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. 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.


5 thoughts on “Coercing the Will and Priming the Pump of Purpose to Control the Neurophysiology of Learning

  1. Could someone more cognizant that I about the issues raised in this blog please address Understanding by Design and Grant Wiggins, as I have seen them mentioned in the tagged sections of this blog?

    Not sure how they would be part of a nefarious plot. As best I can tell, from the point of view expressed here, the concept of Big Ideas and transfer across disciplines would move beyond mere content knowledge and allow for manipulation of mindset?

    Or perhaps Wiggins’ 6 Facets of Understanding, with Empathy being the highest one, leads to fertile ground to get impressionable students to relate to worldviews not compatible with American values and individual freedom?

    I am asking in the genuine hopes someone knows enough about it to explain, as when I first came across Understanding by Design, I couldn’t picture it as something that lent itself to a Marxist agenda, so I was surprised to see it in the blog tags.

    Any replies that can explain this are welcomed.

    • It has to do more with cybernetics and controlling perception. The Marxists in the USSR wanted to do that as Vygotsky’s work when properly translated into English and not edited makes clear. It was also a key part of the MH vision. UbD is also known as backwards mapping from the internalized, compass-like, learning that is desired to what the student uses to make sense of the world.

      I will provide additional links from earlier posts specifically to your point when I am not caught up with picking up relatives arriving for the holidays at the airport. In the meantime let me quote from an NAS paper released yesterday called “Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and design at the Center. UbD was designed to align with this desired shift in emphasis. ” The shift in the aim of science education away from simply knowing science to using science and engineering ideas and practices to make sense of the world or solve challenges requires working with students’ initial resources for sense-making as valuable starting points, even though they may be piecemeal and contextualized in everyday experiences rather than coherent, generalized theories.”

      UbD was part of this shift form the transmission of a body of knowledge to being about creating desired ways of thinking to facilitate interacting with the natural and designed world students encounter. It creates the desired mindset to allow students to become adults that can “participate as informed members of a democratic society.” That’s not an electoral democracy, but a substantive MH democracy.

      Will put up more links when I get the chance. In the meantime, the tag Enduring Understandings or Understandings of Consequence are essentially two synonyms for what UbD also sought.

    • This confirms the crucial touted role of agency and autonomy, but not why they are crucial.

      Even though the date was June NGLC is touting this Innodoption philosophy is all its work, including the MyWays Pathways that I have covered and the Chan Zuckerburg/charter schools growth touting of Valor and its internalized compass. Since 2018 has been a trying year for me physically, the posts I have been able to write have been less frequent, but boy are they pertinent.

  2. Robin,

    Thank you for the reply. I can see how ‘using’ knowledge could be misused for an agenda, but it also seems that we should go beyond mere knowing.

    Perhaps a liberal/conservative example would help.

    A liberal might say we can ‘know’ of Christopher Columbus and ‘know’ Americans celebrate Columbus Day. But shouldn’t we ‘use’ the knowledge of some of the more unsavory things he did to question whether we ‘should” celebrate his life with a holiday?

    On the other hand, a conservative might say we can ‘know’ that Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader, and that Americans celebrate his holiday. But shouldn’t we ‘use’ the knowledge that he was guilty of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis to create a more balanced portrait of who the man was, vs his role as a civil rights icon?

    So while I see how moving from the simple transmission of knowledge could be misused for an agenda, it does seem there is an obligation for us to teach students how to apply knowledge over and above the mere ‘knowing’ of it.

    Hope this helps clarify my original question.

    • If the ‘knowledge’ is largely conceptual and the application is backwards mapping from a desired transformational end, that’s where the manipulation comes into play, as Monday’s post laid out. I think you probably know ‘backwards mapping’ is another name for UbD. It was the term used in my competency-exemplar district. is a good example of what concerns me, especially when married to aspirations about Zero-based Thinking or using Lit to create a Revolution of the Heart.

      If we are using curricula to attempt to control how people “think, perceive, and act,” as both the admitted Right and Left seem to want to do with ed reforms, whether it is sold as brain-based, competencies, classical ed, or project-based authentic learning, we are in the territory of totalitarian aspirations. There is a desire for a politically reorganized society that needs a new kind of values, mind, and individual aspirations.

      Yesterday, Knowledge Works released its Forecast 5.0–“Navigating the Future of Learning” that stated “If left unchecked, current narratives and metrics of success will exacerbate an epidemic of social pollution that will have profound impacts on public health and economic productivity.” So if the understandings, ideas, and applications have been deliberately chosen as part of “efforts to measure success in ways that measure connections and relationships,” we are in fact engaged in a political and social global revolution at the level of the human mind.

      There is, unfortunately a notable convergence of people who claim to be on the Right and the Left around this agenda and a great deal of deceit surrounding it. I can see through the false narrative because I know this agenda so well. That deep knowledge and how it can to be though has been in many ways accidental. When I set out to tell this story I had no idea there had been so much effort over the years to hide the true purpose of learning standards. That effort was brought out once Credentialed to Destroy came out and there was such an effort to obscure what was laid out there.

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