Zach Stein on Unique Self
and Authentic Self
When looking at the future of religiosity in the post-industrial West, could spirituality become a locus of revolutionary thought? This is the tantalizing possibility raised by Zachary Stein, who writes that “the contemporary scene presents unprecedented configurations of religious authority, doctrinal innovation, and structure-type inter-animation.” This is the context established in the first paragraph of his article, “On Spiritual Teachers and Teachings,” published in the March 2011 issue of Journal of Integral Theory and Practice.
Zak Stein begins his comparison by briefly describing the teachings and the communities in which they work. In Dr. Marc Gafni’s case, he refers to the current Center For Integral Wisdom, which Stein says organizes retreats reflecting “a mixture of Modern and Integral structural aspects, with translinear religious and philosophical doctrines contextualizing diverse and multitudinous contemplative injunctions and polycentric forms of teacherly authority.” Gafni’s teachings are classified as part of a lineage of acosmic humanism which is traced to esoteric Judaism, especially Rabbi Mordechai Lainer and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. In contrast, he says that Andrew Cohen and the EnlightenNext community draw a lineage from panentheistic evolutionary metaphysicians including such writers as Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin.
About Zachary Stein
Zak is a philosopher of education working at the interface of psychology, metaphysics, and politics. He has published two books, including Education in Time Between Worlds, along with dozens of articles. He has worked co-founding a non-profit and think tank, teaching graduate students at Harvard, and consulting with technology start-ups. Zak is a long time meditator, musician and caregiver, which has shaped him more than any professional engagements. Find out more about Zak’s work here.