Unique Self and Levels of Development (Rob McNamara)

The original paper was called Transpersonal Psychology and Unique Self and was submitted for publication to the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice (JITP) 6:1. Because of space limitations in that volume, it was published online as an Integral Institute position paper.

Here is a little excerpt:

Feel into the specific point with which your body-mind rests right now. Only you stand as the timeless unchanging Divinity known as your specific unfolding and evolution of Becoming. To inform, guide and possibly facilitate the stability and evolution of your own Unique Becoming we will next consider this Integral Yoga from a psychological perspective. We will go on a journey through Susanne Cook-Greuter’s conventional and post-conventional stages of ego development.

As you read, practice inhabiting these perspectives as a means of clarifying the evolving nature of your Unique Self and how you can participate with greater fullness in the integral yoking of Being and your Becoming.

Ego development provides a lens through which you can feel and see how perspectives, needs and directed actions towards meaningful ends transform and evolve into ever greater expressions of Embodied Fullness. At each stage of ego development you will briefly explore functional capacities and the state-stage expressions of the Unique Self. As you read, bring awareness as to where you are reading from. Notice how the stages through which you have progressed through can be felt, related to and clarified. Take note of what attracts your curiosity and what invites greater insight into your your integral yoga of the Unique Self. Finally, you may want to notice the ego stages that you have yet to developmentally establish and feel into the pull of your own evolutionary unfolding.

You can read the whole article on uniqueself.com.

Read the Paper HERE
Read the White Paper HERE
Unique Self and Levels of Development (Rob McNamara)2023-09-12T09:52:28-07:00

A List of White Papers & Articles by Dr. Zachary Stein

Dr. Zachary Stein is the Co-President of the Center.

He studied philosophy and religion at Hampshire College, and then educational neuroscience, human development, and the philosophy of education at Harvard University. While a student at Harvard, he co-founded what would become Lectica, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the research-based, justice-oriented reform of large-scale standardized testing in K-12, higher-education, and business.

He has published two books.  Social Justice and Educational Measurement was based on my dissertation and traces the history of standardized testing and its ethical implications. His second book,  Education in a Time Between Worlds, expands the philosophical work to include grappling with the relations between schooling and technology more broadly. He also writes for peer-reviewed academic journals across a range of topics including the philosophy of learning, educational technology, and integral theory. His work has appeared in a variety of journals including, American PsychologistNew Ideas in PsychologyMind, Brain, and Education, Integral Review, and the Journal of Philosophy of Education. 

Teaching is one of his greatest pleasures, which he has enjoyed doing at Harvard University,  Meridian University, and JFK University. His invited speaking engagements span a wide range of venues, from metamodern podcasts to the National Security Agency and off-the-grid spiritual retreat centers. Partial curriculum vitae: CV_Stein_Winter2015

These days:

  • He is co-founder of The Consilience Project, which is dedicated to improving public sensemaking and building a movement to radically upgrade digital media landscapes.
  • He is a scholar at the Ronin Institute, where he researches the relations between education, human development, and the evolution of civilizations.
  • He serves as Co-President and  Academic Director of the activist think tank at the Center for Integral Wisdom, where he writes and teaches at the edges of integral meta theory.
  • He acts on the scientific advisor boards of technology start-ups, where he uses his expertise in ethics and human development to help guide innovation.
  • He offers human development and learning science consultations to schools, organizations, and educational technology companies.

A List of Publications from His Website

Stein, Z. (2019). If education is not the answer you are asking the wrong question: why it’s time to see planetary crises as a species-wide learning opportunity. Transformative Educational Alliance. LondonPerspectiva Press. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2019). The education commodity proposition. Allies for Education. 2(2). [full text]

Stein. Z. (2019). Education in a Time Between Worlds: Essays on the Future of Schools, Technology, and Society. San Fransisco: Bright Alliance. [intro]

Stein, Z. (2018). Love in a Time Between Worlds: On the Metamodern “Return” to a Metaphysics of Eros. Integral Review, 4(1). [pdf]

Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2017). The Apocalypse of the modern world system and related possibilities for democratizing enlightenment. Spanda Journal. 2(1) pp.93-103. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2016). Social justice and educational measurement: John Rawls, the history of testing, and the future of education. New York: Routledge. [intro]

Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2015). Reimagining humanity’s identity: responding to the second Shock of existence. World Future Review. 7(1) 1-10. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2015). Beyond nature and humanity: reflections on the emergence and purposes of metatheories. In Bhaskar, Esbjorn-Hargens, Hedlund-de Witt & Hartwig (Eds.) Metatheory for the 21st century: critical realism and integral theory in dialogue. New York: Routledge. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2015). Integral theory, pragmatism and the future of philosophy. In Dancing with Sophia: Integral approaches to philosophy. Schwartz & Esbjörn-Hargens (Ed.).  SUNY press. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2015). On the use of the term Integral. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. 9(2) 103-113. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2014). Tipping the scales: social justice and educational measurement. (doctoral dissertation). Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Cambridge, MA. [pdf]

Despain, H. & Stein, Z. (2014). Financialization and crises tendencies in higher education: what is college for anyway? Post-Keynesian Economics Forum. August, 12. Available at: pke-forum.com

Stein, Z. (2014). Social justice and educational measurement: a thumbnail sketch. International Objective Measurement workshop, Philadelphia, PA. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2014). On spiritual books and their readers: a review of Integral KabbalahIntegral Review. (10)1, 168-178. [pdf]

Stein, Z., Dawson, T., Van Rossum, Z., Hill, S., & Rothaizer, J. (2014). Virtuous cycles of learning: using formative, embedded, and diagnostic developmental assessments in a large-scale leadership program. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. 9(1) 1-11 [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2013). Ethics and the new education: psychometrics, biotechnology, and the future of human capital. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. 8(3-4) 146-163  [pdf]

Connell, M., Stein, Z., & Gardner, H. (2012). Bridging between brain science and educational practice with design patterns. In Della Sala & Anderson (Eds.) Neuroscience in education. (pp. 267-286). Oxford University Press. [pdf]

Dawson, T.L. & Stein, Z. (2011). We are all learning here: cycles of research and application in adult development. In Hoare (Ed). Oxford Handbook of Reciprocal Adult Learning and Development. (pp. 447-461). Oxford University Press. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2011). On spiritual teachers and teachings. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. 6(1), 57-77. [pdf]

Stein, Z., della Chiesa, B. Hinton, C., Fischer, K.W. (2011). Ethical issues in Educational Neuroscience: Raising Children in a Brave New World. In Illes & Sahakian (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. (pp. 803-823). Oxford University Press. [pdf]

Stein, Z., Dawson, T.L., Fischer, K.W. (2010). Redesigning testing: operationalizing the new science of learning. In Khine & Saleh (Eds.) The new science of learning: computers, cognition, and collaboration education. (pp. 207-224). Springer Press. [pdf]

Stein, Z. & Fischer, K. (2010). Directions for Mind, Brain, and Education: methods, models, and morality. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Special issue: educational neuroscience. 43(3), 56-66. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2010). State space model for normative systems. Paper accepted but not presented (due to the birth of my niece). Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society. St. Louis, MO. [pdf]

Stein, Z. & Hiekkinen, K. (2010). Developmental differences in the understanding of Integral Theory and Practice: Preliminary results form the iTEACH project. Paper presented at Biannual Integral Theory Conference, John F. Kennedy University. Pleasant Hill, CA. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2010). Now you get it, now you don’t: developmental differences in the understanding of  integral theory and practice. In Esbjörn-Hargens (Ed.) Integral theory in action: applied, theoretical, and practical applications of the AQAL model. (pp. 175-203). SUNY University Press. [pdf]

Hogan, M. & Stein, Z. (2010). Structuring thought: an examination of four methods. In Columbus (Ed) The Psychology of Thinking. Nova Science Publishing. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2010). On the normative function of meta-theoretical endeavors. Integral Review. 6(3). 5-22. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2010). On the difference between designing children and raising them: ethics and the use of educationally oriented biotechnologies. Mind, Brain, and Education. 4 (2). 53-67. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2009). Educational crises and the scramble for usable knowledge. Integral Review. 5 (2).  355-367. [pdf]

Stein, Z. & Hiekkinen, K  (2009). Metrics, models, and measurement in developmental psychology. Integral Review. 5(1). 4-24. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2009). Re-setting the stage: introduction to special sections on learning sequences and  developmental theory. Mind, Brain, and Education, 3 (2), 92-93. [pdf]

Fischer, K., Stein, Z., & Hiekkinen, K. (2009). Narrow assessment misrepresent development and misguide policy. American Psychologist. 64(7). 595-600. [pdf]

Stein, Z (2008). On the possibilities of a comprehensive developmental structuralism: the natural, the normal, and the normative. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society. Quebec City, Canada. [pdf]

Stein, Z, Connell, M. & Gardner, H. (2008). Exercising quality control in interdisciplinary education: toward an epistemologically responsible approach. Journal of Philosophy of Education. Special issue: philosophies of learning. 42(3), 401-414. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2008). Myth busting and metric making: Refashioning the discourse about development. Excursus for Integral Leadership Review. Integral Leadership Review. 8(5). [pdf]

Stein, Z & Hiekkinen, K. (2008). On operationalizing aspects of altitude: an introduction to the Lectical Assessment System for Integral researchers. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 3(1), 105-139. [pdf]

Dawson, T, L. & Stein, Z. (2008). Cycles of Research and Application in Science Education. Mind, Brain, and Education. Vol 2, 2. 90-103. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2008). Intuitions of altitude: researching the conditions for the possibility of developmental assessment. Paper presented at Biannual Integral Theory Conference, John F. Kennedy University. Pleasant Hill, CA. [pdf]

Fischer, K., Stein, Z., Stewart, J. (2008) Process and skill: analyzing structures of growth. In Riffert & Sander (Eds.) Researching with Whitehead: System and Adventure. Verlag Karl Alber: Munich. [pdf]

Stein, Z . (2007). Addressing the American problem by modeling cognitive development. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Neural Information Processing Society, Workshop for the Hierarchical Organization of Behavior. Vancouver, Canada. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (2007). Modeling the demands of interdisciplinarity: toward a framework for evaluating interdisciplinary endeavors. Integral Review, 4, 92-107. [pdf]

Dawson, T. L., Fischer, K. W., & Stein, Z. (2006). Reconsidering qualitative and quantitative research approaches: A cognitive developmental perspective. New Ideas in Psychology, 24, 229-239. [pdf]

Dawson-Tunik, T. L., Fischer, K., & Stein, Z. (2004). Do stages belong at the center of developmental theory? A commentary on Piaget’s stages. New Ideas in Psychology, 22, 255-263. [pdf]

In process:

Stein, Z. (in press). Between philosophy and prophecy. To appear in True but partial: Essential criticisms of Integral Theory. Esbjörn-Hargens (Ed.). Forthcoming SUNY press. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (in review). On realizing the possibilities of emancipatory metatheory: beyond the cognitive maturity fallacy, toward an education revolution. In Bhaskar, Esbjorn-Hargens, Hedlund-de Witt & Hartwig (Eds.) Metatheory for the Anthropocene: emancipatory praxis for planetary flourishing: critical realism and integral theory in dialogue, vol 2. New York: Routledge. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (in review). Desperate measures: the global crises of measurement and their meta-theoretical solutions. Paper prepared for the 4th Biannual Integral Theory Conference, Sonoma, CA. July 2015. [pdf] [pdf_slides]

Stein, Z. (in review). Teaching, testing, and the veil of ignorance: Rawlsian thought experiments for use in the organized resistance to high-stakes testing . Pensamiento EducativoRevista De Investigación Educacional Latinoamericana. [pdf]

Stein, Z. (still as slides). The Development of Measurement Technologies and The Evolution of Consciousness.  Paper prepared for the Society of Consciousness Studies Conference. Yale University. New Haven CT. June 2015. [pdf]

A List of White Papers & Articles by Dr. Zachary Stein2023-06-19T08:12:27-07:00

Essays from the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice – Volume 6 Number 1

GUEST EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION from the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice 6.1 (Dr. Marc Gafni)

In his keynote at the Integral Spiritual Experience, Wilber described Unique Self as ‘something that is extraordinary, and historic, and not to be denied.’ I want to share some of what I see as historic about the Unique Self teaching, and why its birthing has been one of my primary commitments over the last two decades. Unique Self is vitally important because it reclaims the centrality of the personal as a primary category in discourse about the realization of enlightened consciousness. Enlightened consciousness itself is a fundamental category in the integral spiritual discourse because it is the implicit or explicit goal of virtually all of the great spiritual traditions that inform Integral Spirituality. … The myth of a community shapes the norms of a community, even if only partially realized.

Download the PDF Version of the Paper

The Unique Self and Nondual Humanism (Dr. Marc Gafni)

A Study in the Enlightened Teaching of Mordechai Lainer of Izbica

This essay outlines one of the key sources in the great traditions for the integral teaching of Unique Self. The Unique Self is rooted in what is termed as nondual or acosmic humanism of a particular strain in Hebrew mysticism, as expressed in the teachings of Hasidic master Mordechai Lainer of Izbica. After examining and challenging previous scholarships on Lanier, the article reconstructs a theory of individuality from Lainer’s writings, which becomes the lodestone of his nondual humanism. In unpacking Lainer’s metaphysics of individuality, his ontological understanding of will, Torah, name, and uniqueness, the framework of the Unique Self teaching become clear. The article then reconstructs two matrices of sources from the intellectual history of Kabbalah, which serve as possible precedents to Lainer’s Unique Self teaching in the older traditions of Kabbalah. The article then outlines the seven core principles of acosmic humanism that are incarnate in the typology of Unique Self that appears in Lainer’s writing (in what is termed the Judah archetype). Finally, Lainer’s view is places in a larger context even as it is distinguished from the intellectual zeitgeist of its time.

Download the PDF Version of the Paper

THE EVOLUTIONARY EMERGENT OF UNIQUE SELF: A New Chapter in Integral Theory (Dr. Marc Gafni)

This article outlines the basic teachings of a new chapter in Integral Theory: the postmetaphysical evolutionary emergence of Unique Self. The article begins by contextualizing the Unique Self conversation within a larger discussion on individuality and traces the emergence of the Unique Self teachings through the life and writings of the author. The core Western understanding of individuality and its affirmation of the dignity of the separate self is contrasted with the Eastern teaching of dissolution of the small self, before both are integrated into a higher integral embrace through a new understanding of Unique Self. This article elucidates how the teachings of Unique Self fundamentally change the classical enlightenment paradigm through the assertion that enlightenment has a unique perspective, which might be termed the “personal face of essence.” Perspective taking, which emerges from enlightened consciousness, is rooted in the ontological pluralism that lies at the core of the Hebrew textual tradition. The new enlightenment teaching of Unique Self therefore rests on a series of integral discernments between separateness and uniqueness, ego and Unique Self, and personal and impersonal man. The Unique Self teaching suggests a new understanding of enlightenment through intersubjective love; the Unique Self perception is then set within an evolutionary context of being and becoming, in which it is seen to express one’s response to the personal address of the evolutionary God impulse itself. In this sense, Unique Self is understood to be an essential chapter in the emergence of a truly evolutionary mysticism.

Download the PDF Version of the Paper

UNIQUE SELF AS IT UNFOLDS OVER THE ARC OF DEVELOPMENT from the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice 6.1

A Dialogue with Susanne Cook­ Greuter and Dr. Marc Gafni

How Unique Self shows up in the developmental spectrum is, from an integral perspective, a critical di­mension of the Unique Self inquiry. In addition to addressing this issue in depth in “The Evolutionary Emergent of Unique Self” (pp. 1­36 in this issue), Marc Gafni engaged in four dialogues with two prominent developmental theorists involved in integral discourse. In two dialogues with Don Beck and two dialogues with Susanne Cook­Greuter, an initial exploration of Unique Self as seen through their respective devel­opmental models was explored. Below is a transcript of the second dialogue with Cook­Greuter, in which Susanne and Marc explore the references to uniqueness in Susanne’s writings. What emerges is that Susanne’s empirical research confirms uniqueness as a central emergent property of awareness at higher levels of consciousness.

Download the PDF Version of the Paper

ON SPIRITUAL TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS from the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice 6.1 (Dr. Zachary Stein)

This article examines the dynamics of authority in educational contexts where teachers and students engage with religious or spiritual subject matter. My aim is to offer a framework that can be used to sort “good” educational relationships of this type from “bad” ones. After positioning the spiritual teacher in the context of eclectic traditions in American moral education, I look into the structure of teacherly authority and into the dynamics of this authority when it is exercised in reli- gious contexts. In the process I tease apart two types of teacherly authority for heuristic purposes, the Classic and the Modern. I discuss their respective liabilities, affordances, and most typical spiri- tual teachings. Finally, I suggest that some contemporary spiritual teachers and teachings may be harbingers of new emerging configurations of religious authority—configurations dubbed Integral. This rough triadic typology—Classic, Modern, and Integral—allows us to critically discuss the kinds of authority assumed by different types of spiritual teachers. Specifically, I use EnlightenNext (An- drew Cohen) and the Center for World Spirituality (Marc Gafni) as case studies, demonstrating how to use the framework I have developed as a way to explore preferable possibilities for the future of religion and the spiritual marketplace.

Download the PDF Version of the Paper
Essays from the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice – Volume 6 Number 12023-09-12T10:07:14-07:00

Psychology Today Interviewed Dr. Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Love

Evolutionary Love: An Interview with Dr. Marc Gafni by Mark Matousek

How can we consummate the marriage between sense and soul?

Marc Gafni is a cutting-edge thought leader and the founder, together with Ken Wilber, of the activist think tank, the Center for Integral Wisdom. He received his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and is the author of eight books on spirituality and religion, including “Soul Prints,” “The Erotic and the Holy,” “Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment” and “The Mystery of Love.” I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about Eros and spirituality and how to bring passion to the seekers life.

Mark Matousek: I recently heard you say that “Eros and spirituality are misunderstood topics.” What did you mean, exactly?

Marc Gafni: When we talk about Eros or the erotic, we suffer from any number of confusions. There’s an important relationship between the erotic and the sexual, but they’re not the same thing. Eros is the essential aliveness of reality — it’s the experience of being on the inside. Like when you’re running and at some point you break through and you’re in the zone or the inside of experience. The second and third qualities of Eros include a fullness of presence and the evolutionary yearning of being. And the fourth quality of Eros is when you experience interconnectivity or the larger context, the wholeness of it all. Each one of those qualities of Eros is the experience that everything flows from. The goodness of life, the color in a black and white world and all ethics flow through that world.

The loss of Eros is the failure of ethics. Creativity, intimacy and relationship, politics, economics — nothing moves without the erotic. When there’s a disconnect from Eros, systems begin to break down both in the world of the personal and the world of the collective.

MM: How have we come to such an impoverished relationship to the erotic in our time?

MG: Over the last 30 to 50 years in America, we have begun to adopt a post-modern narrative that is essentially no narrative, no story.

Read more…

Psychology Today Interviewed Dr. Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Love2023-06-22T07:03:55-07:00

From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: Marc Gafni and the ‘Unique Self’ – A White Paper by Kathy Brownback

In her recent white paper from January 2014 Kathy Brownback, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy at the highly respected Phillips Exeter Academy, discusses how the Unique Self teaching goes to the heart of the deepest questions that students have asked her throughout the years. In her words:

Most likely you’ve asked yourself some of the same questions I’ve been asked by […] students:

  • “People keep telling me to be myself, but I don’t really know who that is. I feel pulled in so many directions.”
  • Do we have free will, at all? Or are we totally determined by our genes, and conditioned by our environment?”
  • “Why, in the midst of all they have, are so many people angry and dissatisfied? Can I hope to avoid this? Why is there so much addiction? Why depression, among people who have so much to offer?”
  • “I haven’t found any kind of God I can believe in, yet I somehow feel there is something more to life. Your thoughts?”
  • “Are science and religion looking at the same world? They seem so contradictory. Your husband is a physicist. Do you argue about this?”
  • “Is there such a thing as truth? Is there anything I can be certain of?”
  • “Do you think life has some kind of point, or meaning? Or is it, as Shakespeare said, ‘a tale told by an idiot’? It really feels that way. Then all of sudden, even though I have no real answers, the feeling goes away.”

She also asks what role contemplative practices should play in education and academic life and what they might have to do with the study of science, or the humanities and the arts. Should they have a place in the curriculum?

Contemplative practice can encourage the ability to focus and enter into a subject with minimal distraction and interruption. It can help a great deal with stress reduction.

Moving more deeply, it can foster the capacity to hold apparent contradictions in tension with each other without immediate dismissal of one side. It can encourage you to listen to and help develop the ideas of others from a less egoic perspective—and to see connections between disciplines that infuse their understanding of each other. It helps provide the space for deeper creativity and inspiration.

At its most profound level, contemplative practice has the potential to help you reconnect with a deeper sense of purpose, meaning, and value in your life.

This spring term Kathy Brownback taught a class in Mysticism for uppers and seniors.

From the course description:

It has been said that all religions converge in the contemplative tradition—the great world illuminated by the swamis and yogis of Hinduism, the core meditation practices of the Buddha, the Kabbalist teachers of Judaism, the Sufis of Islam, and the Christian mystics. What can we learn by reflecting on their teachings and their practices? How do they connect with current research on the mind-body connection? How do these make possible a deeper sense of self, or what we might call the “unique self”? What does it mean to speak of wisdom as a kind of knowledge? We will consider selections from all the major faiths, from the ancient texts of the Upanishads to the poets Rumi and Meister Eckhart to modern writers such as Marc Gafni and Pema Chodron.

Read the White Paper HERE
From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: Marc Gafni and the ‘Unique Self’ – A White Paper by Kathy Brownback2023-06-20T11:53:35-07:00

Teaching Marc Gafni’s “Unique Self” Enlightenment in the classroom – by Kathy Brownback


By Kathleen Brownback

Note: This blog post is adapted from “Teaching Marc Gafni’s ‘Unique Self’ Enlightenment in the Classroom: Reflections from a Phillips Exeter Class in Mysticism (for the annual conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, November 2011, Amherst College).”

A new course introduced at Phillips Exeter Academy in the spring of 2011 began with these words on the syllabus:

What we are about to explore has many names. It has been called the mystical tradition, the perennial tradition, the direct path, the path of the heart, the journey to (and with) the beloved, the practice of yoga, and the contemplative tradition. Aldous Huxley called it “the science, not of the personal ego, but of that eternal Self in the depth of particular, individualized selves, and identical with, or at least akin to, the divine Ground.” What these traditions share is the understanding that there is the possibility of union between the self and whatever we might call Ultimate Reality or God or Spirit, and that this union is primarily realized through a path of spiritual practice.

There is no possible way to make a comprehensive study of all these traditions in one term, and no need for us to do so. The main goal here is to locate various paths within the religious traditions, and to begin to understand what is meant by “spiritual practice.”

As the first teacher of this class, my main goal was to engage the students in a deeper understanding of ego development and the way in which the contemplative or mystical dimension of religion could help them both intellectually and practically as they move into their adult lives.

Phillips Exeter is a secular independent secondary school in New Hampshire, an hour north of Boston, with a 200-year history as an academic powerhouse for boys. It became coeducational in 1972 and has retained its high academic distinction, with all students headed for college and many to the top schools in the country.

The students are bright and lively and curious. But as anywhere, they struggle at times with nonacademic life circumstances that have the capacity to affect their intellectual engagement””a superficial and highly commercialized teenage (and often adult) culture, a pervasive unease about the future of their society in an era of environmental and economic challenge, and for some, personal or family histories of addiction or depression. For this reason I sought out texts and readings that were inclined to prompt questions at the interface of psychology and religion. I had the sense that these would speak to students in both an academic and a personal way, as in fact they did.

In this paper I will first describe student background and interest, then give a brief overview of the course, then focus on the work of one scholar and teacher, Marc Gafni, whose writing in particular spoke to the students in a powerful way.

In the course of the term I had to develop and articulate to myself my own changing philosophy of teaching, which I began to explore in a 2009 article in the Exeter alumni/ae bulletin entitled “In Pursuit of Truths.”

I will describe this evolution more deeply at the end of the article, but also briefly mention it here.


Teaching Marc Gafni’s “Unique Self” Enlightenment in the classroom – by Kathy Brownback2023-06-21T10:34:29-07:00
Go to Top