Episode 19: The Challenge of Levels

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson with guest Stephanie Tolan

Release date: September 18, 2022

In episode 19, Chris and Emma were joined by Stephanie Tolan, an author and long-time advocate and champion of the gifted. This episode was inspired by Stef’s chapter in the book Living with Intensity called “What We May Be: What Dabrowski’s Work Can Do for Gifted Adults.” We’ve had enough feedback from listeners to know that we needed to take a closer look at the theory’s levels of development and that we needed to push back a little on the established dogma. We’re grateful for Stef’s willingness to join us for this conversation about Dąbrowski’s levels.

Stef talked with us about her realization that there are more people at the highest level of development than Dąbrowski acknowledged in his writing. These “Stealth 5s” are off the radar and quietly doing their work for the benefit of humanity. We talked about how her beliefs about consciousness and higher-level development have changed over the years. We discussed exemplars, reincarnation, and our limited understanding of the levels of development and their many permutations.

Bio: Stephanie Tolan was already speaking and writing about the needs of the gifted (with her emphasis mostly on kids) when Michael Piechowski connected her with Dabrowski's work. She immediately recognized the OE's, and only later came to understand the developmental levels and the effects of what Dabrowski called positive disintegration on the life experiences of gifted individuals.

Resources mentioned during this episode:

Stephanie S. Tolan’s website

Living with Intensity by Daniels & Piechowski (from Gifted Unlimited, LLC)

Developmental Potential by Michael M. Piechowski (links to ResearchGate)

Lives of Positive Disintegration by Michael M. Piechowski (links to ResearchGate)

Volume 18 of Advanced Development Journal, which includes Stef’s paper

University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies, research on reincarnation

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte

Ordinary People as Monks & Mystics by Marsha Sinetar

Peace Pilgrim website

Peace Pilgrim’s works are available for download in multiple languages for free.