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Lessons from Walden Two

Lessons from Walden Two

Walden Two is a novel about a fictional community in present day America. The community is a Utopia of the highest standards: the people are happy and content, there is a minimum of hurtful emotions and activities, and everyone is healthy and prosperous. It is a stark contrast with the world we are living in today. So why don’t we change our society to match that of Walden Two, solving all of our nation’s many problems? For one thing, we do not know if a society patterned after Walden Two will work.

Walden Two is a work of fiction; such a society has never been attempted. However, even if such a society has been proven to work perfectly, our society is not prepared for such a radical change. It is human nature to resist change. Trying to immediately convert our society to Walden Two would be disastrous, even chaotic. What we can do, however, is take apart Walden Two; find the aspects that are most needed in our society today and work towards applying them. By working toward these, we become closer to the good society, even if we never fully reach it.

One of the most hazardous aspects of our society is that we are a consumer society. People are driven to spend money; the advertising industry has become a very successful and profitable industry by effectively convincing people to spend money. Many people have more money and possessions than they will ever need, while many more people will never have enough. People are driven to make as much money as possible so they can belong to a higher social class.

None of these problems exist in Walden Two; they are solved mostly by behavioral engineering. There are no social classes in Walden Two. Everyone is equal (socially and financially), and the…

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… child will draw his or her own conclusion that listening to advertising is a very poor way to make choices. Then, as the child grows up, he or she will see for his or herself proof of this idea – it does not need to be shown to the child explicitly.

The example of advertising is just one example of how a new learning system (which is a form of behavioral engineering) can be used to eliminate the problem of a consumer society. There is no reason why the same method can be used to solve all sorts of problems, for example: distribution of wealth, environmental problems, and desire for power. This is a very radical change; however, it is a lot less radical than the society proposed in Walden Two. Social change does not happen overnight; changing the learning system will take a lot of work, but it is the first step in the right direction for changing our society.

Comparing Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat

Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat.

The two short stories that I have chosen by Edgar Allan Poe are The Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat. These two stories in particular have many things in common as far as technique goes, but they do have some significant differences between the two. In this paper I will try to compare and contrast these two short stories and hopefully bring something to the readers attention that wasn’t there at first.

One of the main differences in these two short stories is the way in which the reader finds out the ending of the stories. In The Black Cat the reader finds out the ending of the story in the traditional format. At the end of the short story. However, in The Tell Tale Heart the reader knows the ending at the very beginning of the story. An advantage of having the story come full circle is that it allows the reader to try and focus on other aspects of the story such as why and how. Poe makes the ending very clear to the reader, in doing this he makes the reader read with anticipation. The anticipation that is created makes the story more enjoyable. The Black Cat is written in the more traditional sense, which has its advantages as well. A traditional way of writing is having the story flow from beginning to end. Poe is able to develop the characters as the story goes along and of course by not knowing the ending the story is full of surprises that make it unpredictable.

Another difference in technique that Poe uses between the two short stories is the way that the anger in placed. In The Tell Tale Heart the main character’s anger is placed on the direct object of whom he has problem with, but in The Black Cat the main character chooses to displace his anger on to an animal whom he had no prior qualms with. I think what Poe was trying to convey was that sometimes our anger is directed at the things that really can’t fight back, in a normal circumstance (in the story there were supernatural aspects with would not occur in a normal environment). As we read the story and see how the man is displacing his anger we realize that at one time or another we have all done this.

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