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One of the most overrated pieces of literature by an academic despot, control freak and I will go even further to say psychopath, who had the nerve to plagiarize the titles from works of true geniuses like Henry David Thoreau's masterpiece on freedom and George Orwell's prophetic and insightful dystopia. This man was clearly jealous of greater men than he, and wanted to lambast the works of freedom and works of warnings against losing those freedoms to portray a scientific dictatorship by Behaviorism as optimal, while denying one of the greatest essence of human existence; free will.
He's one of the reasons we have our psychopathic and pragmatic compulsory school system producing nothing but dumbed down, apathetic and conformist children ever in the history of mankind.
The fact his piece of garbage has so many high ratings is evidence that human freewill, dignity and self autonomy are truly things of past generations. Our ancestors would roll in their graves if they could see us now when they saw this scientific elite that Skinner represented for what they were; despots and megalomaniacs hellbent on controlling human thought and human behavior.
This is the man who devised much of the psychology teachers are trained in before they graduate.
“If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that’s necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom.”
― B.F. Skinner
“Going out of style isn't a natural process, but a manipulated change which destroys the beauty of last year's dress in order to make it worthless.”
― B.F. Skinner, Walden Two
“We can achieve a sort of control under which the controlled, though they are following a code much more scrupulously than was ever the case under the old system, nevertheless feel free. They are doing what they want to do, not what they are forced to do. That's the source of the tremendous power of positive reinforcement-- there's no restraint and no revolt. By careful cultural design, we control not the final behavior, but the inclination to behave-- the motives, desires, the wishes.”
― B.F. Skinner, Walden Two
"We must delegate control of the population as a whole to specialists——to police, priests, teachers, therapies, and so on, with their specialized reinforcers and their codified contingencies"
― B.F. Skinner
"It is a mistake to suppose that the whole issue is how to free man. The issue is to improve the way in which he is controlled"
― B.F. Skinner

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A genius idea for a functional utopia. Also, an easy and accessible read.

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While this is not a novel in the conventional sense, I did find the archtypes represented by the main characters quite compelling. Steve and Mary are normal working class people. Roger and Barbara are a notch or two higher, but not members of the elite. Roger has a social conscious, Barbara does not. Burris is the man of science and probably represents the perspective of Skinner himself. Castle is the social science academic, concerned with ideals rather than real life. In one sense, he is the most utopian of the lot. Frazier is the social reformer who does not have patience with either the careful procedures of science or the ideals of academia. To put him into Skinner's youth, he is the labor organizer, the anarchist, the marxist, the revolutionary.
Skinner paints Walden Two as a real accomplished fact, most likely to confound the debates of academia. It is stunning that this work was published in 1948. It anticipates the recently emerged psychology of happiness and in some ways behavioral economics and even some of the recent advances in brain science. Skinner has a keen eye for the shortcomings of conventional government, economics and the academy. But I think he remained the scientist to the end in his decision to have Burris forego membership at Walden Two.

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This was a very inspirational book, and considering the time that it was written, was even a little ahead of its time.
The well thought out arguments it presented were answered in a very thoughtful way. Great read.

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