No. 67
Author Admin / 2017-11-17
11. Walden, classes of 10th and 12th, Nov.

11. Science Walden (사이언스 월든)

Walden Two (Design of Scientific Utopia)
from the novel of B.F. Skinner, Walden Two (1948):
Skinner wrote a novel, named Walden Two, after the Walden of Henry David Thoreau, in
1948, when the second world war was ended. Even with degradation of humanity
through the two hugh wars, pride as citizens of a victorious country (e.g., USA) was
surely spread, and majority of world goods and money were actually in the country,
which might bring hopeful outlooks. Then, Skinner, for some reasons, decided to write
the Walden Two, which brings some interests to us who are living in present modern
times. Value of the novel seems rated high at present rather than at the time Skinner
wrote it. He might be either prophet, a man of clairvoyance, or a man who fully
understands patterns of human behaviors and has standards of human judgment for
their behaviors, as based on his behaviorism.
Skinner made, in his novel, an alternative small village not religiously or philosophically
(like the utopia of Thomas More (1478-1535), but scientifically based on his behaviorism;
he hoped to give reality community body to his designed village, through applying his
mechanisms of human behaviorism. He would like to design the Walden Two by
minimizing unnecessary works to be done, with 4 hours per day being believed to be
enough for living. Points are given to who does the 4-hour work, then, the points enable
residents in the community to be able to do every living, including eating, living (housing,
clothing, medical service), and other cultural activities; 4 points per day and 1,200 points
per year are enough for living. There are, of course, various jobs to contribute, such as
scientists, medical doctor, and others. He was also interested in how his science of
education can be operated in the community. There is no strong leadership, but only
designers and planning committee (6 persons) for 10 years. They get 600 points from
the committee works, so, they must do other physical works as well.
Skinner says what we really need is technology of behavior, for the community, not
freedom and free will of human; the latter two have been trusted as reality of human
through a long history of humankind, but, even people do so, but, those are just
hallucination under a more big scale of control system, such as government or worldwide
economy, which we are facing in 2012, with global economic crisis and the new
liberalism, for example. He believed that people are behaving with own free will, but,
actually do under some controls, like machine, of economic, education, and politics. And,
he also believed free will is one of elements of technology of behavior, as based on the
principles of reinforcements (reinforcer contingence) which we discussed in previous
In his novel, Skinner emphasized importance of science of education. He thinks people
can be happy only if condition (or environment) to be happy is given; happiness itself can
not be obtained, so is education; it was behaviors controlled in the community, by
appropriately designed eduction system, otherwise behaviors are subject to other
controls affected by the other systems, such as politics and economics (locally and
globally). Control cannot be helped, thus, we have to select, which is his science of
behaviorism. With his eduction science, right after birth (by the way, marriage is
recommended at around 16~18 years old), all children are brought up in a group away
from their parents, to protect bad effects (i.e., any type of control) from parents, not
necessary with some regular curriculums, but, flexible programs based on technology of
teaching underlying the eduction system.
There have been, of course, criticism on the Walden Two. Typically, there is one telling
whether a test of scientific utopian with only 1,000 residents can be extended to larger
cities, like Seoul and New York. There may be two answers to the question, the first is
that the test is a pilot test. Test is test for the actualization of an idea, with science, in this
utopian community. In a small community, it is relatively easy to find solutions to
fundamental problems we are facing, such as extremely different distribution of wealth,
job opportunity, population control, and environmental problems. With a large community,
competition occurs more severely, with more significant difficulty, with respect to analysis
of the problems. Instead, alternative a net type of combined relatively small communities
may work to find a solution, with affluence with less consumption in a small community,
with much simpler occasions structurally, thus, behavioral principles of contingencies of
reinforcements can be more easily applied. And, the second answer is to ask in return to
the question, by saying "Is big one always effective or better?"
Bringing Issue of Human in Science
If we select one that in great danger, it might be human itself over other things also in
danger, such as environment in earth, energy supply, and world-wide economics. Even
with this problem, man (human) has not been studied thoroughly, especially scientifically,
as researches of man has been generally considered as not scientific with certain
scientific logics and/or grounds. From this, many studies of natural science, focusing on
our Nature crises of organisms, climate change, and others, have been investigated
using various factors except man itself (influence of industrial and other human activities
were considered though); please note there is big difference in characteristics between
man itself as variable and influence of man's activity on nature.
Scientific research of man itself should be designed and conducted with emphasis of its
relations and interactions with nature and also human society, with helps of psychology
but considering its limitation; first of all, please remind of two different psychological
ways to touch the man, which are naturalism (1. materialism, 2. spiritualism) and social
psychology. We also have to acknowledge we can not use human mind (such as feeling)
for our scientific study of man itself, instead, we can get to man in indirect ways, through
act and behavior. Lucien Seve differentiates characteristics of the two, in his book (1974)
that behavior is concrete activity of the subject and objective outcome for society, while,
act concept includes something important for values of society (i.e., social implication).
Prior to idea of analysis with act, for man, proposed by Lucien Seve, there was other
similar attempts which were experimentally investigated with animals, such as Pavlovism
and Behaviorism (Skinner). Pavlovism successfully proved dialectical materialism and
founded for the first time a new psychology, in agreement with Marxism, through
dialectical materialism. But, Seve developed his own and very distinct theory of
personality, with a few hypotheses, and tried to bring up the issue of man itself, into
science, to overcome a crisis of human alienation and powerful control of human by
capital. He did not use human mind and feeling to recover human personality as he
defined personality as enormous accumulation of the most varied acts through time;
here, his act concept is somewhat different from behavior (of Skinner), in a few points
that act includes something socially important, and is concrete activity of the subject,
objective outcome for society, and decisive for the individual himself. Instead, he (Seve)
tries to (or trusts) recover and newly build personality by making purification of capacity
of human acts in both individuality and society perspectives. Here, capacity is defined as
ensemble of actual potentialities, innate or acquired, to carry out any act whatever and
whatever its level.
We may think and decide how to act when we face problems or feel needs; i.e., acts
correspond to problems or needs. When either similar or the same needs occur, also
similar acts are conducted by us, but, with different purpose or for different products from
the previous cases (with the same need, different product). Then, similar scenario again;
primary, secondary, tertiary, and so on. The acts are accumulated to be human
personality, and new capacities are required to reproduce personality for updated needs.
In general, as the stage goes up, the level transits from individuality to sociality levels

(i.e., socialized personality).