Jordan B. Peterson on 12 Rules for LifeFeb 27, 2020
um the talk tonight this is the most popular talk we've done in 15 years tonight is the third um so it's been a Jordan Peterson weekend which has been a great treat for anyone who doesn't know him um and last night I think it was a baby in arms and tonight it's probably my mother he's an associate professor at Harvard University and now a professor of Clinical Psychology in Toronto his first book was a huge success it revolutionized the psychology of religion and his last The The 12 Rules of Life book is set up to do the exact same thing just some cleanup stuff at the end of the talk we're going to have a question I'm going to moderate so get your questions ready please ask them questions and also for those folks on the live stream, it'll be Post-it notes and I couldn't deliver questions to the ushers and we'll answer them as well, um, so I'm looking forward to that and ultimately, us. going to do not so much the assignment, but here on stage a dedication everyone's book is more or less everyone's book is already signed, so if you want, if you don't want a dedication, just leave it on the third page. find the signature so there was a big queue last night as you can imagine so the queue runs smoothly and sorry to sound bossy but he's not going to be doing selfies um um just because it means he has to stand up. all the time and it will slow down the flow but he is very happy to be photographed and you can photograph him if you want, um also because all of us, particularly me, um, are very interested in him solving the problems of Our Lives, um, please. resist doing that during the dedication because it will really slow things down.
I think the three things you can take away from tonight and you will be the judges, firstly be inspired by the talk, secondly read the book and thirdly marry a Canadian, I feel pretty lucky to have done all three now, um, also if you want to tweet your hashtag, the
life, so without further ado, please welcome one of the world's great public intellectuals, Jordan Peterson. oh I thought I'd talk about my book tonight um I've given two talks now and I didn't actually talk directly about it I kind of talked about it but I thought I don't like giving the same talk twice so I thought I'd walk through it and to sum it up a bit, so I didn't spend the better part of a day memorizing the rules you'd think of if you worked on something for three years. or it's been five years I guess you would actually have it memorized but memory is a very strange thing and it's very particular and goal oriented and I didn't actually have the rules memorized and certainly not their numbers so I hope you figured it out do now. so i guess we'll find out but i have a copy of the book here in case i forget so i think we'll go through them one by one and see how that goes seven o'clock so alright alright um the first rule that's a comic rule is stand up straight with your shoulders back and is a meditation, among other things, on the habits of lobsters.
I read some articles about lobsters that must be 10 years ago. I guess they absolutely blew my mind and one of the things I really loved about being a psychologist and there are many things but I really loved psychoanalytic theory and great clinicians, behaviorists too, I mean Freud Jung Adler Carl Rogers. Abraham Maslow that Skinner-like behaviors and cognitive behaviors I mean I've learned a lot from reading doctors, so if any of you are interested in Psychology I would really recommend reading great doctors because you know they learn a lot. much of
lifeis crazy reading them so it's been fun but then on the other end of the spectrum where I've learned the most about psychology is from the really low down or what would you call them real science or in animal behaviors which is where who became neuroscientists in the first place was animal behaviors and then became neuroscientists.
I learned a lot from them. They are such clear thinkers, the best of the bunch. I think there are two of them one. named Jeffrey gray who wrote a book called The Neuropsychology of Anxiety which is just a deadly book it's impossible to read it takes like six months to read it because I think he read like 1800 articles to write it or something and he actually read them that it's the good stuff and he understood them which is really something then there's another guy named Jacques panksep who wrote a book called Affective Neuroscience which describes his studies of for example rats he was the guy who learned that rats get they laugh if you tickle them. the end of a pencil eraser but they giggle ultrasonically like bats so you have to SL you have to slow down the ultrasonic vocalization before you can hear them Laugh and you'll think why the hell would you spend your time tickling rats with a pencil and making them laugh, but look what it showed there was that there was a place in mammals that there's a real psychobiological basis for the game Rough and Tumble, for example, it's a big deal, you know, discovering a whole new circuit in the brain that it's like discovering a continent it's nobel prize winning stuff and panccept affective neuroscience i would highly recommend it so there's also another book i know of which is 12 rules for life you might as well check out if you want anyway .
I was reading these articles on lobsters and I came across this discovery that lobsters govern their postural flexion with serotonin and I thought gosh that's so interesting that's so inflection is this is for standing up straight hey we thought wow that's so interesting because you know what depressed people crouch over me. I wonder if there's any link between those two things and then I went and read a bunch of articles on lobster and lobster neurochemistry. Lobster neurochemistry is actually pretty well understood because they have a pretty simple nervous system, right? complex nervous system, it's a good idea to understand a simple one first and then work it up and it turns out that serotonin governs state, governs state, emotional regulation and posture in lobsters just like it does in humans, and that would be It just blew my mind, so one thing that chapter one deals with is the fact that if a lobster is defeated in a battle for dominance, you can essentially give it antidepressants and it will fight again. so remarkable because one of the things it tells you is, if you imagine you could be the lobster the top dog or the bottom dog, imagine there are 10 layers in the lobster's hierarchy, so you could be number one, the top right lobster number ten the bottom lobster if your bottom lobster has low serotonin and high octopamine that's the neurochemical that humans don't make and if you're a top lobster you have high serotonin and low topamine levels and you can move a lobster up its dominance hierarchy by moderating its serotonin levels and I thought that's very interesting because what it means is that the counter that keeps track of our state and we have a counter in the sense in our minds that keeps track of our state is a third of a billion years old and what that also means is that the idea of the hierarchy, let's call it Harkey dominance because within lobsters it's like a hierarchy of physical prowess, something like that , the idea of hierarchy is at least 350 million years old, so I read that. and I think the idea that human hierarchies are a sociocultural construct is like no, that's wrong, it's not just a little bit wrong, it's unbelievably wrong, it's unbelievably wrong, that's right and that's right, and so, hierarchies, the hierarchies have existed. for a third of a billion years and we have a neurochemical system that modulates our understanding of those hierarchies and this is also what is interesting and this is why people's reputations are so important to them among many reasons but this is one of them is that this counter that you share with the lobsters rates you in terms of your position in the hierarchy determines the ratio of negative emotion to positive emotion that you feel and that's also an absolutely amazing idea for two reasons: one is that it tells you why it's so hard for people to be put down because it doesn't just bother them at the moment it changes the way their whole system responds to the world so now they experience more positive emotions and less negative emotions so that's really harsh and then there's a corollary from that too, that it is as if there is a very close relationship between your belief system and your position of dominance hierarchy.
It's complicated, but worth looking into. and i got the let's call it uh, what would you say? I have been granted the right to a certain position in a social hierarchy. Now the question is why do I have a valid claim to that position and the answer hypothetically is because I know enough for my claim to the position to be valid so if you stand up in the audience and challenge my beliefs and demonstrate that I'm wrong, you could say, well, I get mad because I'm wrong, but it's more accurate. The reason I get upset is because you are signaling to the crowd that my position in the hierarchy of authority is invalid and by doing so you are lowering me down the hierarchy and messing with the neurochemical systems that regulate my emotions, etc.
If you're interested, at least in part, in why people are so prone to defend themselves and their beliefs in the service of their position, then that's why, and that's a great example of how you can learn these amazing things by stumble upon a pretty dark it's a biological fact it's just what would you say it's like a series of dominoes and that's also why biological facts are so useful it's like we don't have to argue about whether or not the social hierarchy says it What I said are hierarchies are social constructions a given hierarchy is influenced in its structure by sociocultural conditioning, let's say but the fact that the hierarchy is so similar to the part of your brain that detects and regulates your response to hierarchies is older than the part of your brain that recognizes trees as it is ancient is actually very fundamental and almost all social animals are organized in Social hierarchies because now the other thing that chapter one is is a little meditation on what might constitute a hierarchy one of my business colleagues a former student of mine from Harvard, a very, very smart guy, he has a graduate degree in engineering from MIT and a PhD in Psychology from Harvard, so there's one of him in the whole world and he's a guy very smart and he helped me design the self-authoring suite for him and he's been working for about 20 years on that um which is a set of programs that help people write about their lives that straighten them out.
He told me to stop using the word domain hierarchy and said the reason for that was because he was infested. with Marxist assumptions and it really bothered me when he first said that because I've been using the word dominance hierarchy for years, he said we had a discussion about that, he said, well, it's based on the idea that you move up the hierarchy human hierarchy as a consequence of the expression of power it's like it's wrong you move up in valid hierarchies as a consequence of the expression of competence and that's technically correct he was exactly the right person to tell me that because he had done his PhD in what predicts the success in Western Hierarchies and the answer is quite clear.
General cognitive ability, some prefrontal ability as well, which was what he specifically tested for, so intelligence broadly, although it's a bit more elaborate than intelligence, but that's close enough and awareness of traits roughly represents the 50 percent of the variance. on long-term success and you think well hey how do you want your Society to be structured sounds pretty good to me that smart, hard-working people are the most likely to succeed that's not a bad empirical test of the validity of a structure you You know especially given how many quirks there are in life, a lot of random things happen to people, but it's better to be born three standard deviations above the mean in intelligence in the West than to be born three standard deviations above the mean in wealth relative to where you'll end up when you're 40.
So he said we use the word hierarchy of competencies or we decided that I think that's much better, so chapter one is kind of a meditation on the nature of hierarchies and the biochemistry of hierarchy, but it's also a mandate on how to present yourself. because you don't want to present yourself to the world in a way that doesn't dishonor you in some sense, which might be a good way to think about it, and you don't want to dishonor yourself because the consequence of disgrace is emotional dysregulation, more pain, less positive emotion, so the best way to introduce yourself is to stand up straight and stretch, you know, take up space and make yourself a little vulnerable doing that because you open up the front of your body correctly, but it's a sign of confidence and that way is morePeople are likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and that's a good way to start regulating your mood, but it doesn't just directly regulate your mood to stand up because it's so closely associated as the posture reflex. is associated with serotonin and emotional regulation, but also because if you straighten up and present yourself that way, then other people are more likely to take you seriously and that means they'll start treating you like you're a number one lobster instead of a number 10 lobster and that's another way that you can at least give yourself the fucking benefit of the doubt right and and and and and and and and confront the world in a courageous way and that's a really good way to figure out how to establish yourself in hierarchies of multiple competencies because one of the general rules of thumb for how to be successful is to confront the things that scare you frankly and with courage and that's kind of the universal strategy for success and that's what the verse chapter is all about so it's a lot of fun my grad students I told these lobster stories I have to my grad students when we used to vote for breakfast and they were a very competitive bunch, very wayward and witty and they're always trying to win each other over and doing something witty or something and it got to the point in restaurants where they put their claws in the air and snapped like that when they know one of their buddies beat one of their buddies which was very quirky and weird and very funny too so that's rule number one, the rule number two is treat yourself like you're someone you care about and that's a deeper chapter i would say chapter one is a bit funny but it also has a serious science ending for example and it's practical like most the rules, chapter two is a bit of a meditation on why I see I read this I read this work by Jung a long time ago and it was a meditation on, um, the injunction to treat your fellow man as you would want to be treated something like that and what Jung pointed out that what I really liked was that this was not a mandate to be nice to other people, it was an invitation to reciprocate, it was something like this, it's like you should figure out how you would like to be treated as if you were caring. about yourself, not how you would like people to respond to you, it is more important than that, it is like imagining that you have a child that you really care about and someone tells you that well, people will treat this child exactly as you want, but you have to figure out to figure out what that is and then you would have to sit down for a month and think okay well how he wants his son to be treated, he doesn't want everyone to be nice to him, he knows he wants people to challenge them and you want them to people discipline them and you want people to tell them when it's wrong it's like you don't want everyone to be nice that's pathetic that's pathetic there's no defiance in that and so you want to treat other people how you would like to be treated well then you have to figure out how you would like to be treated and even though you wish people would walk all over you and just put everything at your feet, it's like no, that's not something you would want for someone you were caring for and then there's an additional problem which is that oftentimes people treat other people better than they treat themselves, that happens a lot, so one of the things I pointed out in chapter two was if you have a dog and you take it to a vet and the vet gives you your prescribed medicine you will go buy the medicine and give it to the dog and you will do it correctly but if you go to a doctor yourself and they give you a prescription there is one that says there is a 30 chance that you don't even pick up the medication and if you do, there's a 50/50 chance you won't administer it correctly, so I really thought about that when I first came across that stat, it really was another one of those little facts.
I thought: what the hell is up with that? It's like you're doing it for your dog so obviously you're going to do it for something you care about and you're aware enough that you're actually going to do it so why wouldn't you do it for yourself your dog likes you you know even your dog will I wish you would but you don't and it's actually one of the reasons modern medicine doesn't work as well as it could because people just don't take their medication and it's not just because they don't take care of themselves there's a certain skepticism about doctors but you might be just as skeptical about the vet so I would say it's a deep thought and that's what I've done with these rules they're very simple rules and they're kind of funny and ironic in a way but what i've tried to do is sort of separate them and show what's underneath them and dig as deep as i can and in rule two it's a bit of a meditation on why people don't like themselves very much and i think there are two reasons really and one is that we are fragile, damageable and imperfect in multiple dimensions all the time and that often gets worse, a lot of things get worse as we get older for example so it's not necessarily that easy for a self aware being same that is extraordinarily aware. of his own frailty and but not just frailty um foolishness and mistakes story like you know yourself better than anyone knows you and you know you might dislike someone you know because of something they did but you know everything you did, jesus , that's a drag man, you know you have to carry that behind, it's like I really do it, you know, and then it's like you're weak and a little useless and prone to temptation and you know all these things that you know that they just shouldn't be like that and then you're also capable of pretty vicious acts of malevolence and you also know that about yourself and it's a real existential question for people, it's like why the hell should you? deal with something as sorry and miserable as you are and that's really what the chapter is about because the answer in the chapter is yes yes yes you know you are first and foremost yes you are pretty useless and terrible but so is everyone something else and that's actually a correct existential problem and what I mean by that is a problem that every human being has always had and will always have so it's not just you it's a universal problem and there is an answer to that and one of them is what it is to say to love the sinner but to hate the sin is something like that even though you are not all that you could be the right attitude to have towards yourself is the attitude you would have towards someone you genuinely and that it's incumbent on you to act as if you really care about yourself, just as you would act around someone who really cares about someone else, and so it's a reversal in a sense of the correct rule of thumb and it's a discussion. of why that's necessary and more than that, it's a discussion of why you have a moral obligation to do that, it's not just that you should because it would be better for you, it's that you actually have a moral obligation to do that, I think because you make the world a much better place, a much worse place if you don't take care of yourself, so you should take care of yourself, because well, that's what this chapter is about, partly because you have something valuable to contribute. the world that's what being an individual is what western civilization has always recognized that as an individual you have a light that you have to bring to the world and if you don't bring it to the world the world is a dimmer place and that's something bad because when the world is a dark place it can get really dark so it's not just to make you feel better not just to make you a number one lobster none of those things you need to take care of yourself because you're in the best position to do it and you need to take care of yourself despite the fact that we are mortal and vulnerable and self-conscious and capable of not only doing terrible things but doing them despite all that you still have that responsibility so i wanted you to know to answer the question as hard as i can to try to figure out well why people despise themselves and there are many reasons for that. sure but the reasons don't justify mistreating yourself its as simple as that its not a good strategy and the next rule is to make friends with people who want the best for you and thats a meditation on my own childhood and adolescence to some extent I had friends who wanted the best for me and friends who didn't and you know they were friends some were pointing up and some pointing down and if you have a friend who is pointing down and you do something pointing then they're usually not as happy about it , you know they try to top your achievement with their own hypothetical or real one or put down what you're doing or offer you a cigarette if you're trying to quit and you've successfully quit or a drink if you've been drinking too much and trying to stop being an alcoholic you know oh yeah they are cynical and bitter and up to no good and sometimes they are family members too and sometimes . it's even part of you, you know, but this chapter is a mandate for people, it's like you have an ethical responsibility to take care of yourself, you have an ethical responsibility to surround yourself with people who have the courage, faith and wisdom to want you. well when you've done something good and to stop when you're doing something destructive and if your friends aren't like that then they're not your friends and keeping your friendship with them might not even interest them and so it's a tricky argument to make because they don't i say know when someone's in trouble you should know to push them into a ditch and then kick them a couple of times that's not the idea the idea is that but i had a couple of rules i didn't write one about was to be careful who you share good news with and another was to be careful who you share bad news with and all those rules ring in people's minds pretty quickly a friend is someone you can share good news with you know you go to them and say check this out well it happened to me and they say look I'm so glad that happened to you as a way of being and they don't think damn why not If that happens to me and you know you don't deserve it here are a bunch of reasons why you are stupid and why won't it work it's like that's not helpful so I would say if people are you know what the other What people are doing if they're trying to drag you down let's say they're trying to see if you'll put up with it because they have the idea that maybe life isn't worth living and things aren't good and then if they can be tainted, let's say, to use an archaic term, something that's pristine and good, then they show themselves to themselves that there is no true ideal and there is no necessary reason to be responsible and push yourself forward so they use you which is a test case you know i will push you down in the lobster bin I'll come down and see how you respond and if you tolerate it then yes my cynicism is completely justified and well that's chapter three and it's a painful chapter because it also details the suicide of one of my friends which occurred over a very long period of time , not the suicide itself, but the whole prodroma and, therefore, it's a controversial chapter number four is, uh, compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who. someone else is today and the reason I wrote that was because I had this client 10 I'm a clinical psychologist and I've spent 20 hours a week for 25 years listening to people listening to people tell me about their lives and those people were people who barely knew they were clinging to the bottom of the world to people who were so successful you can hardly believe it like the whole gamut of people and that's been absolutely fascinating it's like being a clinical psychologist if really listening is like being immersed in a Dostoevsky novel all the time you know because it's amazing what people will tell you if you listen to them they're such interesting people if you really listen to them because they're just as quirky as they are like penguins or rhinos and ostriches they're unlikely creatures and about comparing yourself anyway who you were with yesterday and not just who someone else is with today.
This former client of mine was around 85 years old when he came to see me. and he was a financier and some kind of math genius he made these little pendants of a math symbol for the most beautiful math equation ever written he made them out of gold and he gave them out and he had studied psychology when he was young and he introduced me to this concept that I was not aware of called the Pareto distribution which as a psychologist I had been taught that most human characteristics were normally correctly distributed so most people were average and some people were extreme which is a pre or distribution normal intelligence is like this and height there are more people of average height than very tall or very short and weight is like this and many things are normally distributed and psychologists tend to assume that everything is but it is not creative products are distributed in a Pareto distribution and that's a whole other thing and it's really important to know this is another fundamental fact that knowing can transform the way you conceptualize, let's say the political landscape, so here's an example of the Pareto distribution of you know there's a general rule that if you run a company where 20 of your employees do 80 percent of the work or all 20 of your customers are responsible for 80 of your sales or all 20 of your customers are responsible for 80 of your customer service callscustomer the same but that's not exactly the rule the rule is worse than the rule is in a given domain the square root of the number of people operating in that domain do half the productive work so you think well you have 10 employees, three of them do half the work, okay, what if you have 100 employees? so 10 of them do half the job, if you have a thousand employees, well then it's 30 and if it's ten thousand employees then it's a hundred and this actually turns out to be a pretty ironclad rule, it applies in many, many situations, it applies apply, for example, to the mass of stars and the size of cities so you can see how universal it is as a law, it is something like those who have more receive more and those who have less receive less that is the principle of Matthew is correct for those who have everything will be given more to those who have nothing, everything will be taken away and economists sometimes call it the Matthew principle and so what that sets up is a world that is riddled with inequality, so that you know you hear this idea that I think it's the world's 85 richest people have more money than the bottom 2 billion, it's a Pareto distribution phenomenon and you could say 'to hell with pro-producing capitalism'. you get a Pareto distribution of wealth you get a prior distribution of the number of records recorded you get a prior distribution of the number of songs written or goals scored like any creative product has that feature and it's partly because as you start to become successful, Let's say people offer you more and more opportunities and when you start to fail people walk away from you and you plummet and that's okay that's hard what it means is there's always a landscape of inequality and I'm not saying we don't should do nothing about it, although I say we don't know what to do about it, that's what you know because you can change the Pareto distribution of wealth, let's say, but yes but we don't know how to do it. perhaps without disturbing the system so completely that it collapses, which is what happened in the Soviet Union, for example, and in Maoist China they were trying, at least in principle, to adjust inequality, but the Cure was much worse than the cure. disease and the truth of the matter is that we don't really technically know how much inequality there has to be to generate wealth we can guess and you could say there should be less and you could say there should be more if you are left say less and if so if they are right when they say ok we will let inequality flourish but we know that it is inevitable and we also know that we don't know how to regulate it so there is inequality what that means is that there will always be people around who are better than you at something and that is a problem because you can get jealous and bitter and resentful and worse you can become hopeless i know why you look the way he does i have this this friend of mine told me something very funny um he was calling out his lack of success in the world and he compared himself to his roommate and he said you know his roommate his college My roommate was doing so much better than him and his fucking roommate was Elon Musk.
It really is like you're not doing as well as Elon Musk. and the whole thing wasn't like I'm doing it bad, like I'm not doing it quite right, it's like I'm not as good as Elon Musk, it's like yeah, well, you and seven billion other people you know, but I thought it was instructive because well, because you have to be careful who you compare yourself to now, you can't just not compare yourself to others with successful people, because then you have nothing to aim for and one of the things I learned from Jung is this was great. , I'm going to do a real sideways move here, Jung thought the Book of Revelation was added to the Bible because the Christ in the gospels was too merciful, he was too good a guy, now he's an ideal, right? and Jung said wait a second an ideal is always a judge that's what happens with an ideal because you are not as good as your ideal so your ideal as a judge Revelation has Christ coming back as judge and that was Jung's explanation at level of the collective unconscious for pasting that extraordinarily weird and terrible book at the end of the bible so well anyway my point is it's an ideal do you need an ideal because you have nothing to aspire to but an ideal is a judge and you never reach the ideal so how the hell can you have the benefits of having an ideal without having the crushing blow that comes with having the judge who always finds you insufficient so i was trying to figure that out in the chapter and this is something which i've had to work on a lot as a clinical psychologist is good lets say you need a goal but we don't want to let your distance from the goal crush you so you have to set a goal and then you have to make the goal split in parts so you can move towards it you have a pretty high chance of doing it so that's a bit handy I wouldn't say it's advice it's because it's better than advice it's some practical knowledge on how to achieve a goal set a high goal but differentiating it so you know what the next step is and then making the next step difficult enough that you have to push yourself beyond where you are but also providing yourself with a reasonable chance of success is also what you do with the kids right you want to push them because they need to grow up and be more than they are but you don't want to crush them with constant failure so what you do is aim high and make the goal roughly hard but proximal so anyway, that's one way of looking at it, but then the next thing is you know, uh, I've had clients, many clients in their 30s who are dealing with this is more true with women.
I would say that many women who are very high achievers set their career goals at 30 and then want to differentiate their lives. They want to have a husband. They want to have a family. They're trying to figure out how to do that and one of the things I've noticed is that around 30 you really have to stop comparing yourself to other people in some way and the reason for this is that the quirks of your life are so idiosyncratic that you don't there you know someone really looks a lot like you because the details of your life matter and maybe you compare yourself to a rock star or something and you know the person is rich and famous and glamorous and all but you know they are alcoholics and they do way too much cocaine and they've been divorced three times and it's like how the hell do you make sense of that is someone you should judge yourself against harshly or not the answer is you don't because you don't know all the details of their lives and who you know who you can compare yourself to that's easy yesterday so here's a good goal it's kind of like aim high and i really mean it's like and we'll talk about aim a little too high but use it to control yourself , it's like your goal is to make a small increment better today than yesterday and you can use it better you can better define yourself this doesn't have to be an imposition of external morality you know where you are weak and insufficient where you could improve you think well that's how I am yesterday the ball rolling and the incremental improvement is unstoppable you can actually implement it and it starts to generate a Pareto distribution as consequences it starts to escalate and I've seen that happen in people's lives over and over again people write to me all the time and tells me that I am doing that, but I have seen that happen in people's lives all the time, they make a goal a goal that the goal should be how I could conceive my life so that if I had that life, clearly It would be worth living not to. you have to be bitter resentful deceitful arrogant and vindictive as if that's the essentials because that's what makes you endless failure is not good and that's what makes you life without purpose and without a goal also because life is so hard so you think it's ok I need to adopt a way of being that justifies my suffering and you can ask yourself that question what would make this worthwhile I quote Nietzsche I think in that chapter he said that he who has a why can bear almost any how that It's a lovely line man I mean it's a lovely line and really worth thinking about so think hard how do I deal with all this misery and suffering and futility?
It's like, well, I need to figure out what I would have to do to do that. clearly it's worth it and then you have your goal and then you think well i need to move towards it gradually because i'm kind of useless and can only do so much and maybe not even that but all i have to do is be a little bit better than my miserable self yesterday and that will propel you forward very quickly and you can succeed at that, which is also really lovely because why don't you set yourself up for success? you know that's not good you get all Pinchy when that happens and it's not a good thing so that was chapter four chapter five geez we're cruising through here chapter five is the one I thought I'd get into in the biggest problem. for writing you know I thought people would be all over me for this and so far they haven't been but they still might be and it's called don't let your kids do anything you hate and I thought it would be controversial in the first place because the people would think well I never dislike my kids it's like you really, really, you know you're really going to tell me that God you know, and there's more, there's a more horrible element to that as well because, as a clinical psychologist, I've I've seen the full Freudian nightmare I can tell you that and you know I've seen families where it's like this it's like the family members are standing in a circle I would say and they each have their hands around each other's necks and they're squeezing hard enough to strangle the other person in 20 years and that's the family it's like I mean you know if you haven't known a family like that or well then you're not paying attention and there's a there's some reasonable chance you're actually in a family like that so the idea that parents can't dislike their kids is like god how naive you can be it's just that's only if you think that man you don't even i know where you are He starts to straighten you out.
I could never dislike the style of my kids, yeah well those are the people who produce the most monstrous kids too. the Shadow and you know he's got pop psych and he's in vogue huh among new age guys too but one thing I can tell you about Carl Jung is that no matter what else anyone might say about him he's not absolutely new AG if you read Carl Jung and understand it and you are not terrified to the depths of your soul you have not understood anything of what you have read and one of the things that Jung said about the shadow that is the Dark Side of humanity the The Dark Side of each individual was that his roots reached all the way to hell and he wanted to say something, he wanted to say something very specific, both metaphysical and practical, so the metaphysical element was that he meant hell literally and metaphysically, but he also meant the types closest to Diablos, so what I wanted to say was that if you were able to understand your dark side, then you would see in yourself a reflection of the behavior that was present in Auschwitz, for example, and that is the reason why people don't take the dark side of themselves seriously and even confronting the fact that it exists is because no one wants to see that reflected inside them and no wonder it's outside no wonder you also believe that that confrontation with the shadow was an inevitable barrier to Enlightenment that there wasn't, you know, Joseph Campbell, who's a popularizer of the young to some degree, has become famous for saying follow your happiness and and you know Campbell learned pretty much everything he knew from Jung, but young man, that's not what Jung said at all.
He said, chase what is significant and you will find what you least want to find and that is good, that is the true dragon, that is the dragon that hoards gold, for example, and the dragon is also something that lives inside of you and is not something with whatever you take the encounter lightly. There are very old stories about this Egyptian story about the god Horus, who was the Egyptian savior in some sense and when he met evil, even though he was a God, he lost an eye in battle and that's the famous Egyptian eye, you know. that everyone still knows that it is the Eye of Horus that was gouged out by Seth, who is the forerunner.
Satan and such and such is no joke no joke um back to the kids. Look, I knew this when I had my kids. He had already been through it to some degree and understood what it meant to be evil. person a terrible person um and one of the things I knew was that it manifested itself in families all the time tyrannical father overprotective mother more rarely overprotective mother tyrannical overprotective father tyrannical mother is usually backwards um and the terrible pathological family drama that Freud described He referred a lot to the beginning of the 20th century. He had seen that in many terrible, brutal, horrible situations and I have seen parents punish their children and you can also follow a page of nature if you really want to punish your children or anyone else. if you have someone you care to punish, including yourself, you never punish someone you really want to punish for doing something wrong because inreality it's a bit of a relief for them you know that's the theme of dostoevsky's crime and punishment the killer gets away with it it's a relief for him when he gets caught it's like no if you really want to punish someone wait until he does something good then you punish them because that will teach them that's how you maximize the damage you decrease the likelihood that they will do something good again and I'll tell you, man, if you want to have a good relationship with someone, that's something you don't do, you open your eyes damn eyes and if they do something that you would like them to do again, then you tell them how much you appreciated the fact that that happened and hope they retaliate. look and when people do something i should do more than say look i saw you did something specific i saw it took a little bit of effort this is what it means this is how i looked at it it's like keep it up and man if you love tosomeone. you do that to them that's an encouragement that's a great thing so anyway back to the kids so i already knew i was a pretty decent Monster when i had kids and i thought ok my kid my kids little, you know, like a baby or two. -Years as if it were a horrible monster and that there is a problem of unequal power here.
I better not let that kid do anything to really piss me off. I was in Boston years ago. I read about a woman who dunked her two-year-old daughter's arms in boiling water. You think well, how the hell can that happen? It's like, well, you know I'm probably hungover. desperate in six different ways probably didn't have decent disciplinary strategies for the kids probably had no one to help her was bitter and resentful and angry and the kid misbehaved at exactly the wrong time and like you're going to make him stay around a lot your kids and you might want to have it so they don't misbehave at exactly the wrong time because all hell can break loose if they can and I didn't want that to happen and I knew it.
It was easy for people to hate their kids even though they uttered the words that loved them all along. I saw very little evidence of so many situations and therefore one of the things you know is that you have a natural affinity for children and maybe even more so. a stronger natural affinity for your own children, so that's a good start, but you don't want to cast them as an enemy against you, you don't want to allow them to engage in the kind of hierarchical defiance that makes you irritable and resentful, that's not a good idea and if the things they do make you dislike them, the probability that they will make other people dislike you is extraordinarily high, so you can consult your own irritability and you can say look kid, I used to say this to my kids, you know, when they were three or four i'd say look i'm not in a very good mood and it's probably unreasonable so you'd better go in your room and play for a while it's like i like you man you're a great guy, but like you get the hell out of here for a while, you know, and they were okay with it, we'd train them at that point so they could go play alone in the room.
You know what's something a kid should be able to do anyway, but you need to know what kind of monster you are if you're going to be a good parent and if you're like, oh I'm not a monster, it's like oh yeah you're just an unbelievably monster. unconscious and that's actually the worst kind then and then the other thing about that chapter is there's an idea in it and it's an idea that I think is well supported by the relevant literature which is that your fundamental job as a parent, especially of a child from zero to four years old, is to make that child eminently socially desirable, so you are a successful parent if when your child is four years old, all kinds of children want to play with him or her. that's really what it's like if you want a marker of whether you've been successful or not that's it now it's much harder to get along with some kids than others and some kids have a harder time playing so I'm not saying that. every parent who has a child who isn't popular at four is to blame for that. but desirable as a playmate and then you think about what you have done for your son, well, you have opened the whole world of children to them, because they know how to play, which is a very deep knowledge and it begins to be instilled probably in the chest and certainly in the horseplay course around two years of age it's a deep built in knowledge they know how to play like a good well trained dog knows how to play you know you meet a new dog and you do like this and the dog does like that you think oh that dog i can go like this and he doesn't bite me well he knows how to play and a child who is awake and alert is like a well socialized kit if you know anything about children it's that you can take a four year old and give him a little play gesture and they will smile right away and they will start playing right now and that is what you want for your kids and then wherever they go other kids like them and they will include them in their play and play is the way kids develop and therefore if other children include them in their play, then children develop and poor children who do not make friends at the age of four with the literature on this is Crystal Clear if your child is an outcast at the age of four , the probability that anything can be done about it is close to zero no matter what I do and I hate to be so blunt about it but I know the literature and that's what the literature suggests and so and then the other thing is if not you allow your children to engage in unsavory behavior, adults will like them because adults really like children.
I lived in a poor area in Montreal, there were a lot of tough guys around and we used to take our daughter in the stroller. These tough guys, you know, like God knows what they were doing. I rolled our daughter next to them and they would like to smile and they would crouch and make gooey faces and you know it was you I tell you one of the best things about having young children is that they bring out the best in other people you see a whole side of them humanity, even among the darker parts of humanity, you see a whole side of them that you wouldn't normally see and it's lovely and the question is are you good to your son in the real way. you can help them maintain that tremendous appeal they have as little kids and respond to adults appropriately like a puppy wagging its tail instead of growling and you know it's going for your ankle and then wherever they go the adults welcome them and they show them things and pat them on the head and smile genuinely at them instead of saying oh my gosh here comes that couple with that damn brat again you know what's horrible that's a horrible thing to do to a child because then anywhere let them go, all the good, all the good. goodwill is fake, you know there's nothing you can do to someone that's more terrible than putting them in a world where all the goodwill directed at them is fake, that's a terrible thing, so anyway, that's the chapter, chapter five and chapter six. this is a difficult chapter um this is about i spend a lot of time reading about totalitarianism and about atrocities as brutal many many brutal things brutal beyond the capacity of even imagination um and i read a lot about individual criminals and serial killers and stuff of people also trying to get to baltimore one book i would really recommend is a book by carl panzram which is an autobiography panzram is the name of the book and he was a tough man whatever his last words to his tormentor He told his executioner hurry up you are your bastard I could kill 10 men in the time it takes you to hang me those were his last words you know he said I wish the human race had a neck so I could put my hands on it turn it around and squeeze it was carl panzram and not a lot of people like that write biographies but he did and he told you why he was like that and why he thought that way in case you want to know which one he would recommend by the way because it's very helpful to know those things but I have to remember why what did i tell you the panzram story oh yeah chapter six is about that it's about panzram and it's about the columbine kids the kids who shot up in high school because i read their dyers you know and i got them too which is even better than just reading them and you know you see these mass shootings all the time and everyone does the same thing oh how did that happen, why did that happen, how can it be this way? it's like well why don't you read what they said about why they did it and just assume that's the reason and if you go if you go? oh well my kids call oh yeah I was like oh they must have been bullied oh yeah because you know the natural response of anyone who is being bullied is to arm themselves to the teeth to plan the destruction of the whole city. classmates that's what happens when you're bullied it's like no that's not what happens when you're bullied that's a stupid explanation it's shallow beyond belief and really comes up only because people don't want to deal with the real problem and the Columbine kids, well they were dealing with the real problem, they basically said quite bluntly that, in their own arrogant estimation, being itself was corrupt and unnecessary and would be best eradicated in the most brutal way possible as quickly possible and you get to places like that if you think about revenge for three or four years in your mom's basement you know you can go to some very dark places and that's what chapter six is about and you know panzram was brutalized when he was a kid and they call them buy guys they know they've had their ups and downs but nothing compared to carl panzram they say they were judges of the self and they decided it was flawed and they were the ones to fix it so it's a tough chapter um but it's more than that is a meditation on resentment because resentment is a key human motivation and i would say it is a great teacher listening to your resentment is one of the best things you can do you have to admit that it exists first and then you have to admit to the fantasies that it is generating and you have to admit what you would consider the output, so all of that is very difficult because it means learning things about yourself that you probably don't want. to learn, but resentment only means one of two things: shut up, grow up, stop whining and move on, that's one thing, or someone is playing tyrant to you, it could even be you and you have something to say. and do that you should say and do to stop it and maybe resentment can show you the way to do it.
There is a meditation on resentment and one of the principles that I took from that is as a resentful. person wants other people to change and if you are resentful then your motivations are unreliable in fact they are very very dark and that is why i went to the extreme with people like panzram and the columbine killers resentful people who want to change No you can trust the world. What should you do instead? How do you deal with your own resentment? a psychiatrist I think this is in this chapter and she says you know I'm going through a bad time I'm suffering a lot my life is not going well and then she says uh I hope there is something wrong with me and the psychiatrist says what the hell do you mean by that and she He says well that's how I see it there's something wrong with the world and I'm in it and that's the way it is and then what am I going to do about it because it's everyone or maybe I could be lucky and there's something wrong with me that is causing all this unnecessary suffering and if i could i could fix it i could learn and i could fix it and alright i've been thinking about it for a long time and i think ok if your life doesn't go the way it is you know you can find someone else to blame which is quite convenient for you and also relatively easy or you could think well i don't like life i don't like the way my life is developing maybe i don't like life in general because it's tragic and tainted with evil? how can i know if my judgment is correct and the question is if i really did everything i could to straighten my life because maybe i shouldn't? be judging your quality or the quality of life itself or be myself if i haven't done everything i can to get my life back on track so there's a chores soldier knitson who i am a big i am a big fan of social media and its book the gulag archipelago was one of the things that brought down the soviet union and he said that one man who would stop lying could bring down a tyranny and you know he said with some authority i think you could easily argue that the gulag archipelago is the best 20th century book.
I mean there are obviously other contenders, but he said that when he was in the gulag camps, you know, meditating on how the hell he got there and had a hard life. I mean, first of all, he was on the Russian front at the start of WWII and then he was thrown into the gulag camps and that was just the beginning of his adventures, man, he had a hard life and he was in the camps in the ones i was thinking of. what the hell how that how did i get here what's going on and i had hitler and stalin to blame so if you need somebody to blame man hitler and stellen that's cool but him he that's not what that he said he meditated for a while once he realized it might have something to do in some weird way with the way things turned out for him and said he went over his life with a fine-toothed comb in his memory thought well,where did i go wrong But by my own judgement, when, when, when there was a path in front of me, when did I take the path that I knew I shouldn't take? knowing if what you are doing is good or bad its just ignorance you just dont know but sometimes you know very well and you do what you know you shouldn't do anyway that happens a lot and why do you do it? that peak is part of the stupidity there are all kinds of reasons but you certainly know you do it just like nixon thought ok what if i took responsibility for where i am in this concentration camp and then i looked over my whole life and tried to find out all the things I did that were wrong by my own estimation that increased the likelihood that I would get here and then what if I tried to fix everything now in the present and that's why he wrote the gulag archipelago and one of the fallout from that, as I said, was that it hastened the dissolution of the Soviet Empire, so hey, that's not bad, eh, like you make a real confession, really repent, do your Penance, which is to write this book, and change completely the geopolitical landscape. of the world is and it's worth thinking about because it wasn't just soldiernitzen who made Nelson Mandela do something quite similar, it's not that impossible and so the idea of what you should do if you feel resentful of the nature of being or suffering too much for your own life, let's say, is to fix things like seriously trying for a year, even trying for a week.
Try not to do the things you know you shouldn't do. Try not to say the things you know to be false. and just watch what happens, you might as well give it a shot because you're like, well I'm in for a year, you know I'm going to make it right and then I'll just stand back and watch things play out. and maybe I'll reconsider at the end of that year. Stop lying and stop everything. Have you ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where Sideshow Bob keeps stepping on the rake over and over again? That's like his whole yard is full of rakes and all he does is walk, stomp and then swear, he steps on a rake and hits. him in the face and he curses and then he steps on another rake and it hits him you know what i mean um stop doing that you know exactly yeah i don't know if we'll get past 12 rules i guess you'll have to read the damn book anyway rule seven the rule of seven almost killed me as i have been in a lot of bad health in the last year and having to rewrite rule seven coincided with one of those periods which lasted about a month and was was the hardest chapter by far and was the deepest by far and it was really hard to get it right it's called do what's meaningful not what's convenient and i'll just tell you a little bit about the chapter because i figured something out i put that in and then i explained it something that took me decades to figure out like this that there is this idea, it is a very deep Christian idea that the Messiah is the person who takes the sins of the world upon himself, that is a characteristic of Christ, true, it is something the idea is something like that Christ died for your sins it's like what the hell does that exactly mean you know and partly what it means and I would say a slightly corrupted form of Christianity is you just have to believe that that happened in him and you're redeemed that's like well we'll leave that aside for a second but there's an idea there a psychological idea and you know that because the idea doesn't go away it's been around for thousands of years it's like okay then the idea means something, it has a psychological reality independent of its metaphysical reality whatever it is, so that I thought about that for a long time, it's like what the hell does that possibly mean and then I realized it and Jung knew it.
Carl Jung knew this. I was associated with this idea of the Shadow. I once had this client that oh her parents man were pieces of work she her parents taught her I swear this is the truth her parents taught her that adults were literally angels and when I saw she was around she was 30 years old and she had a lot of strange symptoms symptoms of the type I have never seen psychosomatic symptoms she had quasi-epileptic seizures at night and no, but she remained conscious during them it was very difficult to understand and I am not going to talk about it but her parents told her they said adults were angels and she was like 28, she had a college degree and I was like, well, did you ever wonder about that? she said yes which i read something about terrible things people did to each other and i would just compartmentalize it and that was actually the key i used to unlock what was wrong with her which was eventually fixed and no i'll get into that but but i said i gave him this book i gave him two books i gave him a book called uh the terror that comes in the night which is a book about um about sleep paralysis and nightmares because i thought that's what he might have been bothering or Turned out he wasn't, so I gave him this other book called Ordinary Men and it's a great book.
It is a terrible book. and it was all made up of middle-aged guys who weren't like victims of totalitarian nazi propaganda when they were kids, they were just middle-class bourgeois guys like all of us, let's say, and they went to the police in Poland and um essentially they were going to have to do some Terrible Things but their Commander told them quite candidly that if being involved in wartime policing was too hard for them if they felt it violated ethically the more psychologically violated they could go back to police in Germany and very few Some of them did it partly because they didn't want to abandon their comrades, let's just say they didn't want them to have to do the dirty work and they ended up being regular cops, they ended up being the kind of people who could take naked pregnant women out into the middle of a field and shoot them. in the back of the neck that's how the book that's the culmination of their training it's very interesting to read about their training because they were absolutely disgusted by what they learned how physically sick and vomiting shaking traumatized but it didn't stop and if you want to know why then you can read the book and I said look read this book but don't compartmentalize it enough to read it like you're one of the fucking cops, which is how you should read history well, you read about Nazi Germany and you're like, well I'm Oscar Schindler , it would save the jews it's like no you wouldn't do it right you wouldn't do it because people didn't do it and the probability that you didn't do it is very high and all you have to do is think well you know what it's Anne Frank you're really going to put your family at risk to hide a bunch of other family in your attic for several years while there are nazis parading down the street and if they expose you they'll all die that's what you're going to do it's very unlikely and no wonder it's not surprising that it's unlikely but you don't want to inflate yourself with your own fictional heroism without really knowing the facts on the ground so I told him to read and understand that the cops they were her and that is what you have to understand well the idea that the savior is the person who takes the sins of the world upon himself is exactly that is exactly the same idea is like the way they stop being Nazis is so you know that the Nazis were you and for you to decide not to do that again but you have to know that you see that this is what people will not do, you have to understand that you can not only do what the Nazi count's guards did in Auschwitz, but that you can enjoy it too and then you have to decide that you're not going to do that anymore and that's not an easy thing to understand well and that's what that chapter is about so it's a hard chapter Matt is a hard chapter and that's just a little what it's about you know there's a lot there's a lot there and and that's what it's about anyway um chapter 10 chapter nine let's take a better look a little tired here oh yeah chapter nine is assuming the person you're listening to might know something not you this is a chapter about conversation and about the different forms that conversation takes it is a chapter about humility and it is a chapter about listening and the element of humility it took me a long time to understand why there are religious injunctions that support humility to even understand what the word really means in that kind of technical sense and it means something like this means that what you don't know is more important than what you do know and that's a wonderful thing then what you don't know can start to be your friend you see people are very defensive about what they know and for the reasons we've already discussed but the thing is you don't know enough and then you can say you don't know enough because your life is not what it could be and neither is the life of the people around you you just don't know enough and what that means is every time you find some evidence that you're ignorant someone points it out you must be happy because you think oh you just told me tell me how i'm wrong that's great, maybe i had to parse a lot of nonsense to understand the real message you're telling me, but if you could somehow tell me i'm wrong and then maybe give me a hint on how not to be wrong like that, well , then I wouldn't have to be wrong anymore like that, that would be a good thing and you can, you can, you can go on that adventure by listening to people and if you listen to people they will tell you that I'll tell you amazing things if you listen and a lot of that stuff they're little tools that you can put in your toolbox like Batman and then you can go out into the world and use those tools and you don't have to fall blindly. in a pit with the same frequency, so the element of humility is fine, do you want to be right or do you want to learn and then it goes deeper than that?
Do you want to be the tyrannical King who already has everything figured out or done? you want to be the hero who transforms continuously or the fool who is getting better all the time and that's really a choice you know it's a deep choice and it's better to be the fool who transforms himself who is humble enough to befriend she doesn't know and listening when people talk and listening is a transformational exercise like listening to the people in your life for example if you really listen to them they will tell you what's wrong with them and how to fix it and what they want they can't even help themselves if you start listening because people are so surprised if you actually listen to them that they tell you all these kinds of things that maybe they didn't even mean things that they don't know.
I don't even know and then you can you can work with that and that and the other thing that's so interesting you know once in a while you have a meaningful conversation don't you have a good conversation with someone you walk with you think wow you know we really connect it and I know more than I knew when I came out of that conversation and during the conversation you're really absorbed in it and that feeling of being absorbed is a feeling of meaning and the feeling of meaning is engendered because you're having a transformative conversation so your brain it produces that feeling of meaning because it says oh yeah this is exactly where you should be here and now is the right place and time for you and that's a great place to be and so a good conversation where people are listening has exactly that nature and the reason it has that nature is because it's actually transformative it's one of the truisms of Clinical Psychology as if you were a clinical psychologist a lot of what you do is just listen to people it's like you know they are coming , they are not happy and they would prefer not to be something like that. to ramble on for a year before they find out why they're unhappy they get rid of a bunch of reasons they thought they were unhappy that aren't true and then you get to the heart of the problem then you could ask them well if you could have what you wanted for your life to be okay, what would that be like, so they have to ramble about it a lot because they don't really know, but listening will straighten them out because people think when they talk and to think you have to have someone listen to you because it's very hard to think almost no one can think and even people who can think can only think about a limited number of things but almost everyone can talk and you can hear yourself talk and if someone listens to you then you also have a contrast for your thoughts, because you can watch the person when they talk and see if you're boring or see if you're funny or if you're absorbing all that stuff and hear that's a really good thing.
I sketch a victim of Carl Rogers, he was a famous clinical psychologist. This is another great little piece of advice Rogers said. Here's a trick to tell if you're listening, so let's say someone introduces you to their perspective. and then what you do is say look this is what I think you said I think you said this and this and this and this and then this is true I got what you're saying right and maybe the person says God you haven't been listening and you know that later they have to clarify for you or maybe they say yes, yes you got it and then the good thing about that is that you summarize their argument for them, which can be very useful and for you, but also for you.
I can't make the person a straw man so if you're arguing with your wife say or your husband is going to want to win that's stupid because if you win you get to be the best Lobster but they get to be Bottom Lobster and if you want to live with Bottom Lobster then you like more power but I wouldn't recommend itgood because you don't want to want to, want to beat your wife in an argument, well, great, as if. she was going to disappear tomorrow no problem but like you'd like to live with her defeated and miserable for the next week that's not good so you listen and think ok ok well this is what i think you said and such maybe even make it a little stronger and more elaborate than in the case of the original expression so that you understand the damn argument well because you don't want to win, you want to solve the problem that is the winner and so the summary with listening is very useful for that because the person can say well yeah that's what I meant it's like so well then you have to deal without and Roger said well people usually won't because you know if you live with someone and they tell you the truth about the situation, it usually means there's something really stupid that you're doing right too, but there's something stupid that you're doing that you know you're doing and you actually have to stop and you know it's hard and unlikely, but hey, if you don't you stop you end up having the same damn problem every day or every week for the rest of your life so it's probably better to suffer the misery of stopping it than the misery of continuing it but that's the mandate to listen, rule 11 is not to disturb the children. when they skateboard and that's a meditation on the difference between weakness and goodness, you see one of the things that has happened in our society and especially with regards to our attitude towards men, but also our attitude towards masculinity in women. women, so it is just as toxic. for women it's that we seem to have come to the conclusion that strong men are dangerous and that's partly because we think western culture is a tyrannical patriarchy and the only reason you get to the top is because you misuse power and all the men at the top of the heart are abusing their power and they are all tyrannical and all the guys who have the GOAL and ambition to achieve that are just tyrants in training and that's the attitude basic attitude we have towards our own culture and towards young men. now and that's all about what is pathological, inexcusable and shameful.
I mean first the claim that Western culture, the idea that Western culture is primarily a patriarchal tyranny, is like well, first of all, it's historically ignorant beyond belief because what do you compare to what exactly, how many civilized countries are there in the world, you know, three dozen, the rest of them are run by brutal thugs, right? corruption spreads throughout the country then and we are not like that and I mean that western culture is fundamentally honest and I can give you an example of that because people don't like that idea eBay tested that because here here it did It was a very interesting thing because when eBay first came along as the cynic would say that eBay is not going to work because I don't know you and you live on the other side of the country and you're going to send me crap and I'm going to send you a bounced check and that it's going to be the end of eBay that's what a cynic would say and then what happened was Brokers came along and they said look we'll grant the rights to The Exchange. for a fee of 10 it will make sure you don't send junk and we'll make sure your check doesn't bounce and what happened was the brokers couldn't find enough deals and the reason for that was because all the trades were honest. of them you know it's like 19 if you were on eBay and you had a reputation of less than 99 there's actually something wrong with you you know okay 98 but it's really it's so tight and so the default position is you're offering this. we'll buy it, we'll trade it fairly and what happened was a bunch of equity that was frozen, technically speaking, the junk that people had that other people might need got released and eBay released a huge amount of money for people and it was all a consequence of honesty by default we also know that one of the best predictors of success in the western world is conscientiousness and conscientious people are honest and have integrity and are obedient and do what they say they will do and that's a very good predictor of long term life success especially as a manager and administrator or something so also chapter 11 is a discussion of assault on the positive masculine and i read it partly as a continuation of what nietzsche announced at the end of the 19th century as death. of God right because in Western culture God was a masculine figure and the idea that the Divine masculine had been decimated, which was basically Nietzsche's pronouncement, has seeped into masculinity itself and I think it's an absolutely appalling result, it's something that could only be wished for by someone who is a true enemy of humanity, so in part chapter 11 is a call for encouragement, it's the way you want it and I've been saying it to young men in particular, but also to young women, though they don't appear to be. so in need of the message um to take responsibility for your life to tell the truth and to understand that your lack of full participation in being leaves a hole that is precisely the size of your soul in the cultural landscape no joke we need all the light that we can possibly bring to the situation and well, and I'm a big believer in that and I think for all kinds of reasons and I think there are very deep reasons, um, and that's partly why I would say the rules of life are also funny. because it has a very religious core, but it's also very rooted in evolutionary biology, so that's what chapter 11 is about and it's about people who are enemies of the human spirit, people who restrict children's play, for example, which is a particularly pathological thing to do now there's a movement to not let kids have best friends it's like really what the hell is that so yeah there's so much wrong with that idea it would take another whole lecture just to scratch the surface , but mostly it's just I wouldn't even start with that final rule, um, it's called petting a cat when you meet one on the street and it's very, it's the most personal chapter in the book, it's very much about my daughter and my daughter was very sick when she was well, as a child, but well, particularly as a teenager, she had a very hard time, she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and when she was between 14 and 16 years old, her hip was destroyed first, which had to be replaced and then it destroyed her ankle on her other leg which had to be replaced and she walked for two years on broken legs and she was taking massive doses of opioids and she could barely stay awake and she had this advanced autoimmune disease that produced all kinds of other symptoms that were just as bad as joint degeneration but harder to describe, so it's brutally brutal, you know, and as a test of your faith, there's almost nothing more direct than a serious illness inflicted on an innocent child, huh?
TRUE? the meditation chapters on that and also on what to do in a situation like that because everyone is going to have a situation like that in a sense you know because you deal with disease in people you love and in crisis so it's just a guide practice for coping with those kinds of things like and one of the things you do when you're overwhelmed by crisis is you shorten your time frame you know it's like you can't think about the next month maybe you can't even think about the next one week or maybe not even tomorrow you know because now it's so overwhelming that's all there is and that's what you do you shorten your time frame until you can deal with it and if it's not next week you see how happen then it's the next day and if it's not the next day then it's the next hour and if it's not the next hour then it's the next minute and you know that people are very very very very very very tough and it turns out that if you face things turn out that if you face things you can take a lot more than you think you can take and you can do it without getting corrupted and she made a pretty full recovery and largely as a consequence of our own machinations because she found out what was wrong with her and then he took the necessary steps to fix it, which is nothing short of a fucking miracle as far as I'm concerned, and anyway, part of the cat part is that I actually start by talking about our dog who actually died years ago. about a year old but still alive in the book um you know i let people know because dog lovers love dogs and if you love cats then they think no you don't like dogs and then you know what they don't like you so I also pointed out at the beginning of the chapter that you know if you want to pet a dog on the street that's okay too so you don't have to get but the idea is that you know you have to be alert when you're suffering you have to be alert to the beauty of life the unexpected beauty of life and that's something I was trying to convey the idea of the cat is this cat that lives across the street named Ginger and Ginger is a Siamese cat and cats aren't really domesticated technically speaking they're still wild animals but they like people god knows why but they know and then ginger will come wandering in and our dog looks at her but they're friends and she rolls on her back and Dry used to sniff her a bit and then she cuts you off and lets you pet her if she felt like it that day and you know you have to look for that little piece of shiny glass in the dark when things go wrong you have to look and see where things they are still beautiful and where there is still something that holds and you know it narrows your time frame and you would be grateful for what you have and that can help you get through some very dark times and maybe even successful if you are lucky but even unsuccessful, so maybe it's just tragic and not absolute hell and you can do that you know in the worst situation you can just make tragic and not absolute hell and there's a big gap between tragedy and hell you know there's nothing worse in a deathbed than watching people fight death is bad enough, but you can take that as terrible as it is and make it absolutely unbearable and maybe I think and this is kind of how I close it. book with this idea is that if we didn't all try to make Terrible Things even worse than they are, then maybe we could tolerate the terrible things we have to endure in order to exist and maybe we could make the world a better place already. you know and that's what we should be doing and what we could be doing because we don't have anything better to do and that's what the book is about and that's the end of 12 rules for life thanks well we gladly invaded and normally I would have cut the talk or I've done something so we can have questions, but I really didn't think it was appropriate, tonight's talk was absolutely enlightening and inspiring, but I'm going to ask a question. just one question and um and I'm going to let Jordan really decide what question he's going to ask, so I'm going to take three from the audience.
I'm going to read three of those that come from the live stream. um, one from the livestream is how you challenge identity politics today, the second is more personal, where do you fall short in these 12 rules? Is it a constant setting? Now let me answer three questions from the audience. and i'll let
jordandecide what the last question he wants to ask is so first hand first of all it's an honor to be on his speaker and the question is he wanted to ask like some people like eg . Stefan molyneux, who interviewed you, uh, puts, I think, um, tremendous care into admitting parental thoughts and admitting the damage that was done when you got better and overcame the adversarial childhood experience and I wanted to ask you about that and what you think about that and then if you take the young lady from here we need uh sorry my question is about chapter nine about being humble and listening to what your enemies say and criticizing you. to my friends and i watch them bounce back to them so i realized there is always a group of my friends who always criticize what i say and don't even try to understand what i am where i come from and um i have always wondered how deal with it, I mean, I want to hear what they're saying, but they don't understand what I am, they're not trying to hear what I'm saying, so what?
What would you do in that situation? Can you answer that very briefly? Okay, there's a line in the New Testament that's relevant to you not releasing Pearls Before Swine and what that means is if people won't listen to you, stop talking to them and that's really the best advice I can give you. And what happens is that if you stop talking to people who don't listen to you and start looking at them, they'll tell you what they're doing, but if you have things to say, you say them, but you find people who listen to you, talk to them, and those who don't listen back down because you're devaluing what you have to say offering it to a public that just rejects it and that's a good guideline for life in general so step back yes and our last question is gentlemen in blue thank you Dr Peterson .
It made me feel small when he mentioned the work of John Taylor Gatto and I just wanted to know what you think is the relationship between the classic Trivium and theHoly Trinity and if there's how that has changed over time and then okay okay and then you'll be back on stage dedicating yeah yeah I think I'm going to answer where you fall fit you know um how I wrote these rules why I wrote these rules well you know and especially when I said well you should try to improve instead of trying to right the world or instead of worrying about what other people are doing wrong, you can say, well, that's a terrible thing for someone who just wrote a book called 12 Rules for Life, it's like I know, but the thing is, I wasn't just writing that, I was writing that for myself as well as for anyone else, and I want to say honestly, you know I've had the opportunity to spend about five years meditating on how you should behave. for your life to be what it could be and since I'm in the group of people I'm mentoring and you know what I mean it's like all these things are so hard to hold yourself up to remember that and treat yourself yourself as someone worthwhile and make friends with people. that they are good for you and and and to tell the truth or at least not to lie I want to say that all these are ideals true that especially taken as a whole they constitute a kind of Ideal and you never you never never reach the ideal the and not only that it regresses as you get closer to it because you straighten up you think, well I've got it now and you think oh wait a minute there's more to go there's still more to go and then you go much further along the line you think oh yeah i thought this was the end of the road it's like no there's a lot of blemishes left to iron out so it's a constant adjustment and but there's something about that that's also a positive because you could say it's not so much that there isn't a good person is that our idea of what constitutes good is not correct because a good person is someone who is trying to improve and no matter how good you are there is something better you can get but the real goodness is in the trying correct is in the is in the process of using something like a cliché you know there is this and I will close with this and it is good wait wait close you know and this is a psychological observation the central figure of western culture is Christ and we can see it psychologically because Christ is the hero who dies and rises again and what does that mean psychologically well it means you learn things painfully and when you learn something painfully a part of you has to die that's the pain you know when a dream is shattered for example a much of you that made up that dream, maybe even the biological substrate of that gene has to be removed and burned, so life is a constant process of death and rebirth and to fully participate in that is to allow yourself to be redeemed by that and so the good thing is that process of death and rebirth undertaken voluntarily it's like you're not as good as you could be so you let that part of you die and if somebody comes along and says you know there's some dead wood here man that needs getting burned you think well things are still a little bit alive when that burns it's going to hurt it's like yeah well no kidding but maybe what emerges in its place is something better and i think this is the secret of human beings, this is what we are, you know, unlike any other creature, is that we can let our old self die and let our new self be born and that's what we have to do and so where do I do it? we fall short on these 12 rules endlessly because well here's a way to think about it until the whole world redeems itself we all fall short and that's probably a good place to stop
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