B.F. Skinner, in his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity, has written a work which is frightening because of its unawareness of what it means to be a human being. I feel as if the book were written by a robot or by a human being who is missing part of his heart and/or part of his soul. Not only does Skinner seem like he is a machine, he wants to turn everybody else into the same sort of machine:
What we need is a technology of behavior. . . . A behavioral technology comparable in power and precision to physical and biological technology is lacking, and those who do not find the very possibility ridiculous are more likely to be frightened by it than reassured. That is how far from "understanding human issues" in the sense in which physics and biology understand their fields, and how far we are from preventing the catastrophe toward which the world seems to be inexorably moving (5)
In other words, Skinner has a plan which could save the world, a plan which will be based on his theory of behaviorism, and yet the world is simply too stupid to realize that he has come to save us from ourselves. His experiments with pigeons and other lowly animals have led him to believe that human beings can be shaped behaviorally through conditioning and that once that is accomplished, under his brilliant auspices, the world will be transformed into a paradise and the human race will become one happy family.
I cannot help but think of the movie "Stepford Wives," in which the wonders of technology were applied to unruly women who emerged from the process as obedient slaves to their husbands. I personally would not trust Skinner to train my parakeet, much less myself or any other human being. How can I trust a man who refers to my justified fear of his idiotic and grandiose scheme as an indication of how far I am "from 'understanding human issues'" (5).
Of course, to me, it is Skinner who has no understanding of human issues, as he tries to ap...