Appraisal Vol. 9 No. 1, March 2012 Papers from the 11th Conference on Persons, August 2011
Editor: R.T. Allen ISSN 1358-3336
Personal Integration and Aestheticism: A Sketch
The problem of the integrated self and its relation to value outlined
How Darwinian and Freudian insights are problematic for value and the self
How the moral self can be brought into partial cohesion
A discussion of Roy Schafer's action language
I offer a detailed account of the background of the problem of the integrated self and its relation to value. I focus on the ways in which Darwinian and Freudian insights present issues for traditional conceptions of value and the self. I then offer a sketch of an account of how the (moral) self may be brought into partial cohesion through adherence to values, reasons, and actions which are evaluated in terms of aesthetic criteria. In so doing, I discuss Roy Schafer’s action language.
Much work in contemporary moral psychology has centred on Bernard Williams’s Objection from integrity. Here, in §§1-2, I offer a detailed account of the background of the problem of the integrated self and its relation to (also problematic) value. I focus primarily on the ways in which Darwinian and Freudian insights have presented substantial issues for traditional conceptions of value and the unified, single self. In §3, I offer a sketch of a theory of personal integration. I outline an account of how the (moral) self may be brought into partial cohesion, and then potentially preserved by adherence to values, reasons, and actions which are evaluated in terms of something like Foucauldian ‘aesthetic criteria' of the self. I suggest that agents may make effective use ofan analogue of a technique used by psychoanalyst, Roy Schafer: action language.
2. Problems for value and the integrated self: A brief history
–With the advent of Darwinism and Freudianism, the human species became divested, firstly (via Darwin) of the notion that it was designed by God, and set apart from the remainder of Creation; designed to perform a particular function—to reflect and to act freely, in accord with this design—and to then, by the grace of a loving God, to live in communion with its Maker. Here, humanity also collectively came to realize that the values it had historically taken for granted were not given after all. Secondly (via Freud) humanity was divested of the notion that the human being is essentially a person; and, certainly of the idea that the human being has or is a soul, acting from known and reflected upon reasons. In response to Darwinian insights and their effect upon beliefs regarding (moral) values, treatment of this became a veritable cottage industry among public intellectuals living in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Although, the seriousness with which many of these academics took the majority’s stalwart conservatism and its motivation is debatable. The problem addressed being: how humanity—which had traditionally, again, taken for granted value and meaning as given—might relearn how to live in a world in which.
Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of an accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave, that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins. 
The glibness—worse still, the flashes of playfulness and condescending to creationist disputants—with which Russell and others described the fate of humanity betray the fact that many secularists never really took seriously the idea that the world could be anything other than the ‘purposeless’ space, ‘void of meaning,’ which science assumes.  One may only write dispassionately (much less semi-satirically) of such things if he cannot, with any conviction, conceive of the alternative in question. ‘Is [God] hiding? Is he afraid of us?’  Put another way: It is impossible to mourn the loss of what you never really believed that you had in the first place. So, for advocates of scientism, making light of what are taken to be archaic—absurd—belief systems, and the persons who cannot seem to conceive of life without them, comes easy; especially to those, like Russell, who are naturally given to derision.
Conversely, once you have had something of great importance (even if those in possession merely believed mistakenly that they possessed the thing), its loss is often devastating; and, from the perspective of the believer, the egghead—feet-off-the-ground and viciously arrogant—must be characterized as the butt of the joke, and the account advanced by him reconstructed as a farce the likes of which only a fool (Psalm 14:1) could take seriously. In the name of defending its body of beliefs from external attack, each side of this argument has historically tended to insulate itself from its opponent—as well as from insecurities regarding the shortcomings of its own perspective, bubbling just below the consciousness of these very advocates.  More often than not, again, this involves a depiction of one’s opponent as the most ridiculous of straw men.
Given this stalemate and the animosity from which it grew, there is a sense in which adherents of scientism were then, and continue to be, in no position to understand humanity’s pining for what it once believed to be a value-saturated universe; and so, to facilitate this transition towards secularism.  This in mind, I suppose it now goes without saying that it would take more than the elegant prose of a committed naturalist—and, certainly more than that written by one prone to making light of the world lost to humanity, and of hurling deliberately poorly-disguised jabs in the direction of those who wish to restore it—to assuage the discomfort felt by the average Jane or John. 
With the loss of that world, humanity, in an important sense, lost its very identity. For the secularist, of course, this was a collective self—to borrow a phrase from Richard Rorty --well lost; a self as alien to the advocate of scientism, as the secularist’s self-conception was (and is) to the creationist. From the perspective of the conservative, [7a] this collective self was everything.
For this and similar reasons, it is little wonder why reactionaries continue, to this day, to argue that what we really need is a return to ‘traditional values’ en mass. How many times in recent history have we been called to do just this by the conservative? But, it seems to me that these critics of what they (at times haphazardly) group pejoratively under the umbrella of postmodernity, fail to make an important distinction here between the effects of living in post-Darwinian and post-Freudian world, with the effects of making a successful shift collectively to a post-Darwinian and post-Freudian world. While these things are without question closely related, they are far from one and the same.
I part company with such conservatives on those issues which pertain to the postulated import of objectively existing, ‘real’ values. And, much of what follows will work from the assumption that humanity’s hitherto failures at successfully coming to terms with living in a valueless world—again, in the ontological sense in which conservatives mean to use the term—is not indicative of the impossibility of doing so.  Chief among humanity’s stumbling blocks with respect to this effort has been taking seriously the conservative’s admonition to have us look back, time and time again.
While I certainly empathize with the feelings of forlornness being responded to by the conservative, I do not think the answer to this problem is regression in any form. Moreover, despite the fact that we can no longer hope to discover meaning and value in the world according to orthodox interpretations of what results from an acceptance of the prevailing post-Darwinian/Freudian worldview, it in no way follows from this that we cannot lead rich, meaningful lives in accord with individually- and socially-constructed values.
Similar to my position on the relative unimportance of ontologically real values, I want to suggest that despite the fact that we can no longer hope to sustain or develop anything like a completely cohesive self—understanding this impossibility to be part of what we were given by Freud—it, again, does not follow that we cannot work towards healing the more conspicuous and debilitating fissures that divide the psyche and disrupt agency.
Despite my substantial disagreement with conservatives regarding these matters, I hope to offer a sketch of an account, here, that may in some sense appease even the strong moral realist, of which he is certainly one example. At the same time, my account does not rely upon the necessity of accepting even the most deflated forms of realism.  For these reasons, the position I sketch below may be appealed to by those that hold any of an extreme plurality of perspectives on morality and selfhood as something which may be used to supplement these accounts so far as understanding the relationship between (moral) value, (moral) identity, and (moral) motivation goes.
To turn now to the second loss introduced above, i.e., humanity’s loss of belief in individual ownership of a unified soul or self which acts from known reasons. Like the first loss already detailed, this has important implications for explaining the postmodern Turn. This also takes us a further distance in explaining the conservative’s actions as they show up against a backdrop of what has come to be known as the culture wars. To fill in a bit more what I have in mind: here, a much too reactionary and unreflective theism (and the menagerie of ideas regarding social norms, conceptions of personhood, and personal identity that accompany this) is pitted against what is, by all reasonable accounts, an utterly impossible moral relativism wherein no judgments may be made with respect to the actions or evaluations of another individual or culture; an I’m OK, you’re OK ad nauseum.
Assuming that the collection of students which makes up the enrolment of the average sophomore philosophy class represents a typical sample of those effectively influenced by this false choice, we may plot the stagnating trajectory of this debate by gauging what these persons have to say regarding the foundation (or lack thereof) of morality.
More often than not, those who choose to chime in on such topics seem to represent either an uncompromising commitment to religious fundamentalism which wholly informs their conception of morality; or a thorough-going relativism which flows from an often newly found, but fervent religious scepticism. (Some vacillating disturbingly between these two extremes, from one day to the next.) Those who do not retreat into religious fundamentalism—and who, as is generally the case, hold to some form of strong moral relativism—tend to base their position on what they take to be the non-existence of God; and, they often suggest, the impossibility of any kind of objectivity which follows from this vacuum.
Still, standing somewhere in between these feuding parties, there are those naturalistically-minded persons—the numbers, I am pleased to say, seem to be growing—who hold to the hope that humanity can come to possess stable values, moral and otherwise, and the most meaningful of lives, despite not being able to ground these in any source outside of the minds of the human species. These neo-rationalists, many times reliant for motivation upon the successes of science and the realization that the depiction of the naturalistic worldview as inherently evil is ill-founded, place their hopes in reason, itself.
Following Kant, they argue that morality and agency may be made sense of in terms of reason and subsequent rational action, whether cashed out in terms of something like an individual practical imperative (hypothetical for those with Humean intuitions, categorical for Kantian purists), or in terms of something like an implicit (or ideal) social contract, the dictates of which may be found out by reason. Here, the lurking nihilism, erroneously believed by the conservative to necessarily grow out of a commitment to Darwinism, is shown to be unsubstantiated. And, science—while certainly not assumed to be the panacea that may treat all of society’s ills—is shown to be an innocuous, if imperfect, tool for improving humanity’s lot, rather than the value-consuming conflagration of provincial myth.
We can, it turns out, be committed naturalists and retain moral values. And, at least on some description, these values may be thought of as universal and categorically binding. So much—says the moral rationalist—for the hastily assumed notion that mass acceptance of Darwinism necessarily leads to relativism, much less nihilism.
Now, this is not to suggest that the dig-in-your-heels brand of conservative will simply roll over at this point, and concede that the rationalist’s rejoinder has answered each of his worries. But, the fact that a compelling account can be provided for how we may construct objective values in a post-Darwinian world goes a long way towards winning this ideological battle. And, since in large part the arguments for a return to creationism have been grounded in the assumption that secularism is simply incompatible with allowing for (or explaining) the existence of objective values, accounts like the rationalist’s take a great deal of pressure off of a budding acceptance of a naturalistic worldview. 
For this and related reasons, the lion’s share of contemporary moral theories—and certainly all of those which are essentially Kantian in nature—assume that the existence of values in no way requires the existence of a command-issuing God; although, the existence of such values and their construction in no way suggests that God cannot exist.
So, at least as far as garden variety contemporary ethical theory goes, Darwinism, by itself, seems to pose much less of a threat to belief systems which hold that objective (moral) values exist than originally thought. Crisis averted. But, what can the rationalist say about the retention of agency and reasoned action in the face of Freudian insights? If the Darwinian shift led to collective suspicion on the part of the majority with respect to the existence of God, and so, universal values, the Freudian shift towards conceiving of human persons as divided, and unconsciously motivated has—insofar as we take certain aspects of Freud’s account as seriously as we have taken those of Darwin’s —should lead us to reconsider individual agency in the same respect.
Put another way: the rationalist has demonstrated to us that morality seemingly can survive a radical separation of God from moral values; and, even a debunking of a strong moral realist conception of moral values. However, in order for human persons to take part in the moral enterprise, some sense of unified agency must be had by the individual. In those cases in which the self is being actively divided by conscious and unconscious (for that matter, conscious and conscious) desires, a radical fragmentation may occur. Here, the person’s actions are no longer hers in the way that we generally use the possessive. More troubling still, we can no longer make sense of who or what she is, if anything. Where there is no sufficiently unified (moral) agency, there can be no moral action.
This leads to a pairing of surprising bed fellows: Both the moral rationalist and the conservative must agree that the significantly divided self described by Freud poses a major threat to moral agency. With the convergence of Darwinism and Freudianism, the ideological dissonance to which they tend to lead, and the inability of humanity at large to fully adapt to them, we find an increase in the prevalence of certain widespread psychic disorders which sciencealone cannot cure, and which, in many important respects, it is partially responsible for. 
This—what Freud has described as the subconscious usurpation of agency and the fragmentation of the individual’s very self—is among the more widespread sources of malaise, today; and one which the climate of advanced technology and global capitalism seems only to have exacerbated.  While, it seems to me, this problem cannot be disconnected from the acceptance of Darwin’s post-creationist worldview and the loss of humanity’s differentiation in kind from non-human animals, Freud’s replacement of a wholly integrated soul with a naturalized and radically pluralistic self (or collection of selves) is a separate matter which calls for its own remedy; a remedy, however, which must take the naturalization of values seriously.
What I sketch below, much in the spirit of Freud, is something not completely unlike a version of his talking cure; but, with overt pragmatist overtones and a local normativity which grows out of reasons given by the agent’s desire to create and sustain a certain self. The potential success of this effort—i.e., that of coming to create and preserve one’s ideal self—will hinge upon the ability of the agent to overcome what many post-Freudians have characterized as a self whose components cannot be integrated in any significant way; either at the level of the personal self, or at the level of the moral self. In order to offer an account of personal integration, then, I must have something substantial to say to the critic who holds that talk of a cohesive self is a relic that we would do better to jettison, along with talk of things like sprites, monads, and homunculi.
At risk of blatantly dodging one rendering of this objection, I simply will not have much to say about what may or may not work when it comes to integrating the individual self’s unconscious and conscious components and motivating reasons. First, this is because I simply do not have the necessary expertise to do so; and so, will leave this yeoman’s work to the trained psychoanalyst. Second, this is because a discussion of an integration of the unconscious and conscious would take us too far afield of the primary topic: the integration of the conscious (moral) self—certainly no small task, in itself.
Here, I will only be interested in the integration of the unconscious and the conscious mind insofar as this is a necessary condition for the integration of the components which make up the conscious-minded self. Still, I will continue to make reference to psychoanalytic theory; as, Freud’s account of psychic fragmentation provides us with an invaluable model for considering the division of the mind, not only along the lines of the unconscious and the conscious but, as will be pertinent to this study, with respect to its fragmentation along the lines of conflicting conscious desires,  conscious motivations, and conscious reasons, as well. With this, I return to the critic who argues that talk of the integrated self—even in reference to the conscious mind, exclusively—should be replaced with talk of an essentially varied self; better yet, talk of each human person having (or being) multiple selves.
While I concede this point to some extent—agreeing that it is simply unrealistic (undesirable?) to hope for a completely integrated and transparent self at every level—we need not jump to the conclusion that a kind of partial cohesion is out of the question. As stated, I take it that some degree of integration is necessary for the conference of (moral) selfhood, and certainly for personal responsibility. Below, I discuss in detail the nature of such a partially integrated (moral) self, and why I take this to be requisite for (moral) agency. Hereafter, any talk of the (moral) self should be taken as reference to the conscious (moral) self, unless otherwise indicated.
3. A critique of a critique of Darwinism/Freudianism
I have just suggested that while we may no longer realistically hope for the complete integration of the (moral) self, we must work towards achieving a partial integration if we are to retain (moral) agency. The conception of personal integrity I will sketch, then, is scalar in nature.
Before outlining what I have in mind here, I would like to briefly consider what I take to be a crucial mistake commonly made by the conservative regarding the role of Freudian theory in the fragmentation of the self. I make this short digression in order to demonstrate that I am not, as a certain type of conservative might lead us to believe, making matters more complicated than they need to be.
The conservative’s mistake involves the temptation to write off the kind of apparent psychic division which is at issue as little more than a state of affairs associated with embracing a certain corrupted and corrupting ideology. I am referring to the conservative’s confusing, this time at the level of the individual, the person’s ability to cope effectively when it comes to an ideological shift, with this psychological disorder being necessarily symptomatic of accepting the worldview in question.
As was the case with the unfounded assumption that the acceptance of Darwinism necessarily leads to nihilism, there is a certain type of conservative who has accused Freud of constructing a theory which in turn has led to the apparent division of selves and to each of the maladies which have followed from this; rather than, conversely, viewing him as the first clinician in the contemporary Age to offer a means of diagnosing and treating pre-existing psychological pathologies involving or constitutive of such psychic fragmentation.
In other words, here the conservative accuses he who constructs a new framework for studying and treating, in this case, selves and diseases of self, for creating the state of affairs (via the introduction of an innovative worldview and accompanying vocabulary) which itself has led to the very problems that it was intended to treat. The apparently divided self, on this view, is the result of talk of divided selves, and a consequent societal corruption which follows from taking such talk to heart. Once we set aside this way of talking and the beliefs which go with it, so the argument goes, and return to talking about selves as unified, immaterial substances the nature of which is reason, then such pathologies will disappear. (This is, I should say, a coarse rendering of the conservative’s point; but what I have said is true to the basic thrust of this line of argument.)
The problems associated with the Age of Darwin (e.g., nihilism) are the results of accepting Darwinian theory, and living one’s life according to that which follows from this. The problems associated with the Age of Freud (e.g., fragmentation of the self) are the results of accepting this theory, and living in accord with that which follows from this. If we would only—so the arguments goes—turn back the clock, cease to take seriously Darwinian and Freudian accounts, return to non-naturalistic vocabularies, the problems associated with these frameworks would dissipate and eventually disappear. We continue to hear this type of argument from the Things-will-go-back-to-the-way-that-they-were-ifonly-we-remove-all-copies-of-The Catcher in the Rye-from-the-shelves-of-the-public-library crowd; and, in a much more sophisticated and compelling formulation, from some ethicists working in contemporary moral psychology.
I hope I have said enough already that my qualified agreement with the conservative on this matter will not come as a complete surprise; and, enough to indicate that I also fundamentally disagree with him. As stated above, I do believe that the shift from a pre- to a post-Darwinian and post-Freudian worldview—the coming to talk about the self and the world in wholly naturalized terms, and to view these in a fundamentally different way—did have, in many important respects, an adverse effect on humanity’s self-concept.
But, I quickly part company with the conservative when it comes to explaining why this so, and when it comes to recommending an appropriate response to these matters. According to one popular version of the conservative’s critique, the anguish and collective sense of meaninglessness which accompanies these and other scientific theories is largely (wholly?) the result of the fact that humanity has foolishly supplanted an objectively true worldview (creationism, and its various ideological constellations) with as essentially false and spiritually-bankrupt conjunction of scientism and physicalism—the instantiation of which, in this case, is psychoanalytic theory.
I believe there is a better explanation for this, which, for the most part, may be accounted for by consideration of three important factors: first, that any significant change in ideas involving those things which confer meaning, value, and identity will bring about a markedly dizzying effect, initially. If the concepts in which we have traditionally grounded value are deflated significantly or taken away from us altogether, it should come as no surprise that we will become for a time extremely disoriented. This does not mean, however, that: either this disorientation is a necessary result of coming to accept the worldview, itself; or, that this disorientation is a permanent fixture with respect to the ways in which humanity experiences the world following the shift in question. 
Secondly—and for now I will merely gloss over this point—the distress resulting from coming to accept Darwinism and Freudianism is, in part, tied up with humanity’s attempt to hold to a heteronomous conception of what it is. (Or of, by the standards imposed by traditional theistic accounts, what the human self must be.) By this, I refer to humanity’s (however reluctant) acceptance of the new worldview in conjunction with holding on to certain incompatible aspects of the old.  For the purposes of this study, I have in mind such things as the majoritarian refusal to relinquish the idea that the healthy self is necessarily completely unified and completely transparent—i.e., that the self must be something, again, akin to the soul, as central to most instantiations of Pauline Christianity; or, to cite a secularized but theism-friendly analogue, Descartes’ res cogitans.
Finally—and, in important ways connected with the problem just discussed—following a shift in worldview, humanity often seems reluctant to re-imagine concepts which are essential to its self-understanding, and which must be either reconfigured or forfeited. It stands, in its own collective mind, helpless with respect to reconciling previously held concepts with those which prop up the new worldview. For instance: many think, as stated before, that if there exists no value-creating Entity over and above the human species, then there can be no values in the world; and, if there are no values in the world, then there can be no values simpliciter.
This, and instances like it, betray either a lack of imagination on the part of the largest part of humanity, or its refusal to use imagination in these instances; or, most likely I believe, some combination of each of these. And, since living in accord with values is an essential part of what being a person is, then insofar as we cannot—or obdurately choose not to—square the existence of values with the prevailing worldview, then we stand collectively self-alienated.
Hereafter, I will focus primarily on the second decentring theory which I have been discussing: Freud’s psychoanalytic theory (in its various instantiations), especially as it pertains to the diagnosis of a fragmented (moral) self; and, the implications for an analogue of this framework in the diagnosis of and treatment of what I refer to as the disintegration of the (moral) self.
Darwinism—and the collective suspicion regarding the existence of values which accompanies it—will, however, remain just on the periphery; since, as stated, it is my view that this account dovetails with Freud’s theory both with respect to the debilitation and disintegration of the contemporary (moral) self and its agency, and, I argue, its potential deliverance and integration. Any further references to Darwinism will point exclusively to the ways in which acceptance of this view has led to the majority’s misgivings about the existence of values.
4. Towards an account of self-integration
As Charles Taylor has pointed out, psychoanalysts working in contemporary Western society are dealing much less with those issues that made up the bulk of caseloads in the classical Freudian era (e.g., hysterias, phobias, and fixations), and more and more with patients complaining of feelings associated with the loss of a unified self, lack of purpose, and the disappearance of a given backdrop of values.17 Here, the subject is fragmented, and displaced by ‘a plurality of subjects’ along a ‘conglomerate ofpsychical subspheres,’ some known, some unknown to the conscious mind, with each vying for control of motivational efficacy in order that it may bring about its own desired end. 
Freud speaks to this decentring of the self—from his perspective perhaps ‘the most wounding’ to humanity’s sense of purpose and place of all—in his discussion of the understandably cold reception given to psychoanalytic theory:
Although . . . humbled in his external relations [i.e., with respect to humanity’s place in the universe and its place in the animal kingdom], man feels himself to be supreme within his own mind . . . [However,] this mind is not a simple thing; on the contrary, it is a hierarchy of superordinated and subordinated agencies, labyrinth of impulses striving independently of one another towards action, corresponding with a multiplicity of instincts and of relations with the external world, many of which are antagonistic to one another and compete. 
Following Darwin, humanity might well have been able to eventually carve out new spaces of meaning and value which comply with assumptions resulting from these shifts; perhaps involving a melding of newly adopted concepts and those left over from a prior Age which, for one reason or another, seem to be essential to humanity’s making sense of itself as a collection of agents. Humanity might have eventually come to accept that it is not, in even the most local of respects, the centre of the universe; and, that despite the human person’s ability to reason and reflect, members of our species are not different in kind from other, less sophisticated animals.
However, insofar as we make sense of ourselves in terms of rationality and reasoned deliberate action (as the Enlightenment would have us), Freud describes a psychic life which is so far removed from our intuitions that we find ourselves completely disoriented and estranged from what was perceived to be our very essence. Freud writes:
You behave like an absolute ruler who is content with the information supplied him by his highest officials and never goes among the people to hear their voice. Turn your eyes inward, look into your own depths, learn first to know yourself! . . . The ego is not master in his own house. 
It is important to note that it is not the abnormal per se to which he is referring, but to the human person, as such. The decentring of the self with respect to thought, motivation, and consequent action is not the result of some bizarre psychological disorder which is found only in rare cases. No, here Freud is describing the default condition of the average human person living in contemporary society. I am fragmented. You are fragmented. All civilized human persons are, and will continue to be, fragmented psychically. The only questions which remain are: To what extent? And, How may we go about (partially) integrating the self?
Although Freud generalizes to offer an account of the human condition, his findings, like those of all scientists, are based on the empirical investigation of individual persons, the inductive practices informed by such investigations, and the theory-construction which follows from this. The present study, though, will not concern itself with the concrete, particular self, nor, at its core, even with selfhood as such. This study will deal primarily with a double-abstraction: an abstraction, first, from the individual person’s self, to selfhood in general; and second, an abstraction from selfhood to the self as it functions in moral space.
In working towards an integration of the self with the moral self, I suggest we reorient the manner in which we view our mental life by using something analogous to a method of psychoanalytic treatment; a treatment which aims at restoring the state of wholeness of the (moral) self. In treating the disintegrating (moral) self, I suggest we use as a model a clinical methodology popularized by the post-Freudian psychoanalyst, Roy Schafer: actionlanguage.21 Schafer details his approach here:
Psychoanalysts may be described as people wholisten to the narrations of analysands and help them to transform these narrations into others that are more complete, coherent, convincing, and adaptively useful than those they have been accustomed to constructing. 
Here, psychoanalysts are recast as ‘retellers of narrations,’  and encouraged to shelve classical Freudian metapsychology with its talk of independently acting drives in favour of a vocabulary which emphasizes agency, so responsibility; responsibility, so integrity. Elsewhere, Schafer writes:
We shall regard each psychological process, event, experience, or behaviour as some kind of activity, henceforth to be called an action, and shall designate each action by an active verb stating its nature and by an adverb (or adverbial locution), when applicable, stating the mode of this action. 
As stated above, the sketch I offer involves a double-abstraction: an abstraction from the individual self to selfhood, as such; secondly, from selfhood as such, to moral selfhood. While Schafer has crafted his methodology in order to treat the particular self—to help reintegrate the individual self by means of using ownership and resultant responsibility as a kind of psychic cement—I argue that an approach very similar to this may used to heal those conflicts which threaten to pull apart moral agency amid positive intuitions regarding impartialist moral theories and personal values which conflict with these.
In other words, I claim that by learning how to redescribe the contents of psychic life in terms of controlled actions, we restore a lost agency which has the promise, in turn, to help reintegrate the self in instances where such integration is desirable; and, to move towards becoming a self worthy of integrating and preserving. Here, moral events such as evaluation will become verbs in the strongest sense possible. (In this context, a Schaferian approach may be characterized as something like Freud meets Sartre meets Rorty.)
In this retelling, we construct a narrative which not only allows us to construe previously disclaimed actions (e.g., desiring) as our own, but in telling our own story, even if only figuratively, we are also providing for ourselves a lost sense of continuity essential to the establishment and retention of a partial integrity. Here, I suggest we make use of the work of narrativite-theorists of identity. 
In cases involving the disintegration of the self, and where this fragmentation involves initially competing moral and nonmoral motivators, I suggest a means by which these components may be integrated: The subsumption of competing parts of the self under the umbrella of a common body of motivating reasons; and, as a result, their unification. One result of this feature of the account I want to offer is that the self and the moral self may come to overlap with one another considerably; and, in some exceptional cases, coextend. This substantial overlap provides fertile ground for an extreme reconciliation between personal and moral projects.
This potential co-extension, however, will not result from defining personal integrity in terms of a consistency of action which lies within the realm of goodness according to commonsense morality. Instead, the personal, at least in principle, may wholly overlap with the moral because I will discuss normative cohesion in terms of something, again, like what Foucault has called an aesthetics of the self.
Put another way, I suggest we discuss and define integrity in terms of a conception of harmonious motivating reasons which flow out one’s aesthetic criteria of what beautiful (so, desired) selfhood comes to.  While this may initially appear as though it is a theory of moral value, reasons, and motivation which is viciously subjective in nature, I argue that at least in some sense the account I offer may appease even those with strong moral realist intuitions, as the aesthetic criteria used in determining what kind of person one wishes to become can be characterized as standards which pick out, say, universally good character traits.
These aesthetic criteria are not so subjective that they may not be described as, at least, of the world; that is, made up of the values recognized by humanity at the level of some community of agents, and endorsed collectively by its members. And, again, these situated criteria, while certainly differing from person to person and from community to community, may be used in a uniform way to evaluate (for those with moral realist intuitions) objectively good actions or characters, or (for those with moral anti-realist intuitions) subjectively or instrumentally good actions or characters.
Having suggested that I take seriously both the communal origin and radically situatedness of values, and respect for the individual to define herself in terms of allegiance to or defiance of these values, it may seem that in offering an account of evaluation I am treading the fence which separates the communitarian account of value from the liberal account of value in a precarious way. While this is true to some extent, the account I am offering finds itself more at home with a qualified conception of the latter at least insofar as the subjectivity of values and subsequent commitments is concerned.
While I hold that the values with which the individual finds herself in early adulthood cannot come from any other source than that of her own community, the aesthetic criteria she will use to evaluate these values—while also originating in an undeniable way from within her community—are best described as her own. She must make herself responsible for the criteria she will use to create (or recreate) herself.  If she finds herself beholden to aesthetic criteria concerning selfhood with which she has misgivings, the burden is on her to work towards replacing these criteria with others. In so doing, she has taken the first step towards cultivating a new (better, or more beautiful) self.
In some sense, then, the act of endorsing certain aesthetic criteria involves a dialectical movement where one places herself at odds with (or at least imagines herself outside of) her community, such that she may autonomously choose to endorse or reject traditional values.  This might be construed as on par with a Kantian-style kind of deliberation, shorn of any appeals to universalization or patient-centred side-constraints. Here, the content of the imperatives that any agents give to herself will follow directly from the desire to construct and sustain a certain self. Here, agential autonomy will not necessarily involve the individual’s disagreeing with or diverging from any of the values she inherits from her community (although it certainly may); but, will be the product of the manner in which she comes to agree or disagree with the values endorsed by her community.
Above, I have provided an historical account of how the problem of integrity (as it is typically construed in the literature today) came to be so compelling. Here, I included much discussion of Darwinian and Freudian insights, and how those insights have moulded contemporary humanity’s conception of both value and the self.
Following this, I offered a sketch of a theory of personal integration which suggested placing a greater emphasis on looking at the (moral) self through an aesthetic lens; I also suggested, in treating the integrity problem, that we make use of Schaferian action language. Much more, of course, needs to be said, here. But, as this is merely a first pass at laying down the basics of the account, I will save that for another day. Roman Briggs Cochise College, 901 N. Colombo Ave, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635, USA firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Bertrand Russell, ‘A Free Man’s Worship.’ In Mysticism and Logic, by Bertrand Russell, 36-44. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2004., p.37 2. Ibid., p.37. 3. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science: with a Prelude in German Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Translated by Josefine Nauckhoff. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001., p.119. 4. Again, I definitely do not want to suggest that it is only theists who have taken this defensive posture. As stated, for every bombastic William Jennings Bryan there is an equally puffed-up Clarence Darrow nearby, ready to offer his retort.