Walden Two

Walden Two

Postby Matt » Wed May 04, 2011 7:46 pm

I believe that following World War 2 many people had a sense that there was an opportunity to build a new future. The war was one of the most horrific episodes in human history, but the thin silver lining around it was the sense of empowerment it gave many individuals. From the many women who were able to join the workforce for the first time to the working and middle class men who developed a strong sense of their own efficacy, the war changed perspectives on what was possible and desirable for society.

One interesting exploration of the new possibilities was a novel written several years after the war by behavioral psychologist BF Skinner. The novel, called Walden Two, describes the establishment and operation of a new kind of community based on rational precepts. Several real life communities were established based on the fictional community in the novel. See the Wikipedia page about the novel for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walden_Two There were many flaws inherent in that community's design. Some are apparent to anyone with a basic understanding of the history of the second half of the twentieth century. Other flaws were revealed when that community's philosophies were deliberately or unwittingly put into practice. I don't recommend the book here because I believe a Walden Two-style of community to be a good idea, but because of the idea it embodies that it is possible for people to design a new kind of community, and because the failure of the real-life communities it inspired is an effective warning to anyone who might think that we can design up front a Sotrusozer community that will not need to constantly review and adapt its policies in order to survive, thrive, and provide to its inhabitants the things which they were seeking.
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