What is the Story Behind this Forthcoming Book?

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Hello readers, my name is Brandon Norgaard and I am the founder of The Enlightened Worldview Project and the principle author of the forthcoming book. I would like to think that my own story is not that important because this is a collaborative effort and what we are doing should transcend the individual people, but I understand that some of you out there are interested to know some details about who I am and how this project came about.

I lived most of my life in Northern California, near Sacramento. I have always possessed an interest in understanding how things work and learning about philosophy, religion, history, politics, science, and technology. Throughout my life, I have sought to better understand why there is so much conflict and injustice in our world and what, if anything, people can do to work toward greater peace. I was raised Catholic, but I came to realize that there are inherent flaws in any strictly faith-based religion. Notably, people of religious faith are far too often suspicious of and hostile to modern science.

In my adolescence, I became interested in political and social activism and I wanted to explore how education and innovation could make a difference in the world. There is a certain social activism embedded within the Catholic theology that I was taught, but in my adult life I came to realize that organized religion is really not making the world a better place. I am a concerned citizen, I am concerned about the world and where humanity is headed, and for quite a few years I have felt compelled to study and research topics that give insights into why things seem to be going badly in terms of human suffering, wars, disease, racism, environmental degradation, just to name a few.

After obtaining a degree in computer science from Sacramento State and beginning a career as a software developer, my independently driven study of philosophy and social sciences continued in my spare time. From the year 2006 to the present, I have spent many hours researching and writing and planting the seeds for TEWP. In 2012, I founded the Sacramento Politics and Philosophy Group, which is a Meetup group that has grown to over 1000 members. We have had hundreds of events over the past 8 years, meeting about once a week with gatherings of approximately 10 to 20 people at a time. We have discussed just about every topic imaginable, and a lot of those ideas came together into this project. In 2019, I decided to move forward with this idea, and I quit my IT job in order to focus on this effort full time. I then founded The Enlightened Worldview Project and I assembled a small team of people who have assisted with various aspects of this project.

I got into IT and software engineering because it was not only interesting to, but also because I knew it would be a lucrative field with a lot of job opportunities. I do see a little bit of a connection between this project and my career in IT, in that our global civilization is a bit like a large and complex computer network. If we follow this analogy, we can see that the hardware is our human brains and the software is our psychology and our culture. Nowadays, we have networks of computers working in conjunction to where it seems like it is functioning like one large entity, and we call that “the cloud”. Human civilizations are also like clouds. Now, when civilizations clash because people have divergent and seemingly incompatible worldviews, this is the cause of unnecessary conflict. If computer networks were not compatible with each other, we would consider that to be a software problem. The solution there would be that we would need to reprogram the machines so that the networks can operate in harmony with each other. I think we need to do that in our human society as well. We have, I guess we could say, defects in our software if any of us think that our worldview – including the culture in which we were raised and our belief system – is the only true belief system and that all others are just wrong. If any of us believe that our nation is the absolute best, over and above all other nations, then I would say that’s a mental software bug that needs to be fixed.

As I eventually came to realize that I could contribute something that would be inspiring to people and perhaps make some positive difference in the world, I felt compelled to devote my efforts to this project. I suppose the spark of inspiration came about because my areas of interest were so broad and my independent research covered so many fields of study that I envisioned ways that aspects of these fields could be integrated and the product of this would be something unique and potentially more effective at addressing the world’s major problems than anything currently out there. I was studying philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, political science, economics, linguistics, etc. and I saw that the experts in these fields are quite narrowly focused on their areas of expertise. Sometimes such experts use the knowledge of their field to matters of practical significance to the lives of average people, but that nobody really seemed to be bringing the knowledge from all of these different fields together. To me, this seems like a missed opportunity, because it seems that if all of this diverse knowledge could be synthesized somehow, it could really have more power to make change in this world far beyond what is happening now.

Certainly, there are people and organizations that are working hard to solve the greatest problems on Earth. These efforts are driven by research, science, innovation, willpower, and a vision for the future, but they are not always very effective at meeting their goals. One of the most significant reasons for such shortcomings is that they are not often successful at changing people’s minds or getting enough people to believe in their mission. One of the biggest failures is that the political system is really badly broken in many major countries in the world. The political culture is dysfunctional throughout much of the world, and this is a hindrance to well-meaning organizations that are trying to bring about positive change. I was thinking that there has to be a root cause for all of this that would need to be addressed through cross-disciplinary research.

What are your thoughts on this forthcoming book?  Let your voice be heard in the forum.

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