Thoughts on Jordan Peterson

Who?

Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist, author, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His ideas on human development aren’t quickly expressed and they do not fit particularly well within schools of prevailing thought. But, they are striking a chord with today’s thinkers and readers, from the average to the most scholarly. Over the last 18-24 months he has emerged from total obscurity to being fairly well-known, and now has regular discussions with the likes of Sam Harris and Joe Rogan.

I discovered him in late February of 2018 and was immediately fascinated. Since then I have listened to the entirety of his 2017 “Personality and Its Transformations” class lectures, which he has posted on his personal YouTube account. I am currently listening to another lecture series called “Maps of Meaning,” and may generate further notes on his lectures in this section of my site. I believe his ideas are very important for our current sociocultural moment, especially for men.

He is someone who should be listened to.

Briefly, on Confirmation Bias and Tribalism

A final comment on Jordan Peterson: since his ideas are rapidly popularizing, there’s an ongoing race by various groups to lay claim to him and his ideas. Christians and conservatives like to think of him as being on “their side,” intellectuals and liberals want him on theirs, or else react (sometimes violently) to a caricature of his views. This sort of tribalism is a very unfortunate tendency we all share.

Rather than bowing to the temptation to neatly classify his ideas as “for” or “against” your worldview, try to dispassionately weigh his claims on their merits. To write him off may be comfortable (since it exonerates you from having to think), but it is also reductive, and it will only limit you and your potential.

Listen carefully to what’s actually being said.

I believe this is the right approach to any new information that “rubs you wrong.” Confirmation bias is a real phenomena, and it only holds us back from seeing reality more clearly.