Looking at Betsy DeVos’s Book (2022) “Hostages No More” (Part 5 of 8)

0028 State and local initiatives3c contextualize a perspective-level actuality2c that manifests the potential of educational freedom1c.

0029 What is freedom1c and how is it different from (il)liberalism1c?

(Il)liberalism1c maintains regulatory control while promoting the appearance of individual autonomy.

Freedom1c requires the person to take initiatives in the face of uncertainty.

0030 What do I mean by freedom1c?

The virtual nested form in the realm of potential says, “The normal context of educational freedom1c brings the actuality of one’s occupation1b into relation with the potential of ‘both personal motivations and the perspective-level normal context of educational initiatives’1a.”

What is a one word label for the perspective-level normal context of local initiatives1c projecting motivational awareness into the content-level potential1a?

Does the term, “empowerment”, apply?

0031 Uh-oh, Betsy DeVos now replaces three elements in the interscope of BG3c(il)L1c education.

Figure 07

0032 Obviously, DeVos’s use of the term, “empowerment”, does not coincide with its use the normal context of big-government3c.  For BG(il)L, “empowerment” conveys the illusion of individual autonomy within the (hidden) normal context of regulatory control.  

0033 When a parent and a student hear the word, “empowerment”, they imagine that there is only one meaning to the term.  Is that not the way that spoken words work? Words are placeholders in a system of differences.  One cannot have one placeholder in two systems of differences.

Or… can one?

Obviously, the meaning of the word, “empowerment”, depends on whether the perspective-level normal context is the Department of Education’s big government3c or Betsy DeVos’s creative initiatives3c.

0034 Is this some sort of language game?

Betsy DeVos made a move, substituting a new terms in for three elements of the BG(il)L interscope.

What are her opponents, the devotees of BG(il)L, going to do?

0035 What is the opposite of freedom? 

How about slavery?

Slavery is a system where every person is certain to have a job.  It is the ultimate act of equal employment.  Slavery is the ultimate occupation in terms of certainty, even though no one wants the jobs.

0036 What does this imply?

Freedom associates to uncertainty.

Slavery associates to certainty.

BG(il)L offers the facade of individual autonomy while retaining regulatory control.

BG(il)L offers the facade of freedom while keeping the subject a slave.

BG(il)L offers, in a world filled with uncertainty, certainty.

If you get the certificate2a, then you will get a job1b that shows that you belong to a profession2b.  That is certainty1c.

BG(il)L initiatives3c cultivate certainty1c and job security1b.

Betsy DeVos’s initiatives3c create uncertainty1c and jobs that are not defined by federal regulations1b.

0037 Here is a picture of how the manipulative permanent members of the Department of Education respond to the establishment-challenging rhetoric of Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of the Department of Education

Figure 08

Power must be restored to the bureaucrats,.

0038 What does this back and forth imply?

In the imperial capital, it is all a game of words.  Each technical term, such as “empowerment” and “freedom”, has one meaning in the interscope of BG(il)L3c and another meaning in the interscope of Betsy DeVos3c, the eleventh Secretary at the Department of Education.

0039 The three-level interscope is the game board.

Betsy DeVos makes a move.

The establishment counters.


Looking at Betsy DeVos’s Book (2022) “Hostages No More” (Part 6 of 8)

0040 Given the tussle between the established players of the Department of Education and the Secretary of the Same Department, I wonder.

Are there any other tussles going on?

After all, this rhetorical game of element substitution for the interscope of BG(il)L education can also be played by factions within the Department of Education itself.

0043 The Department of Education’s BG(il)L perspective serves the interests of a central government attempting to manage individual ambitions by providing pathways to specializations2b, hence jobs1b, through certification2a.  The central government engages in cultural selection3b (in the specializations that they regulate) and individual selection3b (in that individuals exercise automony1a in their alignment with BG(il)L incentives1a towards certification2a).

0044 So, what happens if factions within the central government desire more?

What if a faction desires to manage the individual itself?

How weird can BG3c(il)L1c get?

0045 Well, I already know that, in some universities in the West, social constructivism replaces all fields of inquiry that presume that humans encounter mind-independent realities (including the reality of others’ mind-dependent beings, both past and present).

Indeed, social constructivism replaces the potential of truth with the potential of the human will.

Or, something like that.

0046 See Looking at Sad Gaad’s Book (2020) Parasitic Mind, at Razie Mah’s blog, running in April 2023.

What do individuals socially construct?


My identity becomes my job1b.

The group that I identify with becomes my specialization2b.  Another word for specialization is “lifestyle2b“.  What are your chosen pronouns?

Individual and cultural selection3b then morphs into group-identity… er… lifestyle selection3b.

0047 Here is a picture of the substitutions on the situation level.

Figure 09

0048 For the perspective level, BG(il)L interventions3c replace big government3c.

These interventions3c select in favor of some lifestyles3b (take a guess, I bet that none of the guesses describe Betsy DeVos) and against other lifestyles3b (take a guess, I bet that many of the guesses apply to Betsy DeVos).

Indeed, a whole new suite of expertise is demanded.  This expertise2c is capable of explaining BG(il)L perspective-level interventions3c in terms of social justice, critical theory and social constructivism.  Interventional expertise2c emerges from (and situates) the potential of ‘certainty’1c.  In turn, certainty1c virtually contextualizes identity1b.  Plus, identity1bvirtually situates the personal choice that one is groomed for1a.

0049 Here is how the “woke” faction of the Department of Education alters the three-level interscope of BG(il)L.

Figure 10

Looking at Betsy DeVos’s Book (2022) “Hostages No More” (Part 7 of 8)

0050 Surely, Gad Saad, Heather Heying, Bret Weinstein and Betsy DeVos address an unanticipated historical moment,marked by a failure of the Federal Department of Education to maintain the virtual nested form of (il)liberalism1cbringing jobs1b into relation with the possibility that individuals are motivated1a to become certified2a as specialists2bwho will then fill those jobs1b.  The student loan crisis is a symptom of that failure.  Students are not getting the jobs1bthat they are specialized2b in, indicating a failure of the federal educational system3b.

0051 In contrast, Betsy DeVos proposes educational3c freedom1c.

Her proposals alter the ongoing BG(il)L three-level paradigm.

Figure 11

Indeed, these are just the beginning.

0052 Federal bureaucrats counter with BG(il)L initiatives2c that promise certainty1c, rather than the uncertainty that they rhetorically associate with freedom1c.

Figure 12

0053 At the same time, a faction within the Federal Department of Education wakes up.  They see that the central government is no longer interested in just regulating the organization tier. It wants to control the society and individual in community tiers as well.

Plus, the central government is catastrophically failing in its control of the economic sphere, as witnessed in the fact that (1) certified individuals are saddled with enormous amounts of debt that they cannot seem to pay off and (2) one of the (if not the) largest assets of the federal government consists in student loans.

This faction becomes “woke”, initiating a substantial overhaul of the BG(il)L interscope on the basis of three intellectual movements: social justice, critical theory and social constructivism.

Figure 13

0054 None of these interscopes are fixed.  They are like pictures of a chessboard during certain moments in a tournament.  At the same time, they suggest what is at stake.  If federally financed education is not about training for jobs1b, then is education about being groomed for an identity1b?

The game plays out in the theater of politics, just like Shakespeare’s King Lear plays out in a conventional theater.  Actors speak their lines, hoping to convince a naive audience that their stories are real.  But, the real drama goes on in the minds of the audience, who are constantly asking themselves, “What the hell is going on?”


Looking at Betsy DeVos’s Book (2022) “Hostages No More” (Part 8 of 8)

0055 Now comes the moment of truth.

The curtain is closed.

Before it opens, I want to thank Betsy DeVos for taking this reader beyond the notion of school choice and into the dynamics of educational freedom1c.  There is more to be discovered in this new jurisdiction, standing outside the prison of big government3c (il)liberalism1c.

0056 Of course, the curtain may never open.  People may decide that it is better to live as slaves under the appearance of freedom.  But, that collective decision only assures the experts that appearances are no longer necessary.  Experts are trained to know these things.  Certain experts are prepared to make us slaves to the identities that they have manufactured for us.

0057 Be that as it may, the following diagram presents (what I imagine) is behind the curtain.  Betsy DeVos’s educational interscope is a vision to behold.

Figure 14

Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 1 of 16)

0001 Twenty-two thousand years ago, during the maximum of the last ice age, people roamed (along with other large mammals) in a land that bridged modern-day Siberia and Alaska.  Glaciers on the eastern (or American) side prevented humans from advancing further.  Until they didn’t.

Humans found a way around the blockade.  By ten thousand years ago, humans occupy both American continents.

0002 The Siberian-Alaskan landmass displayed one type of ecology (some would call it a frozen wasteland).  Yet, Paleolithic people migrating into the Americas adapted to a large variety of ecologies (including the tropics).

0003 How could this be so?

The authors conclude that humans are adapted to niche switching.  Humans culturally adapt to novel ecological niches by operating as both generalists and specialists.  Humans are behaviorally flexible because they can oscillate between established traditions (which the authors call, “culture”) and problem-solving (which the authors call, “consciousness”). Consequently, humans can “switch” from one niche (such as ice-laden Beringia) to another niche (such as California’s San Joachim Valley).

0004 But, I wonder, “Are not traditions (‘cultures’) specialist oriented?  The specializations may not be wildly complicated, but meaningful enough.  For example, someone who does well at running with a lance might fit in to the specialty of hunting large game.  Someone who is good at identifying mushrooms may fit into the specialty of fungi forager.  So, everyone can be a generalist problem-solver, but also work as a specialist too.

“Plus, everyone, whether lance-bearer or mushroom-gatherer, must learn their craft, and must innovate in the face of new challenges.

“So, the human gift of ‘niche-switching’ indicates that humans can find ways to make a living in every ecology.  The recent territorial expansion of anatomically modern humans into the Americas serves as an outstanding example.”

0005 Okay, then what is a “niche”?

The authors are modern biologists.  When modern biologists hear the word, “niche”, they think “ecological or environmental conditions”.  But, there is another technical definition for the word, “niche”, that expands that narrow frame.

0006 What is a “niche”?

The Darwinian paradigm can be diagrammed by following A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).

Here is a picture.

Figure 01

The normal context of natural selection3 brings the actuality of adaptation2 into relation with the potential of ‘something’1, which biologists label “niche1.


Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 2 of 16)

0007 Okay, if the word, “niche” labels the possibility of  ‘something’1, then what is this so-called ‘something’?

Now, I turn to A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).

‘Something’ is a content-level actuality2a that is independent of the adapting species.

Consequently, the niche1b is the situation-level potential1b that virtually emerges from (and situates) a content-level actuality2a that is independent of the adapting species.

Figure 02

0008 The most notable feature of this sensible construction is that the content-level actuality2a has no apparent normal context3a or potential1a.  In order to understand this actuality2a, one must ascertain its normal context3a and potential1a, which is a very difficult assignment.

Perhaps, this difficulty is why modern biologists say that the actuality2a reflects environmental or ecological conditions.  Well, “conditions” also has the advantage of implying a specific material ‘something’ that a species adapts to.  Such specificity implies that all niches are proximate.

0009 When the authors use the term, “niche switching”, they are saying that humans are adapted to flourishing in a wide-variety of ecologies and environments.

How do humans accomplish this flourishing?

Well, the generalist within us solves problems.  The specialist within us modifies a skill set.  Consciousness (or, is it culture?) is adaptive because it draws out an understanding that a content-level actuality3a has a normal-context3a and a potential1a that the person (along with others) can adapt2b to.  In other words, the content-level independent actuality2a is meaningful.

Figure 03

0010 There is another advantage of a category-based depiction of Darwinian evolution.  It explains the idea of niche construction.

Niche construction occurs when a situation-level adaptation2b alters the content-level actuality2a by introducing a content-level normal context2a and potential1a.  To a beaver, a rapidly moving stream surrounded by woods2a has the normal context3a of a place to settle3a and the potential1a of damming the creek to make a home1a.  Once this happens, once beavers down enough trees to block the water’s free flow, the independent actuality2a becomes a slow moving creek and glen2a.

Humans are even more sophisticated, since the independent actuality2a becomes meaningful.  Our lineage adapts to a niche1b, where the potential of understanding comes from converting an actuality2a into a sign, a mediation, a category-based nested form or some other triadic relation.  The sign-relation has three elements: sign-vehicle, sign-object and sign-interpretant.  The mediation has three elements: matter, form and mediator.  The category-based nested form has three elements: normal context3, actuality2 and potential1.  The subscripts refer to the three categories detailed by American philosopher, Charles Peirce: thirdness, secondness and firstness, respectively.

0011 Triadic relations are real (although immaterial) beings (that entangle the material world).  Until recently, no biologist imagines that these ephemeral beings could compose an actuality independent of an adapting species2a.  Yet, many biologists suggest that the human niche consists of niche construction, or, as with these authors, “niche switching”.

The hypothesis that the ultimate human niche is the potential of triadic relations appears in Razie Mah’s e-book, The Human Niche.  The hypothesis is tested in four commentaries.

Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) The Prehistory of Mind

Comments on Derek Bickerton’s Book (2014) More that Nature Needs

Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big

Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) Why Only Us?

All are available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  They are listed in the series: A Course on the Human Niche.

0012 Here is a diagram of Darwinian evolution for the Homo genus.

Figure 04

Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 3 of 16)

0013 Chapter one of Heying and Weinstein’s book is titled “The Human Niche”.

The hypothesis that the ultimate human niche1b is the potential1b of triadic relations2a accounts for the authors’ claim that humans adapt to “switching” among proximate niches.  A proximate niche roughly corresponds to an ecology or an environment.  The switch entails finding opportunities through understanding.  Understanding is the act of adding a normal context3a and potential1a to an independent actuality2a.  Understanding is an adaptation2b to the potential1b of triadic relations2a.

0014 Say what?

The ultimate human niche (of the potential of triadic relations) allows humans to rapidly “switch” from one proximate niche (defined as an ecology or an environment) to another.

In Darwin’s paradigm, a niche is the potential that underlies an adaptation.  For most species, one finds that a creature’s adaptation solves problems (or finds opportunities) in the so-called “environment of evolutionary adaptation”.  By labeling the niche as “the environment of evolutionary adaptation”, modern biologists put on cognitive blinders.  “The environment of evolutionary adaptation” implies material beings, not relational beings.

Material conditions goes with proximate niches.

Relational conditions goes with ultimate niches.

The label “environment of evolutionary adaptation” fixes the gaze of modern biologists onto proximate niches.

No modern biologist has come up with a simpler or a more productive hypothesis of an ultimate niche for the Homogenus that the one proposed in Razie Mah’s e-book, The Human Niche.

0015 Once evolutionary biologists (and psychologists) come to terms with the proposition that the ultimate human nicheis the potential of triadic relations (which are purely immaterial beings), they will come face to face with the mystery of human (and all biological) evolution.

0016 Say what?

Mystery of evolution?

At this juncture, I recapitulate a portrait developed in Razie Mah’s masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”.   The presence underlying the word, “religion”, corresponds to a particular arrangement of category-based nested forms.

Already, the reader of this blog has encountered the two-level interscope.  There is another way to combine two category-based nested forms.  The intersection is already applied to evolution in Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome, along with other commentaries in the series, A Course on Evolution and Thomism, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

So, for me, this is familiar territory.

0017 Here is the two-level interscope for Darwinian evolution.

Figure 05

0018 This figure is only half the picture of modern evolutionary biology.

Contemporary biologists are more than mere Darwinists.  They call themselves, “NeoDarwinists”.  The “Neo-” of NeoDarwinism points to genetics.  Each lineage carries DNA, which is foundationally distinct from the actuality that is independent of the adapting species2a.  I could say that DNA is foundationally dependent on the actuality2a of the species.  But, DNA is not responsible for the adaptations of the species, even when it serves as an internal foundation to the lineage.  DNA is responsible for the phenotypes of the species.

In other words, in the normal context of body development3b, the phenotype2b emerges from (and situates) the genome1b.  Plus, the situation-level genome1b is the potential1b of the species’ DNA2a.  DNA2a is an actuality on the content level.

The following figure is the other half of the picture of modern evolutionary biology.

Figure 06

0019 What about epigenetics?

Ah, epigenetics (as it is currently formulated) has the same character as niche construction.  Epigenetics alters the expression of DNA2a by altering its normal context3a and potential1a.

0020 The authors are natural historians, rather than geneticists.  Natural selection comes to the fore in their book.  Nevertheless they pay tribute to genetics with a concept, called “the omega principle”, where culture is an adaptation and culture evolves to serve our genes (that is, our lineage).  This principle is confusing, because it confounds adaptation2band phenotype2b in a world where biology has specialized into natural historians and geneticists.

I ask, “Is there another way to formulate the mysterious omega principle”?


Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 4 of 16)

0021 The authors formulate an “omega principle” that confounds adaptation2b and phenotypes2b and mixes natural history and genetics.  The omega principle states that long-lived cultural traits are likely to be adaptive.

Long-lived cultural traits are epigenetic features that guide human development.  As such, long-lived cultural traits are genomic.  Even though they do not directly influence the transcription (or lack of transcription) of DNA2a, they do so indirectly.  As an example, the authors discuss an optical illusion that applies in Western civilization, but not to indigenous cultures in the Americas.

0022 Another way to say this?

Long-lived cultural traits influence phenotypic expression.  After all, contemporary Western civilization has traits that allows writing, programming, race-car driving, ballet dancing and so on.  These arise from the Western “cultural DNA”.

And, according to the omega principle, these cultural traits are likely to be adaptations.

So, adaptation2b and phenotype2b are linked.  One does not situate the other.  So, they intersect.  They both contribute to a single actuality.  I label the single actuality, “species”, in the widest sense of the term.  A species ranges from the biological definition of a type of living being to cultural definitions of types of specializations.

0023 For biology, NeoDarwinism entails the intersection of adaptation2b and phenotype2b.

Here is a picture.

Figure 07

0024 Of course, there is a more aesthetic way to depict an intersection.

Figure 08

0025 This intersection applies to biological evolution.

However, the omega principle suggests that this intersection somehow… maybe, metaphorically… applies to cultural evolution, as well.


Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 5 of 16)

0026 How to theorize the nature of the author’s portrayal of an omega principle?

Humans adapt to the potential of triadic relations.  Triadic relations are indifferent to nature and culture.  Nature is perfused with triadic relations.  So is culture.

0027 How does the intersection change when passing from the biological to the cultural?

Here is my guess.

The niche1H situates ‘something’ external to the species.  Adaptations2H exploit that ‘something’ in the normal context of cultural selection3H.

The genome1V situates ‘something’ internal to the species.  DNA resides in lineages.  So, this ‘something’ is foundational to a cultural lineage1V and gives rise to the form of the cultural being2V in the normal context of institutional development3V.

0028 So, here is the resulting intersection.

Figure 09

0029 How about an application?

Here, I will develop a narrative… a theoretical expression… applying the omega principle to the authors’ professional trauma.

This theoretical expression does not capture the nightmare that these professors endured.  Rather, it is a speculation about the evolutionary changes within their narrative.  In particular, the intersection for biological evolution somehow applies to a contemporary shift occurring within cultural selection3H and institutional development3V.  Figuratively, the intersection applies to a cultural episode of punctuated equilibrium.

0030 I start with the institution that these two professors labored in for fifteen years.  Evergreen State College (pre-2017) is an institution that evolved in American civilization.

Here is a picture of the intersection for Evergreen State College (before 2017) at the beginning of the authors’ journey.

Figure 10

That is a start.

Further specification is required.


Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 6 of 16)

0031 How should I specify the elements in the prior diagram?

A little history may assist.

State colleges spring up to train returning soldiers after the Hot War Among Fraternal Ideologies (1938-1945 AD).  The authors are employed by one of these colleges, located in the State of Washington.  Then, the institution changes in 2017

0032 Let me consider Evergreen State College prior to 2017.

The adaptations2V?

Obviously, the term goes with the faculty.  Professors2b(2H) are selected for by the college3b(3H) for their disciplinary expertise1b(1H).  Disciplinary expertise1b expresses the potential of empirio-schematic inquiry2a, characteristic of such fields as physics, chemistry, biology, quantitative sociology, cognitive and evolutionary psychology, and so on.  Empirio-schematic inquiry2a is a style of rational thought2a.

Diagrams for empirio-schematic inquiry are developed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural History.  The empirio-schematic judgment is rational thought.  However, it is not rational in the same way as Aristotelian or scholastic thought.  Empirio-schematics characterize the modern Age of Ideas, which starts around 1600 AD.  Scholastics characterize the Latin Age, stretching from around 300 to around 1600 AD.

0033 Here is the two-level interscope for the axis corresponding to Darwinism, for Evergreen State College, before 2017.

Figure 11

0034 Heying and Weinstein are selected as professors2b and serve well, for one and one-half decades, until a shift in both cultural selection3b and the actuality2a virtually underlying their positions2b.

0035 What happens leading to 2017 and beyond?

On the content level, an imitation empirio-schematics2a fashions itself as a style of rational thought2a.  Consider the blog for April at www.raziemah.com, titled Looking at Gad Saad’s Book (2021) “Parasitic Mind”.  Like all fashions, inquiries pursuing social construction, critical theory and social justice take on the appearance of ‘something’ beautiful in order to adorn the one who wears the fashion

Something beautiful?

Think of an adornment that signals one’s virtue, while sparkling with the certitude that accompanies empirio-schematic research.

On the situation level, the ones who fashion themselves as “righteous, in addition to rational” are instructors1b.  Why?  Instructors are defined by the potential of the faux empirio-schematics of social construction, critical theory and social justice2a.  Their reward is in a fascination of their own varieties of righteousness

In contrast, administrators2b exploit instructors1b, just as adaptations2a exploit a niche1b, in the normal context of cultural selection3b.

Here is a picture of the horizontal axis after 2017.

Figure 12

0036 In 2017, Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein resign their professorships at Evergreen State College.