. Can we say “Ubiquitous Undisclosed Vision”?

No longer Undisclosed.

 

Mandating Internal Noetic Development and Pathways of Actualization: the Integral Vision

Let’s go to a quote from Ken Wilber, who ties to Robert Kegan from the last post, as well as the actual learning standards implementation in K-12. This quote came from a 2007 book called Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral Worldview is Transforming Politics, Culture and Spirituality and its author, Steve McIntosh, works closely with Carter Phipps from two posts ago on intentional cultural evolution. Ervin Laszlo wrote one of the back cover touting blurbs. This is all tied together in other words, even before I link to a previous Wilber post where he referred to these aims via a new kind of education as Mystical Marxism. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/mystical-marxism-shapers-of-our-current-world-system-or-building-new-mental-software/ is from 2013. McIntosh is bemoaning the fact that postmodernists have the right goals in terms of fairness for all, but that “they do not really know how to bring about the change of mind they seek” at the level of “consciousness and culture.” He thinks Wilber ‘articulated’ the current problem well when he said:

“Simply asserting that we should all learn a worldcentric ecology, or embrace a global compassion, is a noble but pragmatically less-than-useful project, because worldcentric waves are a product of development, not exhortation. As noted, the ‘new paradigm’ approaches exhort a goal without elucidating the path to that goal–they are cheerleaders for a cause that has no means of actualization, which perhaps explains the deep frustration among new-paradigm advocates who know they have a better ideal but are disappointed at how little the world responds to their calls.”

Learning standards and competency frameworks, whether in K-12, higher ed, or ICF Core Competencies to be qualified to train executives, are the 21st century tools to provide a mandatory means of actualization. They force a desired internalized development at the level of the mind and personality into Habits of Mind that invisibly bypass this implementation frustration Wilber laid out. Not explaining the ‘vision-logic’ of these changes correctly means that it is difficult for those who recognize a problem and the perfidy of so many pushing (or obscuring) this template from successfully organizing an effective opposition in time. I think that is why we saw the strange characters juxtaposed around common aims in the last post. If, in fact, “this new frontier of human understanding is largely approached through philosophy rather than science,” it suddenly makes sense why psychology, education, and normative political science are the new tools.

As McIntosh admitted, “in order for integral philosophy to achieve its mission of helping to bring about the next historically significant stage of culture, it is important for integral philosophy to be described in ways that allow for inclusion for a variety of different spiritual belief systems.” Boy, have we ever seen that, haven’t we? Yet in the end all the labels and rationales seem to be headed toward the real purpose of Marx’s writings as described here. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/naming-educators-as-the-levers-shifting-the-human-personality-to-marxs-moral-revolution/ is also from 2013. So what makes this Integral Vision so different? Let’s go back to Wilber again as he called for a “vision-logic” that would provide “the beginning of a truly higher order synthesizing capacity of making connections, relating truths, coordinating ideas, integrating concepts.”

Does that sound to anyone else like the Higher Order Thinking Skills that federal law now requires be assessed for at least 95% of all students in a state at least annually or federal funds may be forfeited? How about the DCIs-Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross-Cutting Concepts laid out in learning standards? Wilber said this approach “represents an integration of intellectual capacity with intuition in a way that brings together the body and the mind so as to produce a new ability to recognize relationships and approach problems with enhanced creativity.” Just the thing if fundamental transformation is on the 21st century docket, huh? McIntosh states that this new to-be-instilled capacity is “best described as ‘dialectical evaluation,’ because unlike reason or logic this new ability is centered in volition rather than cognition. That is, the new insights provided by ‘vision-logic’ come about through the use of our will–it’s a process of evaluation informed by head and heart–as opposed to the exercise of reason and logic, which is more analytical and strictly cognitive.”

I believe that also why the new federal ed law now in effect insists that the required state learning standards must judge ‘achievement’ on the basis of performance, not mental knowledge. We get a convergence between School Choice and Classical Education and what “many mystics and spiritual teachers” want for a new vision of education once we learn from McIntosh “how the triad of beauty, truth, and goodness can become an organizing principle of the emerging spiritual culture of integral consciousness.” Gulp, how’s that for a Convergence between Left and Right? Mystics have called these three most intrinsic values–the three essential ‘windows on the divine’–and McIntosh quoted the Indian guru who inspired the creation of the Esalen Institute on the “most powerful effect” of targeting:

“1) the way of the intellect, or of knowledge–the way of truth; 2) the way of the heart, or of emotion–the way of beauty; and 3) the way of the will, or of action–the way of goodness.”

State mandated learning standards, the new Catholic Curriculum Framework, charters, school mission statements, social and emotional learning mandates, and Excellence visions as the necessary legal fulfillment of civil rights laws are just a few of the ways to force just that “most powerful effect”. It does that because the “new way of seeing things best described as integral philosophy…[is] a philosophy of evolution that literally causes evolution.” It does that when legal mandates lay out the “systems of values” that must be used “for large groups of people [think of the scope of schools, higher ed, and executive coaching alone] by defining what and who is valuable and this has the effect of bringing orientation and direction to the lives of the people who ascribe to that worldview.”

That necessary worldview gets practiced until it operates at an unconscious level, guiding intentions and motivating actions that only seem to be a product of individual choice. The Integral Vision and the type of revolutionary education it inspires, for either adults or children, is driven by the “recognition of the spiritual quality of values–goals, ideals, desires, intrinsic qualities, standards of perfection–[that] serve to energize consciousness and culture and nourish these internal systems with meaningful sustenance.” As McIntosh notes, “if we think about values in terms of beauty, truth, and goodness [or social justice and race, which work too], it makes the rather abstract notion of values more specific while retaining the level of generality we need to really understand values as a category of human experience.”

What are state performance standards other than a mandated form of prescribed human experience to be assessed in terms of officially desired internalized outcomes? The fact that they are mandatory and that they also serve as “conceptual categories [that] actually lend themselves to bring about evolution in both individual consciousness and collective culture” is omitted from the think tank presentations and school meetings. It’s up to all of us then to recognize what we are looking at. If it is true that “each stage of consciousness constructs its worldview out of agreements of values…that are tailored to its location along the timeline of history”, we need to realize that we are once again in the situation of another lost invite to the planning meetings that developed these values now being imposed.

The values and “concepts of understanding” that are to “act as compass headings for the improvement of the human condition” are apparently not subject to debate. Best then that we recognize how they are to work:

“Beauty, truth, and goodness are relative because they are always working to contact consciousness where it is, and then move it to increasingly advanced states. This is what the structures of consciousness and culture actually do–they act as dynamic systems of value that take these universal directions of improvement and translate them, down-step them, so that they can be applied to a given set of life conditions–so that they can be used to make things better ‘on the ground,’ if you will.”

That’s what Benjamin Bloom called Mastery Learning in what was the predecessor of Outcomes Based Education. Now those same aims get evaluated in terms of whether a student is on track to possess the characteristics associated with a prescribed Portrait of a Graduate or Student Profile.  All were and are, like Integral philosophy itself, aimed at transforming the external culture by instilling Values and Ideals that will motivate purpose, actions, and goals “guided by the value of goodness.” Why? Because “as we can see throughout history, it is often ‘just ideas’ that end up changing the world.” If the Good, Truth, and Beauty can serve as an italicized-for-emphasis ‘conceptual cathedral’ that act as “a key to the ‘physics of the internal universe,'” we need to grasp that purpose before blindly accepting the false tenets that Classical Education is some kind of rescue from the federal mandate of the Common Core.

It simply accelerates the real purpose of the Common Core to get at the internalized level of cognition, emotion, and will. Everything seems to be going to the same place because that is where the needed Moral Revolution is to occur. The Integral Vision, per McIntosh, is simply the “appreciation of how values are the substance of every worldview, serving as the energy-source of systemic metabolism for these internal universe structures.”

That metabolism is no longer freely chosen by the individual, but imposed by political authority through required Standards, Competencies, or Masteries.

Scratch the surface of any of those terms and we consistently find mandates aiming to use “the importance of values because it can see that it is values themselves that are actually evolving within the realm of consciousness and culture.”

I bolded it in that quote because we need to see this politically prescribed evolution too, not just become the ‘product of development’ of prescribed competencies and standards imposed by others.

We also need to grasp that this intended evolution of Consciousness and Culture may be deliberate, but it is NOT a voluntary evolution taking us there.

 

Healing the Psychological Split Within Ourselves is the Learning Transformation Goal Few Openly Express

Let’s see if I can bring together a wide variety of sources from people of varying political labels which appear to me to be headed to the same place. The first part of that explicit and startling goal came from a 2013 book Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World from our old friend with his own ISC tag, Ervin Laszlo. We have also met his son Alexander, in connection with introducing us to Pavel Luksha and GEFF-Global Education Futures Forum, and his son Christopher, who is involved with transforming business schools globally through a UN-affliated entity called PRME and executive leadership retraining programs. If all three are interested in transforming human systems, Ervin wants to make it all humanity and his sons specialize in schools and businesses, respectively. Influential, in other words, in hugely crucial domains, whether we are aware of their work or not.

In education, Laszlo was involved with pushing intentional cultural evolution in the mid-80s with other ISC favorites with their own tags like Riane Eisler, Csik with his Excellence template, and Bela Banathy who created the vision for charter schools as a place to practice theories of reform. All these troubling quotes, in other words, have a way into the school or online learning platform near you whether that is appreciated or not. Let’s see what Ervin intends now:

“The need to integrate and heal the psychological split within ourselves and embrace a unified and harmonious political partnership is essential if we are ever to shift the balance and co-create with the systemwide sociopolitical systems in existence today. It will require psychologically integrated and spiritually balanced humanitarians to guide twenty-first century humanity in a new direction. It is such people who can offer the greatest potential for the evolutionary transformation of humanity and a peaceful and sustainable global community.”

Ervin stated that “global authority systems” can be used to “integrate an intelligent and sophisticated vision of collaboration”, which is exactly what learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks do when properly understood. Hence the reason for so much deceit. These plans are not supposed to be recognized nor the alignment in visions among different groups. Let’s use one more Akashic quote before we pivot to what is being put forth in the name of Conservatism: “The level of change required for the planet to shift toward a sustainable, harmonious, and more equitable future calls for us–awakening humanity–to draw on all our physical, creative, and visionary capacities. This is no sudden call; We have been forewarned. Our human systems and our worldviews have been undergoing preparation for some time for the transition to a global paradigm. A new era of social organization, communication, and understanding has been unfolding in the twenty-first century as the old systems reached their peak and began to decline.”

It’s no secret I have been tracking why self-billed Conservatives now push a vision I identify as communitarianism and Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, while also misdirecting readers on the true nature of education reforms, so when I read about a 2017 book called Patriotism is Not Enough on the Ideas that supposedly “Redefined American Conservatism,” I found the book.  I learned that Conservatism now aspires for social sciences such as education to be normative, not just descriptive. “This requires a political science of an entirely different disposition, one that is concerned first and foremost with the condition of the human soul rather than the structure of government institutions or the foundations of the law.” That quote is not an aberration as a few pages earlier, we have the quote: “Politics, if practiced as anything but an art of the soul, is bound to fail.” I also learned that Conservatism now views the “formation of character” as the “principal duty of government.”

Suddenly Classical Education’s pitches about Moral Virtues and Good, True, and Beautiful as new educational goals makes more sense if Conservatism itself wants to impose an “objective moral basis of human life. Ultimately, this cannot be done without a view to the good of the human soul, with an idea of human excellence and happiness that is not just an idiosyncratic individual exercise of the will.” Not a matter of personal choice then, but imposed and something held by a group. Boy, that sounds just like the goals from the Classical Education promoting Circe Institute in a September 5, 2018 blog post called “False Happiness and Human Flourishing: Part Two.” See if this doesn’t sound like Ervin Laszlo’s collective goals for transformation with presupplied purposes, but with a different rationale for the new kind of education.

“The great secret, as C.S. Lewis asserted many years ago, is that God is a hedonist at heart. God tells us to say no to many things, but only that we may say yes to higher and better thing! God instructs us to say no to avarice and prodigality in order that we may say yes to generosity. He commands that we say no to selfishness and self-centeredness so that we may say yes to love and community. If we make higher things–God’s things–our goal, our lives will flourish and they will be filled with moments of unexpected ecstasy and joy…”

Now let’s pivot to one of the withdrawn books I alluded to in the last post, which is interesting as the book The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution was published in 2003. It is definitely New Agey in its approach and is by the author of the Esalen book–The Upstart Spring.It used a member of the GEFF Board, Howard Rheingold, as a back cover blurb advocating for the book. Relevant in other words to where global education, especially in the US, is really going. That became even more clear since the already tagged Robert Kegan and his desires for new forms of consciousness were laid out in the book. For anyone who has not read Credentialed to Destroy (shame on you!), it is Robert Kegan’s work that PISA assesses for as Key Competences and higher ed is also being reimagined around his Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies work.

Omnipresent in other words as a goal of both K-12 and higher ed reforms, which makes this quote all the more relevant as The Next Enlightenment urged us to “master new cognitive skills. The most important of these skills is what he [Kegan] calls the ability to ‘objectify’–to recognize as socially constructed and contingent rather than as God-given and eternal fundamental concepts such as selfhood, nationality, or religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting them, only seeing them as matters about which some sort of decision can be made. Without developing such an ability we remain trapped in our social structures.”

Those pesky existing social structures then need new forms of consciousness and new values, which is exactly what everyone I have quoted seems to be in agreement on. The sought change may be marketed as a “global ‘skill revolution’ that often takes the form of political action [as with last week’s G20 Declaration from Argentina Betsy DeVos committed the US to] but is fundamentally psychological.” Learning standards and competency frameworks in K-12 are examples of tools for “cognitive development in individuals [which] leads inevitably to the larger subject of cognitive evolution in societies and the human species.” It’s just that some writers like Laszlo or Anderson (quoted just now) admit that is what education reforms are all about and others do not. As Anderson said, if “enlightenment is cognitive development, and the various approaches to that development, whether we call them spirituality or psychology [or political science, Conservatism, or Classical Ed], are just different ways of groping the same elephant.”

That elephant is the human mind and personality and the big bullseye all these plans have placed on it to be purposefully transformed are just not well enough understood. Let’s use a different Robert Kegan quote from The Next Enlightenment that may be why the public library put it in the Discard bin. After all, it was Kegan the Hewlett Foundation hired to make sure the Common Core assessments would be assessing what it pushes as Deep Learning.  Anderson rightfully called Kegan “another of the big time moral development researchers” without pointing out that his mentor was Lawrence Kohlberg whose Moral Development Theory became the basis for the reimagined Hong Kong compulsory citizenship push Communist China imposed. Everyone then interested in individual or collective transformation wants to get at the level of values and beliefs. Quoting:

“the key process in epistemological change is what he [Kegan] calls ‘objectification.’ That means as you grow, you periodically turn around and look at parts of your worldview–values, beliefs, ideas, ways of doing things–that you experienced uncritically as subject, part of yourself and the way things simply are, and begin to experience them in a new way, as objects–things whose origin you might wonder about and whose ultimate truth you might question…In any case, you are quite a quite different kind of person from the individual in a premodern, traditional society who did not have to make such decisions at all because he or she never began to see the society’s beliefs as objects that could be thought about and questioned.”

That thinking about and questioning is precisely what every one of these educational paradigms seeks to do. Everybody wants a new kind of consciousness and political, social, and economic transformation, but some of the shifts are gift wrapped for sales pitch purposes as about God, Conservatism, or Classical Ed. They all want to get at Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy–Right Thinking and Right Actions. What Ervin Laszlo called “the wise way to think and be” and is willing to use social media to create collective pressure to force adherence so that we are “Democratizing the way we do things, how we relate to others, but also in the very way our minds work–in consciousness itself…a model based in shared interest as opposed to self-interest” fits with that Circe quote above to create Human Flourishing.

Another Circe quote from September 6 in “Language as Belief and Practice” begins with this statement: “Right belief and right action are necessary aspects of growing in virtue. Intellect and knowledge alone cannot save. If knowledge does not reach to the level of heart and action, we are left with smart people who are intelligent in their sinning and their avoidance of consequences.” Sounds like Whole Child and ‘objectifying’ the subjective, internalized realm to me. Let’s close then with another quote from Ervin Laszlo who makes no bones about the integration that will heal this psychological split between heart, mind, and will and the reasons why:

“the tipping point can be encouraged by a change in people’s perceptions…No real change can be achieved without a corresponding change in consciousness.”

Let’s pull these common aims for transformative education of consciousness into the realm of each of our conscious attention.