The novel describes "an experimental community called Walden Two". The community is located in a rural area and "has nearly a thousand members". The community encourages its members "to view every habit and custom with an eye to possible improvement" and to have "a constantly experimental attitude toward everything". The culture of Walden Two can be changed if experimental evidence favors proposed changes. The community emulates (on a communal scale) the simple living and self-sufficiency that Henry David Thoreau practiced (on an individual scale) at Walden Pond, as described in his 1854 book Walden. Walden Two engages in behavioral engineering of young children that aims toward cooperative relationships and the erasure of competitive sentiments. The community has also dissolved the nuclear family through placing the responsibility of child-rearing in the hands of the larger community and not just the child's parents or immediate family.
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