Jordan Peterson on Chaos and Order for Meaning in Life; How Political Correctness, Identity Politics, and Groupthink are Negative Forces in Society

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An aggregation of comments by clinical psychologist and University of Toronto Professor of Psychology Jordan Peterson, produced by the YouTube Channel ‘Anonymous Official.’

Cardinal News frequently provides news on chaos and order in emergencies. Sometimes reactions lead to politics. Here is an interesting aggregated discussion of recordings of interviews or debates (some back to May 2018) involving Canadian clinical psychologist and University of Toronto Professor of Psychology Jordan Peterson. The renowned, but often misjudged clinical psychologist, discusses the balance of chaos and order (personally and in society), political correctness, Free Will, the weakness of arguments resulting from low resolution analysis of ideologies, and how the right and left hemispheres of the human brain are wired to acquire meaning by a process of updating order while experiencing chaos.

“Rock stars have fans. I am not a performance artist. I don’t have fans. I have people who are listening carefully to what I am saying … and it’s very complicated what I’m saying … I’m a clinical psychologist. I am actually interested in individuals, and I’m interested in their fortification against tragedy.”

— Jordan Peterson

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has been accused of being far right, but says he doesn’t really have a political perspective. I am not trying to play a political game,” says Peterson. He knows that ideas he is talking about are resonating, exemplified by his best-selling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Words from Jordan Peterson …

“What constitutes evidence is not always that easy to determine, even in the scientific domain. Think about how we think about ourselves and other people and how we treat ourselves and other people” … “we take energy in and we disperse energy. And so what we see in front of us is an array of potential universes. And those are the universes that we can bring about as a consequence of our actions. And we make choices to the right or the left … there’s a lot of mythological speculation about that sort of idea too, in an ethical sense. We decide what sort of reality that we want to bring into being, and so we encounter potential like God did at the beginning of time when He mad order out of chaos — chaos is this chaotic potential. We confront chaotic potential with our consciousness, and we cast that into reality.”

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“The fundamental news that’s important about what I am doing isn’t the political element. If you treat yourself like you’re a free moral agent with choice and that you can determine the course of your life, then you seem to get along better with yourself and to be less anxious and to be more productive. And if you treat other people like that — that they’re free agents that are making voluntary choices about how reality is going to come into being, and you reward them when they do it properly and you punish them or otherwise discipline them when they don’t … when they do it badly, then your relationships with them seem to work. And then if we predicate our society on the presupposition that each individual human being is capable of doing just that, then we seem to have extremely functional societies. And this is something that Sam Harris (involved in debates with Peterson) has been taken to task for many times … is if you dispense with the idea of Free Will, how is it you organize your relationship to yourself, your interactions with your family, and your relationships with the broader social community. So I believe strongly that we have Free Will, that we are responsible for our choices, those choices are constrained in many, many ways; so there’s a chaos from within that can manifest itself that can disrupt whatever order you are. And you know that in minor ways, because everybody is always running around doing things that aren’t good for them that they know they shouldn’t do, and that they can’t control. And so, there’s a chaotic and an orderly aspect to everything — to the individual, to the family, to the social world, to the natural world. It’s chaos and order at every level of analysis simultaneously.”

“Rule #7: Do what is meaningful not what is expedient.“

Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (#ad)

Comments at the Munk Debates …

“So we should first decide what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about my views of political correctness, despite what you might have inferred from the last speaker’s comments. This is how it looks to me. We essentially need something approximating a low resolution grand narrative to unite us. And we need a narrative to unite us, because otherwise we don’t have peace. What’s playing on in the universities and in broader society right now is a debate between two fundamental low resolution narratives … neither of which can be completely accurate because they can’t encompass all the details — obviously human beings have an individual element and a collective element — a group element let’s say.”

The Munk Debates are a semi-annual series of debates on major policy issues that are held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Munk Debates are run by the Aurea Foundation, a charitable foundation established by Peter Munk, founder of Barrick Gold, and his wife Melanie Munk. The debate series was founded in 2008 by Peter Munk and Rudyard Griffiths, who moderates most of the debates.

“Rule 9: Assume the person you are listening to knows something that you don’t.”

Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (#ad)

Political Correctness

Peterson was asked if political correctness ‘PC’ is a force for good or bad.

“Well, I think at the moment (political correctness) is clearly a force for bad. I think it’s corrupted the universities perhaps beyond repair. And I think the reason for that fundamentally is that the PC ideologue types think that the proper way to classify people is by their group affiliation. And there’s all sorts of problems with that — one is that there’e an endless number of ways that you can classify people by their group affiliation.”

Groupthink

Peterson was also asked about Groupthink ..

“Well I think (groupthink is) one of the primal sins of identity politics players on the left and the right — just to be clear about that. Personally, since this has got personal at times, I am no fan of the identitarian right. I think that anybody who plays a game — a conceptual game where group identity comes first and foremost — risks a an exacerbation of tribalism. It doesn’t matter whether it is from the left or the right. With regards to the idea of group rights … the idea of group rights is extraordinarily problematic because the obverse of the coin of individual rights is individual responsibilities, and you can hold an individual responsible, and an individual can be responsible, and so that’s partly why individuals have rights. But groups … how do you hold a group responsible?”

Peterson has declared femininity as a symbol associated with chaos. He explains this in the context of historical sequence where a struggle of order and chaos is a part of the struggle of humans in society and personally. Too much order, such as tyranny, is bad. Too much chaos, such as anarchy, is also bad.

“Femininity is an attempt, I think … under other political conditions it could have been an antidote to order, but I think that the fundamental threats that our society faces now are threats from the side of chaos, from the side of destabilization rather than — in our culture at least — rather than from the side of tyranny.”

Brain Hemispheres

Peterson on brain hemispheres and attenuation of chaos and updating of order that results in meaning.

If you read (his book) Maps of Meaning (#ad), there’s a section on neuropsychology that’s also buttressed by a book written by Ian McGilchrist called the Master and His Emissary (#ad) that lays out the relationship between the right and left hemisphere. Now, it’s quite strange that we have a right and left hemisphere. It’s almost as if we have two consciousnesses dwelling in our being; and they’re quite separable. If you cut the corpus callosum that unites the two, then the two hemispheres will act independently to some degree. You can communicate with each of them somewhat independently. They actually view the world quite differently and that hemisphere distinction is normally there in human beings, but also in animals a long way down the phylogenetic chain. And so you’re wired so that you’re not just order, and you’re not just chaos. You’re order continually confronting chaos so that the order remains updated. The reason that something is meaningful is because you’re getting a deep instinctual signal that you’re encountering anomaly at a rate that doesn’t exceed your capability, that’s also the rate at which you can keep yourself updated optimally. And so meaning isn’t (?)-phenomenal and it isn’t some kind of delusion that rationality can and should overcome — to say ‘well everything’s meaningless.’ It’s like ‘know it’s not’ … meaning is the most fundamental instinct for adaptation.”

Jordan Peterson appeared with teammate Stephen Fry on the Con Team opposing the topic concept “Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” to win the Munk Debates over Michael Eric Dyson and Michelle Goldberg on May 18, 2018.

At times forced order is necessary by the actions of police officers in violent situations, but too much order at a general societal level (e.g., political correctness and language law ideology) is detrimental to society. Apparently, Jordan Peterson believes that forced order is actually inadvertently associated with chaos by disrupting the fundamental importance of Free Will in promoting a meaningful life as part of the human experience.

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