Growing Sustainable Children; and, K-12 Schools Worthy of Our Affection

Bruce Dickson
17 min readAug 27, 2023

Chapter 19 from Vol 2, revised 2023:

To paraphrase Rudolf Steiner, in the West, in the 1700s and much more forcefully in the 1800s, the conscious Self (consciousness soul) came into its own and stated remaking the world in its own image.

This will make more sense if we keep in mind the human capacity which matured; and then, began remaking the world in its own image, was primarily the left hemisphere Intellect, not right-hem Intelligence. Much good came from this to the 99% of the crew of SpaceShip Earth — yet — also much destruction.

The life-threatening aspect of a male-ego-dominated landscape is powerfully and artfully depicted in the robot dinosaurs of Horizon: Zero Dawn video game (2017, 2022). Aloy, the main character, fights to rid the world of life-destroying machines.

Meme made by the author HZD © Sony

dg-HZD meme

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Prior to the 1700s-1800s, the conscious Self in the West — indeed worldwide, has been likened by another metaphysician to the psyche of a 14 year old girl. In Greek-Roman mythology, the character of Psyche is a match with the character of the “14 year old girl.”

Psyche … was the Greek goddess of the soul, often represented as a beautiful woman with butterfly wings.[3] The name Psyche means “soul” in Greek[4]. She was commonly referred to as such in Roman mythology as well, though direct translation is Anima (Latin word for “soul”).[5]

She was born a mortal woman with beauty that rivaled even Aphrodite, goddess of love.[6]. She was eventually granted immortality.

In the Golden Ass, also known as Metamorphoses, Psyche is … given multiple trials in order to be with her beloved, Eros, also known as Cupid, god of physical [carnal] love and desire, son of Aphrodite.[6] Psyche’s story has been depicted in art dating back to the 4th century BCE … —

When the Industrial Revolution began to roll, this too-young Self was at a distinct disadvantage. It’s poetry and romance fiction were not sufficient to the tasks of the Industrial Revolution; such as, building national railways, mechanizing the manufacture of cloth; and, running a worldwide British Empire.

To use a trope from Victorian novels, the conscious Self in this period was like a “damsel in distress.” She was too inexperienced in the outer world to lead and rule. She was too weak in the ways of the world to accomplish much or even to survive. She needed support; she required a left-hemisphere partner to become more whole-brained, so conscious Self could be more effective in the outer world. She had to give up some of her girlish romantic ideals and cleave to a strong partner in order to navigate her Outer Game of Life.

She chose to marry Sherlock Holmes.

Dg-sherlock 1904

Q: Was Sherlock Holmes looking for a wife?

A: Not the fictional Holmes, no. Yet Holmes as a metaphor as representing the whole of Western USA-UK male patriarchy, as it was unfolding, was one-sidedly pursuing expansionist polices at all levels. In the 1700s-1800s, USA expansion took the form of mastering and subduing “the frontier.” In the 1700s-1800s, Great Britain and other wealthy European countries were in late phases of naval domination and colonization.

Q: Where do we see evidence of this supposed marriage of Psyche and Sherlock Holmes?

A: In any and every Western art and cultural museum. The character of male expansionism-colonization has very much a mental and downward thrusting character. The character of Psyche, Romantic poetry, fiction, music and painting has very much the character of lifting upwards and “soothing the male beast.” To learn more about this inevitable paring, see The Chalice and the Blade (1987) by Riane Eisler.

The five wives of Sherlock Holmes

I look back on the history of science, in search of a single character-figure to characterize the good news~bad news of mainstream Western science, 1750–1950. Surely this figure is the fictional Sherlock-Holmes. The Patriarchal male-dominator establishment, 1650-on-going,wishes to persuade us ‘Sherlock-Holmes science’ (Second Order Science, technology) is and remains, the only, the exclusive science, for now and forever more, Amen. The credit of Sherlock-Holmes science is trustworthy. All others must pay cash.

Separating him from the more liberal Arthur Conan Doyle, we can use Holmes to characterize the left-brain-only, non-feeling approach to nature of natural scientists of the 1800s and Behaviorists in the UK-USA, in the period 1880s-1930s. Using Holmes as an icon, permits us two useful phrases: ‘Sherlock-Holmes Thinking’ and ‘Sherlock-Holmes Science.’

We can further personify the good news~bad news of mainstream Western science, 1750–1950 by imagining Sherlock Holmes had five wives. In each of these five “marriages,” Psyche and Sherlock Holmes were NOT equal partners. In each of these pairings, males dominated one-sidedly. Psyche was almost powerless until no earlier than Women’s Liberation beginning in the late 1960s.

The women’s liberation movement (WLM) was a political alignment of women and feminist intellectuals who emerged in the late 1960s and continued into the 1980s, primarily in the industrialized nations of the Western world.

At the time, given widespread media coverage, it appeared WLM was producing great change in political, intellectual, cultural spheres worldwide. Looking back from 2023, we note the changes were primarily cultural (books, movies, TV, internet), much less change was effected politically. Perhaps the least change was effected economically.

The WLM branch of radical feminism, based in contemporary philosophy, comprised women of racially and culturally diverse backgrounds. They proposed economic, psychological, and social freedom were necessary for women to progress from being second-class citizens in their societies.[1] —

Sherlock Holmes’ wife #1 — charter corporations

Sherlock-Holmes’ first wife was corporations formed by Progressive Protestant Belgians and Scandinavians and Portuguese for the uncovery of more of the Earth, after the Dark Ages: The Age of Exploration or Discovery (1450–1550).

Each corporation originally required a charter from the king. Later, charters for banks and handling of currency followed. Finally, corporate charters were written and organized around profit for investors.

The managing of these charters, the distribution of profits and losses, required precise accounting. Left-brain, logical-sequential mathematical thinking was indispensable to corporations for accounting, inventory and measuring rate of return on investment, purposes.

Sherlock Holmes’ wife #2 — “Natural Science”

Sherlock-Holmes’ second wife was Natural Science ( In 2023 this is what we also think of as “hard science.” Between the 1930s and 1970s, a few dozen histories of male-oriented, male-dominated science were written. These are characterized by discussion of how the one-sided Second Order, Technology) science of Galileo, Descartes, Newton out-competes the more balanced, humanistic, whole-brained science of Goethe.

For the next 100 years, among these histories of science, only Ernst Lehrs Man and Matter(1951, 1957, 1985) is recommended. Why? Because Lehrs history of science is the ONLY history of science to give Goethe his rightful place. IF a whole-brained science is what you wish and want to pass on to Grade 6–12 students. Lehrs first ed is free online. If you find it overwhelming, try the third edition.

Wife #3 — medicine

Sherlock-Holmes’ third wife was pharmaceutical (patent) medicines. After the USA Civil War, here and in Europe, everyone was plagued with unscrupulous salesmanship of “patent medicines.”

Many of these were simply hydrogen peroxide or turpentine (two of the best). The phrases “snake-oil,” “quack (related to homeopathic mercury), “magic pills” sold as cure-alls for every ailment come down to us from this period. Sales pitches were made on public street corners, wherever a crowd could gather. Pitches included “plants” in the audience who; according to a script, would volunteer to try the medicine; and then, loudly report instant relief.

Homeopathy was spreading widely at this same time (1860–1920). In the USA, homeopathy, was no match for German and USA patent drug makers with huge cash flows.

Drug makers used their excess cash to fund fake reports and medical schools based exclusively on use of Civil War surgery techniques and patent medicines. In these early times, patent medicines and associations of doctors certified each other for the use of medicines and techniques.

Wife #4 — Psychology

After marrying “hard science” and “medicine,” Sherlock-Holmes looked around and asked himself, ‘What other fields can I dominate and make a profit on?’ In the late 1800s, his next target was a new field, mental pathology. Psyche was excited as this field had great potential to support children, women and the mentally ill. Eventually in the first half of the 1900s, Sherlock-Holmes took over not only academic and experimental Psychology; but also, psychotherapy and counseling.

Wife #5 — K-12 education

The fifth “wife” of ‘Sherlock-Holmes science’ was K-12 education. How did this happen? Outside of Waldorf, in conventional factory-style schools, the culture of K-12 schools is highly determined by teacher education professors at colleges and universities. Let’s remember colleges and universities also offer “administrative degrees” for those wishing to become assistant principals and work their up to school principal etc. In this way, the culture of most K-12 schools in the USA, devolves from what is taught in college teacher training courses (for many readers, this may explain why Waldorf teacher training determines to be different!).

From another angle, conventional K-12 school curriculum are chunked-down versions of science, history, math and psychology as these exist in college academia, topics Sherlock Holmes (left-hem Intellect, has dominated for more than 100 years.

“Five wives” as “Command and control”

In this metaphor I’ve constructed, why did Sherlock Holmes want or need five wives?

It will help to go forward to 1951 and Ernst Lehrs’ characterization of left-brain-only science as a one-eyed, color-blind crippled man measuring everything with his ruler.

“We are today, by virtue of our psycho-physical structure, more or less a world-spectator. But what characterizes the state of man’s mind when engaged in scientific observation is how it is restricted to a one-eyed, color-blind approach” (Lehrs 31)

Lehrs’ characterization of the “Enlightenment” left-brain-only scientific method as “one-eyed, color-blind conception of the world” is a clear characterization of the excesses of Enlightenment-Sherlock-Holmes science, which despoiled our Earthly Commons in the 1800s and 1900s. What is this character’s greatest fear? It is he will be overwhelmed by Nature (chaos), or women, or children — too much Feeling — this is his great fear. By 1951, Lehrs intuited too much Nature, too much Feeling, must threaten the “new religion” of “one-eyed, color-blind” “modern science”

Why was too much Nature, too much Feeling, a threat to the religion of modern science? Itthreatens male-dominator’s prideful self-concept. It threatens male-dominator’s imagined control of Nature. The Jurassic Park movies are only some recent fables on the theme of imagined male-dominator control of Nature thru science. In each case, left-brain-only science is shown as inadequate, as less than whole, as unsustainable, as creating Frankenstein monsters, over an over again. In 1950s sci-fi movies, the vast majority of menaces were giant ants, giant, plants (Triffids), giant lizards, giant moths, giant birds. Too much Nature is scary if your only weapons, your only resources depend solely on the half-brained, isolated Intellect.

Out of its fear of loss of control, the Enlightenment-Sherlock-Holmes-Team-Machine imagined K-12 ed needed to be captured and incorporated into the male-dominator spirit to keep it under control.

Sherlock-Holmes and Mr. Hyde

I was reading a philosopher who asked this question, “Do you have any limit on what you will do for money?” What limits do you have for what you will do for money? If you have no limits, you are likely to create things which do not serve the highest good of the 99% of the crew of SpaceShip Earth ~ If you have no limits, you are out of balance with Feeling, out of balance with the Whole of life.

The search for measurable perfection in children

Once ‘Sherlock-Holmes science’ took K-12 education as its bride, what changes did he make toK-12 education? According to the character of Second Order Science, ‘Sherlock-Holmes K-12 ed’ wished to observe, measure, set objective standards and measure children according to these standards. And so began the search for measurable perfection in schools and students. Whose standards should be used? Why, standards set by scientists (NTs), not by teachers (teachers (NFs) cannot be trusted to be objective).

The Prussian influence appears here again. In the 1880s Horace Mann of the USA, visited Prussia (Germany). Horace liked their factory-style school system, saw it as the answer for the floods of immigrants to the USA. He brought the German system of K-12 education back to the US, where it took root, strongly supported by the melting-pot metaphor: cultural homogenization was beneficial, necessary and without alternative. Hard science used external measures, such as IQ tests and exams, to measure results in factory-style K-12 education. The result? Mechanized production line schooling.

Making K-12 into “hard” Science

An early effort by Sherlock Holmes to make K-12 into a hard science was IQ tests, first developed in France. As the decades went along, a mechanized approach to K-12, while attracting more and more political support and corporate investment, worked less and less well for teachers, students and families. Why? The only way schools can make K-12 into a hard science, is the same way agriculture and animal husbandry science do. That is, you treat children as herd animals. One size of education can and must fit all. Standardization.

The science approach disrupts the main purpose of K-12: evoking and developing capacity for independent rational Thinking and rational Feeling. Sherlock Holmes academics did not understand their efforts at treating children as herd animals, would inevitably have a paradoxical result. The more higher education people consume, the further they progress thruthe stages of:

Imitative Thinking ==>

Taking truth on the authority of an adult ==>

Independent-critical Thinking; and, independent critical Feeling, in the service of free choice.

This paradox came to a head in the Berkeley protests of the 1960s (1963-’64 famously). This was a series of events at the University of California in Berkeley, California. Student protests became a flash point for a larger Free Speech Movement among students. This had national implications and constituted the onset of the counterculture era ~ Wikipedia. As well, this was one of the crucial beginnings of the rightward-Regressive tilt of people like Ronald Reagan; who believed, youth was getting out of hand and needed less freedom and more discipline.

From the student viewpoint, they found themselves in conflict. On one hand their textbooksand professors urged them to think for themselves. On the other hand, a university system and corporate donors designed colleges to suppress youth expression and keep youth compliant in ‘herd mode.’

Starting in the late 1960s, colleges were turning out more Cultural Creative Progressives, graduates with more flexibility use both rational Thinking and rational Feeling. As more college campuses were built, the more Cultural Creative Progressives were graduated. Cultural Creative Progressives were even more prominent in the 1970s. They valued racial, cultural, and religious diversity. They intuited truly human ecumenical values. They understood more about how values underpinned humanism. Increasingly, student values came into conflict with corporate values and conformism.

Dg-mad paperback cvr 1977

When in the 1980s, Sherlock Holmes wanted more testing in schools, Cultural Creative Progressives wanted more choice. The stage was laid for the fight for school choice and charter schools. One of the appeals of the book, Teaching as a Lively Art (1986 I suspect writing on this began in the late 1970s) is a lovely vision of how this can be handled and managed artfully. However, Sherlock Holmes by himself was too un-sophisticated to artfully manage the tension between the herd nature of younger children and their growingindependence towards Grade 12.

Male intolerance-competition-territoriality disguised as Science

Q: What cultural context supports K-12 schools when they jettison corporate science, measurement and values?

A: It goes back to being supported by all Three Orders of Goethean Holistic Science (2014). Since GHS is very new, in colleges, this is more clumsily referred to as “the Humanities.”

Readers already exposed to the Three Sciences text will know it rectifies psychology in usefully wholesale ways. For example, what male college administrators call “science” (technology), it unmasks as simply control-mad, male intolerance-competition-territoriality. This is why in sci-fi movies (made exclusively by college educated Creatives), the white-lab coat scientist is the first to be eaten or trampled by his own monster. He gets what he deserves; Dr. Frankenstein gets his just reward. The Three Sciences We use Everyday brings Psychology to Science. It extends the science of Psychology into the softer science of Sociology. If your goal is to infuse interpersonal competency methods into STEM students, there is no other way than converging healthy interpersonal methods with STEM classroom curriculum.

Explaining Team Human ed to Sherlock Holmes

Q: How can Classic Waldorf education be explained to Sherlock Holmes?

A: As Pope Francis says, “Souls are not saved in bundles.” Each hard line materialist in K-12 has to be approached individually. Questions to ask him include, ‘How does he conceive himself as alive yet alone in a non-living universe?’

SIDEBAR ~ Is our universe dead or living?

Gunther Wachsmuth summed up the endgame of left-brain-only, quantitative-mechanistic research: “Quantitative-mechanistic research into the world has brought us to conceive of the cosmic system as a corpse in which, nevertheless, we are alive [the only active agents]. This is the conception of something unreal [a fantasy, a projection, not reality]. If we progress to conceiving of a living cosmic system, in which we also live, we begin fashioning for ourselves an image closer to reality” ~ Wachsmuth, EFForces Ch 8, P 142.

“He who recognizes [the danger of conceiving of the universe as dead], feels impelled to look beyond a one-eyed, color-blind conception of the world” (Lehrs 30).

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‘What value does he assign to Nature, women and children?’ and, ‘How does your form of K-12 schooling graduate crew more able to pilot and maintain SpaceShip Earth?’ If he can handle those questions, ask him, ‘How do you support live, sustainable, healthy group process among your faculty and administrators?’

If he can handle that question, ask him, ‘What most embodies the wisdom and genius of his preferred form of K-12 education?’

Q: Where does Classic Waldorf embody its wisdom and genius?

A: Primarily in two places:

- In its Grade 12 Graduates,

- In its Metaphors for living processes; and, lawful Unconscious Patterns. More specifically, the Land of Childhood as a process possible for teachers to cooperate and collaborate with.

SIDEBAR ~ Value of test-taking strategies

My research with Mr. Google suggests the backlash to constant high-stakes testing in K-12 schools succeeded around 2003–2005. It’s less onerous now.

What I hope is the baby is not thrown out with the dirty bathwater here too. Test-taking strategies were one of the most valuable and empowering things I improved on in my tour of 13 community colleges and universities. I practiced test-taking strategies in my spare time. Doing well on tests built up my self-confidence as a problem solver. Successful problem solving techniques generalized to other areas of my life. I hope every high school student is has ample opportunity to learn the rich resources available for problem solving.

I have fond memories of the tactics of:

- use one or more variables,

- complete a table,

- consider a special case,

- look for a pattern,

- guess and test,

- draw a picture or diagram,

- make a list,

- solve a simpler related problem,

- use reasoning,

- work backward,

- solve an equation,

- look for a formula,

- use coordinates.

Some of the above I’ve used in child study. Whoever uses the above tactics gradually comes to learn even the most opaque-seeming problems are patterned. Using problem solving routines, we perceive into the patterns of a problem. Then we can begin reframing it; or, chunking it down into terms we can process and solve for.

Helping student learners exercise schemas, tweak them, reframe them, improve them, examine them — makes their thinking and feeling stronger and more flexible.

We want learners who can make meaning and attach it to action in this world; instead of, sheeple who dully accept ready-made meanings and significance, corporations assign to the same topic.

When sheeple hear the Emperor say, “I’m wearing clothes so refined you can’t even see them!,” we want graduates who can see the Emperor is naked and speak up in their own voice.

PS: No, I never got good at GRE level graduate entry level tests with their intricate analogies. These require more skill in introverted Thinking (Ti) than I ever developed. My experience is if you can get comfortable with and have fun with test taking skills and math skills up thru pre-algebra; such as fractions with negative numbers and exponents, outside of engineering and STEM jobs, you’re likely to have problem solving skills workable for most workplace settings.

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A better psychology for K-12

In the future, I predict K-12

will get a divorce from Team Machine Psychology.

Psyche will marry again,

this time to Goethean Psychology.

K-12 will unite with the science of

experiments, uncovery, documentation

and application of natural, lawful Unconscious Patterns

applicable, practical and workable to K-12.

Classic Waldorf has uncovered perhaps up to 80% of the Unconscious Patterns pertinent to K-12 ed.

SIDEBAR ~ Two sides of “Students Will Be Able To” (SWBAT)

Attempts by Sherlock Holmes teacher trainers to make the delivery of curriculum content “scientific” in lesson planning can be misleading.

More precisely, these efforts can be out-of-balance with “using both hands.” The typical problem is being out-of-balance towards left-brain only thinking. SWBAT is one of these ideas. Teacher trainees can be damaged by this idea, mis-lead to believe 100% of their lesson planning can and should be summarized in a goal for each lesson; even to the point, for each current 45 minute period of instruction, the skill taught can and should be so clear, can and should be written on the blackboard, for any school admin or mentor teacher to walk in, see the goal, and understand what is the goal of the current lesson activity.

If you have problems even reading to end of the above paragraph, you are grasping the awful power of words and left-brain expectations to skew and sway thinking. There are two sides here tho. Again, one-sidedly we can boil down teaching and lesson planning to nor more nor less than “students will be able to” (SWBAT). If we do this excessively, we have again a wonderful example of the one-eyed color-blind Sherlock Holmes left-brain-only thinking at work. The onlooker consciousness wishes to define education in terms of observable-measurable student outcomes. The only variable tracked is whether students perform the stated skill or not. Was a particular observable skill conveyed to students — or not?

SWBAT could have saved a dozen failed Waldorf schools

Now we turn the tables: Rigorous of SWBAT could have saved a dozen Waldorf schools from closing and/or failing to grow beyond Grades Three, Four or Five (where many young schools struggle to retain students when the father sees they read poorly and can’t do math).

“Students will be able to” is EXACTLY the robust left-brain only thinking upper elementary grades math intends to stimulate in children. Age 12–18 is the sensitive period for more procedural and methodological rigor-precision. Teachers start with fractions and long division. Gradually even greater conceptual rigor-precision is needed to handle negative numbers and fractions with negative numbers and exponents. Does this progression make sense to you?

I believe SWBAT was developed in the 1980s when public school teacher unions were very strong. The unions abused their power organizing to make it less and less possible to principals to fire or replace their worst-performing laziest teacher-bureaucrats. i believe SWBAT was an effort from college teacher trainees to give school admins a tool to evaluate teachers more clearly and accurately — on the lowest level of instructional performance. SWBAT was is a “conceptual boot camp” to encourage rudimentary capacity to plan lessons.

SWBAT can help you measure what was memorized. It can help you measure skill transfer, skill development — very useful in math grades 4–12. Learning and memory are connected but not yet “using both hands.” SWBAT alone can not lead the way to a quality learning environment. SWBAT is only one thread on the loom of a quality learning environment. To use “both hands” teacher trainees need a wider loom. It won’t kill you to learn the basics, especially if you will be teaching math in any form to children.