Unique Self Institute


The Emergence of Unique Self Theory

We begin this timeline with a short citation from a forthcoming monograph by Dr. Marc Gafni and Zak Stein to create a general context for the Unique Self work and the timeline.

“Unique Self is a meta-theory of identity that integrates the leading edges of traditional modern and postmodern thought across disciplines ranging from psychology, spirituality, politics, philosophy, economics, and more. Unique Self theory and practice is also a political, social, and spiritual evolutionary act that is the generative core for the New Story”.

We understand the New Story to be the essential response to catastrophic and existential risk. We understand those risks to be rooted in the failure of story itself -[ postmodernity ] or the distortion of story [modernity]. For example, the modern success story is a win-lose story governed by win-lose metrics rooted in an axiomatic narrative of the human being as a separate self.

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The separate self is the core structure animating the win-lose metrics success story that dominates world culture around the globe in myriad forms. This expression of self – as has already been pointed towards in the exterior as well of the entire science, is a fundamental distortion of the facts of human existence and nature. The response to separate self has been, within the tech world, for example, the emergence of what we have called social self – a form of neobehaviorism – that defines humanity, ala B.F. Skinner and Alex Pentland as “manipulable” [Skinner, Beyond Freedom, and Dignity, Pentland, Social Physics] through the mathematical formulation of data science – a kind of social physics. The separate self tends to hyper-individualism while the social self tends to hyper-collectivism.

The result of each is a distinctive form of existential risk. The first is the death of humanity. The second is the death of our humanity.

Unique Self Institute


The first form of existential risk, the death of humanity – is the direct result of the existential risk generated by the hyper separate self win-lose metrics story, and the complicated and vulnerable systems it spawns. The second form of existential risk, the death of our humanity is generated by hyper-social self, who is degraded into a data point in the context of a larger upgraded world algorithm, by which she is controlled beyond the pale of her own awareness thus undermining the very dignity of decision making that defines the human being.

The only cogent response is a new narrative of identity – rooted in the integrated insights of the leading edges of traditional [premodern], modern and postmodern wisdom streams. That is the Unique Self meta-theory or philosophy of identity presented from its inception until its present and ongoing iterations on this website. The answer to the question of Who Am I? and Who Are You? changes everything. All decisions, and all dramas of human existence and the human interaction with the larger contexts of reality is dependent on the prior answers to these questions.

We stand at this juncture in history, poised between utopia and dystopia. Two roads open before us and we must take the one less traveled if we are to avoid our extinction and fulfill our unimaginable potential for flourishing. This yellow brick road can only be laid with the bricks of a new theory of self which lays the ground for the emergence of a new human and a new humanity. This evolution of humanity is not utopian or artificial. It is rather the natural arc of evolutionary emergence. 

Matter goes through many stages and triumphs as life. Life goes through many stages and triumphs as the depth of the self-reflective human mind. The human being and humanity have gone through many stages of evolution. Each succeeding level has brought new depth, new love, new power and therefore by definition also no potential for destruction.

Exponential tech for example brings exponential promises in certain domains as well as exponential threat. This is the moment between utopian and dystopia at which we are poised right now. It is a time between worlds and a time between stories. At the root is a global intimacy disorder, which itself is generated by failed and distorted stories as we have described above. To restore and evolve intimacy we must tell a new story of the human being and humanity. This is the story of the human being, Homo Sapiens emerging as Homo Amor.

We are deeply committed to engaging over the next years in unpacking the fullness of this new story chapter by chapter. Core to the plotline of this new story -the evolutionary transformation of Homo Sapiens to Homo Amor, is the Unique Self theory or philosophy of identity.

Below is a loose timeline of the emergence of the Unique Self theory and most important a vision of the next and most important steps in its unfolding which are being developed in the present and are a memory of the future.



“Not only do you have a fingerprint, but you also have a soul print.” In the soul prints book, Gafni explicitly coined the term Unique Self and talks about Soul Print not as a typology of ego, but as an expression of clarified [ enlightened ] essence.

Numerous dialog partners have contributed to the unfolding of the Integral phase of Unique Self of which Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton and Diane Hamilton were the primary. In 2011 Ken Wilber called Gafni’s Unique Self a “new chapter in Integral theory”.

Since 2012 the Unique Self Theory has been evolved by Gafni and colleagues as the most accurate narrative of contemporary identity which integrates the best of premodern modern and postmodern thought.
In 2016 an emergent World Spirituality world view is articulated by Marc Gafni, Zak Stein, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and colleagues, which they refer to as “Cosmo Erotic Humanism. At its core is the notion of the new human and the new humanity, termed as Homo Amor, the fulfillment of Homo Sapiens. Unique Self theory in its latest iteration is the crucial linchpin at the heart of Homo Amor.