Sunday, September 15, 2019

Vernon Mooers writes

Walden Two

Up on the mountain in slug city
just a kilometer from the beach
I built a small house of cardboard
like the roadside huts in Africa
covered it in vinyl
before the rain came
and fetched water from the spring
tried to stay alive -
the water deer, fleet-footed and protected
the pheasants startling, uncatchable
the only game - rabbits
cute and furry, park pets
not wild woodland snowshoes
I snared as a kid.
Picked sesame and wild lily leaves
dug around for ginseng, fallen chestnuts
tried my best to stay alive.
In the night the sounds of lovers’ cars
tour buses gunning to the top
up the winding road to the lookout
firecrackers from the beach
like a war zone
birds in the quiet morning.
Image result for cardboard hut paintings
Rural House -- Shandor Alexander 

1 comment:

  1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, of Concord, Massachusetts, was the foremost transcendentalist and leading intellectual figure in the US. One of his young Concord acolytes, Ellery Channing, published his 1st book of poems in 1843, and Henry David Thoreau, a year younger, sought to emulate his success. In March 1945 Channing told him, "I see nothing for you on this earth but that field which I once christened 'Briars'; go out upon that, build yourself a hut, & there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you." Emerson allowed Thoreau to build a small house and plant a garden on on the northern shore of Walden Pond if he cleared some land on the 14-acre woodlot and did other chores while there. Thoreau moved in to his newly built cabin on 4 July and spent the next two years, two months, and two days there, reading, writing, and meeting his own needs. "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." He moved out on 6 September 1847, after spending 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days there. At Emerson's request, he immediately moved into the Emerson home to help Emerson's wife manage the household while her husband was on an extended trip to Europe. He slowly drafted and edited 18 essays describing his "experiment" in basic living, based on the journal he had kept, and after 8 drafts over the course of 10 years, he published
    "Walden; or, Life in the Woods" in 1854.

    After getting a degree in English literature from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in 1926, B. F. Skinner lived with his parents again while he tried to write a great novel but became disillusioned despite encouragement from poet Robert Frost. He then enrolled at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to study psychology, graduated with a doctorate in 1931, and remained there as a researcher until 1936. He then taught at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and became chair of the psychology department at Indiana University before returning to Harvard in 1948. That year he published his novel "Walden Two," in which he described a fictional "experimental community" in which the productivity and happiness of its residents was far greater than in the outside world because of their scientific social planning and the use of operant conditioning in raising their children. The novel foreshadowed the applied behavior analysis which Skinner the psychologist would later develop and propogate. The community encouraged a lifestyle of minimal consumption, rich social relationships, personal happiness, satisfying work, and leisure, but rejected free will and the proposition that human behavior is controlled by a non-corporeal entity, such as a spirit or a soul. Instead, it holds that human behavior is determined by environmental variables that can be systematically altered and controlled to generate nearly perfect societies.


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