Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson

#1  Postby Animavore » Mar 19, 2018 10:00 am

This guy seems to be a massive champion of the Right, including a prominent member of Rationalia, who I recently found out is merely emulating Jordan. Even going as far as to quote him [paraphrased] without giving credit. :naughty:

f you want to appear very profound and convince people to take you seriously, but have nothing of value to say, there is a tried and tested method. First, take some extremely obvious platitude or truism. Make sure it actually does contain some insight, though it can be rather vague. Something like “if you’re too conciliatory, you will sometimes get taken advantage of” or “many moral values are similar across human societies.” Then, try to restate your platitude using as many words as possible, as unintelligibly as possible, while never repeating yourself exactly. Use highly technical language drawn from many different academic disciplines, so that no one person will ever have adequate training to fully evaluate your work. Construct elaborate theories with many parts. Draw diagrams. Use italics liberally to indicate that you are using words in a highly specific and idiosyncratic sense. Never say anything too specific, and if you do, qualify it heavily so that you can always insist you meant the opposite. Then evangelize: speak as confidently as possible, as if you are sharing God’s own truth. Accept no criticisms: insist that any skeptic has either misinterpreted you or has actually already admitted that you are correct. Talk as much as possible and listen as little as possible. Follow these steps, and your success will be assured. (It does help if you are male and Caucasian.)

Jordan Peterson appears very profound and has convinced many people to take him seriously. Yet he has almost nothing of value to say. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent even a few moments critically examining his writings and speeches, which are comically befuddled, pompous, and ignorant. They are half nonsense, half banality. In a reasonable world, Peterson would be seen as the kind of tedious crackpot that one hopes not to get seated next to on a train.

But we do not live in a reasonable world. In fact, Peterson’s reach is astounding. His 12 Rules for Life is the #1 most-read book on Amazon, where it has a perfect 5-star rating. One person said that when he came across a physical copy of Peterson’s first book, “I wanted to hold it in my hands and contemplate its significance for a few minutes, as if it was one of Shakespeare’s pens or a Gutenberg Bible.” The world’s leading newspapers have declared him one of the most important living thinkers. The Times says his “message is overwhelmingly vital,” and a Guardian columnist grudgingly admits that Peterson “deserves to be taken seriously.” David Brooks thinks Peterson might be “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” He has been called “the deepest, clearest voice of conservative thought in the world today” a man whose work “should make him famous for the ages.” Malcolm Gladwell calls him “a wonderful psychologist.” And it’s not just members of the popular press that have conceded Peterson’s importance: the chair of the Harvard psychology department praised his magnum opus Maps of Meaning as “brilliant” and “beautiful.” Zachary Slayback of the Foundation for Economic Education wonders how any serious person could possibly write off Peterson, saying that “even the most anti-Peterson intellectual should be able to admit that his project is a net-good.” We are therefore presented with a puzzle: if Jordan Peterson has nothing to say, how has he attracted this much recognition? If it’s so “obvious” that he can be written off as a charlatan, why do so many people respect his intellect?

Before we address the mystery of Peterson’s popularity, we need to examine his work. After all, if the work is actually “brilliant” and insightful, there is no mystery: he is recognized as a profound thinker because he is a profound thinker. And many critics of Peterson have been deeply unfair to his work, mocking it without reading it, or slinging pejoratives at him (e.g. “the stupid man’s smart person” or “a Messiah-cum-Surrogate-Dad for Gormless Dimwits.”) This has irritated Peterson’s fans, and when articles critical of him are printed, the comments sections are full of people (usually correctly) accusing the writer of failing to take Peterson seriously. An infamous Channel 4 interview with Cathy Newman, in which Newman repeatedly put words in Peterson’s mouth (“so you’re saying X”), confirmed the impression that progressives are trying to smear Peterson by accusing him of holding beliefs that he does not hold. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic said Peterson is the victim of “hyperbolic misrepresentation” and encouraged people to examine what he is “actually saying.”

But, having examined Peterson’s work closely, I think the “misinterpretation” of Peterson is only partially a result of leftists reading him through an ideological prism. A more important reason why Peterson is “misinterpreted” is that he is so consistently vague and vacillating that it’s impossible to tell what he is “actually saying.” People can have such angry arguments about Peterson, seeing him as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/ ... we-deserve

This is vacuous crap on a level not unlike Deepak Chopra. Hilariously, in a fabulous example of bait 'n' switch, he was compared on Rationalia to Noam Chomsky and Christopher Hitchens because they agree with him on something.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#2  Postby Alan B » Mar 19, 2018 10:19 am

Who would that be on Ratz? Superuniverse?
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#3  Postby Animavore » Mar 19, 2018 10:23 am

The answer to the meaning of life.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#4  Postby Spinozasgalt » Mar 19, 2018 10:25 am

Lobsters. This guy talks about lobsters.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#5  Postby Animavore » Mar 19, 2018 11:00 am

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Re: Jordan Peterson

#6  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Mar 19, 2018 11:06 am

Ah yes, the dude who got lobsters wrong.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#7  Postby Spinozasgalt » Mar 19, 2018 11:25 am

Up until recently, I mostly heard about the guy through a small group of Canadian writers/activists/etc pushing back against him, Lindsay Shepherd, and others over trans and Indigenous rights (especially on Twitter). Back then the press was largely on his side and you got a lot of puff pieces that just gave him a broader platform. Plus, he does that whole "free speech!" thing - most journalists don't seem capable of interrogating that. There's been a little more critical commentary come out recently though. If you want a take on Peterson's "marxism" charge against postmodernism and the conspiracy vibe he's got going about universities, there's this from Shuja Haider.

I disagree with Haider on other stuff, but I like that he tackles that "identity politics as cultural marxism" nonsense here. Makes it interesting even if you don't care about Peterson.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#8  Postby felltoearth » Mar 19, 2018 11:56 am

Spinozasgalt wrote:There's been a little more critical commentary come out recently though. If you want a take on Peterson's "marxism" charge against postmodernism and the conspiracy vibe he's got going about universities, there's this from Shuja Haider.

I disagree with Haider on other stuff, but I like that he tackles that "identity politics as cultural marxism" nonsense here. Makes it interesting even if you don't care about Peterson.


I was just going to link to that article. It’s a good read, as you say.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#9  Postby Animavore » Mar 19, 2018 12:13 pm

Just read it. Pity I didn't have this, or the OP one, at the time when he was being bandied about Ratz, before I quit it for good.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#10  Postby LucidFlight » Mar 19, 2018 2:46 pm

I like Jordan Peterson. I want to see him and Janusz troll British morning television.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#11  Postby Spinozasgalt » Mar 19, 2018 11:17 pm

He also did an interview with Vice where...well, they got onto the subject of women and sexual harassment in the workplace. And I guess you could say he didn't come across well.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#12  Postby Rumraket » Mar 20, 2018 12:07 am

One of my friends is deeply infatuated with this guy and for the life of me I can't figure out why. Then I linked him the video from RationalityRules about JP's preposterous conception of truth, and his response was that the video was "fail". We had a back-and-forth on Facebook about it but I think I managed to convince him that JP's idea of truth is ridiculous, though he says we have to discuss it over beer at some point. I'll be looking forward to that, and I have been taking some notes on a lot of JP's ridiculous crap.

Besides his whole "it's the marxists, who are essentially post-modernists" crap (the history of which he also gets completely wrong) that he also likes to throw on SJWs, he's a huge apologist for the massive economic inequalities of the world. You will hear Jordan Peterson talk at length about how some of the people who make lots of money, also work 80-hour weeks and this has a high cost and many people wouldn't like that and bla bla bla, and then he will give examples of his former client as a psychologist who worked as successful lawyers at big law-firms and stuff like that. These people are millionaires and their hard work apparently justifies their earnings in Jordan Peterson's views.

This is basically conservative economic apologetics. It's a diversion. We are supposed to just accept that this is the state of affairs in society because similar outcomes also happen in nature.

The kind of economic inequality that is the biggest problem is when powerful lobbying organizations and super-pacs, or extremely wealthy international organizations have so much economic influence that they can basically buy off entire political parties and rig the whole democratic system to keep themselves rich and influential. But according to Jordan Peterson, if you sort of read him between the lines (no wonder conservatives love him so much) those of us who dare complain about it should just shut up and get with the program, because "it happens in nature".

This has nothing to do with fucking lawyers working 80-hour weeks and making a million dollars a month. This is not the economic inequality I have a problem with. What I have a problem with is the kind of economic inequality that results in a fucking bank-CEO being able to basically crash a bank, with consequences for everyone and everything who had savings or investments in it, yet still run away with a 50 million dollar bonus.

Or how about the fact that the top 80 richest people in the world own more than the bottom 3.7 billion people? No amount of hard work can justify that level of wealth or income inequality. But someone like Jordan Peterson would have us accept the status quo because some of the people who make that much money also work very hard.

In essence, he's just a giant apologist for the status quo. Ironically he seems to be advocating for a kind of social Darwinism. You either have what it takes or you don't, and if you don't, too bad because that's just how nature is. Never mind that he also gets most of nature wrong. Which is unsurprising given that his definition of truth basically reduces to "if it makes you better able to survive and reproduce, it's true, and if it doesn't, it's false".
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#13  Postby NuclMan » Mar 20, 2018 12:28 am

It's easy to see how we ended up with JP. You could substitute him with Trump/politician below and it would make equal sense.


What have we done to end up with this man? His success is our failure, and while it’s easy to scoff at him, it’s more important to inquire into how we got to this point. He is a symptom. He shows a culture bereft of ideas, a politics without inspiration or principle. Jordan Peterson may not be the intellectual we want. But he is probably the intellectual we deserve.


Good article BTW. Going to read the Haider one next.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#14  Postby The_Piper » Mar 20, 2018 12:59 am

I think he's a self-important dick wad. Not worth any more of my time. I only have so much of it to go around.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#15  Postby Mike_L » Mar 20, 2018 6:58 pm

Rumraket wrote:One of my friends is deeply infatuated with this guy and for the life of me I can't figure out why. Then I linked him the video from RationalityRules about JP's preposterous conception of truth, and his response was that the video was "fail". We had a back-and-forth on Facebook about it but I think I managed to convince him that JP's idea of truth is ridiculous, though he says we have to discuss it over beer at some point. I'll be looking forward to that, and I have been taking some notes on a lot of JP's ridiculous crap.

Besides his whole "it's the marxists, who are essentially post-modernists" crap (the history of which he also gets completely wrong) that he also likes to throw on SJWs, he's a huge apologist for the massive economic inequalities of the world. You will hear Jordan Peterson talk at length about how some of the people who make lots of money, also work 80-hour weeks and this has a high cost and many people wouldn't like that and bla bla bla, and then he will give examples of his former client as a psychologist who worked as successful lawyers at big law-firms and stuff like that. These people are millionaires and their hard work apparently justifies their earnings in Jordan Peterson's views.

This is basically conservative economic apologetics. It's a diversion. We are supposed to just accept that this is the state of affairs in society because similar outcomes also happen in nature.

The kind of economic inequality that is the biggest problem is when powerful lobbying organizations and super-pacs, or extremely wealthy international organizations have so much economic influence that they can basically buy off entire political parties and rig the whole democratic system to keep themselves rich and influential. But according to Jordan Peterson, if you sort of read him between the lines (no wonder conservatives love him so much) those of us who dare complain about it should just shut up and get with the program, because "it happens in nature".

This has nothing to do with fucking lawyers working 80-hour weeks and making a million dollars a month. This is not the economic inequality I have a problem with. What I have a problem with is the kind of economic inequality that results in a fucking bank-CEO being able to basically crash a bank, with consequences for everyone and everything who had savings or investments in it, yet still run away with a 50 million dollar bonus.

Or how about the fact that the top 80 richest people in the world own more than the bottom 3.7 billion people? No amount of hard work can justify that level of wealth or income inequality. But someone like Jordan Peterson would have us accept the status quo because some of the people who make that much money also work very hard.

In essence, he's just a giant apologist for the status quo. Ironically he seems to be advocating for a kind of social Darwinism. You either have what it takes or you don't, and if you don't, too bad because that's just how nature is. Never mind that he also gets most of nature wrong. Which is unsurprising given that his definition of truth basically reduces to "if it makes you better able to survive and reproduce, it's true, and if it doesn't, it's false".


:this: :nod:
And referring to the highlighted bit...

I wonder what he would say about the working college professors who are homeless and have to live out of their cars...?

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Re: Jordan Peterson

#16  Postby Thommo » Mar 20, 2018 7:02 pm

The_Piper wrote:I think he's a self-important dick wad. Not worth any more of my time. I only have so much of it to go around.


I spent about an hour or so yesterday looking through the links and clips people have provided and a few others and decided that you've hit the nail on the head.

I didn't even hear him say anything interesting.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#17  Postby The_Piper » Mar 20, 2018 7:18 pm

I've probably listened to an hour or two of his interviews and YT videos over the past few months. Same here, I can't think of anything worthwhile that he's said. I think Ani also hit the nail on the head comparing him to Deepak Chopra in the OP.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#18  Postby Animavore » Mar 20, 2018 7:22 pm

I'll say the same thing I said about Shapiro; why would I listen to them rail against "left wing" professors when I could listen to these professors, people like Robert Sapolsky who has a great series on YouTube, and learn something instead?
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#19  Postby The_Piper » Mar 20, 2018 7:39 pm

Yep, Shapiro is full of shit. Sapolsky oth, is well worth my time.
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Re: Jordan Peterson

#20  Postby Mike_L » Mar 20, 2018 7:52 pm



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