If anyone managed to avoid the fury over this past weekend over the Obama Administration’s Transgender Bathroom decrees http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender.pdf and this http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/emergingpractices.pdf , you either have a set of headphones we would all like to acquire or you had a loved one just graduate. Most of the coverage and outrage is directed at imagining the physical intrusiveness of this edict. Occasionally we will get someone stating that this is not the role of the federal government. Reading both those releases though makes it quite clear that we have governments insisting they can command ‘citizens’ to defer to personal perceptions that disregard physical reality.
Let’s take a look at how useful that command ability is for those who have long sought to bring fundamental transformation to human societies, targeting what people value and how they must behave. Anyone think it is a coincidence that the sacred point for deference–personal perception–is precisely the point that the cyberneticists have wanted to control going back to those Macy conferences in the 40s? I just happened to have an essay from 1973 from Heinz Von Foerster (who edited the conference reports) telling researchers that “Since there are only 100 million sensory receptors, and about 10,000 billion synapses in our nervous system, we are 100 thousand times more receptive to changes in our internal than in our external environment.”
Is it any wonder governments have decided to target that internal ‘Simplex’ at a biological, neural level to gain the compliant citizens they (and their donor class like the Chambers of Commerce) want for the 21st Century? Refuse to believe me because it seems too horrible to contemplate? Let’s go looking for well-connected confessions from people at two places that have been ringleaders in these plans for us going back decades–MIT and Harvard. When I found out that in 1987 Stewart Brand wrote a book called The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT, I got a copy. The last chapter has a fascinating, matter-of-fact conversation with Peter Schwartz that called attention to something I warned about in the early days of the blog. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-the-world-makes-far-more-sense-if-you-add-dirigisiste-to-the-things-you-understand/
“Schwartz: No, I think most of the world still believes it is appropriate for the government to control what the people will know. It’s really quite amazing–to me at least, having grown up in the United States. Regimes everywhere are–a term that is not well known in the United States–dirigiste. French word. Literally, it means state direction. It isn’t socialism, it isn’t fascism, it’s essentially the idea that part of the central role of the state is to direct society–as opposed to take care of a few things and let everybody else take care of themselves, which is [was?] the US philosophy. Most every country in the world is in some sense dirigiste.”
Now even if I had not explained recently what Upravleniye meant or the Science of the Individual or the required state and local economic planning now in WIOA or the change and then monitor the mental models of each student laid out in ESSA–the new federal education legislation, anyone want to venture a guess as to which direction global education reforms emanating from the UN would be taking the US on the dirigiste template? But the MIT conversation was not over and the other speaker was Jay Ogilvy, formerly director of research of the Values and Lifestyles Program at SRI International. Now I know SRI used to stand for Stanford Research and was involved in a hugely troubling task force called Changing Images of Man among lots of other things. Let’s listen in decades later to what Ogilvy said to Brand:
“Ogilvy added: What gets me is how utterly inappropriate our basic economic categories are. We need to recast the concept of property for one thing, because in Marx’s terms property is by definition alienable: that is, unlike your elbow which is you and not yours, property must be transferable to another (alia equals other). I sell you the cow. You got the cow. I don’t have the cow anymore. I sell you information. You got the information. I still have the information. That’s one anomaly.
Another anomaly: intrinsic in information is the ‘difference that makes a difference’–to a receiver. So the condition of the receiver is an important part of whether a given signal is or is not information. Is it news or isn’t it news? Well, that depends on the receiver and the receiver’s ability to understand it. That’s not true of a ton of steel. It’s not true of a ton of wheat.”
Where else do we get such a chance to eavesdrop on insiders so we can recognize that we, and especially students with still malleable minds, are the receivers (author’s italics but my bolding) whose ability to understand needs to be manipulated at the internalized (see ratios above), neurological level. Still resisting? When I kept encountering references to the book Harvard and the Unabomber and the social science experiments it laid out going on at Harvard in the 50s involving some of the Macy Cybernetics conference participants, I decided I should read it too. Turns out the author Alston Chase had also graduated from Harvard in the 1950s and he was rather matter-of-fact as well about how “Psychology came to be seen as a powerful tool that could be used for good (when employed by an enlightened elite) or for evil (when used by Hitler).”
On the list of things the Enlightened forgot to mention was the “rise of psychology in public policy” because “the masses could not be trusted, or, as the historian Ellen Herman put it, summarizing the thinking of this time, ‘mass opinion was dangerous as well as fickle…[It] was a real threat to rational planning.” Another word for such planning is dirigiste and the most effective and hard to observe place to enact such planning would be to go after what the so-called receiver has internalized to guide their perceptions and then interpretations of daily experiences.
Still want more quotes as to intentions? “Yet in their heart of hearts they had lost faith in people and embraced a new paternalism. They became what historian Brett Gary calls ‘nervous liberals,’ beset by ‘propaganda anxieties.’ Saving democracy, these scholars concluded, required new psychological techniques that would point public opinion in ‘correct’ directions. Social science was seen as not just a way to understand man, but to control him as well.”
Well, I am ready to leave Cambridge and whatever is in that air along the Charles River beyond world-class hubris. Let’s get back to why all this is clearly relevant to what the planners want to achieve with these Transgender Edicts. When I wrote my book Credentialed to Destroy , a professor–Ernst Von Glasersfeld and his theory of radical constructivism–figured prominently in what was known in the 90s as the Math Wars and what is really being changed via math classes now. What I learned recently was that Glasersfeld’s theories were a part of cybernetics aspirations and that he had written for a 1984 book called The Invented Reality.
Now if governments wish to guide societies and control citizens at a neural level without that really being appreciated, how useful is a theory of education or philosophy (depending on the department of the advocating professor) that preaches to students and future doctorates and administrators that:
“it does not matter what an object might be like in ‘reality’ or from an ‘objective’ point of view; what matters is exclusively whether or not it performs or behaves in the way that is expected of it, that is, whether or not it fits.”
Getting at perception and controlling it gives a means to literally change how students will act in the future to alter reality and how they will insist on interacting with others. That’s why the physical reality of anatomical parts and other ways to protect privacy and feelings are not enough for the Civil Rights Advocates. They know, and we should to, that all these theories on how to turn students, principals, and people in general into Marx’s Makers of History ride on using education to control perception. People may not like the bathroom edicts, but is anyone questioning the legitimacy of legally compelling how the world must work simply on the basis of a student’s declared perception of being transgender?
In 1979 Glasersfeld and a Viennese prof, John Richards, published a paper called “The Control of Perception and the Construction of Reality.” I am really not speculating here on how crucial controlling individual perception has always been to transformational plans to a planned society that meets all human needs. The transformationalists, showing their fondness for italics, want to shift the purpose of education away from What is the structure of the real world? to a cognitive, internalized emphasis on What is the structure of our experiential world? That is precisely the point of emphasis in the Transgender Edicts: Does the student perceive themselves to be a different gender? No need for psychiatric or medical evidence. A personal declaration will do and must be accepted at face value.
This is simply a furthering of the governments’ desire for to be dirigiste and to plan using psychological techniques. As that 1979 article in Dialectica stated, that desired shift simply needed that “We thus redefine ‘knowledge’ as pertaining to invariances [like how they subjectively perceive gender or racism or White Privilege] in the living organism’s experience rather than to entities, structures, and events in an independently existing world. Correspondingly, we redefine ‘perception.’ It is not the reception or duplication of information that is coming in from the outside, but rather the construction of the invariances by which the organism can assimilate and organize its experience.”
Anyone beginning to see why all mandates now push a concept-based, activity-oriented [project-based learning] focus for education for everyone? We need to recognize that the theorists are using education to enact their observation that “the brain’s model of reality, as far as consciousness is concerned, is reality–there is nothing else to perceive.” By manipulating that model of reality through educational practices and then insisting that we must all defer to that manipulated perception of reality, the Transgender Edicts are not just about bathrooms and privacy. The government is continuing to insist that individual perception is a legitimate area for it to manipulate. Then we must all accept the results of the consciousness that was intentionally fostered to believe in the need for change.
A Haverford philosophy professor cited in a footnote concluded that ” today [writing in 1988] the type of dialogical communities that are required for its flourishing are being distorted, undermined, and systematically blocked from coming into existence.” The Transgender Edicts with their deference to personal perception over actual reality, the Science of Virtues and other pushes of Character and values first, and the ubiquity now of a Whole Child emphasis and emotions as an integral component of learning are all means to remove the barriers to the desired communities that promote the desired “solidarity with our fellow human beings.”
I am not the one who throughout the 80s in elite higher ed kept quoting from Marx on what must be done to change history. This is how Richard J Bernstein concluded his book on Beyond Objectivism and Relativism:
“Marx’s second thesis on Feuerbach, especially his claim that ‘man must prove the truth, the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice,’ is a fitting conclusion to this study. We can no longer share Marx’s theoretical certainty or revolutionary self-confidence. There is no guarantee, there is no necessity, no ‘logic of history’ that must inevitably lead to dialogical communities that embrace all of humanity and in which reciprocal judgment, practical discourse, and rational persuasion flourish.”
So ‘standards-based education reforms’ were called on to alter perception to force what was never inevitable at all. Now we get legal decrees to further that same actual mandate and restart the hoped-for transformation.
See how this is not really about locker rooms and bathrooms?