The Empirical Reality of Walden Two of B.F. Skinner Essay

1425 Words 6 Pages
The Empirical Reality of Walden Two

B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two is the fictitious account of an eclectic group’s visit to a modern utopian community started by psychologist T.E. Frazier. Authors often depict “perfect societies” in novels, as the subject holds wide appeal and great creative opportunity. Aldous Huxley envisioned a Brave New World; Lois Lowry wove the tale of The Giver. What sets Walden Two apart from such books? Simply stated, Skinner’s work truly does not seem as if it belongs in the fantasy or fiction genre, as the others do. The novel reads as an actual experiment, albeit one performed in a text-only version of the world. The author perfectly follows the steps of a scientific investigation throughout the plot,
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Children, however, are not robots. To ask for concrete scholastic progression and interest is simply delusional.

Walden Two’s Frazier recognizes this fact, of course. He understands that strict adherence to academic proficiency testing does not effectively extract potential from children, and he notes that the typical family unit of America fails on many levels. True to the scientific investigatory method, he hypothesizes that raising infants with the support of the entire community rather than full dedication to parental figures will eliminate the stresses caused by domestic toil. He uses the variables of clean-slated newborns and the environment in which they are raised, employing the tool of experimental research. Direct observation shows that the young indeed benefit from the situation. As described by Skinner in his novel, they develop an entire network of adults whom they can trust and rely upon while learning to interact with children of similar ages. Once they are ready for school, the process is very self-guided. Without the burdens of forced topics and dire time constrictions, the children feel free to explore their passions and find the fun in obtaining new knowledge. It is interesting to note that treatment of those struggling with learning disabilities such as ADHD includes implementing individualized educational plans, forming strong support systems, and allotting responsibilities (Thompson,

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