Books

The Future is a Judgmental Father

Jordan Peterson, Canadian academic and scourge of the politically correct,  begins his Australian tour this month. Here, liberated from the paywall of our latest issue, is Steve Kates’ review of his book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”. Please subscribe and make sure there are more

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
by Jordan B. Peterson
Allen Lane, 2018, 448 pages, $35
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jordan petersonJordan Peterson (left) may well be the deepest, clearest voice of conservative thought in the world today. In the space of less than a year he has risen from being a relatively obscure professor of psychology at the University of Toronto to becoming perhaps the most articulate defender of the values of the West to have arisen in the last fifty years. I can think of no one in recent times who has been able to reach such depths of understanding, but with such an extraordinary ability to make plain his meaning to such large numbers of people. You should, of course, read his 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, but you should also watch as many of his online presentations as you can if you are interested in understanding, and preserving, the values of our Western civilisation.

This review appears in the latest Quadrant.
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He came to my attention in three stages. The first was through a battle he fought with the government of Canada over amendments to its Human Rights Act. What drew my attention were only in part the issues themselves, but probably more important for me was that he is a professor at my own alma mater in the city where I was born and grew up. The issue that made him newsworthy was that the Canadian government had made it illegal not to use the specific pronouns an individual wished to have applied to them in conversation. As Peterson put it as part of his testimony to the Canadian Parliament, the issue was that “refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun” constitutes gender-based harassment which could get you fined, and if you refused to pay the fine, could land you in jail. This is from his testimony:

I don’t think the people who initiated this legislation ever expected that there would be an absolute explosion of identities, first of all, and also of so-called personal pronouns, as there has been. I think Facebook now recognizes something like 71 separate gender identity categories, each of which in principle is associated with its own set of pronouns. So linguistically, it has become a parody. It has become linguistically unmanageable. Words can’t be introduced into the language by fiat. I can’t think of a time when that actually worked. We are not sure how words enter the common parlance, but it’s certainly not that way. So the legislation devolves into a kind of absurdity.

He then goes beyond the issue of personal pronouns into a full-scale attack on the cultural Marxism that is now standard in universities across the globe:

I’ve been following the battle of ideologies on campus for a long period of time. I suppose I have some expertise in that. There is an ideological war that is ripping the campuses apart. It’s essentially between an ideological variant that is rooted in what has come to be known as post-modernism, with a neo-Marxist base, and modernism, I would say. That’s accounting for all the turmoil on the campuses. I see this as an extension of this campus turmoil into the broader world …

I said that I believe that this is a vanguard issue in a kind of ideological war and that I’m not going to participate on the side of the people whose ideological stance I find unforgivable and reprehensible, especially the Marxist element of it. I announced that I wasn’t going to use these words because I don’t believe they are instantiated to protect anyone’s rights. I believe the ideologues who are pushing this movement are using unsuspecting and sometimes complicit members of the so-called transgender community to push their ideological vanguard forward.

It is rare to have any such thing said by anyone anywhere, but the number of professors at established universities who will say this kind of thing is vanishingly small. It was this that made me aware of Peterson’s existence, but it was the Lindsay Shepherd affair, which came next, that truly brought Peterson to my attention.

Lindsay Shepherd was a twenty-two-year-old teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, a small town in southern Ontario just up the highway from Toronto. In her class in communications, she played a three-minute interview with Peterson from TV Ontario (a provincial version of the CBC) in attempting to show both sides of the debate over the use of pronouns. She had also shown the other side from that debate, but it was her providing a platform of any kind to Peterson’s views that was beyond the pale so far as the university was concerned. She was hauled before a three-person tribunal and would have been severely reprimanded if not actually sacked, except that she had had the foresight to bring along her laptop, on which she recorded the entire forty-three-minute inquisition, which she then released to the media.

She turned out to be tougher and shrewder than the tribunal. The entire recording should be listened to in full if you are interested in the modern university Left. It is a sensation. Among my favourite moments was the disturbing notion presented by one of the academics in the form of an equation, that Opinion minus Evidence is Prejudice (O-E=P) with the only form of evidence permissible being publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Once control over what is published in peer-reviewed journals is sealed up, certain ideas can never be presented within an academic environment. The enemy seems to have been “Alt-Right” opinion. Students must therefore be provided with a “critical tool kit” before they hear different opinions. Try this on for size:

Everyone is entitled to their opinions but we have a duty as educators, as scholars, as academics, even as public intellectuals to make sure we are not furthering the kind of what I call charlatanism.

Her most telling response (although not to this particular statement) cut to the heart of the matter, and they had no answer:

But when they leave the university they’re going to be exposed to these ideas, so I don’t see how I’m doing a disservice to the class by exposing them to ideas that are really out there.

Students are not being taught to pursue truth or to think for themselves but to have at their disposal prefabricated answers to the difficult questions that others, such as the Jordan Petersons of the world, might raise. It was notable that the university backed down the moment the recording became public. It was clear to them as well as everyone else that there was no defending the university’s position as a community of supposed scholars, seeking truth wherever it might be found. A tactical retreat it may have been, but a retreat all the same.

This episode put Jordan Peterson on the map for me. I’m not sure a day went by over the succeeding three months that I did not listen to some video he had recorded or read something he had written. But that was a local Canadian event, internationally of interest mostly to academics. The next stage is what has made him world-famous, his interview in January this year with Cathy Newman on Britain’s Channel 4 in relation to the publication of the book under review.

In retrospect, it was an error on the part of Channel 4 even to interview Peterson, but then if they were to interview him, to have provided him with half an hour to present his views, and even then to have sent in an inadequately-prepared interviewer who found herself in unfamiliar depths. Her interviewing technique has been ridiculed everywhere. It essentially consists of something like this:

Jordan Peterson: ABCDE.
Cathy Newman: So you’re saying ABWXYZ.

The interview is absolutely not to be missed (online editor: the clip has been embedded below). It is good that Channel 4 has left it live in spite of the ridicule Cathy Newman has received. I would say it’s a template for everyone from the Right of the political divide when finding themselves on the wrong end of a hostile interview, except that there is only a single Jordan Peterson, with very few as brave, knowledgeable and clear-minded as he is. It is the most one-sided interview I have ever seen, with a now-famous “gotcha” moment in the middle, where Cathy Newman was literally lost for words. Practised though she undoubtedly is in interviewing hostile guests, and aware that in the media the words must flow continuously, so befuddled was she by Peterson’s answers that she was forced to stop and rethink, and had nothing to say for a long time. And far from this being the disgrace for her others have made out, her own professionalism is what allowed Peterson to capture the moment, since she was relentless in trying to destroy the arguments he was presenting, as relentless as he was in trying to establish the points he wanted to make.

Peterson was interviewed a few days later and asked about the interview with Newman. These are excerpts I transcribed myself.

She laid out two sets of ideological presuppositions … her set and my set. The set of ideological positions she laid out from my side bore very little relation to what I think or say …

She would ask me a question that wasn’t really a question but a barb with bait on the end of it. She would say what I said which had nothing to do with what I had said. She was fabricating on the sly the person—the villain—that she hoped I would be and insisting that was me and denying that it was a lie …

I was watching her after the first minute like a clinician … And I truly don’t believe that anything she said in that entire interview was true on its own …

The form of conversation was not one designed to further our knowledge of the truth, which is the highest form of conversation …

Her claims became so preposterous and self-contradictory that it was difficult to remain completely detached. And this was the crux of the interview … she had asked me in her self-righteous manner just what gave me the right to offend someone and hurt their feelings, and I thought about six things at the same time, but the first thing I thought was, you’re a journalist, that’s the last question in the world you should ever ask someone, if you have any genuine integrity as a journalist because that’s all you have as a journalist. You have the right to offend people and hurt their feelings. So I called her out on that …

She couldn’t make her reputation and her living that way using those tactics—those were not tactics of seeking the truth but they were almost tactics of domination …

The interview with Cathy Newman has made him famous for the moment. His book should make him famous for the ages.

The title is 12 Rules for Life, which makes it sound like a self-help book, which in some ways it is. The proper title should be more along the lines of, The Philosophical Roots of Western Civilisation. In our secular times, it is something like a Confucian tract for a civilisation that has lost its way and refuses to be guided by religious teachings.

But with all its depth, it is amazingly readable, accessible to anyone with a moderate level of education and a willingness to listen. Each of the twelve main chapters has more or less the same structure: a personal adventure that sets the scene, a development into lessons that might be learned from the great literature of the past, then further investigation of these ideas, all followed by a one-sentence conclusion that is by no means merely the summation of what came before.

The aim, self-help though it might superficially be, is not to tell you how to become happy, but to explain how to prepare yourself for a life that is guaranteed to be filled with suffering and adversity. He is not trying to be Mr Gloomy, but is instead telling you that in this world of intense pain, constant woe and frequent disappointment, that life is worth living if you understand what you must expect to find as time goes on, as you age, and as you are forced to endure the difficulties that will come your way. Things are hard, and there are obstacles at every turn, and you won’t always get your way, or even very often. But if you have the right approach, then you can get on with life and be content in the only way it is possible to be content. Moments of happiness will occur, if only occasionally and all too briefly. It’s the journey and not the end. It is about how to get on with that journey and stop complaining.

And he builds his case by reference to the great literature of the past, both religious and secular. Biblical tales, as well as Greek myths, Chinese, Islamic and Hindu religious teachings, along with our own philosophical and scientific traditions, he writes, have been crafted across the ages by many minds who have revised these stories which others have then read because they explain, at a deep psychological level, the world we are in and the ways in which we must deal with the problems we meet. Many important truths are also found among the less profound stories we read, in Homer Simpson, Superman comics and the ancient fairy tales whose messages we absorb to help us make sense of the problems associated with being.

But within the structure of this brew, it is the readings from Western civilisation, based on reflections on our own way of life, that provide us with the answers and guidance for living in the world as it is, and at a deeper level that goes well beyond the superficial changes occasioned by our technological advances and the proliferation of modern gadgetry.

As an example of what you will find in the book, here’s the opening para that leads off the discussion of Rule 7: “Pursue what is Meaningful (Not What is Expedient)”:

Life is suffering. That’s clear. There is no more basic, irrefutable truth. It’s basically what God tells Adam and Eve, immediately before he kicks them out of Paradise.

The simplest, most obvious, and most direct answer? Pursue pleasure. Follow your impulses. Live for the moment. Do what’s expedient.

The obvious answer, perhaps, but the wrong answer. And what our biblical stories, along with so much of our mythology and philosophical reflection, represent are sets of instructions based on the observed successful life choices made by countless individuals over countless generations. The traditions are entirely based on lived experience as our human ancestors attempted to deal with the challenges they faced:

Then we started to tell stories. We coded our observations of our own drama in these stories. In this manner, the information that was first only embedded in our behaviour became embedded in our stories.

These stories delineate the straight and narrow, deviations from which are invitations to disastrous outcomes, not necessarily immediately but over time, and not necessarily for any individual but for societies as a whole. The book is a reminder that there is profound wisdom available to us all that will guide us through life.

I will continue here with a bit more from Chapter 7, focusing on the nature of our highest civilisational values, where the principles he discusses cross over into how we have managed our economic problems. The rules for life are about getting on with being, not to blame others but to take personal responsibility, to test oneself against the hard realities everyone is bound to meet, rather than just remain a passive bystander to life. And as I read the book, the relevance to the nature of a market economy was so striking and so frequently encountered that in the end I came to the conclusion that he had purposely not drawn specific attention to this inescapable overlap, which he would undoubtedly have been aware of. I will therefore discuss only briefly his coded economic message, but also warn that this is peripheral to the rules he has outlined, but by no means peripheral to the communities in which we live. He would recognise the connection I am about to draw and its relevance to what he has written.

Thus, in this discussion of Rule 7, a few pages past the discussion of Adam and Eve, we come upon this, in a passage you are guaranteed never to find in an economics text:

Here’s a productive symbolic idea: the future is a judgmental father. That’s a good start. But two additional archetypal, foundational questions arose, because of the discovery of sacrifice, of work. Both have to do with the ultimate extension of the logic of work—which is sacrifice now, to gain later. [His emphasis]

This is central to the nature of a competitive market economy, where individual entrepreneurs examine the future and apply the capital they have to attempt to earn future returns over and above the value of the capital they have expended. The individuals who make these decisions, who live on the border between order and chaos, are crafting a better world, they hope, but at great potential risk to themselves. This is the point he makes, although he is not specifically discussing economics:

Action came first (as it had to, as the animals we once were could act but could not think). Implicit, unrecognised value came first (as the actions that preceded thought embodied value, but did not make that value explicit). People watched the successful succeed and the unsuccessful fail for thousands and thousands of years. We thought it over, and drew a conclusion: The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future. [His emphasis again]

And that takes us only halfway through the chapter. From this, he turns to the question of good and evil, and it’s still only Rule 7. You will have to read the book for yourself to find out what he said about good and evil, and about everything else as well. I can do no more than encourage you to read the book. There is nothing else like it and I cannot praise it enough.

Steven Kates is an economist who lives in Melbourne. His book Free Market Economics, now in its third edition, presents an approach to dealing with economic problems that parallels Jordan Peterson’s approach to dealing with life’s problems in general. Bibliography

Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Canada:
Testimony by Jordan Peterson and Jared Brown, among others

https://joeclark.org/peterson/transcript_20160517.html

 

BBC4 Interview with Cathy Newman

https://youtu.be/aMcjxSThD54

 

Jordan Peterson analyzes Cathy Newman in his famous interview on Channel 4.

https://youtu.be/RvnQRSg_HAc

 

Recording of Lindsay Shepherd interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YdFlKaJv4g

 

Raffi Grinberg. 2017. “Lindsay Shepherd and the Potential for Heterodoxy at Wilfrid Laurier University”

https://heterodoxacademy.org/2017/11/23/lindsay-shepherd-and-the-potential-for-heterodoxy-at-wilfrid-laurier-university/

 

34 comments
  • johanna

    ”Both have to do with the ultimate extension of the logic of work—which is sacrifice now, to gain later.”

    Cripes, Jordan Peterson is becoming the equivalent of the Indian gurus beloved of the Left. He’s not a bad bloke, has some good things to say, but there’s also a lot of cod pop psychology there.

    Housework is not a sacrifice now to gain later, you pillock. It just prevents you from falling into the mire of squalor. I do not gain later from washing the dishes, or changing the bed linen, I gain right now. In three months time, if I have not done either of those things, it makes no difference. I am in squalor.

    Gardening can be the above, or a creative enterprise, or a bunch of other things.

    It’s a bit of a worry that so-called conservatives are so uncritical and adoring.

    • Jody

      Well, those ad homs were largely incoherent. You obviously don’t get it, and I can understand why. Peterson was talking about MUCH later in terms of gains of housework – that we learn routine, discipline and human dignity. I think you are the pillock and, as is often the case, people like you tell us more about yourself when critical of others than you do about the person being criticized.

      • DArcy1985

        Jody thanks for your response to johanna, still shaking my head after reading that obtuse comment
        to the article

    • [email protected]

      Isn’t doing the dishes a small sacrifice of time and energy now for the slightly later benefit of having clean dishes to eat from instead of dishes with harder to remove dried-on scraps and an encouragement to vermin etc, etc? There is also psychological benefit in having an orderly environment, so long as it is achieved with a common sense calculation of reward for effort expended.
      Gardening maybe work, but also enjoyable leisure.I can’t see how his point of delayed gratification is negated, only demonstratible at various levels of activity and reward calculations.
      I also think the capacity for delayed gratification is an attribute needed particulary by agricultural societies. Last year’s seed crop can’t all be eaten and products must be preserved and eked out until the next harvest. Perhaps this capacity has an inheritable component which is given special advantage in agricultural societies, but not so much in hunting and gathering societies. Just a speculative thought. Margaret

      • Jody

        Jordan is speaking largely to a generation of young people whose parents have spent their lives at work and haven’t had to time talk to their children. Much of what he says and writes, however, is of benefit to all.

        • Keith Kennelly

          Jody

          I think you mean’t to say ‘had time to talk’ not ‘had to time to talk’.

          Kettle black.

          • Jody

            Typos are not to be confused with illiteracy. Projection.

          • Keith Kennelly

            And isn’t that a latitude you’ve failed led to extend to others?

    • Tezza

      Jody’s reply says it all, Johanna. I would add only that if you accuse Peterson of ‘cod pop psychology’, you obviously haven’t reviewed his research and publication history, or read or listened to him.

  • Jody

    Jordan Peterson; what can I say about him over and above what I’ve already said. He’s firstly, extremely brave. Taking on rusted Lefties who are cushioned from reality by taxpayers is his first move in wider culture wars and now he has them screaming and arguing amongst themselves. Good. About time he chased them down rabbit holes of their own making. Secondly, Peterson is fiercely intelligent. Nothing escapes his grasp. Not ever. He makes the mistake of thinking others are smart enough to keep up with him and they easily fall into the trap, like the poster above, of suggesting it’s ‘pop psychology’. How patronizing to ordinary human beings. We can easily see how Dr. Peterson is penetrating the thick hides of professionals who think they’re a cut above the rest of the world. Yep, it’s ugly – but it has to be done. Lastly, he’s honest. Recently he said about his wife (whom he has known for 50 of his 55 years)..”I’m fortunate in that I still find her incredibly attractive”.

    No wonder the Left despises him, as well as those who have a vacuum where a moral centre ought to be.

    I have befriended my own GP after introducing him to Dr. Peterson; knotty emails go back and forth most nights of the week and he recently wrote how glad he was to have found me – that he felt lost in a world of lefty moral relativism and political correctness in his patients and profession. He was born in Europe and first practiced medicine there. Yeah, it’s all a huge buzz.

    • ianl

      Some of what you say about Peterson is accurate enough and some is starstruck (“Yeah, it’s all a huge buzz”) but I have no issue with that. I’m still stuck on Ella Fitzgerald’s incredible singing talent and she’s been dead quite a long while now.

      I do wonder at the possibility, even probability, that this is a pan-flash. The Ch4 TV interview with the bubblehead was an error of judgement on the part of Channel management in giving Peterson a platform. As I’ve suggested before, that mistake won’t be repeated. It seems Google is with-holding any money made from ad clicks on Peterson’s u-tubes, again to choke down and deny him a platform.

      My real critiques of him are that in the few u-tubes I’ve seen, his “sheets of sound technique” covers over both circularities and contradictions (his monologues contain these in some numbers) and deny his debating opponents a platform (in that case, not getting a word in edgeways). Bluntly, I find that dishonest. He is also confused, or at least is momentarily silenced, when confronted by someone as smart as he is but less fixated. An example I saw (I have not seen many u-tubes of his, I find them noisily repetitive) was when someone pointed out that the combination of politicians, bureaucrats and journalists was so powerful because all of them pretended that each told the truth while knowing that pretence was a deliberate lie. Peterson found that obvious fact quite difficult to deal with, as he realised that exposing deliberate hypocrisy and abuse of power does not at all change the situation – it just doesn’t matter.

      • Patrick McCauley

        “as he realised that exposing deliberate hypocrisy and abuse of power does not at all change the situation – it just doesn’t matter.”

        He exposed the hypocrisy and abuse of power in the Canadian law demanding that citizens use the preferred pronouns of transgender people – that the Emperor had no clothes (as it were) … and thus lit a fire under the leftist vanguard of the lies that are sending the western world insane. In the Art of War … we are advised to firstly – name the enemy – even before we learn to love him or her. Peterson is naming the enemy … and (as far as I can see) … the enemy is the man hating variety of feminism and post modern Frankfurt school, cultural Marxism.

        Peterson absolutely changes the situation through his exposure ( and demolition) of the enemy.

        • Jody

          Brilliant, Patrick. And anybody who thinks this can happen by using the voice softly and deliberately just below the level of hearing (I knew school teachers who did this to control classes!) like the misguided Chomsky or Sam (I’ve-got-the-smarts) Harris is mistaken.

        • ianl

          > ” … the hypocrisy and abuse of power in the Canadian law demanding that citizens use the preferred pronouns of transgender people ”

          Is that law now changed significantly ? Or merely in abeyance ?

          That is my constant point on the power of power and its’ abuse. Power may not much like ridicule but it prefers that to losing. So one sees tactical retreats but no irrevocable white flags.

      • Jody

        I was talking about interacting via email about politics, Jordan Peterson, the Left and society with my newly-found medical friend, not Jordan Peterson himself, when I said it was “a huge buzz”.

        You’ve obviously missed a great deal of what Professor Peterson has to say if you’ve only seen a few. And, I disagree that he doesn’t know what to say when he meets somebody smarter. Firstly, few ARE smarter and the discussion with Sam Harrison on ‘truth’ is probably the one you’re talking about. See, I have a problem with Harris – a cold ideologue who uses HIS voice modulations to control and audience and an argument, which is precisely the accusation you make of Peterson. Try looking at his discussions and lectures where he addresses questions from young people he’s LISTENING TO. Carefully listening. And Dr. Peterson is unusual in that he thinks and speaks on the fly, as it were, without prepared notes for the most – and you can see his thinking processes actually working. He’ll double back and say “No, that’s not strictly true” – much as he would in his psychology lectures to young people.

        He’s as important a public intellectual as a fellow Canadian, Marshall McLuhan, and he’s not going away. Not while-ever there are storm-troopers from the Left and governments who want to tell the citizens what they should think and how they should speak. 10/10 for bravery, Professor, and if you’re making money from it all the better. Google and its other cartel relatives needs to be dealt with through trust-busting laws.

        • Jody

          Sorry, Sam HARRIS was talking about “truth”. A difficult and hubristic concept which involves much obfuscation. Christopher Hitchens would never be caught doing that!!+

  • Warty

    The first comment (above) leaves me scratching my head, not that she dismissed Jordan as a ‘pillock’ because anyone ideologically opposed to the sort of conservatism espoused by Peterson might call him a pillock; but because a part idea, out of context, is used to justify the comment.
    There are current philosophers every bit as profound as Peterson, Peter Hitchens and Roger Scruton for a start, but few with the ability to relate their ideas to the fundamentals of every day living. His oft mentioned metaphor of cleaning up one’s room is a case in point: it is both a metaphor and yet practical advice. One ought not to run around telling others how to run their own lives if one cannot attend to one’s own issues; and the simple act of cleaning up one’s room helps order the mind.
    On my last count, 7.4 million people had watched the Cathy Newman interview, the one that made him ‘famous’, but countless others have watched his Biblical series (admittedly some of these have watched each and every one). These attempt to examine the single most important document of the Western Civilisation from both a psychological perspective and yet in a way a modern mind might make sense of it (the Bible) without having to simplify or trivialise it. I don’t agree with all he says, but few clergymen would be able to achieve what he managed in that series.
    Far from his admirers being uncritical and blandly adoring, he has managed to provide the necessary voice to hopefully galvanise those, who lacked the means, to stand up for their own civilisation.

    • Jody

      Thoroughly agree, Warty. “Clean your room” and the lobster have resulted in many funny memes. One critic said to Dr. Peterson, “well Gandhi was successful and he didn’t have anything, let alone a clean room”. Jordan didn’t comment in reply – he was unsure what to say. I suspect had he done so he would have said something like, “he was an exceptional individual; I’m talking about ordinary modern political activists and young people”.

      My reply would have been, “well he wore a nappy and didn’t have any teeth”!!

      • Keith Kennelly

        He also said, ‘life is a long and arduous quest for truth, and the soul needs inner peacefulness to achieve its true height.’

        Pietersen thinks he already knows all truth and from watching him, it is my opinion he is quite lost, and has little interest in expanding beyond what he already knows.

        There is very little no novelity or newness in the ideas he presents.

        To me that makes him someone who has been taught how to think and about what to think … rather than having the ability to think creativity or outside the square … as do real intellectuals.

        To me because if this he is merely another of those educated elites or of the managerial class.

        Watch Peterson implode as he fails to deal with the underlying malaise afflicting the West. He with his amateur phsyco babble and shallow performances will see him shrink into something with the understanding, initiative, purpose and personality of a microwave warmed up corpse.

        Cheers

        • Jody

          You have a chip on your shoulder the size of Uluru. This place is much nicer when you’re not here. Get back to your schnapps. You know nothing about Peterson; he’d be talking waaaaaay over your head. And then some.

          • Keith Kennelly

            Yep. There it is again.

            The leftie luvvie, managerial elite, telling people who have opposite or different views the keep quiet and don’t express their opinions and follow it up with denigration and abuse.

            And you call yourself liberal.
            You’re a Turnbull ‘liberal’’.

            Your behaviour is as leftie as all the others.

    • innocuous

      I get the impression that if you did not challenge what he is saying he would be most disappointed!

  • Tezza

    That’s a great book review, Steve, performing the invaluable function of tempting the new reader to the joy of engagement with a truly remarkable mind. Peterson’s podcasts are lengthy and variable in quality, but pretty amazing as performance art as much as for the detail of their content.
    Doubtless in any one sphere (philosophy, theology, comparative religion, neuroscience, economics etc) he will have his critics. But he is clearly a remarkable synthesising mind, bringing the latest insights from neuroimaging and his experience as a clinical psychologist together with the archetypal stories of human existence and evolutionary biology.
    So to anyone who has not yet had the pleasure, as Molly would say, do yourself a favour and dip into this guy’s work. He’s a beautiful mind.
    If you’d like a (dense) introduction to the architecture of his thought, he’s published a synopsis of his first book, “Maps of meaning”, at http://www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?10.077

  • [email protected]

    As Jody notes above, Peterson’s passion, bravery and erudition make him formidable presenter.

    He inspires others to share his passion for ideas, for life, while giving insightful tips for surviving and thriving in a world corrupted by Orwellian semantics and much else.

    He muses on his feet on stage, striving to give the best answer to every question life and the audience throws at him.

    As Jung said: “Only the wounded physician can heal”. From northern Alberta to Channel 4. Not an easy journey.

    Let’s hope he’s more than a star-shell over the West’s wider/deeper/dirtier cultural malaise/gender war.

    Check out his official site: events, books, reading lists, etc. https://jordanbpeterson.com/

    The Australian tour begins tomorrow: WELCOME JORDAN PETERSON

    • ianl

      > “Let’s hope he’s more than a star-shell over the West’s wider/deeper/dirtier cultural malaise/gender war”

      My point above. I do fear that Antifa + “friends” will combine to destroy his various platforms (deny the oxygen, I think is the phrase).

      Will the venues be cancelled suddenly for security reasons ? Will the MSM do their very best to deny publicity beyond smidgins of superficiality ?

      Perhaps he is a spearhead of analytical rationality, although I find little new in his various essays. The self-appointed Gatekeepers are not nearly through yet though. They detest and fear such spearheads – from their viewpoint, the most effective way of shutting Peterson down is the removal, denial, of publicity platforms, forcing him to slide into obscurity.

      • Jody

        You underestimate his personal strength, integrity and resolve. And his support.

  • Rob Brighton

    This one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ER1LOarlgg tells the story, it is moving beyond measure.

    • Jody

      One cannot doubt Dr. Peterson’s sincerity. Something is happening in the world of men and it’s NOT GOOD.

      • ianl

        Perhaps Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean may give Peterson a platform on Sky.

        I hope so … those two can entertain me on occasion.

  • Jody

    @Keith Kennelly: I’ll add “bully” to the other characteristics you sadly have.

  • Keith Kennelly

    Yep

    There it is again.

    Don’t like the views, offended at being contradicted so sink to the level of personal abuse.

    And I’m the bully because … you think I shouldn’t tell you you are wrong about Pietersen and share his managerial elitist views.

    Yep that would be right.

    There is only one person doing the bullying here. And that is you Jody.

    Read the exchange here and that becomes what is called a self evident truth.

    Doh.

    • innocuous

      Hi Keith, you use the term ‘managerial elite’ quite a bit and the context clearly indicates derision. Can you spare a line or two to explain your definition of the term.
      I quite like Peterson’s message. I am a big ‘fan’, for want of a better term, of Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris et al. , however Petersen’s discussion of how religion resonates with human experience reached me on a deep level. I am an avowed atheist but I can see that religion has grappled with the big questions over a long period of time and made some profound observations. I’m no intellectual so perhaps my observations a bit uninformed but I see value in what Peterson is saying, even f I don’t agree with everything he says all the time.

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