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  Note: The EHE Network in the process of change.
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EHE Network Aims and Activities


General Aim of the EHE Network

The Exceptional Human Experience Network (EHE Network) was founded in New York State in 1994 and incorporated in North Carolina in 1995 as an educational and research organization composed of a governing board with (nonvoting) members who share a common interest in transformative aspects of anomalous experiences and learning more about those that help people to realize their human potential, and thus are called exceptional human experiences (EHEs). EHEs can be initiated by spontaneous anomalous experiences of the mystical, encounter, death-related types, healing, peak, psychical, and desolation/nadir types.

The general aim of the Network is to study the full range of EHEs, find or develop ways of understanding and working with them, draw generalizations based on them, and disseminate this information to members, scholars, and the general public. Equal effort and attention is given to (a) the social/cultural aspect and (b) the individual. The thrust of (a) is to use scholarly methods and theories to increase the intellectual understanding of EHEs. The thrust of (b) is to work with actual experiencers of all ages and EHEs of all types to increase individual awareness and understanding of EHEs, especially how to recognize them, discover their meaning, integrate them, and move forward by means of them. A subsidiary aim is to promote a dialogical/counseling method of working with experiencers to uncover the personal and social meanings of EHEs and ways of constructively incorporating them in their lives.

The Network encourages and practices a special attitude toward exceptional human experience in all its activities. This attitude is an outgrowth of our basic working hypothesis that each type of EHE provides a different perception of reality than what Euro-Americans generally experience as reality. The experiences in themselves for the most part alter the experiencer's perception in some way, and implicit in this perception is a whole new conception of who we are and what humans can do and be. In other words, a new worldview is implicit in exceptional human experience. We call it the Experiential Paradigm. Our aim is to privilege that worldview over thinking about exceptional experience and over purely rational formulations of a worldview. Instead of letting rational thoughts about EHEs serve as the foundation of our conception of them, we suggest that EHEs themselves be used to inform and influence how we conceptualize them. Here we follow William James, who considered subjective data as empirical as any physical fact. This is emphasized in the Network's journal, Exceptional Human Experience, where precedence is given to articles on conceptions of exceptional human experience that are outgrowths of EHEs themselves. This approach is described in more detail in "Guidelines for Contributors," which is available on request. This emphasis also is reflected in the qualification of having prospective members submit an experience, preferably their own, describing how it influenced them (or not).

Specific Aims of the EHE Network

  1. Advance understanding of the generic concept of exceptional human experience.
  2. Differentiate as many types of EHEs as possible.
  3. Serve as a clearinghouse of information about EHEs and ways of studying and conceptualizing them.
  4. Educate scholars, the general public, special interest groups, and individual EHEers about EHEs.
  5. Collect and solicit accounts of EHEs through talks, appeals, contests, and through the Network's membership.
  6. Search the literature of the social sciences, humanities, and sciences for accounts of EHEs, ways of studying them, inducing them, explaining them, and ways they explain things.
  7. Publish a journal entitled Exceptional Human Experience with two issues per volume each averaging 164 letter-size pages in length. The journal consists of case reports, articles about EHEs, methodological and theoretical articles, EHE autobiographies, profiles of organizations who contribute to the knowledge of EHEs, and abstracts of books, chapters, dissertations, and essays relevant to EHEs.
  8. Produce and maintain an EHE bibliographic database consisting of all the abstracts/reviews published in EHE.
  9. Promote the creation of EHENET, an experiential database of accounts of the full range of types of exceptional human experience, published and unpublished.
  10. Give workshops and lectures on exceptional human experience and writing EHE autobiographies and on working with EHEs.
  11. Organize EHE support groups.
  12. Provide guidelines for organizing EHE support groups, writing EHE autobiographies, preparing EHE case reports, and conducting workshops on EHEs.
  13. Provide examples of specific types of EHEs to researchers, writers, students, and the general public.
  14. Cooperate with other organizations in collecting, recording, and disseminating information on EHEs.
  15. Publish EHE News twice a year/volume containing news of the activities of the Network and other organizations and researchers involved with specific types of exceptional human experience; letters from members and others; experiential accounts; brief lists of new books and articles of note on EHEs; and reviews.
  16. Maintain a website that presents information about exceptional human experiences with links to other organizations and individuals.
  17. Study the aftereffects of all types of EHEs-possibly the most important aspect of these little understood experiences


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Exceptional Human Experience Network
Exceptional Human Experience Network