Unique Self as a
New Narrative of Identity
Humanity is facing extinction-level crises unprecedented in the history of humankind. Attempts to address these crises focus, for the most part, on technoscientific and economic solutions to sustain life on Earth. Concurrently, our very sense of self is insidiously being transformed through our global and exponential use of social media and information technology.
We argue that the human being at her core is not merely a social self whose choices can be controlled, as inferred by the hidden socially engineered theory that animates the internet. We don’t just need new techno-economic measures. What we need is a revolution of consciousness. Our crisis is primarily a global identity crisis, and the single most important questions we need to answer are the questions: Who are you? Who am I? and Who Are We, together?
The Unique Self narrative of identity integrates Enlightenment as defined by the great wisdom traditions, with modern ideals of autonomy, democracy, and inviolable individual dignity of the human being. At a time when we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever, we are in desperate need of a new shared model of self — a narrative of meaning and purpose that can bring our world together.
Foreshadowing arguments from the forthcoming book, Towards a New Politics of Evolutionary Love, this paper suggests that humanity is in the throes of a species-wide identity crisis, precipitated by broadening awareness of our impending self-inflicted extinction. This growing awareness that humanity is responsible for its own fate and the fate of the planet is referred to as the second shock of existence.
The second shock has spawned a great deal of discussion about the need for revolutions in technological, economic, and ecological infrastructures, yet this focus on exteriors addresses only half the picture. Comparable revolutions of our interiors must also take place—radical transformations in the very structure of our consciousness and species-wide self-understanding. This is a call for attending to the interior dimensions of the current global crises, recommending in the strongest possible terms that tremendous energy and resources be rechanneled into planning for the vast educational reconfigurations facing humanity in the coming decades.
Keywords: Global crises; Integral Theory; Human Identity; Unique Self Theory; Cultural Evolution