When I unsubscribed to Integral Naked last month, I received an automatic response from the site asking me to reconsider and presenting the "Top 10 Reasons to Come Back to Integral Naked." I'm publishing it here, along with my response, in the spirit of an open letter.
By Scott London
From Integral Naked:
If you're receiving this email, it's because you were once a member of Integral Naked, the web's hottest spot for integral dialogues, performances, and events. Then, for one reason or another, you had to leave. Ever since then, we've wanted you back!
So, we've been growing, changing, and evolving the IN site... adding new features we heard you want, fixing things up, and tossing in a few surprises as well. We wrote up a Top 10 list of reasons to come back. Take a look, and then visit www.IntegralNaked.org to experience the new IN!
Top 10 Reasons to Come Back to Integral Naked:
10. Therapia Radio. Discuss your personal, professional, and spiritual questions with the very best integral teachers and coaches. Featuring Dr. Fred Kofman ("Ask Dr. Fred") and Rabbi Marc Gafni ("Ask the Rabbi"). And, coming soon, David Deida!
9. New Search and Archives. Find over 2 years of the hottest and coolest audio, video, and art. It's never been easier!
8. We Love You! We're giving away iPods, lifetime memberships, and even free trips to Boulder!
7. Podcasting. IN content delivered straight to your iPod or MP3 player. Too cool!
6. Guest Host Stuart Davis! speaking with thinkers and artists at the wild and wooly edge of integral life. Be sure to check out the Stu Cam video series of Stu's adventures on the road!
5. RED HOT Performances available nowhere else, featuring Billy Corgan, Saul Williams, Eddie Kowalczyk (of Live), Stuart Davis, Ottmar Liebert, 54-40, and Yungchen Lhamo.
4. Ken Wilber in dialogue with Hollywood stars — Rick Rubin, Larry Wachowski, Julia Ormond, and Michael Crichton.
3. Ken Wilber in dialogue with leaders in business and success training — Tony Robbins, Warren Bennis, Nathaniel Branden, and Fred Kofman.
2. Previews and excerpts from Integral University and Integral Seminars, including training video clips from Integral Ecology, Integral Psychotherapy, and Integral Transformative Practice.
1. Ken Wilber in dialogue with Integral Spiritual Center Teachers — David Deida, Lama Surya Das, Sally Kempton, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Father Thomas Keating, and Genpo Roshi.
This is the best time ever to be a member of Integral Naked! Won't you come back and join us? Just click over to www.IntegralNaked.org. See new stuff on the What's New page. Then get your free month by signing up now!
The IN Team
My Reply to Integral Naked:
I just received your "Top 10 Reasons to Come Back to Integral Naked" e-mail. Wow. What an avalanche of hype! Part of the reason I cancelled my subsciption was because of this very problem. Too self-referential. Too self-congratulatory. Too much of a sales pitch.
"Giving away iPods, lifetime memberships, and even free trips to Boulder!" Let's be serious for a minute. Is that really what it takes to get new subscribers? iPod giveaways?
As I see it, the whole point of reading Ken Wilber, of engaging integral ideas, of connecting up with the Integral Naked web site, etc., is to go a level deeper, to move away from the kind of information culture that is constantly selling you on the latest, the hippest, the greatest, and that speaks to a different sensibility, one based on authenticity, discernment, and a higher truth.
The work of Ken Wilber and his friends is compelling enough without all the marketing gimmicks and flashy graphics aimed at making the ideas appear sexy and fresh. In my view, that approach cheapens the whole thing. Somehow I now look less favorably on the books, the seminars, the audiotapes, etc., after my experience with Integral Naked.
I have been subscribed twice. I signed up when the site was first launched. I subscribed again a few months ago thinking I would have another go at it since I'm so deeply interested in all this stuff — read it, eat it, sleep it, drink it, etc.
I get testy when I listen to the audio dialogues between Ken and his friends. The sound quality is aggravating, yes, but the really annoying thing is that the dialogues themselves are not very interesting. In many cases, they are downright awful. How could that be when these are some of the most interesting people on the planet!?
Ken goes on and on about his own ideas without really engaging the other person in a real dialogue. There are exceptions, of course, but not enough of them. I would like to see a more serious exploration of the ideas of other integral thinkers. How about getting people off the phone and into a setting where they can really share their thoughts and ideas, like a face-to-face interview or an intimate workshop setting?
I tell people, save the $10 a month and put it toward a SoundsTrue audio program like "Kosmic Consciousness" instead. Your money is much better spent and you can pass the tape-set on to a friend when you're done with it.
It's not about the money, of course. But every time my credit card statement comes and I see a $10 charge for Integral Naked I feel a little pissed off. Like, "if they are going to charge me for this stuff, they should really get it together."
Don't know where this feedback will go, but hope it echoes the sentiments of others who have answered this survey. I can't be the only person feeling turned off by Integral Naked. And surely I can't be the only person disappointed to discover that the site hasn't lived up to the high standards we've come to expect from Ken and his colleagues.
Thank you and best wishes.
Copyright 2008 by Scott London. All rights reserved.