Posts Tagged ‘Human Behavior’

B. F. Skinner: Why America’s Decline

December 6, 2022

The following long quote is from one of the greatest Psychologist of the 20th century, and perhaps of all time. This is the stunning truth about the problems that face all humanity. As a professor, I read this warning to nearly all of the students taking my classes for over 30 years. It has a prominent place in the book I am writing entitled: The Psychology of America’s Decline: And How Reverse It.

I have not blogged in many days, I am too busy working on this book. I may not get it finished and published before I am finished. We shall see about that!

Regarding the past and present quality of our environment and the quality of life for all, Skinner wrote the following (p. 5) in his 1971 book entitled Beyond Freedom and Dignity, published by Alfred A Knopf.

I quote the following.

In trying to solve the terrifying problems that face us in the world today, we naturally turn to the things we do best. We play from strength, and our strength is science and technology. To contain a population explosion we look for better methods of birth control. Threatened by a nuclear holocaust, we build bigger deterrent forces and anti-ballistic-missile systems. We try to stave off world famine with new foods and better ways of growing them. Improved sanitation and medicine will, we hope, control disease, better housing and transportation will solve the problems of the ghettos, and new ways of reducing or disposing of waste will stop the pollution of the environment. We can point to remarkable achievements in all these fields, and it is not surprising that we should try to extend them. But things grow steadily worse, and it is disheartening to find that technology itself is increasingly at fault. Sanitation and medicine have made the problems of population more acute, war has acquired a new horror with the invention of nuclear weapons, and the affluent pursuit of happiness is largely responsible for pollution. As Darlington has said, ‘Every new source from which man has increased his power on the earth has been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. All his progress has been made at the expense of damage to his environment which he cannot repair and could not foresee.’
Whether or not he could have foreseen the damage, man must repair it or all is lost. And he can do so if he will recognize the nature of the difficulty. The application of the physical and biological sciences alone will not solve our problems because the solutions lie in another field. Better contraceptives will control population only if people use them. New weapons may offset new defenses and vice versa, but a nuclear holocaust can be prevented only if the conditions under which nations make war can be changed. New methods of agriculture and medicine will not help if they are not practiced, and housing is a matter not only of buildings and cities but of how people live. Overcrowding can be corrected only by inducing people not to crowd, and the environment will continue to deteriorate until polluting practices are abandoned.
In short, we need to make vast changes in human behavior, and we cannot make them with the help of nothing more than physics or biology, no matter how hard we try.

End of Quote

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The truth is that the solutions to our social and political problems lay in the wise use of well known scientifically validated psychological laws and principles that influence the quality of human behavior.

In America people vote for representatives who promise to make rules about rewarding and punishing (i.e., strengthening and weakening) the behavior patterns of America’s countless citizens, and other inhabitants. This now includes millions of unvetted individuals who illegally flood across our borders.

Skinner names nearly every environmental and behavioral problem that is now killing record numbers of our population, destroying the quality of our lives, and weakening our ability to survive as an effectively self-regulating nation. A nation capable of defend its self against powerful forces now in the process of destroying our Constitutional Republic by attacking it and us all from outside and from within.

In our Constitutional Republic increasing numbers of our people have long been voting for governmental rules, laws, and regulations that are destroying their own home land’s way of life. If only they knew enough about the laws and principles of psychology that influencing the quality of our own populations behaviors, they would understand that they are voting for the self-destruction of America as well as their own, and their loved one’s safety, security, and prosperity.

It is essential that voters understand the psychological laws and principles that increase good prosocial behaviors and decrease bad antisocial behaviors among our citizens; and then vote accordingly!

The basic laws and principles must be taught to all future voters in America’s private and public schools.

12/6/22

V. Thomas Mawhinney Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology and a Practicing Psychologist.


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