Archive for October, 2013

Self-limitation is self-distance using Volf’s term “distance.” It makes room. The room which limitation or distance makes is that for others. Self-limitation is self-giving for others. It is love or self-giving love. God’s self-limitation is also God’s self-distance which makes room for the world. God’s self-limitation is God’s self-giving for the world. It is grace or self-giving grace. We all without exception live both by love given from the others and by grace given from God.


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A Review of Marc Gafni, Your Unique Self

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Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self consists of six parts, 25 chapters. That means it is thick.^^ Part one starts with the “model of Unique Self enlightenment.” Part Two deals with the Unique Self in evolution context and the relationship between part and whole. Part Three offers importance of our own unique story. Part Four suggests understanding of “Love, Joy, and Shadow.” Part Five deploys the meaning of Sex in our life. Part Six finally offers “parenting, malice, and death.”

A main idea of this book is that ‘you are unique,’ that is, “your life is valuable.” Unique self has a formula. “True self + Perspective = Unique Self.” (12) Every individual self has a particular perspective. It is his or her own perspective. Nevertheless, it is not the only one perspective in the world but a “part of a larger whole.” (13) It reminds me of Ken Wilber’s a focal concept, “Holarchy.” I think it is no accident that Wilber writes both forward and afterword of this book. At any rate, when true self has its own perspective, it becomes unique self.

Furthermore, unique Self has his/her own story. The story is important, because “the entire world was created for its sake.” (177-178) Honesty speaking, in philosophy or theology, individual story is not significant, since it has been considered inferior to intellectual thoughts. However, since each individual being is full of stories which reveal their essence, Gafini argues that “[y]our story is the personal face of your essence.” (191) He does not want to escape the story but “make[s] them sacred.” Thus he insists that “Never lose your story… Live it; tell it loud.” (194) We need to tell our own story to others and to listen to the others’ stories. Why? The stories tells us about the subject of stories. In sharing our stories, we can overcome our loneliness. For Gafni, since even God feels “God’s own loneliness” (levado), God creates a world. (199)

In order to be unique self, we need to know “the way of love,” since love is “the true inner nature of All-That-Is.” (211) Love is not noun, but “the ultimate verb.” (209). If you love God, God will see “with your eyes.” (209) If you love your neighbor, you will “perceive God’s divine beauty in others.” (210) If you love your unique self, which is not narcissism, you identify the essence of who you are (“self-perception”, 216). If we recognize this unique self, joy pervades our life. Joy does not come to us, when we pursue it. Instead, it is given us when we live our unique life (222). Nevertheless, sometimes dark shadow visits us and distorts life. However, Gafni argues that your shadow is also unique, because it is “your unlived life−your disowned Unique Self” (241). If it meets the light, because it is also life energy or abundant wellspring (242), the transformative events occur. (239)

Life is “[numerous] encounters with others.” (309) We do not know whom and when we will encounter. Those who are passing by us are all unique self.  Although we encounter with others and share their stories, the other remains unknowable to us: “You never know.” (321) In encounters, we human beings used to hurt other and vice versa. Whoever gets hurt feels small and whoever hurts others experiences power. (324) In order to overcome this hurt, we need to practice love, although “love is suffering.” (325)

Finally, in the last part six, Gafni argues about parenting, malice, and death. We cannot exist without parents. Parents are causes of our existence. Their mission is to let their children know that they are very special (“the certainty of Being, 331) in the planet. (329-330) Parents cannot make their children happy, because they are happy when they realize that they live unique self. (332-333) Gafni notes that we encounter also malice which is unique self-distortion and creates envy. Envy is the worst sin because it disturbs and disrupts love. Gafni explains the relationship between evil and live: “It is no accident that ‘evil’ and ‘live’ spelled backward. Evil stands against life force. And life force is nowhere more powerful than in the full bloom of Unique Self.”(345) With regard to death, Gafni says that although humans beings are afraid of dying, unique self’s response to death is “not just your life well lived, but your life fully lived.” (350) Thus we need to live our best. Gafni ends the last chapter with the small title “Say Yes.” Yes means in Hebrew kein (“integrity”, 357). Can we say yes to other’s life or our unique life? A simple way to say yes is to love others, because it acknowledges their unique presence. (358)



Unique Self is not mere ego in that it recognizes the whole-part relation. The main subject of this marvelous book is that your life is unique. You are unique, because “[y]ou are here to be the poem that only you can be.” (9) No one can write your own poem. Write your own poem and live your own life, because you are so precious to God. You are unique self.

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