I read the book Walden Two by BF Skinner It is about a utopian socie
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I read the book "Walden Two" by B.F. Skinner. It is about a utopian society, which is quite a controversial topic. The morality, or as some say, immorality is low, or high, depending on how one looks at it. Different people have different opinions on living in such a society; nobody is right, nobody is wrong.
"Walden Two" begins with a student, Steve Rogers, and his friend, Roger Jamnik, visiting their college Philosophy teacher from about 5 years before. They had gotten many wild ideas while in the service; the one that stuck was about utopian communities.
Steve was then reminded of his teacher, Professor Burris, and his eccentricities from class. After returning home form the service, they immediately went to speak to him about their newly found interests. Professor Burris had gone to graduate school with a "utopian minded" individual, Frazier. He was quite well known with others that had similar interests in the utopian community idea. Professor Burris decided to do his little friends a favor, though not willingly, and contacted Frazier. Within a few days, Burris had gotten a response from Frazier with an invitation to visit his already in progress utopian community.
Many were interested in going along with Steve and Roger. Their girlfriends accompanied them, along with Professor Burris. During lunch on the same day as Burris got the invitation, he ran into a fellow colleague in Philosophy teaching, Professor Castle, and invited him to come along also. In the short time the group was there, they were astounded by many unrealistic findings. Unrealistic is the adjective used because that is exactly what our society would use to describe the new ways of doing things.
To begin with, the economy in Frazier's utopian community is far different than our society will ever see. Not a single person brought home a paycheck, but all of the money earned went to the community. Everyone has the same income, the same living environment, and so on. There are no social classes in this community, therefore, no one feels better or worse than another.
This brings me to the subject of emotions. Frazier has people train the children, as babies, to have no negative emotions. There is no such thing as jealousy, envy, greed, etc. People do not praise each other for fear it would diminish the doings of another. Instead, they thank the entire community, for all helped in whatever accomplishment had just occurred. The community is a true community; they stick to each other through all.
Another way the community sticks together is in the case of children. Though a woman and man may get together, typically by the age of 16, to have a child, that child is not strictly theirs. The baby is raised in an incubator for the first year of its life, then moves to a nursery for children ages 2-4, then a more advanced nursery for the ages 5-7. After the age of 7, the child is old enough and has the required skills to go about his own way. Before the age of 7, the "mothers" and "fathers" can work in the nursery if they please to help fulfill their work requirements, but the children do not associate them as their parent.
Speaking of work requirements, the community has a very unique way of dealing with the topic of work. Since the coordinators believe it is a waste to work 8 hours a day, they organized a new plan. They broke down the outside society's typical workday and figured that for the 8 hours one works, one in the community can equal the labor load in 4 hours. Since there is no paycheck, they work for labor credits and have to have so many by the end of the year. The managers and planners of the work area adjust the required amount of labor credits as needed to keep the economy booming.
Overall, I think this was a very good book and highly recommend it. My opinion of the utopian society changed many times in reading "Walden Two", and I still don't have a set opinion on the morals, or lack of, in such a community. Though there are many controversial topics, Frazier-though a fictional character, but a bright one-had a way of
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Utopian novels, Social science fiction, Walden Two, Idealism, B. F. Skinner, Utopia, Walden
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