"The course of history must not appear to our young people as a chronicle which strings events together indiscriminately, but, as in a play, only the important events, those which have a major impact on life, should be portrayed." Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1983
"Next month an American court will hold a hearing on an agreement, signed last year by Google and representatives of authors and publishers, to make millions of books in America searchable online.... The proposed agreement... represents a novel experiment in transferring words—and an entire business model—from the printed page to the digital realm. If the agreement survives judicial scrutiny it could become a model for the management of digital-book rights in other parts of the world." Google's big book case, 9-10-09
In The Giver, an award-winning book read in elementary schools from coast to coast, a wise old man has been the sole keeper of the historical record. When a boy is chosen to take his place, the old "Giver" must select the historical experiences important enough to be supernaturally communicated to the new Receiver of Memories.
Frightening thought? Yet something similar is happening today. A colorful pamphlet I picked up at the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul announced the launching of a new program by UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Called the "Memory of the World", it--
"aims to safeguard endangered documentary heritage, make this heritage accessible to as many people as possible and increase awareness of its significance. Digitization techniques are seen as the key."
Since education and research is fast shifting from text books to computer programs, it makes sense. History lessons must be digitized before they can be taught to students around the world. But whose history and which cultures will be given priority? Who will decide?"
The UNESCO pamphlet explains that--
"Memory of the World register will list documentary heritage of world significance in a similar way to UNESCO's World Heritage List of cultural and natural sites. In this way it is hoped to raise awareness of the world's collective memory and those particular parts which are at risk.
This "collective memory" points back to the common elements in earth-centered cultures that preceded the spread of Christianity. Apparently, their idealized myths show people who supposedly lived in peace and unity through the guidance of nature spirits or a pantheistic force. Today, these earth-centered religions provide models for a new global spirituality that would unify people around the world.
Following this pattern, New Zealand has already begun filming and digitizing Maori (indigenous people whose immigration preceded Europeans) culture as part of its historical archive of memories. Its emphasis on storytelling and visual images instead of facts and books follows the pattern of former historical revision projects. "There was a new emphasis on pre-history," wrote the editors of Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts.
Here in America, the University of Minnesota is digitizing a collection of African-American literature. But "not the entire Givens collection, "explained Carol Urness, acting head of Special Collections. "We will focus on the parts that are visually interesting and important, to create a unique package that will get more people interested in and excited about the collection."
Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech Digital Library will pave the way for other projects such as "Early Maps of Russia" and "turn-of-the-century scenic backdrops from the Performing Arts archives used to promote stock scenery in Victorian, vaudeville and Masonic theaters." As in New Zealand, entertaining multicultural images are in, while positive historical facts about Christianity and Western culture are apparently being phased out.
This program fits our education goals. "Nations that stick to stale old notions and ideologies will falter and fail," said President Bush when introducing the Republican version of the international education program.. "New schools for a new world.... Re-invent--literally start from scratch and reinvent the America school."
President Clinton has proved even more eager to "reinvent" our schools in preparation for the envisioned global unity. A master at spin control, he challenges us to see beyond his flowery promises to his plan for ultimate oneness.
"Every community has places of historic value that tell our stories as Americans," said Clinton in his 1998 State of the Union address. "We should protect them. I am proposing a public private partnership to advance our arts and humanities and to celebrate the millennium by saving America's treasures, great and small. While we honor the past, let us imagine the future."
Whose past will Clinton honor? How will those images be used to imagine the "right" kind of future? Could his plan be linked to the UNESCO project?
If that suggestion sounds too outlandish, know that Clinton led the 1989 Governor's Conference on Education which chose the same six education goals for our nation that UNESCO announced the following year for its worldwide program. President Clinton added two goals to the original six before he signed our massive education program called Goals 2000 into law in 1994. The two new goals called for parental participation and teacher certification, and both were included in UNESCO's 1973 plan for lifelong learning and global citizenship. This UNESCO blueprint, written 25 years ago, includes all the main points listed in Goals 2000. Few realize that our education system is simply the U.S. branch of UNESCO's worldwide system of Education for All.
The Giver helps children imagine a community where every human resource is managed, trained, assigned jobs, and monitored by leaders with absolute control. Only the retiring Giver know the facts, and these must be transmitted through sensory experiences, not books and libraries.
Books are being phased out in England as well. Its National Monuments Record Centre is digitizing its collection of historic buildings and archeological sites. Referring to its educational programs, primary teacher Carol Rainbow told the BBC:
"Whereas before in a book there was page after page of text, and they had a problem accessing that information, now they can just look at a picture and see everything that that's happening in history without ever really having to read."
Visual and other sensory experiences based on mythical stories can create memories which surpass facts in their power to sway beliefs. "Given a few bogus details and a little prodding, about a quarter of adults can be convinced they remember childhood adventures that never happened," explained a 1997 report by the Associated Press. It described a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where leading psychologists discussed experiments that "plant false memories in the brain." These "often become as real as genuine ones - indeed, perhaps even more so."
Remember, "history lessons" that use mythical stories to manipulate the imagination, challenge old realities, plant new memories, and promote new beliefs have proven effective in totalitarian regimes. Today these tactics blend with sophisticated "information technology" that easily makes the fantasy seem more real and irresistible than true reality.
Only minds grounded in truth and facts can withstand the seductions of the new sophisticated propaganda for a new global society.
Clinton ended his 1998 State of the Union address to Congress with a vision that looks good on the surface: "We must learn together," he said. " Americans of all backgrounds can hammer out a common identity. We are many. We must be one."
UNESCO's chosen Memories of the World will surely speed us toward a "common identity" and oneness that rule out biblical truth and traditional values. Our nation seems ready to follow. A new generation of children are accepting a "collective memory" based on multicultural beliefs. Most young people have forgotten their roots. They never learned to sing God bless America. And with the passing of historical integrity, freedom itself will become history, and few will know what happened.
What can we do?
- Pray for your children, your family, your leaders, and your nation. This is spiritual war, and only God can slow the spread of evil and preserve freedom in this land.
- Teach your children to love truth and know our history so that their understanding of God, people and the world will be based on the firm foundation of truth, facts, and logic, not the shifting sands of myths, feelings, and imagination.
- Remember that true peace and unity can only be found in Jesus Christ. Through the storms of life, He has promised to be our Shepherd, our King, our Strength, and our Shelter. In Him, we are free, no matter what happens in the world. For in John 8:31-32, He promised that
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)
Read about The Giver
1. Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1919-1945, edited by J. Noakes and G. Pridham in cooperation with the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter (New York: Schocken Books, Inc., 1983), pp. 446.
2. UNESCO Newz, The Newsletter of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Issue 34, November 1996.
3. Nazism, 438.
4.Former President George Bush announcing America 2000, White House, April 18, 1991. America 2000: An Education Strategy (Washington: The U.S. Department of Education, 1991), 50, 51, 55.
5. See my recent article, "Clinton's War on Hate bans Christian Values."
6. See Brave New Schools, Chapter 2: The International Agenda and Molding Human Resources for the Global Workforce
7. See BBC web site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_60000/60547.stm
8. "Researchers easily implant seeds of bogus memories," The Arizona Republic, February 16, 1997.
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