NEWS arrow The Leipzig Connection: Sabotage of the US Educational System

The Leipzig Connection: Sabotage of the US Educational System

Written by Paolo Lionni

"Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was born in 1832 in Neckarau, in a small town in southern Germany. Wundt entered the university at Tubingen when he was 19, transferred to Heidelberg after half a year, and graduated as a medical doctor from the university in 1856. He stayed on at Heidelberg for the next seventeen years, working first as a professor's assistant, and later as a professor himself, in the field of psychology. Psychology, at that time, meant simply the study (ology) of the soul (psyche), or mind."

"In 1874, Wundt left Heidelberg to take a position as professor of philosophy at Zurich. He stayed there for only a year, and then accepted a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig, in Germany. He was to remain at Leipzig for the rest of his academic career, eventually being appointed rector of the university. Wundt died in 1920."

"Those are some of the vital statistics. What they omit is that Wundt was the founder of experimental psychology and the force behind its dissemination throughout the western world."

"To Wundt a thing made sense and was worth pursuing if it could be measured, quantified, and scientifically demonstrated. Seeing no way to do this with the human soul, he proposed that psychology concerns itself solely with experience."

"Wundt asserted that man is devoid of spirit and self-determinism. He set out to prove that man is the summation of his experiences, of the stimuli which intrude upon his consciousness and unconsciousness.

Before Wundt, the subject of psychology was largely philosophical in nature and dealt with the spirit, soul and mind. Wundt 's activity "redefined psychology as a physiological rather than a philosophical subject." Basically, everything previously considered to be a fundamental part of man - spirit, mind, soul, feelings, will, intention, hopes, and ideas - came to be ignored and explained as only being a response to external stimuli and physiology. Per Lionni, "What was will? For Wundt, will was the direct result of the combination of perceived stimuli, not an independent, individual intention as psychology and philosophy had, with some notable exceptions, held up to that time".

There is nothing inherently wrong or incorrect about investigating the "mind" scientifically, using standard methods of theorizing, testing, and observing results until a workable understanding is arrived at. I am not "anti-science" or against careful analysis. The problem with "modern" psychology and psychiatry is that the "mind" has been ignored, NEVER investigated as a thing in itself, and instead, genetics, physiology and the environment have been "examined" ad nauseam and incorrectly explained to be the source of all Man's problems. The theories and beliefs which existed before the advent of Wundt, while largely philosophical, and often vague, opinionated and confusing, did often suffer from a lack of "scientific basis", but they at least recognized the "mind" as an entity with it's own functions and workings (as distinct from physiology and the environment).

The "mind" has been studied extensively throughout the centuries in what are today called religions such as Hinduism, Sufiism and Buddhism. The material is often confusing, and has become interminably entwined with religious beliefs and ideas making it difficult to separate the basic psychological data from opinion and pure fantasy. An involvement with any of these traditional subjects, or more modern subjects, such as Rosicrucianism or Scientology, to mention only a few, can usually make it quite obvious to any serious student that the mind 1) exists and, 2) has it's own nature, functions and capabilities quite separate and distinct from the body or physiology. Western Man's failure to understand the truths in these subjects has been a severe loss for us all.

It is important to understand the magnitude in change of viewpoint which occurred with Wundt's ideas.

The spreading of Wundt's ideas had the effect of minimizing and erasing the notion of man as being or having an inner "personality", soul, or spirit. You are not viewed as a person with thoughts, feelings, ideas, will, hopes, and dreams. You are never appealed to on that level. Your "mind" is ignored. YOU are ignored. Those in control of education, psychology, and psychiatry largely view man as an animal to be controlled and manipulated. They view YOU as an animal. You are thought of as a piece of meat to be placed in suitable environments and controlled accordingly. This is the "modern", "scientific" approach.

The modern scientist wishes to find out how (human) phenomena behave regardless of his own personal wishes, predilections and prejudices. He idealizes impersonal objectivity. The problem and flaw to this is that the nature of Man, at it's very root source, involves personal wishes, predilections, prejudices and much more. The scientist would like to "figure Man out" and explain Man as some machine susceptible to simple rules and laws, so Man can be predicted (and controlled) - science has no other purpose. But any man need only change his mind, set upon a new course of behavior, and violate every notion of modern behavioral engineering. What the modern scientist fails to understand is that any man can, at any moment, choose to change his mind at any time, regardless of environment, heredity or biochemistry. I am sure this drives them wild, as it prevents them from exerting ultimate control - which some of them admit desiring above all else.

Past and current theories about man's soul, spirit, or "self" involve a wide range of religious beliefs, psychic phenomena, mystical writings, philosophical speculation, and today, New Age ideas. Your agreement or disagreement with these subjects is not the point. The point is that whatever you and your mind actually ARE, and we don't need to know exactly, the realm of the mind has been relegated to no importance at all by modern psychological theories and psychiatric practices. This is wrong, scientifically and morally, and has had dire consequences.

See the Definition of Psychology the for more on this.

Personally I don't like being told I am an animal, only subject to environmental forces, with no self-determinism and no personal responsibility. I find it absurd and demeaning that a "science" can decide and tell me my thoughts, feelings, ideas, intentions, hopes and dreams are of no value and don't exist as far as they are concerned. This IS the practical result of applying modern behavioral and psychiatric theories to real life situations. If they were simply a bunch of philosophizing pedants, cloistered off in an office in some major university, it wouldn't matter, but the problem is that this group, with their degrading viewpoint of man, currently enjoys much power, control and influence over education, health care, medicine, government, police, and social institutions.

"Wundt established the new psychology as a study of the brain and the central nervous system. From Wundt's work, it was only a short step to the later redefining of the meaning of education. Originally, education meant the drawing out of a person's innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc. - the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve. To the experimental psychologist, however, education became the process of exposing the student to "meaningful" experiences so as to ensure desired reactions:

" ...learning is the result of modifiability in the paths of neural conduction... The situation-response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the really influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurons, sequence in time, belongingness, and satisfying consequences.

"If one assumes (as did Wundt)that there is nothing there to begin with but a body, a brain, and a nervous system, then one must try to educate by inducing sensations in that nervous system. Through these experiences, the individual will learn to respond to any given stimulus, with the "correct" response."

"Wundt's thesis laid the philosophical basis for the principles of conditioning later developed by Pavlov (who studied physiology in Leipzig, in 1884, five years after Wundt had inaugurated his laboratory there) and American behavioral psychologists such as Watson and Skinner; for lobotomies and electro-convulsive therapy; for schools more oriented toward the socialization of the child than toward the development of intellect; and for the emergence of a society more and more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desires at the expense of responsibility and achievement."

(end of chapter 1)


Wundt's theories had the effect throughout all philosophical and psychological thought of over-emphasizing the environment and it's effects on the person. Of course, it is very true that the environment and one's experiences do play an important role in a person's development and life. Nobody can deny the effect the external world has on each person. Sometimes the role of the environment is major as with traumatic experiences, and has lasting deep-seated effects. But the error in thinking here had the effect of totally ignoring that thing which the environment acted upon - the person himself. Instead of paying attention to and investigating the nature of that which is acted upon and which responds (a mind), with an aim to solving, helping and improving individual minds, the modern approach is to exert control on individuals to bring about social order.

There is a something there which is aware, perceives, has a viewpoint, feels, laughs, cries, intends, imagines, hopes and dreams. Something is there and is self-conscious. It is NOT all stimulus-response patterns imprinted on your genes and "nerve pathways" (whatever that means...) by environmental influences. Reducing all of these things and the "person" to nothing has been the direct result of the influence of Wundt's theories and practices.

Qualities and functions of a mind, such as thinking, imagining, analyzing, placing attention, will, conceptualizing, moral choices, and intention are "things" which have been largely ignored, never adequately investigated, and omitted completely from the current "study of the mind" known as modern psychology. Doesn't it seem strange to anyone besides me that the "official" study of the mind (modern psychology) currently has very little to do with the mind and never in it's history adequately examined the make-up and functioning of the mind? (See A Legitimate Study Science of the Mind)

Ignoring the inner mental and emotional functioning of man, psychology has instead concentrated on observable physical behavior of the human organism almost exclusively. The environment (as cause) and the resultant human behavior (as effect) are the current accepted way to view and understand man and society. Who cares how YOU fit into the picture! Your personal thoughts, feelings, intentions, and abilities don't exist to them within their "professional and scientific" view.

The elitist psychiatrists, sociologists, and educators have no moral problem with doing anything at all to you as long as it brings about "world peace", "harmony", "order" or any of the other vague conceptual generalities they concern themselves with while completely ignoring the actual individual human being. Under the "modern" view of psychology man is to be controlled because he is an animal understandable only and completely by stimulus-response factors.

The philosophical basics of Wundt's theories have spread throughout all subjects and form a subtle ideological underpinning to the accepted views of the modern world. It is part of the "world-view" unconsciously accepted by most people. It is important to realize these ideas and related practices are invalid, severely biased, based upon opinion presented as fact, and have had disastrous effects upon modern society in the areas of morality, crime, education, family, politics, economics, and health.

Since Wundt and his successor's theories deny self-determinism, it naturally follows that there is no possibility (within this system of thought) for the notion of personal responsibility. The actual source of responsibility, creativity, originality, morality, decency, integrity, and even devotion, is swept under the rug - you.

If a person's decency, responsibility, creativity and self-determinism are acknowledged and encouraged, these things have a tendency to appear and expand. But reversely, if these things are ignored and denied, they atrophy and die seeming to never have existed at all in the first place. This is one of those funny things about the mind, which gives it a very different type behavior than anything else in the visible universe of experience - if you treat a mind one way, it acts a certain way, and if you treat it another way, it then acts in another way. What is it really then? That depends more on how it is considered and treated than on any "objective and scientific" understanding about it.

Therefore, the implementation of oppressive psychiatric theories and practices has actually caused situations which tend to "prove" the theories out. If you take any 100 people, place them in a prison, deny them freedom, treat them with no respect, deny all human decency, and allow no education, joy or creativity, any observer of these people will come to the conclusion that Man inherently is degraded, hopeless, and undeserving of respect and decent treatment.

Similarly, spreading the belief that man is nothing more than an animal only to be appropriately controlled has had the effect of creating a reality where this seems to be true! Watch what you believe and practice - it tends to create the situation whether actually true or not.

Environment does influence people. But it's not the whole picture. And it's not an approach which will uplift Man and his societies. Decent, uplifting, positive, and nurturing environments tend to result in happy, successful people. Negative, decadent, immoral, and self-denying environments tend to result in unhappiness and failure. The implementation of psychological theories and psychiatric practices lead directly to the second example above.

Lastly, the current behavioral approach to psychology implies someone or somebody to control the behavior. Who decides what children should do and act like? Who decides what ideas should be allowed to exist and which shouldn't? Who decides what is desirable as a future society?

I guarantee that the answer to these questions does not include you or your opinions.

Following are links to information from other chapters in Lionni's book:

Chapter 2. The Impress - Wundt produces the first generation of researchers, professors, and publicists in the new psychology, all forwarding the new notion of the "physiological man" devoid of responsibility and creative capability. Cast of characters include G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, and Edward Lee Thorndike.

Chapter 3. Positioning - American James Keen Cattell, Wundt's first assistant, returns to the U.S., ending up as Columbia University's professor of psychology and head of the new psychology department. He begins numerous publications promoting the new psychology. Teacher's college, a part of Columbia, becomes the leading trainer of teachers, and heavily influences the direction of education in the United States.

Chapter 4. Mice and Monkeys - Edward Lee Thorndike, first generation trainee of Wundt's protégés, joins Columbia Teacher's College staff and becomes the first psychologist to study animal behavior in an experimental psychology lab. He applies the same techniques to children and youth. Within half a century juvenile delinquency would run rampant, illiterates would pour out of the schools, teachers would no longer learn how to teach, and generation after generation of adults, themselves cheated out of the fruits of a good education, would despair of any solution to the morass of "modern" education.

Chapter 5. A Gift From God - It took hundreds of millions of dollars to turn American education around from good to bad in that short period of time. Enter into the picture John D. Rockefeller, Sr., the richest existing vein of American wealth and philanthropy. Forming this alliance the new psychology won for itself the backing of almost unlimited funds.

Chapter 6. Molding Hands - John D. Rockefeller Jr. hooks up with Frederick T. Gates, starts the General Education Board, and begins a massive program of educational change throughout the American school system. Gates' writes, "In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands". The elitist aim at complete social control is obvious. Read this section - it gets worse.

Chapter 7. Round Numbers - A large grant from Rockefeller allows Columbia to expand facilities, train more teachers, and secure it's position as the "leader" of educational psychology. John Dewey, after a decade of experimenting with children, joins Columbia in a joint membership of the philosophy and education departments. With other key staff Dewey set the ball rolling for an amalgam of "educational" psychology and socialism - enter "progressive education". Emanating from Columbia's Teacher's College for the next half century, it slowly became commonplace in every school in the country.

Chapter 8. A Showplace - Abraham Flexner, ex-Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning researcher, joins the Education Board. Educated at Johns Hopkins University, he and Gates secure $1.5 million in a Rockefeller endowment for the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Gates was strongly interested in German medicine (chemical-oriented), and was opposed to the traditional homeopathic medicine used by Rockefeller's personal physician. Over the years (until 1960), the General Education Board would give a total of over $96 million to medical schools which, like Johns Hopkins, disregarded naturopathy, homeopathy and chiropractic in favor of medicine based on the use of surgery and chemical drugs. In this way, the Rockefeller family fortune funded German theories and practices in psychology, education and medicine. With little competition against this massive fortune, these ideas spread across America, and German medicine and psychology eventually formed the merger you know today as modern psychiatry!

Note: Rockefeller money has directed the evolution of and currently controls large segments of the banking, oil, and drug industries; chemical and surgical medicine, psychology, psychiatry and education. That's a tremendous amount of control and involvement for one group! What if the theories and practices they funded and continue to fund are fundamentally flawed and don't lead to the best possible situations in the various fields mentioned? Well, the views in most of those areas ARE fundamentally flawed and they DON'T lead to the best solutions in "mental health", education, medicine, sanity and happiness. But, most likely, despite all "humanitarian" posturing, they were never intended to.

Chapter 9. Favoring Breezes - The last stand against progressive education on the floor of the US Senate. Progressive education spreads rapidly after 1917. Wundtian psychology and Rockefeller money combine in a "model school" whose goal was "the construction of new curricula and the development of new methods". Rockefeller's own children attend the Lincoln school with the result Laurance wishes he could have learned to read and write better, and Nelson admits reading is for him a slow and laborious process. The Lincoln School closes and Teacher's College replaces it with the Institute of School Experimentation.

Chapter 10. A New Social Order - Heirs of Wundtian educational psychology aim to influence the social attitudes, ideals and behavior of the coming generations, in an attempt to eradicate capitalism, agreement with competition, and "exaltation of the profit motive". Education's role further involves changing ideas on a mass level to bring about a new social order. Attacks on Maria Montessori's emphasis on individuality and personal attainment. The direction of US education directed by the progressive movement through control of textbooks and educational testing. General Education Board continues to fund Teacher's College, as well as the Progressive Education Association, the National Education Association (NEA), and others to the tune of $324 million. Despite the billions of dollars foundations and now the federal government also pour into education, the situation with education continues to worsen. What's wrong with this picture?

Research Notes - Idea of mass (public) education as a state-supported agency for direct social control and manipulation. Government involvement with education not the real problem, but the "progressive" educational ideas held by those directing the tremendous education funds are the true problem. Both national leaders and the public have been miseducated on the subject of education for years.

Get The Book!

The Leipzig Connection by Paolo Lionni - the complete book with more details & facts about the scam known as modern education and psychology.

Suggested Reading List - the Demise of the Educational System - OBE (Outcome-Based Education), NEA (National Education Association), educational psychology, German psychology & influences, demise of public education, educational sabotage, Wundt, Pavlov, Dewey, Skinner, Watson.


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Last Updated Sunday, 17 February 2013


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