Weak Humans+Computers+Expert Modelling of Captured Data, Is this Your Approved Vision of the 21st?

Sometimes it turns out that what feels like a coordinated effort to mount a political transformation without permission–an invisible coup for the most part–feels that way for a reason. We have already encountered Goodwin Liu writing in the Yale Law Journal back in 2006 that the illusion of a state-led common curriculum reform was essential to transition the US to a radically revised concept of citizenship. But at least he did not write about jettisoning the US Constitution and the current US governance structures altogether as “increasingly out of sync with today’s reality” and “products of a Newtonian view of the universe.”

Somehow “quantum physics” (italicized in the original for some reason. I suppose to be ominous in the implications)–”and the new technologies of the electronic information and communications revolution” (see why we stopped for a short political theory brief on why the prevailing mode of production mattered to Uncle Karl and his power-lustful descendents?)–are now held to be (published April 2013) “out of sync with many social institutions and practices, specifically with government systems, which are still very much locked into technologies of 200 years ago.” So says a “reknowned futurist” and the boss of Gaming as Education Advocate Jane McGonigal from the previous post. I suppose we can think of this as a tag team effort. One says Reality is Broken and the other lays out the complete vision for the future with insights from her childhood in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union.

Marina Gorbis says she emigrated to the US at 18 after her mother died and first voted in the 1984 Presidential election. Perhaps that accounts for her willingness in The Nature of the Future: Dispatches From the Socialstructed World to cavalierly announce that:

“Political realities are shaped by the social realities of their time and reflect the prevailing technological infrastructure, levels of knowledge, and citizen values.”

Marina says “written constitutions” generally and our current “political institutions are simply not up to the task of governance today.” She cites “global climate change, chaotic economic fluctuations, and a host of other emerging disruptions” as among the reasons that hey, hey, ho ho, Madison’s vision now has to go. So a manufactured by the lure of government grants supposed  climate “crisis” is coupled to the financial crises being stoked by too much government intervention in the economy already.

And the solution is “socialstructed governance” where assemblies of average citizens chosen because they are representatives of a state or region’s demographics work together with “experts in various fields”. The experts in turn will create models based on all the Big Data now available (thanks especially Marina notes to President Obama’s January 2009 Open Government Directive that opened the data in the government’s coffers to the “public”) and “simulations to review and analyze various options”. And the citizen representatives can then deliberate and discuss and then vote on public policy affecting everyone.

Now I wish I could joke that this is just Marina’s opinion but her Institute for the Future has high powered support apart from the fact that its education vision to get this all in place is precisely what we laid out in the previous post. It’s Chapter 4 in her book. But I have seen these visions she laid out before. It was also in last summer’s troubling National Research Council report “Computing Research for Sustainability” that I wrote about here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ . No wonder that report referred to people as “socio-technical systems.”

Marina goes on in her vision for the future to say machines are just much better at rational thinking than people are. People she says are “emotional” and “situationally driven.” She wants to bring together the “best of humans and smart machines.” Supercomputers can do the “rational analysis…and we can rely on our human selves to formulate moral precepts, generate insight, [and] respond spontaneously to the unique circumstances of the moment .” The actual Common Core implementation in the US and related education reforms elsewhere make so much more sense when you read:

“Amateurs armed with good strategies (thinking skills) and access to the computational power of machines turns out to be a winning combination.”

With the purpose of that “new kind of machine-human partnership” being to “maximize not only our individual well-being but also the well-being of the community.” And I would think that the fact that all this is clearly being officially contemplated should give us pause before creating in 2013 a  pathway to citizenship for any groups that will shift the demographics substantially. We voters seem to be assuming a pathway to citizenship under our current political structures and documents and our politicians and their consultants are ramping up to jettison Madison’s magnificent document.

And I know Marina’s vision is not hers alone because beyond the gaming and digital learning components we have been examining in recent posts, the assumptions on when it is OK and even desirable to change political institutions and governance rules showed up in a 2009 Georgia Social Studies Presentation on Getting Ready for the Common Core. The presentation by Ben Crenshaw at the state DOE was on using Lynn Erickson’s Enduring Understandings. But Slide 13 listed definitions of Culture, Distribution of Power, Governance, Beliefs and Ideals, and Conflict and Change that I wrote down verbatim because they seemed to be incorrect and envision, in my mind, priming the students for change. Just the kind Marina Gorbis has now laid out in her book.

I want to get back to the gaming element of the story. First, this presentation makes it clear that gaming throws off so much useful personal data on “traits, abilities, aptitudes, personality traits ranging across very different domains of your personal makeup” that it constitutes a unique signature–a behavioral DNA.”  http://techonomy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/21st-Century-Skills.pdf Which will obviously be highly useful to gathering Big Data for decision-making by committee.

Secondly Marina’s Superstructed Economy, which fits by the way with all the other economic and social visions I have laid out in previous posts, relies a great deal on values and feelings and beliefs. Which by now we know to be under deliberate assault in the classroom and in the intelligent tutoring and games being created both for education and just recreational gaming generally. Everybody seems to be using Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s Flow and they say so in their books and papers.

I want to go back to something else Willis Harman wrote in 1988 in Global Mind Change. He wanted to move beyond the rational mind as the decision-making gatekeeper and rely on emotional creativity and intuition instead. Which dovetails quite well with what Marina sees people bringing to the partnership with smart machines. Harman wrote that the “emerging vision emphasizes community in the small view, and global cooperation in the large.” Once again in sync. Must be that California sunshine and vistas. In a quote that is quite relevant to the real common core, Harman noted that “by deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world.” And Gaming and Visual Models of Systems and Enduring Understandings are all excellent ways to get at a person’s internal image of reality.

Here is the key part that makes intense visualization so important to the sought social, political, and economic transformation and Harman laid it out in 1988 (italics in original):

“Reprogramming the unconscious beliefs that block fuller awareness of our creative/intuitive capabilities depends upon a key characteristic of the unconscious mind, namely that it responds to what is vividly imagined essentially as though it were real experience. Thus, to revise the unconscious beliefs we need only vividly imagine new beliefs, as they tend to become true.”

I will take a brief break in the quote to point out this is where time and the relaxation that Csik has noted from Flow and the positive psychology and neuroscience insights the designers say are all being used to create these computer programs. Here goes:

“Because the unconscious beliefs have been reexperienced or reaffirmed repeatedly over a long period of time, the substitute beliefs and/or images must also be presented repetitiously over a period of time, preferably in a state of deep relaxation when the portals of unconscious are most open.”

It is that Mind Change and new Worldviews that are so essential to the real common core. They are necessary for the desired Transformations to be peaceable. Marina may say it will take decades for her to get the new kinds of consciousness changes by ICT tools that she wants. But the process via education has literally already commenced.

We didn’t get an invite but the Miss Marple of Education snuck in anyway for a peek.

Good thing too. Audacious plan. Invisible no more.

Using Systems Thinking to Retie the Psychological Umbilical Cord to Our Environment

You know, I am pretty good at language, but I would never think to complain that:

“By substituting visual marks for spoken utterances [that miracle of human ingenuity and the Axemaker Mind reverenced by ordinary folks without systems training as reading], man removed himself even further from directly experiencing his habitat, further severing the psychological umbilical cord tying him to that habitat.”

A different way of making the same point in this early 80s blueprint describing the need for the mental assaults we would come to know under names such as as Transformational Outcomes Based Education and systems thinking and the new 3 R’s, is that the human “psychological separation is made possible  because of the interposing of symbols as a buffer.”

Now for those of you who read “symbols” and are hoping for a secret code that will need to be deciphered with a spray of lemon juice or a special light, we are not talking about a secret code. Although with the way reading is officially reverting back to a whole word or syllable sight approach the fundamental phonetic code is being treated as a secret code. Why? The math wars are grounded in similar reasons. Well I touched on this here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/blending-sustainability-and-education-to-gain-arational-nonlinear-minds-and-new-behaviors/ where I first introduced everyone’s new favorite metaphor for what is officially under attack–the Axemaker’s Mind.

You see symbol manipulation, where the mark is an artificial representation such as the word “fish” instead of a drawing for a fish promotes the ability to think abstractly. Linearly. Rationally. To begin to link cause and effect. And how probable something is. Symbol use promotes a sense of self-awareness and individuality. When coupled with the printing press that made widespread literacy among the masses possible, it let the magic genie out of the bottle in a way that had never happened before in human history. And those with aspirations of power and control have never forgotten that link and its importance even if most of us have never really thought about it.

Believe me the statist schemers have as this post explains yet again. With new detail. After recognizing that it is the power of symbolic representation and manipulation that is what makes people genuinely unique in the universe and the roughly 3 pounds of the human brain the most fascinating creation in the universe, the plans get laid out to shut down or constrain those capacities. Why?

“Every new source from which man has increased his power on the earth has been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. [So not true but it is the common refrain from those pushing the ecological worldview and its desire for Newmindedness]. All his progress has been made at the expense of damage to his environment which he cannot repair and could not foresee.”

The author goes on to say that the “task of the futurist is to sharpen our focus on just those consequences.”

That basically is what is going on now in school districts all over the world. In the US as Common Core and Canada as the Alberta Wheel of Competency. In Australia it may be called the Core Skills Framework and the Wellbeing initiative http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-education-transforms-values-and-feelings-and-beliefs-to-control-behaviors-are-we-free/ and in the UK Quality Assurance and Qualifications Frameworks. So many of the digital learning initiatives. They are all based on a futurist perspective. They are all based on a desire to shut down the Axemaker Mind to prevent future creation of technology and innovation without official permission. They all are based on the idea that factual knowledge and your own private ability to conceptualize and carry on private conversations with the finest minds of the Ages, humanities, math, or science, is the Genie that must go back in the bottle. Only for authorized use by the politically connected.

They may want a sense of community but it must be based on emotion and new values. We cannot have a return to the power of the printed word [and no one on this planet revers it more than those who are trying to shut down its influence] as demonstrated by Thomas Paine and his pamphlet Common Sense. This illustration is actually in the book on using systems thinking and limiting the power of artificial symbols that so builds up the human intellect.

Common Sense found a disparate collection of mostly English settlers who thought of themselves as Englishmen now living in New Jersey or South Carolina without much in common except their former home country. And in fairly short order it created a sense of common grievance and possibility and gave birth to the emotions that would build a great nation on the Idea of a common, possibly magnificent, destiny. In minds that were physically separated and had never met each other or Thomas Paine.  Nurturing through print the Idea that being an American was about a common belief system that cherished the individual and not a matter of nationality or ethnicity. Another genie that needs to go back in the bottle if the future shift is to be Local and Global only.

To reiterate that these education initiatives and the Regional Equity Movement  are less a claim of CONSPIRACY!!! than a good old-fashioned coordinated power grab using the coercion powers of government, I want to describe a 2006 document from the Club of Rome. No, it’s not a great place for pasta with a lovely view overlooking the Forum and the Colosseum. Look it up if you are not familiar with it. It’s not an urban legend. We have talked about UNESCO more but the Club of Rome matters as well for these power grabs and political and economic power preservations. This is especially important since the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth assumptions, though infamous, have been expressly incorporated into the Systems Thinking/Systems Dynamics training Peter Senge is doing with classroom teachers preparing to implement the Common Core. The authors of Limits to Growth, the Meadows, were members of CoR who now attend some of these teacher systems training workshops.

Isn’t control over K-12 and higher ed such a great way to alter the future? Same is true  of many of the loudest Digital Learning advocates. Many proudly bill themselves as Futurists as well. If you shut down most of the symbol manipulation capacity and train kids to see words as concrete wholes and tell parents that access to a search engine minimizes the need to actually know anything but Skills, you can alter the future. If you add on Social and Emotional Learning and a new Values system grounded in Communitarianism and the evils of profit, you can really alter the future.

The Club of Rome official document touts these Turning Points in the transformation of the Global Scene and the major importance of systems thinking to gaining control over an individual’s and a culture’s noetic system. And the value of such control in Steering [their word] desired human and economic behaviors. “It is so useful Igor and no one ever has to know until it’s too late to stop. Bring more cognac so we can celebrate properly.” It takes great pride in its economic misstatements and scientific nonsense that serve as the rationales on why the global information infrastructure merits a new kind of mind and economic structure. Here’s a little taste to reenforce that we do have an organized international problem on our hands:

“Binary logic contributed of course also to tremendous civilization achievements, the construction of computers and computer networks, but it still biases our way of understanding the world.”

CoR of course recommends feelings and intuition as the proper 21st Century substitute. I will close with how this comes into the classroom without your ever knowing. I was told this week that the Fulton County Georgia school district with the duplicitous charter was gutting those recently purchased expensive Promethean Whiteboards in favor of LCD projectors in every classroom. Aren’t Special Purpose Sales Taxes nifty? The value is the data and info can go straight to the student’s laptop. No need for the student’s brain to intervene. All visual all the time.

I have related that the district is using Spence Rogers’ PEAK training for teachers, Teaching for Excellence, even though as the co-creator of Transformational OBE, Spence Rogers’ work was implicated as a factor in the Columbine tragedy. Some minds do appear to snap and become Evil from such overt psychological manipulation. We have been told that the teachers undergoing the PEAK training will be kept secret so “they will not be afraid to try new techniques.” When I asked a Principal if he was referring to Spence Rogers’ work, the face became transfixed with an unmistakeable reverence and radiance.  The answer was “Yes. Do you know his Work?” You could say that was my response.

We are not dealing with rational interaction here. We are dealing with emotional cultivation to create zealotry in adult educators who likely have no idea what is at stake. They just know a feelings classroom suits them better than what they grew up with.

So please listen up all of us that still have Axemaker Minds and are paying the tab for all these schemes. What the Avengers had to save the earth from was a comic book fantasy. Apparently though we are about to need to fight hard to save the Republic, the legitimacy and primacy of individualism, and economic freedom. And all over the Globe there are citizens who must do the same. Because they really do have plans for all of us. Going into effect Right Now.