An interview with Jordan Peterson, who believes in witches and dragons

And I have more important things in my life than spending it all on this:




Yes, that is the traditional complaint about virtue ethics,isn’t it? But while I agree, I think the problem is worse/more fundamental than that. 45 minutes of Aristotle will get you the golden mean. But then other people talking about different virtues will get you Voltaire on free speech and Barry Goldwater on “extremism in defense of liberty,” and why should someone assume Aristotle’s model is better? I mean, it is, but why?

Sounding meaningful is just an extremely poor signal when it comes to advice. I can’t find the original page where I first saw this quote, and I don’t know if the attribution is right, but I like it:

The tautological emptiness of a Master’s Wisdom is exemplified in the inherent stupidity of proverbs. Let us engage in a mental experiment by way of trying to construct proverbial wisdom out of the relationship between terrestrial life, its pleasures, and its Beyond. If ones says, “Forget about the afterlife, about the Elsewhere, seize the day, enjoy life fully here and now, it’s the only life you’ve got!” it sounds deep. If one says exactly the opposite (“Do not get trapped in the illusory and vain pleasures of earthly life; money, power, and passions are all destined to vanish into thin air - think about eternity!”), it also sounds deep. If one combines the two sides (“Bring Eternity into your everyday life, live your life on this earth as if it is already permeated by Eternity!”), we get another profound thought. Needless to add, the same goes for it’s inversion: “Do not try in vain to bring together Eternity and your terrestrial life, accept humbly that you are forever split between Heaven and Earth!” If, finally, one simply gets perplexed by all these reversals and claims: “Life is an enigma, do not try to penetrate its secrets, accept the beauty of its unfathomable mystery!” the result is, again, no less profound than its reversal: “Do not allow yourself to be distracted by false mysteries that just dissimulate the fact that, ultimately, life is very simple - it is what it is, it is simply here without reason and rhyme!” Needless to add that, by uniting mystery and simplicity, one again obtains a wisdom: “The ultimate, unfathomable mystery of life resides in its very simplicity, in the simple fact that there is life.”
Slavoj Zizek

At some level I wonder if having a system of values, (almost) any system, is better than not having one. But that doesn’t seem to work either until you somehow account for which systems will work for which people, which is basically only knowable by trying them out and seeing, which society really doesn’t want anyone to get away with.


Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.


A horrifically inhumane and antisocial one.


Fuck Jordan Peterson, let’s go bowling!




great quote, I like it too!

Pop-philosophy and vapid truism are disappointing if that is all a person consumes. But I am satisfied if people are at least looking for answers, even if they started looking in the wrong places.

The problem with self-help scam artists that have a book to sell, or worse, an ideology to sell is that people looking for life’s answers can waste their time. As I strongly suspect effective answers aren’t the same for every person. And looking for answers is perhaps the more rewarding than finding them.

I don’t have ANY answers, but I iterate and improve. Which is progress I guess.


I wouldn’t know, I’m minoring in urban planning. :thinking: I did take an ethics class as a pre-req however. In terms of affect it was much like reading Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird, so I’d imagine the concept can be learnt on the cheap.


Besides, we all know the answer is 42


On the subject of witches…


Ha ha ha ha. So “fundamental mythology” is “random stories Peterson cherry picked and viewed through a Western misunderstanding of the source material.” Yeah, that’s so much better.

The problem with Peterson and his disciples is the willingness to make something up and pretend it has some real, stable, academic meaning. Yeah, I don’t know what he’s talking about - because he made it up. There’s nothing to take seriously because there’s no “there” there. (I’ve actually studied mythology, including Taoism specifically, and I don’t mean “I looked it up on Wikipedia.” This is pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-academic nonsense.)


No need to act like a condescending dick, bro.


Particularly when his paragraph explaining “fundamental mythology” is not even internally consistent.

So it’s not in every mythology, but recurs in a few. And these few prove his point! But it’s not cherry picking.

*FWIW, chaos gods in human mythos are evenly male and female across many cultures.


Or that he’s using the term “fundamental mythology” to describe Peterson’s over-extension of Jungian archetypes in mythology (at least where it serves his rhetorical purposes).


What was that saying about ‘the more adjectives and overly descriptive terms that are used to describe something, the more likely it is to be bullshit?’

I can’t quite recall how it goes, verbatim…


Eris, you mean?

For every regional mythos, there’s a countepart in another culture.
(Loki comes to mind as a distinctly male deity of chaos, for example.)

But even within the same region and mythos, the idea that “female = chaos” doesn’t hold water: see Eris’ opposite, Harmonia, the goddess of concord.


The ones that immediately come to a non-expert’s mind are mostly male: Loki, Anansi, Br’er Rabbit, Coyote, Renard, the Monkey King, Pan, Hermes…

Bugs Bunny frequently dresses in drag, so we’ll give Peterson that one. Here’s a reference image appropriate to his background:

and another one that will be more relatable to his followers:


I think in Chinese philosophy, the “female” half of the yin yang (Yin) is associated with chaos and some other negative traits… but even if an ideology was loosely based upon that premise, it’s still cherry picking, because the very concept of yin and yang is duality and balance - one side cannot not ‘overpower’ the other, and neither can exist without the other one.


another thing re: mythology- searching for “truth” in “fundamental myths” (I feel like this is one of those terms that can only mean what Peterson says it means) seems so fucking quaint. Like, yes, we developed sun gods because obv the sun is so integral to life, but early humans had no notion of what was actually happening so they made stories based around what seemed most likely given the available evidence. The most convincing stories lived on, until new shit comes to light, and slowly the myth dies as its necessity for explaining a misunderstood phenomena fades away. Not many actively worshipped sun gods these days ya know?

Myths show the opposite of what Peterson claims- untruths.

And if a patriarchal society is so obviously the best way to go why is it doing its damndest to turn our planet into a polluted shithole? AGW alone is enough to call bs on that.