Holons Critique: Are Pavlina and Schwyzer Integral?
April 16, 2007 17:53

I agree with the following email.  -Ken

Hey Ken,

In the last issue of our (I-I's) free newsletter Holons, issue #5, where they did a cool "blogs by altitude" analysis on the front page, I noticed that Steve Pavlina and Hugo Schwyzer were placed at the turquoise (i.e., integral, second-tier) level.  

After reviewing their blogs, I've got to say what while no doubt both of these fellows have teal or turquoise cognitive abilities they can call upon, I haven't seen evidence to suggest that their self-sense is at genuinely integral levels of development.

Steve Pavlina's self-sense if probably orange-green with an intense masculine-mastery type, access to states, and he believes in "The Law of Attraction" a la The Secret (yes, he expresses himself more intelligently than some of the Secret teachers, but it's the same principle, and that principle is deeply problematic, as we saw on Integral Naked).  I think it might be the intensity of his typology--because, damn, that sure doesn't sound like any green I know--and his access to states that might lead folks to believe he's integral, but I don't believe the content itself expresses anything like a self-consciously integral consciousness.  It sounds like orange consciousness on steroids, with green sensibilities, plus access to truly far-out states, and the ability to at times tap into integral cognition.  His wife, Erin, is a self-proclaimed psychic who regularly talks with spirits, angels, etc., and who offers her services for private consultations--nothing wrong with that, of course, but this kind of thing is often indicative of a pre-rational magical-level fixation of one kind or another that you just don't see in integral folks too much. 

Hugo Schwyzer appears to be primarily smart green (and a wonderful human being).  He's a gender studies professor, animal rights activist, and Episcopal youth minister.  He may appear integral because of his willingness to publicly state and debate his views, and therefore engage a plurality of perspectives on some very tough topics, but the conversation still does appear to stay primarily at green, however healthy it may be.  I believe part of Hugo's appeal to integral folks is that his discussions not only appear to be free from MGM (mean green meme), but he himself works to refute MGM positions, which some folks might take to mean he's integral (whereas I think it's simply healthy green refuting unhealthy green, which is wonderful, and sorely needed).  Hugo would probably be friendly to truly integral conversations, and perhaps one day we will open that door and see what happens.  A simple test might be to point him to Warren Farrell's work (say, The Myth of Male Power) and see if he finds it interesting--or just flat-out heretical.

These two guys are obviously extremely good at what they do, both have huge fan bases, and one can clearly learn an enormous amount from both of them, but something doesn't quite sit right with listing them at turquoise in our Holons newsletter.  I'm entirely open to being wrong here--and I've only taken a relatively cursory glance at these two blogs--but I would really need someone to walk me through why they believed either of these gentlemen were stably expressing integral sentiments in their writing (which is the only reason they would--i.e. should--end up in the turquoise altitude in Holons).   

Anyway, onwards and upwards, and I hear the new Holons--issue #6--is going to totally kick ass....


Colin Bigelow
Personal Assistant to Ken Wilber
Integral Institute





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