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 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? 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 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 , 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!




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

  1. Well, this is timely in that I just reported to the principal of a local mental health network, conditions of systemic abuse present in an ancillary field, coaching. I believed I needed to escalate this circumstance in that there is a personnel overlap between these fields in my location, and because I imagined that my treater friend may be encountering victims of this abuse at her therapy center.

    What I got from this ‘neuroscience’-oriented, positive psychology practicing individual was a reminder that we could all control our perceptions of negative circumstances.

    This response was less than comforting.

    Robin, I am wondering what, if any of this alacrity toward man’s inhumanity to man can be traced back to gestalt therapy, and some of the quizzical aspects of ‘est’ training as in the assuring of tearful participants that they were responsible for all traumata experienced in their lives, e.g. the horrors of war, deprivation, childhood abuse, doesn’t matter. My research into LGAT’s seems to indicate that it is this assertion, coupled with the systematic peeling of the person’s ego defenses by facilitators un-licensed to perform psychotherapeutic interventions that is most likely to produce ‘flip-out’s’ among, and permanent psychological damage to participants in these programs.

    Is Seligman’s take on Pavlov, and his related take on the ‘design’ of understanding related to this radical construct of personal responsibility?

    • Would you please link your work on this? At my institution, we are seeing a major athletics push in addition to mental health and cybersecurity. I wondered if the athletics training programs might be related to trauma studies, but I suspect that there’s more to it than that. Thank you.

      • Julianne, my research is a work in progress. Difficult to conduct and publish this content through usual academic channels, though I hope to begin publishing a series of essays in a journal, which focuses on social engineering.

        Could you say a little more about the “athletics training programs” that are being pushed at your institution? Is there something ‘extreme’, or potentially traumatic in the nature of these programs? Does the athletic focus run counter to the culture of your institution?

        Perhaps owing to my undergrad experience, I am super-sensitive to dramatic shifts in pedagogic agendas, i.e. I accepted a full scholarship to enter a ‘Classics’ Department at a liberal arts university whose reputation was based on the quality of its conservatory and faculty in the Humanities, only to find the institution’s reason to be had been liquidated by the time I got there, and replaced by a business school, and newly-refurbished sports facilities.

        • Thank you, Leslie. What you describe about your undergrad experience sounds very similar to what is happening at the University of Tulsa, which, until recently, was known for its rigorous liberal and fine arts programs and core curriculum as well as its engineering school. And many of our science majors chose TU specifically because it offered them the opportunity to study with top-notch faculty in across the colleges. Last May, the university announced a restructuring plan, “True Commitment,” that dramatically cuts A&S, music, several fine arts programs, and even PhD programs in math and physics. It’s completely ideological, driven by the cybersecurity, economic development, Chamber-of-Commerce agenda, that wants to pump out drones (figurative and literal). See

          But what’s puzzled me was the insistence on keeping very expensive athletic programs, which were never well attended before the restructure. But then I discovered that the university had been conducting brain and sports science research, looking at the effects of concussions and such, and using wearable technologies. Also there are studies of mood and pain tolerance, risky behaviors and pain tolerance, nightmare studies, childhood trauma studies, etc., which are for impact investing. See, for example, . It’s almost as if TU has become like a military research lab. So I wondered if you had any particular insight into that?

          • I would say that if it looks like a “duck”, its a “duck”. My undergrad institution, a baby ivy league on the West Coast, went through a similar and quite sinister transformation. It never had been a jock school, quite the contrary, but suddenly, FOOTBALL seemed to be a burning interest among faculty. I entered one of the cluster colleges but participated in a year abroad program through another, which caused me to interface with members of an “International Relations” faculty. One day it was announced that Bechtel had bought this college. Wow!

            Also, the very fine faculty in the Humanities I had signed up for was replaced in short order by imports from Cornell. It was Frankfurt School deconstructionism, all the way, and overnight.

            It has taken me years to get rid of this head full of junk.

            I don’t think the school was in financial trouble, and, cannot rationalize the changes this way.

            I felt like we, students, and faculty were the subjects of a human experiment and a very unpleasant one. Yes, there was a sort of U.S. military feel to it all, or intelligence agency.

            Many of the students in my cohort were children of IR families, Ford Foundation types. Also, quite a few had attended the same prep schools.

            My father had worked at U.C. Davis for many years, which is a full-on military-industrial complex lab, cloaked as an ag school. My liberal arts institution took on the same feeling.

  2. OECD alum And convicted pedo
    Professor Ben Levin
    Seemed to get this ball rolling.

    Funny how he helped get ontario pervy cse sex ed up and running under lgbt prime minister….

    Fast forward to now when Rupaul has a tv series as a homosexual drag queen with a 10 year old runaway together in a van… this is tv 2020. With pediatricians shooing parents out of appointments to talk sex and products with minors being legislated even, vaxx and pharma and Trans stufff available to minors sans parental notification, and as a topper school sex ed 50% role playing how to go to a “ caring adult” or a clinic etc to obtain these goods and services without parents knowing.
    This is the empowerment and individualized learning, to be Activist for your personal empowerment. Lifelong learnjng.
    The other half of cse sex is the playacting how to be actively empowered without your parents knowledge because they are “ traditional” judgemental” conservative” religious” old” dont understand” dont care”….

    This child empowerment to be Active is just what Pedo Ben Levin OECD paper instructs teachers/admin to be Equity. He was happy to accomodate. American news did not cover him. Hmmm.
    He is partner with all the top educrats coordinating all the euphamisms of common core and 21st century learning.

    The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child fits this. That Runaway kid that stows away in Rupaul’s white van has every right to choose this “ family of choice”. No need to call the police. His parents made him brush his teeth, Abuse!

    Drag kween story hour? Comprehensice sex ed, transing epidemic, its a mad world! Madmen in charge.

      • Your attachment was very ‘special’, thank you!

        I ‘specially liked: “At the most basic level, “autonomy support” means allowing for meaningful choice and self-direction.”

        When I was researching the nitwit progenitors of this nonsense, Rogers, and Maslow, and their early human experiments in CA schools, I encountered their early-days research partner, the psychologist, William Coulson. Coulson was capable of seeing the damage wrought by these programs — which went beyond the suicidality they engendered in 11 year-olds — and thus began his campaign against TMP, “Too Much Psychology” in education; really, in everything.

        My question is: why was the field of education ceded to psychologists?

        There is a lot of therapeutic language in this attachment. When the learning environment described/idealized, therein, is not sounding like a kibbutz, it sounds like a mental hospital. I guess this is the comeupance of Rogers’ project to extend his therapeutic regimes to healthy populations.

        • It goes waaay back. Read Rousseau’s Emile, a treatise on “education” enthusiastically endorsed by the French revolutionists. In point of fact, Rousseau’s vision of educating the “whole child” never really got off the ground, and Napoleon instituted a rigorous system of national education more calculated to produce soldiers, administrators and engineers than psychologized snowflakes.

          • Point taken.

            So, let’s imagine that ‘the psychologists’ are in the manner of Napoleon, intent on cloning themselves or, maybe, more accurately creating the ‘safe’, ‘nurturing’ environment that evaded them in their own childhoods. I have found it very instructive to research the blighted childhoods of these Stuart Smalley’esque social engineers, and it looks to me that they are simply trying to ensure by global edict that “no child is left behind”, or bullied, or disregarded or right-sized by reality. Unhappy with reality, imagine another one and COMPEL others to accept it as real.

          • Learning & the Brain is pushing this 2016 video of Seligman and Positive Psychology as part of an Action for Happiness push.

            In case anyone is looking for something to do this chilly weekend.

            I am finishing up Biology of Belief, which also has plans to reengineer using what it refers to as behavioral epigenetics. Maybe we should start thinking of learning standards and competency frameworks as behavioral epigenetic goals. It’s not really about math or history anymore. That’s simply the mask for the reengineering experiences.

      • Apropos of all of this gardening inspired ‘flourishing’, I had a MOST interesting chat, yesterday, with a Japanese HR professional. This person told me that he was a lifelong gardener and that this activity had taught him pretty much everything he knows about developing people. He had such a different take from that described in this blog; said that preparation of the soil was ‘everything’; said that if plants were lavished with fertilizer they did not develop strong and adventurous root systems; said that you keep the best seedlings and weed the others out (it’s life); said that rows needed to be STRAIGHT and that good gardens have DISCIPLINE.

        This guy is 75 but looks to be in his late 40’s, plays three sets of tennis every morning, before, a full day of work.

        HE is flourishing.

  3. Watched the first five minutes of Seligman’s lecture, and decided it is ‘est’. Given that none of this is predicated on five-senses science, maybe, we just debate it as religion…and, it AIN’T mine.

    • Leslie, postscript on Rousseau. His vision WAS coercive. His ideally sculpted “innately good” child would become a properly socialized member of the collective — or else. This is the reason it was possible for the totalitarian revolutionists to embrace his vision.

      • Communitarian and cybernetician Amitai Etzioni has moved on and Bradley-funded Manhattan Institute is pushing this book I have downloaded and his definition of Patriotism is just the old Common Good, communitarian argument with a new PR campaign.

        For a social movement to be able to redesign society, the local communities and chapters of the movement must be combined into a community of communities, which makes for the national community. The reasons the community of local communities needs to be, for the foreseeable future, national rather than global are spelled out in chapter 10. It reveals that while nationalism is to be condemned, patriotism ought to be rehabilitated and reembraced. On the international level, we need global governance backed up by a global community, because many of our problems are global. However, the sociological conditions for extending national communities into a global one (or even regional ones) or adding a global layer on top of the national ones are not in place. Hence much trouble arises when international organizations and their champions try to advance various forms of postnational government without first forging the essential communal foundations.The closing chapter of the book suggests that a patriotic movement will need to challenge the legitimacy of affluence and points to core values that serve best to shore up democracy and provide for human flourishing.The ideas laid out in the following pages apply to all democracies. Granted, they are not all equally challenged. However, globalization, automation, populism, dysfunctional government, polarization, and the rising inequity of assets and power are evident in varying degrees in all of them. Although most of my examples are drawn from the American experience (and the EU), I believe readers will have no difficulty in applying the ideas to their particular society and government.

        Redesign society. No modest aspirations there.

        Am adding the role of education with a quote from Sweden and former Harvard Pres, Derek Bok’s father-in-law, that Etzioni uses that gets at the role of the schools:

        Gunnar Myrdal provides a different version, where the American thinks, talks, and acts under the influence of high national and Christian precepts, and, on the other hand, the valuations on specific planes of individual and group living, where personal and local interests; economic, social, and sexual jealousies; considerations of community prestige and conformity; group prejudice against particular persons or types of people; and all sorts of miscellaneous wants, impulses, and habits dominate his outlook. This much richer, thicker concept includes the ideas encompassed by constitutionalism but adds substantial values. These are needs to be continually revisited by moral dialogues. However, whatever is agreed upon needs to be reinforced for all citizens and be introduced to new ones, whether they are youngsters entering the school system learning the ways of their country or if they are immigrants. Civics education and national service are two ways to promote these core values, part of the much more encompassing agenda of the patriotic movement.

        Turned out Etzioni cites Bok in a footnote to this book. Derek Bok, The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well- Being (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 19.

      • This is the end of the book and once again, as I noted in the past when Larry Arnn’s book The Founder’s Key echoed another Etzioni book that APP’s Robert George was also tied to, the Left and Right think tanks all lead to the installation of the Human Development Society vision. As here, usually with Orwellian labels that mask the intention.

        The patriotic movement must ask which economic system will best serve the renewed national purpose. Most nations act as if they consider the affluent life as the good life that the national government should help promote. However, it is far from clear that all nations can find a high growth pathway or, even if they could, whether a world in which ever-more billions of people each consume ever more is sustainable. Most importantly, this chapter shows that even if such consumption were possible, ever-higher income and material consumption do not provide for ever-higher levels of contentment. Instead, the patriotic movement ought to favor an economy that ensures that everyone has their basic needs well met. Once this has been achieved, people will limit their further consumption and use the freed time and resources to gain contentment from other sources. Namely, contentment will be derived from sources that are neither labor- nor capital- intensive, ones that are sustainable and more amenable to redistribution. These include cultivating intimate relations, public service (e.g., volunteering), and transcendental activities.

        I started this book by pointing out that moral dialogues are needed for the moral agenda of the patriotic movement to percolate up, not to be dictated down. I provide several topics that such dialogues will have to cover if the patriotic movement is to provide a solid foundation for liberal democracy, such as the proper level and kind of trade and immigration, and the need to balance individual rights and the common good. At the top of the list of these topics is the question, What values should we gear the economy to serve?

        More generally, the patriotic movement needs to achieve more than merely reuniting us by reinforcing the national community to contain—but not suppress!—differences. It must figure out what we are all seeking to accomplish together, above and beyond our varying personal and subgroup pursuits, and what kind of future we envision for the nation—aside from what we labor to gain for our families, local communities, and various identity groups. It is not enough to stress that we are, all of us, in this boat together and should be sure to keep it afloat. We would do best to concern ourselves with where it is destined to sail and how it has to be reconstructed to travel to wherever we are seeking to reach.

        All roads lead to…

      • Be of good cheer, Deborah. I am informed by my NZ student intern that just about every government-pushed initiative related to resilience, happiness, expanding democracy has been a complete bust in that country. Japan is really same. The Japanese government has been pushing Japan 5.0 for five years and nobody is paying any attention. So, maybe, the human spirit is ‘resilient’ and will continue to resist attempt to perfect it.

        • Yes, I commented not long ago that Hong Kong’s recent ed initiative seems to be a bit of a bust, judging by what we see in the streets and parks there.

          • I live in a very well-maintained urban environment, Tokyo. A few years back, a residency requirement at my CA graduate school necessitated frequent trips to the Golden State. The very thought of what I would encounter at LAX, necessitated a stiff pre-landing drink. For three years, and on multiple occasions, I wondered ‘why’ has a piece of detritus hanging off the control tower not been removed? Next came the bus ride to my campus in Santa Barbara. Same pilled-up driver every time, swerving perilously along HWY 1…completely oblivious to the screams of passengers. I never see much flourishing in CA, and was kinda surprised when candidate Bloomberg averred that the rest of the nation should emulate this kingdom of goodness.

            As for all the glorious global initiatives, I expect CA-type results.

    • I finished The Biology of Belief and have pivoted to Rick Hanson’s 2013 book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence where the opening blurbs are just full of the “useful tips” to rewire the neurobiology of the brain. This is one from the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology :”I have learned more about positive psychology from Rick Hanson than from any other scientist. Read this book, take in the good, and change your brain so that you can become the person you were destined to be.”

      Daniel Siegel whose books Positive School Climate and anti-bullying campaigns all cite to for heir practices wrote about the “brain-based steps that are both accessible and pleasurable.” Another blurb says “For anyone wanting to decode the black box of the brain and take advantage of its potential, this is the book to read.” Ronald Siegel, a psych prof at Harvard Med School touts; “Seamlessly weaving together insights from modern neuroscience, positive psychology, evolutionary biology, and years of clinical practice, Dr Hanson provides a wealth of practical tools anyone can use to feel less anxious, frustrated, and distressed in everyday life.” Another says it “carefully explaining the neurobiology and practice of happiness” which sounds much like what Search Inside Yourself is pushing with Bhutain as its first pilot to push countrywide in all its schools.

      It’s in the 20s here this morning so sipping tea and reading seems like the way to go. At least until we get above freezing.

  4. It occurred to me this AM in Tokyo that all of what we discuss represents an attempt to reverse-engineer various states. Instead of aiming for ‘goodness’ and virtuous acts from which ‘happiness’ might be a reward, the focus is on duping the brain into a state.

    I see the same thing in the damn coaching world, whereby we are always trying to reverse-engineer qualities such as ‘leadership’.

    Clearly, none of this works…and, we can hope our human engineers will just exhaust themselves in their efforts.

    • I think the equivalent term for reverse engineering in ed is ‘backwards mapping,’ which also fits with the plans from the 1968 Bellagio retreat that would lead to the Club of Rome. The social science people did not get their way initially so they retreated to wharton at U-Penn and set up social systems research, which I am sure has nothing to do with why positive psych and neuroscience is based there or why the Super Better research was at the med school there or why AISP-Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy is there now or why its President Amy Guttman heads the ethics component of the BRAIN Initiative which asserts it would be unethical not to reengineer the psyche to ensure ‘democracy’.

      • I would suggest that Ms. Guttman and her cohort are projecting onto others the need they feel to create and experience something called ‘democracy’, aka communism. And, they, like Rousseau would be quite happy to violate just about any code of ethics to achieve this.

        Might be useful to reverse engineer our analysis such that we consider what impels their need to remake others into human beings more acceptable to them; at gunpoint if necessary.

    • Thats what i have been hoping. Because it feels like they are not trying to hide anymore and their progeny may be victims unable or interested in playing in this cesspool. ( hoping) Which might be why the sexual blackmail is such an important element. Maybe some second thoughts about being such a villain occur, somebody wants out, no can do cuz epstein/brockman has the pictures. The Brockman factor. The cover of academia and science has to be there to sell the baloney.

      Aldous Huxley said in his Ultimate Revolution talk that there are a percentage of people who are easily hypnotized. He said there are a third that are in the middle and a third that are impossible to hypnotize. So they can count on the one group to fall for the baloney, they just always need to work to capture the middle third, the rest dont matter because they have the majority. ( and the hypnotized wont listen to them anyway) This makes hollywood and tv sooo important to push the globaloney, and schools to keep parents out. They need to reach this middle to get “change”, to the “world as it should be”.
      Keeping the victim classes hypnotized separated and isolated to operate the fronts so they dont “collaborate” and realize they are all being used. Here we see est operating to do so.

      Having grown up with a best friend whos mom was an est trainer and left her kids home alone for a month to go to india for the hunger project, i can tell you that it is shocking to see this guy rosenberg legitimized by Harvard etc. we ridiculed her moms goofy friends and their earth shoes. Her mom would yell at us “ Be here now!” We would double over laughing.

      • Bh Here Now and BE HAPPY AND POSITIVE dagnabbit!

        We ARE ALL STUNNING AND BRAVE AND HAPPY on our way to fulfilling the inevitable outcomes planned and organized for our shared and meaningful GLORIOUS NEXT TUESDAY!


      • Ollie, your post had ‘me’ “doubling over laughing”. You might want google for an old Mother Jones article called “Let Them Eat est”, which details how the Rosenberg family pioneered charity fraud, with “The Hunger Project”.

        People tend to dismiss ‘est’ as a relic of the 70s, but I clearly heard the ‘technology’ embedded in the Martin Seligman positive psych/HAPPINESS lecture Robin posted.

        Agree with you on the importance of sexual blackmail in keeping the scheme chugging along, and it is my thesis that some, many? of the LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training) providers extant, today, are involved in this activity. Here, too, the Rosenberg family may have been pioneers.

        Whether conducted in a public program, inside a university, or inside a corporation, LGAT couples Korean-style brainwashing techniques cloaked in Humanistic psych babble, and group dynamics to lower ego defenses, and get otherwise normal humans to share their most intimate personal secrets with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of strangers.

        As ‘participants’ make their way through higher levels of these programs, work their way through the chairs, so to speak, they can be induced to engage in other forms of behavior that they might not wish their families, or work colleagues to know about — see Tony Robbins and his “Date with Destiny” programs, and “platinum members” club of elite executives and/or academics who attend ‘secret’ off-site programs in remote locations. This is just another permutation of what Epstein was doing, and with his Harvard and MIT coterie.

        As for legitimization of Erhard, if you look at the universities he is now affiliated with, has recently given presentations at, the list kinda matches institutions mapped by Robin: Harvard, MIT, UPenn, Stanford, and I think this is no accident.

  5. “ The roster at Edge is a treasure trove of over 660 virtuosi, geniuses and masterminds including countless university department heads, authors, PhD’s and a host of Nobel Laureates including: physicist, Frank Wilczek, chemist, Kary Mullis, economist, Daniel Kahneman, theoretical Physicist, Gerard t’ Hooft, theoretical physicist, Waren Heisenberg, biochemist, Eric Kandel, chemist and physicist, Leon Lederman, neurologist and biochemist, Stanley Prusiner. Well-known writers include: Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Leonard Susskind, Freeman Dyson and Ian McEwan. ”

    They told us they were the smartest! We read it online! It must be true! I Believe! How flattering to be invited to a billionaires dinner at illustrious TED conference! It must mean i am the smartest too! What could go wrong?

  6. Ollie, this research project began for me as follows:

    I have been invited to participate in what was described as the Japan iteration of a research project being accomplished by a GENIUS at Harvard. My local partners/collaborators held an MBA, Harvard Business School, and Ph.D., Material Science, MIT, respectively.

    I discovered that Mr. Harvard had no research or writing skills, and Mr. MIT had skills but NO INTEGRITY. As for the GENIUS at Harvard,….big global brand name in Leadership Studies, it turned out he was/is a devotee of Werner Erhard, and had just recycled ‘est’ to produce his bestsellers, one of which is called,”True North”…if that gives you a hint.

    • HAH!

      And from the Bill George blog, above:

      “Leadership matters. Whilst there are many ways of grappling with leadership, I value the ontological lens and in particular, the ontological model of leadership that has been developed and is being taught by Werner Erhard et al. In this post I continue the conversation on being a leader (and leadership) that I started in the last post.”

      “Warning: authenticity is not an easy conversation”

      Note, the “et al” referenced is Warren Bennis, Michael Jensen, and a bunch of Landmark Education deadbeats.

      I used to consult to George’s firm, Medtronics and had wondered at the bizarre internal ‘lingo’, but no more.

      As for Erhard, I would say that “authenticity is not an easy conversation” when one has employed no less than six aliases (fake personae) to defraud the masses.

      As for me, I think the word, “leadership” is code talk.

      • Ok i am late responding and am excited to scroll down and catch up!!!
        My husband has taken some of bill george classes at harvard. He does not swallow the baloney per say but argues how he like BG.

        The “authentic” word phenomenon is just a gift that keeps on giving, right! Well for a cery few of us i guess, and its really sick not funny. Hey but if we weren’t laughing we’d be crying! YES so true about Werner Erhart! Hilarious. They dole out the lampshades and dunce caps and so many corporate desk jockeys parrot them endlessly. Its the baloney with spam spread over the earth right now So easy for the masses to have their feet stuck in the unctious shmear.

        • Authenticity is like “be here now”. They both are stalling agents. Self reflective stoppers. Its the sudden transing teen phenom. Teens/children are being fed some unattainable portal to something indescribable which only adds a baloon full of doubt ready to burst, for them to perpetually carry around.
          Same as est, the training is about nothing meant to make the participant reveal something to mock. Like scientology. Like harvard did to unibomber. Damaging the core of a human. The ultimate bullying.

          • Your reference to the Unibomber’s mind-f’ at/by Harvard is really apropos. Yes, these experiments, est, and the like really do rely on bullied ‘confessions’ to gain control of their victims. And, really, this stuff goes back to ESALEN, to Rogers/Maslow ‘sensitivity training’, which disregarded (completely) the legitimate need for psychological boundaries. The argument, when these ‘interventions’ backfire is that the facilitators were inept, but Rogers/Maslow and their minions had their own share of disastrous outcomes.

            And, we cannot forget the advents provided by Fritz Perls, and his “attack therapy”, which was employed by no less than my own brother-in-law during his participation in the INFAMOUS California Prison experiments. And, Perls’ work was channeled (literally) into NLP, a ‘technology’ Bandler modeled, in part, on the abusive conversations Perls had with his patients.

            It is quite a legacy, and it needs to be dismantled.

          • I recommend the book Harvard and the Unabomber, but this gives readers a flavor for what we are talking about.

            Will try to get something up today if weather cooperates. Tendency here for inches of rain to interfere with Internet service for some reason. The EMCsquared formula at the center of the GCC touted by India Today pulled me back into my notes and fits well with Enactive Cognitive Science. Since Google is a co-sponsor of Humanity 2.0 with the Vatican which has its seminal ed conference this year and developed Search Inside Yourself being used by educators throughout Bhutain and Bhutain is one of 3 countries (the others are South Africa and India) doing the initial pilot of the UNESCO MGIEP Global Citizenship Curriculum as well, it appears to me that SIYLI and the GCC, which clearly have the same aims are, in fact, the Humanity 2.0 curriculum with similar purposes on the brain to what we found with the Catholic University materials I linked to when I wrote the initial post last fall.

            Hard then not to see the search engine, which laid out its transformational eco vision in the UK with RSA several years ago, as also not being tied in effect to the GCC. It’s just different aims to keep that from being apparent from the comparable function and goals. on SIYLI contains this language which is straight out of the intercircle of GCC.

            Grow your emotional intelligence skills: Develop greater self-awareness, the capacity to choose how you respond to challenging situations and improve interpersonal skills that will allow you to better relate with others at work and at home.

            After the innermost circle–the core–of Empathy, Mindfulness, Compassion, and Critical Thinking (the C Squared), the next surrounding level is Emotional Intelligence and Academic Intelligence. After that this so-called “Whole Brain Approach to Education graphic has the 3Rs of Intellectual, Emotional & Attention Regulation. I found it in a Blue Dot cover story called “A New ‘Digital Ecosystem’ for Whole Brain Learning” which laid out a new ‘content’, ‘context’, and ‘tools’. Oh Joy. The better to get that desired shared understanding and Right Brain emotional dominance over that pesky Axemaker Mind.

        • Ollie, I hope you can de-program your husband. I believe that George is a glorified ‘est’ practitioner, and if you really drill down into his books/approach, there is a whole lot of ‘nothing’, and ‘woo’ to be found. Speaking of India (another target zone for these con-artists), the last contact address I could find for George was a third-tier city in India, and the employer listed was “Werner Erhard”, the gift that keeps on giving.

          Agree they are taking a piss on the masses with words like “authentic”, in that people who are, authentic, don’t find the need to talk about, or SELL this orientation.

          I will leave you with one of my favorite slogans from the ‘est’ lexicon, and this says it all.

          “Nothing succeeds like the appearance of authenticity.”


          • On Robin’s reference to:

            Grow your emotional intelligence skills: Develop greater self-awareness, the capacity to choose how you respond to challenging situations and improve interpersonal skills that will allow you to better relate with others at work and at home.

            It is well known in Industrial Psych, and other circles that the construct of Emotional Intelligence has never been validated. Ditto for Multiple Intelligences, and DOUBLE ditto for Bill George’s Global Intelligence, a construct that exists based on no research, whatsoever.

            Whatever one may think of Jordan B. Peterson, at least he has been blowing the whistle on Harvard’s ‘intelligence’s’ racket; as in EQ, GQ, and step-child CQ (Cultural Intelligence).

          • That video blew my mind! I mean what a new concept! Keeping your word! Wow, great science here! Harvard should be so proud. Integrity is new too! Wow, dumbness distortion and duh… all in this short video.
            People who buy this stuff deserve to have their money taken.

        • Even better than “authenticity” is Erhard’s fixation with “integrity*, and he/Jensen actually couple this adjective with the word, “financial”. So, you have a guy (Erhard), who hired controversial tax sheltering lawyer, Harry Margolis, to incorporate/operate ‘est’ as a cluster of shell companies (money laundering). And, you have Erhard who bilked millions out of witless people via The Hunger Project; and you have Erhard who lives in the Cayman Islands for all of the reasons people live in the Cayman Islands, lecturing humanity on the topic of, “Financial Integrity*. It does not get richer than that!

          • “Perls also lived for some months in a Zen monastery in Japan, and it is rumored that at one point he studied with the Russian mystic George Gurdjieff. Certainly there is a strong resemblance between his ‘awareness continuum’ and Gurdjieff’s ‘self-remembering.”


            “The author writes with verve and occasional excess, but he seems omniscient when it comes to tracking and tracing to their roots the origins of American exceptionalism in religious and spiritual matters. This exceptionalism refers to the unique blend of transcendentalism and individualism identified with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Richard Maurice Bucke (a special interest of mine). It also extends to the commercialization of everyday life and thought, what might be called the shopping-cart or supermarket version of ‘mystical materialism’ (a line of thought largely unexplored by the author).”


            I still remember Emerson’s “Oversoul” from 11th grade AP English pushing 60 years ago.

            I love the term “mystical materialism.” As always, I like tracing these things back. The occult is never very far down Alice’s rabbit hole, and Gnosticism hovers over it all like Chinese industrial smog.

    • Did you see this? Seems like the South Carolinians involved with hyping ‘federal’ control as an abomination would have a problem with SC using this global template of backwards mapping that tracks back to an ETS model from the 80s, except SC uses the phrase ‘characteristics’ instead of attributes.

      Learner profiles are up-to-date records that provide a deep understanding of each student’s progress toward meeting the knowledge, skills, and characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate as well as his or her unique strengths, needs, and goals. Meaningful evidence of learning from multiple sources is used to inform learner profiles including pre-and post-assessments and frequent formative assessments…Using data from learner profiles, learners and educators work together to create personalized learning pathways that will support students in achieving the knowledge, skills, and characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. Students enter the progression of learning based on their readiness level and pathways adapt to each student’s learning progress, motivation, and goals.

      The personalized learning framework for the State of South Carolina was developed using resources from the following organizations: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Competency Works, the Council of Chief State School Ocers, iNACOL, KnowledgeWorks, the National Center for Innovation in Education, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.

  7. Is anyone in this group versed in the history of Martin Seligman’s receipt of a USD60,000,000 contract for ‘resilience’ research? This was the project ‘won’ w/o benefit of an RFP process.

    Has anyone followed stories related to Seligman’s possible involvement in the design of extraordinary rendition techniques used at ‘black’ sites?

    Also, it occurred to me that there is a parallel between how Carl Roger’s research findings/recommendations were construed to encompass populations far afield of his original research subjects, VETS with PTSD, and what has been done with Seligman’s ‘resilience’ research.

    • I think you may be on to something, but am dealing with a family member unexpectedly in hospital starting last Tuesday so have been a bit preoccupied. I remember reading Seligman’s speech as President of APA on redirecting the nature pf psychology and found this 1999 profile

      Speaking to his fellow psychologists as their national leader — the 1998 President of the American Psychological Association (APA), the world’s largest professional mental-health organization, with more than 155,000 members — his message is clear and blunt: He wants American psychology (and psychologists) to change.
      This is not totally unexpected by his audience. Since 1995, when Seligman first started campaigning for the APA presidency, he has been actively advocating for the field of psychology to expand its myopic focus on treating mental illness to include promoting mental health.
      On this balmy October night, Seligman warns his audience that some parts of his speech will sound downright “uncongenial.” This too, is not totally unexpected. By the time Seligman finished earning his Ph.D. at Penn in 1967, he had already become internationally known as one of the brash and brilliant enfants terribles who so often move science forward. (As Dr. Henry Gleitman, another venerated Penn psychology professor and a long-time poker companion of Seligman’s, put it: “Marty reminds me of the young Orson Welles � sometimes purposely naive, sometimes enormously sophisticated, often appearing larger than life. Like Welles, Marty has occasionally been a sort of enfant terrible — and he can exude that look and aura of gravitas like Orson — but goodness, he’s nowhere near that fat!”)

      From here

      Also remember that when the Club of Rome went in the Jay Forester/Meadows Limits to Growth hype to sell this Upravleniye vision of the global future, Nicholas Christakis’ father bolted and another systems pioneer at Bellagio in 1968, Stafford Beer, goes to Wharton (U. Penn business school) to push these visions. Remember ISSS absorbs the Boulding founded General Systems Research Group back in the 80s and Alexander Laszlo who we tied most recently to Global Education Futures Forum 2030 and their Silicon Valley meeting, who is Ervin’s son, is also a past ISSS president.

      Penn then is basically where Positive Psych and Neuroscience getting at the individual mind as a system and the group as a system via Wharton and management science are in the same place, much like what we have tracked at Stanford or Harvard.Here is a quote that may help:

      So the man of affairs is not altogether to blame, if, when confronted with a scientist, his first question is: ‘What is your subject?’ It is not enough to reply: ‘I investigate the world.’ One has to be a chemist, or a physicist, or a biologist; one has to acknowledge a slant. All this adds up to a confusion in the public mind between science and technology. To get back firmly to science: its job is to investigate the world; then it may as well investigate the nature of management and control as of the structure of benzene, or the atomic nucleus.Indeed, science has been doing just this. It has been investigating the processes of management. The movement began early in the century and made slow progress until the First World War, when military exigencies caused it momentarily to flare into activity.Between the wars it was quiescent. But twenty years ago it began a vast surge forward. Out of the work done since 1940 has emerged a corpus of scientific knowledge about management and its problems that is called operational research, and about the nature of control that is called cybernetics. Today it is a sober fact to state that the pursuit of these two topics has wrought an intellectual revolution in the very basis of the conduct of affairs.

      Here’s the link

          • Michelle was, but not for long. IIRC so was Bill Ayers’ wife, Bernadette Dohrn– the member of the Weatherman and speaker of some truly atrocious quotes from those days. I believe Obama was with the politically connected Minow firm.

            This is from Beers book and gets at what Learning Standards, Competency Frameworks, and that Erhard/Jensen Conversation Theory all do. They seek to regulate the system from the inside-out.

            An organic system is extremely complex, probably too complex to make its definition in detail a practicable proposition. Moreover, if the arguments advanced about the third kind of indeterminacy are correct, then it is in principle impossible to define the organic system in full detail. When the whole picture is completely assimilated, it becomes evident that attempts to regulate this system fully by intervention from outside are by definition doomed to failure. Too little is known about the system, its environment, and the interactions between them (in both the dimensions of complexity and uncertainty) than is needed to make a volitional act of interference from outside certain to produce the required effect. In fact, the truth of this proposition may be proved by recourse to technically very difficult logical methods taken from the subject of metamathematics: a verbal explanation is available in Cybernetics and Management.To be more practical: many examples could be educed of the relative failure of control measures imposed on viable systems from outside. Shock therapy on the brain, sudden curtailment of credit facilities in the economy, generalized instructions of management about the control of capital expenditure, and so on, all offer massive interference with the natural workings of the system and are in principle not subtle enough to achieve their objects without damaging the delicate mechanisms that conduce to survival. They are all inadequate control procedures, because they seek to cope with the infinite variety of fluctuations in a complex system without detailed insight, without understanding the patterns of events, and without sufficient channel capacity. All of them sometimes work; but that outcome is not good enough.From the logical theorems of network theory, from the mathematical theorems of information theory, from the strategic analysis of the theory of games, and from other scientific sources, it can be shown over and over again that viable systems cannot be entirely regulated from outside. Therefore, if they are to be regulated at all, they must be regulated from within. This is the real force of the concept of self-regulation. A useful contrast may be drawn between the engine governor described in the last section and the prison governor whose duties are much the same…But whether cybernetics is looking at brains, constructing mathematical models of learning processes, installing a new decision procedure in a works, helping a company to be more adaptive, reorganizing the structure of a group of companies to be more responsive to change, or constructing ironmongery that will teach children the multiplication table, it is still the same interdisciplinary science of control.

          • Putting so much into context.

            The potential of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to tackle major global challenges – such as poverty, climate change, nature loss and inequality – is immense, yet this potential is far from being reached. To this end, the Forum’s Centre for Global Public Goods is scaling up efforts to proactively engage stakeholders to channel Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations towards positive social, economic and environmental outcomes through a series of initiatives.Frontier 2030 – a new Fourth Industrial Revolution for Global Goals Platform, which this report supports, aims at facilitating the application of advanced technologies to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (herein referred to as the Global Goals). It builds on calls from the United Nations (UN) High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation for a multistakeholder approach that brings together technology companies, government, civil society and international organization leaders to collaborate and unlock broader barriers to responsible deployment of new technologies to deliver positive societal impact.

        • You can imagine what I think of the fiction that adopting Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) and using Learning Progressions to lay out desired concepts and adding a Civics requirement amounts to a rejection of the Common Core.

          Floridians, including Governor DeSantis and his staff, really should read Credentialed to Destroy to appreciate they are simply putting all the actual elements in a single place. Oh, with the exception of adding back cursive. One of my kids went to a Montessori school and she seemed to be the only kid in her high school who wrote cursive beyond being able to sign their name. My kids tell me no one in their generation writes longhand at all so this is somewhat of a moot point.

          Remember Florida has always been cutting edge and with Texas, was among the first to push Norman’s Webb’s Depth of Understanding. BEST simply brings that front and center.

          • Not really a moot point because cursive reinforces decoding and fluency and neutralizes tendencies toward dyslexia. If anybody is interested, I’ll elaborate. Not to mention that longhand note-taking has been shown to enhance retention over note-taking on a keyboard, and that taking notes by printing is like competing in a cycling competition on a trike. And it is a bad mistake to teach printing and then move to cursive, ruins a proper pencil grip and creates bad habits in that regard that are very hard to break. Finally, the curved lines of cursive are much more natural and easier for young hands to form than ball and stick.

            Sorry to be a bore, this is my wheelhouse.

          • It’s not that Deborah and I wouldn’t disagree, but making the supposed ‘teaching of cursive’ which amounts more to recognizing it instead of using it a major selling point of why BEST is not the Common Core is specious. BEST is tied to CEDS and ISCED. Of course, it’s still the common core in the sense Goodlad laid out in the 80s as I covered in CtD.

            Hi, by the way, and notice in BEST that all the references involving phonics are ‘encode,’ not decode. Hopefully my personal life excitement will now go into hibernation and I can get back to writing. I did get the award for nerdiest reading material in the Cardiac Outpatient Waiting area last week as I was reading an MIT textbook explaining how perception and Imagery within the brain use common neural mechanisms. Just imagine how this gets manipulated by CEDS and ISCED. Plus, does anyone not believe that the ‘Excellent’ in BEST is not Csik’s use of the word?

          • Please elaborate, Deborah!

            Living in Japan, I had no idea what was going on with the ‘cursive’ thing. I nearly fell out of my chair a few months ago when a senior IT manager, CISCO, American asked me, “Can you teach me how to do that?” He was referring to my taking of meeting notes in ‘cursive’. He thought this was an amazing skill and that the product was ‘beautiful’…said, he wanted to teach his kids how to do this.

            Yes, I can imagine that ‘cursive’ writing mitigates against dyslexia, which is rampant in TECH and other circles, here.

            On another interesting note, law firms I work with are almost universally resistant to abandoning legal pads and manual note-taking, as is required in new data-sharing protocols. The attorneys, western and Japanese just seem to know that they will lose retention in doing this.

          • I literally showed up last week when I got the phone call a relative was in ER with a legal pad. When the hospitalization was over, I had records of what every medical professional had said and then took it again yesterday for a follow-up.

            When I was in law school, one of the reasons I did so well was my habit of reviewing my notes from class after class and then writing in margin what I remembered verbally from the class that was relevant but not yet in notes are where I now saw prof building to. Of course, this was in the Stone Age when coursework was still didactic. I did the same in hospital when I made sure what I had heard made it to notes by rereading them after every conversation.

          • Thinking about it, similar innovations have occurred in Asian cultures. These began with the simplification of ideographic languages (not entirely a bad thing), but, went steroidal with the advent of the PC. I know that many young Japanese cannot write their language in the equivalent of ‘cursive’, cannot write much of anything without digital assistance. Also, many have to undergo remedial language training when they enter the workplace because their spoken language is so crude. Kill the language, and you have killed the culture.

          • Well, be of good cheer, Robin, and all, because international law firms in Tokyo just cannot seem to break their legal teams of the habit of the ruled legal pad, and lord knows they are stacked up in piles where they shouldn’t be.

  8. Here is a New York Review of Books piece on the Seligman matter.

    Without drawing untoward conclusions, it seems plausible that a major player in the sculpting of our positive, flourishing, authentically happy, fully democratized new world has involved himself in some pretty heinous activities.

    I must observe, too, that my own research into cultic bodies and coercive technologies continuously indicates that the scholars and seeming champions of anti-cult movements have backgrounds a lot like M.S.

    All for now,…

  9. My friend Julianne sent me a link here. I blog at, am in Philadelphia, and generally familiar with what is going on with Seligman and very much so with Wharton’s plan to link technology-based behavior change to global investment markets. Duckworth used to use my child’s school as a test lab.

    Was just wondering if you all are familiar with the Heckman Equation, James Heckman from the University of Chicago, who with the backing of JB Pritzker and Open Society guaranteed a 7-10% rate of return on behavior change in children (and though this was not said outright, through digital technologies). See Hatch Education’s “WePlaySmart” surveillance play tables with fisheye cameras to document and track appropriate group social behaviors. These are in use in Educare settings in Tulsa already. This financial piece is reinforced by a Columbia Teacher’s College cost-benefit analysis for SEL curriculum touting an 11% annual ROI. This is the link to that:

    We disrupted a Strive Together affiliated event this week and the event host admitted she knew about digital identity systems and this devious techno-surveillance furniture.

    This is my write up on the Heckman equation:

    As I’m thinking about all of this, Heckman’s comment here about using pornography as a gamification reward to pressure Headstart parents to use the PBS Kids apps for his research purposes makes a lot more sense.

    Trauma is a huge part of this, because they are predicting people’s future burdens on society as the cost-offsets for the social impact investment profit-taking. Because childhood trauma can be linked to so many bad outcomes, if they can come up with a brain engineering “fix” they will take profit across many sectors: chronic illness, mental health, unemployment, addiction, etc. This post was picked up in Scotland where they introduced the “named person” child minder scheme that was eventually revoked, but they are still pushing ACEs scoring and resilience in a major way:

    I think it is crucial to understand that the cybernetics and brain engineering is essentially being integrated into global hedge funds markets where the most powerful people will be gambling on the results of manipulating this “middle third” of people for their financial benefit. As Kevin Werbach, the gamification and blockchain professor at Wharton says, most people aren’t even aware there is a game going on, so you want to be sure you are one of the ones making the rules.

    • I am familiar with Heckman and he is involved with the Templeton funded Science of Virtues at U-Chicago that Duckworth is also tied to and the NIH also finds. If learning is change at a neural level and the Success metrics to get paid are tied to learning in this sense, this is virtually guaranteed rates of return unavailable in the private sector. It’s why I have referred to it as monetizing the Human Development Society.

      This also ties to what has been called Prospective Psychology at U-Penn, which does sound much like Prospection, doesn’t it? I covered that and the Science of Virtues initiative here back in March 2016.

      Now marry the fact that the template uses Enactive Cognitive Science to literally create physiological change which constitutes success under payout formulas and this is the most lucrative payouts since Ponzi and then Madoff closed up shop. At least they were not extracting taxpayer money.

  10. The virtues of cursive, con’t:

    The connections between letters and the space between words help the young eye to distinguish proper breaks; this distinction is almost lost with printing. The continuous, smooth left-to-right flow of longhand reinforces left-to-right reading orientation and militates against eyes jumping around on the page or reversals; the differences between cursive b and d; q, g and p further help to neutralize any tendencies toward reversals the young student may have.

    Printing came in with look-say, a fact of which many are unaware. As I mentioned before, printing encourages the beginning writer to seize the pencil with a “death grip” that fatigues the hand, slows down the writing process, and is hard to correct once in place. Cursive correctly produced should be almost effortless. I am presently reading the thousands of letters written by the 19th century genius, Cardinal Newman, recently canonized. All these he wrote in longhand, not to mention the sermons, articles, essays and books that he wrote the same way.

    Robin: Yes, indeed, “encoding” is now a Thing. And as everything with a valid core in education, is put to nefarious purposes.

    Leslie: To kill the language is to kill the culture. Compare the correspondence of Newman with his friends and associates with the incoherent spewings of the typical college student. The culture is being brutalized in the various senses of the word.

    • I was imagining that PRINTING was related to look-say. My first thought is that this approach eliminates the deep logic and music in a given language. Hard to see any advantage that accrues to that, but then I am a ‘normal’.

      Robin, on the weasel word acronyms and there are SO many, have you thought to compile an index containing the purported and real meaning of these terms. It would be a service to humanity!

    • Deborah, this is not my wheelhouse, but let me wonder ‘aloud; if technologies, ‘printing’, ‘look-say’, that shall we say, deconstruct language also interfere with linear thinking and the ability to plan and execute.

      I am just feeling my way on this based on what I observe in my five-senses reality, as in of the student interns I have hosted, the only one who has been able to plan and execute a project from beginning to end is a Catholic school- educated KIWI who writes her project notes in ‘cursive’ and then transfers these to SLACK. She tells me she uses her written in long-hand notes to organize her thoughts.

      Yesterday, a coaching client (Indian, ESL) showed me written instructions he had received from his Harvard Business School-educated boss. Both of us spent more than a few minutes trying to decipher this WORD SALAD.

      Implications of WORD SALAD thinking and writing to business execution are staggering.

      • Somewhere in my kids school past i encountered another parent who worked for the city. He told me that the city
        ( our tax $) pays for interpreters for city workers because they can not understand the instruction booklets that come with the products and materials they work with.

  11. Yes, yes and yes to all of your hunches, Leslie. I don’t know how long you have been following Robin’s writing, but much of it bears directly or indirectly on the destruction of the Axemaker Mind. I agree that the implications of this mental deconstruction are staggering, and you are seeing some of the results in your own work. It is no accident that the moguls of Silicon Valley put their children in low-tech schools and strictly limit screen time at home; mental stupefaction (games and circuses) is for the proles, not for the patricians. Digital dementia is a phenomenon that has been observed; I think the first studies came out of South Korea. There are many elements involved here. One is replacing the written word with images, a trend that has the “virtues” of playing to the emotions rather than the reasoning ability of the student and for which video gaming (speaking of games) is the ideal vehicle and a major component of the entire Common Core thrust, not to mention the lucrative component shopped by Bill Gates to tech executives. As the ability to read challenging text with sustained attention diminishes, students are reduced to speaking in soundbite cliches picked up from the ignorant “press” and reinforced by ideologues disguised as teachers. The lack of basic knowledge is unbelievable. Periodically, reporters will hit a college campus and ask random students some elementary questions about history or civics; they make for entertaining videos. The vacuum is not limited to third-tier colleges; I remember a Stanford Daily survey of undergraduates in the early ’90s reporting the appalling lack of basic background (“When did WWII occur? Who was Stalin?” That level of question.)

    And of course all of this is deliberate.

    • Following up this is the original post from 2012 when I was building up to the Axemaker MInd metaphor from Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein (a neuroscientist) book New World New MInd. It was followed up by this all time biggest ISC post

      Yesterday this was one of the visions pushed in a weekly newsletter and it admits that the digital learning paradigms, the Open Educational Resources movement, and the LTI/LMS integration in the education technology sector are all stalking horses and elements of the broader global transformational vision. Covered here with a January 21 original date and a rephrasing of Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society, it also alerts us to what came out last summer about the time I was dealing with my dad and the memorycare move.

      Apparently Melinda Gates (Bills wife) and Jack Ma of Alibaba chaired a UN panel on Digital Cooperation that produced this report that is also all about Equity and Agency. It is called “The Age of Digital Interdependence”. I wanted to read both, and I now have, before the Enactive Cognitive Science post since that is what the Gates Foundation was really paying for with all those learning tasks laid out in CtD.

      I am adding this as I didn’t realize Jack Ma was China’s richest man. Why is Qatar so interested?

      • I will come back with something more thoughtful after I have read Robin’s links, but here is a ‘story’. A few years ago I jumped on a project related to the promotion of an OD solution that was designed to prevent Boeing-type debacles in the automobile and other complex, assembly line-based manufacturing industries. This came as the result of research headed by a German industrial engineer, and ex-fighter pilot, a smart and assiduous guy who seemed to have an Axmaker Mind. Where this all broke down was in the communication of the practice, the development of training manuals, promotional materials. I saw this, initially, as simply an English language issue, meaning that we would clean-up and re-write this material such that it was logical, coherent, could be understood and then translated. There seemed to be little or no concern that the language component be ‘clear’. There seemed to be ample concern about the tools and practices to be employed on the assembling line, but, close to ZERO concern about linguistic tools and practices used to ‘communicate’ these innovations. The language element was seen as negotiable.

        I sat through several presentations of this solution to Japanese firms and saw the faces grimace at the WORD SALAD…and, well, I just could not understand how so much energy had gone into this research, VALUABLE, and so little energy, thought, care to the communication of its value. Note, I was accused of being a ‘boomer’ who was obsessed with grammar.

        The language thing is like the Chinese ‘whisper’…get it wrong in the first iteration and it goes completely pear-shaped as it moves across cultures.

    • My belief is that her previous book was savaged because she was getting so close to the MH template, without recognizing that it was where Communism was to go in the West. She doesn’t have my books on the subject or how it fits to cybernetics, but she does excellent work.

      Have a sick child to go along with everything else, but have next post titled and laid out when I am not trying to sanitize everything so the hospital releasee doesn’t get sick from the refugee from this weekend’s events in Miami. Doesn’t anyone respect my writing schedule?

      • I would buy this book for the title, alone. I used to rue the fact that there were no “adults/grownup’s in the room” in my field. Now, I contemplate life as one of the last grownups in any room.

  12. Notes from my practice:

    When information and complexity are an issue.

    I am mentoring a student who is researching urban planning trends in Tokyo. This is a large topic, as you might imagine.

    This is not my wheelhouse, but I do have former clients, and colleagues with fingers in this world. So, today we met a retired consultant who was responsible for coordinating the development of what is now the core of the financial district, and who also participated in the planning of 2020 Olympics sites. What’s not to like?

    This individual had acquires maps of the city, and an industrial engineering magazine focusing on Olympic venues (many of which will be re-purposed as housing, recreational and conference sites, post-event.

    He began with a concise review of the city’s 1200 year history and positioned recent planning agendas in this context. The uniquely Japanese ‘developer’ consortiums were described and how these facilitated unified planning and execution of whole districts. Specific projects were highlighted. The future was forecast.

    I was absolutely delighted by the insight provided and thought they were pretty much publishable ‘as is’.

    But, all of this caused my intern great consternation because it was about data-driven reality and not an imaginary world, and it was complex and did not fit mental models.

    So, I really despair as I feel I am living on a planet with beings I cannot understand, and who apprehend a world much different than the one my five senses inform me I am occupying.

    Don’t know ‘why’ I relate this other than to wonder if the students of today are capable of creating worlds similar to the ones they are researching.

    • What a great illustration of where constructivism really leads. It was never about how to best teach reading or math. It is about which mental model will govern future behavior–what reality is or what reality might be transformed into being? Sounds like the intern has Prospection getting in his way in daily life, but make him very amenable to the need for ‘fundamental transformation’ in ‘the age of digital interdependence’.

      Bet your consultant has an Axemaker Mind.

      • Look at what I have found on point from today.

        The education system across the world desperately needs to shift towards a curriculum that can build not just ardent workers or citizens who can keep the system running, but rather citizens who are “global” in the truest sense. We need future citizens who will not only look after themselves but also be actively concerned for the welfare of others and the planet as a whole. And for this, we need a Global Citizenship Curriculum.

        UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a Category One Research Institute of UNESCO in New Delhi, has already created a Global Citizenship Curriculum which can transform the way we teach.

        The Global Citizenship Curriculum has been designed to incorporate MGIEP’s socio-emotional learning framework titled EMCC or EMC2 and aims to build empathy, mindfulness, compassion and critical inquiry in students.

      • Yes, he does. As do I. I had set up this meeting because I imagined with my Axemaker Mind what a person researching what she is researching might want to learn. And, I walked out of this meeting feeling like a crazy person. I have walked out of other interviews related to any number of topics feeling the same. “So, you are here to research Japanese management practices, well, let’s go talk to some Japanese managers.” This is how quaint me, thinks. But there are no questions asked that reflect a desire to understand Japanese management culture. Alternatively, a construct has been formed based on ‘academic’ work, which gets tested in real-world conversations and then we have to cognitive dissonance response that can only be resolved by dismissal of what actual practitioners of Japanese management say. This is resolved by disingenuously including only the responses that align with the consensus of the more highly valued group — *my teachers*. Door #3, meaning my teachers are not current, or are full of shit is never opened.

        BTW, the urban planning research project began with the lofty purpose of ferreting out ‘innovations’ that might be useful to the folks back home and then devolved into a search for ‘trends’ that could be packaged in an attractive format, along the lines of TOP TEN lipstick shades for 2020.

        Of course, the whole conversation and endeavor is moot because much of TKO will be underwater (climate change) in the next ’12’ years. So, let’s go have a Starbucks.

  13. Gotta dump another ‘story’ along the same lines. So, I was ‘collaborating’ with a True Crime writer on the West Coast of America to surface some of the True Crimes in play in the field of Human Development. This person had previously tacked topics related to cults and cultic thinking. Made sense to ME!

    But, I then noticed a piece she had published on the Smiley Face Killer phenomenon. Now, I was kinda agnostic/un-informed with regard to this thing and initially bought her thesis that grieving loved ones do experience a need to rationalize deaths by misadventure. But, when I looked into the forensic reports for FIVE minutes I discovered that ‘misadventure’ had included a misadventurer blow-torching the upper half of his body, while other misadventurers had wandered across several county lines to drunk drown themselves in a body of water, or had shown up as pristine, smiley face T-shirt wearing corpses when they had been reported as missing 30 days before. I could see developing any number of hypotheses regarding these deaths, but not the one she chose. So, it seems that when unpleasant facts present themselves, a grab-bag of pseudoscience psych theories is available to ‘splain away five senses reality.

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