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Existential Aspirations: Reflections of a Self-Taught Philosopher Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Autodidactic Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096219798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962197987
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,270,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles D. Hayes is a self-taught philosopher and one of America's strongest advocates for lifelong learning. He spent his youth in Texas and served as a U.S. Marine and as a police officer before embarking on a career in the oil industry. Alaska has been his home for more than forty years.

Promoting the idea that education should be thought of not as something you get but as something you take, Hayes' work has been featured in The L.A. Progressive, USA Today, and the UTNE Reader, on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and on Alaska Public Radio's Talk of Alaska.

Praised for his remarkable depth of knowledge across numerous disciplines, Hayes affirms through his work that active, continuous learning is what makes life worthwhile. His books encourage the kind of thinking that can transform human relations on a global scale, urging us to continuously examine our values, motivations, and common beliefs. He inspires us to acknowledge our mortality and live authentically as a result, taking deliberate action to leave the world a better place than we found it.

"The temporary nature of our lives may be a reason for unavoidable despair," says Hayes, "but such is the price of intelligence--it doesn't render our lives meaningless. To the contrary, the opportunity to live a life as a human being makes us the most fortunate creatures on the planet. We should be experts at being human and creating a world where humans can thrive."

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BJ on September 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
This groundbreaking book is the latest one by visionary Charles D. Hayes, whose other volumes include "Beyond the American Dream," "The Rapture of Maturity," and "Self-University." In "Existential Aspirations," he draws on his expertise as a social critic, political analyst, and existential philosopher while shedding revolutionary light on a wide range of exciting topics, including the meaning of life, the challenge of death, the follies of war, the paradoxical nature of happiness, and the untapped potential of the intellect. Hayes offers many penetrating insights into the pathologies of consumer culture and the aberrations that have wormed their way into democracy, capitalism, justice, and human relationships at both the interpersonal and international level. While Hayes examines the ongoing death of mind in the modern age, as with his other books one finds oneself inspired by his reverence for ideas, curiosity, creativity, and intellectual discovery as they can bring passion to life and re-awaken our humanity. This extraordinary book concludes with a highly stimulating treasure trove of aphorisms by Hayes, each one expressing universal truths that elevate one to a higher level of consciousness. "Existential Aspirations" leaves no doubt that Charles D. Hayes is one of the greatest pure thinkers of our current era, and this book is a must-read for all thinking people.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Donovan on March 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's disappointing to me to have to write this review. I have read several of Hayes' books and have mostly enjoyed his call for self-learning and bringing intellectual thought back into the mainstream of our American culture. However, this latest book seems an amateurish lashing out at all those with whom he might disagree. Hayes comes across in this book as a black and white thinker who has no use for the grays of intellectual pursuit. He seems to find a right way and a wrong way about everything. I've noticed this before in his political positions (decidedly leftist) but not until this book did I hear the voice of an angry man who feels there is the Hayes way (and that's always the right way) and there's everybody else. If you think differently you've maybe been hijacked by ignorance, or worse yet, "self-help gurus."

Hayes takes the petty route with many lashings against things that are so trivial as to not be worthy of discussion. For example, he goes on about the use of "Anything is possible" as an example of an ignorant thing to say. Why? Because anything ISN'T possible. A car with a flat, he suggests, won't suddenly inflate and you'll be magically on your way. Because, in Hayes' world, this isn't just an innocent figure-of-speech, it's an example of ignorance and gullibility. How sad. But, Mr. Hayes is angry. Little things like that show this anger at many levels throughout the book.

He spends much time railing against "self-help" and throws it in together with new age spiritualism ('The Secret') and sees nothing but people grasping for straws to delay the inevitable: death. Here is the 'existential' problem. His use of the 'existential' term, shows he is far from understanding what the term even really means.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Philosophy is not just an cognitive abstract pastime for ivory tower intellectuals. It is a body of knowledge, ideas, concepts, and problem solving approaches that have a genuine value and practical 'real world applications for human life and civilized conduct. At its very best, philosophical insights arise from real life experiences examined carefully and with a minimum of cultural bias. "Existential Aspirations: Reflections of a Self-Taught Philosopher" by Charles D. Hayes is a thoroughly 'reader friendly' 224-page compendium of reflective observation and insightful analysis of a series of contemporary issues ranging from a citizen's responsibility within the framework of a political democracy, to the relationship of our perception of happiness, to the ever present factor of our own mortality, and so much more. Of special note are a featured collection of aphorisms. Deftly written and superbly presented, "Existential Aspirations: Reflections of a Self-Taught Philosopher" is thoughtful and thought-provoking from first page to last, making it an excellent and prized addition to personal reading lists, as well as academic and community library Contemporary Philosophy collections.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B G Brattain on January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Before any elected official is allowed to take the oath of office, they should be required to read "Existential Aspirations". They may not agree with everything Charles Hayes says, but the least it will do is cause them to think, which far too many seem to have trouble with.
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