The Challenge — Meta-Crisis: The Response — A New Cultural Enlightenment: “Unique Self and Unique Self Symphonies”
This short introduction is taken from a spontaneous live talk given on the weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths. These are unedited and unplugged excerpts of Dr. Gafni’s talk created by his students.
We’re here in this place together, in this community of pioneering souls, at this moment poised between dystopia and utopia. There are two paths. Dystopia lurks through multiple forms of catastrophic and existential risk, of a kind that never existed in the history of planet Earth.
We’ve spent a significant amount of time unpacking existential risk, and we call that, the Meta-Crisis. It’s not one crisis. It’s a series of crises in different domains, which are the Meta-Crisis. The responses to the Meta-Crisis, to date, have been rooted in either new infrastructure suggestions, or new social structures. Social structures, meaning new sets of laws, new sets of government structures themselves. Infrastructure meaning, the actual infrastructures of Reality; supply chains, the linear materials economy, etc. Those are all important.
But what we understand here — and what every great mind and heart has understood, which actually got lost in the dialogue today — is that the only thing that can, from the perspective of the human being, change the vector of history, is not infrastructure and it’s not social structure. It’s what Marvin Harris called superstructure, and superstructure means the story. It means the worldview that everything emerges from.
So what we’re actually unpacking here in One Mountain, Many Paths is that that story is not made up, as postmodernity suggested. For example, Yuval Harari, who’s a lovely human being, I’m sure, and a wonderful historical storyteller. But who’s also an unconscious parrot of the weakest positions in postmodernity when he says that all story is made up, all story is fiction, all story is a figment of our imagination, all story is a social construction of Reality. Quoting Harari directly.
But that’s actually a tragic misunderstanding of the correct intuitions of postmodernity, one that is rampant. It’s not by accident that a book like Yuval’s becomes favorite reading of Barack Obama and of Jeff Bezos, and a host of other figures, who are in no sense shocked. That’s what you have to understand. This is what’s new in the last 20 years. They are in no sense shocked by a position that says that the story is completely made-up, that it’s a total social construction and that there are no actual intrinsic values in Kosmos. That’s a disaster!
There are many reasons why that’s happened. One of them is that value has been hijacked by particular communities; value has come to represent regressive premodern values. The notion that there could be intrinsic value — what we call here in One Mountain, Many Paths, First Values and First Principles in Kosmos– is a notion that’s gotten lost.
So we’re here to actually reclaim First Values and First Principles. Not as fixed or preordained, but as the orienting simple rules that generate complexity.
We all live in inescapable frameworks; our framework is the story we live in. Right now, Reality lives in a Win-Lose metrics, and this story generates existential risk.
We need to change that story. When we change that story, when we tell a New Story — not a made-up story, but a New Story of value, rooted in First Principles and First Values — then it all changes. It’s the most important, exciting, evolutionary, revolutionary act that we can do to alleviate suffering, to be lovers. Like Rumi, the great poet of Sufism, we have to be mad lovers, because it’s the only sanity.
The question is the Meta-Crisis. The answer is Unique Self and Unique Self Symphony
So the question is the Meta-Crisis, and the answer is Unique Self and Unique Self Symphony. What’s the Meta-Crisis?
Let’s take the simple image of the Death Star in that cinematic classic of the late 20th, early 21st century: Star Wars. The Death Star is a battleship armed with existential risk, which has the ability to not just attack but to destroy the planet. That’s existential risk. The forces of good don’t have the capacity to engage the Death Star.
The Death Star is culture. It’s a culture of death that leads to existential risk. There’s a realization in the cinematic version — which is not about what the writers were thinking, but it is culture speaking through this epic story — that the only way to take out the Death Star is with a direct hit. A direct hit that gets through all of the defenses and actually explodes culture into a new possibility. That’s the direct hit.
Now, when we’re talking about the Death Star, we’re talking about what we call the second shock of existence. The first shock of existence is the death of the human being; the realization that the human being will die, which dawns at the beginning of history.
But there’s a second shock of existence. The second shock of existence is not the death of the human being. The second shock of existence is the potential death of humanity.
So what’s the Death Star move? How do we respond to that Death Star imminent existential risk?
The answer is, we need a direct hit, and that direct hit is Unique Self.
What is Unique Self?
Unique Self is not a declaration, it’s not a claim. It is the best realization about the nature of the human being. The answer to the greatest question we can ever ask: who are you? That’s the great question. It’s a question of who are you? Then there’s the question of who are we? But that question, those narratives of identity, are rooted in a larger question, which is: where are we? What’s our universe story, and what’s there to do? What’s there to do with our power? What’s there to do with our desire?
All of those questions are answered by Unique Self. Again, Unique Self is not a fanciful conjecture. Unique Self is the result of decades of work that we’ve done, integrating in a form of second simplicity — meaning not simple, but simple, complex, and second simplicity — the best leading-edge insights and validated understandings of the exterior and interior sciences, in the entire premodern, modern, and postmodern period, woven together in a New Universe Story.
In a new understanding of identity that we’re calling Unique Self. Unique Self, and then Unique Self Symphony.
That is the direct hit. That is what actually takes down the culture of death. That is to say, respond to both, as we’ll see, the second shock of existence: existential risk, and even the first shock of existence: our own individual death.
Who Are You?
You’re an irreducibly unique expression of the larger field of the LoveIntelligence, LoveBeauty, and LoveDesire, that is the initiating and animating Eros of All-That-Is. That lives uniquely in you, as you, and through. That never was, is, or will be in anyone; past, present, and future.
As a Unique Self, you have an irreducibly unique perspective, you incarnate an irreducibly unique quality of intimacy. You’re a unique configuration of desire, you’re a unique expression of power. And all of those come together to form your Unique Gift. Your Unique Gift is both your unique quality of being in the world — interacting, interfacing, inter-activating with Reality, your inter-being with Reality — and your Unique Gift is the Unique Gift that you have to give.
The Unique Gift is that which answers a unique need that can be addressed by you and you alone, in your unique circle of intimacy and influence. When you are addressing that unique need, in your unique circle of intimacy and influence, you’re actually responding to Reality. That’s your unique response-ability. That’s your unique obligation. But obligation and love, in the original semitic languages, are the same word. It’s the unique expression of your LoveIntelligence that can be done by no one that ever was, is, or will be, other than you.
When you’re committing your unique Outrageous Act of Love, which is your Deepest Heart’s Desire, which emerges from your unique configuration of desire, you’re giving your unique gift. That’s what it means to play your unique instrument in the Unique Self Symphony.
Unique Self Symphony is not a top-down command and control structure. Rather, the Unique Self Symphony is the emergent of evolutionary intimacy, which is the natural product of the self-organizing universe and the self-actualizing Kosmos.
The universe self-organizes to greater and greater levels of intimacy because evolution is the progressive deepening of intimacy. Whenever there’s a crisis — we’re facing a Meta-Crisis — the crisis is always a crisis of intimacy. The crisis of intimacy is responded to by a new configuration of intimacy, and the new configuration of intimacy, in this generation at this moment of Meta-Crisis, is Unique Self Symphony.
Again, Unique Self Symphony is not top-down, it’s not command and control. It rather is the human being self-organizing to their highest self, to their deepest self, to their most wondrous and beautiful self, which is their Unique Self.
This short introduction is taken from a spontaneous live talk given on the weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths, which Dr. Marc Gafni co-founded together with his evolutionary partner Barbara Marx Hubbard. These are unedited and unplugged excerpts of Dr. Gafni’s talk created by his students. Thus, the style of this story is the spoken word and not a formal essay. We recommend you to watch the featured clip and watch Dr. Gafni’s teaching on this topic in the replay above.
Watch this Feature Clip below to discover how Unique Self can become your compass of Joy in responding to existential risk.