L. Ron Hubbard was searching for a principle which would lead to the unification of knowledge and explain the meaning of existencesomething other philosophers had set out to find in the past with varying degrees of success. In fact, many Western philosophers had given up on the idea that different peoples held anything in common and were no longer even asking questions about the life force or the essence of life. Man had become just another animal, mere flesh and bones.
Yet Mr. Hubbard saw man in a very different light. Although he had no name for it yet, he felt certain that life was more than a random series of chemical reactions, and that some sort of intelligent urge underlay our actions. Organizing the tremendous body of data he had acquiredhis travels, research and experimentshe embarked upon a new experimental path, this time to determine how cells functioned. And following an elaborate series of experiments in early 1938, he made a breakthrough of magnitude: he isolated the common denominator of existence. SURVIVE.
That man was surviving was not a new idea. That this was the single basic common denominator of existence was.
The predominant theory of the time held that life was simply a chance chain reaction in a sea of ammonia. Disproving this materialistic belief and forming the basis for all his later work, his findings were compiled into a philosophic manuscript, "Excalibur," written during the first weeks of 1938.
He wrote: "I suddenly realized that survival was the pin on which you could hang the rest of this with adequate and ample proof. Its a very simple problem. Idiotically simple! Thats why it never got solved. Nobody has ever looked at anything being that simple to do that much. So what do we find as the simplicities of solution? The simplicities of solution lie in this: that life, all life, is trying to survive. And life is composed of two things: the material universe and an X-factor. And this X-factor is something that can evidently organize, and mobilize the material universe."