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BC - Discovering Our Existential-Self

Hi, I’m Lee Hayden,  website owner, manager, and author .  Welcome to the Hayden Center For Educational Excellence.  The Hayden Center  offers students a variety of educational programs of study, each  program leading to an opportunity to  experience a unique  form of  lifestyle  enrichment.  Click here to review the available programs of study, courses, durations, and costs.  Contact Lee Hayden at 707-945-1294 if you have questions.


This is a brief course - Discovering Our Existential-Self

In general, the SHAL website programs of study could possibly be characterized  as providing  a great educational adventure that is personally enriching, engaging and entertaining, and capable of raising your level of consciousness. A much better characterization for this course, however,  is that it is a metaphorical journey toward the  existential-self.  .   The journey is difficult and the existential-self destination  is only approached and not reached.   The benefits accuring from the journey depend on the extent that  difficulties were overcome and the proximity to the existential-self when the journey was terminated.  The benefits may make it possible to re-invent yourself, discovering your  personal  true-self or  community true-self.  Life is grand when you become the person  you must become.

This is a free brief course and its purpose is to summarize the fee based associated short course.  Information about this course is provided on the Short Course Information page.

The purpose of this brief course  is to describe an encounter of the first kind, i.e., an encounter with our existential-self.


Rene’ Descarte, the father of philosophy, was committed  to transforming concepts of Man and the universe from a religious basis to a scientific basis. Like Descarte,  we accept our existence as a well-established fundamental,  universal, and absolute truth.  Descarte famously expressed this absolute  truth as  “I think, therefore, I am.”  Although only rarely stated, this idea of our existence as an absolute truth is the starting truth for each of our  modern  great disciplines of knowledge.

Like Descarte,  not only do we accept our existence as an absolute fact, but we accept the idea that we must doubt the nature of everything else in the world. Our doubt, together with Man’s desire for knowledge,  forms the basis for establishment of the disciplines of knowledge.  These disciplines seek knowledge about our external and internal worlds.  These great disciplines are theology, philosophy, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and sociology

As previously stated, this brief course and the associated short course are about discovering our existential-self.  At this point, it is important to recognize that a pre-requisite  for this short course is the short  course on the self-organizing universe. (See Picture 1 above)  The short course on the self-organizing universe helps us to understand the nature of reality and the fact that we human beings are part of the fabric of the universe.  Many people develop the sense of an emerging spirituality as their knowledge of the universe increases.   Also our thinking must have its roots in reality.

Discovering our existential-self is an essential part of the journey to discover our personal true-self or our  community true-self. (See Graphic 3). This brief course/short course focuses on the descending portion of the overall journey   –  also known as the descent into hell. A separate  course will  address the upward portion of  the journey after discovery of the existential-self. Presently, that upward portion of the journey is known as the ascent into enlightenment.  Achieving either of  these two  SHAL website program goals is an amazing accomplishment  because of the increasing levels of resistance encountered as the existential-self is approached.  The least difficult program goal is re-inventing yourself.


 The existential-self is the core  of our being and also the lowest state of  our

being occuring on our journey. The overall purpose of the journey is to ultimately achieve high level states of being such as  Maslow’s self-actualization, personal true-self, community true-self, and universal-self. of their existential-self, then that person becomes increasing  free to overcome the self-imposed resistances .

 During your downward  journey toward your existential-self, you may discover that your knowledge of the great disciplines  is weak or non-existent.  Achievement of any of the SHAL program goals requires at least a basic knowledge of each of the great disciplines.  Presently, our focus is on the great discipline of physics because physics helps us to understand reality.

Personal qualities of high self-assertiveness,  self-esteem,  self-confidence, and even self-acceptance are essential for personal growth. These qualities are promoted  in relationship with other people when our ideas and conversations with other are reality based.

Since birth of the universe, the fabric of reality has  undergone dramatic change as the universe  has self-organized.  Starting from the simplicity of chaos (no organization of matter) , the universe  has been creatiively organizing from a given organizational level of  matter  into increasingly complex organizational levels of matter, with Mankind being the most complex matter produced to date. Each level of organized matter posseses a unique function.  Along with Mankind, the  universe has produced organized matter in the form of quarks, neutrons and protons, atoms, dust, stars and galaxies,bacteria and viruses, fish, skunks, and apes.  There is no known reason why production of complex organizations of matter would terminate with the introduction of consciousnes with  Mankind as its bearer. But, what will the universe produce next?

What radical creative force in metaphysical space caused the big bang?  Obviously, it had a cause.  

Science has been very successful in describing many of the individual processes  in the self-organizing universes.  Although science can “describe “ many of the organizational processes very well, it can not yet describe why “each” process occurs.

My personal speculation is that, because of the present day uncivility, a higher level of consciosnness will  be desired and could  pull the next level of organize matter into existemce.  Thus, additional matter would be added to the brain  and the brain would function at a higher level of consciousness and at a higher level of thinking. My personal speculation is that the same level of thinking could also be achieved by the process of  consciousness raising. Some people refer to the reality created by Man as augmented reality..  

 Since Man’s birth, Manind has been redefining reality and has generally reaped the benefits of each new understanding;.  However, some Men of Mankind share the resources derived from new understanding for the good of Mankind;  other Men of Mankind command and  control resources for personal pleasure  and evil purposes.. .

Man seeks universal truths and transforms universal truths into universal laws governing personal  behavior and endeavors. Man transforms universal truths obtained from the theolgical discipline  into universal laws governing justice.

Man’s best estimate of truth is provided by the great  disciplines which incorporate the scientific method.  These disciplines are : theology, philosphy, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and sociology. (Religion does not use the scientific method for establishment of truth. Instead, people grant establishment of truth to a knowleable and trusted authority.) Unfortunately, in a practical sense, it is more accurate to say that truth is deeply buried in the great disciplines because a specific  list of truths can not be found. To obtain the best estimate of truth, I must go to a knowledgeable and trusted authority and expert representing a leading scientific  journal.  

If discovery of our true-self were an easy task, it would have already been accomplished. Unfortunately, the task is difficult - very difficult.  Probably, it is the most difficult task any person  will ever encounter. The difficulty stems from the fact that we must first journey toward our existential self, i.e., our self as we presently exist relative to the human condition. Metaphorically, we must journey downward toward our existential self , estimate an understanding of our existential self, and then journey upward toward our true-self.

This essay is about our downward journey toward our existential self. Hopefully, we can maintain the perseverance required to   struggle through the many resistances, constraints, and painful roadblocks. As you approach your destination, start acquainting yourself with your existentila self.

Every individual’s personality  is both unique and very complex. Based on our present scientific perspective, each individual is part of the fabric of the universe and evolves according to the evolutionary laws of the universe. As the universe evolved, Man’s brain evolved preducing multiple regions of intelligence. The evolutionary process produced unconscious intelligence, pre-conscious intelligence and fianally full conscious intelligence. Cognitive intelligence resides in the frontal lobe. We make the assumption that evolution has produced the same intelligence potential for each and every Man.  A complete understanding and characterization of a person would require knowledge of that person’s history of experiences and that person’s thoughts about each of thoses experiences. Obviously, such information for complete understanding  is not yet available for any Man.

Recognizing the complexity of each Man and lacking information for a complete understanding, we are tempted to over-simplify our model of understanding.  But, for the moment, we must resist such temptation. Thus, we assert that an individual is most adequately understood in the context of a wide variety of concrete relationships, loyalties, and networks of obligation  - in contrast to a laissez-faire views of the self.  Further, the unique individual is the point of intersection of a wide variety of physical, social-cultural, scientific and theological  forces.

Because of the above factors, self-introspection and self-understanding are very difficult. Even with support of a well-trained and empathetic psychologist, an individual  cannot gain self-understanding without attention to these interdependent complexities. Every  individual does indeed have a potential for creating a mental freedom  that could address and overcome their situation, but that individual must have both a profound acceptance of the idea that truth is buried in the complexity of their situation and the internal motivation to re-invent themselves.. .  Its this free will that allows us to open or close ourselves to various influences or claims made upon us. Tthe proper exercise of this free will is a pre-requsite for becoming our personal true-self and community true-self.

If a Man has dared to journey downward toward his existential-self  and  dares to metaphorically  experience the relationship with his existential-self, then that Man will experience thestate of being known as the  ground of  creative being.  While in this state,  internal and external bondages vanish.  The Man who overcame negative self-talk and found his existential-self is now capable. of expressing  the highest form of vitality that existence in reality permits. Like love, a Man returns to this relationship agan and again.

IThe way in which a personality will interpret its freedom and use its reason depends upon the character of the self and upon its relation to and attitude toward the rest of reality.  For example, a readiness even to enter into discussion for the sake of reaching agreement  ( or at least reaching a a common understanding) depends upon our total character and not upon our intellectual capacities alone.  It depends, in short, upon a proper relation to the creative ground of meaning and existence.  Moreover, science as well as theology, politics as well as art, properly flourish only when the primary  quality of human character or integrity is the foundation and when that intgegrity has a positive and critical relation to larger integrities, both social and metaphysical.


To be continued!

BC - Discovering Our Existential-Self Do you like you? Are you happy? Want more from your life?

Introducing States of Being

Introducing The Existential-Self

The Self-Organizing Universe

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Graphic 3

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