It’s been a while since I dedicated a post to Laughing in Disbelief’s favorite conservative Christian, Professor Jordan Peterson. In my defense the pretty embers from the burning down of the Republic by Donald Trump and the oligarchs (Russian and American) are distracting.
Here were are in the second chapter of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping. Oh, Disbelievers, it’s good advice. Seriously. It’s all too common to see caregivers treat others well while neglecting their own needs. However, Peterson comes at the issue as a true conservative Christian. Poorly. Awkwardly. Heavy on the mumbo-jumbo.
What follows are a number of tweets I made while reading the second chapter. They are in bold. They are edited due to no one wanting to read “I’ve been reading through the 12 Rules” over and over again. Most will be followed by normal text explaining the point a bit more.
Peterson is saying (and correct me if I’m wrong @jordanbpeterson ) people don’t take their medication because of self contempt? That seems like an assertion which could be proven with the right research.
Yes, you read that correctly. Jordan Peterson’s main assertion in chapter two is people feel so much contempt for self that they avoid doing basic self-care. And that’s a whopper of a statement. Peterson doesn’t even do a quick review of the scientific literature on the subject.
Peterson is shoe horning Christian theology (we’re all sinful creatures) into an assertion about human psychology. Do we not take our medication due to self-loathing or do we just have bad brains? My guess is the latter.
Pull out your Occam’s Razor for a second. What’s more likely:
- We neglect ourselves due to a deep seated realization we aren’t perfect and are too aware of our own deficiencies;
- Taking care of others is easier than going to the gym, balancing our own checkbooks, or filing our taxes because that’s they way we evolved. Self-care simply requires more cognitive/emotional resources.
As a father I’ve discovered it’s a lot easier to tell someone to make their bed than to make my own. There’s no self loathing in that equation.
Reading through Peterson’s 12 Rules reminds me of how much sense the Bible doesn’t make. “… then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. People wrestle with what’s good and evil (ex. – Trolley experiment) This means God doesn’t know for sure.
The more Christians talk up the Bible the more you realize it doesn’t make sense. Adam and Eve ate the apple and we’re all supposed to know good and evil like God does? Oy. We’re a species confused by morality and ethics. I’m pretty sure that means God doesn’t know what good and evil is either. (Oh, and if you don’t know what the Trolley thought experiment is check it out here.)
Peterson makes an argument that inflicting pain for fun is a human trait. I believe chimps who belong in a group will ban together and kill a lone chimp from another group. For fun.
Atheists, I give you Jordan Peterson, conservative Christian:
“And with this realization we have well-nigh full legitimization of the idea, very unpopular in modern intellectual circles, of Original Sin.”
It’s interesting to think about the use of shame in marketing ideas. Shame is a powerful emotion. If you can create that feeling in another person, then it’s easier to manipulate them. “Look, Timmy, you are a sinful, dirty little boy. Grow up and vote Republican. That way you can stop feeling shame for a few minutes.”
We see in the world who we are.
Religion poisons everything — especially Jordan Peterson.
Though not an original thought it had to be said.
He loves to write how atheists aren’t really atheists. Here he is talking about humanity’s fondness for nature: “We worship them, even if we are self-proclaimed atheistic environmentalists of the most anti-human sort.”
Once again Jordan Peterson can’t stand the thought of happy and productive atheists. Why? Because that would mean his Magic Candy Mountain Myth (MCMM) holds no water. If MCMM were true, then real atheists are sociopaths. Without MCMM, humanity falls into the abyss. Happy “real” atheists prove Peterson’s basic assumption wrong.
He loves giving hand jobs to God. ”The entire Bible is structured so that everything after the Fall—the history of Israel, the prophets, the coming of Christ—is presented as a remedy for that Fall, a way out of evil.”
That tweet couldn’t encompass my revulsion for this claptrap. David collecting the foreskins of Palestinians for his future father in-law was preparation for Christ? The death of the Amelikites and the murder of innocent first born male babies of Egypt was a good thing?
This is why people don’t take their medication:
“If we wish to take care of ourselves properly, we would have to respect ourselves—but we don’t, because we are—not least in our own eyes—fallen creatures.”
– That could be from Pat Robertson.
Is any more explanation needed?
It looks like the Peterson wants you to think Europe became less violent due to Christianity. The 30 Years War is a data point against that assertion.
There are many reasons why Europe is less violent. To say religion is the main cause is the stuff of conservative dreams where they masturbate all over the Enlightenment.
Peterson only comes to the idea of compassion for self through a labyrinth of word salad. He justifies the idea by quoting Jung and referencing the Bible.
“Look, here’s a spiffy idea that I’m partly justifying it with poo.”
And that’s typical of self-help Christian gurus. Instead of saying something like “Go make your bed” they need to say “The Bible tells you to do so. Go do it.”
When I’m reading @jordanbpeterson 12 Rules I get the impression over and over again he’s a good clinician. You can be a good therapist without burdening the client with your own theoretical constructs.
I personally think a clinician can be good even if they harbor a bunch of wonky ideas. After all, insight-based therapy is a process where the client is given the opportunity to grow. It’s about creating a space to examine ideas, relationships, and feelings.
He states what I think is “Crap your Parents shoulda told you.”
But he mixes it in with this godly mess ”That would atone for your sinful nature.”
We are not fallen angels. We are risen apes.
And that’s the issue, isn’t it? If you look at the human condition through the lens we’re fallen angels, then we’re a freaking mess. But, if you take the view we were throwing poo at each other only a few million years ago (a short amount of time on the cosmic scale), then the Kardashians are something to be expected.
You can read earlier posts on Peterson:
And for a bit of fun – Jordan Peterson’s New Patreon Perks!