Tag: carl jung

Our Intellectuals Aren’t Ready For Jordan Peterson

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote For Chaos, clinical psychologist, and king of archetypes has been across the internet and back again. Doctor Peterson seems to be on a new podcast, interview show, or news station every single week, if not every day. The man is reportedly very busy, which is expected as you become the rock star of modern academia.

The Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto was the most recent organization to host such an event. They allowed Jordan Peterson, atheist philosopher Rebecca Goldstein, and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, to all sit-down and have a discussion on the existence of meaning, God, and the like of abstract concepts that pertain to the actions of everyone looking for truth. The but that pertains most to me is the one that follows:

Starting off, Craig discusses Peterson’s view about objective morality. This stems from the Piagetian ideas of moral development and an equilibrated state of cooperation. Craig urges Peterson to accept that there is inherently a transcendent being behind this and then repeats it a couple of more times. His argument does not have a warrant, but Dr. Peterson responds anyway.

He explains that yes, we discover morality and that it is very possible that the moral truth we discover through action has transcendent properties.

Goldstein then chimes in, explaining why she rejects Craig’s argument and posing various religious questions on him. In response to Peterson, she heavily implies that he should not bring it up, and that is the extent of her “argument” against Jordan. The viewer is now forced to sit through an atheist and a Christian rehash the exact same talking points of religious debate we have all heard time and time again. The strange new psychological view of Peterson is not much taken into account.

The moderator then decides to intrude, and thank goodness. She asks why we “struggle with the meaning of life?”

Dr. Peterson explains the same thing he is so listened-to for. We live a finite existence, and it is pretty hard. Bad things can happen to us and we are capable of doing some pretty bad things, so the option we have is to aim for a nobility.

After explaining, the Jungian moves on to respond to one of Goldstein’s comments, and with a dream. Within his dream, kings of the past fight one another, yet all end up bowing to the figure of Christ. Many times throughout the Bible Christ is referred to as “The King of Kings,” and Dr. Peterson explains what this actually means. If we took the best qualities of each of the kings and put them in one, we have Christ. Whether or not Christ is a real historical figure within the situation matters not, because this is what is above the rulers of the earth. Christ provides an ideal for them to strive to get close to and remain humble in comparison.

When tyrannical kings rule the earth, who will rule the kings?

Peterson explains that “you inevitably do [have to speak of such things at a religious level].” There is no other way for our minds to make sense of anything like this.

“It’s a psychological necessity. It’s a sociological necessity.”

Goldstein seems to realize that the atheist position will be lagging behind when it comes to this psychological argument, so she goes off for a little bit, showing her body of barely related knowledge. She makes sure to tell everyone that “as a woman, as a Jew,” she has reaped benefits from the enlightenment. After a bit of a rabbit hole, she finally comes back around to the argument and compares the idea that kings should have an ideal that keeps them in check to the Nazis wanting to genocide those who are not “perfect” in their eyes.

She thinks that just because Peterson’s idea of a Christ supersedes the individual, it will allow for another Holocaust. We should try to transcend to art in her eyes, and not get caught up in larger symbolism and going past mere humanity.

These modern intellectuals represent roughly the two most prominent views in western society: religion and no religion. We all fell into this sort of dichotomy, even if there is some grey area in the middle. A modern intellectual espousing Jungian psychology, Biblical archetypes, and its connection to cleaning your room is very far from this base societal view. The two in discussion within this video do not know how to react to Peterson’s view, which is clear because of their poor responses (or no responses, in the case of Craig who seems somewhat satisfied), and because of their focus on one another.

The Austrian economic Ludwig von Mises discussed the role of ideas in society and history. If we want to see change, we need idea creators. Something new, refreshing, and out of place, that will be so disruptive the present intellectual arena will burn to the ground. This, in Mises’ view, is what brings about revolutionary progress.

From these ashes, we may build from the ground up. It allows us to embody the Phoenix archetype, and that of dying and being born again, better and new. Modern intellectuals are not ready for Peterson’s broad worldview. In the left media Op-Eds, it is always a bad strawman. Face-to-face, the opposition will always beat around the bush. People are incapable of telling Doctor Jordan Peterson why he is wrong. That is why I believe Peterson’s views will cause a large shift in the way our society is organized. They already are.


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71R Book Review: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

By Mason Mohon | UNITED STATES

Jordan Peterson is academia’s rockstar, or at least the closest it has ever had to one. I don’t know who said that first, it certainly was not me, but I agree with them wholeheartedly.

Just as I spend months anticipating an album release from my favorite rockstars, I spent months anticipating the release of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos. As soon as I saw it on Amazon, I pre-ordered it instantly, and for a teenage fella such as I, a few months is a large portion of my lifetime.

I received the book in the mail the day of release and jumped right in, hoping to get as much as I could from it, ready for every last Petersonian rabbit trail. I was not disappointed, but love of Jordan aside, would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But why? Well, that is what this review is about.

What You Get

12 Rules is a good size book, and I mean that in a physical sense. It is a hardcover with what I would call an aesthetic cover design, very simple, and straight to the point. Its covered in arrows, which seems to symbolize the chaos of life – we are always looking where each arrow points, and we need to sort it out. For a hardcover its size, it seems to be a bargain considering its Amazon price.

The book is nicely formatted, with each chapter having a noticeable barrier in between and each line justified to the edge of the page (yes, I have read books that didn’t have that). Chapters range in size, with the longest in my estimation being the eleventh (Don’t Bother Skateboarding Children), amounting to about fifty pages.

Content-wise, it is perfect for anyone who enjoys Peterson Lectures. If you watch JBP’s content on a regular basis, there are very few foreign concepts within the book. It does not have very much on the political battle he faces against bill C-16, nor does it go very deep into the topics he covers in his Biblical lectures, but I saw it as a wrapping of pretty much all of his more mainstream-known views.

The Content of the Book

When reading the book, I expected it to go ankle deep on each of the topics. For example, I expected most of the chapters to focus mostly on the scientific benefits of each rule, but boy was I wrong. Mr. Peterson enjoys speaking of archetypes so I do not know why I expected nothing less.

The topics flow very well, too. All of the chapters will jump from personal anecdote to ancient literature to psychological fact pretty much seamlessly. At some points, I thought that there was no way whatever archetype being discussed was going to relate back to the rule, but to my surprise it did. Every time. It would quite literally leave me laughing.

Each chapter is applicable to your own life and is very engaging. The first half or so is very lighthearted, but I began to pick up on some much heavier and much more important points later in the book, especially when things like Soviet death camps or the Columbine shooters are brought up.

It is a relentless book, constantly reminding the reader that life is suffering, but not to lose hope, for meaning can be found in this life, and nihilism is never the answer.

Readability

I have been asked a few times how it compares to his other book, Maps of Meaning. Admittedly, I have not read Maps of Meaning in its entirety, but I have read a fair amount. 12 Rules is much much less academically geared. MoM seems to be ready for a scholarly psychology audience, while 12 Rules is ready for anyone to pick up and read. It is easier, and it can connect to your own life, to a greater degree than his other book does.

Many concepts are brought up but may need a little bit of prior knowledge, particularly when it comes to psychology. Freud, Jung, general psychoanalysis, and a bit of behaviorism is brought up with little explanation, but it is a psychological text, and any Peterson follower should already be familiar with such concepts. For a non-Peterson follower, this is not a deal breaker. They are simple concepts that can easily be inferred about, and a quick Google search is always available as an option.

Should You Read It?

If you like to watch Jordan Peterson’s lectures, no doubt.

If you are completely unfamiliar with Dr. Peterson, you should still read it. It is not a hard book to read, and it can introduce a lay audience to many in-depth and complicated concepts easily.

The text is affordable, so I see no reason why you would not add this to your library. Peterson’s book is a trove of knowledge and wisdom, so it is perfect for any individual seeking to sort themselves out.

The Catastrophe of Hyperagreeableness

Roman King | U.S.

In the previous essay, I briefly outlined what the Jungian shadow is, its role in determining if a person is capable of being morally sound, and its place in the overall personality of any given person. In short, the ability to confront yourself and come to grips with the self-selected negative traits your unconscious ego holds, and the ability to use it to build and reinforce your value system, is one of the biggest things that determines whether or not a person is truly “good”. To incredibly oversimplify the thesis, you must be aware of your shadow and you must be capable of controlling it in order to find some semblance of self-control or self-awareness in the incredibly disorienting and catastrophic phenomenon that is life on this planet. This is simply a vast oversimplification of the vast studies of Carl Jung, who believed that “…the less embodied [the shadow] is in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” (Psychology and Religion: West and East). There is almost infinitely more to discuss in regards to this fascinating topic, but one of the things I previously mention is the phenomena of people ignoring their shadows for one reason or another (I will mention these reasons in the piece below), and how it causes you to be left wide open for a catastrophic event to take place and potentially do some serious mental damage. It is truly tragic, and there is a symptom of not coming to grips with your shadow — hyper-agreeableness.

Jordan Peterson mentioned in one of his university lectures the difference between conscientious people and agreeable people. The conscientious person expects the work to get done and doesn’t give half a damn about the life behind the task at hand, whereas the agreeable person will be more likely to sympathize with the plights of the worker in regards to their personal work. In Peterson’s words, “…not one of these belief systems is more correct than the other; that’s why both exist.” Compassion is an incredibly important emotion, and it is a massive component to our concept of human empathy. The problem is when it is disingenuous, rooted in insecurity and an unhealthy dependence on gratifying the emotional needs of other people. There comes a time where agreeableness becomes hyper-agreeableness, and this is a problem in many ways.

Well, for one, you become incredibly easy to take advantage of. When you become so structurally weak, and when you grow so accustomed to living your life with the sole purpose of making other people feel gratified, you begin to lose touch with your own needs and your own wishes. If you ask a hyper-agreeable person what they want, they’ll usually have an incredibly hard time giving you a straight answer, and that’s because they are so accustomed to living for other people that they don’t even have a solid base to stand on anymore. It’s an incredibly sad phenomenon because the utility of their compassion is lost. On the inverse, doing this same experiment with a very grounded and conscientious person will generally yield the opposite result; they know exactly what they want and they will tell you exactly how they plan on getting it, whether it be a goal or a tangible object or whatnot. Hyper-agreeable people are not assertive whatsoever. They are invalids when it comes to the art of negotiation. Almost always, they will yield too much and end up in a position where they are set to gain zero benefits — and they will often have no problem with this whatsoever, not realizing that there could have been a higher amount of utility distributed if they had stood a bit more firm! Tyrants and master manipulators (of which there are many of in this wicked world) will, beyond any doubts, exploit the hyper-agreeable person for everything they can. This is not a good situation to be in.

Another, perhaps more wicked effect of hyper-agreeableness, is that in your baseless quest to try and make people happy, if you do so without a sense of yourself, you begin to lose the very positive traits you begin to espouse. The Carl Jung quote referenced in the expository paragraph of this essay fits perfectly here. It is very possible for the hyper-agreeable person to begin to develop a low self-esteem (due to their seemingly only redeeming quality being the ability to live for other people) and lose their very real positive aspects to their unconscious shadow. That’s a catastrophic problem, too, because as the shadow becomes darker, and the more it consumes, the scarier it is to confront. It is exponentially more morbid to confront a shadow that has already come away with your positive conscious traits (empathy, compassion, what have you) than to do so with a full arsenal, so to speak. The more the hyper-agreeable person continues on the path of baseless selflessness, the bigger chance they risk of losing themselves to other people, quite literally giving up themselves for the chance of making somebody else’s day a bit better. A noble goal, but a goal that in the end benefits nobody and decimates the hyper-agreeable person. There comes a point where you become less of an individual and more of a caricature that people have constructed you as; you become something less than a personality. You yourself become a strawman, built up of the weak epithets of gratitude you receive in return.

This can spiral into full-scale neuroticism and depression in the snap of a finger. After all, if you become nothing, and you begin to ask yourself the question of what you are, what can you answer with? The hyper-agreeable person might begin to realize the emptiness they have left themselves with. They have quite literally given up their entire soul to the world, and have received nothing meaningful in return. There is now nothing left but that damn shadow. At this point, you can’t even continue to try and keep up the pretense that you’re a good person because you’re so emotionally and psychologically drained that there’s no way you could fathom continuing to be empathetic and compassionate on the massive scale you were.

All of this is assuming that, again, you hadn’t done the responsible thing and confronted your shadow beforehand. Selflessness, genuine selflessness, must be done with a foundation. If you have a grip on yourself — that is, you’ve confronted yourself, you’ve begun the road to self-realization, you can then stand on two feet without being knocked over by the slightest gust of wind. You can outpour your compassion, your empathy, and your love for humanity, and you will still always know who you are. You can stand up for yourself in negotiations and ensure your own benefit so that you might live to love another day. If you can be a sturdy pillar, you can survive when people try to take you down and take advantage of your goodness. One of the ultimate quests of humanity is to try and mitigate the suffering of life, and a truly good person who knows who they are, what they are capable of, and where they stand, might stand somewhat of a chance to make a dent in the eternal cycle of existential crisis. A hyper-agreeable person might be able to do a good impression of a truly noble man, but it is temporary and bound to fail. Happiness is not like matter, of which there is a finite amount of it. Happiness is not something distributed from one person to another. The truly good person is able to grow positives out of positives and distribute their yields of good faith however they so desire. This is not the case with the hyper-agreeable person, who gives themselves up and doesn’t take care of themselves. You can only change the world to your liking if you yourself are mentally sound. Take care of yourself before you try and give yourself up to people who might not appreciate it.

From the Editor: What Makes a Person Good? – The Shadow

Roman King | U.S.

Humanity is an incredibly complex machination, and yet there is this tendency to take massively complicated systems and concepts and break them down into something within the realm of common understanding. Such is the tendency of human morality. The subject of morality is infinitely complex and philosophers and psychologists have argued for millennia about finding a place of an agreement; despite this, the average person can somewhat understand the difference between a “good” and “bad” person. The outward actions of a person determine what a society views them as; if a person acts on their positive conscience, they will be seen as a good person, and if a person acts on the dictions of their unconscious shadow, they will most likely be seen as a bad person. For many people, this is where the thought process ends, because most unenlightened people care for nothing but the instant gratification of the society they participate in. This is incorrect. Incredibly so, as a matter of fact. The measure of “goodness”, for lack of a better term, usually comes not from outward actions, but the levels of strife and turmoil within a person’s ego. The truth is much more complex and requires critical and uncomfortable thinking about the traits that make up your unconscious being.

Carl Jung was a notable Swiss clinical psychologist, and he wrote often on the “shadow”, the part of a person’s personality that the conscious ego does not identify with. Generally speaking, the shadow consists mostly of traits the conscious ego rejects, for whatever reason (fear of social ostracization, lack of utility, etc.). For most people, then, the shadow is where undesirable traits generally lay in the mind. Greed, jealousy, what have you. In some way, this is a necessary defense mechanism because most healthy people are at least capable of realizing that these traits aren’t something to actively express. The shadow serves a very important purpose and recognizing it is an important step to self-realization and self-determination. In Civilization in Transition, Vol. 10 of Carl Jung’s Collected Works, he writes “To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light.” If a person is truly to be enlightened, he must be familiar with his entire self. This isn’t as easy as it seems, however; this requires a person to confront his/herself, and this can truly be a frightening and horrifying thing to do because we don’t want to acknowledge that we are capable of this. It seems, to the unaware eye, or perhaps the fearful eye, that there would be nothing to gain from embracing their Jungian shadow; why would I want to have the dragon as a tangible part of my personality when I could simply be “good”? Well, for one, “good”, in this context, oftentimes has nothing to do with the mental stability of the self, and is nothing but an empty epithet to give the impression of positivity, but this isn’t even the largest problem with ignoring your shadow; the true issue is much darker and much more catastrophic than simply being shallow.

As much as we might not like to admit it, the shadow is a part of ourselves, and it will always be there. It will be there no matter how much we attempt to construct walls around it; despite any efforts we might not throw at it, it will always be a part of our personality and it will always be a crucial part of who we are as humans. It seems so obvious when you put it in these terms, but an object is not whole if it does not have absolutely all of its components. This is different from removing unwanted components from a machine that would function better without them; this is the acceptance of critical pieces of the personality that, no matter how undesirable you find them, must be tackled eventually. You ignore the shadow at your own peril. For whatever reasons you continue to block off the shadow, the less complete you are, and the less stable you are. The shadow is necessary because truly good people are able to turn into monsters in a dire crisis. A truly good person realizes these undesirable traits and their existence, comes to grips with them, and then — and this is the crucial thing — they reign them in and control them. They can take the shadow, which is often times a miserable, dark corner of the mind full of suffering, and utilize it. This increases mental independence, social independence, and the ability to grow as a person. Think of it in these simple terms; it is much better to have a pet dragon, a domesticated dragon that you can use to your own benefit than to be defenseless against the world. This is in direct contrast with the Good™ Person, who is nothing but a doormat and a puppet for other people’s narratives and rhetorics. I mentioned how ignoring your shadow is truly a catastrophic tragedy, and this is how. Think of a house. The house that you have pictured in your mind’s eye right now is your personality. Generally speaking, you want your house to be something you can live comfortably in. You want a clean, organized house; something that you can come to grips with and understand the chaos and suffering that is life. You might even want that house to look nice. You might want this house to have nice shades, a good looking roof, hedge work and bushes in your front yard. This is all well and fine, but what is a house without a foundation? What is a house without supports to keep it standing through disaster? If a tornado blows across your house, you want your house to be able to at least defend itself against the onslaught, if not capable of entirely surviving it. The shadow serves a similar role. I made a brief mention that life is suffering earlier, and I think there is truth to this assertion. This is significantly different than suggesting that life is meaningless; there is definitely meaning and lessons to be learned in tragedy — and if you subscribe to this, the meaning of life is to justify this suffering and to find a reason to continue moving forward by your own machinations. One of the only ways you will ever find this justification is to find a place to build yourself off of so that you might make it out the other end alive.

“Good” people, that is, people more concerned with appearing good or ignoring their shadow, might, for a long time, find some amount of success in being an agreeable yes-man. There comes real gratification with making other people happy, there really does. There will always come a point in time, however, where tragedy will strike, and that person will be completely knocked off of their feet. They will be handed a place to stand, and the odds are that it will be by a person or force that does not have their best interests at heart, and they will be forced to do something incredibly terrifying — they will have to confront themselves about who they are. They will have to confront their demons, and they will not be prepared for it. It very well might ruin them for an extended period of time. This isn’t to say that one should go about and adopt the shadow as their conscious ego; that’s a one-way ticket to sociopathy. You very well can confront your deep unconscious and look it in the eye without losing some of your conscious, positive good to it, and that’s where a person will begin to fully realize themselves and point themselves in a direction that can complete the human urge for fulfillment.

A person absolutely cannot be completely good if they refuse to acknowledge their own unconscious. A person cannot even begin to dream of being at peace with themselves, to begin the spiritual transition from crawling to walking, without actually being a whole person. Those that are nothing but empty, shallow caricatures of what the unintelligent masses want to see are exactly that; empty and shallow. There is absolutely nothing to gain from ignoring your shadow; all you do is put yourself at the mercy of existential crises, and that is a battle that you are absolutely better off not fighting if you can help it. Truly good people actually have a place to stand, and that place to stand is there because they have confronted themselves and acknowledged the existence of their undesirable traits. The question of whether or not a person is good isn’t one to be answered by cosmetic, outsider traits, because those public, cosmopolitan masks of goodwill people put up in order to fulfill the wants of other people are nothing but masks and are meaningless in answering the question of who and what a person is. Truly good people are stable beings, which is what translates into good action, which is what baseless “good people” try to impersonate and act like. To conclude, the true good person is that who has faced themselves, come to grips with the horrors within, and uses that uncouth knowledge to attempt and grow and better themselves as moral human beings.