ForumMusic/Movies/TV/Books ► 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson
So I've randomly picked this book up from the library and after reading the first few pages, I think it's a good idea to share this book and discuss the views and ideas presented. I'm still on the foreword, but maybe I can introduce the book first, and maybe when I'm done we can have a nice discussion.
Just note, I'm basically dumb, so we might have a few rounds of back and forth before I even understand a single point
  
I think that would be fun and/or educational. I'm pretty adamant about not buying the book outright, because I can't in good conscience support Jordan Peterson and what he's doing. (more on that later.) That being said, what I do think is very valuable is the conversation around what he's doing / saying, because I think that it reflects at least some previously unexplored frustrations of the moderate to strongly conservative crowd.

Now, let me just get in this disclaimer at the beginning: I don't think that Peterson is evil, or even that none of his arguments have any merit, ect. Maybe this is the old notion that truly understanding someone tends to make a person sympathetic to them, idk. Anyway, I'm sure that there are some rabid fans of his even on a forum like this, who are ready and willing to accuse me of making personal attacks against him. I promise I'm not interested in that at all - I think he is - or at the very, very least once was - a fundamentally decent human being, who like all of us has his flaws and vices.

That being said, when I say that I can't in good conscience support what he's doing, what I mean is that I very much DO believe that what he's doing is evil, despite the fact that I don't think he means it to be.

What I disagree with most prominently, for the record: Most of Mr. Peterson's rants are thinly veiled anti-intellectualism. When ever he talks, substitute "Intellectual" in place of "Neo-Marxist" and you'll have the thrust of his argument. Despite being cited almost constantly as the source of all modern social ailments, "Neo-Marxists" are never defined in any terms less broad than "Those who believe in relative morality;" ie, scientists and other kinds of intellectuals, who often care more about being objective and "rational" than they do about being morally righteous.

The irony, of course, is very thick: much like the actual Marxists, Jordan Peterson argues for adherence to a supreme moral authority, even (or perhaps especially) in the face of objective evidence to the contrary. If intellectuals are objectivists, you could call him a subjectivist. To give him his due, he's also not *directly* arguing in favor of a state sanctioned and enforced morality, or any other kind of collective morality, in fact. His literal argument is that all individuals should be free to pick and choose what they believe to be the "highest ideal" and then strive for that. Which... sounds pretty reasonable, and even rational.

The problem, of course, is that when you combine that with a belief in the *absolutism* of your chosen morality, then you're functionally an ideologue whether or not you admit it to yourself, and that's where I believe that things start to go off of the rails. Much of Mr. Peterson's early career was (by his own admission) strongly influenced his having grown up in the height of the cold war, and the looming existential crisis that embodied. Unfortunately, his conclusion seems to have been that Russia was a failed state fundamentally because they "compromised" their morality via the "intellectualism" of Marx, and became morally corrupt. Ergo... for a state to survive, it must have a strong and successful moral ideology; in other words and more over, it must always be uncompromising in it's pursuit of this ideology. In Mr. Peterson's arguments, there is no room for anyone to agree to disagree over matters of morality; it's an all or nothing battle, literally "good versus evil." Having said above that he often gives lip service to the virtues of individuality... in a great battle of literal good and evil, what freedom can there be for individuals, short of picking a side?

Of course this appeals greatly to the moral panic (and frankly bigoted) crowd. Don't like transexuals? Good don't compromise your "morality." Don't like participating in a global economy? Good don't compromise your "morality." Of course equally... don't like black people, gays, Jews, ect... Good! Don't like government? Good! Again, to give Mr. Peterson his due, he doesn't actively support those last few conclusions... but many of his supporters do, and they use his arguments to bolster their views. What matters above all is that you (uncompromisingly) follow your own moral compass, and don't let anyone ever tell you what is or isn't right!

Absolutely I think that having your own moral compass is important, and absolutely I think that it's important to stand up for (strongly held) beliefs, even in the face of strong external opposition. What I also believe, is that no one person can ever have all the answers, and that consequently, tolerating some level of moral dissent / ambiguity is itself not only moral... it's vital to long term survival.

I am strongly convinced that Mr. Peterson's core supporters are those who have long taken for granted the fact that the moral consensus of their society would always come down strongly in their favor, and are extremely alarmed at the notion that it might not always be so. While I sympathize with that core feeling... I can not and will not condone the knee jerk response of "shun the non-believers." I believe that people can still learn to accept that their neighbors can have a fundamentally different morality, and that that morality need not be (necessarily) be treated as any less valid by their community, society, or state. I think that while certainty is comfortable, reassuring, and even necessary (to a certain degree) it also leaves no room for growth. Although it might surprise some of you, I even agree that pursuing diversity solely for it's own sake is never really valuable! Having said that, I will not trust in a government which is willing to suppress the dissent of the few, to favor the comfort of the many, and I think that's what Mr. Peterson's movement is trying to accomplish, whether they realize it or not.
  
I always think I like Jordan Peterson when I see him being adversarial/critical, but when he actually posits some opinion I find him unbearable. I've heard really good things about his books though since they tend to be more in line with his "I am a professional clinical psychologist and here is a self help book" persona than his "I am an anti-Neo-Marxist anti-SJW superstar" persona.
  
That does make me more interested in them. I have watched about half and half between his public appearances and his classroom videos, and his classroom stuff is definitely much more interesting.

I think he's definitely ego-driven much of the time, which is probably part of his draw also - the vicarious attraction of seeing someone display naked self interest. I can't say I really share the attraction all that much, but I understand it, particularly as a refutation of the left's promotion of community / collectivist values.

Again, his undoing is his inability to compromise, take a back seat to someone else, ect. You'll never see him display the attitude of a student, he's always too eager to take on the role of a professor / authority figure. It's admirable in that he's unafraid to be the world's best authority on himself, and that individualism is something we really do need to conserve as a culture... but on the other hand, he's equally unafraid to be the world's best authority on society in general, and that's less endearing.

If you ask him a question, he can't really fundamentally say "I don't know;" he's not so inept at argumentation as to be baited into arguing on his opponent's turf and getting caught out of position (metaphorically speaking), so he'll redirect / interpret the question so he can talk about something he *does* know well enough... but he's still always got to get the last word in, because straight up saying "I don't know" would be admitting defeat.

Which means he's lost the ability to really learn anything from the people he's debating with. I guess I put him up against Mr Rogers in this regard, although that's admittedly a high bar for anybody. Anyway though, imagine for a moment putting both Peterson and Mr Rogers up on a stage, and subjecting them to audience questions from left leaning activists. Neither of them would be afraid to tell you what they think, I imagine... but in contrast to Peterson, the way I imagine a man like Fred Rogers, I think he'd be at least as interested in what the questioner thinks / feels, because to him it's the part of their interaction that he knows the least about. For Peterson, all that matters is that he eloquently - or at least effectively - expounds on what he knows. It's all a verbal sparing match to him, with winners and losers.

And again, it's really fun to watch Jordan work away at an opponent, because he's frankly quite good at it, to be fair to him ; P And I think that's another aspect of his appeal, because for a lot of his followers, it's been frustrating to continually feel trounced by articulate / erudite debaters from the intellectual left. I mean, they've got something to say too, and something to add to the debate, if only they had the ability to hold their own. Peterson gives them that, at least to their own satisfaction. Talk Radio has a similar appeal, except that it's hosts (especially the right wing ones) are a hell of a lot better at shouting than they are at verbal sparing ; P So Jordan is pretty unique in appealing to a demographic that wants the combativeness of talk radio, except with intellectual authority to back it up.
  
Why Yall be cloning Blake's Avatar?
  
It was an error that set the default avatar as Blake's Totoro plus a stray pixel, and it went unfixed for a while because Blake thought it was an in-joke.
  
Is the stray pixel a part of that? Because I'm 90% sure I added that myself.

I'd really rather have my old avatar back, but I found it hard to create a bunch of white pebbles in pixel art.
  
One more comment to add before trying to move back to topic, I didn't even realise that wasn't Blake until you mentioned.

So anyway back to the book.
After reading about 3 chapters, I feel like Dr Peterson (apparently he's a doctor, so I should be using Dr right? I'm not sure, I haven't been alive long enough to know how it works) comes off as a wise man who has learnt much worldly wisdom and is sharing it with us. Since this is a book, it is not necessary for me to be concerned about his ego in live argumentation (yet). Also I was able to get this from a library, no need to bear the cost of buying ;)

So I take it that the conversation now is about Peterson himself, but I want to discuss the ideas put forth by the book. So currently, 3 chapters in we have 3 rules: 1) Stand up straight with your shoulders back. 2) Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for. 3) Make friends with people who want the best for you. With each rule comes with it a big bunch of context and background to try to develop a good understanding of why each rule is needed. I'm going to have to paraphrase what he said while trying not to change his meaning. Good luck to me

1) Stand up straight with your shoulders back
So basically, social standing is an actual thing that the brain subconsciously tries to perceive and use to dictate your behaviour and actions. High perceived standing will make you more confident of yourself, be less stressed out, rest easier, better social skills, and some other stuff. Low perceived standing makes you more stressed and consume a lot of energy to be on high alert on the watch for danger; low standing means more can be taken or lost from what little you have. So you stand straighter to essentially trick your brain into thinking your social status is a little higher, so things get better. That's one part, then there's a whole other part about standing up will improve your spirit(or something. there is a heck ton more detail which I don't think I can articulate properly)

geez, i dont think i can explain the rest. its too complex. help


edit: ok, take 2 scrap the earlier part

So flow of ideas from the start of the chapter is:
territorial dominance hierarchy in animals--> conflict between animals for territory that determines their place on that hierarchy --> psychological impacts on the losers and winners --> Principle of Unequal Distribution in regards to winners winning more and losers losing more --> humans like other animals have dominance hierarchies/ social standings in built into our brains and nervous systems --> talks about nature, evolution, natural selection; nature has order and chaos --> cultural constructs are not independent of nature, specifically dominance hierarchy is a product of natural selection and is in animal cultures --> there is a part of brain that keeps track of position in dominance hierarchy that controls behaviour, emotions and perceptions --> if high position, then (basically) better life, vice versa --> at very low positions, you and yr body becomes always ready to react to events that may have negative emotional impacts to ensure you survive (in a primal sense) "Emergencies are common at the bottom, and you must be ready to survive" --> this is really draining --> basically these pre-reptilian brain mechanics affect you greater the closer you are to the bottom and less near the top --> Sometimes, this dominance counter thing goes haywire due to things(? not too sure) --> getting traumatized can lower the dominance counter and can have long lasting impacts --> talk about bullying, some naive people don't fight back for they have a narrow definition of morality that stays their hand, tyranny pushes into the space when people don't fight back and exploit them --> when naive people find that they have the capacity for anger, violence, evil and monstrosity, they fear less(?) and resist oppression --> we may have bad habits and poor posture for being unpopular or bullied in school, but circumstances change. Slumping around will cause a low dominance number, makes life and future shitty --> if you improve your situation, it will probably increase further --> body language can amplify a feeling --> standing straighter causes people to have a better perception of you when they size you up --> might not be useful when you are at absolute bottom of the hierarchy --> but doing so "invokes and demands standing up metaphysically" --> you voluntarily take on life's challenges instead of bracing for catastrophe --> you embolden yourself to stand up and claim a higher position on social hierarchy --> to stand up straight is to face the hardships of living, being responsible and productive, finding meaning (i dont get how to explain this bit) --> be brave --> people assume you are better, and you get positive responses, so less anxious, better social skills

I think thats about it. I think I missed a lot. But what do you guys think about whats being presented?
  
Now that I think about it, it might be good to copy paste the opening chapter
  
I'll probably hunt one down in a library also. I wouldn't reproduce large chunks of the book here, in respect of copy right laws and such; small excerpts are fine though, if there is something particularly interesting.

His ego is still (at least potentially) relevant if you want to evaluate the book beyond a surface level, because it reflects on his reliability as a narrator and teacher. I mean, when you say that he "comes off as" a wise man... is that just what he's projecting, because it's what he wants you to believe? The more ego he has, the more invested he'll be in convincing you that he's clever, rather than relaying accurate / useful information.

I don't really want to treat that as being objectively "wrong" by the way... it's normal for everyone to have some level of ego, and even if they have a lot of ego, it doesn't always mean that they're incapable of saying something useful. That being said, when reading any given work critically, it's always important to answer some really basic questions like "what is the author's goal here?" because it can meaningfully change your interpretation of the work.

I don't have the time right now to type out a longer response, but when I get back I'll try to show how this relates to the interpretation of the actual ideas in the book, and not just the character of the author.
  
I don't mean to be rude but those rules sound so banal.
  
Edit: thought banal meant like bad, undesirable or something to that capacity. Whoopsies. Well, umm. I guess I'll just leave this paragraph on why it is not that bad here?

Edit 2: Nvm not going to. (Deletes 2 paragraphs of spaghetti reasoning)

I mean, if you're complaining about how unoriginal these rules are, society exists in some form of order, and people being in societies has gone on long enough that most of the practical wisdom has been discovered and passed down. Giving new revolutionary rules might not even be helpful. Instead, I believe Peterson is trying to rationalise why you should follow them, why it is hard to follow them, and some help on actually following them. There's a difference between knowing and fulling grasping words of wisdom
  
Sure. Mostly I mean it's the kind of advice your dad says before you go to a job interview. They seem like familial aphorisms.

I suspect the appeal might be more for people who didn't have the good fortune of a father who made this advice seem dull and obvious.
  

...most of the practical wisdom has been discovered and passed down. Giving new revolutionary rules might not even be helpful. Instead, I believe Peterson is trying to rationalise why you should follow them, why it is hard to follow them, and some help on actually following them. There's a difference between knowing and fulling grasping words of wisdom


Right - and that's what I think is the most useful aspect of Peterson's approach. A lot of conservatives are also what I think of as "traditionalists," because they have a strong desire to see the traditions they value continue on into new generations. This doesn't account for all conservatives, but it does account for a lot of them, and maybe more importantly to me, it accounts for a lot of the least offensive ones (at least from where I'm sitting.) These people just have something that they think is valuable, and they want to pass it on to others. I think that's generally a good thing, as long as they're not irrationally evangelical about it.

The major problem with that group is that most of them haven't really worked out why they want to pass along their favorite traditions... if asked they'll mostly tell you some version of "this is how we've always done it" or "I think everything will be worse without this." Unfortunately, that doesn't give anyone from the younger generation any of the information really necessary to have fair compare and contrast discussions about possible new chances to old traditions. For instance; should we ban gay marriage or allow it? People on the left can come up with a lot of rational arguments about why we should allow gay marriage, and how it would make our society more fair and equal... but to give the issue really fair consideration, it's necessary to have people on the opposite side of the issue arguing (or at least attempting to argue) why allowing gay marriage will be bad in some way, aside from the simplistic and emotional "it will just obviously ruin everything forever."

In short, "why do we have the traditions that we have?" is a question that's very important to answer when we're talking about changing those traditions, and I respect that Mr. Peterson is at least attempting to give a more rational, reasoned answer to that question.

Anyway, to the actual content. Full disclosure I haven't acquired an actual book yet, so for now I'm operating on the summary here and what else I know about what Mr. Peterson has talked about elsewhere.


1) Stand up straight with your shoulders back
So basically, social standing is an actual thing that the brain subconsciously tries to perceive and use to dictate your behaviour and actions. High perceived standing will make you more confident of yourself, be less stressed out, rest easier, better social skills, and some other stuff. Low perceived standing makes you more stressed and consume a lot of energy to be on high alert on the watch for danger; low standing means more can be taken or lost from what little you have.


He does love his hierarchies ; P

Ok, given that this is generally true... the thing that occurs to me is that it still matters a great deal whether you believe that the social hierarchy is relatively flexible, or set in stone. Sure it's something that's influenced the development of our nervous systems and brains on an evolutionary scale, but human beings are also pretty famous for overturning many of our other evolutionary limitations. To what degree is this advice about tapping into a powerful, ancient mechanism... and to what degree is it a useful "trick" or gimmick to use on yourself because it happens to be convenient?

Greyseff is right though: this advice is pretty banal, and apolitical. It's a bit strange to see advice like tis from a man who I think we can all agree is anything but apolitical... except that I think what he's *really* driving at isn't as immediately obvious:


cultural constructs are not independent of nature, specifically dominance hierarchy is a product of natural selection and is in animal cultures


This is the first highly political point Jordan is trying to make. Generally, more liberal people are antagonistic towards existing cultural constructs; and in fact the whole concept was probably invented in order to allow people to have a word for "traditions" or "institutions" that didn't immediately come with a somewhat positive context. (This is useful when you want to change a "cultural construct" that you view negatively; if you talk about the "tradition" of slavery, or the "institution" of slavery, it's harder to view it critically than if you talk about the "cultural construct" of slavery.) People on the conservative side, however, are generally concerned about a sort of over correction around the term, in which people assume that any given culture has a really wide, or even infinite capacity to "construct" whatever institutions it wants to, without negative consequences. Here, Mr. Peterson is basically just saying that this isn't true - that institutions need to be compatible with our underlying evolution influenced physiology, and further more than we should be careful not to socially construct institutions which ignore the existence of social dominance hierarchies.

So... communism; he's very obviously taking a jab at communism. I have no doubt that if pressed, he'd say that one of the reasons that communism failed, is because it and it's creators ignored the inevitability of social hierarchies in human society. Personally, I think he's right in this... but the key important question left unanswered here is how right is he about this? It's one thing to say that we can't entirely eliminate social hierarchies, but it's quite another to delve into how much we can eliminate them, not to mention how hard we should be trying to. To talk about comparing and contrasting examples... go back and take a look at the arguments around "social hierarchies" in the context of democracy. A lot of the initial opposition to democratic governments came from similar ideals about the "natural order" of human societies, and led people to predict that societies premised on the idea that "all men are created equal" were bound to fail. Instead they flourished, and that's a puzzle that I don't think this level of evolutionary psychology can really account for.

To give credit though, if it wasn't apparent earlier, I do generally agree here that it's important to understand and respect basic human psychology / physiology when you're considering what "social constructs" make the most sense. If I had to defend the liberals here, I would also say that too many conservatives are of course prone to reasoning backwards in order to arrive at the conclusion that the status quo is justified - in fact, there's very strong criticism of the entire field of "evolutionary psychology" and it's suspiciously convenient strong bias towards 1950's gender roles... That being said, it's still an entirely valid criticism of the left to say that social constructs aren't all created equal, and that they're not so easy to simply "construct" out of whole cloth, ect.

Sometimes, this dominance counter thing goes haywire due to things(? not too sure) --> getting traumatized can lower the dominance counter and can have long lasting impacts


This is really reaching, I think. It's entirely plausible that this is an important - even central - component of many psychological illnesses... but it seems to me that there are also other, equally plausible explanations. As an aside here, I do think that it's no mistake that Jordan got into psychology, because as a relatively young field which lacks many of the inbuilt controls of the hard sciences... it's a lot easier to make "leaps of faith" like this and get away with it. Which is more a criticism of people in the "soft" sciences in general, and fully acknowledges that I myself prefer the soft sciences for the very same reason ; P

talk about bullying, some naive people don't fight back for they have a narrow definition of morality that stays their hand, tyranny pushes into the space when people don't fight back and exploit them --> when naive people find that they have the capacity for anger, violence, evil and monstrosity, they fear less(?) and resist oppression


This is an example of an area where I think Jordan Peterson should be soundly condemned for being insufficiently cautious. While these ideas are interesting, by putting them together this way, in this order, and in this political context, he's leading his readers towards a conclusion that violent, evil, monstrous "resistance" to "oppression" is justified. To be blunt about it... how much would you wager on Neo-nazi's - or for that matter the original Nazi's - using an eerily similar line of argumentation to gin up support for the holocaust of minority "oppressors?" Or, if you're of the opposite political persuasion... how much would you wager on actual Marxists using an eerily similar line of argument to gin up support for a brutal proletariat "resistance" against the bourgeoisie "oppressors?"

This is why it's super important to understand the question from earlier which is winding it's way through this discussion, but which isn't at all explicitly acknowledged by Peterson: to just what degree are humans bound to obey the tenants of social hierarchies... and equally important, just how much should they want to, anyway?

Social Darwinism is rightfully regarded as a pretty bleak philosophy overall; the stark truth is that only a very few "elite" persons can ever be so successful as to objectively occupy the top of any given social hierarchy. Further more, by heavily implying or outright stating that social success / dominance of the "lesser" masses is highly desirable, it both encourages destructive behavior, and traps all of humanity (even the "winners") in a never ending struggle for more dominance. It's the root cause of the proverbial "rat race," and so on. Evolution, we should remember, is an arms race; and one not particularly concerned with the comfort or enjoyment of it's participants. "Oppression" in this context can easily be interpreted as anything which results in your losing the all important social status... whether it's "fair" or not. To be blunt again, I think that humans and human cultures should aspire to be much less heartless.

Personally, I think that whatever evolutionary pressures there are to the contrary, it's self evident that human beings possess the capacity to resist the social standing arms race. I think we can recognize that while it has it's useful purposes, it also requires us to restrain our more competitive impulses from time to time, and compromise. I don't think that Mr. Peterson is intentionally arguing for a lassie-faire approach to social equality... but given that he's made all these argument against social equality, I think it's irresponsible of him to not at least mention the arguments for equality. Those being, principally... the ability to step back from the pursuit of hierarchical dominance, and instead pursue other, equally worthy goals.

More bluntness, but I think it's still fair: truth and justice are not things that are particularly well regarded in a society centered around climbing the social ladder. Both can quickly become casualties of different individuals or groups attempts to either increase or at the very least maintain their privileged position in society - and again, you can easily demonize your preferred political opponents as an example : / If, however, you're interested in building a culture based on the objective reality of the world... you at some point will be required to accept the results of serious study of the world, *even if* they damage your individual social standing, or that of the groups you belong to.

When you ought to do this... or maybe more pointedly, when your political opponents ought to do this... is understandably a matter of heated debate, but in general just acknowledging that such an action is both necessary and admirable in pursuit of the long term goal of a more healthy (and stable) society... means that to some degree we should encourage equality and welfare measures, in order to make this sort of self sacrifice of social standing less critically important to people. To say it another way... it's important that society be more equal, because when people perceive a high price to the loss of standing, they'll be far more likely to try to manipulate the truth, law, and so on to give them an advantage... regardless of the long term consequences to the society they inhabit.

I'm generally all for people standing up against tyranny. I also think that it's important for people to be able to acknowledge their capacity for violence, monstrosity, and "evil" actions in order to do so... I just think that more should be said about how much tyranny is fueled by unexamined, ignored, and especially rationalized violent impulses, and the real possibilities for the non-violent resistance of tyranny. There is today far too much justification for tyrannical acts committed in the name of "resisting" tyranny, and we would do well as a society to remember that one does not need to fight fire with fire.

Again, much brutal honesty here, but... the alt right was able to rationalize kidnapping and caging human children in large part because they rationalized people's unexamined fears of falling down the social ladder due to an influx of immigrants from a different ethnic group. That is a brutal, tyrannical move if ever I've seen one; and thank god that people did speak up about it, and it was corrected. That being said... the environment is still one in which people are willing to accept similar injustices, as long as they are of a less severe nature, and I think that's deeply unfortunate. What would happen, I wonder, if people were willing to see cultural preservation as something requiring Martin Luther King style "civil disobedience" rather than governmental intimidation, or armed insurrection? (Depending on your particular context) In other words... what if people felt empowered to be resistant, but compassionately and empathetically so, without willful disregard to the welfare of their neighbors? If one truly opposes oppression and tyranny as a concept, he or she must be equally concerned about the possibility that they might directly or indirectly oppress and tyrannize others, as they are concerned about the possibility that others might oppress and tyrannize them.

That's maybe a little rambling... but hopefully you can start to see why someone with Jordan Peterson's ego-centric outlook isn't inclined to talk about the situations when one should accept a lower social status in the pursuit of more important and/or meaningful goals. Again, I'm all for the general principle of "stand up straight" - which I think is more plainly said as "pursue the highest possible social standing" - but as with anything else, I'm deeply afraid of anything which is pursued without limits. To balance out a section like this, care should be taken to at least attempt to chart the pitfalls and dangers of the pursuit of social standing, if only to make the reader aware that such dangers exist, and some amount of caution and self reflection is important.

but doing so "invokes and demands standing up metaphysically" [...] to stand up straight is to face the hardships of living, being responsible and productive, finding meaning (i dont get how to explain this bit)


Yeah... it's a pretty confused idea, that really only makes some sense if you have some background on Mr. Peterson's general philosophy.

Basically, Peterson in some of his interviews and lectures, is extremely admiring - even "worshiping," in a limited sense of the word - of the philosopher Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky is was an existentialist, which for an unfairly brief summary, means that he believed that existence does not inherently have any meaning, but that humans are capable of "constructing" a meaning for their individual existence. Peterson particularly seems to admire Dostoevsky's assertion that meaning is primarily constructed through the experience of profound suffering... or at least that's how Peterson seems to interpret it? (I haven't read enough Dostoevsky to judge for myself)

This is actually... deeply ironic. What little I do know about Dostoevsky does suggest to me that he'd be spinning in his grave at the suggestion that meaning is best found through the pursuit of social acceptance / admiration ; P To be fair to Peterson again, this might not be the conclusion he's attempting to lead his readers to... but equally I think that if this is so, he's again been insufficiently cautious in preventing that association. I would bet that a lot of people reading this book will not only associate higher social status with a more "meaningful" life... but will interpret this to mean that social status itself reflects a more virtuous person; a further problem perpetuated by Peterson's ego-centric perspective.

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...Ok, re-reading that it does seem quite pessimistic on my part. Frankly that might be a consequence of my writing most of this with not enough sleep; I'll maybe come back again and try to do a more forgiving pass in a few days when I'm not so tired, (and possibly have an actual copy of the book) and talk about some of the aspects of Jordan's philosophy from this section that I do find more appealing.
  
I kinda took a long break... haha. I'll try to have another post soon
  
Peterson was going to call his book The 13 Commandments For Life, but decided it would be bad PR.
He eventually changed it to 12 Rules For Life when his editor told him that "Fish and company stink after 3 days" is too cliched even for his target audience.
  
Welp looks like Im too lazy to post anything. Gotta return the book tmr, maybe I'll still try to respond, but..
I'm just giving excuses to be lazy. Sigh.
Have fun, pretty sure the thread dies from here
  
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