Originally published on the Spirit’s Next Move blog on May 30, 2012, this note articulates the understanding in World Spirituality that every culture and every great religious and philosophical tradition has its own Unique Self.
By Marc Gafni
Every evolved culture and every evolved individual may realize Unique Self when True Self awakens to its Unique Perspective. An early expression of this equation is sourced in pre-modernity in the great teachings of the Kabbalists. For these masters, the sacred text of the Torah is the word of God. Yet, paradoxically. in Hebrew mystical teaching a human being who is deeply grounded in True Self while fully incarnating his or her own uniqueness, also speaks the word of God!
Human insight HOWEVER is considered the word of God and, given the status of Torah, only when it derives directly from the clarified unique perspective of a human being who is connected to the ground of True Self. In this radical teaching the supreme identity between the human being and the godhead is only realized through the paradoxical portal of radical human uniqueness. Irreducible uniqueness, the full inhabiting of unique perspective or voice, is revealed to be an absolute quality of essence.
In modernity and especially in post-modernity, the early realization of the Kabbalists in regard to the primacy of perspective takes center stage. There is an emergent cultural realization, placed front and center in Integral theory, that perspectives are foundational. But in post-modernity perspectives have to often been used as the key tool of post-modernity’s deconstructive project. The sentence used to deny all truth is “that’s just your perspective.”
Our conclusion in World Spirituality teaching however, is not that of the post-modern deconstructive thinkers who were among the champions of this insight. Deconstruction wrongly assumed that when perspective is revealed to be part of the process of meaning making, there is no longer any real meaning. Rather, when we understand perspective, we understand that every culture and every great tradition of spirit has its own Unique Self.
Perspective reveals a plentitude of meaning and not a dearth or death of meaning. All cultures perceive essence, but each unique perspective gives a particular resonance and cast to essence. Loyalty to one’s religion and culture is not, therefore, (as modern and post-modern fashions sometimes suggest), primitive or fundamentalist. It is rather partially true, in that it is how my culture is intuiting essence.
The pre-modern mistake was the failure to realize that every religion has a particular perspective, and therefore not to realize that no religion can claim that its intuition of ultimate truth is the only truth. Now that we understand that every great tradition and culture perceived essence through a particular perspective, we can avoid the tragic mistake of deconstructing the traditions as meaningless.
Instead, we understand that every tradition is a particular perspective, a particular instrument in the symphony of spirit that is indeed making sacred music. All of the perspectives come together to create a symphony. And at that point, there is the possibility that the followers of each tradition can begin to realize that their particular religion is not the music but an instrument of the music.
The Kabbalists foreshadow our post- postmodern World Spirituality reconstructive project. Nothing is true, says post-modernity, because everything is contextual. For the Kabbalists, foreshadowing World Spirituality teaching, the opposite is correct. When you fully inhabit your unique perspective you become Source. You not only speak the word of God You incarnate the word of God.
World Spirituality based on Integral Principles, including the first principle of Unique Self, understands that Uniqueness reveals essence through a particular prism. Perspective creates not a dearth of truth, but a magnificent kaleidoscope of truth. Every authentic insight deriving from Unique Perspective is true but partial. No part is reducible to the whole but no part stands alone. It is this insight of Unique Self that is the foundation of the great reconstructive project, which is Spirit’s Next Move.