How this investigation began
“Neurosis, with its propensity for repetition, does seem to be incompatible with the free deployment of criticism. But, precisely because they are trapped in repetition, neurotics are in fact the best at encouraging criticism. [N]eurotics can, in certain conditions, become the best spur to criticism.”
—Dany-Robert Dufour, The Art of Shrinking Heads
I first took an interest in Jordan Peterson in September of 2016, due to his refusal to submit to Bill c-16, which he claimed compelled speech around gender pronouns. I was at the time wholly sympathetic and in full support of his stance.
As Peterson’s popularity grew, however, and the focus shifted onto Peterson himself and his various theories about human existence, my interest level dropped. Then, in early 2018, Peterson did the interview with Cathy Newman and released his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, and his fame exploded. This happened so rapidly, and so improbably, that he once again caught my interest.
Actually, it was my wife’s interest in Peterson—her insistence that something remarkable was happening here—that compelled me to pay attention. And as a many-times-published author who has achieved neither fame nor income from writing, I found her interest in Peterson (not to mention Peterson’s miraculous ascent) extremely annoying. Naturally, the more she insisted I pay attention to Peterson, the more I resisted, and it reached the point where we couldn’t discuss Jordan Peterson without getting into an argument.
What Some Call Conspiracy Theory
I possess—or I am possessed by—the firm belief (roughly and crudely summed up) that anyone who achieves a position of power and influence in our society is either consciously or unconsciously complicit with a ruling cryptocracy. But don’t worry, this is not the focus of the present series—I have just finished a trilogy of books for that; I only mention it because this belief was, in some sense (along with my wife and the following dream), the impetus for it.
Because of these combined factors (i.e., my distrust for Peterson now he had become Man of the Hour, and my wife’s apparent admiration of him), I was feeling quite a bit of hostility towards Peterson. While this certainly put me in the company of a large number of other people, they weren’t the sort of people I wanted for company (to this day I find the anti-Jordans far more objectionable than Jordan even at his worst).
The final straw—appropriately enough since Peterson is a psychologist deeply influenced by Jungian ideas—was when I had a dream about Peterson.
Jordan Peterson as Solar Father Figure
In the dream, he gave me a nugget of gold. The gold belonged to my wife (who was doing a course with Peterson and being counseled on her narcissism) but for some reason it had to come to me via him. I put the gold in my mouth and swallowed it. After that there was some business about a letter Peterson had written which I was helping him deliver.
That same night, I dreamt of my father. I met him at an outdoor café with my sister and gave him a letter. There was violence erupting on the streets and he expressed concern for me. I was touched by this and I told him I loved him. He said “I love you too”—something my father never said to me, at least that I remember.
When I told my wife about the dream, she said, “Maybe that was the gold you swallowed.”
Whatever the meaning of the dream, my resistance to “The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon” was effectively dissolved by the workings of my unconscious, and I began to listen to his lecture series “The Psychological Significance of the Bible.” While I was still less than halfway through, I began to write the first exploratory notes for this series.
Destroying My Own Ideal
In the lecture in the Bible series I had just listened to (“Cain and Abel: The Hostile Brothers”), Peterson talked about the slaying of Abel by his jealous brother Cain (a myth I used as a partial blueprint for understanding my own filial relationship in Paper Tiger).
Peterson said that, when Cain killed Abel, he destroyed “his own ideal.” He then used the phrase, “the desire to pull down people you would like to be,” to describe Cain’s self-destructive motivation.
I realized at once that this was a close partial match with what I was doing—at least potentially—with Peterson.
I had embarked on one more in a series of “takedowns” that have characterized my literary career since I turned forty: Carlos Castaneda, my brother (Paper Tiger, Seen and Not Seen), Whitley Strieber (Prisoner of Infinity), Clint Eastwood and Pauline Kael (Seen and Not Seen), John de Ruiter (Dark Oasis), Stanley Kubrick (The Kubrickon, unpublished), and Aleister Crowley (The Vice of Kings).
In many ways, Peterson is the closest I have come to a mirror image of myself, or at least to an idealized version of myself which I once held. But if Peterson is a close match to an old ideal of mine, this means that, to some degree, he is still that.
The internalized image of a past hope for a future self must be present now, in the present, if only in the form of disillusionment. And disillusionment means not just a clearer view of reality (and of my own true potential, outside of idealized images), but also the emotional quotient of disappointment.
This is a feeling that cannot necessarily be negotiated away by rational insights.
The Problem of Status
“[W]e can say that history is a series of subjections to great figures placed at the center of symbolic configurations.[T]he subject has been subjected to a variety of fictions and a great deal of effort was required to construct each of them. Each of these fictions was a major production or a very demanding scenography.”
—Dany-Robert Dufour, The Art of Shrinking Heads
When someone attains the status that Peterson has attained, in the way he has attained it—by apparent virtue rather the whim of consumer tastes, or worse, political graft—he becomes something extremely rare: a symbol of greatness, a heroic cultural signifier.
I don’t think it’s possible, for men at least, to respond to a heroic signifier like Peterson in a neutral way. We can be indifferent to Peterson as a person, but not to his position of power and social influence. It was my acute awareness of this that fueled those arguments with my wife (and I knew it). Peterson has been talking about this for decades: status as the primary determinant of our feelings about ourselves and others.
As men of inferior social status (if not virtue), we have no choice but to respond to Peterson—whether we consciously acknowledge it or not—with a degree of admiration, envy, or outright hostility (which I don’t think can be separated from envy). Admiration equals alignment with the great figure via subjection to him; envy, which aspires to equality, amounts to opposition, often violent.
The Mimetic Double-Bind: Why Cain Slew Abel
[This passage has been added for clarification since first posting the article, in response to feedback.]
To expand on this a little: when we admire someone, we are using them, to whatever degree, as a model for emulation and so we become subject to them, i.e., we adapt or try to adapt our own subjectivity to match our view of them. That’s what emulation is, and, similar to transference in psychotherapy, while it’s not inherently sinister, it does involve risks.
Envy equals aspiring to equality because, when we envy someone, we want what they have, and this then leads to an oppositional position because we see them as having what we want (as described in Rene Girard’s theory of the mimetic double bind).
Admiration/alignment might seem like the safer route than opposition. Yet, according to Girard, the one invariably leads to (and/or obscures) the other. What we aspire to emulate, we are eventually driven to compete with.
As we emerge from being subject to the heroic/paternal figure, we enter into competition with him, as in (Girard’s adaptation of) the Oedipal Complex. This is implicit in the saying “It is a poor disciple who does not surpass his master,” and explicit in the one I used as the title for this article.
In our struggle to order chaos, an ideal starts out as a motivational tool but ends up as an obstacle to be destroyed (or at least got around). Cain slew Abel. The ethic that structures our perception eventually becomes oppressive to it.
Every patriarch becomes a tyrant in the end.
An Internalized Father-Image
The degree to which Peterson is a mirror for an internalized father-image—an image I need to “take down” to see myself accurately—is, I think inseparable from my belief about successful cultural figures being necessarily corrupt (my father was a very successful businessman).
Both these factors are central to my reasons for “taking on” the challenge of a literary examination of Jordan Peterson, in relation to his soaring (initially I typed souring) success, and how this all-but convinced me he could not possibly be up to any good in the world (even if he believed he was).
Writing the present work is a chance for me to reexamine this belief and discover how much is sourced in childhood dis-appointment (not being met by my father at the appointed hour, i.e., when I most needed him to be there), and how much stems from a genuine capacity for “smelling a rat.”
But of course there is more to it than this, otherwise I might just as well keep these musings to my private journals and spare the reader.
Because, to whatever extent Peterson has acted as a mirror for my own ancestral patterns, it is apparently nothing compared to how much he has affected others in a similar fashion. It is only because Jordan Peterson has “gone viral” and had such a rapid and far-reaching impact that I find him sufficiently compelling to want to address his ideas at all.
Jordan Peterson & Conceptual Contagion
What compels me to write about Jordan Peterson is a combination of his transmission with its reception.
This is a curious realization in itself: do ideas become more interesting and meaningful simply by becoming contagious? Such is indeed the case.
My own position on Peterson is certainly mixed. Just as he divides people into camps of fiercely for and against, so I am divided within myself (though not especially fiercely).
Having read his 12 Rules book, I am less than impressed but far from uninterested. It is tempting, as an obscure, long-suffering writer, to express my frustration that a work so apparently flawed, and in many ways quite simplistic, should receive such massive endorsement and success.
It is tempting to pick apart all the ways in which it fails as a work. But this would be counterproductive for my current endeavor. Peterson’s critics—or more accurately his attackers—wish to argue (and believe) that the fact so many people respond to Peterson only proves that people lack discernment.
What they can’t allow themselves to consider (I suspect not even in the privacy of their own thoughts) is that it might just as well indicate that there is something about Peterson which they are not getting, and that they need to look closer before looking away.
Jordan Peterson-the-Scapegoat (A Series of Hit-Pieces)
Most of the critical pieces about Peterson and his work have been less than balanced or well-argued analyses (see for example one of the better hit-pieces, “The Intellectual We Deserve“). It is as if the authors find it too galling to take Peterson seriously, either to give him credit for any good ideas or positive influence, or, to give his work sufficient attention to formulate cogent arguments about why it is not worth their attention.
They seem to think a superior, derisive tone will be more effective at discouraging people from taking Peterson seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth.
By denigrating Peterson as if anyone with any taste ought to know better than to take him seriously (except possibly as a crypto-fascist shoehorn for Trumpian social terrors), they are also denigrating everyone who does take Peterson seriously, and who believes he is a positive cultural figure (because he has had a beneficent effect in their lives).
It is likely that such people will only find their loyalty deepening—and growing in ferocity—as a response to such “critical arguments.” Since many of them read more like persecutions than reasoned criticism, they only reinforce Peterson’s role as scapegoat—which was front and center from the start.
By doing so, they continue to bestow upon him that special power granted by a culture founded on the worship of an archetypal scapegoat.
By attempting to tear down the Peterson icon, they reinforce its Messianic nature.
Are Peterson’s errors portals of discovery?
My perspective for this present work is that it doesn’t actually matter if Peterson is getting everything wrong when he has this many people’s attention. (By that I mean, he would be no less worthy of our attention.)
If we give him Peterson benefit of the doubt, he is at least trying to figure these things out publicly, and he deserves respect for doing so, regardless of what we think of how he is going about it.
Even if we withdraw that benefit and decide he has collapsed the superimposition of possible interpretations into his own neo-traditional dogma by writing his own rulebook, and got it all wrong, he has still opened up some new possibilities for looking at how and why he got it wrong.
This can create new opportunities for dialogue, both with ourselves and with one another.
Joyce wrote in Ulysses, “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”
I don’t think Peterson is a man of genius. I don’t even necesarily believe in men of genius ~ as anything but fictional constructs “placed at the center of symbolic configurations” in order to make us subject to them. Nor do I believe Peterson’s errors are volitional. But I do consider them to be potential portals of discovery. The aim of this series is to line up those potential portals so they can be used to arrive at the truth.
At the very least, as a cultural phenomenon that is making as many people happy as unhappy, Jordan Peterson is worth a closer look in more or less the same way that Elvis or Marilyn are, or once were, worth a closer look.
What these figures say about the audience cults (and the channels of mass media) that made them popular—and pervasive—that turned them into pop archetypes, clearly has social relevance independent of the value of their particular cultural “transmissions.”
Their popularity, in fact, points towards their very archetypal qualities, as well as imbuing them with such via mass projection. Not just any surface serves as a cultural mirror.
With Peterson, there is an extra layer of complexity, nuance, and irony at play, because Peterson is talking about archetypes, and has created a philosophical (and many would say ideological) platform primarily centered around the idea of archetypes and the narratives that host and define them.
In his role as professor-prophet who uses stories as teaching devices, Peterson has effectively stepped into an archetypal role and narrative, that of the wise elder-teacher.
By volunteering to act as a spokesperson (or spokesfrog) for archetypal meanings, Jordan Peterson has offered himself up for archetypal possession, to become a mouthpiece for those meanings, an avatar on the world stage.
The emergence of chaos
It is at this point that the message becomes indistinguishable from the medium. It is also at this point that the medium-who-would-be-messenger becomes a channel for the unconscious—and perhaps also the unconscious will—of the collective.
The proof is that it is this same collective that lifts him up to a “high place” of influence.
Is this perhaps the emergence of chaos into a habitable host? It is the stuff not just of melodrama but of tragedy, history, and of myth. No wonder if it is difficult to tear our gaze away. And if we are going to gaze into this opening abyss, we may as well take notes.
This is my own Petersonian endeavor to articulate the chaos I am seeing, and invite you to inhabit it.
#SaveJordanPeterson and share this damn article.
I like the guy. Mostly.
In regards to giving traction for your pieces on Peterson, you might consider posting them on reddit, if you haven’t or haven’t considered that. Specifically, /r/JordanPeterson/, and r/enoughpetersonspam/. The former, is a pro peterson subreddit (though they are still willing to engage interesting criticism and analysis), the latter is mostly a lefty, circle jerk-y, “shut-up Dad!” type of place. If you tailor the link titles for each place, I’m pretty sure they’ll go over well, and you’ll get a lot of eyeballs.
I don’t have any reddit cred. It would be much better if someone who did posted the links.
3 reddit threads:
I’m most amused at your suspicious nature and the jealousy which your wife’s appreciation of Peterson aroused.
Also how you still don’t seem to have addressed why it is that you imagine that someone can only gain success by playing to the cultural establishment.
The Cathy Newman interview was a milestone which broke this misconception. Peterson has taught at Harvard and has ‘paid his dues’ as they used to say. He hasn’t appeared from nowhere, he has been building to this with substance all his life. You might consider why you haven’t achieved the same level of public approbation ~ probably because you haven’t done the ground work that has gone into Peterson’s life achievement.
It’s all totally amusing how you fail to recognise your superior when you see him.
I love and really appreciate how self aware you are. And pulling back your perspective to include your own growth in the process.
Interesting. I can’t help but think that a key aspect of Peterson’s success is in fact that he does not really get to the root of the issues he discusses, but only appears to. In his professor-prophet archetypal guise he is able to stand as a token of these issues, of their happy resolution someday in a kingdom far far away, so to speak. This very remove makes him ultimately nonthreatening and accessible, as well as marketable.
Having dipped into a small portion of his Youtube output (he seems a bit of a compulsive, though not the most gripping speaker) I share your ambivalence as to his perspicuity, his depth. He has tapped into something but only has been allowed to because somehow it is perceived, even by his devotees, that he will not take things **too** far, say by demanding a revivification of real mythology in daily life, or a rejection of the voguish neuroevolutionary nihilism of the times. Whether he can serve as a nucleus for real change without such depths on just the strength of the archetype he evokes–can become a token or totem of something he cannot articulate or even misarticulates–is a very necessary question.
While the search for paternally-based motivations for your reaction seems to me valid enough, I hope you don’t go so far as to chalk your doubts up to mere resentment at Peterson’s newfound popularity and prestige.
Our system seems to depend on continual substitution of genuine and disruptive insights with tame ones decked out in the rebel’s costume–on a series of “Ersatz”. Perhaps a chain of “lesser evil” Ersatz may eventually lead to the genuine–but I tend to think if so it will be through the precipitation of an abrupt disillusionment and rupture. (One may hold one’s breath underwater for a time and feel quite all right, even imagine it to be one’s natural state, but soon it becomes obvious that you must either lunge for the surface or admit to a secret longing to black out.)
The quality of some of the comments that appear here, often by first-time posters (AFAIK), is quite remarkable. It give me the sense of an invisible, mostly silent, body of empathic support, like a band of brothers in the trenches.
Rest assured I include my own patterns only to be thorough and complete, to make clear the configuration of the lens before pointing it at the thing being analysed. That way we all know what sort of (hopefully minor) distortions are likely to show up in the picture that emerges.
I suspect we are legion 🙂 Often in quite out of the way places you can find remarkably perceptive people, sometimes making do in humble callings, sometimes drinking themselves to oblivion. It’s interesting to think how much intellectual ability perhaps gets dismissed by not eagerly enough subserving the approved modes of thought.
Anyhow, keep writing.
No shit, & amen
It’s good that there are precedents for his question ‘what kind of critic is this JH fellow?’ … at a glance he might not like the thought of getting the ‘takedown’ treatment you give to Strieber and de Ruiter, but then again he can reasonably expect to fare better than them… point being the stated motive of your initial foray into JBP is very consistent with your encounters with Strieber and de Ruiter: “I have gone from unequivocal admiration and identification, to growing suspicion and skepticism, to irritation, distrust and outright hostility, and gradually back to now-heavily-qualified admiration, and more cautiously calibrated identification.”
These are not people who you decided to deconstruct because they annoy you and you look down on them, they are people whom you have taken to heart and seen the best of and worked to continue seeing that way… you have a history of honourable motive in this ‘takedown’ genre, is the point.
I started with your brother’s book(Found it in a bin…really)Then found you….I’m about the same age as you and have a dandy for a older bro…So that and much more is why I find your work SO good…Many thanks
Have you read Paper Tiger or Seen & Not Seen?
I’ve just read the Telegraph magazine article on JBP. Quite good in that it respected what he had to say, but I was left with the lingering feeling that they only did that because they were intellectually unable to take him down and were being reasonable to him through gritted teeth.
The problem that some people, mostly leftists, seem to have with Professor Peterson is that he is right (he has evidence) and they don’t like it. They don’t like it up ’em at all!
But those who are intellectually unable to match him (like the doyen of feminist interviewers on the mainstream, Cathy Newman) are left with no other option than to suggest (with a distinct lack of evidence) that he is in some way a fake, that he can only have got where he is today by some kind of collusion with the mainstream (despite his antagonism to it) in the manner of Trump and the Russians. And in like manner the post modernists and leftists who dearly wish to destroy him have as much evidence as Robert Mueller against Potus45 (none).
The Cathy Newman interview was a belwether for the year 2018. The left, profoundly out of its depth, struggling to fight with nothing more than ad hominems and epithets, are screaming and kicking their heels against the floor because their fantasies are being exposed for the empty tropes that they are.
2018 is already turning out to be as interesting a year as 2016, as the cultural left continue to crumble before the reassertion of liberty by people who understand what it is.
Those who fail to understand that Peterson is an honest man who just wants to help improve people’s lives will continue to claw at his coattails in anger and resentment because he won’t pander to their narcissistic whims. And they will have as much success against him as did Cathy Newman.
I’m really enjoying 2018!
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What’s funny about all this is I think you’re way more interesting than JBP – or his critics. I wanted one of them to sum up his work before I devoted 100s of hours to watching him think on YouTube – I have also pondered his status as an overnight sensation, and like you i’m cynical as to the causes of his success – maybe he’s the man of the hour because of decades of hard work that would have gone unnoticed if not for the televised and social media-tized incident at U of T followed by the Lindsay Shepherd matter which I am sure galvanized many – even people who normally remain indifferent. It helps to have a Flashpoint to capitalize on – and a bunch of people on both sides ready to rally around or against you. He got lucky – and social conservatives suddenly had a new hero to write about. It does remind me of how the media flocked to Leonard Cohen in the final decades (!) of his career because they love a guy who doesn’t rock the boat yet can speak for millions – whether or not either is saying anything that is worth deconstructing, they both serve to distract and entertain us with their Old Ideas.
I think you deserve a much larger platform than you currently have – I hope this JBP campaign helps you build one – and if not, then I hope you won’t give up. You deserve the kind of success that the media have handed to Peterson on a silver platter – but I suspect they won’t hand the same to you because you are real, relevant and edgy – they hate that and want to keep the public fixated on stale material – it makes them look deserving of their high paid jobs at the Toronto Star where their role as writers is to hold us all back not unleash our intuition.
Believe in yourself, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your time will come —
I like this, but if Jasun ever gets popular I will miss our Heyoka 😉
The heyoka (heyókȟa, also spelled “haokah,” “heyokha”) is a kind of sacred clown in the culture of the Lakota people of the Great Plains of North America. The heyoka is a contrarian, jester, and satirist, who speaks, moves and reacts in an opposite fashion to the people around them.
“Those who practice Crazy Wisdom do not take themselves so seriously, and they surrender entirely to their natural character traits. However, they usually exist at the far edge of society, as they are often seen as troublemakers, delinquents, or divergents.
Heyokas, with their Crazy Wisdom, walk into the unknown with a strong faith that whatever they may endure is part of their destiny, and that if anything goes wrong, they have the ability to alter their course. They recognize impermanence, and that every move they take, whether positive or negative, leads to a lesson they need to learn.
Some people feel uncomfortable knowing that their hidden negative traits or tendencies become unveiled while in a Heyoka’s company. Often they are subconsciously attempting to guard their true character, and so, they don’t understand why the Heyoka’s presence causes them to feel so uneasy.
Heyokas are unpredictable and unconventional, and they do not adhere to society’s expectations, abide by rules, uphold cultural conditioning, or follow the masses. They are often seen as loose cannons, as people never know what they might do next. They are not afraid to ask the taboo questions that others may avoid, and their comfort zones are usually the areas in which the majority of people feel most uncomfortable.
Heyokas are reminders that nobody is enlightened, as enlightenment is a journey, not a destination. They show us how we are all a teacher and student at the same time, and that none of us know everything—as soon as someone thinks they do, their mind becomes narrow, limited, or closed to learning.
Many people fear the jovial but ruthless Heyoka, so they may either mask their true feelings or intentions, or avoid getting too close to them altogether. However, Heyokas have an inherent, natural skill that allows them to evoke the greatest revelations and provide people with the opportunity to discover deep, personal, and ancient knowledge through the use of chaos and humor.
Heyokas are spiritual teachers whose role on earth is to ruffle feathers and upset the status quo in order to advance evolution for a higher purpose that isn’t always recognisable or instantly understood, as at the time, it can feel extremely disruptive.”
Yeaahhhhh……chaos, humor, impermanence, divergence.
A higher purpose not recognizable or instantly understood.
Guess that explains my “tour of duty” on Planet Earth so far LOL.
Jesus would have been pissed at me, if I was in his gang.
That dude was way too serious.
“Those who practice Crazy Wisdom do not take themselves so seriously, and they surrender entirely to their natural character traits. However, they usually exist at the far edge of society, as they are often seen as troublemakers, delinquents, or divergents.”
Authenticity does not sell. It is what it is.
This whole thing has given me some food for contemplation.
Heyokas are reminders that nobody is enlightened, as enlightenment is a journey, not a destination.
Glad you posted it as it gave me a chance to think a bit more about this spiritual cliche and how annoying I find it.
Let’s suppose it were true that enlightenment was a journey without end, an unattainable goal that only the Heyokas are crazy-wise enough to see the folly of. Does that imply that, by realizing that there is no way to ever arrive at their destination, the Heyokas have reached a state of no longer seeking? I think it must, since the alternative would be that they are either stupid, delusional, or insane, and that they continue seeking something that can’t ever be attained.
So then, if they have reached the end of seeking, how is that not enlightenment (a destination point that ends at least one part of the journey)?
Turns out the statement about Heyokas (which you can be sure wasn’t made by a Heyoka) is just the same old spiritual shell-game at play. “I’m so enlightened that I get to say that there is no such thing as enlightenment. Sucker!”
How is it we still fall for this malarkey? That’s the real question.
That’s a nice phrase you end on, “unleash our intuition.” Thanks for the kind words. I am working on a summation of JBP’s thesis right now, as happens, for the next installment of the series.
Here we go. When it hits the mainstream…it’s “stale material” as anndiamond points out:
““I’m really only interested in building this intellectual movement,” Eric Weinstein said. “The I.D.W. has bigger goals than anyone’s buzz or celebrity.”
The I.D.W. eh?
“The exile of Bret Weinstein and Ms. Heying from Evergreen State brought them to the attention of a national audience that might have come for the controversy but has stayed for their fascinating insights about subjects including evolution and gender. “Our friends still at Evergreen tell us that the protesters think they destroyed us,” Ms. Heying said. “But the truth is we’re now getting the chance to do something on a much larger scale than we could ever do in the classroom.”
““I’ve been at this for 25 years now, having done all the MSM shows, including Oprah, Charlie Rose, ‘The Colbert Report,’ Larry King — you name it,” Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine, told me. “The last couple of years I’ve shifted to doing shows hosted by Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Sam Harris and others. The I.D.W. is as powerful a media as any I’ve encountered.”
Join the “movement”…and find YouTube glory!?!
And another point:
“I don’t think it’s possible, for men at least, to respond to a heroic signifier like Peterson in a neutral way. ”
Why not? Remember one of the most important “commandments”:
“Jesus said, be passers-by”
That dude only had a literal handful of “commandments” he laid out.
Whoever said it or wrote it down knew one of the key truths.
Sometimes the simplest idea is the hardest to follow.
“What does a passerby do? He observes and gathers information. Then he keeps moving on to new areas (of study).”
“Never be defined by one place or situation. Be passersby. – Hoya”
“One who passes through is as much a messenger as he/she is a listener; the lifestyle here dictated is one of devotion to both observation of the world and to the need for people to strengthen communication of the ‘truth’. – alex”
These “I.D.W.” (lol) people weren’t *devoted* to much of anything from the start. Some were part of a system and now find themselves on it’s bad side. Some are opportunists. This is some bandwagon jumping shit. Maybe we can set up a festival for em all like Burning Man and charge big bux at the gate.
Authenticity is key, as I said before on this blog. It is it’s own reward.
The Intellectual Dark Web ~ as promoted by the NY Times! Does anyone really believe this s***?
Talk about controlled opposition; and the pendulum swung on.
“I don’t think it’s possible, for men at least, to respond to a heroic signifier like Peterson in a neutral way. ”
The short answer is, “Rene Girard.” See “Problem of Status” and the mostly new section after it, Mimetic Double Bind, which I added in response to reddit complaint that it was too difficult to understand. (Never say I don’t respond to public demand.)
You can aspire to neutrality, sure, and becoming a passer-by, assuming its desirable. LC sung a song about it. But it’s probably on about the same level as aspiring to imitate Christ, without being the same thing. I prefer aspiring to be honest about my failed aspirations. 😉
“In our struggle to order chaos, an ideal starts out as a motivational tool but ends up as an obstacle to be destroyed (or at least got around). Cain slew Abel.”
I always instinctively thought something was wrong with that story. Something about it was bullshit.
“The narrative never explicitly states Cain’s motive for murdering his brother, nor God’s reason for rejecting Cain’s sacrifice, nor details on the identity of Cain’s wife. Some traditional interpretations consider Cain to be the originator of evil, violence, or greed. According to Genesis, Cain was the first human born and Abel was the first to die.”
After reading the wiki article I come to the same conclusion now that I did as a child.
The only thing you can possibly learn from the story is not to be an asshole.
God was being an asshole, and Cain acted like an asshole. Nothing beyond that can be said.
(The whole “smell of burning meat pleases me” from other God stories is weird)
Cain should have been a “passer-by”. After God crapped on his effort, he needed to simply walk away and do his own thing.
Don’t look for favor from any “hero” or a god(s). They will bullshit you eventually. The letdown.
When one has good wine,
a graceful boat,
and a maiden’s love,
why envy the immortal gods?
– Li Po
Chaos is gonna make a big comeback I think. All the “world wars” and religion terror are just attempts to impose somebody’s (new world) order on others anyway. Do you wanna be Cain and pick up+use the first deadly rock? Got no shortage of those kinds of unthinking people.
Guess what. That NYT article link was *just* pulled off Drudge Report. Weird.
Funny thing, I only looked at the DR for the hell of it today after ignoring it for a while. It’s cool to check DR and see what is gonna get the I.D.W. worked up about next.
There was a conspiracy forum a while back called “Article Chase”. Domain does not exist anymore (just checked). That clever name basically sums up part of the ongoing propaganda etc. “operations”. Make people talk about *specific* topics (not of their choice) *when* you want them to discuss the topics.
KK: I think you are practicing “crazy wisdom” (c.f. your above post).
CW is not something I either believe in or practice, tho I did just get accused of cyber trickery on Faceborg for not telegraphing my meanings enough for the ideologically on-guard not to get triggered.
I think CW was invented by the CIA as cover for their trained sociopaths with trauma-generated super-id-egos.
You don’t pass God by. God is not a character in a social drama or a dispensable philosophical principle; God is the Source of Reality and Reality itself. So if you piss off the Source of Reality and Reality itself the fault, dear Kain, is not in the Stars.
I say settle down and read some Girard before invoking chaos wisdom; one thing JBP is right about, the stories aren’t just stories.
Well, that text I linked just tossed in the “crazy wisdom” part…it’s attached to some Tibetan malarkey.
But I did find some of the Heyoka business interesting. A lot of it is way,way close to home.
I don’t think you can just decide to do it on a whim.
Reality is ok. The written words of men are a minefield.
“In the early part of Girard’s career, there seemed no place for beneficial imitation. Jean-Michel Oughourlian objected that “imitation can be totally peaceful and beneficial; I don’t believe that I am the other, I don’t want to take his place”
“This revelation is even clearer because the text is a work on desire and violence, from the serpent setting alight the desire of Eve in paradise to the prodigious strength of the mimetism that brings about the denial of Peter during the Passion”
Did Girard think of the “Bible” as a single work? First things first…a specific set of Jews wrote the current version of the “Old Testament” and some unknown dudes wrote up the “Gospels”. They have nothing to do with each other in reality. The “Gospels” mention a bunch of things from the earlier literature, namedrop a bit…but are ultimately some serious fiction if you try to authenticate anything in the writings.
If fictional, how can you create deep, grand theories out of the writings?
Same goes for any world religious texts.
All this deep analysis of men’s written words and all the complicated works themselves….it goes round and round.
“The Struggle To Define Reality” indeed!
I don’t know if Girard thought of the Bible as a single work or not but, as others have pointed out, it can be viewed as such in surprising ways. Girard was a literary critic before he was a philosopher and Bible scholar, and other Bible scholars (Jack Miles, Richard Eliott Friedman) have written about the narrative & thematic consistency of both Old and New testaments (both separately and in relation to one another).
To say “They have nothing to do with each other in reality” is a meaningless statement; obviously they have everything to do with each other “in reality,” because “in reality” they are compiled as one book, and for millions of people they are, in reality, two halves of a single work. It doesn’t require belief in God as the “literal” author of the books to recognize this, or even belief that all the books are results of divine revelation; it only requires a non-reactive (religiously neutral) appraisal of the facts.
The same applies with your argument that you cant create theories out of fiction or religious texts. Firstly, making myth synonymous with fiction suggests a very narrow understanding of what myth is (even if the two are on the same spectrum). Do you consider myth unreal because it doesn’t describe historical events? What about dreams? Are they unreal because we can’t bring dream gold with us when we wake up?
I think I am beginning to see why you seem to favor the ET-intervention view of history. Remove the mythic underpinnings of our perceptions and literalism rushes to fill the void.
I’d say myths are akin to fiction in the same way dreams are akin to waking fantasy (or lies); in the latter case, the conscious mind is in control; in the former, it’s not. We don’t invent our dreams, esp. the deeper kind; we receive them. It’s revelation whether or not you want to attribute it to a divine principal.
I don’t know if you’ve read Paper Tiger but it uses the Cain & Abel myth as a lens through which to understand my own (sometimes traumatic) experiences with my brother and as a result renders them more coherent. If a story renders our everyday lives more meaningful, how is the story less real than everyday life? Couldn’t you just as well argue that it is more real, since it is generating meaning where meaning was not?
It is getting to the etiology of existence, the first causes. Isn’t the realm of causes, by definition, more real than (or at least as real as) the realm of effects?
Here’s a couple of lefty critiques of JP for you, Jasun~ Both quite harsh and smell of intellectual jealousy on their part, methinks. But a good summary of JP’s work, nonetheless.
This is an interesting take. Vox Day on Alex Jones talking about JBP being an agent to “take over the nationalist movement” https://youtu.be/yQi8EH38K2s
First I heard of Vox Day; if he wasn’t on Alex Jones I might even like him! 😉
What do you think?
I think Vox’s two books on SJW’s are totally worth reading. I got a lot of clarity and healing out of them. But I don’t follow him otherwise. He’s a writer and may even be suffering from the same feelings as you regarding JBP hitting the mainstream.
Jasun, I’d love to hear your opinion on something. Is the post-modern, degenerate, SJW meme a large “controlled opposition” that will usher in a dominant right-wing response? Look at how JBP and Trump are heralded as heroes. I just watched Dave Rubin’s new lecture where he’s hit with “protestors” in the audience who derail the entire talk. Dave tries to be nice and accomodating but they walk all over him… https://youtu.be/Knv7ZwIBmvs
I’m sure the majority of reaction to this is anger and rage that they are allowed to go unchecked. As any act of shutting them down or removing them would only prove their point. But I’m willing to be that had Dave called security and had them removed, the crowd would have cheered and felt a massive relief to eliminate the negative psychic energy spoiling the civil discussion.
So is it no wonder people love Trump and JBP because he’s like Daddy finally saying NO to the spoiled brats? Are these SJWs even genuine or are they controlled opposition? Is there an actual intent to move the populace further right by shitting all over their sacred values in an attempt to provoke a response?
Does it have any relation to why the Truth movement seems to be so dominated by Christians? Maybe that’s another topic. But my general feeling is that there is a greater force herding people into a right-wing culdesac, looking for a savior to put an end to the degeneracy and corruption.. for what purpose?
I just had a conversation with Norman Young for the podcast (he runs the site https://thinkoutsidepolitics.com/) about JBP and made exactly this argument, viz a viz the pendulum theory of psycho-sociopolitics. Norman wasn’t convinced and I wonder, if it seems so apparent to us, maybe it’s not the way it’s going to go? I have come to expect the social engineers to always stay several moves ahead – if you expect it, it won’t happen. On the other hand, maybe the predictability of it will play into its inevitability. (The desire for order and control to ease anxiety is also the desire for predictable outcomes.)
I’d like to hear that podcast if you have a link to your episode.
It will be up next weekend.
As a Marxist (like, an actual Marxist, as in a critic of capitalism and proponent of creating a world where the individual is allowed to develop and flourish instead of worrying about paying bills or wasting over half their life as a wage slave, not his imaginary neo-Marxism) he kinda has a laughable understanding of the left. He also has a really terrible understanding of post-modernism. In fact, he uses a LOT of post-modern skepticism, seemingly without realizing it.
His understanding of Jung is also flawed. Jung felt that being held back by the past and tradition was extremely unhealthy.
That aside, his basic life advice is actually kinda okay. And I’m glad some people seem to be genuinely helped by it. I just wish he didn’t attach it to this bizarre affinity for social Darwinism and cultural prejudices. He wants to hold people back with the weight of dead people’s baggage. He even admitted as much in one of his older lectures; that he sees therapy as a way of maintaining social order. The way I see it, a stagnant culture is a dead culture.