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Wednesday, February 7. 2018
One of my favorite Petersonisms is "The university should be the most intellectually unsafe and dangerous place in the world." Right, same as church. Another: "You can't fix your own car and you've never held a job but you think you can fix something as complex as society?" I have found a few things which have been useful refreshments to my own thinking in Peterson's rigorously systematic approach to topics, so here they are:
1. His focus on "levels of analysis." He often says "It depends on which level of analysis you subject this to."
2. His insistence on multivariate analysis of data. Yes, that is scientific but civilians often don't think that way. We civilians find it easier to think "One cause, one effect."
3. His confidence and comfort in the ideas of the transcendent and of the ineffable.
4. His repeatedly asserting the role of "framing" and "narrative" in perception and thought. Presenting people with new frames is threatening and disturbing. It is something that Psychologists and philosophers do for a living.
5. His talking about Logos, the Word, at the beginning, which creates order out of chaos. The world is made of meaning, not matter. Meaning illuminates the world. "Let there be light."
6. "Abstraction is sometimes more useful and real than material reality. Look at the power of numbers."
7. His "tragic" view of humanity: We are weak, flawed, ugly, short-lived, malevolent, foolish, and live in or with suffering - but we aspire for the stars, in our own ways, nonetheless. Or we do not.
Do you find his talks illuminating and, if so, how? Put in the Comments, please.
Here'a a ten year-old Peterson talk on art, dance, chess, and music. For a master of words ("The divine gift"), the guy has huge admiration for things that can not be put into words, meaning beyond reason:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:10 | Comments (20) | Trackbacks (0)
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I suspect Peterson has one of those minds that cannot turn off, even if he wants it to. I also bet he gets into wicked internal mental debates with himself. I'm not sure I would want to be Professor Peterson.
Peterson is a very wise man. I enjoy his work and he pushes you to think about things in new ways.
I would encourage everyone to share these with friends and family, especially young men. Peterson has wisdom.
Anyone who makes me challenge my own beliefs or broadens my understandings after reading or hearing their views is cherished. He energizes my intellect!
Anyone who challenges my understanding or broadens my perspective is cherished. He energizes muni intellect!
I find Peterson refreshing. In an age that thinks nihilism and sophistication are synonymous he gives discernment. I also agree with his view of the totalitarian left and it's desire to enslave not free the masses.
Anyone who has embraced honest intellectual thought and Christianity has chosen an uncomfortable course as Lewis has said. I am pleased to hear answers that are layered and complex that also challenge simple assumptions I have made.
He is an interesting target for the left. He is well versed in their pathology and methods of attack. But he does not fit the easily dismissed demographic of bible belt homophobe intent on a white America.
But more than anything, I love his father's heart to a lost generation of young me who have been tabled into a marginal status.
I can get lost for hours just listening to his youtube videos. He talks about really elemental topics, myth, metaphor and meaning.
I also appreciate that he's trying to look out for the next generation and sharing videos that might guide them to success.
It's amazing how he can lengthen my attention span by more than a factor of ten.
This is not so much a lecture as a stream of consciousness by a very bright and articulate polymath . He frames all of his answers/comments as responses to questions . It's as if his inner monologue is actually an internal dialog between competing streams of thought . Love the talks . Probably will never fit into the Great Courses format though . And for Pete's sake , republish Maps of Meaning . For < $50 .
Yes I do find his lectures intriguing, inspiring, and they can wear me out (which I like). I have to work my brain when I listen, which is both tiring and refreshing. The content is like rich food (I often stop the video for a break).
- He works the subject both intellectually and emotionally.
- His claims are grounded in research and personal experience.
- He backs up his assertions with facts I can corroborate.
- He speaks with authority on subjects few others will tackle.
- He is brave (fearless? -- he certainly has reason to be afraid).
- His fame was not sought. He simply told the truth.
He's definitely paying a price for accepting the challenge and I appreciate that too.
1. This is perhaps as close as non-Jews can get to what goes on in advanced Talmudic seminaries. This is very similar to the frontal lectures on morality/philosophy that parallel the exposition of the Talmudic text with a study partner.
Typically in the seminaries a text, parable, or homily is used as the springboard and organizing principle for this kind of moral/philosophical discourse.
Another distinction is that this lecture is typically delivered by a teacher who has already forged personal connections with the students.
2. In conversation with Lefties:
- the "multivariate analysis" approach is very hard for them to counter. It sounds very much like the "multi-multi" no-distinctions approach they promote, but it really isn't - it actually keeps the conversation grounded in a rational/scientific frame.
- the "level of analysis" thing subtly but effectively undercuts their overweening certainty, pointing out how little they really know and the shallowness of slogan-based moral reasoning.
- talking about "framing" and "narratives" turns their own moral relativism back upon them. Peterson is comfortable with this lingo where it really applies - psychotherapy - and equally comfortable pointing out where it doesn't, moving to rational analysis where IT is relevant, and on to unabashed religious faith and what you call a belief in Logos.
I've found that I and my wife had already came to many of the same conclusions that he has about life, consequences, and goals. It's not confirmation-bias. He just is more articulate and can give a broader, deeper understanding than I can.
I agree with his ideas about happiness, and that it's not the point of life. That 'good enough' is something to be thankful for because life is full of tragedy and it's much easier to deal with tragedy when you are prepared. A meaningful life is better than a happy one, but happiness comes of it's own accord when you take care of the small things.
Someone told me when I was young that if your house isn't in order, then your life isn't in order. I didn't understand what she meant then, but it stuck with me until I figured it out. He has the ability to turn that advice into a 2 1/2 hour lecture spanning Gilgamesh to modern-day mass shooters. "Clean your damn room!"
His lectures on the psychological views of Genesis are fascinating. I'm thankful I read the bible enough when I was young to understand him. There is so much knowledge in those short narratives and he does a fine job of making them relevant. The way he brings them to life, they may as well have happened last year.
I like listening to him talk about Jung. I don't have the time, nor probably the intellect (if I'm honest with myself) to understand Jung on my own.
Something I echo in my men's group at church is that if you want to change the world, change yourself. I think this is the main argument of most of his lectures.
I'm sorry for the 5:30 am rambling. And yes, Maps of Meaning is way overpriced. I suspect it's part of the college text book scam and I'd be surprised if he makes much money off of the sales.
I love his insistence on uncovering lies and foggy blather in our own ideas and speech. He urges attention to the still, small voice that will be heard when we're on the wrong track. Don't try so much to analyze why you know it's the wrong track, he says. You do know, so shoulder the burden of doing better. It's part of his objection to nihilism: you may not be able to articulate what is the ideal of good, but you sure know what's wrong, if only because of your revulsion when it happens to you, so stand up straight and stop doing what you know to be wrong. If you can be honest with yourself and then with others, you can grow. You can be part of making the world better instead of worse.
I think this is the "stop whining" message that progressives caricature as alt-right cruelty and primitive "blame the victim" mentality.
I definitely find his talks illuminating as he not so much changes my mind on subjects, but gives me a deeper understanding of how I got to where I got to.
His respect and use of other authors has broadened my own mind as I've started reading more with his recommendations. And so I appreciate that he has kept my interest along with pushing me to be better and have great depth of understanding.
All of the above. As an old guy who never sat in a philosophy or psychology class, my alma mater is The School of Hard Knocks, I enjoy hearing him fleshing out what a lot of us learned through the experiences of a lifetime. A lot of confirmation bias but with the reasoning that explains it. So much of it is old fashioned common sense which doesn't appear very common in today's academia.
Thank you for pointing this out.
I don't know if I can get through 400 pages on a e-book, but I can at least thumb through it, so to speak, to see how bad I really want to buy it.