Jordan Peterson | Cambridge Union

(Andrew Downing) #81

For a progressive, you’re looking around with a massive set of blinkers on.

The “intellectual dark web” is great.

They are a group of people from across the political spectrum, having long form discussion and debate about the state of politics and discourse itself. They’re bridging the political divide and millions of people are tuning in world wide, despite operating outside of the MSM, and your best description is that it’s about “kids these days”. That’s kind of sad.

I’ve never heard anybody suggest that Bill Maher is part of that. He’s just weird. I don’t get him at all

Your authoritarianism is showing.
“Soft comfort free speech warrior” - LOL

It’s like we’re talking about two entirely different people.
Are you sure you’re not talking about Peter Jordenson?

And that discussion you’re talking about that’s been going on for thousands of years? I really hope that doesn’t stop. That would mean we stopped caring about our children’s future.


I actually don’t know what “identity politics” is. I also don’t fully understand the term “politically correct”. It seems to me when people use those terms they simply mean “holding a view I don’t agree with”. The religious right, for example, is all about political correctness. Scott Morrison with his Aussie nationalism is all about identity.

People like Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump and Mark Latham tend to fall back on those terms a lot, so I avoid them like the plague. I didn’t think the Pirate Party was swinging to the populist right, or have I got it wrong?

(Andrew Downing) #83

Hi @Declan, identity politics and political correctness as an approach to politics occurs on both sides of politics.
I don’t much like it at all.

The approach to political discourse where you just label your opposition as a way to silence them, instead of engaging in good faith political discourse is a scourge on our civilisation. We need to do better.

This swinging to the right thing is nonsense. PPAU is Libertarian-Left.
It’s the sort of accusation that comes from having a discussion with someone that insists on playing identity politics.


Can you give me some examples of it being a scourge on our civilisation?

(pip linney-barber) #85

In regard to this issue…yup, because that’s what it is. Btw, i quite like some of the work these guys do, except Peterson of course who is fortunate to be included in a group that has intellectual in its name, i’m talking exclusively about the panic they exhibit at students doing things differently. On this issue, in my opinion, they (and i generalise their opinion here which is possibly unfair) are just plain wrong, laughably wrong, but that doesnt discount their other works.

Good one. So…are you actually going to address my assessment of Maps of Meaning and Deepak Peterson’s dodgy philosophy or not? It’s ok with you that he believes in unfalsifiable mysticism to support his theory? You can just say yes, to that question.

We are talking about two different people in a way. I’m talking about the Peterson that has written two crap books that justify misogyny and bigotry and empower men to be complete dickheads and you’re talking about a YouTube showman.

Huh? Non-sequitur. What the fuck does moaning about kids these days have to do with caring about their future? What, you can’t support kids in what they’re doing and also care about them at the same time?

(Andrew Downing) #86

I’m not convinced that you’re really discussing this in good faith, but here’s a clue that stabs right at the heart of your question. Do with it what you will.

We can divide the world of knowledge into two major arenas.

One is the world of objective truth. This is where science rules. Falsifiability applies here. It can even give approximations in really complex areas where the answers are unclear. If want your planes to keep flying, and computers to keep getting faster, then this is the kind of truth you are after.

The other is the world of subjective truth. Science doesn’t really apply here. Science can’t tell you what your values should be and it can’t provide the sort of meaning that makes life worth living despite the inherent suffering (nobody gets out alive). That stuff is a lot more bound up in stories, mythology and lived experience. Jung lives here. Religions are largely about this too.

Dr. Peterson is presenting a synthesis of the two.
If you didn’t get that, then I wouldn’t expect it to make much sense to you.

(Andrew Downing) #87

He does nothing of the sort. That’s just crazy talk.
If you want to make claims like this, be specific.

(Andrew Downing) #88

Yes. I will compose a list this evening.

(pip linney-barber) #89

My bold.

One of these things is real and three of these things are fiction. Can you identify which one is real?

Quack Peterson is using the same tool that gave us the inquisition and the myths of nationalism. Fantasy.


Yuval Noah Harari gives a good account of the third category, which he refers to as Intersubjective Reality. Stories, mythology and religion actually fit into that category as Harari outlines it in his book Homo Deus.

Ultimately, though, objective reality has an edge over the other two. If you encounter evidence and facts to the contrary, you ought to abandon your belief or your religion. Individually and collaboratively, we can overcome the limitations of the subjective and intersubjective realities and have very high confidence that we are increasing our bank of objective knowledge.

Maybe Jordan Peterson is trying to reverse that process? It looks like it, when he goes on his conservative christian spiel.

Also, science does have a role in values. For example, they can be examined statistically and genetically, to help us understand why they are so important, how they have developed, and how they differ from the behaviour of other organisms. The capacity to participate in intersubjective reality appears to be a behavioural development which gave us the edge over the other great apes.

I actually love mythology, its offshoots fantasy and science fiction, and also art and music. The fact that they can be explained by science actually increases their value for me. A sunset is still beautiful when you know it’s actually light filtered by the atmosphere.

(pip linney-barber) #91

Wow! Did you get the bit about chaos, disorder and the unknown being female? The subtitle to his self-help guide is ‘antidote to chaos.’ It’s in the fucking title! Lol.

If you’d like me to gather together a library of anti-feminist, sexist and misogynist Petersonianisms i will. It’s a vile commitment though.

(Andrew Downing) #92

Yeah, not playing your game.
All of those things are real.

I read a story yesterday. Much meaning was conveyed. It was not a true account of something that actually happened. That didn’t stop it having value.

Funnily enough, same for the rest of them, even lived experience, which is the story you continuously tell yourself about what’s happening. It’s not objective.

(pip linney-barber) #93

Fair point. It’s tricky getting away from stories, i’m very weary of them though, especially ones based in myth that are actualised politically.

(Andrew Downing) #94

He didn’t make that up, it’s a description of the mythology. Order is created out of disorder. Creation is mythologically a female function - they create life. Think “mother nature”.

How you twist something like that into misogny is beyond me.

(pip linney-barber) #95

Not always. Prometheus was of course a male and he created man as did Pea-hederson’s beloved God, who is also male. But that’s not the point. Myth is embedded in its culture and we are talking about patriarchal societies so of course ancient stories reflect that. It tells us nothing about now, it’s next to useless in terms of informing gender relations unless you invest myth with a cosmic cross-cultural meaning accessed through the collective unconscious and then it becomes normative. This is what Jorpak Cheaperson is doing.

NB - I’ll be making games of his name as long as you insist on prefacing him with Dr. and Prof.
I hope you continue because its fun.

(Andrew Downing) #96

This is not complicated.
Mother nature, yin and yang, chaos and order.

This doesn’t mean that women are chaos, nor that men are order, but simply that chaos is described as kind of the place where everything comes from, the great mother, and men and women each inbue some of each, like in the yin/yang symbol.

I don’t see how this is a big deal.
He’s not offering an antidote to women.
That’s silly.

(pip linney-barber) #97

yeah, it is complicated. Life is complicated.

What does that even mean? It’s a series of meaningless binaries.

Myth is the story of antiquated social norms contingent to the time and culture of their creation. You can re-interpret and readapt these stories to fit contemporary conditions and if you want to say that the history of our stories suggest a certain pattern that might inform us in some way then that’s fine. You can interpret all kinds of stories for that purpose. However, when you inject god into them and concretise them into a system that is meant to reflect or represent some kind of supreme reality then you have problems. You have taken the myth to the level of the supernatural and we both know where that can lead.

This is what Peterson does, except for him, the supernatural is some kind of obnoxious Darwinian determinism, a little bit Christian and accessed through collective unconscious but no less normative than pure Christianity (whatever that is), or any other religion.

As i pointed out upthread, Peterson’s interpretation of myth is miserably tendentious. It’s fine if you have a myth that you use to analyse a particular human condition. I’m quite fond of Sisyphus, i use the story in all kinds of ways but i make no claim for mythology in its entirety nor of what the myth actually meant when it was first told. There is no underlying meta-narrative to our inherited stories…unless you deliberately choose to invent one and then link it to a universal principle driving the human condition and also is the cure for all our problems. But even then you could choose a benign interpretation, like all myth demonstrates our love of rocks, or something (although it would still be idiotic). But no, Peterson goes the full masculine on it. His is not a benign interpretation of myth, nor of the human condition, it is a reflection of the past that he invests with cosmic universalism. This is why his politics is so conservative.

I refer to him as a charlatan but it’s quite possible that he’s just nuts! But he sure does wear a three piece suit well, am i right?

(Andrew Downing) #98

Not sure why you have the “also is the cure for all our problems” rider on that. Jordan does not claim anything like a cure for all our problems. He frequently responds to questions with “I don’t have a solution for that”.

There are certainly meta narratives though.
Your objection seems to be about his interpretations, and particularly any masculine aspect.

What’s your problem with masculinity?

(Steven) #99

There’s no such thing as ‘masculinity’, lol. The idea that we defined with social norms as being ‘masculine’ is so bullocks, trust me.
I’ve seen women being “more masculine” than men, how does that make men? Feminine?
I mean rofl. The ideas of “feminine” and “masculine” are all about strength, will of power, beauty, yadayada, and combinations of these.
These two terms have been in battle with one another for such a long time that humanity made strict roles for each, like “Men should not do that, because women should do that”, which is absolutely bullshit.

Peterson is into that tradition.

(Andrew Downing) #100

I don’t think I will.

Why do people instantly assume silly absolutes as soon as these topics come up?

Masculine and feminine are not the same things as male and female. Men can have feminine aspects to their personalities and women can have masculine aspects to theirs as well. On average though, men trend more masculine. It’s hormonal plus some social conditioning.

Nobody here is prescribing behavior, but there are population differences in behavior and preferences between the sexes. This is both obvious to most people as well as repeatedly shown in large scale, cross cultural studies. You might also consider that denying this is equivalent to denying a defining characteristic of transgender peoples lives.