Why autism education and Cybersecurity awareness training fails and how to solve it.
By Eh’den Biber
“If you think you’re going to solve your cybersecurity awareness problem by technology, you don’t understand your problem, and you don’t understand technology” (paraphrasing Bruce Schneier)
Everyone tries to solve the lack of cybersecurity awareness, and everyone fails. They fail because they don’t understand how our we integrate “information” into what we perceive as an expansion of our perception.
The current approach tries to address the problem via focusing on the #conscious, while the truth of the matter is that we interact with the real world via the #subconscious. As if we are not living in an age of a constant and increasingly intrusive digital distortion of our perception of reality, that is attacking our subconscious and manipulating us by knowing our biases (example: fake news). As if expansion of knowledge changes our core drivers. If knowledge was able to change people perception, people wouldn’t be smoking after they see all the horrific photos on the cover of all tobacco products. We live in a digitized era. The digital world is everywhere, it is part of who “we are”. Your dopamine reward system are being hacked constantly by your mobile phone apps, it is integrated into “your” physical experience. A growth of knowledge on the conscious level does not give you any measurable impact on the subconscious, because… that’s why we call it “subconscious” – we can’t measure it. Knowledge doesn’t change perception, direct experience does. After been given the diagnose of my youngest son extreme autism I was reading and learning everything I could about it, and the impact it might have, but it didn’t allowed me to understand him, nor to influence him. I didn’t feel like he did, so I couldn’t grasp that it means to be autistic.
When it comes to cybersecurity, people need to FEEL it, directly experience it, not to read/watch/hear stories, which changes little in their subconscious space.
Why You Can’t Teach CyberSecurity
The reason why no one want to talk about the real problem in the current perception of education has to do with the fact that it can open up a Pandora box about ourselves. In a 2012 interview to wired magazine, Jonathan Haidt, a professor in social psychology, talked about his book “The Righteous Mind, an examination of the intuitive foundations of morality and its consequences”. Professor Haidt explained that our reasoning is like a rider on top of an elephant, and that the rider is actually serving the elephant. He see it as an advantage: “You need to learn how to get the rider and elephant to work together properly. Each have their separate skill, and if if you think that the rider is both in charge and deserves to rule, you’re going to find yourself screwing up, and wondering why you keep screwing up. I think maturity and wisdom occur when someone gets good integration between the rider and the elephant — and I picked an elephant rather than a horse because elephants are really big and really smart. If you see a trainer and an elephant working together it’s a beautiful sight.” (“The ‘moral dumbfounding’ behind our political choices“, Wired 2012)
Whatever is causing people to be unaware of cybersecurity is in the elephant. What the current industry is busy so much doing is to try to make people to think more critically on the way the operate in the cyber space, ignoring the fact that it was already tried and failed. Again, from the same interview, professor Haidt: “In America there was a long period where we were trying to teach kids critical thinking, and you never hear about it anymore because it didn’t work“.
You can’t teach people to think critically via knowledge, they need to feel critically.
We spend way too much on pushing information into people’s minds – from schools via universities and now in our corporate world, rather than teaching them how to experience their human existence in a way that will enrich their lives and the lives of others. Cybersecurity ARRIVES when one is ready to embrace it, ready to change their life perception about the world, it requires a transformation into becoming a more aware human being.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve tried teaching my son, who have an extreme case of autism, and he struggled so much. He is an amazing being, a love creature, and he really tries and wants to succeed, but he struggle so much. What works with him is a totally different approach, which is to bring him into the now, and in the now there is a proven increased performance in retaining memory and better self-regulation, and higher coordination and better communication, and positive mental state, and pain control, and trauma management, and so much knowledge as well, afterward.
For children with autism, the “standard” ways of teaching are useless, so alternative methods were developed. ABA for example, one of the first methods of working with people with autism, gives a limited ability, but for sure does not allow an autistic individual to be able to live and survive alone in our society without assistance. It’s practically like trying to train an animal, with endless repetition, which is a very Skinner like perception of education.
The problem is that we have a huge population that suffers from a form of cyber autism. You try to teach them, they forget. They ignore you. They get into a tantrum. They will exhibit all the symptoms of autism, but toward the cyber world – what it is, the good of technology and the bad in it.
It is not going to be solved via “knowledge shortcuts”, or pills that makes you cyber aware. It require a deep work, a readiness to let go of believes and habits that one got accustomed to, to pass via the trauma of realising how much the digital world dictates our daily life, including our private lives, and teach them how to perceive reality in a way that will end up in a better life experience. To allow them to be more informed citizens in our democracy, which I value so deeply.
The majority of the cybersecurity awareness industry is at a stage the majority of the people who consume it are. It takes primitive, misguided, destructive, and uses old and obsolete science as a basis to it. It doesn’t take into account the understanding we gained about the brain hemispheres, about trauma healing, about integration, about consciousness, about states of flow.
Call for Wisdom
Cyber security has a problem NOT with lack of knowledge, but a lack of wisdom. Wisdom is the ability of one to perceive beyond the limitation of their knowledge. Wisdom cannot be taught, it is perceived. In order to perceive the cyber world in a different way, one is required to be in a state very different methods than the ones currently being used for “cybersecurity awareness” training. I call for #CybersecurityWisdom, now.
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