Burrhus Fredrick (BF) Skinner
Burrhus Fredric Skinner, AKA BF Skinner, was one of the most influential American psychologists. He was born March 20, 1904 and died August 18, 1990. Skinner was also a philosopher and a radical behaviorist. He is the great mind many theories including operant conditioning.

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BF Skinner Source: Wikipedia

The one aspect of Skinner that I am going to focus on Walden Two, a book he wrote near the end of World War II. The title obviously shows that it is a reference to Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden. Walden Two is a book about a community named “Walden Two”. In the book a solider just returned from war invites his friends and former professor to this community. It is supposedly a group of 1000 members. The designer of the community explains the happiness and industriousness they have experienced by using behavioral techniques. They all live communally and eat in common dining spaces. The community also converted the competitive urge of parents to favorite their own children to an equal concern for the children by raising them as a community opposed to as a family. Both men and women worked, and they earned weighted work credits. This allowed them to work for short amounts of time at undesirable jobs and longer amounts of time at more desirable jobs. All members are conditioned to be productive and happy from an early age and all aspects of the community have been planned. They also self governed and it seems to me like they believe that anything can be changed if it needs to be.

Obviously, Walden Two is Skinner’s creation of a community with very different qualities than the world he lived in at the time. He portrayed his beliefs into this book. It has many transcendentalist traits such as nonconformity, optimism and confidence in human perfectibility, self-reliance, and respect and importance of nature.

Walden Two, like I earlier said, is a direct reference to Thoreau’s Walden. Nonconformity is one of the most obvious ideas of transcendentalism in the novel. The community is completely different from any thing else at the time of the novel. Also, the Walden Two community demonstrates self-reliance beautifully. The members of the community rely on each other as a whole and do everything communally. It is an example of self-reliance because the community doesn’t rely on any other higher community or person. They grow their own food, govern themselves, and do only what they see as fit for themselves. This also demonstrates importance and respect of nature. They were concerned about pollution and grew their own food like I said earlier. The biggest trait of transcendentalism
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Walden Two book cover, although not the original book cover
in Walden Two is optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. In Walden Two, they believed that they could use behavioral techniques to create a happy and productive human being. Everything in the utopia is based on the principles of behaviorism and that the behavior, health, and happiness can be improved by following the guidelines and principles. This is a clear-cut example because Skinner believes that their lives can be improved and that they can be completely satisfied with their lives.


"It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What every body echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow.... What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden).

This quote shows the similarities between Thoreau’s Walden and Skinner’s Walden Two. It highlights the belief that nothing should be written in stone and if someone believes that something should be changed if it will be of benefit. “It is never too late to give up our prejudices” Simply implies that it’s never too late to change our beliefs or what is normally accepted as true. In the rest of the quote, Thoreau is telling us that anything that we think or the way we do something can be accepted as true without proof, even if that was the way that we thought was true for a long time. Even if we all pass such beliefs along as true and even if no one disagrees or challenges said beliefs it’s possible that in the future they will be proven false. The last sentence of the quote is saying that if someone older than you tells you that you can’t do something, you should try to do it and find out if you really can or not.

In conclusion, I believe that Thoreau and Skinner have very similar beliefs and qualities. They both have transcendentalist beliefs and they aren’t afraid to let it be known.




Greg Mortenson
Greg Mortenson was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota on December 27, 1957. He lived most of his life Tanzania with his family. His parents were Lutheran missionary teachers and taught there. His family moved back to the US when he was 15 because his parents thought that he and his two younger sisters should experience life there. Living in Tanzania influenced Mortenson greatly, as he fell in love with the many different people (also mountain climbing) and felt that he didn’t fit into his American life.
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Greg Mortenson (wearing black, center) with children of a village he helped.

He enlisted in the Army after high school, enrolled into college after being honorably discharged, graduated with a degree in nursing and chemistry. Mortenson then moved to San Francisco to pursue his love of mountain climbing. He was uncertain of what direction to go in life. When his younger disabled sister died suddenly he decided to climb the peak of K2 to honor her memory. This decision was the most pivotal of his life. He was already in very fit shape and very experienced in mountain climbing. As he made the journey to the top of the world’s most inaccessible mountain peak, his group had to make a decent back to base camp. Mortenson then became separated from his group and became desperately lost.

Eventually he wandered to the village of Korphe whose members were part of the Baltic ethnic group. What the people of Korphe did for him deeply moved him. They fed him and nursed him back to health even though he was a complete stranger to them. The village was very remote and lived without modern conveniences in an environment that was harsh and sparse. After he recovered, Mortenson stayed long enough at the village to learn their language and culture. What he discovered from the people of Korphe was that what they wanted the most was a better school for their children. They were being taught in an open field with one teacher and used sticks to scratch figures into the dirt. Upon his departure from the village he told them that he would return and build them a school.
Returning to America, he did everything in his power to raise the $12,000 it would take to build the school. He sent out letters asking for money, collected change rose by elementary schools, and worked many long and hard shifts at the hospital. When his story reached Dr. Jean Hoerni, the Dr made a single donation to support
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Source: Achievement.org
Mortenson’s promise to the village. With one obstacle out of the way, he went back to Pakistan to get started. Mortenson encountered many obstacles along the way of building the school. He had to build a bridge to get the supplies to Korphe before they could even think about starting to build. He completed the school after much hard work and dedication. After building the first school Mortenson became the executive director of the Central Asia Institute he continued to push for the building of schools for children and especially girls in Pakistan and surrounding areas.


Over the years he has survived kidnappings by the Taliban, firefights, fatwehs, CIA investigations, and threats from his own countries citizens after 9/11. He wrote Three Cups of Tee and Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs.

Greg Mortenson has many transcendentalist qualities. In fact, he wonderfully demonstrates all five of the qualities, which are non-conformity, self-reliance, optimism and confidence in human perfectibility, respect and importance of nature, and nonviolent resistance. These are all demonstrated through his work advocating and building schools for villages whose own government won't do it for them. He demonstrates non-conformity because he did what he believed was right and not what others thought or told him he should do. When he first started his work, he had very few fans in the US and in Pakistan. Self-reliance is also a big quality that Mortenson displayed. One of the main reasons Mortenson took it upon himself to build those villages schools was because the government wouldn't give them the schools and resources they needed, even though it was their job to do so. He raised the money and advocated it himself without the help of many people in the beginning. He also did all the planning and purchasing of material with the help of the villagers and Pakistani people. The last transcendentalist trait that I think Mortenson displayed well is nonviolent resistance. Like I said before, he was not a popular man in Pakistan or America for the wonderful work he did. The Pakistan government (or lack of) didn't approve of a strange American man building schools for their people. Also some leaders of other villages did not find him welcome in th
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Greg Mortenson most likely giving a lecture about his accomplishments, one of his books, or the Central Asia Institute
eir country and placed bans on the building of schools in their village/area. Even the CIA, Taliban, and other Americans gave him a rough time. Did he try to fight back? Yes. But did he take a gun to the Taliban, threaten, or bad mouth the Americans or Pakistani people? No. He handled things very appropriately and nonviolently resisted the distaste and confrontation from those who did not like him.


In conclusion, Greg Mortenson was much like Henry David Thoreau. One quote from Thoreau is very applicable to Mortenson. It is: “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” This means exactly what it says. Mortenson did exactly this. He lived his beliefs, built schools for under privileged villages, and advocated the importance of education for all children and especially girls. He started a whole new outlook and even a better life for many children of Pakistan and surrounding countries. The gift of education gives them choices to become something other than what their father's are. They now can go to college and continue to advocate for the education of others or whatever their little hearts desire.



COLOR - The Maine



She said, "Let it slide,"
All the things that I have running through my mind,
Will all be gone in time.
Remember son,
All the things you've done,
And all the things you lost,
And all the things you've won.

We're just trying to find some color in this
Black and white world.
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Color was released on the Album "Black and White" on July 13, 2010.


Tell me everything,
Will be alright.
Walk this way with me,
Into the light.
'Cause you can let it slide,
Baby just for tonight.
Just know that everyone feels broken sometimes.

She said, "Take your time,
Things will be just fine.
Don't bite the hand that feeds,
'Cause nothing is ever mine.
And just wait your turn,
And always try to learn
To love the ones that don't show love in return."

We're just trying to find some color in this
Black and white world.

Tell me everything,
Will be alright.
Walk this way with me,
Into the light.
'Cause you can let it slide,

Baby just for tonight.
Just know that everyone feels broken sometimes.

When you're walking backwards,
Don't be afraid to close your eyes.
'Cause the truth is, darling,
That everything will be alright
Alright?

Tell me everything, (Tell me anything)
Walk this way with me, (Please tell me everything)
'Cause you can let it slide,
Baby just for tonight.
Just know that everyone feels broken sometimes.
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Band members John O'Callaghan , Kennedy Brock, Garrett Nickelsen, Jared Monaco, and Patrick Kirch


Tell me everything,
Will be alright.
Walk this way with me,
Into the light.
'Cause you can let it slide,
Baby just for tonight.
Just know that everyone feels broken sometimes.

Oh yeah, everyone feels cheated sometimes.
Yeah we all feel a little f* up sometimes.


The song "Color" by The Maine is a great example of the transcendentalist trait optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. It has a relaxed but happy and optimistic feeling to it. The line "All the things that I have running through my mind, will all be gone in time" means exactly what it is says. It definitely preaches a optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. The singer is saying that he has a lot of things on his mind and that he's worried, but that he knows that those things will eventually go away and be solved. Another line of the song that is exemplary of optimism and confidence in human perfectibility is "And always try to learn, to love the ones that don't show love in return" The singer is telling us that people won't always be loving towards one another. We should try to learn to love the people who don't show love to us or others even though they may not deserve it. This song is a happy and optimistic way of saying "Hey, some things in your life may suck. Maybe even some people in your life may suck - but don't let that get you down" And finally the lines "We're just trying to find some color in this black and white world" and "Just know that everyone feels broken sometimes" are not specifically examples of optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. Those lines are slightly an example of the trait, but I think that either way I should include them in my explanation because I find them to be influential. The lines show the motivation and drive in the songwriter's belief that there is some 'color' in this world even if we do feel broken sometimes. The world can be a very black and white place - good, bad, dangerous, unpredictable, and difficult and rarely in between. Finding the color our world suggests finding the good and the alright and taking it for what it is. Maybe even taking the bad and making something out of it.

In conclusion, this song is a very good example of the transcendentalist trait optimism and confidence in human perfectibility for many reasons such as the ones I explained above. I found this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." He believes that when a man helps another person, he helps himself without even trying to. It is just another example in optimism and confidence in human perfectibility.


More Than Alive - The Ready Set

I don't want to slow, slow, slow, slow down, down
Hey hey hey
Slow down slow down
Hey hey hey

You go for seconds and days
I live for moments to say
That I may never get a second chance
Don't throw it away
Living for dollars and dimes
They'll all diminish in time
Let that motion come and crash it like a plane from the sky
It was a long ride down the east coast
In a city you can't keep
Could you keep up on your feet
And I was struck down by the west coast
It was a quarter to three but it don't do sleep

But follow the freeway
Break the routine
'Cause everything is second to your dreams
This is the green light
Artist-2691768-l_b229b0ff22e9b5dbb58d3c34120ce588.jpg
Lead singer and technically only bandmember Jordan Witzigreuter.

Take what you need
And break out of this hospital scene
I'm running through a stop sign
Cuttin' out the brake lights
I don't want to slow slow slow slow down down
I'm running through a stop sign
Living so it feels right
I don't wanna slow slow slow slow down down
Don't wanna slow it down
Slow down
Slow down

But I give impatience a try
Got a little enveloped in time
'Cause I watch you come and watch you go
And it don't seem right
Living for speed limit signs
Ignore and cross every line
Gotta let emotion take you over 20 miles at a time

But follow the freeway
Break the routine
'Cause everything is second to your dreams
This is the green light
Take what you need
And break out of this hospital scene
I'm running through a stop sign
Cuttin' out the brake lights
I don't wanna slow, slow, slow, slow down, down
I'm running through a stop sign
Living so it feels right
I don't want to slow slow slow slow down down
Don't wanna slow it down

I'm running through a stop sign
Got the world on my side
No brake lights feeling more than alive
But it's so bright see the shadow, shadow tonight, tonight
I'm running through a stop sign
Got the world on my side
No brake light feeling more than alive
But it's so right see the shadow, shadow tonight, tonight, tonight

Follow the freeway
Break the routine
'Cause everything is second to your dreams
This is the green light
Take what you need
And break out of this hospital scene
I'm running through a stop sign
Cuttin' out the brake lights
I don't wanna slow slow slow slow down down
I'm running through a stop sign
Living so it feels right
I don't want to slow slow slow slow down down
Don't wanna slow it down
I'm running through a stop sign
Cuttin' out the brake lights
I don't wanna slow slow slow slow
down down
I'm running through a stop sign
Living so it feels right
I don't want to slow slow slow slow down down
Don't wanna slow it down slow it down slow it down

I think More Than Alive is a good example of non-conformity and self-reliance. These lyrics are very optimistic and happy with needing any further explanation. It is a song about following your dreams and doing what you want. The lines "Follow the freeway, break the routine, because everything is second to your dreams" are the strongest example of non-conformity. This song repeats the same lines and ultimately the same ideas over and over. The lines "I'm running through a stop sign" and then "living so it feels right, I don't want to slow down" are examples of self-reliance. The writer of this song is expresses his non-conformist attitude and self reliance in those lyrics which are basically saying 'this is how I'm going to live because this is what feels right to me, and I'm not going to slow down or change.' The lyrics that remind me very much of Thoreau in Walden is "Living for dollars and dimes, they'll all diminish in time" and "Follow the freeway, break the routine". Thoreau was a huge advocate of living non materialistically and not following a routine. Thoreau said "to be awake is to be alive" and the title of this song is "More Than Alive" I would definitely say that this song is about being "awake" and doing your own thing and living your own life.
In conclusion, I think that this song has a few great transcendentalist qualities.

Works Cited:

“B.F. Skinner” Allpsych.com. N.P. N.D. Web. March 5, 2011.
http://allpsych.com/biographies/skinner.html

“B.F. Skinner” NNDB.com. Soylent Communications. N.D. Web. March 5, 2011.
http://www.nndb.com/people/297/000022231/


“B.F. Skinner Wikipedia” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. N.D. Web. March 7, 2011.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner

“Greg Mortenson Biography” Achievement.org. N.P. November 20, 2009. Web. March 7, 2011.
http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/mor0bio-1

“Greg Mortenson – bio as of July 2010” Threecupsoftea.com. N.P. July 2010. Web. March 8, 2011. http://www.threecupsoftea.com/wp-includes/documents/GMBio.pdf


Mai, Dirk. “Official Photos – The Maine” Wearethemaine.net. N.P. N.D. Web. March 13, 2011.
http://www.wearethemaine.net/media

O'Callaghan, John. “The Maine Lyrics – Color” Plyrics.com. N.P. N.D. Web. March 14, 2011. <http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/maine/color.html>

“SparkNotes: Walden Two: Summary” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes. N.D. Web. March 7, 2011. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/walden2/summary.html

“The Ready Set Photos” Purevolume.com. N.P. June 16, 2009. Web. March 12, 2011.
http://www.purevolume.com/thereadyset/photos/2828153

Vargas, Julie S. “A brief biography of B.F. Skinner” B.F. Skinner Foundation. N.P. 2005. Web. March 5 2011. <http://www.bfskinner.org/BFSkinner/AboutSkinner.html>

“Walden Two Book Cover” Google.com. Google. 2011. Web. March 7, 2011.
<http://books.google.com/books?id=KEiYzfCVzv4C&dq=walden+two&source=gbs_navlinks_s>

Witzigreuter, Jordan. “The Ready Set Lyrics - More Than Alive” Azlyrics.com. N.P. N.D. Web. March 11, 2011.
<http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/readyset/morethanalive.html>