You and I the Behaviorist Model
The second force of psychology is known as behavior modification or behaviorism.
The behaviorist theory is ascribed to two men, B, F. Skinner, and John Watson.
They did not argue philosophically with Freud's theory.
Perhaps they thought what we ought to do is get human behavior cleaned up.
We'd better come up with a way of modifying behavior. All we have to do is put together a way of creating super superegos and we will all live happily ever after.
Obviously, the solution was to come up with defense mechanisms and suppression mechanisms that absolutely work all the time to keep the revelation of animalism, cannibalism, and all that other nasty stuff beneath the surface.
They figured that if we can do that, everything will work out, Thus, the behavior modification engineers set out to find ways to modify human behavior.
Behavior modification works, but as someone had pointed out, so does torture.
The really hard-core behaviorists believe that the practice of behavior modification on a grand scale is the only answer to the continuation of human existence on this planet.
It is important to know that there are behaviorists today who think that all of us should be subjected to behavior modification, and they are working on computer models that world make this possible.
Their argument is this: We are all in fact a product of behavior modification.
Your life and my life are absolutely reflections of the influences of the process of conditioning.
The problem is, they say, that the processes of modification and conditioning that we have been exposed o have been random and unworkable.
So since we are the product of behavior modification anyway, wouldn't it make sense to take the randomness out of it and just do it right?
Wouldn't it make sense to make sure we are not exposed to conditioning that does not work and come up with a unified model that does work?
Well: intellectually that may sound attractive, but if we look, we would probably prefer the randomness of our conditioning to the conditioning that was scientifically administered by a computer bank.
What the behaviorist is telling us is this:
Give us your children at birth and in sixteen years we'll give you back a person with behavior and personality custom made to your order.
In sixteen years we can give you an Albert Schweitzer, and Attila the Hum, an Albert Einstein, an Adolf Hitler, a Mary Baker Eddy, or a cleopatra.
Just fill out the multiple choice order form, drop off your child, and come back to the well-call counter in sixteen years.
This is the implicit state,met pf the jard-line behaviorists.
But let's set that aside for a moment and consider the theory itself, since whether we like it or not, and you and I are the product fo the process of conditioning that started at our birth and has continued through our lifetime.