The Jordan Peterson Revolution
Jordan Peterson is leading a revolution. Many want to call it a right-wing revolution, but Jordan Peterson himself would disagree. He'd disagree because he's our generation's Aristotle. He'd disagree because what he's preaching isn't an ideologically slanted load of garbage, it's an honest and logical assessment of our contemporary world. Peterson isn't throwing away everything he has ever known to be true for the sake of some idealized fantasy, he's doing the exact opposite. Jordan Peterson is attacking our idealized fantasies and replacing them with the cold hard truth. He's putting the pieces back together.
It's been a long time since the French and American Revolutions. In that time, humans have accomplished more than they have in their entire history. Poverty is at an all-time low, democracy has made the world freer, capitalism has made us collectively wealthier and free speech has opened the flood gates of information. However, the pieces have been coming unglued.
With all of this prosperity and freedom, we've become spoiled, complacent and ungrateful—myself included. We've taken for granted all of the things that have made us great. Complaints about long line-ups at the grocery store have replaced complaints about not having a grocery store. Complaints about having too many shoes have replaced complaints about having torn-up feet. Complaints about being offended by someone's speech have replaced complaints about being beaten or imprisoned for saying the wrong thing.
Complaints about starving have become complaints about being temporarily inconvenienced while knowing we'll be able to gorge later. Complaints have replaced the punishments that once came after complaining.
This is what Jordan Peterson has been sent to fix, whether he knows it or not. The nihilism, the complacency, the ungratefulness and the lack of purpose that we've grown accustomed to are destroying us. We've been taught my academia to hate ourselves. Fresh, young and impressionable minds go into universities and colleges to be grinded into blubbering, politically correct imbeciles with a penchant for fantasy and fairy tales. Truly intelligent people are broken down and transformed into subservient drones. Real science has been thrown away, along with honest discussions about gender, statistics, values and culture. All the things we ever knew to be true have been replaced by self-loathing, self-deception and self-destruction. If this carries on beyond our current generation, the West will fall and freedom will go with it.
One of the less overt goals of Western liberalism has been to eliminate—or at least reduce—tribalism. For a while, it kind of succeeded. Sure there are a lot of imperfections that carried forward from the old world, like slavery and racism, but it was Western ideology that eventually erased these things. For the first time in human history, equality under the law was successfully implemented and, for the most part, successfully enforced. There is still some work to do, but it won't be any other system that gets the job done. What differentiates Western liberalism from other cultural forces that currently exist is the desire to erase prejudice and tribalism. Unlike what we see in China, Russia and India, Western culture has tried to erase tribalism and identity in favour of individualism and self-worth. This was always the goal of Classical Liberalism. However, what we're seeing today is a regression. Modern liberalism has evolved into a Frankenstein of socialism, tribalism and identity politics. Equality has been deformed into the enforcement of outcomes.
Groups like Black Lives Matter have tried to set the clock back. Activists who preach about unchangeable characteristics like race and racial identity are undoing everything Classical Liberalism has accomplished. Groups that preach about gender identity and sexual identity are undoing everything that has brought us to this point of prosperity and equality. All of the tribalism that was erased over the past 200 years is being redrawn by modern liberalism and identity politics.
Everything Jordan Peterson teaches threatens to undo the damage that has been caused by this new, self-destructive contemporary ideology. What's better is that Peterson isn't ideological, he's just rational. He isn't preaching some unattainable, ideological fantasy—he's just showing us how to accept facts and methods that have been proven to work. He's showing us how to accept and cope with reality, rather than teaching us how to escape into an unproductive, self-destructive vacuum of fantasy. More importantly, his words and ideas are spreading fast.
Jordan Peterson is proving to be the most effective vaccine against the regressive, tribalist ideology that is currently eating away at Western culture.
His new book, 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos, is a bestseller. His Youtube videos have millions of views. His speeches and talks around the world are packed beyond capacity. His message is spreading through mainstream veins by accident, as a result of mainstream heads attempting to take him down. Rather than being offended, more and more people are listening to Jordan Peterson. So, to touch on some of his ideas, let's review his 12 rules and what they mean and why they're resonating.
Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back
Nothing attacks the mopey, slouchy attitudes of modern liberals and self-haters better than Peterson's first rule. Science has proven via numerous studies that posture affects brain chemistry. The simple act of acquiring a better, more assertive posture can do wonders for our self-esteem and confidence. Of course, effeminate men who identify as self-hating liberals will immediately chastise anyone who consciously adapts a “toxically masculine” posture for the sake of being more assertive, confident and powerful. However, this rule doesn't just apply to men. Nowhere in Peterson's book does it say that women can't or shouldn't adjust their postures for the same reason.
Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping
Again, another jab at self-hating. A modern leftist's automatic reaction to this rule should be to embrace it, but instead it's usually met with condemnation. Self-love and respect are frowned upon by modern, white leftist ideologues. Self-esteem and respect are only to be exhibited and embraced by non-white cultural and ethnic groups. Again, this takes us back to unchangeable identity and the destructive politics of segregation. In this case, whites are being told to sit at the back of the bus to make up for all the damage they have caused by having an unchangeable, white identity.
In his book, though, Peterson doesn't mention race or racial identity when applying this rule. It applies to everyone, equally. People of all colours should practice it.
More importantly, this rule is about telling yourself the truth. It doesn't always mean gentle love, but tough love.
To treat yourself like someone you love and respect means to be mindful of your own well-being, both physically and emotionally. You wouldn't cut down someone you love (unless it's in the heat of irrational anger), so you shouldn't cut yourself down either. Take care of yourself the best you can. There isn't anything wrong with loving and respecting yourself. In fact, it's necessary in living a meaningful, happy life.
Make Friends With People Who Want The Best For You
In my own life, personally, this has been the most difficult thing to accomplish. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I've had toxic friends and family who seemed to care more about themselves than anyone else. There have been times when I could feel their envy, resentment and anger when it came to acknowledging something good that might have happened in my life. It's sad, but I think we've all been there at some point.
Real friends want to see you succeed. Real friends will use your success, or failure, as an inspiration or learning experience. Real friends will invite you to join in their success, rather than rub it in your face and boast about themselves. Real friends like this are hard to find, but they exist.
However, we shouldn't expect to find friends like this if we don't make an effort to be friends like this. It's not always easy to put aside your own self interest for someone else, but a part of implementing this rule involves making that effort. We all need to be the kind of friends we want to have.
Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not With Who Someone Else Is Today
This is one of the most profound of Peterson's rules. We're always comparing ourselves to others in ways that don't really help us. We look at others and how they've succeeded and then try to apply the same standards and goals to ourselves—which is a huge mistake, because we are all different. In the process of realizing that we can't necessarily succeed by following someone else's formula, we become depressed and unhappy.
To improve ourselves, we are better off comparing ourselves to ourselves. Comparing yourself to who you were ten years ago is more valuable than comparing yourself to who someone else is today. Have you become better, or have you become worse? This way of measuring your own success and happiness is more relevant and productive. Only by comparing yourself to yourself can you make the required modifications and improvements for living a better life tomorrow.
Don't Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them
I'm not a parent yet, but this rule should make sense to all of us. In some ways, it can be seen as an argument against liberal parenting. Children are young and impressionable, so by giving them free reign over all aspects of life, you risk letting them do things that might make you dislike them. If they continue to do things that make you dislike them, they could form unhealthy habits.
Being a parent means being a parent. This means enforcing rules and leading your children down a productive, self-respecting path. This rule probably enrages the modern, self-loathing liberals who believe children are capable of successfully forming their own opinions and habits without any guidance. Children can most definitely form their own opinions and habits without much guidance, but they might not be the most productive ones. Case in point: the evolution of contemporary liberalism into an unproductive, self-hating ideology. Arguably, this new, self-destructive way of thinking could be attributed to decades worth of hands-off, liberal parenting. As a result, Millennials have grown into nihilistic, unprincipled, undisciplined, misguided and meandering fools without a purpose.
Get Your House In Order Before Criticizing The World
This is the most important rule, but we're all guilty of breaking it. I don't think Peterson means we shouldn't criticize other individuals and institutions if we live in poverty or are having a rough time, I think he's talking about the blame that we tend to put on society and others for our own failures.
This rule in no way means we should all shut the hell up unless we're self-made billionaires—it means we shouldn't cast blame, or criticize things and people we don't necessarily understand. Basically, it means don't blame the world for your problems. In most cases, blame evolves into baseless criticisms without any solutions—kind of like complaining.
It also means we have no right to criticize a failed marriage if we've had three divorces ourselves. We also have no right to criticize the chaos in the world around us if we, ourselves, haven't even tried to resolve or fix the chaos in our own lives. If we are going to make criticisms of others and the world, we should also offer solutions and advice—but if we haven't at least tried to manage our own lives successfully, we have no valuable advice to give, unless it's about how to not try. This rule also doesn't mean that failure disqualifies you from criticizing others, it means that refusing to put effort into fixing your own life is what disqualifies you.
The peanut gallery is a place where people sit around and fire insults and criticisms at others, without putting any effort into making a change. Failing is acceptable and necessary, but refusing to put effort into your own success is not. That's what this rule is about.
Pursue What Is Meaningful, Not What Is Expedient
The path of least resistance is always the easiest path, which is why most of us choose it. This doesn't mean the path of least resistance is always the wrong path, it just means that you should be following a purpose, rather than looking for a quick fix.
You could have a billion dollars sitting in your bank account, but if you have no purpose or guiding values, you won't know what to do with it. Happiness is not the purpose of your life—meaning is the purpose of your life. With meaning comes happiness, naturally.
Jordan Peterson is the best example of this—his own—rule. There are two cases in which I can refer to Peterson being brought to tears when asked about how he feels when his followers reach out to him and thank him. “It really breaks me up,” he has said. Peterson isn't writing books, doing lectures and teaching his values without a purpose. He is truly guided by meaning. You can see it in his face. Peterson is a guy who rarely smiles in public—this is because the task before him is daunting, dangerous and necessary. He knows it, but he's doing it because it is his purpose. He isn't always serious and humourless because he's depressed, he looks that way because he's working. He looks that way because it isn't easy or expedient.
When he reaches his catharsis, he'll be the happiest man alive because his work had meaning.
Tell The Truth—Or, At Least, Don't Lie
We're surrounded by liars. The entire premise of what has become this self-hating, contemporary form of Soviet-style regression is based on fallacy and falsehoods. A thousand lies are being sold and told at a break-neck pace in 2018, and the only way to solve it is by following this rule. It won't just help us return to our former glory as a society, it'll help us in our personal relationships.
This rule is the simplest rule. It teaches us to admit when we are wrong, as well as to tell the truth in an honest and constructive way. One of the main reasons we refuse to accept or entertain new ideas is because it often involves admitting that we were wrong. Continuing to be wrong, while knowing that we're wrong, requires self-deceit.
If we all learned to be honest with ourselves and each other, the world would be a different place.
Assume That The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don't
This ties into being honest and learning to accept new facts and ideas. We sometimes go into debates and arguments without the expectation that we might learn something new. This is a mistake. We should always enter into every conversation with the expectation that we might learn something new—and that it might change the way we view a subject.
This rule asks us to be open-minded and willing to admit when we are wrong. In some cases, the new facts we learn might only enhance our current opinions and views.
Be Precise In Your Speech
I fail at this one a lot. Sometimes a poor choice of words can completely distort or misrepresent your own ideas. This makes it important to carefully think about what you're saying, how you're saying it and the words you choose to say it with. Writing is a lot easier than thinking of things to say off the fly.
Winning arguments and presenting accurate facts depends on precise speech and wording. It's not always easy, but practice makes perfect. This rule can also tie into the other rules of self improvement and knowing when you've been wrong. When you've blurted out the wrong thing or chosen the wrong word, don't be afraid to correct yourself, rather than being defensive and combative with anyone who points it out.
Always make sure you've completely and accurately defined your argument before leaving the room and don't let others define your argument for you.
Don't Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding
This rule can have a double meaning, but it also can tie into the rule about parenting. To the opponent, it might sound like a contradiction of that other rule, but it's not. Skateboarding is a competitive and dangerous activity, but it's valuable in teaching children some of life's most important lessons.
Secondly, as adults, we should restrain ourselves from suppressing competition and skill-building just because they might annoy us. Skateboarders are annoying, but let them do what they do. Let them fall down and break a bone—it'll be a valuable lesson that could change the way they view the world.
More importantly, skateboarding requires a great deal of skill. We should never impede on a person's desire to become better at something, even if that something could be dangerous for them and annoying to us. It's the unproductive, self-loathing habits we should step in to prevent. Skateboarding is a skill-building, physical activity that should be encouraged not attacked. Unless you think children are better off indoors watching television and staring at smartphones.
Pet A Cat When You Encounter One On The Street
This final rule involves putting any crotchety and grumpy impulses aside to enjoy the small things. If you see a stray cat, don't ignore it or frown and complain about it—pet it. You'll bring a simple moment of joy to yourself and to the cat.
This rule could mean something else if you hate, fear or are allergic to cats. If that's true, you should still pet the cat. By petting the cat, you'll be reaching outside of your comfort zone to do something you normally wouldn't. You'll also be putting aside your own self interest for a moment to acknowledge the presence of an animal that might find joy in your attention. It's also important to remind yourself that it's not the cat's fault you're allergic or scared of it.
Don't project your own problems onto the cat.
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