Sunday, May 20, 2018

Once More Into the Breach!: A bit more about Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson
I didn't think I'd venture into the Jordan Peterson jungle again because I don't have strong feelings about him. I don't find what I've heard him say or what he's written to be offensive. On the other hand, I don't see him especially novel or insightful. My responses to his contentions tend to be "yeah, probably," "that's plausible," and "I knew that" (which comes to my mind far too often, but I'm working on it.). His biology doesn't seem outside accepted cannons, his liberalism is classical (think John Stewart Mill), and his psychology has a marked Jungian flavor. (But if you want to go beyond Jung, I recommend James Hillman.)
But then I saw and started to read a NYT article about Peterson. I have to admit that I didn't finish it out of frustration that it appeared to me to be another hatchet job (like Cathy Newman on Channel 4). I stopped when the reporter argued to Peterson that there are no dragons and witches.
"“May God us keep
From Single vision
and Newton's sleep.”
I would have let it drop there, but then I came across this article, and I found that it identified many issues that concerned me and that David Fuller's article captured most of my thoughts on these topics, saving me from imposing another word storm any unsuspecting reader.
Take away quote from the article:
"As Eric Weinstein, Bret’s brother, and another member of the unofficial ‘intellectual dark web’ said — “bad faith changes everything”. It’s possible to have any kind of discussion with people you disagree with so long as they are approaching it in good faith — as soon as they are not, they’re just looking to boost their position, look good in front of others or advance their career within their tribe — as Peterson alleged Cathy Newman was — then true exchange of ideas is impossible."
P.S. Following this post I'm going to post about an interview of Peterson by Joe Rogan that I listened to after completing this post. Crazy stuff ahead!

Listening that this podcast (see below), I couldn't find any real point of disagreement with Peterson. And that must mean . . . . Oh my goodness! I'm a member of the . . . . radical center!
I'm poised on the knife edge between chaos and order, between openness to experience and satisfaction with the status quo. I value equality and difference, reason and tradition, and I'm a member of more than one tribe. I'm both critical and appreciative of many thinkers and points of view. I put loyalty to what I believe to be true above loyalty to any one tribe. I believe that tribes are necessary and good but that tribalism is poison. I'm an individual embedded in tribes large and small. It's all so complex! How do people deal with all of this ambiguity, this uncertainty!?
And then I remember.
Just look around. We are--among our many human traits--profoundly ill at ease with ambiguity and uncertainty. We often want safety more than we want to explore and change. And when we crave safety, driven by fear, we really make mistakes. We panic. We buy snake oil remedies, we run for "daddy," who will fix everything if we only trust him. And instead, we get Big Brother. America First, the Fatherland, and so on. Different names, same M-O.
No thanks.

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