Unique Self Institute

Integral Afternote

The following afternote emerged from a series of conversations between Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni, which sought to clarify clearly the term Unique Self. Some of these issues are more fully explicated in the scholarly treatment of Unique Self (Radical Kabbalah) and the book’s footnotes.

See also fn. 3, 13, 17, 21, 26, and 27 in Gafni’s “Evolutionary Emergent of Unique Self” published in the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice, 6:1.

Marc Gafni:

What I am calling Unique Self is primarily a structure stage of consciousness that one awakens to at a particular level of development. That is the primary usage of Unique Self. Unique Self, however, is also accessible as a state of consciousness, for example during an ecstatic flow state, at earlier developmental stages. Unique Self in its fullest expression is also the unique perspective of True Self, and is therefore a fully Self-realized state of consciousness. As I have pointed out over the years, at the level of Unique Self, the integral distinction between states and structure stages of consciousness melts into the larger One. Using the term Unique Self in an entirely different way it is also true that every form has its own intrinsic uniqueness. So in this sense, in early dialogues both Ken and I have said things like, all forms have a Unique Self. But this meaning of the term Unique Self refers not to the Self-realized state or structure stage of consciousness, but rather to the essential uniqueness that form always exhibits once it emerges from emptiness. To avoid the confusion of double-dipping terms, in this book, Unique Self and in Unique Self theory, Unique Self virtually always refers to the structure-stage of Unique Self-realization, which occurs when Unique Self awakens as the unique perspective of True Self. This is the expression of Unique Self as both state and structure stage of consciousness. It would be more accurate not to refer to other expression of uniqueness as Unique Self since unique essence as the structure stage of a developed and awakened self-quality does not come online until much higher stages of human development both in terms of states and structure stages. For nuanced discussion of these issues see footnote 1 Ch. 1.