I’ve never used Twitter much until recently. I’m amazed by some of the virtue-signaling mosh pits of resentment I’ve come across in that venue when it comes to Jordan Peterson. I don’t see much in the way of substantiated reasons for the overabundance of hyper vitriol other than he promotes “hate speech,” which seems to deserve a lot of hate speech in return? The logic is baffling.
When I first heard about Jordan Peterson I naively believed he was a Nazi, because that’s what I was seeing in the media and on my news feed. But I’m intellectually curious (but not in any way an intellectual), so I sometimes take the time to look into both sides of an argument. The first video I watched of his was one of his recorded classes on the psychology of Bible stories and I was blown away. Because I’ve had a fascination with how stories have evolved along with humanity, as well as the innate ability of human beings to learn a language, commonly known as universal grammar. In short, I believe that stories have had a tremendous effect on human evolution, and yes, that is my confirmation bias.
I think Peterson has a few good ideas, like taking personal responsibility for your life, telling the truth, standing up straight with your shoulders back, assuming other people might know something you don’t, and a host of other self-helpy sounding stuff. Oh and there’s something about lobsters, I can’t remember… maybe it was that if you eat them you’ll get more serotonin, or something. But anyway, Peterson ties his rules for life into what has been missing for so many in our society — a sense of meaning and purpose which can only come to us later in life through individual effort, from “carrying a load,” or dare I say baring your own cross.
Like a lightning rod, Peterson is obviously attracting a lot of attention, both positive, negative, and everything in between. On the positive side: In the video above you can hear him tell of the thousands of people who have thanked him for helping them get their lives back on track. On everything in between: I’ve noticed that many, but not all, of the more math orientated people I know (I’m committing a micro-aggression against people who love math, but I have faith that they can solve the equation) don’t like him. That’s understandable because he’s more of a humanities guy, one who isn’t lying down in the assault of the postmodern-religion on the humanities in our education systems. But in the case of the more math orientated who don’t like him — usually the ones who have an atheistic world view who take issue with Peterson’s claim of an innate religious impulse in human beings — there is at least some reasonable and healthy debate. On the negative side: on Twitter, in the humanities that now teach ideology as opposed to critical thinking, and in many of the far left media outlets, there’s the usual tsunami of cherry-picked framing of his arguments, and lots of virulent hate speech — which I define as immature and/or deliberately irresponsible speech — to counter the straw man of hate speech that Peterson is supposedly guilty of because he’s an ipso-facto member of the Phantom of the Patriarchy.
But anyway, again, I doubt the video above will change anyone’s mind. But I do believe it speaks to Jordan Peterson’s humanity and intellectual humility, something a lot of his more resentful adversaries lack, in my not so humble opinion.