Update 2019: This bio is a couple years old and needs updating
Hey, my name is Aaron and welcome to my site. I created Freedom and Fulfilment to write about my experience and share ideas on self improvement, spirituality, and how we can create the best lives for ourselves and others.
There are two major themes to my writing and approach. The first is a self development process based mostly around the conscious acquisition (or elimination) of character traits. Through personal experience and research I’ve come to understand the effectiveness and utility of this approach for creating desirable life circumstances.
This process involves honesty with oneself, self-reflection, close examination of thoughts and beliefs, overcoming fears, solving personal problems, and developing mental models for oneself and the world. There’s also a practical side that involves habits, routines, self discipline, creativity and productivity.
Anyone can follow this process and begin to improve their lives. And although initially “self” focused, I believe it inevitably leads one to want to do good in the world, as well increasing one’s ability to do so.
That is roughly one half of the equation. The other half falls under the nebulous umbrella term “spirituality” – something I’ve been led to by an interest in meditation and the nature of consciousness.
A combination of theory and practice have led me to believe, at bottom, in ultimate unity and that everyone and everything is “God”. The universe and existence are fundamentally beautiful and sacred and life as a human being is a gift to be cherished. This remains true under all circumstances, despite how impossibly difficult it often is to keep in mind.
Playing the game, as best we can, on these two levels at once is the essence of my approach. While recognizing the divine nature of reality, we must also keep our feet firmly on the ground. There are a lot of problems in the world and we have work to do.
Psychedelics are uniquely valuable tools for both of these domains. They can help solve problems on an individual psychological level as well as allow one to see more deeply into the nature of reality. Psychedelic experience is unparalleled for both catalyzing and crystallizing realizations of personal or universal truth. I support psychedelic research, and believe strongly in drug policy reform and the rights of individuals to sovereignty over their own consciousness.
I’m 24 as of writing this in 2017 and have been trying to live out this philosophy, to the best of my ability, for most of my young adult life.
More about me and this blog:
I started F&F in the summer of 2014 after finishing at McGill University, and have since been travelling and exploring different parts of the world. I’ve lived in and visited places like Chiang Mai, London, Bali, San Francisco, Montreal, New York, Saigon, Bangkok, Vancouver and more.
I make a living online and this allows me the freedom to travel around. Aside from this blog I work on several projects, solo and with friends.
I live a minimalist lifestyle and own little more than what fits in a backpack and suitcase. I eat healthy and follow intermittent fasting, usually 16:8 (16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour eating window) with occasional 20+ hour fasts.
I was into lifting weights for several years and some of my older posts are about that. I took it pretty seriously and achieved good results. These days I mostly do yoga with occasional bodyweight training. I am less muscular and more interested in natural movement and mobility. I also wear minimalist/barefoot shoes.
I test as an INTJ in Myers-Briggs and have laid out my thoughts on that in some detail. I am always learning and spend most of my free time listening to podcasts, watching lectures, or reading books.
For better or worse I am perpetually distracted by the problem of global poverty – it seems to me that this is (or should be) the main moral concern of our time. Suffering is distributed at random across the human population according to the accident of birth and it makes sense, rationally, to do what we can to alleviate it. This is part of the philosophy behind the Effective Altruism movement, which I am aligned with.
In some sense I believe spirituality can help with this problem and it is a major reason for my interest and writing on it. In particular the understanding of no-self – in my view the core insight of spiritual practice – has especially meaningful implications.
More generally, on the level of the individual I am interested in the original question of philosophy: What does it mean to live a good life? On a group level, I am interested in how we can understand and create better systems of value for organizations and societies. On a more esoteric level, I am interested in questions about the nature of human consciousness, purpose, and meaning in subjective experience.
It’s been over 3 years writing this site and I’ve learned that putting your thoughts into the world is a double-edged sword – it allows people access to them but also freezes them in time. Personal transformation is, I think, healthy, but past work does not transform along with you. So take this content for what it is – a snapshot of a person in time – and understand that what was true for me at the time of writing may or may not be what is true for me today or tomorrow.
In any case, I hope you find something valuable here and that it can, in some way, help you live a better life.
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