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Alfred Alschuler's Transcendent Education and EHEs

Rhea A. White
pub: EHE Network, Inc.
Copyright©2001 EHE Network, Inc.


Alfred Alschuler's Transcendent Education and EHEs

{Although this is about educator Alschuler’s research findings, the first part presents a brief EHE portrait of Alschuler. Primarily the flyer is about his study of "inner voices," which provide what he calls a "transcendent education." In our terms, these inner voices are EHEs that introduce the experiencer to the Experiential Paradigm. This flyer, published in 1996, was edited and amended by Alschuler himself.]


Beginning in his mid-30’s, Alfred Alschuler began hearing inner voices. Instead of dismissing or fearing them, he made a study of such experiences reported by famous men and women through history. Professor Alschuler taught at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst before serving as president of John F. Kennedy University, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and Dean of Education at Appalachian State University, where currently he is a full-time faculty member. He describes himself as a higher education teacher of 30 years who believes that the highest education is one’s own adventure in spiritual consciousness, and then supporting students in their exploration.

Although he has had a multi-faceted career, the meaning of inner voices has become the spearhead of both his thinking and living (see Alschuler, 1987, 1996). Thus he typifies the terms we have coined growing out of our work with exceptional human experience (see White, 1996). His work began with his own exceptional human experiences; in his study of such experiences and learning from them, he began to base his own life choices on his EHEs. With repeated

experiences, he became an EHEer. He developed a lifeview that incorporated them, embarked upon, and is still engaged in, a Project of Transcendence, and his writings are at the forefront of what we call the Experiential Paradigm. We hope to publish his EHE autobiography in Exceptional Human Experience. In this flyer we present Alschuler’s main findings about inner voices because, in effect, his studies should greatly assist people in coming to terms with, incorporating, and integrating their exceptional experiences and in obtaining the "transcendent education" they offer. Dr. Alschuler has read, approved, and augmented this flyer and has given permission to publish it, for which we are grateful.

I would like to point out that although Alschuler uses the term "inner voice," it is intended to cover a much broader area, one that is nearly synonymous with exceptional human experience. He relates the inner voices to love, joy, enlightenment, peace, awe, prophesy, channeling, possession, spirit teachings, precognition, inspiration, guidance, and sense of vocation, all of which are, or are associated with, EHEs.

Some of Alschuler’s findings do not require comment and will simply be listed. Sources for further information about his work are given in the References. His observations on inner voices and transcendent education, in brief summary, are as follows: (1) The inner voice experience has been quite common throughout the ages and continues today. (2) The inner voice is experienced as if one were taking inner dictation. Although it comes from within, the source appears to be wholly other and is not under the listener’s control. It also can be projected outwardly. Infrequently it is heard as if coming from outside the person. (3) Inner voices perform several functions. They can forewarn or provide what Alschuler calls superior information, which is not normally available (sometimes called ESP). They provide superior inspiration needed to solve problems, resolve conflicts, and engender new projects. And they provide superior authorization by defining a mission and authorizing action on its behalf. Together, these functions are experienced as an inner teacher. (4) Inner teachers provide a transcendent education, which Alschuler divides into four phases: contact (the initial inspiration); self-transcendence, in which the inner voice teaches the experiencer in a way that enables him or her to transcend his/her ordinary self. This stage culminates in a unitive experience that can take three forms: union with the inner teacher; and a visit to the spiritual community of the inner teacher, that is, an experience of another world from which the teachings issue. The third form is ineffable and involves union with all things, or what I have called the All-Self. The unitive experience confirms the development of a transcendent self. The fourth phase is a worldly mission of unification. Alschuler cites many examples of what I have called Projects of Transcendence, or cultural contributions resulting from inner voices, such as in archaeology, invention, poetry, music, fiction.

In an important recent work, Alschuler (1993) points out that inner teachers can stimulate union with God or with the demonic, as in Hitler obeying an evil inner voice. He offers guidance on managing them for good purposes. Briefly, he recommends that experiencers reject the temptations of self-inflation or self-abandonment, maintain final authority, and shun inner cults. He also provides a bibliography about inner voices arranged by topic, for example: What is it like to hear an inner voice? Where do they come from? What is the best and worst that can happen?

The term exceptional human experience is deliberately intended to include as many nonordinary experiences as possible. Professor Alschuler has taken a narrower view, which has advantages. By using the term inner voices, he emphasizes the inner connection each person has with the transcendent, the divine, the cosmic, the universe, Reality—whichever term is most appealing to the person concerned. His term "inner teachers" points up the developmental aspect of such experiences by describing the sequence of growth stages that can take place. He also emphasizes the practicality of these experiences. They are not simply otherworldly prattle or "thisworldly" nonsense, but have provided the inspiration and impetus for many artworks, inventions, social programs, and philosophies. Regrettably, we take these products of exceptional human experience for granted, not knowing or not thinking of how wondrous was their origin in a person just like you—who had an exceptional experience and did not hide it or forget it. Moreover, they do more than inspire; they ably guide the person on a life of manifesting love. Our study of EHEs, like Alschuler's study of inner voices, reveals that they train the individual to find his or her rightful place in life, and perhaps beyond that. They come from a place within us and without us that is timeless, and they take the person who is willing to undertake all that is involved in pursuing this inner curriculum to a conscious awareness of that timeless state of transcendence/inscendence.

In my writings often I have pointed out that learning how to deal with and integrate the lessons of any form of EHE can be applied to different experiences of the same person or even to those of others. Alfred Alschuler emphasizes this in a thorough, scholarly, accessible, and appealing way in his writings. They should help anyone who has had any kind of exceptional experience to see it as an invitation to enroll in a transcendent education and to forge a new lifeview, including a clear life purpose. The worldview that is a concomitant of this process weaves another unique thread in the garment of the Experiential Paradigm.


Alschuler, A.S. (1987, Fall). Recognizing inner teachers—inner voices throughout history. Gnosis Magazine, 5, 8-12.

Alschuler, A.S. (1993). Inner teachers and transcendent education. In K.R. Rao (Ed.), Cultivating Consciousness: Enhancing Human Potential, Wellness, and Healing (pp. 181-193). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Alschuler, A.S. (1996). Inner voices and inspired lives through the ages. In S.J. Thayer & L.S. Nathanson, Interview With an Angel: Our World, Our Selves, Our Destiny (pp. 1-62). Gillette, NJ: Edin Books.

White, R.A. (1996). Ten terms associated with exceptional human experience. New Bern, NC: EHE Network.


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