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


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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Me and Jordan Peterson on the Couch

Original photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Well, this looks like being a lot more fun than I expected. I said a while back that I had been debunking people who were almost unknown, and perhaps ought to take on some high profile disseminators of misinformation. I said:

I have the likes of Jordan Peterson in my sights, whose insidious mix of valid psychology, mythic psycho-babble with a Christian emphasis, and insensitive meritocratic exceptionalism is deeply worrying. His whiny, arrogant outpourings on youtube have been encouraging the reactionary disgruntlement of his largely white, male following whose traditional place at the top of the social pyramid is threatened by feminism, gender fluidity, post-modern relativism and (they say) social Marxism. Back in the good old days when men were real men, women were real women and Jesus was King…you know the kind of idiot.

Problem was, I didn’t have the stomach for it. Continue reading

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Rock Bottom: Are We There Yet (now Boris is PM)?

In the last post, The Matrix and How to Escape It, I conjectured about the role of fiction – from fairytales to Hollywood – in creating our readiness to believe nonsense, such as conspiracy theories, New Age ideas or political propaganda, and I suggested that the escape route from this mind-numbing “Matrix” is through educating ourselves, learning critical thinking skills, limiting our exposure to biased social media and embracing realism.

I almost deleted the bit of the title, “and How to Escape It”, because I wasn’t sure about that part. Is there any escape from the Matrix? Can we wake up? If you do, does it actually get you anywhere other than depressed, watching the Pied Piper gathering in the sleeping children? Continue reading

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The Real Matrix and How to Escape It

hacker screen

The subject of the film, The Matrix came up in the comments of Yakaru’s blog, Spirituality is No Excuse lately, and it inspired me to write about something I’ve meant to approach for a while – the real Matrix. Continue reading

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Natural Consciousness: (Part 1) Emptiness

I promised myself a while back I’d deal with the issue of consciousness. Writing something as comprehensive as I intended proved to be too great a task to complete in one go. Meanwhile, I decided to try to write shorter posts generally, and try to do so more frequently. So, when a particular reflection on consciousness came to mind, the obvious thing to do was to write about that, perhaps beginning a series. Continue reading

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Indicative Votes

The British Parliament had their first round of indicative voting the other day and rejected all options on the ballot paper. They don’t want any kind of Brexit at all if possible.

The problem is, the question put to the people in 2016 was too stark. There were no options for us at that time. It was just a binary choice: shall we commit suicide as a Nation or not?

So, of course, the indicative votes finally make it very stark indeed. Faced with the various options – shotgun, garroting, guillotine, jump off Beachy Head, etc., the MPs were reluctant to advocate any. Naturally, the best of the losers were “ask again” and “induce a longish coma”.

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The Limits of Discussion

Sorry There Weren’t Any More Jokes

I said in passing last time that I was depressed. There were more personal reasons for my depression than the (very depressing) Brexit and global warming, but I didn’t want to write about the other issues.

Those other subjects have been simmering in the background since. I’ve not been sure whether to blog about them, or whether to blog again. Talking about our personal problems in public risks exposing more of ourselves – and others – than we find comfortable later. It can also suggest we think we’re more interesting than we actually are.

I don’t have pretensions to be particularly interesting or special or important, but I did start this blog with the intention of exploring some of my inner stuff and sharing it, in the belief that the facts of our lives – any of us – can be useful to others. I’m attempting to touch on those other issues now for that reason, and because I need to get them outside of my head, although I’m still not sure if I’ll get to the end of this and publish it.

The subject matter here has meandered a fair bit, but lately got fairly heavily into religion, criticising various Christian works. Two long discussions have ended with me questioning what the point of it all is. Continue reading

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