Baby Box

The college I went to had a five day indoctrination before you actually started classes.  I got a list of activities and such, and also we were supposed to read a book for discussion purposes, B.F. Skinner’s Walden 2.  I couldn’t figure out the 2 part because I didn’t know about Walden 1 yet, but I read it anyway, immediately, of course in my eagerness for higher education.  I got the feeling they had assigned the book for some reason and that I was supposed to think something about it, but I wasn’t sure what.

babyboxTo me, the idea of a society constructed along rational, scientific principles didn’t sound all that bad.  I read a bit more too about the Skinner box, this plastic box, with air conditioning, and other features that made life more comfortable for an infant.  Like, in the box, you didn’t have to wear diapers because of the special absorbent pads and air condition that would dry the baby off so that you cut down on diaper rash.  And you didn’t have to worry about the infant rolling out of the box onto the floor or having something fall on it because it had a plastic lid too.

Skinner’s idea was that people are animals that adjust to their environment and that if their environment is screwed up they will accordingly become screwed up.  But if their environment is constructed according to scientific principles there was less chance of that happening.

Given what I already knew about my infancy, I figured I might have been better off raised according to scientific principles since I had been raised in a pretty fucked up environment.  I was born early—as I have already noted—with jaundice, and then my mother’s breasts caked so that it was painful for her to breast feed me, so she took to feeding me by bottle according to the clock for her own personal convenience and to spare her nipples wear and tear.  And since I still got hungry and cried a lot, she concluded I was “excessively needy.”  I think I would have done better with a Skinner’s box.

Maybe a lot better because, according to the old lady who is not to be trusted, I had shown no signs of being ready to walk and she had gone off to the kitchen or probably to the bathroom and I suddenly got up and WALKED straight out of the room, down a little corridor, and put my hands directly on one of those old fashioned wall heaters thus burning the living shit out of them.  Then, according to the old lady, she took me to a nurse who put cotton balls or strips on my hands, and taped them up, so that when all the blisters burst they had to go through and pull out strands of cotton that got stuck in the pus.

So according to my mother the first time I took that elemental assertive step known as WALKING I burnt the shit out of my hands.

Lord knows what damage this did to my primal psyche.