Tapping the Assumed to Be Real and the Logic of What Might Be to Control Purpose Here and Now

Once again, let’s go back in time to the 50s, to another episode detailed in Dark Hero of the Information Age, because it illustrates the very organic processes of the human brain that learning standards and competency frameworks want to manipulate covertly. It’s my job as a writer to make that documentable manipulation explicit. In the early stages of computers:

another breakthrough in brain science defied the digital computer models that were becoming the rage in cognitive science. artificial intelligence, and many other fields. The discovery, based on a whole new approach to neuroscience theory and laboratory research, confirmed that the human brain did not process information in the mode and manner of a digital machine… [From the neurophysiology lab at MIT, Jerry] Lettvin and his crew made their finding that turned a half century of neuroscience on its head. Their study of vision in frogs revealed that the brain’s most basic information-processing operations were carried out by analog means to an extent never before considered possible. They discovered that the neurons in the lowly frog’s eye were capable of sophisticated activities of image detection and analysis, and routinely performed complex tasks, such as determining the size, shape, and motion of objects in the frog’s field of view, through analog processes innate in the structure and communication operations of each individual neural cell…Published in November 1959 with the tantalizing title “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain,” [it] forced a sudden rethinking of everything that was known and assumed about sensory perception and the brain’s cognitive operations…It strengthened the biological foundations of cybernetics and unveiled a new order of living processes in the brain.

It is those living processes that are being manipulated by Constructivism, Whole Language, DJEM ,or by Exemplary History Education Programs seeking to control the categories of thought that guide consciousness. That control of consciousness can, in turn, guide purpose and the behavior it motivates. To quote briefly from a 1943 paper called “Behavior, Purpose and Teleology” Wiener co-authored: “The term purposeful is meant to denote that the act or behavior must be interpreted as directed to the attainment of a goal.” The goal (or standard or objective) provides “a continuous feedback that modifies and guides the behaving object.” The student in K-12 becomes that behaving object able to compare the difference between where they are “at any time and the final state interpreted as the purpose.” Now, to bridge that gap, cybernetic education hypes “sensemaking as a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively…Sense-Making reconceptualizes factizing (the making of facts which tap the assumed-to-be-real) …as an action oriented process that people automatically go through in order to integrate experiences into their understanding of the world.”

So students are encouraged to use the “logic of what might be” and act using inference or ‘best guess’ leaps. See what happens, collect that evidence, and adjust accordingly as needed to move closer to the laid out goals. Now, back in 1978, with a 2nd Edition in 1995, the co-authors of Dark Hero published a book called Snapping that explained the process of communication [a 21st century skill, remember?] in a way that is useful for recognizing what is being manipulated by K-12 learning standards all over the globe. It gets at why it is so crucial for learning standards to include social and emotional learning as well as controlling the categories of thought and concepts that are the representational level that exists in the space between the neurons of living biological systems and the prevailing collective culture.

The process of communication reaches far beyond the mere exchange of spoken and written messages among individuals. This complex and sophisticated process controls both our bodies and our minds. Communication, in fact, governs everything we experience as human beings. It is the basic organic process that regulates the everyday operations of the human brain and nervous system, and it is the main channel through which the new cult methods of change and control turn inward and take root in the mind. The principles of communication that underlie…rhetoric,…propaganda and …group dynamics are one with the natural laws that direct and control the flow of experience throughout the body, brain and mind. By this common process, acts of speech, from sermons to hypnosis to casual conversations and every other form of communication [which is what any curricula is], may affect biological functions at their most rudimentary levels and human awareness in its highest states of consciousness and spirituality.

Controlling sense-making then is a powerful tool indeed. It seeks to target the means by which “human beings exchange thought, feeling and experience with one another.” Suddenly, we find education methods being prescribed on the basis of “a new view of human beings based on dynamic, organic processes of human awareness and experience.” We saw that in the Reimagining American History Education exemplars and goals from the last post and I saw it in a May 2019 letter from Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, laying out Ohio’s vision for 2019-2024. It has Four Domains of Learning and wants to prescribe what must be experienced. It demands “clear standards that define social-emotional learning” because:

Human beings are social creatures. That means in society, successfully interacting with other people is essential to the effective functioning of a community, workplace, or even a family. People need to know how to successfully interact with each other, establish and maintain positive relationships, feel and show empathy, understand and manage their emotions and set and achieve positive goals. Social-emotional learning improves children’s mental health and helps them avoid risky decisions, make healthy choices and stay drug free.

Nice sales pitch, but “Each Child Our Future” is really about controlling those organic processes of inner communication, isn’t it? When Snapping reminds us that:

Experience, in our perspective, was not just another name for information. It was the living embodiment of the stuff in human terms, the active form in which people come to know and feel the flood of information they take in and process daily…[so that] each piece adds some small measure to the greater whole of the mind, and each becomes an ongoing part of that individual’s awareness and personality…the human brain physically metabolizes experience through its natural capacity for transformation…Like the other organs of the body, the heart which runs on blood, the lungs which run on air, the human brain–the seat of the mind and main stage of awareness–runs on experience.

See why it became so crucial to reform education so it became about goals and prescribing desired student learning experiences? Like blood to the heart, except that:

this life-giving information does not merely fuel the brain as gasoline fuels a precast auto engine. In human terms, experience plays a much more vital role in fundamental processes of brain growth and development…the intricate synaptic connections between and among those neurons, the living information processing pathways that determine how an individual’s experience will, in fact, become ordered and interpreted, are only minimally organized at birth. The fundamental workings of the mind–the labyrinthine networks of synaptic connections that create the brain’s higher communication capacities–are determined by experience…Experience literally creates the everyday workings of the mind, transforming the raw material of billions of loosely connected brain cells into a living triumph of communication. Experience also shapes the distinctive patterns of thought, feeling and self-expression that underlie that larger human form–personality.

Now look at the Four Domains of Learning set forth here http://education.ohio.gov/About/EachChildOurFuture or in other comparable state or district plans and see a means of prescribing that living triumph of communication in ways that lock in governance of each person at a biological level at the point of their minds and personalities.

Something to reflect on as our summers begin.

17 thoughts on “Tapping the Assumed to Be Real and the Logic of What Might Be to Control Purpose Here and Now

  1. This reminds me of “Harrison Bergeron” and every sci-fi movie I’ve seen advertised for the last three months. “They” always tell us through an art form ahead of time where we’re headed. Makes me tired to think about it.

    • Speaking of art form, Tuesday the National Academy of Sciences that is so enamored of Vygotskyian transformative psych, released the rest of the social vision in a report called “The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity For All Youth” from the NAS Committee for the Neurobiological and Socio-Behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and its Applications. Suddenly, Equity becomes the excuse to transform everything and cite Urie Bronfenbreener and his theory of nesting systems!

      Anyway, it had some startling graphic artwork on its cover that is described like this:

      Young Leaders Visualize Health Equity issued a call for art that encouraged young people between the ages of 5 and 26 to use art to explore how the social determinants of health play a role in shaping their lives and their communities, and what it might look and feel like to one day live in a world where everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe, and happy.

      That would require a regulated society from Urie’s micro, neural, level up and that is precisely what is intended. I read Snapping accidentally because of a question someone had asked me and then recognized that learning standards also target those same neural pathways engaged in the dialectic of communication that Conway and Siegelman were writing about. Another way to think about a Whole Child activity emphasis with those targeted 4 Domains is to rewire the neural pathways having to do with Thought, Feeling, Planning, and Action. It also puts Pavel Luksha’s Neuroweb in its correct purpose. It’s why Tom VanderArk returned from the GEFF 2030 conference in Russia talking about the entirely new ways of thinking students in the future will use.

      I noticed Conway and Sielegman speak now at many IEEE-sponsored Norbert Weiner commemorations. Remember IEEE is involved with Learner Analytics standards involving Dispositions and Data-Driven Governance? IEEE is also involved now, just like IPEN and the Jubilee Centre and that Dubai Conference that featured Csik and Martin Seligman but the report turned out to have an address by Riverside Church just off Columbia,s campus, in pushing the concept of “eudaimonia,” as its goal as part of its Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems that includes people. https://ethicsinaction.ieee.org/

      Ultimately, our goal should be ‘eudaimonia’, a practice elucidated by Aristotle that defines human well-being both at the individual and collective level, as the highest virtue for a society. Translated roughly as ‘flourishing’, the benefits of eudaimonia begin with conscious contemplation, where ethical considerations help us define how we wish to live.

      Would you like to guess how often that NAS used that same word ‘flourishing’? It also features in Ohio’s Each Child. Our Future vision. No choice. Transformation being forced on us at a neural level and globally as everyone keeps insisting on.

      With this heat I am doing my walks pretty close to the crack of dawn while everyone else is still dozing. I have come too far to let a heat wave interfere. Hope everyone has a good holiday, but there is too much in play not to keep talking about these aims.

    • Thanks. I am around, but we went into crisis mode about ten days ago with my parents. Not conducive to writing, but have had plenty of time to continue researching as I sit in waiting rooms.

      Hope your summer is going better than mine.

        • Remember the Julian Huxley/ Brameld discussion in Credentialed to Destroy? Timelier than ever.

          Take a look at this abstract. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3392218 from this past week.

          one of the most important mechanisms of modernization of the educational system -the possibility of organizing the process of cognition, supporting the activity approach to the educational process in all its links in the aggregate (needs – motives – goals – conditions – means – actions – operations); – individualization of the educational process while maintaining its integrity due to the programmability and dynamic adaptability of automated training programs; – a radical change in the organization of the process of cognition by shifting it toward system thinking; – the possibility of building an open education system that provides each individual with their own learning and self-learning trajectory; – creation of an effective management system for information and methodological support of education. In our opinion it is necessary to develop new concepts that ensure changes at the paradigm level.

          Of course, I have also been working the Classical Ed supposed alternative and been told there is a desire of transformative reconstruction in education so that it gets at the internalized level that controls the “agent, acts, the other, and the world”. No wonder we have so many think tanks behind a false narrative in education. Parents and taxpayers really were supposed to remain clueless as to the true nature of the shift and there failure to really secure a port in the storm as they explore alternatives.

        • Still tied up with the logistics of moving my dad into a memory care facility, but wanted to make sure anyone interested saw the release of a report calling for a “National System to Measure Equity in Education, Identify Disparities in Outcomes and Opportunity” . http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=25389

          So much about the rhetoric on returning to local control, which we here at isc already knew was a smokescreen. That link also gets to the actual report released last week, but announced yesterday.

          I will add this as it makes clear that ‘desired behaviors’ are being instilled using a neurobiological approach. https://www.educationdive.com/news/lessons-in-leadership-how-an-alternative-school-improved-behavioral-outcom/556977/

          Remember what I warned about Parkland’s PROMISE Program and how it functioned as Tranzi OBE? Bingo.

          • Do you recognize a name in that group of contributors? I do.

            This document and related materials were collaboratively developed and written by the first Hack University Facilitator’s class
            Contributors: Dylan Evanston, Tenzing Gyatso, Chris Lu, Sara Rasmussen, Dan Siegel, Amy Staples, Shara English
            Instructor: Ním Wunnan

          • Dan Siegel’s books show up in a lot of Positive School Climate references and we also see the New Age Garrison Institute pushing him as well as the Berkeley Center for the Greater Good iirc. https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/blog/the-wheel-of-awareness/ is a link from last year to Garrison. Remember too Garrison does a lot of educator training.

            https://m.drdansiegel.com/resources/wheel_of_awareness_thanks/ shows, just as with Robert Kegan who is tied to the OECD’s Key Competences as well as Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory work, we have an emphasis on internal consciousness that can be used to remake that consciousness.

            It also fits with https://education-reimagined.org/where-the-experiential-learning-movement-meets-learner-centered-education/ from last week which makes it crystal clear that the purpose of the ‘learning experiences’ dictated by K-12 now are to create desired internalized skills and dispositions. The question becoames “is what the learner will be doing and thinking about in the activity a match for the intended learning outcomes?”

            See what I mean about programming the mind as if it was a software program to be coded, except because the aim is neural reconstruction the real aim is to create the desired hardware and software. No wonder there is so much deceit surrounding the common core and competency-based education.

          • Also take a look at this from this past week from Down Under. https://theconversation.com/whats-the-point-of-education-its-no-longer-just-about-getting-a-job-117897

            What’s the point of education today? In his essay on education through the ages, education philosopher Luke Zaphir writes that climate change and other crises are confronting us to fundamentally alter the way we live.

            Today, he writes, education has a dynamic purpose: to develop the “”personhood of children, as well as their capability to engage as citizens”“

          • More confirmation that it is the law that is the great enabler of the MH vision in education. https://www.excelined.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ExcelinEd.Innovation.NextGenerationLearning.NationalLandscape.Report.pdf

            Plus the founder’s experience https://www.flpadvisors.com/amy-starzynski.html ties all this to Georgia and some of the meetings I was in that led to the insights that resulted in my book Credentialed to Destroy. Remember too that Isakson was the so-sponsor of WIOA, that dovetails with ESSA and requires systems thinking be taught to all students.

            Also, at last, some honesty–

            This is not to say that standards do not matter. Standards matter greatly because they are the tools that all of us use to complete meaningful work. In the affordable housing project, students were working on skills from both the Common Core State Standards and CTE Model Standards, but these skills were given meaning because they were being used in an authentic context.

            We should think of standards as a means toward an end rather than as an end in themselves. While standards are important, OUSD’s graduate profile helps us all remember that the true goal of education is not proficiency on Common Core State Standards. The true goal is instead a more holistic vision of students as resilient learners, collaborative teammates, community leaders, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers.


          • And more confirmation that it’s all about “neural circuits” and controlling how the brain can be made to think with the right prescribed learning standards. https://fabbs.org/2019/06/27/qa-with-jim-gnadt/

            This was also in one of today’s newsletters and involves an ed prof at Columbia Teachers’ College.

            We’ve begun an answer to the question: how do we structure our thoughts and our world? Many ways, not just one, and they mirror each other. We put our minds in the world. The mind in the world creates common ground for our collective thoughts. It informs us, tells us what it is, it directs our thoughts and it directs our actions. Think how different our world looks, where nearly everything is designed, from the world of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Think of what that organization, an organization by abstractions, does to our minds and to our bodies, even tiny minds and bodies.

            https://www.edge.org/conversation/barbara_tversky-the-geometry-of-thought is the link and this matters because she is the widow of Amos Tversky, whose work on Thinking with Daniel Kahnemann is now being incorporated into learning standards via Kahnemann’s often-cited book Thinking Fast and Slow. You may remember I read Kahnemann’s work and immediately recognized it was the same vision of categories embodied in the ESSA mandate to annually assess Higher Order Thinking Skills for virtually all students.

            Have the learning standards prescribe the desired categories of thought and you control action just as Barbara Tversky lays out. Same principle as we find in the Next Generation Science Standards with its DCIs–Disciplinary Core Ideas and CCCs–Cross-Cutting Concepts and Themes.

          • Have you seen this Blueprint? https://www.changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/Blueprint-For-Changemakers_FINAL_201904.pdf

            Ed is merely a component but t truly shows where the HIAP agenda leads. Should be writing again soon. Things appear to be calming on the homefront. (She knocks on wood).

            Am adding this from today’s reading as it is the ed policy initiative set up by google’s eric schmidt and has the agenda being pitched in terms of a Right to ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’. https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/securing-all-right-life-liberty-and-pursuit-happiness/

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