Blithedale as a community is an experiment in socialism. Its supporters are seeking "a better life", and hope through their endeavors to achieve "the reformation of the world", changing its "destiny". In a spirit of cooperation, they plan to learn "the art of husbandry", so that, with each individual doing his or her share, they might live off the land, establishing a system better than "the society that shackled (them)" (Chapter 2).
The experiment is being undertaken to break "through many hindrances that are powerful enough to keep most people on the weary tread-mill of the established system". The participants resolve to step "down from the pulpit...(fling) aside the pen...shut up the ledger...(throw)...off indolence", for the express purpose of "showing mankind the example of a life governed by other than the false and cruel principles, on which human society has all along been based". They determine to "divorce (them)selves from Pride...to supply its place with familiar love...to lessen the laboring man's great burthen of toil, by performing (their) due share of it...to profit by mutual aid, instead of wresting it by the strong hand from an enemy, or filching it craftily from those less shrewd than (them)selves...or winning it by selfish competition with a neighbor". Instead, they will each selflessly "offer up the earnest toil of (their) bodies...for the advancement of (their) race" (Chapter 3).