Why does Unique Self matter so much?
At the most basic level, Unique Self matters because without it, life for the individual becomes virtually irrelevant.
A few years ago, I was giving a TEDx talk in Las Vegas and met a man who has since become a close friend, Eben Pagan. I met him and his delightful partner, and it was a Unique Self encounter. There was a flash of recognition.
At some point, Wyatt Woodsmall—one of the great inventors of NLP—and Dave Logan, who is a wonderful professor at USC, wrote a fantastic book called Tribal Leadership joined the conversation. The four of us had one of those delightful Plato conversations— egoless, where nobody is jousting or jockeying, but they are doing a deep reality consideration. It is one of the most delightful engagements you can have. We found ourselves in the lobby of this gaudy Las Vegas hotel for what must have been several hours.
We each talked about what we are doing in the world, and I brought Unique Self to the table. Dave says, “How does this address somebody’s worst nightmare? If it doesn’t address people’s worst nightmare it’s not useful.”
I said to Dave, Unique Self is the single response to a person’s worst nightmare. A person’s worst nightmare is to be irrelevant, an extra on the set of life, to be quickly forgotten, and ultimately know that they were not necessary.
Personal meaning is the understanding that I have a unique contribution to make to All That Is, and that’s not merely being a cog in a machine.
Communism affirmed the meaning of life, but it said that no unique individual is ultimately significant for that meaning, which ultimately makes them cogs in a larger process. That doesn’t give personal meaning.
But we know in our first-person perspective that our lives are meaningful; not to be able to identify that sense of personal relevance makes me feel insane, meaningless, ultimately not important. That is the most destructive, corrosive, and false experience of a human being.
There is only one great heresy in post-postmodernity: the belief that you are irrelevant. No one can play your part. You have a Unique Gift to give. The world is waiting, needing your Unique Gift. The Divine Force, God (and the God you don’t believe in doesn’t exist)—God as the personal face of essence, God as the Tao, the love-intelligence and love-beauty of All That Is…is seeking a voice.
Who I really am: I am unique. I am a unique expression of the All just like you are. It doesn’t mean I’m more special than you. Unique Self matters for a thousand different reasons, but the first one is that it is the only way to address the fundamental human nightmare of being irrelevant.