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Zak Stein and Marc Gafni:

"Heterodox evolutionists who have been concerned with the future role of self-consciousness as a factor in evolution have found that the keystone concept needed for thinking about the future of human evolution is that of uniqueness. It is one of the few keystone concepts that can bridge the gap between interiors and exteriors, science and ethics, matter and sprit. And it is the ideal keystone concept to orient the strivings of the only planetary keystone species.8 So fostering uniqueness is, in a way, a planetary evolutionary imperative.


Uniqueness is what philosophers call a “relational category,” which contrasts with an “entity category.” This means uniqueness describes something that occurs between and among things, arising out of relationships, as opposed to being an intrinsic abstract property of a thing in isolation. Uniqueness is not just about difference; it is about differences defined through relations. "



"The key insight that guides Unique Self Theory is that one of the central dimensions of evolutionary process is uniqueness. That is, one of the things evolution does is to produces the unique, and as evolution unfolds uniqueness increases. This means that the idea of evolution becoming conscious of itself can be reframed it in terms of uniqueness becoming consciousness of itself. The moral implications could not be more important.

Here we lay out the basic ideas in schematic form as a series of related postulates:

1) Evolution is a process that moves from simplicity to complexity and from less consciousness to more consciousness (this is Teilhard’s (1955) “law of complexity and consciousness”).

2) This movement towards greater complexity and consciousness is also a movement towards increasingly unique forms of life.

3) Increases in complexity, consciousness, and uniqueness correlate with increases in creativity and Eros as organismic potentials.

4) Evolution is thus the move from unconscious uniqueness to conscious uniqueness.

5) The reflectively unique self—the organism aware of its own evolutionary uniqueness— becomes a possibility with the emergence of humanity, and can be thought of as a key strange attractor in the evolutionary process.

6) Thus your Unique Self is the personal face of a universal evolutionary process—in this way the qualities of personality participates in the evolution of the universe.

7) Unique Selves come together to form Unique Self Symphonies, which is how the universe optimally and ethically self-organizes and evolves at the level of human culture and personality.

8) This a just form of emergent super organisms because it requires that we care about everyone’s story. It has social justice—the view from everywhere — at its core and leverages the benefits of justice to promote further harmoniums evolutionary emergence."



... of the concept, by Marc Gafni and Zak Stein:

"The notions of Unique Self and Unique Self Symphony emerged at the interface of religious scholarship, psychological meta-theory, and evolutionary meta-theory—expressed collaboratively in different forms by Gafni, Stein and Hubbard. This work naturally integrates with

  • Hubbard’s seminal work expressing and exploring Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential (Hubbard, 2015, revised edition).
  • For a detailed look at the genesis of Unique Self Theory itself, see the special issue of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice (6:1), which is dedicated to Unique Self Theory. The volume was edited by and largely penned by Gafni, with
  • the lead article, The Evolutionary Emergent of Unique Self, A New Chapter in Integral Theory.

See also

  • major works by Gafni (2012; 2014) Unique Self; Two Views of Self, on the core articulation of Unique Self theory and
  • the forthcoming work by Stein & Gafni, Towards a Politics of Evolutionary Love.

For the first book length treatments of Unique Self Symphony, see:

  • Gafni & Kincaid (2015);
  • Gafni and Hubbard, Becoming the New Human and the New Society (Forthcoming);
  • Gafni, Hubbard & Shmachtenberger, The Universe, A Love Story (Forthcoming).

The Center for Integral Wisdom is supporting a series of book projects currently underway involving scholars from over a dozen fields, including business, psychotherapy, attachment theory, evolutionary theory, medicine, and technology. For more details about this emerging school of thought, see the think tank at the Center for Integral Wisdom: http://centerforintegralwisdom.org "



Difference between Ego and Unique Self

Zak Stein and Marc Gafni:

"there is a difference between what is typically referred to as “ego” and Unique Self.19 The term “ego” is typically used with reference to a contracted sense of self, where one emphases difference and asserts self over other. Unique Self, on the other hand, can be understood as personality beyond ego. Note that this is different from most typical spiritual and ethical teachings, which suggest overcoming or forgetting ones personal story — disappearing and outshined by the Absolute, be it the Eternal Fact or the Evolutionary Impulse. Rather, our story is a part of things. Each unique personal story drives the larger story. There is no split between person evolution and the evolution of reality. You don’t overcome or forget you story; you clarify the uniqueness of your story. There is an evolutionary imperative to promote uniqueness. And uniqueness is a relational category."