Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules: My Thoughts (1)
And the negative is female and the order and the yes, and the positive is male.
And a lot of these things that I have a lot of trouble, uh, accepting.
Hi there, Steve Kufmann here and today, I'm going to talk on a different subject.
I'm gonna talk a bit about a book that I bought called, uh, 10 rules for life.
Excuse me, 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson.
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So, uh, I'm gonna talk about this book and I'll tell you why, and I'm gonna
relate it a bit to language learning because that's what I always like to do.
So I became aware of Jordan Peterson when, uh, he was quite
controversial because he opposed the sort of, he, he was a professor.
step back a bit, professor at the university of Toronto, professor of
psychology, the university said you now have to use these gender neutral pronouns.
He said, I'm not going to use general gender neutral pronouns.
You can't tell me how to speak or how to use the language.
And he has become a, a leading figure in sort of opposing what is known as
wokeism in other words, the idea that everyone has to confirm conform to certain
patterns of behavior um, regarding, you know, gender categories or race
relations or, uh, attitudes towards a whole number of things that this is
the accepted correct way of behaving.
And anyone who doesn't behave in this way is therefore a bad person and not welcome
at a university and so forth and so on.
And this book has been a, a bestseller.
I don't know how many million copies it's sold and he's written a sequel.
So I said...
and he's Canadian.
He's from, uh, Fairview, Alberta.
And I'm very familiar with that area, Peace River Region in
Alberta, because I did a lot of business there in forest products.
And I know the area, I know the people, some of the people, you know, up in
that area, great area, great country.
So I began to read through it and I'd be interested in the reaction
of people who have read the book.
Uh, I sort of leafed through it.
Um, my reaction is that he has sort of this tremendous knowledge of psychology
of, uh, mythology, of religion.
And so he sort of describes, you know, a world that our lives are in
his view, tragic or full of evil.
I mean, eventually we die and there are lots of bad things that happen.
Bad things have always happened.
And so in this world of chaos, then how should we lead our lives?
Uh, in his first chapter, which he calls uh, you know, stand up
straight with your shoulders back.
In other words, you should have a very erect posture and it ties that in some
way to this idea of, of a hierarchy, uh, in the animal kingdom hierarchy in
amongst human beings, that that structure or hierarchy is kind of embedded in our
genetic, uh, you know, we're predisposed to be more dominant or less dominant.
Uh, he even suggests that the chaos portion of lives is sort
of, uh, and the negative is female and the order and the yes.
And the positive is male.
And a lot of these things that I have a lot of trouble, uh, accepting, um,
And in fact, as a general rule, I find that his 12 rules don't really
relate to the subject matter that he discusses within each chapter.
He has a chapter for each rule.
And so instead you have these themes that sort of pervade all of
these chapters, and that is this sense of sort of a dark world.
And the only way we can survive is if we maintain certain structures, he
seems to favor a patriarchy because historically, and perhaps in the animal
kingdom, the male is typically stronger.
Uh, and, uh, that's a good thing.
And, uh, where there is, and, and all a while, of course, he's
pushing back against this sort of woke thing, which makes any sort
of expression of power a bad thing.
Whereas in fact, to a large extent, people who have more power, but
not always, but in many cases, they have earned that position of power
because they have certain abilities.
And so he stresses this, that, uh, we can't just condemn the patriarchy,
but by the same token countries that are where the patriarchal sort of
pattern is stronger, aren't necessarily happier countries, uh, any survey of
happiness typically shows countries like Denmark, uh, and Scandinavia is
having the highest happiness coefficient to the extent that we can measure that
effectively, it's somewhat subjective.
And those countries typically have sort of a less dominant patriarchal structure
than some more traditional societies.
But nevertheless, he does make the point that the world we live in is one where,
you know, the individual is important.
In fact, that's, I should go there right away.
I saw a video of his, I did some research on the internet where he
makes the point that our Western society is, uh, very successful.
And, and so again, he's defending Western society from those who almost
systematically want to tear it down.
Uh, there's definitely a tendency for intellectuals, people at universities
to want to tear down the established or to criticize the established order.
Uh, this was the case with the prevalence of Marxist and the economics department.
It's the, uh, example today where in all of the humanities, you
have this strong preponderance of people who are quote "progressive".
uh, and who are therefore very critical of the established society.
When in fact the, the established society is really not that bad.
However, where I have trouble with, with Jordan Peterson is he calls this
Western society, Western culture.
But, but the fact is that it's modern society, that Western society, 500
years ago, a thousand years ago, over 2000 years ago in Rome and Greece,
where half the population were slaves.
Uh, in, in the middle ages when people were persecuted for what they thought,
for their religions, uh, not that great at a time, in many cases throughout
history where other civilizations it might be, you know, the, the Chinese,
uh, civilization during the, uh, the Tang Dynasty, for example, maybe ... was
a nicer place to live than London.
uh, you know, I get my dates...
but certainly six, you know, middle ages in, uh, Europe wasn't all
that great in terms of lifespan, in terms of the sophistication, in
terms of respect for individuals.
And so and so on, uh, in the modern age, uh, county, like Japan has a legal system,
uh, which is, uh, certainly no worse than, uh, in Western Europe or north America.
It certainly has health outcomes that are better.
Uh, it, uh, functions very effectively as a society.
So I, I think this idea sort of to stick up for Western society and we're
the best and stuff, I find that a little bit inaccurate, uh, to say the
least, and even to the extent of the sort of technological achievements in
Western society, they are the result of technological advances in other
countries, mathematics in India and, and.
Uh, science in China 2000 years ago.
And, uh, even, uh, you know, Arab and, and Muslim scholars who sort of,
uh, kept greek learning and Indian learning and, and Islamic learning,
and eventually brought that back to the west so that in say the 12, 13th,
14th century, many of these things were rediscovered and this then led
to the, uh, Renaissance and so forth.
And so on the world is an interconnected place.
And I think, you know, to use his, uh, imagery, you know, to stand up on your
hin legs and say ours is the best.
Uh, I don't think he's very helpful.
I think if he just, as I'm now learning so much more about Iran and Persian
history and, and the, the, uh, Cyrus' the cylinder where he recognized the freedom
of religion and freedom of, of different ethnic groups, groups to have every right
in the, in the old, uh, Persian empire.
It, it, it kind of enables you to see the world through different lenses,
the lenses of different languages.
And, uh, and I think that gives you a better perspective, uh, and...
but I do agree that, um, that one shouldn't be overly
critical of, of our society.
You know, there's a lot of this sort of anti-capitalist society, but I'm always
aware of the fact that the products that I use, this camera that I'm using, which
is made in Japan, or maybe it's made in China under licensed from the Japanese,
uh, the food I eat the products I use the, the daily functioning of our society.
It's, you know, all kinds of people making my life richer and better.
That's how our societies have evolved.
Of course it ends at some point.
Uh, I don't think that people are all out to get me.
I don't think there's so many evil people out there, but there are evil people.
And so in terms of how we lead our lives, uh, I don't think we
should say it's all the individual.
It's not all the individual.
I think we need to obviously live our lives in a way, you know, we are
responsible for our lives, but we are also helpful to others, which is
in a way in his book, but it's sort of hidden in amongst all the sort
of dark mythology and, you know, biblical references to punishments
and, uh, and all kinds of dark stuff.
He creates this sort of sense that the world, this, uh, chaotic place and
the it's sort of difficult to extract yourself from the tragedy and the pain
of living and to do that, you gotta, you know, follow these rules, basic self-help
things there that are universal, like tell the truth and listen to others.
And, uh, you know, look after yourself, be responsible to
yourself and all this stuff is good.
And, but, but, um, I think the main reason why his, his book
has, um, been so successful.
I think there are two reasons.
One is there's quite a breadth of, of information about psychology and,
and mythology and religions and all these different ways that people
try to explain the mystery of life.
And, and then he extracts out of that, a few rules he claims that can
help mitigate this, this, uh, chaos and enable you to live a meaningful.
But where that meaning is you have to find for yourself.
I think obviously our families provide meaning, but there are
also dysfunctional families.
Uh, for me, um, learning languages provide meaning because I discover more
about different cultures, uh, people who are bird Watchers, uh, people
who are, uh, involved in charities.
There was a gentleman, uh, discovered the other day, who...
he has set up his whole house as a, as a, as, you know, uh, recycling Depot and
you can take your empty milk bottles, your empty, you know, water bottles,
your empty wine bottles, take 'em up there, drop them there and he will make
sure that that is converted into...
because the recycling system pays you for them.
And from that, he gives food vouchers to homeless people.
That's his life, that's meaning.
that's his meaning.
So we find meaning wherever it is like I, uh, and, and I think where I, I
agree with, with, um, JordanPeterson is pushback on all this woke stuff
like this gender neutral pronouns.
It doesn't matter if, if there is a non-binary person, a transgendered