Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is GTD a cult?

As an Objectivist I’ve often come across the accusation that Objectivism is a just a cult. Not that I’ve been accused of that myself, but I’ve seen it in debates and texts, there’s even a book called "The Ayn Rand cult" (which I’ve read, and I’ve read many other books on actual cults -- it was an interest of mine some years ago.) Now when I’ve started to follow what is going on in the GTD community, I see similar charges are being made against GTD.

Obviously I don’t agree at all with the charges against neither Objectivism nor GTD. They are typically unfair and based on nothing (or based on a twisted interpretation of something).

So what are the charges against GTD? Here are a few:

It’s rigid: no deviation from the system is allowed. (Not really true. Firstly, the system itself is pretty flexible, allowing for much personal tweaking. Secondly, if you want to skip a part or add something not part of GTD, just do it. Who will stop you? DA may recommend certain things, but so what? He’s just saying what he thinks works best and why, take it or leave it.)

If something in the system doesn’t work out, it’s the fault of the individual. (I haven’t actually seen GTDers say this. On the contrary, I’ve seen the opposite, that GTD may not be for everyone etc. The forums I’ve been in have been relaxed and friendly, not full of blame or such. On the other hand, some claims critics make do meet some opposition, but again, so what? People making false or dubious claims should be opposed. If someone misunderstands GTD, tries it and fails, they shouldn’t be surprised if someone is pointing out that they haven’t tried the actual GTD. Even this, however, is done in a friendly and non-condemning way.)

David Allen (the creator of GTD) is a part of MSIA (which is true), and he is communication secret messages through GTD to brainwash people into joining MSIA. (I’m not kidding, I’ve seen those exact words, also that he is conducting "thought reform", so subtly that you can’t find the messages if you look for them.) There’s also the claim that David Allen is trying to hide his membership in MSIA (not true). This one is just silly.

People are afraid to speak up. (Playing the victim-- "boo hoo, I get attacked every time I dare question the GTD dogma!") That’s their problem, people have all sorts of irrational fears.

Btw, I’m probably going to reconstruct my system into something that isn’t quite GTD anymore. Many GTD-practices are great, but some are not well suited for someone with my lifestyle and need to be changed.


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