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.