Jordan Peterson on Wisdom and Intelligence

The following is my transcription of part of a Jordan Peterson lecture during which he answers a question about high trait openness and its connection, or lack thereof, to wisdom. I found it pretty enlightening, so I rewrote it here. The excerpt begins 2 hours 2 minutes 27 seconds into lecture number 7 of his 2017 Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories seris. View it here.

I tried to make the transcription as close to verbatim as possible (with exception of fillers, such as ‘uh’ and ‘um’), but the headings and subheadings are my own. They are included to facilitate navigation within the content. Jordan Peterson is an excellent speaker, and a lot of nuance is lost in the translation from video to written word. I encourage you to view the excerpt itself.


So I had a couple questions about dialogue and engaging in dialogue with people, so the first issue I face is I have a very high need for intellectual stimulation, and, I can’t get that with most people. Its something like, you can have a dialogue for a time, but then they sort of run out of ideas and they can’t keep up and it sort of falls apart. And I think this is something that intellectuals have quite frequently is that once they start reading difficult and rewarding stuff. They stop wanting to talk to regular people and I think that contributes to the disconnect that you see between intellectuals and working-class people. The question is, how should we address that, how should I address it? Is that something that can be addressed? 02:02:28-02:03:31


…Its high trait openness… Okay so I don’t know if that’s a question. I mean, I believe there’s a question in there… Well, part of the answer to that is that’s what the universities were for. I mean, not everyone is equipped to or interested in engaging in high-level discussion of abstract and creative ideas. You know, you hear this idea that everyone’s creative. That’s a lie. Its as straightforward as that. True creativity is very, very rare. And so, if you happen to be a very creative person, or if you happen to be someone whos

This transcription is a work in progress.