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Walden Two Reaction Paper

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Walden Two Reaction Paper


Walden Two introduces us to the concepts of positive punishment, classical conditioning, and shaping through the utopian community of Walden Two. Walden Two takes a dive into behavior modification through these concepts to create a society that is considered ideal. The main characters of Walden Two let us delve deep into the inner workings of this “utopia” through their criticisms and contrasting views. The characters expose the flaws and the successes of behavior modification in pursuit of an ideal community.

Identifying With the Characters

Walden Two introduces us to seven characters that have contrasting qualities. Of the seven characters introduced, only three of them are really significant. Frazier, Castle, and Burris are the three most significant characters. They all have contrasting views, and through these views they point out the successes and flaws of this utopian society. Frazier and Castle are two opposites while Burris seems to be more of a halfway point between the two personalities. Frazier is the founder of Walden Two, but is surprisingly hypocritical and not the “ideal” member. Castle is a colleague of Burris, and the opposite of Frazier. Castle tries to point out every reason why the society will not work to Frazier throughout the book. He is close-minded and does not plan to stay at Walden Two. Burris is a college professor and who we see the novel through. Burris is very open-minded and courting the possibility of staying at Walden two while at the same time being pretty skeptical of Walden Two. Burris and Frazier also have some tension (Burris dislikes Frazier). This tension does not affect the decision Burris makes to stay at Walden Two. Burris is the type of person that I can identify with. Burris is very open-minded and does not discriminate his views of Walden Two based upon his dislike for Frazier. He makes his decision based upon his experience there.

The “Real World”

The economy Walden Two is reminiscent of communism/socialism. There are a few important differences, but the basic principle is the same. In socialism, the community is responsible for the distribution of wealth. In Walden Two, the community is responsible for the distribution of labor. Money is not used, whereas labor has been replaced in a work for credits system. This type of system can only work in a small scale. The people of Walden Two are chosen to be a part of the community, and are usually a good fit for the community. People who aren’t fit for the community do not join, or leave. The idea of sharing, being self sufficient, and having your needs taken care of with minimal amount of labor may appeal to many people. Using positive punishment, Walden two was able to control people’s behaviors. The belief is that the behaviorism is making the people of Walden Two happy. Burris explores this idea when he asks a woman if she is happy. She responds with the answer that she is indeed happy by listing basic human needs and a few other activities. We never really can know (neither does she) if she is deeply happy. She seems happy, and that was enough for Burris. If you are being conditioned to be happy from a young age, are you truly happy? If you are never unhappy, how can you tell if you happy? This is one major flaw with this society. They people seem to not know what being happy really is. Being unhappy is what makes being happy so special. If you take away one end of the spectrum, you will never truly experience happiness. It’s the moment of when nothing goes our way that we learn the most about who we are. It’s easy to ride the wave. When that wave comes crashing down on us it’s how we handle it that defines who we are. If you are always riding the wave, you can’t really know yourself, or be truly happy.

Practical “Real World”

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