Shifting the Way People Relate and Feel Towards One Another is the Crucial Leverage Point

When we encounter the exact same point being made over the decades despite dramatic differences in circumstances and intervening events, we have located an important handmaiden to ideology. So before we talk about what is intended, let’s go back to 1983 for some wisdom from a veteran European observer of what were the methods of choice during the Cold War. That great ideological struggle that my research says morphed in its strategies and tools but never vanished as we were led to believe. In his book Why Democracies Perish, Jean-Francois Revel has a chapter on “Ideological Warfare and Disinformation.” Since I believe education and especially this forced, largely invisible, psychological emphasis of changing personal values, attitudes, feelings, and dispositions was, and is, a means of ideological warfare, I looked for some advice from the past.

“its job is to fight propaganda not with counterpropaganda but with truth. Unfortunately, this is not something democracies are good at.

They are disadvantaged from the start by the long odds against halting the spread of utopian notions with plain facts. [http://futurewewant.org/ is a link to an example of how ed reform globally is now intertwined with these utopian visions of the future]. And they are unskilled in defending themselves against communism’s falsification of these very facts. [Today it is the idea that the crisis of 2008 and the global downturn proves free markets do not work and the public sector must intervene even more]. As weapons in the ideological war, propaganda and disinformation have a double objective: to concoct false images of Communist reality and of its leaders’ intentions and to circulate through the non-Communist world the plausible lies and deformed versions of events best calculated to disorganize the world.”

Disorganize the world. Still useful if you want economic and political power. When I first read a description of Transformational Outcomes Based education and watched it being pushed in the 90s all over the world everywhere with a tradition of liberty and cherishing individualism it struck me as a coordinated attempt to gain unilateral intellectual disarmament. When I read Psychosynthesis complaining about how those “who identify themselves with their mind and are proud of their intelligence” have “lopsided development” that is difficult to change but those with a “loose self-identity” are more adaptable and amenable to change it gave me pause.

Let’s use education to force a laying down of that mighty weapon–the human mind–lest it develop changes in unapproved directions. We may not be dealing with Capital C Communism anymore but we certainly are dealing with a ruling elite wanting to use the financial and coercive powers of the public sector globally to dictate what any of us can be, or become, or perhaps even do, in the future.

And the media, educators, and NGOs like the UN and the OECD or the World Wildlife Fund are all definitely spreading plausible lies and deformed versions of events that are easy to challenge with truth if enough people are aware and still have Axemaker Minds. Did you know though that there was ” a great and important law of the psychological life?” Roberto Assagioli laid it out in just that language  in Psychosynthesis as a tool to be used to “achieve the right inner attitude toward other people and to successfully perform intended actions involving others.” What Assagioli called the “loving will.”

Doesn’t that aim sound almost the same as what  Maslow and Rogers and the NEA started pushing in 1962 as the new focus of education where “the important thing is not the specific method used but rather the way people relate and feel toward one another in the classroom?” And this change was important because “pessimistic views regarding the nature of man and methods of discouragement have to be discarded. One has to enter wholeheartedly into a cooperative adventure with those involved.” As Revel and others have noted, we are changing only one side in the Cold War or in the dangerous world of 2013 as we glance at Syria and evil on both sides with chemical weapons use staining multiple hands. Only one side is being asked to disarm and just “feel” that all can be fixed if we just “refashion our interpretation of the lived environment so that we can intelligibly act within in it.”

Can we? That last quote has jumped across a time gap of almost 50 years but has the same pursuit. From the UK this time and a report called “Transforming Behaviour Change: Beyond Nudge and Neuromania.” http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/553542/RSA-Transforming-Behaviour-Change.pdf Before we get to that November 2011 report, let’s go back for that great psychological law: “images and mental pictures tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts corresponding to them.” Another way of saying this is to point out the “immense power of images.” Assagioli says:

“It seems high time that this law should be utilized for higher and more constructive purposes [than advertising is what he means], and the fullest use of it should be made for the purpose of psychosynthesis.”

As I first explored in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/when-gaming-intends-to-shape-and-distort-our-perceptions-of-everything-around-us-viva-la-revolution/ , educators and the ruling elite and those who would like to join have a modern day tool in the computer and adaptive software and especially the coming classroom emphasis around gaming that would have made Assagioli and Maslow drool. No wonder UNESCO sees media education as the means to achieve Marxist Humanism. No wonder CCSSI wants media and digital literacy to be as important as print literacy. The power of images. Especially when schools define ‘engaged learning’ as the goal and immersion in a virtual reality as the means. Then the student can regularly try out utopias or envision potential future catastrophes that MUST be avoided. And precisely what will tell a student that something is in fact unworkable in reality or unlikely to really happen? An actual catastrophe with real lives?

The “Transforming Behaviour Change” report talks about preparing the “brain for social bonding and empathy” but what if we are bonding with bullies who have no desire for Peace in the real world? What if we are being primed to use the “motor-power of imagination” to redesign an economy and society in ways that ultimately cannot maintain the prosperity we will need to consistently keep most people well-fed? Feeling and intuition may create adaptability to transformative change but it is only knowledge that can deal with the inevitable consequences. And personal knowledge is precisely what is being extinguished in order to gain a widespread personality that seeks, or is amenable to, such wholesale change.

“The baby will have disappeared with the bath water” before most of us will even know any water has been drawn. But meanwhile the ruling elite will be “reworking the foundations of economic models” as that 2011 document put it. In a disinterested way of course. No wonder the report keeps mentioning George Soros. We simply use student-centered education to “change your sense of who you are and what you value” and voila! Reimagined human societies and economies can be ours. Education merely needs to create “the development of an inner authority which can ‘write upon’ existing social and psychological productions rather than be ‘written by’ them.”

Maybe we could call that inner authority the common core or triune consciousness (see previous post under that tag) obtained via the techniques of psychosynthesis brought in to achieve a Positive School Climate. All as we chase after this OECD-endorsed utopian vision of “21st Century enlightenment” to get “successful lives in well-functioning societies.”

“Behaviour change becoming an explicit goal of government policy” sounds like something from a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? Not a well-funded initiative of  the present called the Social Brain Project. Never forget please that the US and UK are already working together as lead partners in seeking behavioral, economic, and social change as part of the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth Alliance [see tags] work. Hiding conveniently from prying eyes over in Sweden. So once again this is NOT a matter of pulling together sensational quotes. However, I do intend to end with one more from the Social Brain Project so we can ponder what freedom will mean in such a future vision.

“The ‘Think’ approach is more democratic, and contends that if we deliberate collectively as rational agents responsive to argument, we will find a suitable course of action and collectively follow it through.” Now the Social Brain Project clearly likes all that collective decision-making on behalf of all of us but it thinks the “Think’ approach is too reliant on reason and not enough on the unconscious mind and habits. It wants a ‘steering’ approach to behaviour change that “literally changes the subject.”

The subject is not Algebra or English. It is us and our children.

Being launched via transformative education into a world where our perception of reality and new values and attitudes are to be shaped just as surely by deliberate propaganda as anything a Khrushchev or Brezhnev ever sought to do during the Cold War.

 

Developing Adequate Personalities and Psychosynthesis: An Odd Way to Define College & Career Ready

Sometimes I think I am suspected of shopping for gruesomely grabbing quotes to try to crystallize the extent to which the new focus of education is to be at a psychological level. I wish. These well-paid, frequently tenured or pensioned-for-life clowns really do write and talk about accessing the unconscious so that future actions will be guided as if by auto-pilot. (Search out RSA Social Brain Centre & Robert Kegan if and only if you have an adult beverage handy. A sense of humor and irony will serve you well too.) I can in fact take this all forward in multiple places but first let’s go back and thoroughly check out the enduring vision. And remember we went back to look at psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli’s 1965 Psychosynthesis vision of education used interchangeably with psychotherapy as a means of creating a desired self-identity NOT because I was bored and looking for something tantalizing to read.

The League of Innovative Schools planned research involves conation and personal motivations as does the OECD’s current Subjective Well-being push. Looking into that pulled up 4 giants: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, and a Roberto Assagioli. Who I had never heard of. That book title was a grabber. Even more troubling was seeing the book had been brought back into print for use in 2002, 2008, and 2012. If I was role playing Sherlock Holmes we would call that a keen indicator of current interest.

As I talk in this post about targeting personal perception, if the names Yrjo Engestrom (Finland) and Evald Ilyenkov (Soviet) and the Enduring Understandings and Understandings of Consequence and the C3 Social Studies Framework component to the Common Core classroom vision are not ringing a bell or if you are new to the blog, they all have tags. They are all examples of how crucial getting at the personal perceptual level is if you have the pursuit of government power and utopian transformation of the future as a goal. Let’s go back to 1962 and a vision of dealing with the conflicts and competing ideologies involved in the Cold War globally via education. Here’s Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming:A New Focus again (my bolding):

  “The new situations and new problems we face today and which we cannot predict tomorrow call for new ways of seeing and dealing with the world. Subject matter is too often used as a way of teaching people to look backward, to recite past performances, instead of as a medium for preparing students for future developments. Content then becomes sterile, even negative, if it inhibits new leads and new solutions. Education must deal with subject matter, not as an end in itself, but as a means of helping children to achieve the intelligent imagination and creativity necessary to find adequate answers to the world’s increasingly complex problems.”

I am going to interrupt the quoting for a dictionary alert to add to your Orwellian Decoding Glossary of Education terms. That’s right. It is the ubiquitous but vague term of 21st Century schools–‘learning to learn.’ Now if the 1962 vision had gone as planned and for sure in the new Positive School Climate (PSC) classrooms of 2013 the “exciting experience of exploring and discovering meaning is the central activity.” We need a PSC of course because ALL students need to feel an ‘atmosphere’ that is ‘fundamentally accepting’ so they will NOT keep their perceptions safely tucked inside themselves. They will share with their fellow comrades, I mean students, so they can all explore for meaning. That way those personal perceptions can be examined and changed to create new ways of looking at the world.

That’s right ‘if’ the new “objective of instruction becomes that of perception building, students may become aware of, or sensitive to, the importance of meaning…They learn how perceptions or meanings are broadened or changed and how they are built. They learn how to learn.

In 2013 learning how to learn gets billed frequently as self-authoring–Robert Kegan’s 4th stage of consciousness, or Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It is alive and well and coming to a K-12 or college classroom or workplace retreat near you soon. The global bureaucrats and politicians and Big Business are intensely determined that this time we will get a paradigm shift, starting at the unconscious mental level. And it all really does track back to what Maslow and Rogers sought for their humanistic psychology that led to a strikingly Marxian human development vision. Today HP runs around most often calling itself Transpersonal Psychology. As always, new names for enduring transformative ideas anytime notoriety intrudes.

So one more time here’s the vision that is viewed as aiding transformative political, social, and economic change, coming in invisibly via stealth:

“It is the unsolved problem rather than the factual question and answer that encourages freedom of thought and children’s respect for their own mental processes. It can help them to change concepts in light of new evidence and to build a sense of personal responsibility for increasing knowledge and solving problems.”

That’s solving problems by creativity and imagination and feelings unimpeded by a body of knowledge about previous consequences of a similar set of facts. It may be a grand way to encourage attempts to model and redesign societies and economies but the consequences will come from reality. Not the perceptions that launched the attempts to transform. But hey, I am a history major and I just don’t see how peace in our time is going to flow from stressing “emotional as well as intellectual experiencing. Learning about people involves an empathy, a feeling with them, an acceptance of differences, and an appreciation of variability in values and behavior.” That is the kind of nonsense that forgets that there really are bullies in the world who can only be held in check from fear of power and likely retaliation. It also forgets that not all cultures are compatible or willing to co-exist peacefully. It is all a prescription to ignorantly and in good faith lay down and await your fate. No wonder history now is only about reinterpreting the present.

The ‘adequate person’ by the way reminded me greatly of the current drive that students only need to be ‘competent,’ not well informed. The adequate person in 1962 being prepped for social change was to have “a field of perceptions, rich and extensive enough to provide understanding of the events in which he is enmeshed and available when he needs them.”

Available for what? Glad you asked. So the individual “will act on his information when the appropriate time and place occur.” And this kind of hoped for behavioral pre-programming was before Big Data and adaptive computer software and the planned gaming emphasis. Same desire now but much better and effective tools.

What was so special about the 1962 new focus that has guided education as the real pursuit going forward was the “recognition of the part played by perception and the emphasis placed upon perception at the immediate moment and in the life and behavior of the individual. The job of the school is to work with present perceptions, with feelings, attitudes and ideas of learners so that they grow in the direction of greater adequacy.”

That’s adequate for the future plans of transformation. Then and now and at all times in between. Psychosynthesis‘s publication in 1965 gave another tool in targeting the psychological and conation. Assagioli regarded a search for self-identity as the new purpose of education. Of course since he was a psychiatrist, he used the techniques of psychotherapy. Now we just call the same techniques brain-based learning theories or epistemological reflection and launch them on students in return for tax dollars and tuition payments in the case of private schools and colleges and universities.

I used the term ubiquitous before and these theories are everywhere now. And not well understood. The typical doctorate program credentialing a Principal or Super doesn’t go through this as I have. It might impact the sought role as a Social Change Agent. Once again we parents, taxpayers, and students are going to be called on to understand the real drivers in education better than the credentialed professorate and the public sector and their consultants. All of whom we are paying handsomely.

I will close with a mention of a potential tragedy that happened locally last week when a middle schooler took a loaded gun to school. Parents have been concerned with how the incident was handled and what info was provided and the lack of interest in any public airing of what happened. School districts can deal with the world as it is or they can put their energy into switching to this Maslow inspired humanist psychological vision of changing the student at the level of their inner core.

But reality does intrude. I suspect another tragedy that goes all the way through is only a matter of time because the focus of the administrators at all levels is on psychological innovations to gain social transformations. While hiding from the public that this is what is up.

And duplicity takes even more energy and is a distraction from the realities all these students bring to school.

Something to keep in mind.