Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #12) Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street


This is the last post in my review of a talk by Jordan Peterson on his 12 Rules for Life. The relevant section in the video begins here.

The review of this section won’t take long, and I hardly even transcribe any of it, but I then summarize what I feel I’ve learned about Jordan Peterson from the experience and a few other sources. I may write a longer summary of the ten rules I’ve dealt with (he missed two out) in a later post, but a more important subject for the future seems to be the much wider, deeper cesspit of anti-woke bullshit that steams noxiously under the pseudo-intellectual crust.

I’m glad to get to the end of the series, because I’ve wanted to write about other things. I didn’t want to interrupt the series with other posts, however, or I might have lost momentum.

But now we’ve arrived where all good Internet memes should begin or end, cats! God, they’re adorable, aren’t they?

person holding white kitten with flowers necklace

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #11) Do not bother children when they are skateboarding


We’re getting close to the finish line. Sad, isn’t it? This post deals with the penultimate, Rule 11, of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Here’s a link to where he begins talking about it. I’ve missed one out again, because Peterson missed it out: Rule #10, “Fly to England and ramble incoherently about ten of the twelve rules in your book.” No, sorry, “Be precise in your speech.” Nobody in the audience alerts him to the fact he missed out rules eight and ten. Probably afraid of dragons.

I feel it’s sufficient to say that precise speech is a reasonable aspiration, and one which Peterson fails at spectacularly (almost always, but particularly conspicuously in this section).

child in black jacket blue yellow old school print fitted cap riding skatebaord

 

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #9) Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t


We’ve got up to Rule #9 of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. As usual, here’s a link to where he begins talking about it. It should be Rule #8, “Tell the truth”, but he forgot it, despite checking his notes.

A curious thing happens at this point. The tone has got more and more disturbing since he began talking, but now Peterson suddenly leaves the mass murderers, Gulags and Nazi death squads to give a half-decent mini-lecture on the benefits of listening to people. This poses an editorial decision, because it would seem perfectly normal to criticise psychobabble, pseudoscience, imprecision and poor logic in the work of someone more “normal” – less worryingly disturbed, emotionally driven, absolutist and paranoid – but with Dr Jordan Peterson the same level of criticism looks like nitpicking.

I’ve erred on the side of a fairly close analysis, and – it has to be said – despite the blunders, exaggerations, contradictions and manipulations, this is genuinely a good “rule”. Jordan Peterson got something right!

action adults celebration clouds

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #7) Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)


 

One_Ring_inscription

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
– J R R Tolkien

Okay. Here we go again. Deep breath. I’m reviewing a particular talk by Jordan Peterson about his 12 Rules for Life. Here’s a link to where he begins Rule #7. Peterson has been getting more and more shocking through the first six rules, from lobster biochemistry to mass murderers. Now he ramps it up a notch – to Messiahs and Nazis. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #6) Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world


We’re nearly half way through my assessment of Jordan Peterson’s talk about his 12 Rules for Life. He says, here,

Chapter Six is about…

It’s a rough chapter.

He’s not wrong.

grey skulls piled on ground

A large part of my confusion about Peterson is simply that I can’t imagine how he could actually hold the opinions he expresses. Another big factor is that he is just downright confusing, going off on apparently unrelated tangents, or ones for which no relation is ever given. A third is his emphasis on sinister, depressing and malevolent aspects of the human condition. We have seen a fair bit of that already, but it’s about to get very diffuse, very confusing, and very sinister indeed. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #5) Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them


With four down and eight to go, Jordan Peterson begins talking about his fifth “rule for life” here.

Peterson says this is the chapter he thought he’d get in the most trouble for writing, but so far he hasn’t. He thought it would be contentious because people think they would never dislike their children, and Peterson makes his usual song and dance about just how wrong they are, eliciting a laugh and a round of mild applause, presumably from parents. “I’ve seen the full Freudian nightmare”, he says of some families.

shadow of a person

He introduces Jung’s concept of “the Shadow”. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #4) Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today


Having arrived at Jordan Peterson’s fourth “rule for life”, I will skip the repetitive introduction about the series. Instead I’ll give a link to the point in the video that I’m critiquing where Peterson begins talking about each rule, so you can jump directly to it.

In this section of the talk, Peterson develops an argument for Right-wing economics, without appearing to argue for Right-wing economics. Peterson is masterful at making arguments for things without appearing to make them. This partly explains his “Marmite” reception. Critics draw implications from his statements, which his defenders and Peterson himself deny are being implied.

woman holding broken mirror

After some scene-setting about how many hours he’s spent “listening to people”, and how fascinating people are, he says that one particular client introduced him to the mathematical phenomenon of the Pareto distribution. As with all the “facts” he likes to base his ideas on, he bigs up his source, characterizing the client as a “mathematical genius” also with knowledge of psychology. This is going to be important stuff. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #3) Make friends with people who want the best for you


I’m going through a talk by Jordan Peterson on his twelve rules for life, assessing them one by one in the context of Peterson’s approach to life and politics.

We’ve survived as far as Rule #3.

 

Make friends with people who want the best for you

adorable animal animal world cat

Really?

Let’s just dive in. Peterson doesn’t say a lot about this one.

[Rule #3 is] a meditation on my own childhood and adolescence, to some degree. I had friends who wanted the best for me and friends who didn’t, and they were friends who […sigh…] some of them were aiming up and some of them were aiming down. And if you have a friend that’s aiming down and you do something that’s aiming up then they’re generally not that happy about it.

That’s it, really. Surround yourself with people who have your interests at heart, Dr Peterson says, not ones who drag you down. Have friends who are happy when something goes well for you, not ones who pretend they’ve done better or disparage your achievements. If you’re trying to stop smoking and they offer you a cigarette, or a drink when you’re “trying to stop being an alcoholic”, they’re not good friends. No, really. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #2) Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping


In this series, I’m going through a talk by Jordan Peterson on his twelve rules for life, assessing them one by one in the context of Peterson’s approach to life and politics.

It’s time for part two…

Child chef eating sweet pepper

Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

I almost like this rule. I really want to like this rule. But as we’ll see, the devil’s in the detail. Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules: #1) Stand Up Straight with your Shoulders Back


Introduction to the Series

This is the first of a new twelve-part series on Dr Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life. I will assess each rule, one per post, as he presents it in this talk, given at the How To: Academy, London. I acknowledge that it might be better to review the book, rather than his verbal presentation, but I’d rather not buy a copy, since I do not wish to fund him, and if we cannot assess a work from the author talking about it, something is very wrong.

I have made no bones about the fact that I dislike Peterson and am concerned about the influence he has had since his rise to fame in 2016, but I am setting out to give my full attention to his work and to consider if I may have missed good aspects of it, or misunderstood it. Continue reading

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