This trend was even more pronounced in his live lecture. Basically, every line, every piece of advice he gave was supported by a verse from the Bible. At one point, he quoted the Gospel of Matthew: “Knock and the door will be open to you” – and said, “This is how life REALLY works” – and basically looked at the crowd and dared to disagree. I didn`t do so well with the rules. I struggled with my posture and didn`t really treat myself any better than before. I ate a high-protein breakfast at more or less the same time every day, which Peterson recommends. But then I referred it to Clause 3. I looked at Peterson`s original list of rules of life, which was posted on an online forum years ago. It contains 41 “precious things everyone should know,” and I was impressed by some that weren`t in its top 12.
“Plan and work diligently to maintain romance in your relationships.” “Do at least one thing better, every place you go.” “Try to make a room in your home as beautiful as possible.” “Keep your connections with people.” It`s another one of those big, far-reaching rules that are hard to put into practice, but I decided to write a story for the work that had been hanging over my head for ages. I had postponed it, but now I would suffer from it. It was a small way to choose a goal over fun, but Peterson says it`s important to make incremental changes. God then cursed Adam and Eve and told Eve that women are now cursed with the pain of childbirth, symbolizing the expansion of the human skull that gave us confidence in ourselves and its evolutionary arms race with the size of the female pelvis. Thus, God drives childhood humanity out of the unconscious animal world and into the horrors of history itself. That`s why people treat their pets rather than themselves, and leads to Peterson`s second rule for life: that you should think about the future and think, “What might my life look like if I took care of myself?” and that you should treat yourself as if you were someone, for whom you are responsible. Chris Yandt, 53, is a regular participant. Chris worked at Loblaws for seven and a half years and is now looking for something better.
“I think I`ve lived most of my life by default,” he said. “It`s better to wake up at some point than not at all.” Enter Father Peterson and his 12 commandments, I thought. But I was fascinated by them, this community of disciples. They come together to talk about ideas and improve, and Peterson has made that possible for them. I have nothing like it in my life – how many of us really do? For the first time, I thought, maybe I`ll start to understand it. Emba: For my part, I`ve noticed that it promotes certain narratives that are false, but not necessarily “alt-right.” There was a tangent he continued about a future study of Holland, and how the act of creating a life plan erased differences in performance between men of different races in a college. He went on to extrapolate that “people say that structural, societal and racial issues hold people back, but of course, psychological exercise can erase the difference.” Peterson`s argument begins with a strong condemnation of Marxism. Human society, like all animal kingdoms, is defined in Peterson`s mind by certain biological truths – including the reality that some people are inherently more gifted than others, and that life will always bring suffering. Marxism, he believes, is fundamentally rooted in hatred of successful people in a capitalist economy – and therefore will always lead to violence if you try to implement it. Downie: Especially the genre aspect is not so surprising after reading his book. As a young man, I am used to “life coaching books” that address me in a passive sense (i.e. nothing can be universal advice without referring to young men).
But it was the first time in years that I felt that the “life council” was addressed positively to me. And people are reacting to it. From a young age, there were the predictable exaggerated messages about minor conflicts, long treatises on the state of my life that used words like “anxiety” and “schadenfreude,” and my favorite given to the first friend I really loved when I was 19: “No guy has ever known my maple sugar addiction to you. So here we go. That is the best proof I can give you. I want to be with you. How does it work? You know, I`m not quite sure yet, but here are the basics: The world is divided into two principles: order and chaos. Order is masculine and chaos is feminine. This has been the case since evolution divided life into male and female categories two billion years ago. Order is security, light and consciousness; Chaos is frightening, unconscious and dark. Chaos is the black cave when you get your drift.
Peterson doesn`t say women are bad. Not at all. No, chaos is part of life: order and chaos complement each other. However, chaos is bad, and women have symbolized it, and have been since the dawn of time. That is simply a fact. Peterson`s strict tutor character probably works well in a clinical setting where he likely encounters damaged people who need an authority figure who can provide an external source of order and stability. Most of its rules have to do with personal responsibility and making the kind of life choices that allow a person to function effectively in the world. We must choose our friends wisely, discipline our children with love, respect the wisdom of tradition, etc. He believes in building from small personal decisions to the outside world to broader social and political issues. Don`t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the injustice of your enemies. Don`t reorganize the state until you`ve ordered your own experiment. Have a little humility.
If you can`t bring peace to your own home, how dare you run a city? Rule 8 is to tell the truth, and the truth is that I felt more and more apathetic about it all. The most tangible rules seemed absurdly obvious to me. Clean your home. Don`t compare yourself to others. Stand upright. Some of this is useful, but I didn`t understand how it can be seen as life-changing advice. (Rule 12 is to pet cats when you meet them on the street, which is so simple that I couldn`t think of a single thing to write. Peterson tries to dress him up by saying that playing with animals reminds us that “the miracle of being could compensate for the inexorable suffering that accompanies it,” but I couldn`t be fooled into thinking it was profound.) But, Peterson might argue, aren`t left-wing political parties and Western society in general dominated by relativism and nihilism, the harmful postmodern doctrines that there is no reality or truth, and that all beliefs – no matter how monstrous they may be – are just as valid as the others? Are they? Real? There are postmodern thinkers who claim – somewhat problematically – that it is true that there is no truth and that all value systems are relative. But are these views prevalent on the political left? It seems to me that what has to do with climate change, implicit bias testing and gender pay gaps, the contemporary left is very energetic Team Rationalism, Team Science, Team Reality-is-Real and Team Aghast on alternative facts and fake news on the right. Emba: That`s right! Peterson seemed to focus more on his message of “fixing your life” and making you apolitically better as an individual. Rubin seemed to be trying to connect this to another movement, that of the “intellectual dark web,” almost an alternative movement.
He also made it look really cult and strange! Like “It`s a *revolution of ideas,” “we`re *ahead of the curve,” “You feel like you have to sneak in with these ideas, but NEVER AGAIN,” as if someone had already hidden the idea that you should try to be a man in the face of adversity. The idea came to me one evening while I was traveling with colleagues. I want to read the book, I told them, and try to live the rules.