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Steve Pavlina is one hell of a guy. He's the guy a lot of us wish we could be, or at least be more like. He finished college in 3 semesters, with a double major. He sleeps 25 minutes every 4 hours around the clock - that's 3 hours a day. Not because he was born that way, but because he decided that he didn't want to hibernate one-third of his life away. He's a vegan.

Well, OK, so he's not perfect. But read his latest, Rules Are no Obstacles for Committed People, and then go read my latest again. He gets it.

He's not my kind of guy, philosophically. But he reinforces something I've long known, that people are what they are despite their expressed philosophy. Here's a guy with a strong liberal world view, yet he shows symptoms of being as virulent a capitalist as there is on this planet.

Philosophy just isn't a guiding force in most people's life. Hell, it's not a guiding force in almost anybody's life. Sure, some people live for their philosophy, but even those people were those kind of people before they landed on that philosophy, not because of it.

People just want to get on with their own lives. Someone who wants a life of ease will mold whatever philosophy they believe in to one that allows them to be a parasite, or will seek out one that's already so molded. People who want to be busybodies can find plenty of opportunity within conservativism or liberalism, and there's even some that have found a way to reconcile it - in their own minds, at least - with libertarianism. People who are naturally rebellious can find their way to John Birch or the Greens as easily as they can to the libertarianism or objectivism.

Philosophy is not irrelevant. A bad philosophy will make it harder for a Steve Pavlina to get on with his life, but a guy like him will get on with it no matter the obstacles, self imposed or external. A bad philosophy will lead a busybody or a parasite to do great damage to himself and his society, but such a person would have done some damage anyway. Philosophy is not an obstacle to committed people.


1. What great damage is Steven doing his society?
2. On Steve "getting it". He does indeed enjoy telling people about his life situation, and his way there. Is he just boasting or is he trying to tempt us to ignore socially imposed rules? A bit of both a believe. :) Anyway, does boasting automatically make Steve a "getter" instead of a "becomer"? I think not. Or is there a Pavlina family fortune hidden somewhere? (A fortune he was given and therefore "got made".)

Posted by Christopher at Friday, December 16, 2005 01:29 PM

I respect Steve tremendously and I believe he sets something of an example. That is why I appreciate his "boast" posts. They are inspiring.

Certainly, I don't agree with every element of his philosophy. I do, however, agree that *having* a philosophy is important and more than something you model after the fact. Even your idea of "thinking! free" is something of a philosophy.

Posted by Brien at Friday, December 16, 2005 02:10 PM


1. None, that I can tell. He's not a parasite, just the opposite. I disagree with his philosophy, the political parts, at least, and I think it might make things harder for him personally, but it's his and he seems to be doing just fine with it.

2. "He gets it" refers to the main point of the post of mine that I linked to, that change and what someone is or becomes comes from the inside, not from external forces. I respect him a lot for understanding and living by that.

I think you interpreted what I wrote about him in almost exactly the opposite way I intended. I apologize to Steve if I caused that misunderstanding.

As to boasting, I never hold that in itself against someone. To me what matters is if he can back it up, not what he says about it. Unless he's an outright fraud, which I doubt, he certainly can back it up.

I used Steve as a starting point, but the article is not about Steve's philosophy, it is about how explicit philosophy is not what usually make someone what he is.

Posted by kylben at Friday, December 16, 2005 02:54 PM


I agree with you, as you probably can gather from my reply to Christopher. Beleieve me, I'm someone who holds philosophy as extremely important. But it's an empirical fact that someone's philosophy is not a good predictor of how they live their lives. It's important, but most people are who they are often in spite of the philosophy they hold.

Posted by kylben at Friday, December 16, 2005 02:58 PM


I believe some of the misinterpretation also stemmed from me understanding the word "busybody" in the wrong way. My English is not what it should be in some areas. Thank you for clarifying.

Posted by Christopher at Saturday, December 17, 2005 06:51 AM


No problem. By "busybody", I mean people who are always worried about what other people are up to, butting into their business.

Posted by kylben at Saturday, December 17, 2005 03:13 PM

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