Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.
The environment will continue to deteriorate until pollution practices are abandoned.
I won't say that I'm an agnostic, since agnosticism maintains that one cannot know... but I'm not averse to the idea of some intelligence or some organizing force that set up the initial conditions of the universe in such a way that ultimately generated stars, planets and life.
I don't deny the importance of genetics. However, the fact that I might be altruistic isn't because I have a gene for altruism; the fact that I do something for my children at some cost to myself comes from a history that has operated on me.
Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.
I have to tell people that they are not responsible for their behavior. They're not creating it; they're not initiating anything. It's all found somewhere else. That's an awful lot to relinquish.
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
I believe that I have been basically anarchistic, anti-religion and anti-industry and business. In other words, anti-bureaucracy. I would like to see people behave well without having to have priests stand by, politicians stand by, or people collecting bills.
A person who has been punished is not less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.
Those few people who do respond to the dire conditions of the future - journalists, environmentalists, behavioral scientists - tend not to be powerful.
I remember when I was a freshman in college, I was still somewhat bothered by... worried... about religion. I remember going to this professor of philosophy and telling him that I had lost my faith.
The ideal of behaviorism is to eliminate coercion: to apply controls by changing the environment in such a way as to reinforce the kind of behavior that benefits everyone.
Great scientific contributions have been techniques.
I never really expected to be controversial.
Even the mundane task of washing dishes by hand is an example of the small tasks and personal activities that once filled people's daily lives with a sense of achievement.
Behavior used to be reinforced by great deprivation; if people weren't hungry, they wouldn't work. Now we are committed to feeding people whether they work or not. Nor is money as great a reinforcer as it once was. People no longer work for punitive reasons, yet our culture offers no new satisfactions.
The feeling of being interested can act as a kind of neurological signal, directing us to fruitful areas of inquiry.
I don't think my mother and father ever had any doubts about what I was to be punished for or not. My parents come from a very strictly defined culture.
Must we wait for selection to solve the problems of overpopulation, exhaustion of resources, pollution of the environment and a nuclear holocaust, or can we take explicit steps to make our future more secure? In the latter case, must we not transcend selection?