Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner

Beyond Freedom started with Frazier’s statement.

Each of us,” [T. E.] Frazier began, “is engaged in a pitched battle with the rest of mankind. Each of us has interests which conflict with the interests of everybody else. That’s our original sin, and it can’t be helped. Now, ‘everybody else’ we call ‘society.’ It’s a powerful opponent, and it always wins. Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom.”

As Frazier mentioned, each of us has interests which conflict with the interests of everybody else. Hence, Simon and Frazier looked for a method of shaping human behavior that will build a happier and more stable society. They looked for the best behavior for the individual so far as the group is concerned.

Self-Control!

They had already worked out a code of conduct—subject, of course, to experimental modification. The code would keep things running smoothly if everybody lived up to this. Our job was to see that everybody did. With self-control, the people get the satisfaction of pleasant and profitable social relations on a scale almost undreamed of in the world at large. They get immeasurably increased efficiency, because they can stick to a job without suffering the aches and pains which soon be set most of us. They get new horizons, for they are spared the emotions characteristic of frustration and failure

As the group discussed this, there were objections against this behavioral code. Because one thing is concerned with this; the people’s:

Freedom!
“The behavior of your members is carefully sh­aped in advance by a Plan,” according to Castle, who is also a scientist against Frazier’s scientific approach. Frazier mentioned an ethical training that is completed at the age of six wherein the kids will have to hold a lollipop but they are not allowed to eat it. With this training, they will learn to recognize self-control and will able to build up tolerance. But then, Castle said that it is a display of sadistic tyranny which our group agrees because the freedom is also neglected on this situation. Though, Frazier believed that there is freedom and peace if we can build a social structure which will satisfy the needs of everyone and in which everyone will want to observe the supporting code and it is free precisely because we make no use of force or the threat of force. In addition to this, Frazier said that by using the principle of positive reinforcement, a personal sense of freedom is preserved but we find it uncertain because in achieving what Frazier wants, a careful design which controls not the final behavior but the inclination to behave—the motives, the desires, the wishes, must still be followed.

The group concluded in the discussion that we’d rather be free and learn everything, even from accidents, based on experience rather than having someone to train ourselves into someone we are not.

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This entry was published on August 19, 2014 at 1:30 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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