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Walden Two is a novel published in 1948 by B. F. Skinner, who intended it to describe a utopia. Others have claimed that the society described in the novel is a dystopia, noting its similarity to cults.
Walden Two describes a fictional community designed around behavioral principles. The fictional utopian commune thrives on a level of productivity and happiness of its citizens far in advance of that in the outside world due to its practice of scientific social planning and the use of operant conditioning in the raising of children. Walden Two champions a lifestyle that doesn't foster competition and social strife and doesn't support war. It favors and encourages a lifestyle of minimal consumption, rich social relationships, personal happiness, satisfying work and leisure. The community is minimally consuming and minimally polluting, and it is egalitarian in the division of work. Its most controversial aspect is the communal raising of children and the educational system, which teaches patience and how to handle destructive emotions such as jealousy along with normal academic subjects.
- It is now widely recognized that great changes must be made in the American way of life [...] The choice is clear: either we do nothing and allow a miserable and probably catastrophic future to overtake us, or we use our knowledge about human behavior to create a social environment in which he shall live productive and creative lives and do so without jeopardizing the chances that those who follow us will be able to do the same. Something like a Walden Two would not be a bad start.
Actual communities based on or inspired by Walden Two that continue to thrive today include:
The book can be found by the ISBNs:
- ISBN 0-87220-779-X (Hardcover)
- ISBN 0-87220-778-1 (Paperback)
- ISBN 0-02-411510-X (Mass market paperback)
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