The biggest aspect of fostering favorable cultural change involves education, or re-education (as my friend Jim Davies has noted at http://www.tolfa.us). Regarding my formal education, I (Wes Bertrand) received a Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology from United States International University (subsequently renamed Alliant International University) in San Diego, CA. Prior to that, I acquired my first and second academic degrees from Idaho State University, a Bachelor of Business Administration in management (minor in philosophy) and a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
I grew up on a remote ranch in the steep, rugged mountains of central Idaho. Amidst the spectacular scenery, much “character-building” labor was to be had. Naturally, while developing a work ethic I gained an appreciation for increases in productivity, i.e., getting more done with less effort. Though I found that repeating the same routine can be comfortable at times, it can also forestall new visions about life and work.
The periods surrounding my academic time were dedicated to working in the construction, mining, and demolition trades. This I viewed as a valuable counterbalance to my intellectual activities, not unlike the ranch work I did in my youth. The ability to deal with reality in practical ways can assist one in putting intellectual ideas into proper perspective, as well as distilling valuable principles.
Our psychologies, as well as our present societal situation, need new visions too. Even though just accepting things as they are can be easy, looking beyond the everyday is important. By exploring new domains of innovation and intellectual and emotional evolution, we can create a better world for ourselves. And never has there been a more opportune time for us to create a much better world: As a species, we finally have all the resources and ideas necessary; they just need to be widely distributed.
Understanding what individual rights are and how and why individuals possess them remains crucial for our well-being. Our technological age of continued advances in computer systems, biotechnology, and other forms of engineering continue to alter the landscape of human endeavors and our planet. The production and exchange of information will continue on its voluminous course to unprecedented levels of efficiency and complexity. To properly deal with the challenges posed for us as individuals and as a species, we need our ethical and political philosophies to move in an enlightened direction as quickly as possible. Ecological harm and unsustainable use of resources are the direct result of lack of understanding property rights and long-term planning. When “public property” is scaled up to nation-states, we face potential calamities of epic proportions.
Political issues that beg to be addressed in a logical—and trauma-informed—fashion continue to envelope our lives. The method of non-contradictory identification need not be commonly overlooked by people, including “the experts,” when trying to make sense of politics and economics, as well as psychology; only recently has the importance of resolving developmental trauma been gaining in popularity. With renewed focus on principles, we can avoid more dire existential consequences. We actually can live in a world that’s aligned with logical and compassionate ideals, even though currently very few consider them realizable.
Potent philosophical and psychological remedies are needed to counteract our problems, ones that can keep us grounded in reality, guided by reason, and especially help us attain emotional well-being, or have well-regulated limbic systems. Objective metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political principles are essential; integration of fundamental truths about our existence and ourselves can evolve our culture and contribute to everyone’s happiness and welfare.
I encountered Objectivism in the early 90s from the books of novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand and psychologist Nathaniel Branden. Since then, I’ve spent much time considering the optimal ways to apply the numerous aspects of coherent philosophy and insightful psychology. In The Psychology of Liberty, Complete Liberty, and most recently Complete Liberty Inside Out, you’ll find an evolution in how I interpret and present the various philosophical and psychological aspects that I view as crucial to achieving both personal and political enlightenment. Complete Liberty Podcast also incorporated a more empathetic and understanding tone from episode 126 onward, after encountering in 2010 the invaluable work of psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. I’ve listed lots of free resources covering his method of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) on my counseling site’s page:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding thoughts on how to achieve “liberty in our lifetime,” the motto of www.freestateproject.org, I covered it initially in the final chapter of Complete Liberty. I signed up for the FSP the Fall of ’05, and moved to Concord, NH the Spring of ’06. I then moved back to California in ’07 to try to partake in a clinical trial to treat my type 1 diabetes (to no avail). I’ve lived in NH a couple other times since then, and now I’m in Austin, TX seeking more cultural evolution. Nonetheless, one can keep abreast of things in NH via https://freekeene.com and https://freetalklive.com. No matter where one lives in America (not to mention the rest of the world), the odds will only be stacked against achieving true freedom when premises about the political system go unchecked. Hence, reasoning from first principles and understanding developmental trauma—along with the developmental stages in which it manifests—remain indispensable to usher a new stage for non-sacrificial flourishing.