My name is Sean Goonan and I created this website, The Foundation Press, to be a platform for my philosophical book The Foundation for Exploration. The website will also feature information about my political candidacies. Please read about my background below, as well as the authors/books that have influenced me the most.
I was born in 1993 and grew up in Western Massachusetts. Ever since I can remember, I have always experienced the world through ceaseless contemplation and introspection. As a kid I was quiet. I observed people’s behavior and the strange world around me, where it seemed that everything had already been figured out, and I tried to discern how to act and tried to understand why the world was the way it was.
I attended George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC for three years (2011-2014). I was drawn to the rigid structure, rationality, and simplification of human nature that economics provided, and I was intrigued by its obscurity and apparent importance in the construction of society, so I majored in it figuring that it would also provide me with a satisfying career.
As time went on, the basic simplifications that economics provided were not enough for me, and the careers I was looking forward to seemed soul-destroying and counter-productive. I was isolated during my time in Washington DC. I didn’t like the people at GW or in DC (except for a few people) because I felt they were a noticeable breed of shallow, power-hungry, and narcissistic types, and I didn’t like the college environment. I spent a lot of my time walking alone around the area in contemplation. It was in DC where I discovered how enjoyable a simple thing such as going for a walk and thinking can be. I focused less and less on the coursework and more on reading and thinking about philosophy and “meta-economics” (the big-picture analysis of economic systems and economic behavior at their philosophical core). I grew sick of the environment I was in and I struggled to focus on my classes and I even failed one. Yet I somehow landed a summer internship after my junior year at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in DC. That summer I learned a lot about what life was like working in an office, working for the government, bureaucracy, and city life. I learned that I did not like these things. Philosophy began to take hold more and more. Every Saturday morning I got up early and walked for 15 miles around all parts of the district. I started to have thoughts that I could write a book based off of some of my ideas even though they were more rudimentary existential and economic ideas. I also started having thoughts about doing farming in order to be in touch with nature and to learn how to be self-sufficient.
At the end of the summer I did not want to continue going to GW or have a career working in an office, but I did not know how to quit. Right from the start of the semester I started losing my mind being in a place I did not want to be in, with people I did not like, and these things combined with my intense search for absolute Truth manifested into an existential breakdown, where I experienced some acute mental suffering and depression, and even started to lose control over my mind and my grasp on how to act. I left GW half-way through the semester broken and confused. The winter quieted my surroundings back home, and it quieted my mind, yet my depression lingered on. I worked the night shift at a plastics manufacturer for a month, and didn’t do much else. I applied for a farming apprenticeship at farms in Vermont and Maine for the spring and was glad to be chosen by a farm in Maine that I was interested in.
On an isolated small family farm midway up the coast of Maine, I found the power of getting in touch with nature and the natural order of things, and felt a strong inspiring wonder looking at the cosmos above my head at night outside of my small one room cabin at the edge of the woods. I felt my previous depression and nihilism dissipate and felt a strong love for life, and I began developing a personal philosophy based around this love for being alive and the hatred of destructiveness towards life. The philosophy was based around overcoming nihilism through developing a deep wonder and connection with the universe, recognizing certain subjective understandings of what brings true happiness, and the importance of tying in self-actualization with work. These were ideas I had been developing for years, but finally got to experience first hand and fully understand on the farm.
I left Maine in July, worked on another farm in Western Mass through September, and after being presented with an opportunity to live cheaply in Brooklyn NY, I moved there on October 1st 2015 to focus directly on organizing and writing down my thoughts. That month I experienced a breakthrough when I discovered/created the concept of the duality of human nature and I knew right away that it had the potential to be something very important with far-reaching applications. One year later, after much suffering and hopelessness due to my growing understanding of all the destructiveness in the world, my all-pervasive disgust for modern society, and my difficulty in getting my thoughts organized onto paper, I managed to complete the book. From the initial idea of the duality of human nature, I delved into many unforeseen aspects of human nature and the construction of society, and I believe I have created a piece of work with a variety of revolutionary and important concepts.
Since leaving Brooklyn in February 2016 I have worked on a few more farms in Western Mass and I have done a variety of other work. For three months at the beginning of 2018 I toured the eastern half of the United States in order to spread my book and to learn more about the country and its agriculture by working and staying on a different farm each week. I observed just how shitty this country is, although I met some very nice people. In 2019 I ran for a city council-at-large political position in my hometown and lost. I plan on continuing to spread my ideas to the world.
Some authors/books that have influenced me:
John Taylor Gatto- The Underground History of American Education, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
Wendell Berry- The Unsettling of America, The Art of the Commonplace
Ivan Illich- Deschooling Society, Tools for Conviviality
F. Roger Devlin- Sexual Utopia in Power
Ted Kaczynski- Industrial Society and Its Future, Technological Slavery
Paul Goodman- Growing Up Absurd, Compulsory Mis-education, The Community of Scholars, The Society I Live in is Mine
E. F. Schumacher- Small is Beautiful, A Guide for the Perplexed
Friedrich Nietzsche- Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Henry David Thoreau- Walden, Journal Entries (Thoreau’s Country by David Foster)
Emile Durkheim- On Suicide
Knut Hamsun- Growth of the Soil, Hunger, Mysteries, Victoria, Pan
Ernest Hemingway- The Complete Short Stories
Franz Kafka- The Trial, The Castle
Jack London- Martin Eden, White Fang, Short Stories
Yukio Mishima- The Sound of Waves, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, The Way of the Samurai
H.P. Lovecraft- At the Mountains of Madness, Short Stories
Isaac Asimov- The Complete Short Stories Vol 1
Herman Hesse- Siddhartha
Alan Moore- Watchmen
Thomas Hardy- Far from the Madding Crowd
Mark Twain- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer