Since I do not want to be accused of a Godwin’s Law violation, I will not tell precisely who uttered this sentiment that still lurks behind all of the current rhetoric of priming students to act for the Common Good. True idealism is nothing but subjecting the individual’s interests and life to the community. I will note though that when Governors and Mayors are now being instructed by multiple federal agencies to make workforce preparation the goal of K-12 and teachers and principals plan to target the Whole Child for monitoring and manipulation, everyone is thinking like a collectivist even if no one involved is really familiar with the crucial distinctions anymore. Luckily for us though, I have a copy of E. Merrill Root’s 1955 book Collectivism on the Campus so we can revisit these vital concepts during a previous heyday when people still recognized what was at risk.
Root goes back to people like the famous 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and reminds us that this struggle with the coercive potential of the State has a long history:
“collectivism would reduce unique persons to efficient functions of a dominant mass; and individualism, that would exalt the status of the persons who freely constitute it… By nature, individualism sees society as the means and the individual as the end. Man does not exist to serve society, as among the bees and the ants; society exists to serve unique, individual persons…collectivism by its very nature and by its efficient practice regulates, prohibits, and compels.”
As we keep encountering the principle that democracy is suddenly to mean an ability by the majority in number to bind the minority to its wishes and perceived needs, which, I believe, is why this statistic has been getting so much recent hype http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/white-students-aren-t-going-be-majority-schools, let’s look at all the swirling intentions of fundamental transformations in so many areas by remembering: “all collectivisms, no matter how they differ in mood or means, are united in the socialist principle of control by the people collectively, or the state.”
Now let’s come forward a bit, but not yet all the way to the present. One of the contributors to The Great Adventure book from the last several posts was a creator of the 1970 document The Predicament of Mankind that sought to lay the seeds for using the theories of the social sciences and the research from the behavioral sciences to begin designing social systems in the West. It was to be the foundation of the Club of Rome. Now the CoR chose then instead, as the UN does now, to mask that actual intention in physical science models that understandably never work very well. They are an excuse to alter reality and existing human behaviors, not a means of reliably modelling what exists and predict what probably will be.
So Alexander N. Christakis, who we will now shorthand as Christo, resigned from the CoR and took his Structured Dialogue Design Process with him. It never went away though and it came to my attention in Chapter 6 of the book: “Technology to Liberate Rather Than Imprison Consciousness.” Now if that catches your attention as more and more ‘coursework’ to get ‘degrees’ or ‘workplace credentials’ shifts to online methods, it should. First though let’s see what Christo actually said were his intentions. He opens with this quote from fellow systems thinker and GERG social engineer Bela Banathy [see his tag on blog. We have met him before]. Remember what Dialogue means from the last post:
“Dialogue facilitates the development of a common language and collective mental models. Thus, the ability to engage in dialogue becomes one of the most fundamental and most needed human capabilities. Dialogue becomes a central component of any model of evolutionary transformation.”
Communication For Social Change as the Rockefeller Foundation called it. As the FrameWorks Institute seeks to prepare common mental maps to reliably guide the perceptions of the masses, so too SDD “brings the lack of a commonly shared metanarrative into focus and encourages creative adaptations among participants.” Change within the person in other words just like the shift to student-centered learning. If this all seems a bit Egg-Heady to you and not a real threat to the way of life we all take for granted, http://obamavision.wikispaces.com/file/view/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf/50379547/Figure_1-_Amended_Classification_of_59_Inhibitors_to_Bottom-up_Democracy.pdf makes it clear the Obama campaign in 2008 used SDD by name to gather input into the vision that fundamental transformation must be alluding to: “Obama’s vision for engaging stakeholders from all walks of life in a bottom-up democracy employing Internet technology.”
The National Center for Dialogue and Deliberation that we just keep encountering http://ncdd.org/806 announced the giveaway of the SDD software to help encourage the dissemination of the participatory democracy model. Remember the one that lies at the heart of how urban metro areas are to operate politically in the future? The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and sector strategies and Career Pathways with Big Business are such drivers towards a reality of collectivism precisely because they intersect with these declared goals of Metropolitanism and the determination of so many mayors that they are the place for achieving Economic Justice.
Now added to that we get Christo declaring in a 2012 Training Workshop on Why and How We Ought to Reinvent Democracy that SDD is the means “for building capacity internationally for addressing highly complex problems using the science of dialogue.” We also see in this 2012 published paper the intentions to use online coursework delivered internationally to allow broad interaction to reach common understandings of what are called Continuous Critical Problems. Dialogue via the Internet and the virtual realities it can deliver to create common experiences become a means for “Striving for Sustainable Global Democracy Through A Group Decision-Making Process: A Critical Review of an Online Course to Model Transformative Praxis.” http://www.sociostudies.org/journal/files/jogs/2012_1/135-151.pdf
From now on every time we hear the word Sustainable, we need to remember that article’s lead-in quote that “Sustainability is not simply about changing practices but more centrally about agreeing to change practices together.” Think of it as creating a mass perception of consensual collectivism via dialogue and deliberation. SDD trains participants, including K-12 students where it is much more likely to be called Guided Dialogue or the Discourse Classroom (unless we are in Finland where as we saw the required practice over years is a component now of what Global Citizenship is to come to mean). Think of how handy the rejection of facts, logic, lectures, and textbooks will be, as SDD uses ‘triggering questions’ (or what the related Understanding By Design or Backward Mapping call Essential Questions) to supposedly examine the roots and ‘deep drivers’ of messy, real world situations.
This allows the question to “frame the context of the dialogue” where “participants articulate their ideas in their own words to the full attention of the other participants.” Now one can see why a new affirmative Student Code of Conduct would be necessary as the clarifying and dialogue is to “authenticate each person irrespective of his or her education level or position of power.” No more ability to engage in that former educational pasttime at all levels of rolling eyes or otherwise indicating when something is clearly ignorant or absurd. It’s a perspective and disrespect, even if deserved to puncture the continued survival of patently BAD Ideas, would interfere with the desire to “build a sense of shared competence within the group.”
The better to build a sense of entitlement to collective decision-making and the use of something like that POWER Model Anthony Carnevale considered a New Workplace Basic 2 posts ago. Whether dealing with captive students in the classroom or adults on retreat or showing up for community input meetings, the idea consistently is to get “participants to rank the clusters of gathered observations according to their relative importance. This step brings into sharp relief the different priorities and values within the group. In the ensuing discussion, parties come to understand where their coparticipants are coming from, which leads to a respectful working relationship, based on defined mutual interest.”
Now common sense and a knowledge of history would reveal this method for “greatly enhanced decision-making and action-planning” is a global prescription for disaster. That would be why this reality of the ultimate goals is so shrouded in deceit and the need to make common sense and actual knowledge of history uncommon indeed. Since I am nothing if not a Deceit Shroud Buster and just drowning in what used to be called Horse Sense, lets end with what Christo said was intended. As you know, the purposes of the creators run with their techniques, theories, and practices, even when all those things are unknown to whomever is actually using or requiring their use.
SDD under its variety of names is a “method for gaining shared meaning, unified goals, and the systemic wisdom needed for effective conscious evolution…We mimic the webs of interdependence that exist in lively, livable communities and the buoyant activity these webs foster. We catalyze and nurture the qualities of Mutualism (or egalitarian give and take), Integration, Distributed Intelligence, Emotional Ties that Bind, Values and Wisdom (or the knowledge web).”
It seems silly, doesn’t it when the actual intentions are spelled out that way? That would be why such declarations are in books and reports we masses are not supposed to see. Discussed in conferences we may fund, but are not invited to.
Instead we get explanations for changes that may be plausible on their face, but never fit the facts. We get euphemisms like Quality Learning that are factually true but never accurately understood.
It is past time to remedy that. Maybe a shared understanding is a good thing when it is about the reality and methods for transformational cultural change.