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14 Mexican Contexts accepting that ordinary members were not satisfied to leave the decision making to a select few at Twin Oaks, Kinkade concluded that Skinner had been wrong, that Walden Two was “just not going to make it.” She then amended her own statement by adding, “maybe in some other country. Maybe in Mexico” (interview with the author, April 10, 1995). And indeed, the history of the Mexican community Los Horcones is strikingly different from all the other Walden Two experiments. On first sight, Mexico seems an unlikely location for a Walden Two experiment .The prominent role Skinner played in academia and social reform in the United States of the sixties and seventies, together with the prevailing enthusiasm for the communal idea, are plausible explanations for the emergence of Walden Two groups in Skinner’s home country. The conditions in Mexico in the early seventies, however, were quite different. There was no large-scale social reform Skinner’s ideas could have had an impact on, and the Mexican student movement that could have inspired communal living was crushed in its infancy when government troops opened fire on demonstrating students in Mexico City in 1968. In the United States’s southern neighbor, communal living was not “in the air.” While Mexico’s economy was only starting to gain strength, its political system, monopolized for decades by the Party of the Institutionalized Revolution (PRI), was still characterized by corruption and frequent upheavals. While Twin Oaks and Lake Village have published ample material on the personal motivation of the people involved and the circumstances of the actual founding, Los Horcones has written next to nothing about the background and motivation of its founders, adopting instead a more academic writing style similar to Israel and the researchers at Sunflower House. This is regrettable for several reasons. First, the very existence of Los Horcones in a country that is not known for its utopian tradition nor for its behaviorists is in no way illuminated. Second, the scarcity of information about the communards’ motivation to 04.133-162_Kuhl.indd 135 3/29/05 4:02:33 PM Comunidad Los Horcones proudly displays its philosophy of life on large signs. (photo by H. Kuhlmann) 04.133-162_Kuhl.indd 136 3/29/05 4:02:33 PM Whitewashed buildings nestled in a green oasis separate Comunidad Los Horcones from the surrounding desert landscape. (photo by H. Kuhlmann) 04.133-162_Kuhl.indd 137 3/29/05 4:02:34 PM 138 . comunidad los horcones found Los Horcones makes it hard to determine what events, thoughts, and feelings led to the founding of their Walden Two community and how these factors influenced the way the community developed. And third, tracing individuals’ reactions to both the utopian novel that changed the course of their lives and to communal reality becomes next to impossible when relying on texts that studiously avoid clearly identifying individuals, thus leaving many questions unanswered. Did the future communards have any reservations about the desirability or practicability of Skinner’s utopia? Were there points of disagreement among the future founders, leading perhaps to the departure of people who had initially been interested in the project? They state, rather dryly, that they classified their community as a Walden Two community, “since the first proposal of applying behavioral technology to the design of a society was presented by the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, in his novel ‘Walden Two’” (“Los Horcones” 3). This does not sound like the “brilliant flash of light” Kinkade experienced upon reading WaldenTwo (Walden 7).The founders of Los Horcones further distance themselves from the novel and the potential effects of reading Skinner’s utopian scheme by pointing out that theirs is “not a community based on Skinner’s novel . . . but on the science on which that novel is based” (Los Horcones, “News” 129). This statement already points toward the intentional nature of the community ’s style of writing and reflects an assumption that is at the core of Los Horcones: In the communards’ view, the community and its values are the result of a science, not of a group of people. They are objective scientists engaged in redesigning society. Thus, it is only logical that they keep personal factors out of the presentation of the community. If personal experiences and the sociopolitical background somehow did not affect the development of Los Horcones, then why mention them? To the outside observer,however,the communards’ refusal to discuss these factors causes...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780252091650
Related ISBN
9780252029622
MARC Record
OCLC
811409117
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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