TMI on Jer

After growing up in Taiwan and Hong Kong the child of Christian missionaries, Jer attended Houghton college in up-state New York, where he received the Houghton Heritage Scholarship, became a firefighter, and studied philosophy.  After graduating in 2007, he became a community organizer with AmeriCorps in inner-city Buffalo and later served as a Strategic Planner in the CEOs office at Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta before enrolling in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jer is currently Director of the Primals Initiative and Psychology PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.  His advisor is Dr. Martin Seligman, former APA president and founder of positive psychology.  Jer studies primals, which are discrete highly generalized beliefs about the world as a whole.  Long term, he hopes to identify primals that are tied to positive life outcomes and design scaleable interventions.

Alicia and I in Sri Lanka

In the Summer of 2012, Jer managed a strategic planning process for Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and Alicia, his wife, worked for Oxfam UK on an agriculture project.

Jer is an agented author and has three unpublished manuscripts currently on hold.  Therefore Joy: A Positive Philosophical Theology for the Next Generation explores the nature of freewill and determinism.  Stuttering Gets the Girls: Stories from a Life on Three Continents is a collection of non-fiction short stories that ground Jer’s cultural and ethical view point.  A third manuscript concerns pacifism, just-war theory, and the philosophical roots of violence.

In 2011, Jer pulled a guy off the subway tracks who was in contact with the electrified third rail and in the process was shocked as well. Police confirmed that he saved the stranger’s life and could have easily been killed.  The story became a media event after a bystander posted the video on Youtube.  The story garnered over 6 million online hits and reached over 11 million television viewers.  National appearances include the Dr. Drew Show and Fox & Friends.

media pic

This blog, formerly known as “Jer’s Intellectual Adventures,” has morphed into a way to share news related to the Primals Initiative.  He also hopes that it can remain a personal blog and an informal outlet to “try out” ideas and stay in touch with family and friends, as well as to connect with other people of similar interests.  Topics discussed may include psychological research, history, politics, philosophy, religion, and culture, as well as personal updates.

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One response to “TMI on Jer

  • A E Pasquino

    Reading your analysis of Trump supporters vs. various control groups. (Which makes Trump supporters a classic out-of-control group.) Anger does a lot of things to people, including making them less rational, making them wish for things rational people won’t wish for. Of course we understand the rational racists who like him, but what about the women who like him and the people of color who like him? There is a strain of “it won’t happen to me” that runs through this crowd, I think. They are angry, they are hurting, they want a strong leader who will hurt people they believe deserve it, people they believe are hurting them. They believe that Trump will hurt other people and not them. They want a dictator who will do what they want done; which means they believe the dictator they help elect will take dictation from them. They hate other politicians because they’ve been unable to do exactly what they’ve promised; which means they don’t realize that politicians promise to try and generally it’s their opponents who prevent them from succeeding. (I.e. Obama’s eight years facing absolute nullification by the former Confederacy.) A lot of illogic, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration. They are enthusiastically supporting the party that has been degrading their standard of living. The order they see in the universe isn’t delivering the justice they deserve but they still believe there is order. I wish they were able to comprehend that the order that is frustrating them is something called The Rule of Accumulated Advantage, whereby advantages leverage each other benefiting the most advantaged while disadvantages compound each other to the frustration of the least advantaged. They seem attracted to the will o the wisp charm which all con men use, associated with quick riches, secret tricks, fake sincerity, false promises, they are attracted by vendettas the con man promises to carry out on their behalf.

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