Friday, April 20, 2007

Steve Pavlina Responds to Integral Criticism

For those not familiar with Steve Pavlina's blog, he is a highly successful blogger who generally writes about personal growth, productivity, and other marketable topics. He recently seemed to endorse The Secret, a pseudo-spiritual "law of attraction" scam that Oprah has been pushing.

In a previous issue of Holons (the Integral Institute's free newsletter), Pavlina's blog was rated Turquoise, the highest developmental level they offer for blogs (meaning that it is more expansive and has more depth than other lower altitude blogs -- altitude indicates the level of development of any particular perspective). Some people objected to this, notably Julian at Zaadz and Colin Bigelow, Ken Wilber's right hand man. I tended to agree with those concerns.

Naturally, there has been a bit of discussion around this issue in the integral blogosphere. However, it seems that no one asked Pavlina for his point of view. D'Oh! That seems like such a direct approach.

So, finally, Pavlina weighed in on the whole thing over at Joe Perez's Until blog. Having read his response, I'm in 90% agreement with his point of view -- my only concern would be that he show more discretion in pushing material/views that can be damaging.

Anyway, here is a taste of his defense:
Understand that my website gets about 2 million visitors a month -- with people at all different stages of development. That's very different than talking to a room of 50 integrally minded people.

If I write only for the highest stages, which I could do, I'll help only a small fraction of my audience. I believe that would be an enormously suboptimal strategy if the conscious development and expansion of all is our goal. For most people it will be way over their heads -- no impact whatsoever. At best it will only make them aware that there is something out there they aren't ready for yet. But why not assist people where they are?

Consequently, I do not hold to the perspective of a fixed stage when I write articles or recommend products. I intentionally shift between different frequencies of the integral spectrum when I write. Sometimes I'll even blend the viewpoints of different stages into the same article, which is probably why people have such trouble classifying me from my articles. A 5-minute face-to-face conversation would be much more enlightening. The reason I write from different stages is because it's far more effective than writing from a single stage. I can assist a lot more people this way, not just those who are very close to me in their path of development.
You can read the whole discussion and the rest of Pavlina's response over at Joe's blog.


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