What do you think of him?
Never heard of the guy. Should I have ? Will it be a life changing experience if I meet him ?
For those who don’t know Jordan Peterson: he is a Canadian professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto.
He seems to be a Jungian adherent (which is a bit of a problem all by itself).
He is a Christian at heart, and bases most of his personal flavour of life philosophy on his (unspoken) assumption that Christianity is the basis for his view of ethics:
“Even older and deeper than ethics, however, is religion. Religion concerns itself not with (mere) right and wrong but with good and evil themselves—with the archetypes of right and wrong. Religion concerns itself with the domain of value, ultimate value. That is not the scientific domain. It’s not the territory of empirical description.”
“The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of Western civilization (of Western values, Western morality, and Western conceptions of good and evil). …The Bible has been thrown up, out of the deep, by the collective human imagination, which is itself a product of unimaginable forces operating over unfathomable spans of time. Its careful, respectful study can reveal things to us about what we believe and how we do and should act that can be discovered in almost no other manner.”
The problem with this approach is his a priori assumption that Christianity is somehow superior to other religions. And basing a system of ethics on religious principles is fraught with pitfalls and errors, as has been pointed out by many philosophers already. Just read up on this. Besides this, secular ethics have been very successful since the 19th century (read up on this if you like).
Jordan Peterson became newsworthy and viral when he put all his lectures online, and when he refused to use new BGLT gender pronouns as put in law by bill C16 of Canadian law. He is not unwilling to use these pronouns on an individual case and basis, but his opinion is that “the left” political stream and proponents have gone too far in linguistically enforcing this by law, and calls this authoritarian.
One of his core arguments is that while society has limits set on how far right thinking groups can go, society still struggles with and even largely ignores excesses caused by far-left thinking groups. I do think he is correct in stating this, up to a point, of course.
Another of his core statements is that the current left diversity thinking is entirely based on equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity. An example of this would be that a typical Western university may base its student population selection methodology on a diversity foundation, meaning selecting at least X percentage of black students, X percentage of female students, X percentage of white students, etcetera, instead of selecting students purely on the basis of their grades and educational history. Again, he does have a point, and this discussion is a tough one.
His views on individualism, masculinity, and the meaning of life are quite elucidating (in the sense of learning more about the man himself) as well: according to him life is pretty much “suffering”, and he tends to base this on religious texts and quotes. He asserts that biology dictates a human’s society by a fairly large degree, and (in my opinion) oversimplifies this by comparing lobsters with the way humans create societal hierarchies.
“Learn to suffer like a man”. Jordan often refers to “man-boys”, and such. Too much to get into, but please refer to the referenced articles below, his online videos and his book.
Peterson identifies, according to himself, neither with the left or with the right on these contentious issues, but unfortunately proponents of right more conservative thinking seem to use Peterson’s arguments as a way to ground their thinking. Or perhaps the left regard him as a right thinker.
Peterson is incredibly eloquent as a speaker and discussion partner. He knows, as a psychologist with decades of experience, how to word his messages and thoughts, and keeps exactly track of what is said during a conversation. He is also very,very hard to pin down during a discussion, which makes it quite difficult to argue with him.
His book “12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos”, which was published in 2018 can be critiqued easily, and it has been pointed out that he cited research that a) did not support some his arguments and rather argued for the inverse, and b) the research he quotes failed to withstand the scrutiny of the scientific method.
I found his writing rather poor compared to his conversational qualities. He is obvious a speaker, and not a writer.
When I first began to listen to his lectures and discussions, I initially found it quite interesting. But the more I listened, the more I realized that Peterson is an excellent narrative speaker, rather than anything else. His views, to me, seem to be more of a self-justification of his being - almost as if he has something to justify to himself, or an angst in himself.
Another problem I have is that he is a proponent of the use of anti-depressants and the role of serotonin in a humans emotional makeup/mood. While the proof for the effectiveness of anti-depressants is tenuous at best, the role of serotonin as Peterson ascribes to it, has long been disproved.
Anyway, a lot of bark, and when you critically and rationally dissect his views, opinions, words, and writings, you will find, and I quote:
“If you go for Christian mythology, narrow-minded individualism, obscure metaphysics, and existentialist angst, then Jordan Peterson is the philosopher for you. But if you prefer evidence and reason, look elsewhere.”
Peterson’s words seem to be very attractive to a group of younger males from around 20 up to 35, or so. His views on masculinity and what it means to be a young male in today’s society rings true to many of them. In particular males who find themselves somewhat lost in modern society, how to deal with women, their unhappiness with their relative low place in the social hierarchy, and so on. In particular a certain Caucasian male segment is attracted to these views.
As always: “Doubt whoever proclaims to know the truth, and walk away. Follow your own path to wisdom”
Peterson, J. B. (2018). 12 rules for life: An antidote to chaos. Toronto: Random House Canada.
I really hate the guy to be honest. He’s a psych prof but uses that as a badge to say whatever he wants because he thinks that makes him smarter than everyone else. His views as far as gender/pronouns are often completely incorrect in addition to harmful and discriminatory. For example he believes that using the wrong pronoun is a criminal offense in Canadian law, when it’s not. He misinterpreted an anti-discrimination law into a criminal law. The law was essentially changed to say that deliberately misgendering someone repeatedly, in concert with other gender/lgbt discriminatory practices, can be used as evidence to build a case of discrimination (eg in the workplace or at school).
He also falls victim to a practice that a lot of conspiracy theorists suffer from - he believes opposition to things he says is somehow proof that he’s speaking the truth in a world stacked against him. Again, he’s just wrong. People are upset because he’s wrong (as well as transphobic). He’s just some psych professor who thinks he’s got the world figured out and didn’t learn the most important thing about education - the more you know, the less you know.
I’m not sure how much you can even trust the knowledge coming out of most Universities these days.
Many schools have been overtaken by the doctrines of safe spaces, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, forced groupthink, social justice and reparations, 80+ genders and heck knows what else is out there, people who disagree as having a mental illness, legos and puppies and cry closets at exam time, ect…
A lot of information on how to do nearly any job can be found online now, but many places still want that piece of paper you get when you complete 4 years.
I’ve got mixed feelings on the man, yes he brings up some very valid points but I don’t always like where he goes with them.
People shouldn’t be forced to use made up pronouns that have no basis in reality. Equality of outcome is a horrifying disaster waiting to happen. Life is a tragedy and the solution is not to coerce others but instead improve yourself. By doing so you make the world a better place for everyone.
That’s about it in a nutshell.
Here’s also a relevant thread about Nietzsche: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17434437
We had to homeschool for a while because the ‘no kids left behind’ policy they had was based on equality of outcome and catered to the slowest students…quite frankly in the 6th grade your kids should be well into algebra, 6th grade is not when you should be teaching an intro to long division.
As for language control…meh I can see both sides of it. But with that being said there is something about being proactive in life.
I mean, I know a guy whose name is John but goes by Mike. People just accept it without asking him about his birth name or grilling him about whether it’s a real name or not. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about it, calling people by their preferred names and pronouns is just the courteous and professional thing to do.
What opens up the proverbial can of worms though is when people are instructed to cater to any belief a person might have about himself, even if it’s way off in left field.
- If you are young, but identify as an elderly man, do you qualify for the discounts at businesses?
- If you see yourself as a war veteran, but never so much as even shot a gun, does the state need to solute you for your “service” and qualify you for pensions and other perks?
- If you’re from North America (of European descent), but saw yourself as Chinese, do you deserve all of the rights and treatment given to immigrants and minorities?
- If you saw yourself as a dog or a cat (yes, these people exist), will people have to refer to you as such, give you dog treats, let you nap all day, and let you lick their face?
So is the answer to all of them a resounding yes, or is it okay for us to choose not to believe something about someone else?
Yawn @ slippery slope
Sure, you’re absolutely right, but if I decide to call him Bill, I have the right to do it without being fined or put into prison.
The idea of “slippery slope” being a fallacy is a lie actually (don’t trust Wikipedia here). It has been well documented in many cases over the decades (though it would likely be a violation of forum rules to list them).
I think the asshole here is anyone who wants to imprison people simply for being honest or not using made up words.
I’m pretty sure the off topic section is the wild west of the forum, go ahead and list them.
Considering the increasing likelyhood of the thread being locked (and noting the memories of past moderation activity in this section, it might be better to just bow out of here for now )
If you are afraid that what you will say will violate the terms of service of this forum, I’m glad you decided not to share.
I like that I specifically mentioned earlier Peterson wildly misinterpreted the law and calling people the wrong name/pronoun won’t put you jail but is only used as evidence to build discrimination case, but that doesn’t agree with anyone’s beliefs so we’re all gonna ignore it anyway
It may be courteous but it is not professional. Professionalism is specific to a profession.
Don’t get me wrong. Each person has their own worth. Each person deserves the respect that they have earned but for example, when a grown man with children is spouting, “I am a 3 year old girl and I demand I be treated as such”. Well, delusion only gets you so far. It may be courteous to call him a 3 year old little girl but it is definitely not professional.
A rose by any other name is still a rose and delusion by any other name is still delusion.
He’s a lobster. To be the biggest one in the block you have to, well, be big.
Sometimes men are femenine. Sometimes, women are masculine. It happens.
However, regulating speech through law is stupid. You can’t enforce acceptance.
Also claiming there’s 50+ genders sounds ridonkolous, don’t do it. Just don’t.
Side note, your silly misreadings don’t make anyone a tool. Stop projecting.