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BC -  The Great Disciplines

Hi, I’m Lee Hayden,  website owner, manager, physicist, and author.  

Welcome to the Hayden Center For Educational Excellence.  The Hayden Center, being independent of any licensure organization, offers students a variety of educational programs of study, each  program leading to an opportunity to  experience a unique  form of  lifestyle  enrichment.  Each program consists of a set of individual courses with each addressing a specific topic of knowledge. Each course is available as a free brief course or a fee-based associated short course.  Click here for detail information on the available programs of study, courses, durations, and costs.  The Hayden Center is not licensed nor seeks licensure by any educational organization. Contact Lee Hayden at 707-945-1294 for additional information.

The picture below is an artist’s conception of a self-organizing universe beginning with a big bang and ending with  three possible destinies. According to present theory about the universe, we human beings are part of  reality produced by the universe. However, I know only one truth with absolute certainty:  “I think. Therefore, I exist.”  I recognize that my experience of objects external to myself is greatly limited by the poor resolution of  my senses. Consequently, I must form theories about the existential purpose and properties of objects in the universe and the universe itself.  You and others are probably in the same predicament, but your experiences are different.  Each of us must address three ultimate existential questions. What will I do next?  What will you do next?  What will the universe do nest?

The subject of this brief course is “The Great Disciplines.” At the Hayden Center, several college/university level courses have been collectively labeled “The Great Disciplines” because of their importance and frequent reference in discussions of the nature of reality.  This particular brief course identifies, defines, and characterizes the specific disciplines comprising the great courses.  As a discipline, each course has a component that addresses the nature of reality as developed using the scientific method.  Importantly, the assumptions associated with each disciplines are stated.  

Course benefits include:

Like all brief courses, this free brief course  summarizes the associated fee based short course in suficient detail to support the decision to enroll in the short course.

 I’m Lee Hayden and I commit  to making”The Great Disciplines”  brief and short courses of high quality and exceptionally beneficial to you.

Man has made dramatic progress in understanding the reality in which he resides and has  enjoyed the quality of life benefits derived from each new understanding.  Of course,  not surprising,  Man has not yet acquired ultimate or absolute knowledge of the universe, i.e., ultimate or absolute knowledge of physical reality produced by the universe.  Instead, Man has developed knowledge of the universe (physical reality) that may be labeled using terms such as relative,  limited, temporary, or practical. Hopefully, the present path of  Man’s knowledge development will eventually lead to ultimate knowledge without major detours. (Philosphy warns of the danger of assuming that the universe is naturally mathematic versus placing mathematics onto the universe.  Similarly, use of the scientific method may not guarantee that Man’s knowledge development is on an optimally reliable path.)

Man’s present  knowledge of the universe is provided by the self-organizing universe paradigm.  According to this paradigm, the universe started in simplcity at the time of the big bang and has been and continues to organize matter to increasing complexity.  Man is believed to be the most complex organization of matter produced by the universe to date.  Futhermore, according to this paradigm, there is no reason to believe that production of Man is the final purpose of the universe.  Thus, the universe is expected to produce an intelligent being beyond Man that we shall label post-Man.

Philosophically, Man’s brain structure may limit Man’s knowledge to ultimate knowledge.  Quite possibly, post-Man’s brain structure may be capable of acquiring absolute knowledge.

My starting point is Descarte’s starting point: “I think; therefore, I am.” Thus, I believe and do not doubt  my own existence as a fact.  And, by extension, I think  that my existence is contingent on a supportive environment and a creative source of both myself and the supportive environment.  The critical problem is that I do not know the essence of anything, including myelf, my supportive environment, or the creative source

By definition, the great disciplines consists of the following brief/short courses:  philosophy, theology, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology,and sociology.  

The term, “Great Disciplines” is frequently used  by this website’s brief and short  courses.  However, its  definition is becoming increasingly necessary in scientific discourse  because of the growing acceptance of the idea of a self-organizing universe. From Man’s perspective, the primary purpose of the universe is the organization of matter to increasing complexity, as will be discussed later.    Equivalently, we can say that the universe  is organizing  reality so that reality   is emergent.  All the great disciplines make a contribution to our understanding of emergent reality.

The  definitions for the great disciplines, identified below, are tailored to be helpful in understanding  the essay discussions. These definitions may  appear to be somewhat specialized compared to normal dictionary definitions.  

All great disciplines rely on the scientific methodology  to produce facts, hypothese, theories, models, and paradigms.

An artist depiction of the self-oganizing universe is presented below.   The artist has done an excellent job  of illustrating  the concept of an three dimensional universe on a two dimenstional drawing canvas. The galaxies shown are not known real galaxies.

Of course, the universe does not have the sharp boundaries suggested by the parallel circles and and the curved-arcs perpendicular to the circles.  Each circle corresponds to a time-slice of the universe on which all points are the same time from the big bang. Time-slices increase in diameter the further out on a curved-arc, indicating an expanding universe.  As shown, the universe is expanding at an accelerating  rate.  In subsequent discussion, it might be useful to imagine the above drawing without the circles and curved arcs.  We shall claim, as a fact, that our universe does not have boundaries.

The artist’s concept presented above has many benefits as an introductory concept,  but its limitations as a real world concept are readily apparent.   The real world  has three spatial dimenstions along with the time dimension.  In our mental visualization of the real world, envision  the big bang occurring at the center of a sphere with  parallel concentric spherical surfaces.  A given spherical surface corresponds to a time-surface of the universe on which all points are the same time from the big bang.  For an expanding universe,  the surface area of a time-surface S expands at a rate greater than S > t2, where k is an appropriate constant and t is the time from the big bang.  Additionally, in an expanding universe, all other galaxies will appear to be receding from your galaxy.


In the pocess of developing a theory about the cause of our  universe, we begin by  making the assumption  that the universe was born as some sort of meta-fluctuation, known as the Big Bang,  in an underlying meta-physical space.  This assumption may be thought of as a fundamental progected requirement upon which our theory is based.  We anticipate that we will be making additional assumptions as our knowledge expands.  Hopeully, our knowledge base will grow such that the number of assumptions can be reduced.

Imagine any point in meta-physical space-time before the big bang meta-fluctuaon occurred.  Our universe has not yet come into existence. Meta-physical space-time extends from negative infinity to posiitive infinity in all three directions.  As another pair of assumptions, we assume that metaphysical space contains dark energy and dark matter

BC - Great Disciplines

Philosophy Key Points

Philosophy is a faith-based discipline that

  • presently assumes the universe is,
  •  comprehensible, especially mathematically representable,
  •  chaos --> probabilistic for microscopic level ->deterministic for macroscopic level, free will for conscious level.,

  • studies fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language for the benefit of Man.

Philosophy  has been unable to prove that the universe is naturally mathematical or that Man has placed mathematics onto the universe.

Physics Key Points

Science is a faith -based discipline that

  • presently assumes there is an ultimate reality
  • creates, builds, and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Self-organizing universe should be re-named descriptive self-organizing universe

The Big Bang initiated the self-organizing universe. Darwin's evolution is now included as part of the self-organizing universe

Self-organizing  theory is our best present day theory for understanding the universe.

Self-organizing theory only "describes" but not says "why" matter is increasingly organized

Man is part of the universe and not placed in it.

The universe is organizing from simple matter to increasingly complex  matter, i.e., reality is becoming increasingly complex

Man is the most complex  organization of matter produced by the universe to date.

Psychology Key Points

Psychology is a faith-based discipline that

  • presently assumes there is a true-self
  • helps individuals understand themselves
  • seeks to establish general principles  and researches specific cases.

Theology Key Points

Theology is a faith-based discipline that

  • presently assumes there is a final cause of the universe
  • evaluates religious skepticism and  studies creation concepts,
  •  estimates expectations of final cause for benefit of Man.

Sociology Key Points

Sociology is a faith-based discipline that

  • presently assumes there is a majority of global cultures seeking the "good" for Mankind.
  • seeks to understand social behavior of society,
  • seeks to establish general principles  and researches specific societies