Book 1: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Book 2: Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life
Disclaimer: These notes are my own understanding of the text and often do not portray the complete message of the author, and as they are typically summaries in my own words, may not represent the intended meaning of the author, shared for non-profit educational purposes via Fair Use Law. Further, these highlights do not represent a balanced overview of messages from the books, but are a collection of meaningful ideas which stood out to me as I read, written in a way I understand them. Frequent and detailed commentary is added with these notes, particularly adding Latter-day Saint perspectives to Peterson’s writing. As best I can, I separate my commentary from my notes of Peterson by indicating “Note -” before a comment of my own. My notes on Peterson’s writing are often summaries of his idea rather than direct quotations, unless indicated with quotation marks. This is copyrighted material and may only be shared in its original form for educational non-profit purposes, and is published free of charge at RichardsonStudies.com. Please review the full texts for a better understanding of the author’s message, which I highly recommend. I don’t agree with all of his views, particularly the secular element, but can still recommend these texts in good faith with that precaution.
I have mostly good things to say about Peterson, and you’ll find many treasures from his writing, and he bravely stands up against many corrupt agendas of our time, and does so in a powerful way; but I must first give some cautions.
Peterson has two main issues I’ve seen thus far:
1. He has somewhat of a spiritual view of Christianity more than a literal one.
2. He promotes the false theory of evolution as an explanation for human behavior.
Peterson has, as is typical of scientists of our time, some ideas of old earth evolution mixed in throughout his teachings beware of. It is frustrating how Peterson keeps blaming human nature on evolution, he really does like to hit that button a lot. Like nauseating. This shows up a lot in “12 Rules vol. 1 An Antidote to Chaos” chapter/rule 2, but unfortunately is a theme he likes to weave throughout his books.
In Rules vol. 1, Peterson says he ‘outgrew the fundamentals of Christian faith’ when he became acquainted with Darwinian theory. He said he ‘could no longer distinguish truth from wistful thinking.’ Wow! How telling! The devil’s theory of evolution hits hard! He isn’t the first to lose faith over evolution, certainly not the first. Many have fallen for this, and fallen hard.
Peterson promotes a false idea of multiple Genesis authors as is common among progressive scholars today, which idea is refuted by the Book of Mormon. He sees the Bible as a collection of evolved cultural myths rather than historical literal events. Sadly, Peterson calls the devil “a myth of the imagination.”
Peterson uses a few Harry Potter literary parallels. I’m not a Harry Potter fan, I find it distasteful to fantasize about the questionable arts, but as many people are acquainted with that story, I include some of his analogies of it. He sees it as a story with Christian themes (of sacrifice), which isn’t wrong, but the stage those are demonstrated in really downplays the message. Rowling was shocked after publishing her book at how many parents who found her work distasteful due not to Christian themes, but due to too many occultic themes.
I think Peterson is sort of like Ayn Rand. They both are freedom fighters and they have a lot of great things to say so long as you know how to get around their preconceived false dogma. For Rand it’s atheism, for Peterson it’s evolution and a sort of weak mythical spiritual version of religion and Christianity (though Peterson still pulls off many great religious teachings. Rand does too but doesn’t mean to.). With these false notions of course these two authors get it flat out wrong sometimes.
But we are wise if we can learn whatever good someone has, to embrace that and add it to our reservoir of good, so long as we can reject things that we detect to be bad. For these reasons, I do not recommend either of these writers for young readers.
It’s been said that no two people will see everything eye to eye, I suppose it’s not until we become like God himself that we become that similar. (Though of course there may be some personality differences in preference among the exalted, for example chocolate versus vanilla ice cream (though I could make a pretty good case for chocolate being objectively superior!)).
There’s a fun Facebook group called “Latter-day Lobsters” about latter-day saints discussing Jordan Peterson and related topics. I’m not extremely savvy on the personalities there (some probably buy Peterson’s falsehoods, others I’m sure see through those but still have a genuine appreciation for Peterson’s other teachings), but it’s an interesting idea for a group to be sure. Either way, at the end of the day there is value in speaking with others who see things differently than we do, Peterson definitely points that out.
You can attempt to contact Peterson here: Jordan Peterson | Contact (jordanbpeterson.com)
Happiness is not the proper pursuit. “Just say no to happiness”
Our ancestors saw the world as a stage drama, not as just a series of objects.
The yin and yang the light and dark the order and chaos just when chaos is at it’s worse, you see order emerge. (Note – some have twisted this to mean ‘lets make chaos so we can have order.’ Peterson points out elsewhere that revolutions usually don’t work and just make more chaos.)
When you have strength as a group unity there will always be conflict with other groups who are united under different principles, and there’s a temptation to not be strong so there won’t be conflicts, but that would ruin everything. (Note – this is why an ‘America first’ policy is important, more important than globalism. We don’t want to sacrifice our values to fit in with a group. This is also why you can’t just mix all the religions.)
The only way to reduce suffering in the world is for everyone to take as much responsibility as they can it’s asking a lot, it’s asking everything.
But the alternative is the horror of a tyrannical state and the horror of untamed nature etc.
Note – remember Joseph Smith taught that a religion which doesn’t require the sacrifice of one’s all doesn’t have enough power to save. Also note that its usually the few who lift the whole. This must be why Christ said the way is narrow, and few find it. Happily, the Lord made various kingdoms of heaven, so it isn’t a heaven/hell, it’s by degrees, suited to the choice of people.
A very small fraction of writers make the books that sell over 100,000 copies, a very small fraction of musicians, even the top four, wrote most of the classical music we enjoyed today (and Bach wrote so much music that it’s very hard to comprehend.) A very small fraction of scientists publish papers.
Matthew 25:29 to those who have everything more will be given to those who have nothing more will be taken. All societies show a general curve and wealth demonstrating a small amount of people having most of it and this is true no matter what type of government.
Lobsters who are beaten in a fight have changes in their brain that make them much less confident.
Females in many species let the dominance hierarchy show them which males are worth their time.
The popular book 50 Shades of Gray is pornography for women about seduction.
Note – in this chapter Peterson promotes some evolutionary thinking as most scientists today do which of course is nonsense.
Mark Twain said it’s not the things that we don’t know that get us in trouble, it’s the things that we do know that just ain’t so.
Note- be careful with Mark Twain he was an antichrist who hated the Bible. What he said here has some wisdom but be careful to not get into the spirit of condemning believers.
Joseph Smith said he never heard of someone being damned for believing too much.
Of course Joseph Smith also said you have to be able to discern between true spirits and false spirits.
Don’t overly glamorize nature, it’s a harsh and brutal thing.
The dominance hierarchy is apparently a permanent part of life.
Even if you have plenty of money you’re going to be depressed if you’re always low on the dominant hierarchy and without confidence. Those who have no pleasure in life, if they have money, they’re much more likely to use that money for drugs and alcohol. If you have money and you’re at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy, you’re going to be exploited by others who want your money.
Low ranking humans and animals produce low serotonin levels. That means less confidence, more illness, less ability to respond well in emergencies, etc. When you don’t know what to do, ideally you want to be prepared to do anything.
Note – let’s not get too carried away with this dominance hierarchy stuff. People can find great joy in service. Lose your life to find it. We shouldn’t waste our lives, but we also shouldn’t be overly concerned with being above others. Perhaps a spiritual understanding of a spiritual hierarchy is needed, as Jesus taught: lose your life (in service) if you want to find it. As Jesus also taught: let him who is greatest among you be your servant. Peterson does hint at some of this when he says that a person should do their best at their job, and they’ll see natural results of promotions and enhanced skills as a result. Jesus also taught of the infinite worth of ‘the least of these.’ Perhaps Peterson’s general meaning is that if we are wasting our lives, not contributing to society, then we are not going to thrive. We must win, at least, against ourselves.
Waking up at a consistent time is more important (for mental health) than going to bed at a consistent time. (Note – that’s probably true for physical health too, though a reasonably early bed time is also encouraged in scripture.)
Anxiety and depression cannot be easily treated if the person has unpredictable daily routines. A regular sleep schedule and eating breakfast, particularly a hearty breakfast, stabilizes many people.
Alcoholism comes when you drink to get rid of your hangover; you make a positive feedback loop when the cure to your ailment is more of the ailment.
Depressed people often have a positive feedback loop. They feel sad and useless so they withdraw even more, which makes even more feelings of sadness and uselessness.
People who are scared to leave their home are often middle-aged ladies who were overly dependent on others, such as a controlling boyfriend. They live in fear of death. Their anxiety creates medical symptoms. The agoraphobic person associates one place after another with anxiety and medical distress until they are afraid of going anywhere. Anxiety induced retreat makes the self smaller and the world larger.
Often people are bullied because they won’t fight back. Some people think all forms of aggression including anger are morally wrong. That sets them up as a target for bullying. They may be sensitive to anger from dealing with perhaps an overly angry father, etc, and they suppress parts of them that might lead to that in themselves. But they must learn the balance.
Note – Another situation could be where a child grows up with an absent father, so the child grows up to be a father who is overly strict on the kids, wanting to ensure that neglect doesn’t occur like it did to him. This person too must find the right balance. Most parents likely err on the side of permisivity.
Those who are merely compassionate cannot call forth righteous protective anger to protect. If you can bite you generally don’t have to. (Note – the white glove with the iron fist.) The ability to be violent decreases the chances you’ll need to be violent. If you say no early in the cycle of oppression and you mean what you say, by saying what you mean in no uncertain terms and standing behind it, then the oppressor will be limited. Tyranny expands to fill the space where it can go. If you don’t protect yourself you’ll be exploited.
(Note – and as Peterson points out elsewhere, saying ‘no’ can’t just be words, it must mean, ‘if you cross this line, you’ll be sorry you did,’ and to such a level that it will deter future harassment. The book ‘Enders Game’ has an interesting story about this when the character encounters a fierce bully. The hero hates fighting, but fight he must, and to the level that permanently delivers the message ‘No!’ The bully had better beware, because the resistance might be more than he is ready for.)
There are genuinely malevolent people that do need to be dealt with by force. Naive beliefs (about the benevolence of all people) can be an invitation to abuse because people who aim to harm specialize in targeting the weak, the people who think that no one’s going to have it in them to harm someone else.
Honesty demands that we do something or say something when tyranny is going on.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is more often from something they watch themselves do then from something they watched someone else do.
When someone is overly sheltered and they then encounter malevolence it can traumatize and debilitate them for years. People have to be aware of potential in themselves and others for malice. The only way you’ll be able to stand up to someone is if you know you can be a monster when you have to be.
Losers and victims of bullying don’t have to remain so, situations change, people grow up. There’s not only negative feedback loops, you can develop positive feedback loops.
When you perform a bodily expression that communicates sorrow you begin to feel sorrow, and the same for expressions of happiness to feel happy. If you slump your shoulders and hang your head down this is sort of a posture of protection in case you get hit in the back and it’s going to leave you feeling scared and ineffective. People will read your body language and treat you that way.
Stand up straight physically and mentally. Voluntarily accept the burden of being. When you face the demands of life voluntarily, your entire nervous system responds differently. You respond to challenges instead of bracing yourself for catastrophe. You see the gold the dragon is hoarding instead of just hiding from the dragon. You step up and take your place in a dominance hierarchy.
Note – we all have to win at something. We have to dominate, at least, our lesser selves. Dominate our desire to sleep in, our desire to hide from challenges. Even if this hierarchy isn’t clearly seen by the world, it deeply matters.
You must accept the cessation of the bliss of childhood. It is transforming the chaos of potential into the realities of order. It means accepting self-conscious vulnerability and walking away from childhood where things are not well understood. It means willingly making a meaningful life, living to please God. It means building the ark that will protect your people from the flood. It means speaking prophetically to those who ignore the poor. It means shouldering the cross where everything difficult in your life intersects. It means removing chaos from your life.
Speak your mind as though you had a right to, at least as much right as anybody else. Dare to be dangerous. People including yourself will start to conclude that you are competent and able, or at least they will not immediately conclude the reverse. This will embolden you and decrease your stress and make you more alert to what’s going on in conversation, etc. which both increases the odds that good things will happen to you, and enables you to feel better when they do.
Let your light shine, pursue your heavenly destiny. And then your life will be sufficient to keep the corrupting influence of mortal despair at bay. Then you learn to accept the terrible burden of the world and find meaning.
Doctors shouldn’t just tell patients what to do, they should help patients find solutions that will work for them that the patient will actually execute.
Note – this is true but it doesn’t mean you don’t tell someone the truth that they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it. But it’s very refreshing when you find a doctor that’s willing to help you with your perhaps non mainstream preferences to healthcare etc. Perhaps a doctor could say ‘ideally you should do this, but let’s make a plan towards that for starters.’
People are better at delivering prescribed medication to their pets then to themselves. What kind of self-hatred must exist?
Note – Peterson promotes a false idea of multiple Genesis authors as is common among progressive scholars today, which idea is refuted by the Book of Mormon.
Chaos is the underground, it’s the dragon, the dungeon, the hidden anger of a caregiver, the despair of a child, it’s not knowing where you are or what you’re doing.
God made order out of chaos and we are made in God’s image so we too make order out of chaos in our lives. Chaos is hurtling through space without any guidance or control where the comforts you were used to relying on aren’t there anymore. Time changes things. Old friends can betray nice dogs can bite, strong bodies can break.
Order is the calendar, it’s the trains that leave on time, it’s the front room where the children play in the home, it’s the gathering of civilized people, it’s the thin ice upon which we all skate, it’s where experience matches expectation and desire. It’s where we can be stable, calm and confident as we get predictable results. We seldom leave places (geographically and conceptually) we do not understand for that reason.
Pinocchio has to go and save someone (his father) in a dangerous situation before he can become a real man; so it is for us, this is how we stop victimizing, how we stop acting and start to take a part in the real world.
We see what things mean just as fast or faster than we see what things are. We see the non-living world as active and alive and moral.
Order is God the Father, the ledger keeper, the judge. Pushed too far these traits (in man) manifest negatively in things like the concentration camp.
Chaos is represented by the feminine and nature, the source material from which things are made. The darkness of the cave.
Women on dating sites rate 85% of the men as unattractive. Men typically do not measure up to women’s standards. (Note – true, but some of this might also be due to many of the men not going to the websites in the first place.)
The woman has the great power of saying no. She can choose when where and how to have a family.
(Note – the gatekeeper so to speak.)
The Star of David is the upward pointing triangle of the male and the downward pointing triangle of the female.
The man Osiris is god of the overworld and the woman Isis is god of the underworld, they are represented by two twin cobras, and various religious symbols of the East involve serpent gods.
(Note – It’s not just the east, it’s everywhere. In the Book of Mormon a fiery flying serpent is a symbol of God. This is not to be confused with the typical dragon symbol of Satan. Satan is a usurper and imitates symbols of God as he tries to make himself God in tyrannical ways.)
La Pieta, the depiction of Mary and Christ, is a symbol of the male and female.
(Note – Of course Peterson misses the great symbol of Jesus getting married to Mary (not his mother) (and probably Martha and possibly others.) But of course he is correct in demonstrating that the Life of Christ and the life of Mary (his mother) were intertwined.)
Peterson talks about a general symbol and order which is the same thing as when Christ says ‘I am the way.’ When the knowing of your body aligns with the knowing of your soul. The way to act is the border between the two, between the yin and the yang.
Note – we must be very careful with this; to be specific Christianity is the way and particularly that kind of Christianity which Jesus himself endorses by his priesthood Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Peterson is pointing out some principles but it’s a pretty big leap to claim general principles of order with the way of Christ. Of course there are laws of the universe and Christ is an embodiment of those laws but it’s even more than that, it’s Christ offering us a covenant to where we can actually make something of it, actually be successful, in the realest sense, now and forever. So no Peterson, it’s not as simple as making order out of chaos, however great that is. We can’t entirely pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Christ did teach people to live the spirit of the law, but we still cannot be saved without Christ’s power. Peterson’s mythical version of Christianity doesn’t seem to really get that. We could say that Christ had aligned himself so much with the truth, with God, in the premortal phase, that he was selected as the only one capable of being the engine of God’s plan for the rest, the ideal prototype and only possible sacrifice.
You want to be straddled between order and chaos, then when time passes and you don’t notice because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing, you’re there.
Order is not sufficient. You have to learn, explore and master new things. But also you can’t always be in chaos swamped with the unknown or challenged over your capacity to cope.
The black dot in the yin yang is chaos manifesting itself all of a sudden in the midst of what you thought was calm. It’s like the snake in the garden of Eden. Chaos always sneaks in. The serpent in the garden isn’t great, but it’s the lesser of two evils.
Note – And so it must, for the cycle of life to go forward. Councils must be held, the pride must rebel and create opposition, etc. Also consider the prison at the center of a city; the ‘black hole’ (whatever that is) at the center of a galaxy. We could also consider that in the black, there is the white spot. This could mean that in bad places, people have a chance to turn around, to see the light. It could also mean the missionary in the ghettos or the corrupt city, helping the few who might listen, like the Abinadi who was killed but whose message reached Alma, which Alma then went on to save a nation.
The greatest enemy is ourselves.
Note – I would clarify that and say there is an external enemy who is tempting us to make bad personal decisions ourselves. We have agency, and we are invited to act for good by God (and His agents), and to act for evil by the Devil (and his agents). And it is true that Satan is only bound when we choose him to be. But let it be clear that there is a real being we know as Satan who set on destroying us. Elder Jeffrey R Holland recently gave a good talk on this.
When a parent (so to speak) locks up a kid in a basement or a tower to keep them hidden from all the rest of the evils in the world, that parent themself becomes the evil. There would be no challenge or interesting part of life if every single evil was locked away. We would never reach our full potential without challenge and danger, so we would ever remain infantile.
The serpent tells Eve she will become like God in knowing good from evil, but the serpent fails to tell her that she will become like God only in that one way.
After Eve becomes self-conscious she goes to wake up Adam. Women have been making men self-conscious from the beginning. They often do this by rejecting men or by shaming men who do not take responsibility.
Note – Peterson goes on a rant about humans coevolving with serpents, a bunch of nonsense.
Naked means subject to judgment; it means unprotected and unarmed. Their vulnerability was on display.
Beauty shames the ugly, strength shames the weak, life shames the dead. We don’t ban beauty strength and health just to keep people from feeling shame. The result of that would be that we would always feel shame.
Adam hid from God – this is about people always being afraid about their vulnerability, always being afraid to stride the gap between chaos and certainty. People are afraid to walk with God which is not admirable but it is understandable. God is a judgmental father, his standards are high and he is hard to please.
A spurned man will blame his woman, the potential object of his love, then blame God. The man is upset about the woman and himself, then he turns to thoughts of revenge, which is utterly contemptible and understandable.
Eve was deceived by the best deceiver but Adam was attempted by Eve; no one forced him.
Women have to go through the difficulty of childbirth and rearing children which puts them in a situation to have to rely on sometimes unreliable men.
We have the gift of seeing into the future but with that gift comes the ability to see problems in the future, which means we’ll always have to be preparing for those problems. This means eternally sacrificing the present for the future. Putting aside pleasure for security, working. And it’s going to be difficult.
Heaven is something you must build and immortality is something you must earn. This is why Adam and Eve were blocked out of the garden and blocked from the tree of Life.
Note – right on here Peterson! We also have the grace of God but it’s something that you have to access, you have to work at it, you have to build on that foundation, you have to grow from that vine. Grace isn’t to put us in a recliner, it’s to put us to work! In other words, the person experiencing grace will be up and doing!
We have a hard time taking care of ourselves and others because we know that human nature is such that we have lots of flaws, and we knowingly do bad things. We all long for the paradise we used to know, for the innocent childhood and youthful experiences. We are no longer one with God and nature.
The Bible is about a remedy for the fall, a way out of the evil. We are going back in order to go forward, meaning we’re trying to return to how we were.
Note – this is mostly true – we are trying to get back to our home in heaven, but we’re not going back to how we were, we’re going back with knowledge, experience and stronger moral character. We are off at school and must return different than how we left. This is also why the doctrine of a pre-mortal life is essential in understanding consistent psychological truth.
Heaven is where you care for each other, hell is where you eternally sentence each other.
Back in the day the problem was narcissism and people lashing out in violence. Today the problem is that people don’t care for themselves at all. An awareness of their inadequacies leads them to believe they’re not worth caring for. (Apothy, drug use, suicide and related issues ensue.)
The golden rule means sacrifice yourself for others. To sacrifice ourselves for God for the highest good does not mean to let people tread on you in their woke agendas. It is not virtuous to be victimized by a bully, to be treated as a slave. Even if the bully is yourself.
Doing to others what you would want others to do to you and loving others as yourself have nothing to do with being nice. Don’t make yourself a slave because you wouldn’t want someone else to be a slave.
Note – recall President John Taylor who spoke of serving God gladly, but never being God’s slave. The difference is agency.
You are morally obliged to bargain as hard as you can on your own behalf as you would be to bargain on someone else’s behalf. If you fail to bargain for yourself as best you can you’ll end up a slave, the other person will end up a tyrant, and that’s no good for anyone.
It’s much better for any relationship when both partners are strong. You have to embrace and love the sinner who is yourself as much as you would someone else.
God says ‘vengeance is mine and I will repay’ – this means you do not belong to yourself, you’re not allowed to torture yourself. Mistreatment of yourself can have catastrophic consequences for others, this is most evident in suicide as those left behind suffer dramatically.
Note – a great point, but of course it also means it’s not your place to get revenge on others. Everything belongs to God, and all offenses are ultimately toward him. Also recall the teaching of Joseph Smith, that for the faithful, all losses will be made up to them in the resurrection. This also hearkens to the parable of the laborers in the vineyard being paid the penny – they all got the ultimate reward, and the ultimate reward is recompense for all possible losses.
You have a divine spark in you which belongs not to yourself but to God in whose image you are made. We aren’t God but we aren’t nothing either. Everyday heroism is the rule of humanity rather than the exception, you see it all the time. There are so many ways that things could fall apart, we must be grateful for any order at all. It is always wounded people who are holding things together and we can admire that.
You deserve respect, you have a role to play in the well-being of the world, so you need to take care of yourself. If we don’t care for ourselves as well as we care for others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time, making the world worse in every way. You have to keep the promises you make to yourself.
Happy is not synonymous with good. Just because a kid is happy when you feed them candy doesn’t mean you should feed them candy all the time. We have to help kids become responsible people who can thrive.
When you have some freedom, ask yourself what you should be doing to expand your health and knowledge. Heaven won’t arrive on its own accord; you have to work to bring it about. We have to strengthen ourselves and seek vision. (Note – Yes! And by the grace of God we can!)
Define who you are, choose your destination, refine yourself. Niche said “he who has a why can bear almost any how.”
Learn again to walk with God in the garden.
Teenage parties these days usually involved low lights to minimize conscience, loud music to minimize conversation, and lots of drinking and smoking (to minimize morality).
Note – Peterson says marijuana isn’t bad for everyone just like how alcohol isn’t bad for everyone. I would comment on this to say these are things that should not be messed with. We live in a fragile age and the Church of God has said don’t even try these, so we don’t.
When TV turns on students drop out.
If you want to make a new name for yourself try moving to a new location where people don’t remember your past.
The friends of a desperate person are those who have enough self-contempt to forgive them of their own.
Not everyone who is failing is a victim and not everyone who is at the bottom wishes to rise.
Note – this is a very important point in mental health today because every single person who is failing is simply called a victim with trauma, a deterministic view which blames anyone and everything but their own actions for their plight. The proposed remedy of course is always pampering and helping them avoid even more consequences for their actions.
When you take a slacker low quality person and put him on a team of winners in hopes to get him to rise up, the psychological literature on this is clear, he doesn’t rise up, he just pulls the rest of the team down. The delinquency, not the stability spreads because down is a lot easier than up.
Christ spent time among the bad people of society but remember that’s Christ, and you are you.
(Note – in other words, do you really think you can handle that? Beware your fallen nature. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, or everyone will suffer for that. This isn’t to say don’t push yourself, don’t take leaps of faith, it’s to say be reasonable about your limitations as you make your way forward toward the Christ character.)
Maybe you’re helping someone because you’re a good guy, maybe you’re doing it for attention. Maybe it’s easier for you to look virtuous when you’re standing beside someone who’s utterly irresponsible. Maybe you’re choosing to be around these losers because it’s easier than something useful you could be doing. Maybe you’ve all decided to be losers to sacrifice the future for the present and you all agree together to not call each other on it so you can more easily forget what you’re doing.
Oftentimes your contempt for someone’s bad lifestyle helps them more than your pity.
Before you help someone you should find out why they need help because it’s very rare that you’ll find a victim of circumstance in true need. Most of the time it’s people who have chosen to be losers. If you buy the story that that person’s life is terrible without any bad choices on their part, you’re taking away the role of agency in their past, and therefore minimizing their agency for the future. This removes them of all power. It’s much more likely that they have rejected the path upward because it’s too difficult.
Note – In the Book of Mormon is does tell us to help the poor without concern of how they became poor, even if it was their fault. However, we also have revelations in the D&C & Book of Mormon about doing all things in wisdom in order, about doing things in the Lord’s way. The Lord’s way is to help, but not just give handouts, but to help set them up for success. And a person will quickly reveal themselves as someone who doesn’t want help if they don’t want it. So we forgive their past and help them improve today, but if they aren’t ready to improve, you can’t help them either way. In fact, you shouldn’t help them, as it would only further their freeloading. As the bible says: no work, no bread. It doesn’t take long to see how giving prolonged free handouts corrupts and disables the receiver.
Vice and failure are easy to explain, they are not complicated, it’s easier not to care. It’s easier to put off to tomorrow what needs to be done today and drown yourself in cheap pleasures.
Maybe your misery is a demand placed on me trying to get me to fail too so your failure doesn’t look so bad or hurt so much. Maybe you’re pretending to help you so you can avoid doing things that you should be doing. Maybe your misery is your way of explaining that it’s the world’s fault, not yours. Success and virtue are the mystery. To fail you just have to get a few bad habits, you just have to bide your time. Things Fall apart on their own accord.
Court ordered therapy doesn’t work. A person has to want to change. When you’re trying to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped who is refusing to change it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good person, you could be doing that to avoid doing something that would really make a difference.
If you have a friend that you wouldn’t recommend someone else have this is not good. You might think it’s loyalty but it’s probably stupidity. Loyalty has to be negotiated fairly and honestly, friendship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. You should choose people who want the world to be better not worse. It’s good not selfish to choose people who are appropriate for you. You need to be around people who are aiming up if you want to go up otherwise your peers will pull you down.
When you are around negative people and you do something good they hate you for it, it exposes their badness.
It’s harder to have good friends than bad.
Protect yourself from overly uncritical passion, and pity.
Antidote to Chaos, Rule 4: Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else is Today
Back when people lived in small towns it was easier to be recognized for one’s achievements.
Some psychologists say that life is so bad that you should just believe a lie in order to have good mental health. This is very wretched and it’s often your own fault if life’s that bad for you.
Talking yourself into irrelevance is not wisdom or profound. You could say ‘who’s going to care in a million years’ but the answer to that is there’s always going to be some time frame you can come up with that would create some irrelevance.
Note – the righteous life does leave a lasting generational impact. And you don’t have to be a genius you just have to have a family, and do your best with what you’ve got.
There are varying degrees of success and failure. We should not think ‘all or nothing.’
Note – this is the theology of the Latter-day Saints, there are varying degrees of Heaven, not just Heaven or hell.
There are many different games or careers you can do. If one doesn’t work try another or make one up. You also do multiple things in your life (outside of career), don’t just judge yourself off of one of your roles.
If you’re winning at everything you try it might mean you’re not trying anything really difficult, you’re not growing. And growing is the real measure of success. The problem of making things too easy for yourself is just as bad as the problem of making things too difficult for yourself.
Often the games you are playing are so unique to you that comparison to others is inappropriate. As we advance in life our circumstances become increasingly unique which allows us a decreasing ability to compare ourselves with others, meaning we are voyaging into the unknown.
You aren’t your own slave or tyrant, you can only force yourself to do so much; you can only force yourself to be interested in certain things so much. At the end of the day you have your own interests. Negotiate with yourself, ask yourself what you want, don’t treat yourself like a tyrant or a slave. You have to find out what you need, your moral obligation to yourself.
Yes you have duties in your life that you need to do which you may not particularly like, but you can steer your life towards something that you do like. Getting what you (righteously) desire can help you avoid temptation.
Arrogance, deceit and resentment are an evil triad.
Resentment is either from being immature, in which case you need to shut up and move on, or there’s tyranny, in which case you need to stand up to it. It’s a moral obligation. When you have something to say, silence is a lie! When your life is being poisoned you build resentment and it’s toxic; you have to do something. Battles have to be fought voluntarily & forthrightly on the road to peace.
The word sin means to miss the mark, so you better have something to aim at for starters. We are always at point A moving to point B, which point B better matches our values.
We live in a paradigm of the present always lacking & the future always having more; this is what causes us to act. Foresight is a blessing but it comes with anxiety about the future and the need to prepare for it.
When you’re about to buy a home you hire an inspector to tell you about all the flaws that are in that house. You even pay him for the bad news, you need to know about the condition as it is right now, not as it might be. You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. We need to take stock of ourselves. Our internal critic can be a helpful inspector if we get it on track.
The future isn’t like the past because the future could be better.
The present is eternally flawed, but life is not just the satisfaction from climbing the next peak, but the joy of the journey. Much of happiness is hope, no matter how deep the underworld in which that hope was conceived. (Note – this is similar to the chemical explanation, that we are rewarded by hope, sometimes even more than the obtaining of what we hoped for. I suppose this is a merciful condition of life to keep us moving forward.)
Find something in your life that you would enjoy setting in order.
(Note – great point; take on the low hanging fruit rather than stressing about the high fruit when you’re not even there yet. Do what you can today, and tomorrow’s troubles will unfold. You can’t do everything, so point yourself toward a good situation. This isn’t to say obsess over some pet hobby; we should make God’s work the priority, but do the aspect of God’s work which we are tailored for. How do you tell? It excites you naturally. Someone said “don’t ask what the world needs, find what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” There’s a lot of truth to that, if you can approach it reasonably. And of course sometimes there’s something we aren’t very fond of that we need to hash out too.)
We often see ourselves as tyrannical and no one wants to work for a tyrant, so we don’t make improvements. But if we are nicer to ourselves we might actually get something done.
(Note – I remember hearing a Seventy speak on my mission, he repeatedly commented, “I love working with the Lord, the Lord is so good to work with!” I’ve thought about that, how the Lord does want us to enjoy serving Him, and we can. As we figure this out, we have to similarly make ourselves good employers.)
Deal with the complexity of the world by ignoring those things which are not related to your goal. The price you pay for getting what you want is ignoring everything else. (Note – In Peterson’s Rule Book 2, he points out to also see the beauty of the moment, and make time for family joy regularly. It could be said, of course, that our families are one of the goals we focus on.)
If life has a problem it’s not life that has the problem, you do.
What you want is blinding you to what else could be. Often the solutions are right before us but we can’t see them because we’re focused on something else. Don’t pursue what you want to, pursue what will make your life better and this in the end will satisfy your wants. Once you’re trying to aim for this your vision will begin to expose those things which were formerly hidden to you. We only see what we aim at and the rest of the world is hidden. Eventually we can move past merely pursuing what we want and move into the more complete realm of what is best for everyone.
Moving forward of necessity involves letting go of old things.
Our desires have to be organized into sophisticated hierarchies if we are to be elevated. Our ideas become our values, our morality and that defines us. A study of these morals is ethics. But even older and deeper than ethics is religion. It’s not just about right and wrong it’s about good and evil themselves, the archetypes. Religion is about the domain of value and ultimate value; this is not the scientific domain.
Obedience isn’t enough but it’s a start. You have to have something to aim for or you’ll be lost. Religions necessarily must have a dogmatic element. If you can’t even handle obedience, you’re nothing but an adult 2 year old but without the charm and potential. A properly disciplined person is at least a well-formed tool, and that’s something.
Crime and Punishment is perhaps the best novel. It shows someone who takes atheism seriously and commits what they see as a benevolent murder and pays the consequence. Most people who claim to be atheists aren’t really atheists in their actions. And your actions are what reflect your deepest beliefs. You can find out what you actually believe by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe before that because you’re too complex to understand yourself.
The Bible is the foundational document of Western Civilization, Western morality, Western Good and evil. It is a library of many books.
The Old Testament God seems mean but he could be bartered with to a surprising degree.
The New Testament is more kind but the Book of Revelation warns against us about being too naive about that. The Old Testament God is easy to believe in because we know life is hard and the consequences of nature do impact us for generations. The New Testament God is caring and therefore harder to believe in.
Niche was not a fan of the New Testament. He didn’t think it was right to put the New Testament and Old Testament together. He doesn’t understand how a benevolent being could be the ruler of this harsh world.
We act in faith when we believe that life is good. We counterbalance the harshness of life with a strict commitment to being good. We set our sights on the most unattainable goal and we are willing to sacrifice our lives for it. We realize we have literally nothing better to do. How do you do it? You don’t think; in other words, you don’t let your current understanding limit you.
Note – Peter Kreeft talks about this in his chapter on how to be a saint in his book “Culture War”. He talks about how thinking and planning get in the way of doing and being. But I do appreciate Peterson’s point about how this can be applied, namely that it means to not let old ways hinder you from breaking forth into the light of life.
This doesn’t mean make yourself stupid it means don’t connive and scheme. That means put your old strategies aside and start to pay attention. Notice something that bothers you that you can and will fix. Ask yourself what’s bothering you, are you willing to fix it, and could you fix it. If no to any of these then look elsewhere, aim lower.
It’s not dictating to yourself what you’re going to do, it’s asking what you would personally be willing to do. Approach things as sections if you see a pile of paper that needs dealing with don’t think about doing the whole pile, just do a little bit of it and before you know it the pile is gone. Also set up rewards for yourself say, ‘if I do that thing I’m going to treat myself by this certain reward.’
You can’t be a totalitarian even to yourself.
Note – I wonder how people like Spencer Kimball work themselves really hard. It must be that they have a different operating mode motivated out of joyous service to God. Of course voluntary service rather than mandated service is a big point.
The perfect expression of how to really live the spirit of the ten commandments is the beatitudes The sermon on the Mount. It’s about concentrating on today to live completely and properly to what is right in front of you. Do this after you decide to let yourself shine forth to illuminate the world, to sacrifice yourself for the highest good.
Negotiate instead of playing the martyr or the tyrant. You don’t have to be frustrated when you aim low (within reason) and are patient. Solutions to your particular problems have to be tailored to you.
When you have plenty to do yourself you are less concerned with the actions of others.
Note – this is a pretty big key, you have to be interested in something, involved in something, and really wear yourself out with it, and think about it, otherwise your brain craves something to think about and be involved with and there’s things going on around you so the default is to try to micromanage everything around you if you don’t have anything going on meaningful other than that.
When you’re aiming at the highest good that is hopeful. The journey may be better than arriving.
Knock as if you want an answer.
Note – this is one of the best chapters of Peterson’s books, and therefore one of the most controversial. He reminds us (most of us have forgotten since the ‘60s,) that parents are responsible for the discipline of their children, and that failure to discipline brings much worse consequences than the sometimes unpleasant disciplinary situations. Not only does proper discipline, rule setting and following through with real consequences when those rules are broken help the child have social skills self-control and lifelong success, but it creates an environment of order and peace at home necessary for parents to thrive, which in turn helps all to thrive and to love life: both the youthful and the mature stages of it. Joel Skousen has some great material on this topic in his “The Whisperings of Conscience” and other essays, see WorldAffairsBrief.com.
If your kid is intentionally nagging, you don’t let them do that. When you truly care for your kid you don’t let your kid become an object of contempt by the way he’s acting, you stop that action.
If parents don’t intervene in their kids’ behavior the kid becomes overly attached to the parent (and unprepared for reality). It makes too much chaos which turns into too much order. The kid has to learn the word no.
You shouldn’t let kids dominate a dinner and take all the attention to frustrate everyone present.
When your kid does something bad but you pick them up and pat them on the back and sweetly tell them not to do that you’re sending a message to them of approval not disapproval, so you need to give it to him straight.
Often women who advocate for gender equality don’t like it when a man gives a command to a child, but then that same woman obeys commands from her child! For example, the child wants a sandwich while he’s playing a video game and the woman goes off to obey (fearing the tantrum). The future mates of such boys have every reason to hate their mother-in-law. Respect for women will not be understood by these boys. The woman ironically demanded respect from her husband but did not demand it from her son.
Freud said that a boy who gains the favor of his mother has the feeling of a conqueror, but Freud did not point out that someone with a feeling of a conqueror may become an actual conqueror in a bad way.
Spoiling a child is a selfish thing for a parent to do.
Don’t let your kid fail. Work with the kids, congratulate them when they do good, let them experience success.
Note – this is a great point. Joel Skousen points out that the child needs to learn that they have the ability to succeed. Once they learn this, they can begin to chose to do so. If we never make our kids do good things, they’ll never know that they can make that choice.
People want to stay blind so they don’t have to face the music of the bad choices they make.
If there’s a time you argue and fight with your kid like trying to put them to bed, that time adds up and it’s almost impossible to have a good relationship with a person you spend a lot of time arguing and fighting with. (So find a way to make it work without the nagging, etc.)
People say there’s no such thing as a bad kid only a bad parent, but this is very naive, the reality is that some kids are very difficult.
Each person’s social problems cannot be solved by a revolution because revolutions are dangerous. Revolutions usually do more harm than good and produce dramatic suffering.
“Diversity” is a useless ideology and we are altering our ways of being for this useless ideology.
The so-called liberation of the 1960s produced great terror on the children. The rules kept great horrors at bay, and those horrors were unleashed in the revolution. We tear down these traditions and social rules at our own peril. We skate on thin ice.
Note – Jesus Christ is the rock, a sure foundation; if we build our society on his teachings we can have more confidence than skating on ice. Another way to put this could be that if we don’t obey Christ, His narrow way, than the ice will break, and we are done for. It has to be just the right temperature to both survive and keep our ice rink. It could also be said that the more we build society on Christian principles, the more solid the ground becomes. But it can still give way with one fatal mistake. Today’s problem is that when we try and do right, the hypocrites step up and say, “Stop, stop at once! We don’t want the stability you provide, we want our freedom!” So they go on and drown in their freedom, taking the rest of us with them.
Today’s parents are terrified by their children. They’re unable to discipline and create order. The excesses of the 1960s led to a generation of incompetent adults. They stopped believing in competent power. They could not distinguish between the chaos of immaturity and the responsibility of freedom. Parents today are afraid of damaging their children to a counterproductive degree.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought that it was culture which tainted people and that people without society were delightful; but he abandoned his five children to and orphanage. He failed to realize that human beings are evil as well as good. Even young souls have evil in them. People generally improve with age. Consider the “Lord of the Flies” book of children acting tyrannically when left to themselves.
Note – children are not supposed to be left to themselves. Of course they’re not going to act out when away from the parents they deserve. I think the Lord of the Flies book is more about a simple way to explain what happens in society in general, which is that groups of people band together then become tribal and violent to get what they want. It’s not so much about the nature of children as it is about human nature generally.. Also little children need no baptism because they are saved by Christ. They are not accountable until the age of eight. They can do bad things, they can have tantrums, and yes we need to teach them to not do these things. But Peterson is correct that children do have the potential to do bad things. We just have to recognize that they’re not responsible for those actions until a certain age. Because they can’t really understand the full consequence of those actions before a certain age.
Chimpanzees conduct intertribal warfare with unbelievable brutality. The chimpanzees can and do literally tear each other apart, they do this mercilessly; if they outnumber and outsider they will kill the outsider and they will kill other chimpanzees who were once there mentors, drink the blood of their rivals, etc.
They book “The Rape of Nanking” is about a Chinese city which was invaded by Japanese and how terrible the Japanese acted toward them. (“Japanese butchered an estimated 150,000 male “war prisoners,” massacred an additional 50,000 male civilians, and raped at least 20,000 women” The Rape of Nanking (history.com)) See also unit 731 about the biological warfare which is quite horrific.
Villages’ homicide rates go down when they are civilized by outside territories.
Even dogs which are not disciplined will likely be exiled from the pack, and children are much more complex, children can go astray in much more complex ways if they are not trained. The vital process of socialization prevents much harm. Children cannot thrive when they are not instructed and shaped, and we see this in their behavior.
Children are desperate for attention from anyone because attention is vital to them. Children are damaged when “merciful” parents fail to sharpen the kids by training them. Untrained children are not fun to play with and become increasingly isolated.
Neglected children come to strangers desperate for attention with no sense of boundaries. Children require adult attention for necessary development. This is prolonged infantilism.
Neglected children will learn that adults do not take well to them due to their behaviors so they will turn to other children because the risk of rejection from other children is less. (Which of course leads to very poor socialization and lifelong consequences.)
Children want peer respect and are willing to sacrifice self-respect to get it. Children have many friends but only two parents, so the parent must function primarily as a parent, not a friend. Parents are more not less than friends. Parents have a limited ability to correct their kids so they need to learn patience for their kids. Children have very limited capacity to care about long-term consequences. Parents are the arbiters of society; they teach children how to behave so other people will be willing to interact with them.
It is an act of responsibility to discipline a child. It is not anger or revenge; it is a careful combination of mercy and long-term judgment. Proper discipline requires effort; it is virtually synonymous with effort. It is difficult to pay careful attention to children and to figure out what is wrong, what is right and why. It is difficult to formulate just and merciful strategies of discipline and to apply them. Is difficult to negotiate these solutions with other people who are also deeply involved in the child’s care. It is pernicious self-deception to think that parents should abandon their duty to discipline children and let the child do what it wants as somehow being superior. It’s lazy, cruel and inexcusable to fail to discipline children. Some parents think that rules for kids limit their creativity, but the scientific literature says otherwise. Strict limitations actually facilitate creative achievement rather than limit it. It’s a mistaken idea that a free child will wisely pick what to eat and when to sleep due to a good nature. Kids will do anything to attract attention, provide power or shield them from doing anything new . Children provoke adults to see where the limits are.
Some children believe that adults are contemptible and that they should be defied. They do things intentionally to upset adults. The attitude of these children is often the result of their parents being permissive. The best thing for these kids is to get disciplined by an adult.
Kids will strike their mother repeatedly to exert dominance to see if they can get away with it. Violence is no mystery. It’s peace that’s the mystery. Violence is the easy default. People often get psychological questions backwards; for example, why do people take drugs is not the question, the question is why don’t people take them all the time. Why people suffer from anxiety is not a mystery, the mystery is how can people ever be calm. A million things could go wrong in any second. The same could be said for depression, laziness and criminality.
Children hit first because aggression is innate (though more so in some than others), and secondly as a way of getting things.
A snake does not have to be taught to strike, it’s in the nature of the beast. 2-year-olds are violent because they are exploring what is and is not permissible behavior. They’re like blind people looking for a wall – they have to push forward and test to see where it is. And the boundaries are seldom where people say they are.
Note – this is a good point, people often say and do different things when it comes to setting boundaries with kids. All too often you hear a parent give a threat that they do not follow through with. The ‘counting to 10’, the incessant ‘warnings’ which never have a consequence. Or even the specific threat which isn’t followed through. “Ok that’s it, I really mean it this time!” No you don’t, and they know that. Or there’s the plea bargain, 75% off a consequence clearly earned. That’s a great way for them to not take you seriously, ever.
Correction shows children that “I want to” behaviors are not optimal. It takes work to organize and restrain impulses, and this won’t come without training.
As the old saying goes, “old age and treachery can always overcome youth and skill”. Adults need to have the upperhand. Time lasts forever when you are 2, a half an hour is eternity to him. The adult doesn’t mind the wait. When someone does something you are trying to get them to do, reward them, do not hold a grudge after victory. A 2-year-old can be tough but you can be tougher. You have to train him to obedience and then congratulate him when he obeys.
Kids like you more after you discipline them than they did before you disciplined them. (You’re creating safety by ensuring there’s a fence around their behaviors).
Reasoning with kids doesn’t work well but you can still give them a fair warning before you execute a consequence.
Scared parents mistakenly think that a crying child is always scared or hurt. Anger is one of the most common reasons for crying as seen in muscular analysis. Anger crying and fear / sorrow crying do not look the same or sound the same. Anger crying is an act of dominance and should be dealt with as such.
Some parents are not ready to hear the solutions for how to train a kid. Don’t cast pearls before swine.
Rewarding a kid for misbehavior (giving in to their tantrum, etc.) is harsh. It’s not just disciplining a kid to do something, forcing a kid to do something, which is harsh. Both things are harsh and you pick your poison. When you train a child they don’t bother you and you quickly like each other more.
Peterson relates an account where he was trying to put a kid to bed that he was babysitting. The kid often got to stay up late and watch TV to avoid a tantrum. When Peterson put the kid to bed he had to tell the kids to lie down, and when he didn’t he had to pick up the kid and put him down gently but firmly, and this repeated several times Peterson had put his hand on the kids back to keep him down. While the kid calmed down, eventually the kid got the idea, and was able to respond to a verbal command clear and firm to stay laying down, and the two liked each other then.
Modern parents are terrified of the words “discipline” and “punish.” Discipline and punishments must be handled with care, that is true. You can apply punishment well or not well, but there’s no escaping the use of it. Rewarding good behavior is very effective, that’s a part of it all. Rewards need to be just the right size, not so small that they are inconsequential, and not so large that they make future rewards inconsequential.
When you teach your child useful skills you will like them better. Break the task into parts. Swoop in like a hawk to reward them whenever they do something you want them to do, catch the moment precisely.
If you have a teenage child which you want to encourage to talk to you more about their life, when they do so, drop everything and pay attention. That’s the reward. But if you aren’t paying attention, don’t expect them to talk to you next time.
Loneliness is a form of pain.
Note – if you’re one of the parents who says they don’t believe in inflicting physical pain on a child but you still will put that child in time out, think about that. Time out still delivers pain, and often an even worse kind of pain which is drawn out.
Children aren’t born responsible, they have to be trained. This means not only should parents use positive rewards, they should also use threats with negative consequences.
They sleeping beauty story has symbols in it about two parents who overly protect a child by not allowing any negativity (the harsh element) into the child’s life. They don’t invite “Maleficent” the bad, the underworld, the raw nature. It’s dangerous and the consequence of all this is that the child is not better off, the child is weakened. The spinning wheel is the fate, and loss of blood is the loss of virginity, the transition to a womanhood. Her parents removed all the not so nice things from society, all the spinning wheels, but this made their daughter naive and weak. At age 16 she chooses unconsciousness rather than an adult life. Overly protected children, when they have their first contact with malevolence or failure, can desire unconsciousness (perpetual childhood, failure to launch into the real world). Kids need to understand the reality of malevolence and to have a defense in place for when they encounter it.
When a 3-year-old refuses to share and the parents ignore it because they’re too nice, the parents become annoyed but they pretend everything is okay. But it’s not okay. They will snap at the child later for something totally unrelated, and the child will be hurt by that and confused, learning nothing. Then when she tries to make friends it will not go well because of her lack of social sophistication. When parents observe her lack of social skills they won’t invite her again to play at their house. She’ll become lonely and rejected which will make her depressed and anxious, and that in turn will produce the turning from life like the desire for unconsciousness.
Parents who refuse to discipline children spare themselves from being the bad guy right now, but they set their kids up for a life of failure.
Note – this is why parenting is hard, and perhaps why many fear to become a parent. They aren’t confident enough in their ability to do something controversial. The child at least will protest. The responsible parent has to look into the beautiful eyes of their child and say in effect, “I love you so much. And when you try to cross the line, when you run in the road, when you bully your siblings, I will break (tame) you. It’ll be hard at first, but it’ll keep you charming and good. I love you enough to do something that’ll be hard for us both. I’m the mature one of the two of us, and I’ve got you.” Tough love is a critical element of real love.
If a parent chooses to opt out of the difficult situations of disciplining a child today, when the kid meets the real world, that world will mete out far greater punishment than the parents would have given. You can discipline your children, or you can turn that responsibility over to the harsh uncaring judgmental world. It is not love to choose to let the world take care of this instead of the parents.
Note – When serving as a Seventy, Elder Dieter F. Uchdorf said something along the lines of, ‘I would not trust my kids to the church. They are my responsibility. But I do rely on the Church for vital support.’ This is wise. It could also be said of the state schools, which grow increasingly inappropriate due to the toxic attitudes of peers they’ll encounter there, not to mention the politicized teachings.
There’s a new politically correct depression theory that’s called adultism, which says adults shouldn’t push their views and rules etc. on their kids.Why should a child be subject to its parent? Because children rely on the service of parents. Therefore it’s better for the child to act in a manner that invites goodwill from their parents (then from society). Peterson also points out elsewhere that the reason for the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother” is because the child owes everything to their parents. I’m troubled when I hear about kids “earning” an allowance. It’s not the parents who owe the kids, it’s the kids who owe the parents. Kids should learn to serve their parents without thought of reward as they consider all that the parents are already doing for them. It shouldn’t be “how much will you pay me for that chore?” which of course inflates very quickly. It should be “don’t be a freeloader, learn to work.” Even when a child receives funds from a job as they get old enough to have a paying job outside of the home but are still living in the home, the child should be expected to either contribute to family expenses, or put those funds toward important future things like church missions, college, etc. I get that parents are anxious to ‘teach their kids how to use money’, but the most important lesson about money is 1. don’t be a freeloader, and 2. learn to consecrate your money for the success of your family unit. There are other ways of rewarding kids than money, particularly younger kids. When kids begin to think that they can ‘do it on their own’, perhaps they can, but we live in a society where kids have to live at home until around age 18, so the kid needs to always remember that they owe respect and obedience to their parents. Ideally this respect toward parents will extend into adulthood as a person remembers all their parents did for them, and seeks to honor their parents by what they make of their life.
It’s in the best interest of the child to act in a way that is good for them but is also good for their parents.
Parents need to reward actions and attitudes in children which will bring success in the world. Threats and punishments should be used when necessary to prevent kids from getting into habits that will lead to failure and misery. If you don’t train your kid by the age of four the research shows that it will forever be difficult for that child to make friends. This matters because peers are the primary socializers after age 4 so a rejected child at that age will cease to develop. When we drift, people that care for us help us get back on track, so we better have some of those people around. (The isolated person becomes increasingly warped.)
Hierarchies that are based only on power not on ability will collapse.
If a society does not adequately reward prosocial behavior and insists on redistributing resources of the market in an unfair matter and allows for theft and exploitation, it will not remain conflict-free for long.
Poorly socialized kids have bad lives, so you have to socialize them, and it can’t all be done with rewards. Punishments need to be used too.
Temperaments vary widely. Some kids are agreeable and want to please, and they pay for that by being conflict averse and dependent. Others are tougher-minded and more independent. Some thrive with rules, some don’t, some are creative, others not as much.
Rules should not be multiplied beyond necessity. Bad laws drive out respect for good laws. This is the ethical legal equivalent of the scientific “occam’s razor.” Limit the rules then figure out what to do when one of them gets broken.
Some basic rules for kids are
1. Pay attention when adults speak to you so they don’t hate you and so they might teach you something
2. Have good manners when eating so people like having you over.
3. Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defense.
4. Do not torture and bully other children so you don’t end up in jail.
5. Learn to share so other kids will play with you.
6. Go to sleep peaceably so your parents can have a private life and not hate you.
7. Take care of your belongings because you need to learn how and you’re lucky to have them.
8. Be good company when something fun is happening so that you’re invited to the fun.
9. Act so that other people are happier around you, so that other people will want you around.
A child who knows these rules will be welcome everywhere.
Use the minimum force necessary. (Note – this is like Richard G Scott talking about using the smallest hammer you can for the job. We also need to always be aware of our fallen nature, our tendency to take things too far. Always beware that, and be ready to apologize when you do make those disciplining mistakes. And as Peterson says, fear can lead a parent to not take it far enough. That too can be apologized for.) Minimum necessary Force must be established by experimentation starting with the least. Some kids just need a glare. Others a fervent command. Others a firm flick on the hand, which can be particularly useful in public, it is sudden and quiet without risking escalation. Others need a time out, a restraint, or a spanking if they still resist.
The alternative to some sort of public discipline is a child who is crying angrily demanding attention and such a child is not making himself popular. A child running from table to table and disrupting the event is bringing disgrace on himself and his parents. Children misbehave more in public because they’re trying to establish if the same rules apply there. Kids can’t be expected to be good for super long amounts of time, so don’t stay super long at events. When people see a happy family this is good for everyone. Watching people respond to children restores your faith in human nature. If you want your kid to behave well in public you have to know about punishments and rewards, and not shy away about this topic.
Some say that there is no excuse for physical discipline. But punishments we administer in society do cause pain, deprivation of liberty does cause pain in a manner essentially similar to that of physical trauma. The same is true with isolation including time out, and this has been proven neurobiologically. The same brain areas respond to all these types of discipline. And the same class of drugs (opiates) alleviate all three of these. Jail is clearly physical punishment, particularly solitary confinement, even when nothing violent happens.
Some actions are very dangerous and need to be stopped immediately and for good. When life or death situations are going on you do whatever is fastest to stop it. The same applies in the social realm – you must keep the kid from social death. Unconstrained 4-year-olds are the ones who reap havoc as adults, become the outcasts, and suffer dearly.
It’s a delusion to think that teenage devils magically emerge from angel children. You’re not doing your child any favors by looking over any misbehaviors. (Note – or yourself any favors. No one wants a youth around who is unruly and disobedient. When the permissive parents of disabled child Helen Keller were appalled by the strict discipline of the successful tutor Anne Sullivan, the father asked Anne, “Do you even like the child?” Anne responds, “Do you?”)
If you think there’s no excuse for physical punishment, then you think saying ‘no’ is effective when there’s no threat of punishment behind it. ‘No’ always needs to mean “if you proceed, something you don’t like will happen to you.” But it’s even worse if when an adult says ‘no,’ all it means is nothing. This can lead to a belief in youth that adults are weak and ineffectual when they won’t back up what they say with action. When a child looks at adults with contempt he will not want to grow up. This is the story of Peter Pan who despised the tyrannical Captain Hook. The only time when ‘no’ means ‘no’ in the absence of the threat of physical violence is when speaking between one civilized person to another.
Some think that hitting a child merely teaches the child to hit. The word ‘hit’ is an oversimplification. You might as well have the same word for a raindrop and an atom bomb. Magnitude and context matter. There’s a difference between being bit by an angry stranger dog, and being bit by your pet dog during play. How hard they’re hit, why they’re hit, and when they’re hit matter. If you flick a baby after he hits another baby on the head, the baby can establish the connection that hitting the baby is bad, and will be less willing to smack the baby in the future. The baby will certainly not interpret the flick as a message to go hit more; the child is not stupid, he’s just jealous and impulsive. How else are you going to discipline effectively? If you do it right, the kid getting picked on won’t continue to suffer; but if you fail to discipline the kid who is hitting, the other kid then the kid getting picked on will continue to suffer for a long time. The bullying may continue for years because you won’t stop it.
When we fail to discipline our kids we aren’t doing them any favors. Every gingerbread house has a witch in it that devours children.
Timeout can be very effective. An angry child should sit down until he calms down, and when calm he is welcome to return back to normal life. That means the child wins instead of his anger (and the child needs to make the discovery that such a victory is possible). If the parent is still mad after the child calms down, either the child has not repented, or the parent needs to get over their grudge.
If the kid just runs off when told to go to time out, he may need to be restrained until he sobers up and pays attention. If the restraint fails, the child may need to be turned over the parent’s knee for a spanking. These dramatic misbehaviors can be overcome with a swat.
Don’t leave the dirty work to someone else, they will be much dirtier doing it. You love your kids, they don’t. You love your kids and if their actions make you dislike them, think how much more other people are going to dislike them if those actions don’t get checked.
Married parents are better at keeping each other in check. We all know parenting is exhausting and pushes us to our limits, so your spouse will keep you reasonable and safe. We have compassion for single mothers who are there from difficult circumstances, but we simply cannot claim that all forms of family are equally ideal.
Parents should understand their own capacity to be harsh, vengeful, arrogant, angry, resentful and deceitful. We must be aware of our great capacity for evil. People don’t set out to be bad parents but it happens all the time.
Parents who fail to discipline a child in public or private may think that they’re being nice but people are vengeful by nature and when the child runs up to them happily to show them something 10 minutes later, the parent will more likely turn a cold shoulder to the child if the parent failed to discipline earlier. Resentment leads to vengeance and less demonstrations of love. Turning away begins and eventually you have total familial warfare on the underground underneath the false facade of love. Be aware of your capacity for evil and plan a proper disciplinary strategy to avoid these bad situations.
There are toxic families everywhere, they make no rules and limit no behavior, they lash out randomly and the children live in that chaos, learning nothing. The kids respond by being crushed if they are timid and they rebel if they are tough.
Parents have a duty to act as proxies for the real world, which is tough. They are caring, but as proxies they have to show tough love, and this is more important than ‘fostering creativity’ or ‘boosting self-esteem’ or ‘ensuring happiness’. It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable. Then the child will have opportunity and self-regard, which is more important than fostering identity. Pursuing individual identity is something that comes after social norms and skills are learned.
Disciplinary principle overview: 1. Limit the rules. 2. Use minimal force. 3. Parents should come in pairs. 4. Beware your tendency to take it too far. 5. Parents have a duty to act as proxies for the real world, which is tough.
A properly socialized 3-year-old is polite, engaging and is not a pushover. People will be pleased to be around such a child, and adults won’t just be fake smiling when they see the child. Adults will be happy to introduce this child to others, and this will do more for the child than any discipline avoidance.
Don’t be afraid to have opinions. You can judge between good and evil.
Step One is to check yourself for your own arrogance. Step 2 is discipline your children to behave as well.
Take responsibility for mistakes you make when you discipline. You can apologize.
Mephistopheles (the Devil) in Faust by Goethe has a motto “I am he that negates.”
Tolstoy for a time believed that life was meaningless. With such a belief, Tolstoy said there are a few ways to deal with the meaningless of life. One is to be childlike and pretend. Two is just seek pleasure. Three is to live a drudgery, and he said this category is for weaklings. The fourth way is destroying life. For years he kept his guns away from himself and didn’t walk with a rope in case he hung himself.
Those who are extreme existentialists don’t just want to get rid of their own life, they want to get rid of as much life as possible (that’s the next step). People wonder why we have mass murders but it’s really no mystery. People are upset about how there’s so much suffering . Mass murderers think they are justified in taking revenge upon this suffering. Peterson relates to the accounts of several recent mass murders how they frequently talk about getting revenge on life and have a sense of the meaningless of life. Mass murderers feel like someone is responsible for all the suffering, they pin it on God and take out as many of God’s children as they can.
Note – the secular milk delivery man of the Amish community shot 10 young girls to get revenge on God for his own daughter dying in infancy. He let things develop into the dangerous realm of resentment and entitlement, mixed with an ignorance of God’s love, God’s plan for the salvation of all who want it, and the necessary nature of evil and sickness in the test of life.
Cain was upset, God said ‘hey it’s your own fault’, so Cain took out Abel, his idol he was jealous of. He wanted to spite God, this is what we see as the ultimate extreme of revenge. People confuse vengeance for justice.
Note – God is the ultimate keeper of justice, God says “vengeance is mine and I will repay.” We should not put ourselves in the place of God, we should not think we are wise enough or powerful enough or disciplined enough to do that.
One man suffered terrible abuse but decided he was going to let it go and be a good man.He did so. He threw a big party about moving on, and moved on. Nihilism (“nothing-ism”) is the rejection of meaning, and when we are distressed we don’t have to resort to this.
People who experience evil can want to perpetuate evil to pay it forward, but they can also decide to choose good instead. A bullied kid can become a bully, or he can choose to be compassionate knowing how hard it is to be bullied. A kid who had tyrannical parents can choose to be less tyrannical. The majority of children who were abused by their parents do not go on to abuse their own children. Abuse disappears across generations, people constrain its spread; this is a testament to good over evil in the human heart.
In TS Eliot’s play “the cocktail party”, one of the characters is feeling very bad and says they hope it’s their own fault not someone else’s, because if it’s their own fault they can do something about that to help change it for the better.
Solgenitsin who wrote ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ had been tortured by both Stalin and Hitler and later developed cancer chose to search his soul instead of blaming others. He realized that he had supported communism in his youth and how he had missed the mark engaging in acts against his conscience which he knew to be bad. He had betrayed himself by lying many times. He began taking careful attention to his actions and watching people who were good to try to emulate them. His book about this was banned in the USSR and smuggled over to America. “The Gulag Archipelago was a highly influential work that “amounted to a head-on challenge to the Soviet state”, and sold tens of millions of copies.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Wikipedia)
The Hebrews were God’s people but eventually they became corrupt and were put into bondage. They recognized it was their own fault for rejecting God (that accountability is the key). Then they rebuilt their society to try again. The Jews always blame themselves when things fell apart that’s extremely responsible. The alternative is to judge reality itself and become filled with despair.
When we don’t pay close attention everything falls apart. People knew about a major hurricane and they started building preparations but they were slow at it and years later when the major hurricane hit there was a serious death toll. It was their own fault for knowing better and not preparing. This is like when people hear the warning of a prophet and don’t do anything. That failure to heed a warning is sin, and Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. (Note – preppers are only called crazy until the ‘rain starts to fall’. For those who believe in scripture, or who are aware of political realities, the crazy thing is not to prepare.)
Suffering is the norm but if you have unbearable suffering, think about how to clean up your life.
Consider whether you are working hard at your job and career, or whether you are letting bitterness and resentment hold you down. Have you made peace with your brother, are you treating your wife and children with dignity and respect, do you have habits that are destroying your health and well-being, are you truly shouldering your responsibilities, have you said what you need to say to your friends and family, are there things that you could do that you know you could do that would make things around you better?
If you’re certain that something is wrong in your life, stop today, don’t spend time questioning how you know that if you are certain that it is. Your entire being can tell you something which is too complex for you to understand. We all contain wisdom that we cannot understand.
Only do things you can speak of with honor, only say things that make you strong not ashamed. Realize that your ancestors weren’t idiots and the cultural norms that they had probably have something useful for you.
Start telling your friends & family what you really want and need. Start speaking up at work. When you start being authentic your experience will improve and you’ll see even more things that you could improve. You’ll still experience tragedy but you’ll no longer be bitter. You’ll be able to deal with life in such a way that it won’t be hell. When we all aim for our best the world can stop being a tragic place.
A basic truth is that life is suffering. God tells Adam and Eve this right before he kicks them out of the garden.
In a meaningless universe people just do what is expedient – they lie cheat steal & pursue pleasure until death. Living For pleasure is connected to the idea that our birth was by chance, and that after death everything is over. This line of thinking also calls for the week to be eliminated. They say every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost. (Note – you would think that Peterson would connect some of these negative philosophies with their foundation, the false theory of evolution, but he fails to do so. There’s lots of evolution nonsense in this chapter. Peterson also here claims the fall of Adam is fictional, which is not correct.)
God’s favor can be gained, his wrath averted.
Understanding is acted out before it is understood, like the ancient concept of sacrifice which teaches delayed gratification.
Setting aside for a time of need is the same thing as sharing with someone else, it’s sharing with your future self. (Note – it’s not exactly the same but it is important.)
We must consider what the best sacrifice would be and the best future that would come from it. (Note – scripture says that Christ performed the difficult atonement because of the joy that was set before him. We all need that hope for reward, it is entirely appropriate. Even the Christian who serves selflessly looks forward to reward in heaven. Of course we can cultivate genuine joy in seeing others thrive too.)
We all wonder (whether we realize it or not) about why life is unfair, why it seems like some sacrifices don’t bring the rewards we thought they would. (Note – I don’t think Peterson addresses this well; it has to do with divine intervention, being tested, being refined by a higher intelligent order than ourselves, and of course sometimes with miscalculation, acting on false premises (though we can and should still learn from that).)
To share is not to give away something of value and never get it back, that’s only what children are afraid that sharing means. Sharing really means setting up a social contract where you help others and they help you. To share is to initiate a trade and a friend is someone you trade with, so if you never learn to share you’ll never get any friends.
Note – this is true but in the ultimate sense we can serve people with no expectation of return, anonymously etc., but still be comforted that God sees all and does recompense us. This kind of service, call it ‘ultra-sharing’, is possible by the man who works for god, the ultimate social contract partner, if you will. This is good and well, and it’s great to work with the Lord, He is very good to His people, blessing with comfort and strength now (even success oftentimes), and eternal life to come.
Benjamin Franklin said when you’re new in town, ask someone to do you a favor. That gives them the opportunity to do something for you to show you how good they are (people want that), and it increases the odds they will allow you to serve them in the future. Thus a mutual friendship will ensue. This is a good way to overcome hesitancy and fear of strangers. (Note: We have to learn to both give help, and receive help.)
It’s amazing when a person can become known not just for sharing but for being a generous sharer. This is the prototype for the good man and the good citizen.
The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is that the successful sacrifice. They practice their sacrifice and get good at it. Their sacrifices become broader and deeper (and therefore more effectual).
Note – Peterson talks about life being as if there was an all watching eye in the sky, rewarding you when you do good. It is true that Smith’s “invisible hand” is a principle of good economics, that the free market can excel beyond other systems. Whenever you operate on a true principle, you’ll see good results. But it’s more than that. The watchful eye in the sky is more than mythical. We often see in the life of a saint that he experiences great deprivation; it’s not always “give A receive B”. There is a God, and he does try our faith to see if we will serve him regardless of outcome (when we get to that stage). As the Book of Mormon says, it’s after the trial of faith that we receive a witness. God is a real being, really involved in our lives. He sends actual messengers to actually intervene, that’s part of the plan, it’s within the parameters of the game. We are also aware of miracles which go beyond all understood laws of nature and society. We could say that miracles, as well as the laws which saints operate on, are higher laws, understood by few indeed, as the results of those actions often go unseen, especially initially. For believers, we have 6000 years of earth’s history where we can see repeated interventions of God. Now the great challenge is for us, here at the end of all things, to muster faith in the face of a secular society, and be patient even unto death.
If the world you’re seeing is not what you love best, it’s time to let go, time to sacrifice what is dear instead of staying what you are.
A monkey is easy to catch when it puts its hand in a heavy jar to grab a treat, and will not remove his hand. He will not relinquish the treat to save his whole person. Circumcision was a symbol of giving up a part to redeem the whole.
Mary knew the death of Christ was her fault; she allowed him to come into the world. While some mothers say the world is too bad to bring children into, she knowingly said ‘yes I will do it’ . Voluntary childbearing is an act of supreme courage.
Note – Very good. Faithful mothers know that the suffering experienced here is necessary and part of God’s plan; that saints (spiritual heroes) are needed to save the whole, and that involves pain. Breed those saints! Long live the family, God’s secret weapon to win the culture war! It didn’t used to be a secret, but it sure is now…
Christ on the cross says “my God why hast thou forsaken me?” is the archetypal account of the ultimate sacrifice of man. The honorable man is the one who allows God’s will fully in his life rather than his own. But not only is Christ sacrificing himself, his father is sacrificing his son. The ultimate sacrifice is either the sacrifice of self, or the sacrifice of one’s child. Michelangelo’s La Pieta demonstrates this.
(Note – some very deep doctrines can be revealed by this. The Father sacrifices his Son. Think about how that applies to your progress as you become like your Father in Heaven, how it enables you to experience and qualify for that role.)
Sacrifice can hold suffering in abeyance. Those who most want peace on Earth will make the greatest sacrifices.
Socrates had a firm commitment to listening to his conscience. They sentenced him to death and there he went. His conscience told him not to make a case against his accusers, so he didn’t. By listening to his conscience Socrates was calm in the face of death itself. He saw that his life had been so full that he could let it go. It was, perhaps, an honorable way out of a painful world, and on to the higher. (Note – but we should do what we can to stay around, the conscience typically insists on that. Note also the parallel with Christ going to the cross without defending himself, and Joseph Smith going to Carthage knowing the fate that awaited him there.) Even when awaiting his execution Socrates still insisted on talking about meaningful things, not about his trial and pending fate. If you live fully, you will be protected from the fear of death.
Note – this is a great way to gauge whether you’re doing your duty. Don’t compare yourself to others’ standards, only listen to your conscience. Have you been putting in days doing things that you’d be proud of and ready to say that your offering was all it could have been and sufficient if you were called upon to go out today?
People can handle natural disasters, the difficulty of work and childbearing, but what’s hardest for people to handle is human evil. Someone said no tree can grow up to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell. (You’ve got to be aware of these things.)
When Cain was in the wilderness he encountered the devil and went over to the devil’s side, but when Jesus went into the wilderness he rejected the devil. Christ took on the full responsibility for human evil, he confronted it consciously and voluntarily.
Soldiers who develop PTSD often get that not from something they saw, but from something they did. Warfare is a gateway to hell. Now and then something climbs through and possesses a simple farm boy, turning him into a murderer rapist. And some part of him enjoys it, that’s the worst part. Then he’s traumatized for life for having seen himself do this.
Horus, a Christ figure the son of the father god Osiris, is tempted by Set, who is his uncle who tries to usurp the throne of Osiris.
Note – this is close but not quite accurate when it comes to Christian analogy because the Devil was Christ’s brother, one of the sons of the Father. But it would hold true if you considered Osiris as the son.
Horus meets Set in direct combat but loses his eye (the hero surely gets wounded).
Satan knows exactly what he’s doing and he does it deliberately and completely. He knows that he should be humble but he chooses not to be.
The archetype of good is the one who must confront the archetype of evil.
When Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread when he was 40 days hungry, Jesus said we should not live by bread alone. This means even when you’re hungry there’s more important things than food. In other words, bread is of little use to the man who has betrayed his soul, even if he is currently starving. (Note – Esau didn’t get this.) Gluttony in the midst of moral deprivation is the most miserable of feasts.
If we all lived by the word of God it would create a Utopia that would eliminate hunger.
Live as the archetypal Savior lives and you and those around you will hunger no more. We see that He can make bread when He wants to because of his high morals. The beneficence of the world manifests itself to those who live properly, and that’s better than (and apparently includes) bread (when it’s really needed).
Jesus is tempted by the devil to jump off a cliff and have God save him. This is the cheapest trick. It makes a mockery of courage, dignity, free will and destiny, and is not a good example for others. It’s a cheap story that just has all the good guys simply swooped up and saved without effort on their part.
God is not a safety net for the blind, he’s not someone who is commanded to do miracles or to give self revelation upon our whim. God doesn’t even do this stuff for his own son. Matthew 4:7 don’t put God to the test.
Note – this means faith without works is dead, and that faith will be tried. It does not mean that there’s no divine intervention.
Christ doesn’t require God to take his duty. He doesn’t demand that God prove his presence. If God just saved him, that wouldn’t solve the problems for everyone else for all time. He is not just a magical Messiah, he is a moral man whose power comes from his morality, not by tricks.
The more power people have the more the dark side of them can come out. With power comes easy access to lust & vengeance (which few can turn down). A person with enough power will not just kill, they torture first.
‘He who is grasping loses’ an old proverb says. In other words immediate gratification must be forestalled. It means you must, as Christ did, say ‘no’ when you’re offered the world. (Note – The good life is not manifested in a mere desperation to climb the corporate or political or intellectual ladder.)
Sacrifice can keep the harshness of nature at bay, but it takes a special kind of sacrifice to keep the evil of man at bay.
Christianity brought us the idea that all people are equal in that the king is just another person, that the king himself has to abide by moral laws. The absolute domination of another person became viewed as wrong. It said even the lowest person has rights. It’s not the desire to enslave and dominate that is mysterious, it’s the fact that we don’t have that anymore that’s mysterious. Christianity said even your enemies have rights. Peterson says it also calls for separation of church and state. Implementing all of this was the impossible, but it came to pass. The emergence of science was possible by Christianity.
Note – I would say dispensations of the past before Christ had this message as well but of course they got lost all the time, and in huge multi-generational ways. For example: Noah preached faith in Christ and baptism, but you can’t find that in the bible. Though perhaps it is true that in the era after Christ, we have seen more widespread freedom than ever before (with likely exceptions of the societies of Enoch and Melchizedek which were so good they were taken right into heaven.)
Note – sure there’s rendering to Caesar what is Caesars, but it doesn’t need to mean the modern twisted interpretation of that, which is to exclude all things religion from state, and all things state from church, though there certainly is something positive to say about not having a specific state religion. In early America, Christianity in general was promoted in schools, but typically not specific creeds of Christianity. The founding fathers were aware of universal religious principles which were promoted in schools and public, such as judgment by God after death, accountability for actions, the eternal nature of the soul, basics of moral law, and so forth.
Carl Jung and Niche did not like the idea of taking the Genesis creation account literally. (Note – and neither does Peterson. Sadly all of these men have lost faith in the bible. Science is beginning to vindicate the bible, but blessed are those who believe without first seeing.)
Philosophers have pointed out the error in thinking that Christ did everything for us, so now we don’t have to do anything. Many have watered down the sacred duty of the believer which is the imitation of Christ. Niche said that Christians don’t do a good job of trying to be like Jesus. We must be careful not to devalue human life by saying that you’re saved by faith not works, or by saying that the rewards come only in heaven, not here. We must not shirk responsibility.
Note – the gospel had to be restored in 1820 for a reason. A few hundred years after the death of Jesus, his church was gone. There were still believers , but no more authorized priesthood bearing church to keep doctrines and practices from going astray. Christians today who haven’t embraced the restoration of the gospel often go astray in their thinking about the importance of works when it comes to salvation, trivializing it. The truth is that God will not be mocked. Those who wish to contract with Him must do so fully willing to sacrifice all things. Only in this way can salvation (gaining all things eternally) be obtained. Joseph Smith was clear on this – a religion which doesn’t require one’s all won’t have sufficient power to save. Also not that when we speak of ‘salvation’, we refer to exaltation. God isn’t sitting around looking for who he can send to hell. He is looking for who he can exalt to the highest heaven, and looking for how to keep us out of the lowest hell.
Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses. (Note – false religion certainly is. And ironically, Marxism is one of those fake religious opiates.)
Dovstoyevsky was a big influence on Niche, Dovstoyevsky was critical of various Christian ideas. ‘The brothers Karamazov’ features an atheist superman who tells a story of during the Grand Inquisition of Christ returning and the grand Inquisitor putting Christ in jail, telling Christ that he was no longer needed, that he was a threat to the church’s strength because the faith truth and existence Christ asked people to have was too great a burden to bear. The Inquisitor said they have people comfortable with a god that does everything for them. But Jesus had a message all along of people doing things, not having God do everything for them. In the story Christ then kisses the Great Inquisitor, this demonstration of love shocks The Inquisitor who then walks away, leaving the cell door open for Christ to escape.
The philosophy of Niche is angry, but Dovstoyevsky is better than that, he also includes judgment and transcends mere philosophy. (Note – judgment is critical because without it we have no right and wrong.)
Both Niche and Dovstoyevsky recognize that a person has to learn discipline before he is free, and that there is a place for the dogma of a church. The individual has to be constrained and molded, even brought close to destruction by a restrictive disciplinary coherent structure before they can act freely and competently.
A father who disciplines his child takes away some of the child’s freedom and forces him to be a good member of society. This father is requiring that all of the child’s potential be funneled down a single pathway. These limitations may have people labeling the father as a destructive force, but without this action the boy never grows up. He is Peter Pan, he is ruler of the Lost boys, King of the non-existent, and that is not a morally acceptable alternative. (Note – you see these Peter Pans all over the place.)
Niche and Dovstoyevsky knew that after a society rejects religion, in other words after ‘God is dead’ to the people in that society, that people would have to come up with their own values. But Peterson points out that Niche was wrong in thinking that people can come up with their own values, because they can’t. Carl Jung discovered this. We were averted to our own totalitarian government as much as to a totalitarian government of someone else, we cannot simply force ourselves to do something which goes against our being (we have built in values of good vs evil at our core, we can’t just decide what constitutes good and evil, we know.). We must know what we truly are before we can find what we can truly become. We must recognize our nature before we can manipulate it; we can’t simply say we’re going to do something good.
We have Descartes’ “I think therefore I am,” but even before this saying, this focus on the ‘I’, was the ‘eye’ in religion, the eye of Horus. Before that it was Marduk of the Mesopotamians with multiple eyes encircling his head who could see things and speak magical words. In Christianity it is the logos (the word) that transforms things into being into order. (Note – and before the New Testament was the “I Am” of the Old Testament.)
An idea is a personality, not a fact. Ideas want things and ignore things which don’t align with those desires. Some people become very obsessed with an idea and if the idea is going to die, they die with it. But this is not necessary – people can let the idea die by itself, change, and move on.
Peterson says he ‘outgrew the fundamentals of Christian faith’ when he became acquainted with Darwinian theory. He said he ‘could no longer distinguish truth from wistful thinking.’
Note – Wow! How telling! The devil’s theory of evolution hits hard! He isn’t the first to lose faith over evolution, certainly not the first. Many have fallen for this, and fallen hard.
George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ book shows that socialism is not out of concern for the poor, it’s out of hatred and envy of the successful. Society’s problems will not go away simply from different people having money. Rich people’s families still break apart, they still abuse drugs, they still become lonely and despairing.
The Nuremberg trials were about establishing that there are some acts that are against human nature itself which are wrong in all places around the world, that no circumstances justify those acts. Torturing slaughtering and making an art form of pain, inflicting suffering for its own sake is wrong, and this is actually a good place for someone to start developing belief. If there is something that is not good, that means there is something that is good. The good is whatever is diametrically opposed to the bad, whatever stops the bad. Alleviating unnecessary pain is the good. It brings the kingdom of god in state, and state of mind.
Above all, don’t lie about anything, ever. Lying leads to hell.
For Carl Jung whatever a person acted out that was his highest ideal, that was his God. (Note – of course this is true – when we spend all of our time with cars, cars are our God, etc. President Spencer W. Kimball gave a great talk on this called “The Gods we Worship”.)
‘Experience’ is living in the moment, the alternative is meaning. Meaning is about regulating impulses.
If you don’t waste time thinking that you’re justified in your resentment, you’ll start detecting things you can fix to make your situation better.
Going a little above the normal is how you pay for the miracle of your existence. It’s how you make amends to the pathology of history. It is willingness to serve as an angel of paradise. But just living for an ‘experience’ necessarily involves hiding the skeletons in the closet, avoidance of responsibility and hiding the wake of troubles that come from that, until you can’t hide that any longer, and it bursts out like Noah’s flood, destroying everything.
To have meaning is better than to have what you want because you may not know what you want or need.
Note – when you are upset about something that you think could have been yours, something that might have been but then something else happened, and the reason that something else happened is because you were doing your best, perhaps even something you understood to be courageous, then remember what Christ said, that you will be recompense to 100 fold. For now you have that vision of the ideal of the blessedness, and later you will have it, as sure as God lives!
Meaning means you’re in the right place at the right time, everything lining up at that moment. Meaning is Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which extends from despair to exhilaration. Meaning is about no matter how good it has become, it can get better and better forever. Meaning is what happens when you are guided by love and speaking truth, it is when nothing you could want or possibly want takes precedence over that.
Note – it seems this message of meaning is perhaps the pinnacle of the book, many stirring contemplations came to me in this chapter, and while listening to this read by the author, the author himself became shaken with emotion. When we can reconcile our lives, when we can see the hand and inspiration in it, and move forward with trust that all will be well as we use the tools we have gained, this is peace that passes understanding. The redemption of the whole. The understanding of what we gave up for excellence, and the trust that it will come back to us, in an even more blessed state than we left it.
When mental institutions are shut down it usually dooms the patients to much harder lives on the streets.
When you try to say a white lie, when you try to soften the blow and not offend someone, it brings unintended consequences worse than if you would have just told the truth in a straightforward way.
Sometimes you have to tell someone ‘no’ when they ask to join a group to which they cannot then belong. It’s hard, but it’s better than skirting around the issue.
Practice only saying things that the internal voice (aka conscience, (note – aka the light of Christ which everyone starts out with in life)) will not object to, otherwise you’ll be a fake.
When you don’t know what to do it’s very nice to be able to just tell the truth.
A paranoid client misinterprets social cues but they are very alert about social security and there’s no getting them to open up unless you’re completely honest. You have to tell them when they’re scaring you. You have to tell them when what they’re doing or saying is going to get them in huge trouble. They know what they’re doing is not normal and they know that any decent person will react to what they’re doing with horror, so when you do react that way they’ll actually trust you more because you’re being honest.
Telling the truth versus taking the easy way out, these are not just two different choices, they are two very different paths in life.
Acting politically means doing whatever you need to do to get what you want. It’s about manipulating, sales, advertising. It’s what University students do to please their professors instead of articulating their own ideas.
It is prideful when you say ‘all that needs to be known I already know.’
People define their own Utopia then bend their life into knots trying to make it a reality, and they spend their lives fighting windmills. After Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published “The Gulag Archipelago,” no educated person dared say that what Stalin did was not communism. (see Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Wikipedia) (Note – communism may sound nice, but it never works.)
People are afraid of opening Pandora’s box where all the troubles reside, but hope is in there too. (Note – this doesn’t mean go dumpster diving to find food. It doesn’t mean looking in trashy music genres for great art. It does mean that we need to take on life’s worthy challenges and not cower away from them, or we will never find true meaning and hope.)
Naive goals turn into lifelong lies.
You can’t just plan on chilling at the beach when you retire. If you’re in your right mind you’ll get bored of that within 2 weeks.
People bash on the government, on the patriarchy, on capitalism, and insist that if they were in charge, everything would be better.
People don’t get what they want and need when they don’t speak their mind. It’s not enough to just be a tool for somebody else. When you spend your life hiding quietly you will get sick because you’ll have no meaning in your life to counterbalance the inherent suffering of life. If you don’t stand up and do something, your life will remain incomplete, and life is too hard for people whose life is incomplete. Saying ‘no’ when it needs to be said transforms you into someone who can say ‘no’. But if you say yes when you should say ‘no,’ you transform yourself into someone who can only say yes. Gulag torture guards did what they did because by the time it was (seriously) time to say ‘no,’ there was no one left capable of saying ‘no’.
Note – the human ability to say ‘no,’ to put on the brakes to turn a different direction this is extremely Central to agency. We don’t have to act on impulses, we don’t have to be slaves of nature or society. This is another major thing which separates us from animals.
If you act out lies you will have a weak character, and a weak character gets mowed down by adversity when it appears. Then you try to hide, then when there’s nowhere left to hide you find yourself doing terrible things. Reality cannot be improved by falsification. Such a philosophy makes light of being and denounces truth as insufficient and the honest man as deluded. It brings about and justifies the corruption of the world. It is willful blindness, the worst sort of lie. Willful blindness is refusal to admit something that could be known. It is refusal to conclude that the knocking at the door could mean someone is there. It’s refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room. It’s knowing that the plan won’t work but pursuing it anyway.
Note – this is what we see with atheistic evolution – the evidence for God as the Creator is overwhelming, and it is unscientific, a slap in the face of true reason, to deny God.
If you’re playing a game that implies that it is important, and playing by the rules of the game implies that that’s the way you win. A revolution is when the entire game has to be changed and it is very chaotic, not to be engaged in lightly, but sometimes necessary. Error requires sacrifice to fix it, and serious error requires serious sacrifice. “To accept the truth means to sacrifice.” If you avoided the truth for a long time, you’ve run up a dangerously large sacrificial debt, hopefully one that won’t destroy you.
(Note – a great book on this is “The Portrait of Dorian Grey”, where the main character builds up more and more foul deeds, successfully hiding them all the while (to everyone but himself), until he can no longer avoid this fate, and the weight of it all crashes upon him. Another great book on this is “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, about a man who avoids life with drugs, until the drugs completely overtake him, and there is no way to escape the monster that the drugs turned him into. In both of these tragic tales, it is too late, and the would-be hero dies. Faust by Goethe is another good one, where a man sells his soul to the devil for pleasure, has a bit of fun for a while, and ultimately is pulled down to hell.)
Forest fires burn so hot that they even destroy the soil. (Not something you want to mess with.)
You’re being authentic when you confess that not getting what you wanted was because of you, because you did not apply the right principles. It is inauthentic when you blame that on someone else. (Note – but we are also being tested sometimes.)
When you fail to react to something the first time you are a little less courageous & your opponent a little more strong. You get in the habit of letting things slide. You contribute to the problem by pretending it’s all right. When you take a stand, other people equally afraid may come to your defense. If no one else stands up with you, maybe it’s time to find a job somewhere else where your soul is less in danger of corruption.
The difference between depression of truth and a lie is a matter of degrees, not of kinds.
You can get through tragedy but you can’t get through tragedy mixed with deception.
John Milton writes a drama of what tempted Satan to fall. Satan is the spirit of the totalitarian. The greatest temptation is to glorify yourself and claim that your theories are the only thing that matters. The totalitarian says You must rely on faith in what you already know. But faith that saves is the willingness to learn from what you don’t know. It’s faith in the possibility of human transformation by sacrifice of the current self for what could be. Satan the totalitarian does not believe in human potential and that is rebellion against the most high. (Note – we are created in the image and potential capability of the most high, so it’s true that limiting ourselves to anything short of attaining eventually what God is, would be a mockery to God.)
Totalitarian means everything that needs to be discovered has been discovered, and everything will unfold as planned. That the acceptance of the perfect system makes all problems vanish forever. Pol Pott’s Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, these are the results of people who thought they knew everything, who thought they had the perfect system, the Utopia, but all that came of it was a nightmare. Citizens of these countries were required to turn against their fellows and die in the tens of millions.
An old joke against communism goes that an American dies and goes to hell and the devil shows him a cauldron full of suffering souls. Every now and then a soul tries to climb out but the devil’s on the side of the cauldron keep them from getting out. The devil then continues the tour and shows the American some larger cauldrons with more souls similarly trying to escape and being pushed back in by devils. Then they get to a giant glowing hot cauldron with innumerable souls in it. When one of them tries to escape there are no devils to push him back in, but back in he falls nonetheless. The American asks where are the devils to push them back in, and why they fall back in? The devil responds “this is where we put the Russians (the communists), when one tries to escape, the others pull him back down.”
Even if Satan was offered redemption he wouldn’t accept it, but would continue to rebel. This eternal pride must be what constitutes the unforgivable sin against the Holy Ghost (from which there can be no forgiveness in this life or the next). (Note – as traditionalist LDS philosopher Truman G Madsen put it, Satan is eternally locked in a cell, but he has the key.)
Abstractions can be more real than what they represent. Hell is eternal, it has always existed and it exists now. It is barren and hopeless. It is the worst level of chaos.
Note – Christ delivering souls from hell after the millennium is about how most people will want to pay for their sins and move on. It’s only the sons of perdition who insist on staying there with Satan forever.
If you pay attention you can see people walking down the street and tell which ones of them are in hell right now. They hide their gaze from children because they don’t want to see their guilt incontrovertibly refracted in the children’s eyes.
Deceit makes suffering unbearable and turns you to resentment. Deceit is what makes the torture camps. Deceit killed hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century.
Having an aim gives us the context for evaluating things. It reduces anxiety because without an aim meaning is unpredictable.
So we need to carefully plan but not be overly certain like a totalitarian. It is reasonable to do what other people have done unless we have a very good reason not to. We must work, get an education and a family. Beware that your plan of how to do it all might be based on some ignorance, so make sure you’re exploring.
Osiris was aged and willfully blind in order to be focused on tradition (focus always means being blind to other things, at least for us). He was put into the underworld by his evil brother Set. The son of Osiris named Horus is represented by the falcon which is the creature who can see the best and is also represented by the Wadjet Eye. Osiris is not on his own, he is helped by Horus. Because he paid attention (which is the emphasized by the focus on eyes and vision), Horace can overcome evil. Set takes out one of the eyes of Horus but Horus takes it back and gives it to Osiris.
Note – consider the scripture that we cannot be saved without our fathers and our fathers cannot be saved without us. Also note in the Godhead, that the sacrifice of the Son is an essential part of the Father’s plan, the engine of the whole plan.
It is our responsibility to see reality even if it’s horrific, even if it damages us to see it. The act of seeing is particularly important when it challenges our current views and invites us to a higher plane.
Niche said “a man’s worth is determined by how much truth he can tolerate.” (Note – powerful.) You aren’t only everything you know, you’re also everything you could know, so never sacrifice what you could be for what you are. Every bit of new learning is a little death, a challenge to previously held ideas, forcing us to be dissolved into chaos before we can be born into something better; and sometimes these deaths threaten to destroy us; you might never recover or you might be changed a lot.
When you experience deep depression, the kind you can’t just shake off, you need to choose rebirth instead of descending into hell. You need to decide to do things that will help you come out of it. Become athletic, etc.
Goals toward character and ability are better than goals towards status and power. You carry character with you wherever you go.
The worst person to lie to is to yourself.
A totalitarian treats his current ambition as an absolute; he never asks himself if his current aim could be in error. His ambition becomes his God and constitutes his highest value, it determines all of his emotions. Everyone serves their ambitions. This means there are no atheists, only people who know and don’t know what God they serve.
If you tell the truth your values transform as you progress. Your notions of what is important will change.
If you’re studying something in school you aren’t interested in and you’re just doing it to please someone else, you’ll try to force yourself to concentrate on it with great effort but your soul will reject it. Ultimately you know yourself better than well intended advisors, including parents. When you do what you are called to do by your conscience, that brings honor to your parents even if your parents initially don’t like it. It enables you to grow up so that you can be there for them, so in the end you all win. Matthew 10:34 says Christ did not come to bring peace but to bring a sword, so conflict can be necessary in the pursuit of conscience and the truth about the world and yourself.
The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said ‘you cannot know ahead of time.’ In other words, you have to risk your individual life to find out. Faith is an act of courage. Faith that being can be corrected by becoming, that exploration can lead to better lands.
Everyone needs a concrete purpose and goal to make sense of their life and not have too much chaos. But all these concrete goals should be considered as meta goals which may need adjusting as time clarifies things.
The suffering of life which all religions confess as being an essential element of life is not enough to turn life into hell like Hitler and others did, as Hitler said, you need the big lie. People are willing to tell little lies but they would be ashamed to tell a big lie, and this is how people get away with telling big lies; the people think that no one would be willing to tell a big lie, so the people believe it. The little lies are the bait.
Most lies are acted out rather than told.
The biggest lies are composed of smaller lies.
When someone tells enough lies they begin to think that the lie is reality, and that they’re able to manipulate reality as they wish. They develop contempt for reality.
(Note – Korihor in the Book of Mormon finally confesses that he knew there was a God all along, but was deceived, saw that his atheistic teaching was popular, and he bought more into it himself, but deep down he always knew it was nonsense.)
Hell comes when lies have distorted the relationship between reality and state of being. When a life is built on lies, hope consistently fails and the person is tortured by constant failure. They see the world as being bent on their destruction (but it’s their fault). You don’t believe you deserve what occurs, and must have your revenge, and that is the gateway to hell.
To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into being. (Note – and it’s the most habitable because it’s true, not just the other way around.) As God created order out of chaos, we are made in his image and we do the same. Truth reduces the terrible complexity of man into the simplicity of his words so that he can be an ally rather than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly past and makes the best use of the future’s possibilities.
Note – He is apparently a fan of the “Your Truth” idea, which I am not. I suppose it could mean two things: first, and probably the way Peterson uses it, it could mean “do what makes the most of your life, do what you see as the best thing to do.” Secondly, and I think this version is more popular, is to mean “there are no objective realities or truths, each person just wings it and should do whatever they want, and if you object to that, you’re hateful (and should be arrested).”
If your life isn’t what it could be, or you wouldn’t be clinging desperately to an ideology rather than trying to tell the truth.
In Paradise everyone speaks the truth. That’s what makes it paradise.
Antidote to Chaos, Rule 9: Assume That the Person You are Listening to Might Know Something You Don’t
When you actually listen to someone they often tell you their problems and tell you their plans of how to fix it. Just giving advice can be negative because it can assume that they are incompetent. Psychotherapy is about having genuine conversation, not just giving advice. There are far more people in the world that don’t have anyone to talk to than you think.
Part of the reason people drink is because it temporarily lifts your sense of conscience. Drunk people know about the future but they don’t care about it. This means they party like there’s no tomorrow but also means they get in big trouble. Most sexual assault cases involve alcohol. If you’re lonely and going to bars and going home with random people drunk, then you experience consensual sex or violent sex, what did you expect?
(Note – brave point to make Peterson. Not all crimes are done upon completely random victims. It’s a fact that there are some choices you can make to avoid some (but not all) of these things. Says Jacob, “Oh be wise, what can I say more?” We are wise when we are aware of fallen human nature, and safeguards we can take to protect ourselves from such. I’ll take it a step further and offend anyone who wasn’t yet offended, and identify another area in addition to alcohol and trusting strangers where we must be wise, namely how we dress. Now all liberals have fallen out of their chairs, are seizing on the floor, and officers are being dialed up and sent to my home address. Before you send them, go read my modesty writings which thoroughly flush out this idea, and make quite a fair go of it as one precaution to take against criminal activity, which again obviously isn’t a guarantee of safety.)
When parents don’t give attention to their kids the kids grow up to be a ghost with no sense of self, just going from one event to another looking for meaning. They let someone else lead their lives, and that someone else often assigns them a dismal part to play.
Note – Peterson often brings up the danger of parents overly sheltering their kids. It should be noted that the converse is a danger too. There is clear danger of a parent exposing a kid too much to the world, a danger of not saying ‘no’ to their kids (and Peterson is fully on board with the parents right to say ‘no’), a danger of letting their kids do whatever they want. Parents do in fact and rightly so shelter their kids. The balance has to be found, but I would postulate that the place of balance is much more on the protection side than many realize. The type of protection matters too. Of course kids need to be exposed to hard work, to the reality of evil, to the reality of history and its atrocities, to the reality of the bad guys and the monsters of life. Things to shelter them from include trivial entertainment, kids who would be a bad influence on them (which may involve completely pulling them from public school), sheltering them from the course, the mundane, the trivial, the corrupt deceptive lures which would destroy their souls. We shelter them from things which could kill their spirits, while helping them put on the full armor of God, and to grow in physical strength and courage. Life isn’t without risk, but we don’t need to go looking for trouble, it will find us just fine. Long have the latter-day prophets called for 1. parents to be primarily responsible for teaching and nurturing their children, and 2. for parents to make the home a holy sanctuary of protection from the world.
A story with a lot of troublesome things in it, so long as it has a happy ending, the story has meaning and everything works together for that happy ending. Similarly, a good movie with a bad ending is a bad experience.
Sexual abuse in children isn’t as common as Freudian therapists think. And it doesn’t always produce terribly damaged adults because people’s resilience varies. Freudian therapists often assume that any messed up adult must have been subject to childhood sexual abuse, so the therapists suggest and tilt the situation until eventually they often convince people they were sexually abused, trimming the facts to fit their theory. If only the client could remember.. and then they start to remember.. and then they start to accuse. Sometimes what they remember never happened and the accused are innocent. The therapist gets to keep their theory but a lot of damage ensues in the wake. When these clients doubt that these things really happened in their lives, the therapists further insist that such doubt is just another symptom of their trauma.
Note – Peterson claims there is no objective observer to what goes on in life, but there is God and there are angels and there are witnesses, and their testimony is important. They will be called upon to witness at the judgment bar of God.
When people think, they simulate the world and how to act in it; this is how they avoid pitfalls. True thinking, like true listening, is rare. When most people think they are thinking they are just self criticizing. Thinking is listening to yourself and is difficult. (Note – it’s also listening to God. There’s also satan. You’re not alone.). To think you have to be at least two people at once and let those people have dialogue and disagree. (Note – this is also true, you can debate with yourself about which message is from God, and which from the Devil.) These two people suggest various simulations of the world and various avatars that could be acted out. And you can’t lie during this thinking, otherwise you’re not thinking, you’re rationalizing against a weak opponent. You have to tolerate conflict which involves negotiation and compromise if you want to think and conversate. You have to listen to the avatars you have created or they will go underground, becoming ghouls & devils. (Note – this is not to trivialize the reality of actual evil spirits which can possess you. When you deny truth, that invites evil spirits. We also invite psychological problems through our thinking as Peterson suggests.) Thinking is dangerous, almost as dangerous as not thinking.
A listening person is both your collaborator and your opponent. They test your talking and your thinking without having to say anything. The Listener stands for the crowd, which is typically right. If you say something that takes everyone draw back, should reconsider what you said. But it is true that controversial opinions are sometimes correct, sometimes so much so that the crowd will perish if it refuses to listen. This is why the individual is morally obliged to stand up and tell the truth. Freud would not face his clients during therapy sessions; they would lay down and stare at the ceiling while they talked because Freud did not want to influence them, but Peterson and most psychologists today do have face to face conversation with clients because some interaction is good as the therapist reflects the normal. A good therapist will tell you the truth about what he thinks, but that’s not the same thing as telling you that what he thinks is the truth. This at least gives the clients something to go off of. Then the client has at least the honest opinion of one person, which can be hard to get. It’s about two people telling each other the truth and both listening.
It’s wise to stay on the road of established tradition and morals because off of the road there are highwaymen and monsters.
You can tell that someone is a genius if people still hate them after they are dead.
Psychotherapist Carl Rogers said that most people do not listen because listening is dangerous, it can change you.
(Note – this does seem quite evident. Look at how many people refuse to read non-fiction. How many people refuse to discuss religion or politics. How many people insist on mere entertainment from sunup to sundown. They do the 9-5 to pay the bills, and live for the moment, or at least live to avoid anything really controversial. They avoid being a hero, perhaps in fear of the cross that comes with that. That cross of course often is letting go of some theories and adopting others, which is quite hard.)
Sometimes he had a rule where a person could respond only after they repeat what the person before them said in a satisfactory manner to the other person. Summarize what they said and ask them if you’ve understood properly. It’s difficult to enter the private life of someone else by really listening.
When you repeat and summarize someone’s story back to them it helps boil down the story to what matters, to extract the moral. Then the story becomes more meaningful to even the person who gave it. When people haven’t extracted the meaning from events, they’ll ramble on about them in a long way. The purpose of remembering the past isn’t just to remember something, the purpose is to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
When you give the devil his due, when you restate what the person has said in an even more clear way than they said it, this sets you up in a position to refute what they said clearly, or to adopt what they said. It’s a stronger argument when you’re not misrepresenting your opponent’s position.
When you really listen to someone, they open up and tell you very interesting things. So if the conversation is boring you’re probably not listening.
Not all talking is thinking. Some talking is just to establish dominance such as when two people tell increasingly more wild stories to see who has the most wild thing to tell. It makes everyone embarrassed because everyone knows that what was just said was false and exaggerated.
Talking is how we organize our minds, and when someone has no one to talk to they lose their minds, like hoarders who cannot declutter. It takes a village to organize a mind. We outsource the problem of our sanity. This is why it’s so important for parents to make their children sociable. If people can tolerate your child he can be among them, and they will respond to him to help him stay in the right way. We all punish or reward each other based on how well we are approaching the ideal.
Men like to solve problems but when they’re talking to a woman they can’t just quickly solve the problem. The woman presents thoroughly because before a problem can be solved it has to be formulated properly. When women are talking and discussing they’re usually formulating the problem. They need to be listened to and questioned to ensure clarity. Then if there’s any problem left it can be helpfully solved. Too early problem solving may indicate a mere desire to escape the effort of the problem formulating conversation.
A lecture is a conversation as the audience communicates nonverbally. A lecture is not just telling facts, it’s telling stories about the facts on the level of the audience’s comprehension. You gauge their ability based on the level of interest they show. The lecturer will help the audience apply the fact in a way that helps them in their lives (so the better you know what the audience is facing the better you can deliver such). Focus on a single person and how they are reacting. You don’t present a talk, you don’t give a canned speech. Talk for a while to one person and respond to their gestures then focus on a different person and repeat that.
Something which is seriously funny has to be on the border of reckless.
When you’re talking to someone, take them seriously because they’ve probably put a lot of work into their ideas and their ideas are different from your ideas so actually listening to them could help you avoid a lot of problems.
When you’re having an intelligent conversation with someone it’s sort of like talking to yourself; you’re going back and forth on how something has impacted you, etc. You both change for the better as you let your old suppositions die.
Be stable enough to be secure but flexible enough to transform. Allow new information to strengthen your structure and expand its domain.
The wisest wisdom is to always be seeking more wisdom, knowing that what you know is very insufficient. Socrates was known for this..
We see tools and obstacles not objects. The world is something to navigate through, not something that merely is. If we aren’t precise we drown in complexity.
Family is a part of a person because often a person would rather lose a part of their body than a member of their family.
We try to expand our identity to a country, a sports team, etc. We are good at collaboration.
When things break down the complexity of the world reveals itself; there are hidden but ever present snakes.
When someone betrays us that person becomes someone else to us and we can become someone else to ourselves, wondering how long the deception was going on and why we didn’t see it earlier; then we have to rebuild our picture of our past, present and future. The root word of emergency is emergence or coming out from hiding.
See book “There’s no such thing as a dragon” Jack Kent. It’s about people who don’t think there’s a dragon when their kid reports seeing one in the home. The dragon gets bigger and bigger until they finally acknowledge it, then it gets smaller. When issues aren’t dealt with regularly they build up into intolerable sizes. Don’t ever underestimate the destructive nature of sins of omission! Things that seem little are (typically) worth working out because they can compound over time. When you try to be a peacemaker so much that you never address issues, the issues get bigger, and you’re not really making peace. Solving a problem is worth the pure misery that can happen during the problem solving (the fight against the dragon, big or small).
Going away from traditional family roles has not brought freedom so much as chaos.
The escape from tyranny can lead to a 40-year wandering in the desert.
(Note – those fleeing trouble often have bad habits that take quite some time to resolve. People then learn the hard way that the oppressor wasn’t their only problem, it was also their attitudes and behaviors.)
There are three choices: tyranny slavery or negotiation. The tyranny slavery situation is no fun for either person (the tyrant is wearied by the disgruntled slave, just as the slave is wearied by the tyranny). They together have to negotiate the chaos, the dragon.
Marry someone who is like yourself, and if they express certain tendencies which are appalling, you need to strongly oppose those with rigor.
People like to feel like they are the martyr and sometimes they trump up these false ideas about that and imagine bad things about their spouse or their life. All you have to do for things to fall apart is nothing, don’t notice, don’t fix, etc.
People avoid arguments because however important they could lead to chaos or hell. In the midst of such a discussion you can find out that you or your partner really is a schmuck. Or that your relationship is in great Jeopardy. But argue (discuss, confront, negotiate) you must.
It’s better to pin down your inadequacies and get them out in the open rather than not talking about it and letting them remain mysterious and monstrously big. Investigate because knowledge of reality leads to mastery of reality. Is it really better to hide in the shadows, or should you get out there and face the monster? You might get hurt, in fact you probably will, but it’s the lesser of two evils. Taking on the problem is going to work out better than waiting for the problem to come knocking at your door. Then what you least want will inevitably happen and when you are at least prepared for it.
See William Butler Yates The Second Coming poem.
Specify your problem and pin down what it is you want so you know when you’re not getting it. It will hurt sharply and specifically but you’ll learn something from it that you can use to make your situation better in the future. The alternative to that sharp pain is the dull ache of continued failure through time (Note – which is much worse, but is a hidden poison which many fall for, thinking they can beat the system when they’re only beating themselves). People refuse to define success because then they don’t have to define failure, then they won’t notice when failure happens and they won’t get hurt. That doesn’t work. We aren’t fooled so easily. Instead we will carry continual disappointment.
We have to be specific about where we failed, which actions and beliefs failed. We can’t take into account all the failures of the world. The cause of your personal failure was specific. Identify which actions were false and inauthentic (so you can actually get to work repairing).
Complain of a decline right when it first bothers you in your romantic life or whatever; (Note- this is a great way to help attend to conscience, by acting right away rather than letting something bother you and sink into and depress your soul. The principle can be applied for anything, for example, in school when you start to notice that you’re falling behind, you get on that immediately, you talk about it to your loved ones, to the teachers, you don’t wait to bring it up until it’s too late.) If the decline is not bothering you, bring that up too (that’s another problem).
If we speak carelessly and unprecisely, our destination remains vague, and our path enshrouded in the fog of uncertainty. (Note – this is why the realest goals are the ones with deadlines, specific actions to be taken today, etc.)
Dragons still exist and perhaps more so than anything else, and they do hoard gold. Courageous clarity of thought must be used to call it forth. Saying “I’m unhappy” is a good start. But not saying “I have a right to be unhappy.” Consider the two likely possibilities: one is you have the right to be unhappy, two is you’re just whiny and immature. It’s a bottomless pit (it can always get worse, deeper), but you can get out of it when you start to admit the problem exists.
Precision may leave the tragedy intact but it chases away the demons, like how a specific diagnosis which can be dealt with rather than a general fear/suspicion of poor health. Something’s in the woods making noise. It could be something terrible or it could just be a squirrel. You never know till you look, so you’d better look. Even what is terrible in reality often pales in significance to what is terrible in imagination.
If you’ve refused to do what you can, soon you’ll not be able to do anything.
(Note – this is taught in the Book of Mormon by Alma about the nature of knowledge and truth; if you refuse to seek and allow for more truth, the truth you have will be taken away. I once said this as a missionary to someone who rejected the possibility of more scripture, they dismissed me at once by saying that because I made that claim, they knew I couldn’t be right. The guy didn’t think it was possible for him to lose what he already had. This man did not understand this important truth Peterson is teaching here! Truth is a living thing, and if starved, what you once had will die. Life keeps us moving that way, we can’t ever be stagnant, or all will soon be lost.)
The past can be redeemed by correct language. The future doesn’t have to rob the present if it is discussed clearly. The eye and the word work together to make habitable order.
Heaven is virtuous and clear, hell is confusing. (Note – The pursuit of Truth is all about reducing complexity.)
You have to be specific about what you’re talking about. You can’t talk about everything, that’s too much. A frequent reason that couples quit trying to communicate is because when they do communicate everything gets brought into an argument rather than dealing with one specific thing. Tell your spouse something specific that’s making you unhappy and something specific that could make you happy, and that you’re open to alternative possibilities if they are specific.
If you don’t know where you have been and where you are then you could be anywhere, and anywhere can be a scary place. You can’t get from point A to point B unless you are already at point A. Random wandering will result in frustration and disagreeableness; it won’t take you where you want to go.
Tell people around you who you are.
Antidote to Chaos, Rule 11: Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding (Trying to Triumph Over Danger, Being Tough & Manly)
Of course skating is dangerous, that’s the point, they want to triumph over danger. They aren’t trying to be safe, they’re trying to become competent. They need some congratulations for all this.
When playgrounds are made too safe kids either stop playing in them or start playing in them in unintended ways. They need playgrounds dangerous enough to remain challenging. People don’t want to minimize risk, they want to optimize it. If things get too safe people start figuring out ways to make them dangerous again.
If we are overprotected we will fail when a dangerous opportunity is present.
The anti-skating bumps they put on things make things look much worse than if you would just let them skate and do the minimal damage to the structure. It is a manifestation of an anti-human spirit to put these anti-skating bumps on things.
George Orwell book The road to Wigan Pier – It talks about harsh conditions of workers in mines. In the second half of the book Orwell identifies how people calling for socialism aren’t really trying to help the poor they just hate the rich and they disguise that in the guise of helping the poor, the disguise of piety and self-righteousness.
Whenever someone says they stand for something, ask them what they stand against.
There is a ‘smell of the unemployable’ which many are familiar with, a smell which people seem to have who are smokers and who refuse to get a life it’s the smell of failure.
The planet is harder on us than we are on it, so we can cut ourselves some slack. There is a trend to say that ‘the planet would be better off without as many people on it,’ yet no one would claim that the planet would be better without Jews or some other ethnicity, so how are they getting away with a simple claim that people in general are bad?
Boys are suffering in the modern world. It is now common knowledge that ‘girls do better than boys in school.’ Boys are blamed for their success, blamed for the patriarchy, blamed for the rape culture. Boys are more negatively disobedient than girls and more positively independent than girls. Boys are less agreeable. Boys are less susceptible to anxiety and depression. Boys are interested in things, girls are interested in people, and these differences are most pronounced in the freest societies. Even in places where gender equality is pushed dogmatically the boys still gravitate toward things and the girls toward people. Boys are meant to be daring and to branch out independently to start their own families, and schools were specifically designed to have the opposite effect, to drill obedience.
Girls are allowed to win in the girl hierarchy or the boy hierarchy, but boys are only allowed to win in the boy hierarchy. Girls are not attracted to boys who are their friends, they are attracted to boys who win in dominance hierarchies.
Boys won’t play truly competitive games with girls because it ruins the game; boys don’t want to play their hardest against a girl – if a girl beats them it’s shame on them, and if they beat the girls it’s shame on them.
When boys games turn into girls games the boys leave, and universities, particularly the humanities, are turning into girls games.
The downtrending participation in STEM fields by boys is not good for boys or girls.
Who decided that career is the highest goal in life? Is working 80 hours a week worth it? People are devaluing marriage and family today. The rate of adults unmarried is going up and the rate of people reporting that they don’t even want marriage is going up especially among men. Some think that the perpetual hookup culture as opposed to marriage is a step forward in sexual freedom but it’s actually just people not getting what they wish they could get. Women report that they value marriage as a stable relationship and that the hookup culture is not fulfilling their needs.
Most people don’t find the heavy workload fascinating. Most people don’t really want more money once they have enough to avoid the bill collectors.
When they hit their 30s most of the top female high pressure lawyers bail out of their careers. Only 15% of the big law firm lawyers are women; this hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years even though female staff attorneys and associates are plentiful. It’s not that the law firms don’t want women to succeed, there’s a chronic shortage of excellent people and they love to retain excellent people. The women who leave want a job and a life that allows them some time. This is common knowledge in the big firms but people don’t like articulating it. Female lawyers can afford nannies; the problem is not lack of child care. It’s the market that determines success, not the men you work with. When you get that phone call at 3:00 a.m. from someone in China wanting legal work done you answer even if you’ve just gone back to sleep from feeding a baby because if you don’t answer there’s someone else who happily will.
Women usually want to marry across or upwards in the dominance hierarchy so it’s problematic that men aren’t going to college. Cross-culturally women want to marry someone with as much or more status than themselves. For men they don’t care so long as the woman is young (Note- young women are those who can reproduce, so it makes sense that men want someone who can help them make a family).
Marriage is now becoming a luxury for the rich. We see marriage is not an oppression of the patriarchy, the patriarchy is not terrorizing themselves.
Women want a man with some status because they need someone competent who can support them when they have a child. It’s perfectly rational and compensatory. A woman taking care of children does not want to also have to take care of both children and an adult man.
Note – It’s true women need a stable man, but too often I think women want a rich man, beyond stability, seeking comfort rather than the mission of a lifetime together. A man can be detected in his character early on if he will go on to be well enough off, there are signs to be able to tell. The woman should not select a man who is ‘done’ with his life’s labor, not should she seek to climb the corporate ladder alone, if it is her wish to climb it, but they should join together and face life as a team, and should make family life their highest priority. Unfortunately many have it backwards now.
Children in father absent homes are four times as likely to be poor. That means their mother’s are poor too. Children in a home with both married biological parents are much less likely to engage in substance abuse or be depressed. They are half as likely to commit suicide.
The politically correct community is shouting louder and louder against men even though the universities are more fair than ever and even skewed against men. There are entire disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men, studies which say that we are in a society dominated by oppressive men.
To think about culture as only oppressive is ungrateful, ignorant and dangerous. This doesn’t mean that culture should not be subject to criticism.
The pursuit of any value automatically produces a hierarchy with winners and losers. It is the pursuit of goals that lends life its sustaining meaning. Absolute equality requires the sacrifice of value itself. Then there would be nothing left living worth living for. We find deep emotional experience as we pursue meaningful goals.
A well structured culture allows for many different games to be played and many different types of victories. It is perverse to consider culture the creation of men. It is the creation of humankind, not just men, and not just whites. European culture has only been dominant for about 400 years. Women have always had a major role in working farms and raising up men (women have major influence on men by raising them, for starters).
Before the 20th century in the west people lived on less than a dollar a day in today’s money.
Women have all the vulnerabilities that men do with the added vulnerabilities of reproduction. Societies around the world had different laws and cultures to help take that into account. We have to look at this before we can just blame men for being oppressive. It’s not oppression of patriarchy, it’s men and women working together to try and free both sexes from privation and drudgery.
Gender studies literature and increasingly law treat men as oppressors. Universities promote radical actions against men and do not distinguish these political things from education. The ‘critical’ liberal college classes increasingly involve a required element of political activism (on tax dollars).
In the Soviet Union in Vietnam in China when Marxism was put into practice culture was eliminated, private property was eliminated, and resources were brutally redistributed. Tens of millions died and hundreds of millions more were subject to oppression rivaling North Korea, the last standing traditional communist country. It’s about living in misery without complaint or else, and ratting out your neighbors.
Someone thought it was bad to have anything but people working in fields, and bad to have currency, so they got rid of all jobs except farming and got rid of all currency, and then worked a quarter of the Cambodians to death in the fields. Hardworking farmers called Kulaks were hated for owning private property; more than 30,000 of them were shot on site and many more were banished to Siberia in the winter in the middle of the night to very poor housing causing many of them to die, especially children. Rural people who went out into the fields after harvest to glean single grains of wheat to feed their starving families risked execution. In the 1930s, 6 million people died of starvation in Ukraine which was the breadbasket of the Soviet Union due to these redistribution policies.
George Orwell knew what was going on with Stalin and many others did not; he wrote Animal Farm to satirize the Soviet Union despite encountering serious resistance to the book’s release.
Despite the terror, many intellectuals among the French etc. still supported communism.
The Gulag Archipelago book demonstrated thorough proof that what Stalin was doing was real communism. No one could stand up for communism after this book was released.
When it became obvious that ‘suppression of the poor by the rich was not true’, they changed their narrative to ‘suppression of everyone by the powerful.’
Dereda said our very language structure is oppressive by having male female distinctions, etc. He said every single part of culture is to be blamed on people seeking power and oppression. But multiple disciplines of science have proved that the difference of the sexes is biological. It’s true that power is a fundamental force, but it’s not the single fundamental force, it doesn’t even play the primary role.
Forced redistribution doesn’t solve the problem, whatever you think the problem is. Peterson sees the value in free markets, but isn’t entirely convinced that that’s the entire solution. (Note: It does seem that short of a holy Zion voluntary consecration society, there will always be some problem or other in the economy. Though I am a proponent of the free market as the best secular system available.)
State funding is being given to people whose stated purpose is to destroy the culture that is supporting them. They can have that opinion but they don’t have any right to state funding for it. If the right wing was having political operations disguised as university courses like the left clearly is doing, there would be public outrage.
There isn’t a shred of evidence to support the claims which are the basis of progressivism, such as the idea that Western society is pathologically patriarchal, that men rather than nature was the primary source of oppression to women, or that all hierarchies are based on power and exclusion. In the west competence ability and skill are what determine hierarchies. Not power. We don’t teach kids that the world is flat, and similarly we should not teach kids false ideas about men women and hierarchies.
It’s insane to think that all gender differences are socially constructed. They think inequality is the root of all evil therefore they attack gender inequality by saying that gender is socially constructed. There claims defy logic and next thing you know it they’ll call logic itself oppressive and patriarchal.
Equal pay for equal work? Who decides what is equal work? It’s impossible to decide that outside of the marketplace.
People want to claim equal pay for disabled people but what constitutes a disabled person? Someone who’s caring for someone who is disabled? Someone with low IQ or someone who is overweight or unattractive? Most people are suffering through at least one serious catastrophe at any given time, particularly if you include their family, and why shouldn’t you?
Group identity can be fractionated right down to the level of the individual. That’s the problem with attempting to equalize things. Postmodernist Marxists ignore this. The marxists don’t allow for individual choice; they say if a woman chooses to act like a woman it’s because of bias, and she’s not allowed to act that way. They label everyone as brainwashed victims and seek to control everything.
People want to raise boys like girls to minimize aggression, but that assumes that aggression is bad, & it assumes that aggression is not innate. At a minimum aggression is necessary for self protection.
Compassion can be a vice. Many people’s problems in work and home life are not because of too much aggression but because of not being aggressive enough. Women are typically more agreeable meaning polite and compassionate. Overly compassionate men and women though usually women do too much for others, they treat others around them as though they were children. They avoid confronting problems in both relationships and at work. This can sound virtuous, and to an extent it is, but it can become counterproductive and one-sided. When people who are too agreeable they stand up for others, bending over backwards to do so, so they do not stand up properly for themselves. Then resentment emerges.
The only two reasons for resentment are being taken advantage of or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, or whiny refusal to adopt responsibility and grow up.
Most people only have four counterpoints, so if you really need to make a point you’re going to have to get through those four counterpoints and the emotions that will come up (like crying).
Assume ignorance before malevolence. It’s a resentful attitude to think ‘if they really loved me they would know what I want.’ So when you’re having an argument specifically say not just what they’re doing wrong, but what you would wish they would do. Make your request as small and reasonable as possible but make sure that it’s fulfillment would fulfill you.
The opposite of a criminal is not a saint, it’s the oedipal mother, the mother who does everything for her kids, the mother who lives for her kids to a counterproductive level. It’s a deal with the devil that ‘so long as you never leave me I’ll do everything for you.’ As you age you will become worthless and bitter, but you’ll never have to take any responsibility. Then everything you do that’s wrong will always be someone else’s fault.
(Note – wow, that summarizes the entitlement philosophy well. It’s the plan of the adversary that everyone should be saved, rather than merit based salvation. They can forever complain and blame, but it’s been their fault all along. They chose captivity and death rather than liberty and life. As the Book of Mormon teaches in 2 Nephi 2:26-29: “26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. 27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; 29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.”)
Hansel and Gretel find the gingerbread house with a nice old lady who feeds them whatever they want whenever they want, but this service makes the old lady hungry, and the choicest cut of a child is his spirit, that is the first thing to be consumed.
Book ‘The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory’. Shows that claims about society ruled by women in the past are lies. Much of the feminist movement is based on these fake histories without any evidence.
The Frozen movie is full of propaganda, not the least of which is that women do not need men to rescue them.
In Scandinavia where they have pushed to have gender equality the most we still see great differences in gender preferences – the nurses are still mostly women, the engineers are still mostly men etc. (They’re choosing this of their own accord.)
In The Little Mermaid, the wicked woman takes the voice away from the mermaid during the days where she gets to be on land to try and win over the prince, but the wicked woman knows that without her voice, without the logos, without words, she will not be able to do this, she’ll remain forever underwater.
To fully grow up a woman needs to join with a man to embrace the masculine element; she has to leave her parents, and the man helps her do this.
Peterson’s mom told him ‘if it was too good at home you’d never leave.’ Even though it’s hard on them, mothers need to foster the independence of their children.
Men are able to tolerate working in tough jobs, monotonous jobs etc. by playing around with the other men, harassing each other and seeing what happens, seeing who is tough. If you can’t take a joke you will not thrive in a work crew. All of this hot dangerous dirty work is still almost entirely done by men. Men who don’t do their work, who don’t pay attention, who don’t get along with the crew are essentially forced out of the crew. When they are whiny snitches & stuck up, the crew will reject them. When they give too much attention to stupid rules, etc. as Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said, “Don’t be a girly man!” Don’t be dependent at all ever. The harassment of a working crew is part of the acceptance trial to find out if you are tough, entertaining, competent and reliable. If not, go away. We don’t need to feel sorry for you, we don’t want to put up with your narcissism, and we don’t want to do your share of the work.
A man who is too weak and self-conscious rightfully feels shame and is rejected by women. One famous advertisement for a fitness program featured a scrawny man on the beach with a pretty lady, and a big man kicks sand on them as he walks by. The scrawny man protests, but the big man grabs him and says “I would hit you but you’re too scrawny you might get blown away in the wind.” The scrawny man says “I’ll get him someday.” The lady says “oh don’t worry about it.” The scrawny man goes and gets big, and the next time he’s on the beach and a man kicks sand at them, he punches the other guy in the face. Then the pretty lady clings to him and says “oh you’re a real man after all!” (Note – this humorous but realistic account reminds me of what one of my brothers told me, that no matter what they say, all women are interested in men with muscles.)
Part of the reason many working women today do not marry is because they don’t want to look after a man looking for employment. A man must not be dependent; he has to look after his woman so that she can look after their children. This is one reason that men have little patience for dependent men. Wicked women may raise dependent sons or even marry dependent men, but righteous women raise and marry independent men. They want a partner who is awake and conscious. Some women don’t like men and would rather have a submissive mate even if he is useless – it also gives them something to feel sorry for themselves about, and the pleasures of such self-pity should not be underestimated.
The Simpsons cartoon (note- which I certainly do not endorse due to its crudeness) features a character Nelson who is a bully, but he’s not just an irredeemable bully, he actually serves a function in the community by not allowing the other kids to get too wimpy. For not having responsible parents he’s doing pretty well.
When someone rejects all hardness and dominance they will begin to have an attraction towards hardness and dominance as happened in the book “Fifty Shades of Gray” (note- which of course isn’t recommended either, but it’s a phenomenon to be aware of). If men are pushed too hard to be feminie they will resort to hyperdominance. The popular fascist film “Fight Club” (note- not recommended) and the fascist “Iron Man” series (note- also not recommended) are similar. Populist support for Donald Trump is similar. (Note – that’s far more complex than Peterson puts it.) We also see far right political parties in Eastern countries rising.
Men toughen up by pushing themselves and pushing each other.
Young man skip class because they’re tired of raising their hands for permission to go to the bathroom when they are big and strong enough to work on oil rigs. Young men do dangerous things to try and make themselves useful. When this goes too far the young men drift into antisocial behavior which is far more common among young men than young women. But that does not mean that every manifestation of daring and courage is evil. When boys are spinning donuts in their cars they are also testing the capacity of their car, testing the capacity of their ability to drive and be in control in an emergency. When they push against authority, boys are testing to see if there is any real authority there, the kind of authority that can be relied on in a crisis. When they left school they entered the workforce in very difficult jobs, it was not weakness that caused them to leave school where a better future arguably awaited, it was strength.
Healthy women don’t want boys, they want men. Someone to contend and grapple with. If they are tough they want someone tougher, if they are smart they want someone smarter. They want someone who brings something that they cannot already provide. This makes it hard for strong smart attractive women to find mates as there aren’t that many men around who can outclass them. The spirit that interferes when boys are trying to become men is no good for men, and it’s no good for women.
If you think tough men are dangerous wait until you see what weak men are capable of.
People are social because they like the members of their groups. People are antisocial because they don’t like the people of other groups. We favor our own groups because favoring it helps it thrive, and climbing a structure that is failing isn’t wise.
What is admirable about someone is inseparable from their limitations. For example, a cute little child first learning to walk has the limitation of not very not being able to walk very well which could put him in danger, but if we did away with this they would no longer be our cute little child.
Existence and limitation are inextricably linked. God makes people so that the story continues, and he is not stagnant.
Note – the Latter-day Saints have a big picture of this, that God never stops creating and never stops having more children.
There is utility of non-existence; for example, a room cannot be entered without a door, and a room is dark without windows; these spaces where there is no wall. (note- I think he is saying difficulty is essential to life.)
When the character Superman was first created he had a few abilities and was an interesting character. As the decades went on he had more and more abilities until he was essentially completely undefeatable, but when that happened he became a boring character, so they introduced a weakness for him: the kryptonite and its variations.
Implausible magic beyond the readers reasonable expectations which swoops in to save the day or to save a bad plot ruins a story. People are willing to suspend disbelief if the story is coherent and reasonable; they don’t want a major sudden plot change which is so extreme that it ruins the story. (Note – I can’t help but think of the last Star Wars movie where some old villain is reborn out of nowhere and then defeated again, which left fans very angry. Die-hards went on pretending like that movie didn’t exist, rejecting it from the ‘cannon’.) When writers cheat, the fans get annoyed.
A superhero who can do literally anything is actually not admirable because they aren’t striving against anything.
Note – this is an extremely fascinating point when you think of God in heaven – what does God fight against? It seems that he for one has to obey the laws of the universe, he can’t just do whatever he wants for to, he has to therefore allow agency in his children, which makes it quite an ordeal to convert them over to his side when the opposition is also making a tempting offer. The God of the Latter-Day saints is a god of emotion who weeps, an anthropomorphic God who lends a hand literally, a God who uses servants because he literally is one person in one place (and even with his knowledge he cannot be everywhere at once even though he has receptors built into everything which give him feedback in other words information, in other words vision.) People still make choices. God sees the end from the beginning inasmuch as he can predict it, and he can do that really well in a sophisticated way we don’t understand, but there’s always the chance for people to exercise agency to take different paths. We have several examples in scripture of people repenting and avoiding certain predictions such as the people of Jonah. Prophecy is to warn about outcomes from various choices a person could make. See the Alma Allred (an LDS institute teacher) and his debates with Protestants where he makes some great points along these lines. I will also say that the god of the latter-day saints is a more strange, simple, a more obvious God than many are willing to consider as is evidenced by what Lorenzo taught when he said “as God is Man may become and as man is God once was.” We see a person who lived on an earth and progressed. We see an exalted man running an ever-bigger business.
The essence of evil is producing suffering for its own sake.
Note- the opposite is true, the essence of good is producing good for its own sake; and I will say an educated person is someone who appreciates education for its own sake, not just for the job promotion it might get him or the status it might give him. This doesn’t mean we don’t look for useful science, but we do want to know how creation works. Truth is always useful, just not always useful for hoarding money.
Mere thinking cannot be relied upon to find meaning in life. It could be argued that Niche thought more clearly about this than anyone ever did – Niche had some pretty pessimistic conclusions from his deep thinking.
But there’s something that supersedes thinking, and that is noticing. For example, when you love someone you love them despite their limitations and because of their limitations. This doesn’t mean you love every shortcoming and accept that or that you don’t try to make life better. But there are limits on the path to improvement we don’t want to go beyond or we would sacrifice our humanity itself.
Note – the reason that God is exalted, the reason he is an exalted man, is because he is someone who retains humanity in the face of power rather than falling hard on it. We also know that God himself is limited by the laws of the universe and that He has aligned himself with these laws, which alignment is what qualified Him to be God. This is why God must allow agency of his children; it is an eternal law, and that is why Lucifer fell, Lucifer wasn’t willing to carry out a plan which allowed agency.
It’s dangerous for a kid to have a car, it’s also dangerous for a kid to not have any freedom, you have to choose.
An effect of opiate withdrawal can be the inability to experience any pleasure.
When there is a crisis of health etc., set aside some time to talk about that everyday, then do not talk or think about it beyond that. You have to limit its effect or you will become exhausted and everything will spiral into the ground. Conserve your strength because you are in a war not a battle, and a war consists of many battles, you have to stay functional through all of them. When your brain wants to think about one of these problems outside of the scheduled time, remind yourself that you’ll do so during the scheduled time, and this usually works. The parts of your brain that generate anxiety are usually more interested in the fact that there is a plan rather than the details of the plan. Don’t schedule your time during the evening or night or you won’t be able to sleep. Without sleep everything goes rapidly downhill. Make your plans for the future when times are good, and in times of crisis don’t focus on planning.
The sermon on the Mount said don’t focus on tomorrow, focus on today. You have to look at the context of the sermon to know what that meant. It doesn’t mean to live carefree. The sermon on the Mount takes all the ‘thou shalt not’ commandments and puts them into one ‘thou shalt’ commandment, which is to serve God, to seek to preserve the good to live for it. To aim high like Pinocchio’s Geppetto, wish upon a star (the highest light you can see), then act accordingly. It is possible that you can manage a difficult life if you are careful, if you are doing what you can. People are very tough, but to persevere people have to see the good in being. (Note – a person needs divine intervention too if they are to accomplish very great things.)
Dogs are like humans, they are social, they can be taught tricks, and they pay you back for your love with affection. Cats are not like humans, they are more like nature, they only are involved with humans to the extent that suits them. They’re less predictable.
Take little moments to appreciate the wonder of being, the little joys that remind you that you don’t have to take reality too seriously, and this will help you not lose faith in life.
When Jesus was tempted in the desert he was not willing to call upon his father for a favor because that’s not what prayer is for. Many prayers go unanswered because the wrong questions are being asked. The scripture says ask and you SHALL receive. Perhaps it’s not reasonable to ask God to break the laws of physics every time we fall by the wayside, or make a serious error then wish for our problem to be solved magically; instead we might ask what we have to do right now to increase our wisdom to be able to solve the problem, ask to have increased resolve, a stronger character. Ask to see the truth. (Note – Peterson should also be aware that God can dispatch people to help us when we ask, so things that seem impossible become possible, etc. This interpersonal communication is only possible when we understand that God is a real being who can really communicate with us and others, it’s not just meditation to access mysteries inside ourselves. Peterson does admit that there are mysteries inside ourselves which we ourselves didn’t even know, and he has no explanation for it.)
When you’re in a heated argument it’s best to separate into two different rooms for a while. This can be hard to do because when you’re angry you want to win. But you don’t want such a big dispute that it can spiral downward into long term negative consequences. When you are alone taking that break you each ask yourself what have you done to contribute to the situation. Each person has made some error and should come back to the conversation ready to explain how they were wrong. If you ask the question ‘what did I do wrong,’ you have to be ready for the truth, ready for something you don’t want to hear. When you’re really open to learning about what you did to contribute to a problem, you will usually be shown something in the not too distant past. Once both partners admit their own wrong they can begin to talk again.
When you are arguing with someone, you want to be right and you want the other person to be wrong, then they have to sacrifice and change rather than you. When it’s you that has to change you have to reconsider your past present and your plans for the future. Then you have to carry out that new plan, and this is all much harder than just pretending to be innocent, willful blindness. But eventually you have to choose whether you want to be ‘right,’ or whether you want to have peace. Are you going to insist on the absolute correctness of your view, or are you going to listen and negotiate? You don’t get peace for being right, you just get to be right and your partner gets to be defeated and wrong. Do that 10,000 times and your marriage will be over, or you will wish it was. To seek peace you must decide that you want the answer more than you want to be right.
True prayer involves asking ‘what have I done wrong and what can I do now to begin to set things right?’ You have to be completely open to the message from conscience, the message from God. You have to remember that during prayer you can learn things that you didn’t know.
Note – Peterson says this could be learning things from yourself that you didn’t know, but I think it would be much more correct to admit that God does communicate with us when we are ready. Joseph Smith said that when a person is ready, God opens up the heavens and tells him all about it.
People do have new thoughts; they are surprised by these thoughts of things they did not know.
Note – an inventor is clearly a person who is in touch with conscience to make new discoveries.
What should you do tomorrow? The most good possible in the shortest amount of time. Try to make sure that the good you do next year will be exceeded by the year after that, etc. What should you do with your life? Aim for paradise and concentrate on today. It’s what Geppetto in Pinocchio does, he sets his sight on the highest ideal, the twinkling star in the sky (the highest light he can conceive) and wishes for what he most wants. He wants his son not to be manipulated by the strings of others and to be a real boy.
The same message is in The sermon on the Mount, Jesus says don’t be worried about food and clothes, seek first the kingdom of God then all those things will be added to you; in other words, each day you don’t just focus on the mundane or the expedient, you set your sights high you live to the fullest. You seek the good, beautiful, and true, then you focus pointedly on the concerns of each moment. Aim directly at Heaven while you work diligently on Earth. This is how you attend fully to both the future and the present at the same time. This gives you the best chance of perfecting both.
What do you do with your wife? You treat her as though she were the holy mother of God so that she can give birth to a redeeming hero. If a woman is treated properly she can produce a great posterity. The fate of the world rests on each new fragile infant but in time they can become mighty. Forgo the temptation to denigrate or devalue having children in comparison to personal accomplishment or career. The holy mother and divine and infant are a divine image. Societies that cease to honor that image as transcendent and of fundamental importance also cease to be.
What do you do with your kids? You train them, you guard them and you let them know it’s okay to grow up. For the daughters you let them know it’s okay to be a mother, for the sons you encourage them to be a son of God. To stand behind your daughter is to encourage her to do everything she courageously wants to do. Encourage her to embrace her femininity teacher the importance of having a family. To encourage your son to be a Son of God is to encourage him to be good, to want him to above all do what is right and to have his back while he strives to do that. Value your son’s commitment to transcendent behavior above all things. Care about that more than you care about his worldly progress, his safety and even his life.
What do you do with your parents? You act in such a way that justifies the suffering they endured to raise you. You remember all of your ancestors, all the sacrifices they made so that you could be here today. Be grateful for all the progress they made and act in that gratitude. In many cases people sacrificed immensely and literally died for us to have what we do now. If your parents are getting old, think about how often you visit them, how likely they are to stay alive, and make those few remaining visits precious.
What do you do with strangers? You invite them into your house and treat them like brothers so that they may become one. It’s to extend the hand of trust to someone so that their best part can step forward and reciprocate. Hospitality is sacred and makes it possible for us to have society.
What do you do with a fallen soul? You offer it a genuine and cautious hand, but you do not join it in the mire. You have to both not cast your pearls before swine and don’t camouflage your vise with virtue by pretending like you’re being charitable.
What do you do with the world? You conduct yourself in a way that communicates being is more important than not being. Don’t become bitter and corrupt by the tragedy of existence. You confront the world voluntarily with strength.
How do you educate your people? Share with them the things that you regard as truly important. That’s about telling the truth, it’s about seeking wisdom, distilling that wisdom into words, and speaking those words as if they matter.
What do you do with a torn nation? You stitch it back together with truth.
What should you do for God? You should sacrifice everything you hold dear to attain greater perfection.
What do you do with a lying man? You let him speak so he reveals himself. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
There is no enlightened one, only people who are seeking more enlightenment. Always place your becoming above your being. You have to continually rectify and it’s painful, but it’s a good deal.
Note – this is not to say there is no God. But we could also say even though we would not consider God as learning new things, that God is always having new experiences in his ongoing creation.
What do you do when you despise what you have? Remember those who have nothing and try to be grateful. Sometimes what blocks you from opportunity is that you are too arrogant to use what you have.
The world is a place to share, to trade, it’s not a treasure house to hoard. When people see that you’re involved in honest trading they will reward you for that.
What do you do when your enemy succeeds? Aim a little higher and be grateful. Jesus said bless those that hate you. This means learn from the success of your enemies. You can gain wisdom from the opposition.
What do you do when you are tired and impatient? Gratefully accept help. We must be aware of our limitations. Exhaustion is inevitable but we don’t have to do it alone.We can share credit for meaningful things that happen rather than just working alone.
What do you do with aging? Replace the potential of your youth with the accomplishments of your life. A life lived thoroughly justifies its own limitations.
Poem -When You Are Old BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989), accessed at poetryfoundation.org.
What do you do in the face of death of a loved one? You be strong because death is essential for life. This is much more noble than living in the moment. The death of a child is perhaps the hardest trial of life, but you can redouble your efforts to strengthen your bonds with those who remain to make up for some of that loss. Don’t let death make you bitter and terrified, let it awaken you so you don’t take loved ones for granted.
What do you do in dire trouble? Focus on your next move. The flood is always coming, the apocalypse is always upon us. Things fall apart, so get ready. You must build your character if you are to stand in the crisis when it comes.
How do you fix somebody? If you don’t first fix yourself you’ll probably do more harm than good when trying to fix somebody. There’s plenty to do right where you are. When you fail to tell the truth you weaken yourself and the world.
Hell is a bottomless pit because nothing is so bad that it can’t get worse. To suffer and know that it’s your fault is hell. It’s usually from willful blindness (you knew deep down that you should’ve done something, should’ve investigated, but you deliberately chose not to).
How do you strengthen your spirit? Don’t tell lies and don’t do what you despise.
How do you make your body noble? You use it only to bring nobility to your soul.
What do you do with the most difficult questions? Consider them the gateway to the path of life.
What do you do with the poor man? Try to lift his heart by example.
What do you do when the crowd beckons you? Stand tall and utter your broken truths.
Strengthen those committed to your care instead of sheltering them to the point of weakness.
When things are in order we are progressing towards our goals notwithstanding life’s difficulties.
“Beyond order” is chaos, it is unpredictability.
The previous Book “12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos” was about remediating chaos.
The first book was about getting order, this is about also having the chaos adventure element, about going forward and making enhanced order.
Approach what you do not understand voluntarily, with discipline.
We don’t know what the future may hold so we exhaust ourselves preparing for what might come, and necessarily so.
What is unknown must be managed carefully.
We need one foot in chaos and one foot in order – we need to be going into the unknown. That’s exciting, it’s the adventure if it’s not too overwhelming.
We need to think and talking helps us think.
Freud and Yung placed too little emphasis on the role of society in mental health. We exist among other people, not merely as ourselves. A person who can exist among others will do all right even if he has lots of problems. If you’re doing things out of place, people around you will help you see that before it gets too out of hand, if you have a social structure. If other people can tolerate having you around they will constantly remind you how to behave. Then you can remain together long enough to not journey downhill.
Everyone wants attention and you learn that if you’re not communicating about things that are important to people, what you’re having to say becomes unimportant, and you lose attention.
Naming something and a society agreeing on the meaning of the name shows that that thing is important.
The social world narrows and points out for us what is important. We must meet our needs in a socially acceptable way or we won’t be able to meet our needs. If you value something it can’t just be good enough for you, you have to find a way to make it good for you and the people around you. Solutions to problems have to not only work right now but in the future, it must be sustainable.
The fact of limited solutions implies natural ethic. Natural ethics shows that social institutions must exist for problems to be solved and life to continue.
We must share duties in society. No one person can do it all, hierarchies properly and naturally evolve based on competency.
“E pluribus unum” – out of many, one. This is the theme of children’s games and the function of society.
Voluntary arrangements are more likely to work because you don’t have to spend energy getting people involved in it who don’t want to be, this is true for children’s games and adult society.
Power is not the only thing to base a hierarchy on because if the powerful always dominate the weak they’ll have no one to play, with so the powerful have to let the weak win sometimes (and we see this with rats too.)
Make friends with what you do not know rather than what you do know because there is a finite amount of what you do know and an infinite amount of what you do not know. Be grateful that there are other people smarter than you serving in society in capacities you can’t do.
No one unwilling to be a foolish beginner can learn. You must be willing to start over again, to be the “fool”(novice, beginner) again, to learn again. The “fool” is wise because he is willing to start again. The “fool” is the person who eventually becomes perfect; he was required to continually be patient with himself and others. Much that is great starts small and as a puppet of others. Today’s beginner is tomorrow’s master. You must subordinate yourself to the rules of the current game and discipline yourself to make the next move.
If you’re in a lowly job don’t complain about it, look for the opportunities in it. See what happens if you work as hard at it as you can. Unforeseen promotions will come etc. Even if you decide to change careers, the skills you get in that job will go with you and the reputation will go with you.
A person can rarely learn except from their peers because it is difficult to communicate across a hierarchy. Those higher up don’t want to be challenged and are unwilling to learn. They are afraid to be revealed as outdated or incompetent. So you might want to approach your boss about a problem privately instead of calling it out publicly and have a ready solution at hand.
Also people lower in the hierarchy can resent how low they are and it can make them hesitant to act on instruction from higher up than the hierarchy. Or in the worst case they can work at counter purposes out of spite.
To be surrounded by peers is to be in a state of equality. This is why friendships are so important and why they are formed so early in life.
Having friendships in youth is a predictor of having marriage etc. as an adult. And friendship in old age dramatically influences longevity.
Providing friendship to others is even more important for your health than receiving friendship from others.
(Note – great point; life isn’t about popularity, it’s about helping others be included. The ball game isn’t so much about winning as it is about helping everyone on your team to enjoy the game. I’m not saying don’t be competitive, I’m not saying don’t have friends you enjoy, I’m saying be sure you’re climbing up the right ladder. Yes compete for the win, but be sure you’re playing the right game.)
You must do more than your job requires and take your share of the hard work. Don’t just look like you’re working, actually be working.
If there’s a problem, those most competent must rise in hierarchy to solve the problem.
Authority isn’t power. Authority is from competence.
It’s cruel to say boys striving for competency are the tyrannical patriarchy.
When you’re against there being winners, you’re against the alleviation of suffering.
Managers are often more stressed by their subordinates than the subordinates are by the manager.
Tyrants aren’t the majority. Leaders enjoy helping their people. The top dog gets to identify those with potential and give them opportunities to rise. Business leadership can be like parenting.
How do we balance conserving tradition, and being creative ?
There can be functional hierarchies. The liberals sees only the bad in organizations, the corruption in hierarchy, and bad leaders who leave a wake of destruction in their pursuit of taking wealth. Sure that’s bad, but it’s not the only way.
Environmental activists often hate humanity and that hate impacts your psychology.
It’s rare to see someone who respects tradition but is also open to creative new solutions. Are you the real thing or the opposite? Most of us are less ideal than we think.
The present and future aren’t always like the past, so some new solutions are sometimes needed.
You need a balance of tradition and creativity.
Stories are general enough to where we can apply them to new situations we haven’t encountered yet. Religious narratives (I would say ‘accounts’) are to motivate imitation.
The antihero serves the purpose of showing us what the hero is by showing you what the hero is not.
The characters in Harry Potter are rewarded because they follow the rules but also paradoxically because they break them. Follow the rules except when doing so undermines the purpose of those rules.
In the Pocahontas Disney movie she is engaged to someone of the tribe who follows all the rules but she instead chooses the sailor John, a man whose territory is mysterious but potentially very promising. She is pursuing a higher moral value. Follow the rules and be exemplary in doing so but break them when you have to for the principal that’s behind them.
Follow the rules except when following them is in contradiction to a higher moral principle.
Jesus was raised as a good Jewish boy knowing the law having respect for conservative traditional values but he stayed behind at Jerusalem teaching in the temple – he did this creative thing.
The adult Christ violates the standards of the Sabbath which were understood among the Jewish leaders. He does things when necessity demands it like picking the grains on the Sabbath. He refers to when David drew upon grains from a sacred reserve when necessity demanded it.
We need both respect for the rules and creative moral action even when it can be an apparent contradiction to the rules.
In an extra canonical source when Jesus speaks of the Sabbath etc. he tells someone “if you know what you’re doing you are blessed, if you don’t know you’re cursed.” In other words, the reason behind the action mattered.
You need to understand the rules and how they keep the chaos at bay and how important they are. Only then can you break them when necessary. You must be fully willing to shoulder the burden of making an exception which you see is for the higher good (and not just hide from that responsibility behind a mask). You must be a person with sufficient character to manage that distinction; this means you obey the spirit not just the letter of the law. Such is a moral act. But if you refuse to recognize the importance of the rules you’re violating and act out of self-centered convenience, that is immoral. In this case your disregard to tradition will damn you.
We need to use wisdom and judgment to discern what is right when the rules tell otherwise. The fully developed personality, the true hero, is the one who can manage this.
A certain amount of rigid compliance to rule must be tolerated and a certain amount of creativity must be tolerated. Every rule was once a creative act breaking other rules. Genuine creativity often eventually turns into a rule. There must be a balance.
At the same time respect the rules to keep us safe, and allow for a new development.
Ancient stories are important because they speak to something that we know but we do not know that we know.
We are very complex, more complex than we understand, and we are not only existing but we are becoming, and that vision of what we can become and the realization of it is often clouded by sickness, and an unwillingness to take advantage of opportunities.
Socrates believed that all learning was a form of remembering. He said the soul knew everything but forgot it at birth.
Humans are not like animals because we don’t just do the same thing generation after generation, we can do new things.
We can act out not just other personalities but new personalities.
Animals cannot formulate or understand rules, their behaviors are simply habits.
This is another way humans are different from animals.
We are dormant adventurers, lovers, artists, revolutionaries in the battle between good and evil, but we need to see archetypes of those things being acted out before we can unlock them in ourselves.
(Note – it’s like the kids playing with legos. Let them on their own and they won’t come up with anything too exciting. But show them the potential of the materials, show them that a castle can be built, and the next day at play they will replicate it, even without detailed instructions. Once they know its possible, they go for it.)
We are part nature and part culture.
Who are you and who can you be? You are part of the eternal force that confronts chaos and ignorance and becomes dangerous enough in a controlled manner to understand evil and fight it.
If you don’t confront your problems you become like a scared animal and that taxes heavily on your psychology and physical health.
The true winner of any game is the person who plays fair because this is a higher achievement than any victory. Striving to play fair in both the spirit and the letter of the rule shows character.
While there are other things going on in the world we have to focus on what is most important and basically ignore other things even though we must still play within the confines of those other games. You have to play two games at a time. You have to play the game everyone else is playing and succeed at that but you also have to play the game of which is more important and succeeded at that too.
One example of this is the Quidditch game of Harry Potter where one person on the team who is particularly good at the game has an additional game he plays during the main game. He has to keep the rules of the overall game, but has a mission within that mission which is even more important.
Trying to force yourself to be interested in something that you’re not interested in does not work. On the other hand there are things you are naturally drawn to that naturally interest you which seem to choose you rather than you choosing them. Something compelling and worth living for. This pursuit is The game of Life.
The dragon, immortally dangerous, guards the treasure. He is in the way of that thing with your desire.
When we pursue what is important notwithstanding the difficulties, this is when we can get a well-balanced character.
There are virtues which are more typically male biologically and culturally, and other virtues which are more typically female biologically and culturally, but the ideal person masters all values.
(Note – there are and always will be certain roles which men play more than women and other roles which women play more than men, and one is not expected to fit everything into this short life. Sure, God the Father is both justice and mercy, both provider and nurturer, but there will always be a feminine nature and a masculine nature. See how God’s preferred title is “Father” – it is the essence of his being. Then we have his wife, our Heavenly Mother. Women will always be the primary nurturers of children, for example. Women counsel, teach, create, and all manner of things. But the male goes out while the female guards the homeland – this is the general idea. There are priests and priestesses. Kings and Queens. Both work together and have separate roles and duties. But Peterson is right in saying that both men and women need to master basic character traits no matter where they fall on the spectrum. Let it also be clear that there are only 2 genders. There are many personalities and varying skillsets and interests, but only 2 genders, only 2 sexes. As the Family Proclamation says, gender is an eternal aspect of our premortal mortal and eternal identity which will never change.)
It is because our own lives are a story like that we are drawn to stories of fiction.
Dramas and songs help us deal with our lived experiences.
When ignorance destroys culture monsters will emerge. This is a theme of ancient texts.
Note – there is also a very important connection between education and wholesome culture and recreation. A society ignorant of eternal truths who spends their time in the fake education of political correctness who overly emphasizes rights over duties will be drawn toward unwholesome manners, dress, music, dance, literature, and so forth.
Marduk was a God in the myth because he had many eyes to see what’s going on and he could speak magical words. The Egyptians had the savior god Horus who is the son of Osiris, and Horus can be represented by an eye, signifying the importance of seeing in leadership.
Horus brings his eye to his father Osiris.
Pinocchio saves his father from a monster, dies, and in the process is reborn.
In myth, the son often saves his father (a note from Rule 4 put here for relevance).
Note – Christ saving Adam his maternal grandfather, and Christ saving his father’s children. And perhaps a better analogy, we see that God the Father does need His Only Begotten son as the engine of His plan for the salvation of His children. The Son accomplishes this work, and receives a great reward from His Father, namely the character and status of His Father. The Son turns over the kingdom to His Father, giving the glory to His Father. The Father then moves up, and the Son takes His place.
The hero must reign to keep chaos at bay.
The cross is a symbol of unfairness and cruelty and when Jesus voluntarily accepts the cross this is how evil is dealt with – by voluntarily accepting suffering in life. The only alternative is hell.
Saint George slays the dragon and uses the cross as he confronts it. The Hobbit with its dragon slaying is based on the older Beowulf. Beowulf defeats two intelligent monsters, a son and worse a mother.
In The Hobbit the character develops character and wisdom while he is acting as a thief in the quest.
Parents who are overly protective of their children put their children in great danger.
We are all children of nature and culture, intrinsically magical.
The solution is where you last want to look. This is represented in Harry Potter 2 by him finding access to the serpent he has to hunt in the sewage access.
The story repeats: the sleeping beauty being guarded by the dragon, the treasure of the dragon in The Hobbit, and the basilisk snake guarding the young lady in Harry Potter 2.
The unknown is like a great serpent and the one willing to take it on gets a great treasure. Human evil is what we consider the greatest of all snakes.
This is the great adventure, our lives can bring untold possibility.
A person has to recognize their dark side before they can confront evil.
This is depicted in stories like Bilbo having to act as a thief and Harry Potter having some part of evil in him.
We are frozen when we encounter the serpent, are paralyzed in fear, and this trying to hide and camouflage may let us survive for the day,, but the beast is still out there. It needs to be hunted and killed.
The sword of truth and the shield of virtue are the weapons that Prince Philip has to fight the dragon in the sleeping beauty. This is reminiscent of how the greatest foe is the evil of oneself. That we fight the beast by having personal virtue.
The threat is real: the serpent bites heroes get hurt. Truth and virtue don’t always save us, but they are our best bet. Sometimes a little death is the medication necessary to get rid of all death.
Adam and Eve are conquered by the serpent in the garden and Harry Potter is bitten by the serpent, but revived by the Phoenix.
The Phoenix has long been a symbol of Christ, someone who can die and come back from the dead and give life by its tears.
We can act out a role more than we can describe verbally what that role is. For example a child can act out a mother better than they can describe what a mother does.
Drama and literature describe things with more than just words. Storytelling through writing is harder than theater because it’s more abstract; you’re not watching a character do something in front of you.
Every story requires a starting place that is not good enough and an ending place which is even better.
Christ transcends the law similar to Harry Potter and his rule-breaking friends. But those who break the rules are those who have mastered them first. They have disciplined themselves to understand the necessity of those rules and only break them when it is in keeping with the spirit.
The Harry Potter story is about evil being overcome by self-sacrifice, this is a Christian theme repeated throughout the story.
A good person will admit their flaws and shed them.
Pick the best target you can currently conceptualize and stumble towards it, realizing your flaws as you go, trying to correct them.
If you find a better path along the way, switch courses. But be careful: it’s hard to tell the difference between a better path and just giving up. A hint is that if the new path seems more challenging than you’re probably not just deluding yourself. This means we zigzag forward rather than going straight forward, but it’s the best we can do. The target is both moving and receding because as you approach it new vistas become visible and possible.
Note – the best chance we have is to hold to the “iron rod”, which is the word of God. This rod, this narrow path, is designed to keep us on a straight course toward our eternal potential. But it is true that in life we “see through a glass darkly” and must walk by faith. But that faith walking can be a much straighter path than what the world offers, or what we can figure out on our own. The point is that we can act in faith and gain a spiritual witness that our actions are pleasing to God, that we are going in the right direction. This isn’t to trivialize the role of personal revelation and the crosses (physical and intellectual) of life which we have to mire through. But the fact is that God loves us, and hasn’t left us here completely alone. Yes this life is a test, but for the wise, there is help available. So yoes Peterson is right that we have to zig-zag our way forward, figure things out as we go, and make course corrections. But we must also understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is here to help us find our way, and that in the truest sense, to become something better than we ever could ourselves. Obedience to the laws of the gospel can help us from making many of the common mistakes of life, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls, the landmines. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel if we are wise. And if we are not wise, of course, those pitfalls can serve to teach us wisdom too. This is why Christ says his yoke is easy and his burden light – because when we do things his way we are wiser and have his power to do it. No true Christian will say life is easy, that’s not the point. In fact Christians are often challenged with greater trials than some could bear. With the added power they get added trials to learn to best wield that power, before they get even more. The point is that the peace of conscience, the peace of knowing you’re on the right track, this is very empowering, and makes otherwise unbearable situations into something we can begin to handle.
Get your story straight: past present future, they all matter, and you need to map it.
You need to know where you are, where you were so you don’t go back there, you need to know where you are so you can place yourself on the map, and you need to figure out where you’re going so you don’t despair.
If something happens every day, even if it’s trivial it’s important, and if there’s something chronically bothersome about that it should be addressed. Collect a lot of these little repeated troubles and your happiness is doomed. Have the fight resolve the issue. Life is what repeats and it’s worth getting what repeats right. A 40 year marriage is 15,000 days. Avoid the hell of today repeating forever by taking action today to improve things. Repressed problems become like ghosts in the basement causing problems.
If you lean too far in one direction something else in you leans too far the other way.
The outside can reflect the inside, so clean the outside.
Frued failed to see that sins of omission contribute to mental illness just like how sins of commission do.
Willful blindness is an outright crime – when you suspect something you have to investigate.
People refuse to invest in why they don’t succeed or be happy because if they knew, it would be their fault for not fixing it.
People avoid being judged by having no ideals at all.
They refuse to shoot so they’ll never miss, and thus they’ll never learn through experience how to succeed.
When someone says something very true about someone’s behavior, the guilty party (now exposed) often insults them.
We must admit our feelings. Admit that we may be misinterpreting a situation.
All people are capable of deception, but they take risk to make a relationship with someone, and they can make that relationship if they’re open about their feelings.
The path to the holy grail is in the darkest forest. Where you least want to look. If you refuse to seek the hidden gold, it’ll remain untapped.
Note – this theme was employed in Lord of the Rings when the adventurers had to go into the terrible Fangorn forest in order to find what they sought, and were rewarded there with even more than they hoped.
(Abdicated means relinquished, abandoned)
To become invaluable in the workplace, do what others are leaving undone. It’ll be noticed.
Take on a tiny serpent, the level you can handle, it may have a little gold, and work up from there.
Difficulty is necessary. We limit ourselves because to have no limits isn’t fun. This is why in voluntary games we agree to play by a set of rules, even from childhood. We need problems to solve, things to sacrifice for.
The Indian and Sanskrit word for suffering is duka meaning hole, particularly the hole in the wheel; it’s in the dead center.
Note – compare this with the idea of a black hole (whatever it is) prison planet at the center of a galaxy, or the middle of the city where the prison is. As Peterson points out elsewhere, it’s the black dot in the center of the white half of the yin yang symbol.
The Greek word for sin means to miss a target.
It’s better to try and miss than to not try at all because at least if you fail trying to learn something from the experience note like the scripture that says it’s better to be hot or cold not medium probably because God can work with you if you have energy in one way or the other but he can’t do much with you if you have no energy. You must risk something that matters.
Note – It is as the scripture says, better to be cold or hot then lukewarm. God can work with someone who has some energy, some passion, such a person can be turned around. But someone who doesn’t care much either way, you can’t do much with that.
People often don’t get their needs and wants because they don’t let other people know what those are. (Ask in order to receive.)
Pan means ‘everything,’ Peter Pan is this magical child who can do everything, he represents all children because all children are magical. But Peter Pan refuses to grow up. Pan forever remains a child and magical, but Wendy chooses to move on, to marry a mortal, to have a genuine real life. Pan’s female friend Tinkerbell is great in every way, except for the fact that she’s not real!
Peter Pan had Captain Hook as the role model of what it is to be an adult, a tyrannical role model who was afraid of death. The crocodile represents death, the clock means death is getting closer, and death has already had a bite of him, and liked it!
Life passes Peter by.
Peter chose to remain with the imaginary Tinkerbell instead of marrying the real Wendy. Peter makes a statement about how ‘death is an adventure,’ but the real adventure is life, and it is the adventure he refused to have. Peter is sick of life and he shows that by refusing to mature.
A talented but directionless 25-40 year old man is pathetic. You must sacrifice something of your manifold potential in exchange for something real in life. Otherwise you’ll have all the suffering of life without any of the meaning, and that is hell.
Note – very good, we must give up many opportunities for family life. Family life is the pearl of great price, we give all else away to have it. Center life around family, not various careers, educations, politics, wealth, pleasure, etc. Without family as the foundation and goal of primary importance, your other pursuits will be far less meaningful and accomplish far less good.
Abraham lives in his father’s tent until age 75, and when he is called out into the world he finds all kinds of trouble, famine, someone stealing his wife, childlessness, spouse rivalry, etc. Thus we see that even if God himself calls you to go out into the world it’s still going to be extremely hard and almost insurmountable. But we also see that you’ll show what you’re made of, and the magical gifts you have will come out when you need them.
Troubles compound like interest when you don’t pay attention to them and take care of them.
The hero is born when things are at their worst.
During our maturation we are all alienated from our kingdom, our family inheritance etc.
The ability to see has been prized throughout history above all, meaning also attentiveness & awareness. And remember about the God Marduk mentioned earlier, prized for his ability to see (the many eyes). And the Eye of Horus.
Note – the Book of Mormon teaching is similar, that “a seer is greater than a prophet.”
To look evil straight in the face is extremely dangerous and the hero often does not leave unwounded.
Don’t go looking for trouble rather get involved in a cause that’s going to challenge you but also excite you. Something which will interest you that’s not going to crush you.
Note – it seems the journey ends up being crushing us whether we foresee that or not. It’s the inevitable encounter(s) with Gethsemane through which all paths cross. But here Peterson points out that we have to be wise about it, or we will fail miserably.
Loved ones despair when they see those they love failing to do what they know they could and should be doing.
Osiris is the Ancient of Days and his son Horus takes his eye that was torn out and brings it to him in the underworld so he can once again see.
Note – here is a symbol of Christ bringing about the resurrection of Adam, Adam being the maternal grandfather of Christ, which is understood as Christ saving the human race, transcending the human race. This could also be a misunderstanding of who the Ancient of Days is, calling as most Christians do, the Ancient of Days to be God the Father, when he is actually Adam. Osiris as God the Father and Horus as God the Son is a common parallel drawn.
The ultimate question of man is not who we are but who we could be.
When you peer into an abyss you see a monster if it is a small abyss there will be a small monster if it is the ultimate abyss it will be the ultimate monster.
We must act for our future selves not just our present selves; things that make us happy in the moment can very well bring sadness; try to make yourself the best overall.
To work is to sacrifice hypothetical delights of the present in order to take care of the future.
Caring for yourself doesn’t just mean doing what you want right now it means caring for your future self and your society that you’ll be living in. There’s little difference in how you should treat yourself and how you should treat other people once you realize your future depends on stable society.
Animals don’t see the future they don’t care about it. Zebras see sleeping lions and they don’t care (‘sleeping lions are harmless’).
You must play a game today which will not jeopardize your game tomorrow.
Don’t seek happiness, that’s just a ‘right now’ thing. Don’t just live in the moment because this moment isn’t everything. Living in accordance with responsibility that sets things right for the future is superior to happiness. The highest good is making the most of yourself and others at the same time.
When you attain happiness you find it’s gone right after you had it. When you obtain satisfaction from accomplishing a goal you find it’s time to begin work on another one, often a bigger one, and you are no longer the top dog, you’re now back at the bottom of a new game.
When you have a shallow trivial goal it won’t satisfy you when you accomplish it because you didn’t care enough. No one is satisfied when they know they’re not doing everything they should be doing.
Note – hence the old saying, a clear conscience makes a soft pillow. Or Elder Hollands message to missionaries, to collapse into bed at the end of the day delightfully exhausted.
Note – Some have suggested that Utah has higher antidepressant drug usage. I don’t know, perhaps they’re right. Perhaps the Saints’ awareness of everything they could and should be doing, then consciously rejecting that, results in a dreadful state of mind, something to try and drown out. Well did Christ teach that his message would not bring peace, but a sword. Not unity, but division. Not comfort, but a cross. But of course, Christ’s way is ultimately easier and lighter than the alternative. It’s like Peterson says elsewhere, the only alternative to sacrifice is hell. So I say the truth can set us free, but it can only do this by painfully showing us our shortcomings which we have to face head on.
When You have a problem that keeps snagging you the only thing is to turn around and face it head on. Get a big goal setup that will actually work to defeat it.
We Constantly report on ourselves to others about our own behavior and misbehavior.
What is 10 years away is still real despite its distance.
If you detect that you’re on the wrong path you’re going to feel guilt and we can thank God for that. If you attend to your conscience you’ll start to see that you’re doing some things that are wrong. A sense of right is attained by careful attention to what we do wrong.
(Note – this is why the Holy Ghost isn’t just a ‘comforter’, it’s a warner.)
When you try to ignore your conscience it increases your feelings of self betrayal and further divides you against yourself.
When you pray to discover what you did wrong you find out it’s often not what you wanted to hear and a part of you dies; the part of you that is dying lies to you and tries to not die.
(Note – and it is a very convincing liar. As Joel Skousen points out, the voice of conscience sounds like your own voice, as does the voice of God, as does the voice of the Devil. You have to figure out which voice you’re hearing, to discern.)
When you start to pay attention to your conscience you begin to find hope of a high pinnacle of moral correctness which you are going towards.
Geppetto has to lift up his eyes and wish upon a star to get his son to come to life, just like how we have to look up and have high goals to make our visions come to pass. When you have established high goals all of your little efforts/goals can be reoriented toward the big goal and contribute to it. This is like monotheism where everything is directed to one supreme deity, one supreme goal.
Note – One path; as the scripture says, there is “one Lord one faith one baptism.” There is one true God, all the others are lesser imposters.
When you have a lofty goal and you participate in something important in life, when you have doubts about your life you can say ‘I may be messing up a lot but at least I’m trying to be involved in this really good thing.’
A worker who is laying bricks can find a meaning in that because he’s not just laying bricks, he’s building a wall, and it’s not just a wall it’s a building, and it’s not just a building it’s a cathedral for the glory of God.
Note – this is also why I think it would be sort of difficult to build things which are not cathedrals… to be contributing to things which are vanity even when it’s honest labor. I suppose that makes it slightly less honest labor when the product it’s going towards is corrupt.
If you have something meaningful that you are pursuing that is the highest way of life. This is the path of maximum virtue.
Note – It is true however that not all meaningful causes were created equally. Do something meaningful, but try to do something very meaningful. As Peterson says elsewhere, aim at what you see is the best, and as you approach that, if your vision becomes clearer toward a more exact (better) goal, go for that.
Our instincts pull us away from hell and toward heaven. This is why people who believe in nothing can still be drawn to music. (Note – As I recall, Brigham Young said that there is no song or dance in hell. Of course there are demonic song and dance here, but I suppose that’s a step toward (quite near) the complete emptiness of hell.)
It is not the call to happiness but the call to action and adventure that makes real life.
When God calls us it is not to happiness but to bloody catastrophe. It is inevitable that life will frustrate you as you shoulder your responsibilities and endeavor to set yourself and the world right, but this is where deep meaning that orients you is found. This is how the arrogant and selfish parts of our character get rooted out. You can find this worthy good life only if you are willing.
Note – “willingness” is more meaningful and powerful than we might think. In sacrament prayers we covenant to be ‘willing’ to take upon us the name of Christ. One interpretation for the word ‘willing’ is ‘wanting’. Do we really want the Christian life? Peter Kreeft in “Culture War” points out that the only thing keeping us from becoming saints is that we don’t want it. If we did want it, we would do it. It’s not a complex formula, and that’s what makes it so hard. It’s right there in the open. On the one hand this is depressing, the reality that the root of our lack has been our selfishness all along. On the other hand it is extremely hopeful, because ANYONE can do it. As the scripture repeats, “ask, and ye SHALL receive.” (it is repeated in the scripture many times, upwards of 30 times as I recall). And make that asking real, or forget about it (James 1).
When do you stop participating in ridiculous things going on around you?
We have very little motivation to carry out assignments which are offensive to every fiber of our human being. We do things because we feel they are worthy of doing and when we are forced to do things we don’t feel are worthy of doing that’s problematic. Action is difficult and dangerous so we better believe it’s worth it.
Often controversial things are not only encouraged in the workplace but required.
People try to get rid of anything with the word ‘black’ or ‘master’ in it due to a hypersensitivity to race and slavery, even when those things are black such as a blackboard, or a master key, and in these trivial ways of getting rid of certain words people get a false sense of virtue. They call anyone who disagrees as wicked. But who gave those people authority to ban words? Aren’t they aware that this is dangerous? Diversity inclusiveness etc., these are words for the propaganda. Do we endlessly ban more and more words that could hypothetically be offensive to someone, even though no one has complained about them?
Note – and watch out for those who do complain about them, what is their motive?
Being required to do stupid hateful things is demoralizing.
There’s no evidence for the validity of the ‘learning styles’ theory such as the auditory visual physical logical etc., this and many similar pseudo sciences are being pushed. Students may express a preference for a certain mode of delivery, but there is no evidence that their scores go up when it is delivered in that preferred way. Further, there’s no evidence that teachers can accurately access the learning styles of their students.
We are each more responsible for the state of the world then we would feel comfortable thinking. Each betrayal of conscience, each rationalization leads us to the next bigger one.
Stand up before the ability to do so is gone. It is rare for people to stand up against what they know to be wrong even when the consequences are slight. If you don’t object to minor problems, what makes you think you’ll object to major ones? (Note – people wonder how Germans let Hitler rise, but we are letting many similar evils rise today.) Conscience has a primary claim on your action which supersedes your social duty. You have to trust yourself when it comes time to say ‘no’ to something that everyone else is doing. You have to act honorably and be trustworthy just like how you’d want your role models to act were they in your situation. (Note – even and especially when those role models fail)
Some dragons are everywhere and are not easy to defeat, but you must continue to make attempts to fight back. Work however you can to promote what is good even if you can’t do it all the time.
Note – as President Henry B Eyring taught, “I can’t be a perfect servant every hour, but I can do more than I thought I could.”
If you want to be great and live meaningfully you must not let yourself do things you hate. If you choose not to do this it is your fault. No one is destined to remain a puppet.
Allow for the possibility that you may be able to fight back and win, the giant may not be as strong as it looks. You may lose a job but a better one might come next. If you feel a sense of resentment about your life you may be ignoring the still small voice of conscience. If what you’re doing is making you resent your life and lash out at loved ones, you must reconsider where you can say ‘no’ to things that you’re doing which you hate.
Following your conscience is your best shot, otherwise you have to live with a constant sense of self betrayal, and you’ll never know the opportunity elsewhere that you are not willing to risk to get into.
If you might get fired for standing up for what’s right, so start preparing now for another job.
(Note – this is why, however difficult, one must ever improve their skill and employability. This allows them to maximize their voice and autonomy. It’s the helpless who get crushed, and have nowhere to run, so they stay there. A similar idea is true in dating, people need to venture out and not settle for the first person who looks at them with a smile. The better one makes themselves, the less likely they’ll only feel worthy of someone who is abusive or otherwise not a good person for them.)
Yes it’s scary to move to change position but compare that to the scariness of continuing in something bad for a long time. You must contemplate the risks of staying just as much as the risks of moving and be aware that there are few things in life that don’t involve risk.
Note – beware applying this to marriage. Those who divorce and remarry report being the same amount happy as they were before their divorce. Those who divorce and don’t remarry often report being even less happy than they were before their divorce. The key to a broken marriage is (in almost all cases) to fix it. When it comes to marriage, its more often a failure to maintain that is the issue, rather than a poor choice in the first place. But what could apply from Peterson’s message here as it relates to marriage is that we shouldn’t let marital issues fester, shouldn’t sweep them under the rug. Yes we are peacemakers, yes we serve willingly out of love. But we also don’t let a relationship spiral into something tyrannical, because, as Peterson says, that’s not good for anyone.
Be aware there’s about a 50 to 1 chance you’re not going to get the job which you’re qualified for which you applied for. Even if it takes you years looking for a job it’s better than a lifetime of misery in a bad job.
You can’t really say no to corrupt power when you don’t have the skills to be able to move if needed. Therefore you have a moral obligation to place yourself in a position where you’re strong enough wise enough skilled enough to be able to successfully move when needed.
(As mentioned earlier. Note – This also relates to bullying: you have to be tough enough to fight back if needed so the bullying doesn’t continue forever. One of Peterson’s themes is that you have to be enough of a monster to keep away the real monsters when they show up. Like the famous Karate Kid line, you don’t learn to fight because you like fighting, you learn to fight because you don’t like fighting. It’s to minimize violence, not increase it.)
Staying where you should not be could be the true worst case scenario as it drags you out and kills you over the years. This makes you age quickly and long for both the cessation of career and life itself. If you must cut off the cat’s tail do not do it a few inches at a time.
You need to win the job lottery only once and taking the chance is better than a lifetime of a bad job.
A bad job doesn’t mean you have to do menial chores sometimes like cleaning or being at the bottom of hierarchies. Those are important and you need to be grateful. You must be self disciplined and willing to adopt the position of the fool, the novice, the bottom of the rung.
Hearkening to conscience is not the same thing as irritation about low status. The conscience will be upset when your work involves deception, lying and extreme triviality.
The road to hell is paved not so much with good intentions but with adoptions of lifestyles and attitudes that disturb your conscience.
Public intellectuals help people be able to articulate things which they feel but cannot express verbally.
When you’re speaking to a large group, focus on a few individuals because a group is not really a thing.
But you also need to be aware of how the group in general is reacting a certain way to what you’re saying.
The way you can tell which of your ideas have power by complete silence of the audience, meaning complete focus on you.
Whenever Peterson would talk about responsibility the audience would become very interested.
Over the last 50 years we have spent too much time clamoring about rights and we have not asked enough of the young people that we are socializing. We’ve been telling them to demand what they are owed by society. We have been implying that the important meetings of their lives will be given to them by such demands, but we should have been doing the opposite. We should have told them that the meaning of life is from shouldering noble burdens. So now the youth are vulnerable and looking for meaning in the wrong places.
(Note – this is the heart of various political philosophies: “give me stuff”. The result? Perpetual childhood, and likely tyranny as the power of the state grows.)
When Niche said ‘God is dead’ he was not attacking God he was saying that the way everyone’s acting in society no longer shows respect for God; Niche concluded from this that soon everything in society would fall apart psychologically and socially. Niche said God is the best and people are the worst. He said that we would soon see the death of traditional stories, rituals and beliefs because of our rejection of God. He said people would become nihilists or totalitarians. We are living in what Dostoevsky foretold, the time of totalitarian governments and psychological upheaval.
see Dostoyevsky “the possessed” book
Dostoevsky saw that communism would appear as an attractive moral alternative to religion or nihilism.
Very few of us can create ourselves, we must rather discover things about ourselves.
Religious experience cannot entirely be considered subjective because not just one person experiences it.
The meaning of life must be found individually (not scientifically) in a subjective way, but this subjective meaning is shared by everyone, which makes it something between subjective and objective.
There’s something universal calling us from within – this is why large groups of people can be united morally by religion. It is common and necessary, so why do people assume it’s not real?
(Note – Good point on religion not just being subjective. Also consider how there are formulas we can apply in search of meaningful truth, such as praying for a witness after an honest reading of the Book of Mormon.)
The bourgeoisie business owners were not all evil like communism taught and all the working-class proletariat was not all benevolent like communism taught. The wealth was taken from competent farmers and redistributed by malevolent people. This led to 6 million ukrainians starving in the 1930s in the midst of some of the most fertile land of the world.
The Nazis were trying to make an ideal man and it could be said that they based this on Niche but this isn’t entirely correct because while Niche may have set up the scenario, but he didn’t explicitly call for what they did. Niche valued individualism and did not like the idea of a stage man which is what a Nazi was.
Ideologies involve buying into something, and they’re not supported by evidence.
Ideology takes a very complex world and boils it down to one thing. For example there are many reasons why people are poor, it’s not just oppression.
Ideologues don’t do the detailed research, they just come up with someone to blame.
Note – another danger to look out for is people who hide their ideologies behind detailed ‘research.’ These are the ‘learned who think they are wise’ who are ‘ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.’
The ‘ism’ theorists spin post hoc theories, get these to be taught in schools, and get people who disagree to be demonized. They claim fundamental unfairness. They are unyielding and rigid. The fundamentalist believer of faith admits that he cannot explain everything by his religion, but the ideologue says they can explain everything by their ideology in possession of the complete truth.
The implementation of Marxism was a disaster wherever it was implemented and today people still try to implement it under new titles.
Once ideologies fail to explain the world or predict the future they turn to deceit. (Note – changing the title and employing the same old system is certainly one of the forms of deceit.)
Beware people who blame everything on one thing. People want simplicity ease and the illusion of mastery. And they want to identify someone as a villain to blame everything on, which leads to hostility.
Then in their hostility they claim that their shameful acts are morally justified. We should not assign multi-generational guilt.
Note – the second article of Faith of the Latter-day Saints states that “we believe men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” This is a similar concept, that we shouldn’t be blaming our problems and excusing our behaviors based on historic issues.
Ideologues create self-righteous anger against entire classes of people such as males or business owners.
They first identify these groups as the source of evil then set out to eradicate them. When you create a world where you’re the only one who’s right you create a situation where you have to fight everyone else.
A good writer doesn’t just say a certain person is the bad guy but shows complex motives in each character. (Note – this is not to say there isn’t a bad guy, it’s to say no one is completely bad or completely good, and the complexity of this is part of the test of life to see if we will choose the more good and reject the more bad.)
It’s less dangerous to assume you are the enemy than to assume other people are. (Note – within reason, and on certain levels. Naturally each must remember their own innate tendency toward corruption, and constantly fight that. But this doesn’t mean surrender, there’s still more wars to be fought.)
Overarching oversimplified statements about how things should be is not very helpful. It’s like saying that to play the flute you blow it and move your fingers over the holes. That’s true but useless.
Don’t take on big social projects until you have your own life in order.
(Note – but beware, this doesn’t mean wait for family creation until you have a proper bank savings, or wait to speak truth until you know it all. It means don’t set out to save the world when your own home is dying. It doesn’t mean don’t make sacrifices for good causes, it means what is suggested in scripture about the man who was instructed to go make amends with his brother before coming to offer sacrifice to God. One irony I see is when people become family therapists without having their own family, that certainly seems backward to me. The first rule of parenting, after all, is never take advice from someone who isn’t a parent. Don’t take marital advice from someone who isn’t married, etc. You’ve got to learn the word before you declare the word. Learn to walk before you lead the march, or you’ll likely take it in the wrong direction and damn the lot.)
Note – this is similar to what Thomas Edison said, that he gets a lot done because he focuses on one thing all day instead of going from one thing to another throughout the day.
Light symbolizes a heightened focus of conscience. Awareness.
It’s better to aim at something real than something very theoretical and likely unattainable. Some things can be put on hold while you get some tangible things accomplished.
Those who do more research, who have more rigorous training, their characters become more positive socially and they have more fun. Everything about them flourishes as a result of this rigorous work.
You have to choose and commit to a career, a romantic partner, etc. The failure to choose and be loyal to your choice results in serious problems.
It’s far better to become something than to remain anything but become nothing.
Playing games helps children put aside their impulses and abide by the rules of the game. The payoff is social inclusion and the pleasure of the game.
A well socialized child is not one that is not aggressive, it is one that is very aggressive and channels that into competition. Such a child as they get older can organize themselves into more and more complex games.
(Note – this is one of the virtues of participation in sports, or difficult studies. It channels your energy into something which isn’t destructive. Sometimes it can even be channeled into something that make the world a better place, and that’s really something. Of course there are needs for good in small and large scales, and I suppose we ought to contribute to both. We also have an amount of need for recreation. What I worry about are when sports are taken to the professional level, the olympic level, when something meant to serve a small purpose consumes the whole, thereby keeping a person from the intended treasures of life such as family creation, the pursuit of intelligence and stable government, etc.)
We can argue which games should be played but we can’t argue that games should not be played. You can argue about morality but we can’t say that no morality.
Christianity is what civilized Europe.
Note – he claims that other religions such as Buddhism could have done it as well as evidenced by existing civilizations in Asia, but I don’t think they could have done it in the same way, to the same enlightened level, etc. The truer the religion, the greater the result will be, every time.
Parents must suspend the expectation of reciprocity.
The apprentice must at first become a servant to the rules. Apprenticeship means heat and pressure. It’s purpose is to direct you into a single path. The master used to be a student of dogma and rules but now he is in charge of the dogma and responsible for maintaining it and adjusting it as necessary. The master used to be a slave of the rules, and became a master of the spirit. The master is able to see the principles behind the rules.
Principles behind the 10 Commandments:
- “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). This is about focusing on the highest goal.
- “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4). This is about not confusing images of the goal with the goal itself.
- “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). This means it’s wrong to claim inspiration from God while knowingly committing wrongful acts.
- “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This means that it is necessary to leave time to consider what is necessary and sacred.
- “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). This means to maintain the family and to give parents the respect they deserve for all the sacrifices they make.
- “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). This protects against murder and against generational feuding in the community.
- “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). This is about the importance of the marriage vow because the stability of the family is of paramount importance.
- “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). This allows hard-working honest people to work and expect to enjoy the fruits of their labors without others taking it, making civil society possible.
- “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). This maintains the integrity of the law and prevents the law from being used as a weapon.
- “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). This is a reminder that envy and the destructive force it breeds.
When you submit to rules as a society unity will emerge from concentrating on those goals.
The set of rules are designed to take you to the highest ideal as in the case when Jesus said of all the commandments, that the great commandments are to love God with all and your neighbor as yourself.
Christ is a representation of the mastery of dogma and the emergence of spirit.
Spirit is the creative force that gives rise to what becomes dogma with time.
An apprenticeship ends with a masterpiece demonstrating that not only does the apprentice know all the rules but he also knows how to create.
When dogma or commandments are usurped by people to wield power over others, that’s when the prophets have to get involved and tell them to stop; that’s the story (history) of the Old Testament.
Clean is not enough, we need beauty. If you make one thing in your life beautiful you have then established a relationship with beauty and you can expand out from there.
Studying art and the humanities is to familiarize yourself with the collective wisdom of humanity. People have been working out how to live for a long time and it is wise to take them as a guide.
Note – it is painfully obvious how social sciences reject historical wisdom. Parenting, government, marriage, when we try to solve these problems only by ‘science’, we both take the slow route to truth (if we get there at all), and unnecessarily subject ourselves to much failure. I think the powers that be hesitate to allow for traditional wisdom in these studies because they don’t like the real solutions. Oh, you say, but its science, we have no room in science for wisdom and tradition! But wait a minute – why do your so called experts tout theories that don’t work? Because they aren’t well rounded. The ‘expert’ sees such a small part that he cannot understand reality. The classic example is communism: sounds peachy, but doesn’t work. Much more could be said about including history as a form of science, and approaching education in general in a more holistic way than such a segregated way.
You will treat the future more preciously and waste less time when you’re versed in the arts. You’ll become a deeper thinker and your speech will be more precise and worth listening to. You will become more your own person and become less involved with (tempted by) peer pressure.
Find a piece of art you appreciate and buy it. It is a window into the transcendent and you need that in your life. A connection to the transcendent is what will keep you from failing when it gets hard. Establish a connection to what is beyond you like how a man overboard at seas needs a life preserver.
Art is not an option or a luxury. It is the bedrock of culture and how we unite ourselves as a society. Man shall not live by bread alone. We live by art, literature and beauty. We cannot live without some connection to the divine because life is short and tragic, and beauty is divine. Beauty triggers gratitude when we are otherwise prone to resentment.
Adults who trained themselves to work hard and focus on their work, who think they always have more work to do need to be careful and take time out for family fun; to focus wholeheartedly on family and enjoy those experiences without thinking of work and schedules.
Efficiency demands blindness, sacrificing the present for the future. Great poets strive to remind us that we must live (at least in part) in the present.
See William Blake’s poem: Proverbs of Hell by William Blake – Poems | Academy of American Poets: “The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God. Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps…”
See Wordsworth’s poem Ode: Intimations of Immortality from… | Poetry Foundation: The things which I had seen I can now see no more… Oh evil day… With joy I hear… He who mocks an infant’s faith…
The present reveals the mystery of being, all working together to reveal it.
Poetry restores us from the narrow pragmatic vision.
Vast collections of works of art are absurd – one great piece of art is enough to have its own shrine, its own building.
Note – Though of necessity we do often make museum collections… Perhaps a great situation would be if we made our whole society beautiful, with art spread out but in more places, rather than confining the art to one place.
Artists take the unknown and transform it into an image. They live on the edge transforming chaos into order. Artists are often starving, desperate, and the hunger drives their work. You are very creative when you dream. It is half chaos, half understood. Artists doing something new don’t fully understand what they’re doing. They wrestle with problems they don’t understand. When successful they make the world more understandable.
Great art is enshrined, and people make pilgrimages to see it from all over the world, as though it were a (moral) duty. When great art is damaged, the news spreads around the world, and everyone feels terror, like the world as we know it won’t be able to continue as it was.
When researchers put red paint on a Wilderbeast to distinguish it from the others, it was the first taken out by lions. If you stick your head out, the sword will come. Creative endeavors are high risk. The probability of return is low but the chance of high return is there. Are we helpless prey animals hiding from attackers or are we human beings?
It’s easy to lose our connection to the transcendent and thankfully there are geniuses to reconnect us, to teach us. (Note – not just genius, but prophets, etc. too. A prophet is more than just ‘spiritual genius’, it’s actual communication with God (the Being), which the prophet then relays.)
Beauty leads you back to what you have lost. As Jesus put it thus, ‘unless you become as little children you cannot inherit heaven.’ Beauty straightens your aim and shows you which things are of lesser and greater value. Beauty is one of the greatest things that makes life worth living.
Frequently people don’t so much repress difficult things from their past but they just refuse to think them through.
Repent for missing the mark in the past and acquire now what you should have acquired then.
Note – that is a powerful truth.
An event that means one thing one day could mean something quite different another. We must not always view things as we did when we were children.
People typically pick up the pieces and move on within about a year after a relationship ends.
See book “The Terror that Comes in the Night” by David Huffer. About some kind of condition where people are bothered in the night and think they are abducted by aliens etc. (As I recall Peterson says the book also goes into people having physical disturbances from psychological trauma.)
See book “Ordinary Men,” talks about how normal German police officers turned into brutal torturers.
When people come to terms with reality, particularly the difficult parts of reality, they become people who make decisions rather than people to whom things just happen.
There are cases of what is called Freudian hysterics where people act out seizures which appear quite real, but are actually in their control.
People who compartmentalize, who take parts of reality and just put them somewhere else and don’t really consider them as important or real, these people are easily hypnotized and can have serious problems with hysteria which can lead to physiological problems. When people are too romantic and theatrical and they want to minimize the evil in the world and the seriousness of the world, they don’t have as much control over themselves.
One client who came to terms with past trauma and came to terms with how people can really be malicious was able to overcome night convulsions which were regular and messing up his life.
Note: Peterson is basically but not explicitly saying if people don’t know that other people are capable of real harm, of real maliciousness, when they experience this it can deeply traumatize them, so they must be prepared for the reality of encountering such evil.
When people tell their life story in detail it can help them get over mentally ill tendencies they may have developed in response to traumas they experienced from bullying etc.
People who are bullied often don’t know that they can confront the bully. They can confront the bully head-on to demand they stop, they can approach administrators to address the issue, or have them charged for libel, etc.
Our conscience lets us know when we’ve done something wrong. We aren’t our own people who decide how we feel and what we do, we are accountable. Even the most evil have to work to find justification for their acts. If we don’t hold ourselves to a standard of integrity other people will know. We know the people who have done well deserve reward. There are natural inevitable judgments we all make. Without free agency and responsibility we can’t live a good life because we have to choose to align ourselves with nature.
(Note- This commentary on innate conscience is very good. He addresses what I would call natural law. This also helps us combat the false ideas of “not being judgemental”. Sure we want to have mercy, but this generation has forgotten justice and law. It has forgotten that there is such a thing as good and evil, and that humans aren’t just animals, but are created in the image of God with the spirit of God (or light of Christ, aka conscience) as an innate part of their eternal souls, which warns people of wrong doing until they crush that light by repeated intentional violations of it over time.)
We value stories with moral lessons.
Note – at least we should, and could if we revived that sort of thing. We could find the joys in true learning but that is being phased out by the powers that be. There is a bazar trend these days to reject moral lessons in literature. Educators contend, ‘we want them to be reading, we don’t care what they’re reading!’ This of course is a fatal flaw. We might as well raise up our kids in a Nazi school if we don’t care about the content they use to learn (the Nazis were very well organized and had some great teaching methods, they just taught the wrong thing). Gone are the days of the McGuffy reader, where youths were taught to read with moral stories which taught them manners and dignity. I remember being at a youth assembly for elementary students where an author of very goofy kids books was giving a talk. He recounted that at his first conference about his books, an old man marched up to him, waved his finger in the authors face, and rebuked the author for not writing kids books with moral lessons in them. Sadly, the whole audience laughed when the author told this story, but I knew better. This author was haunted by the memory of this sage, and knew deep down that the old man was right, this is why he continued to tell the story of it in an attempt to excuse himself and turn it into a laughing matter. For kids to read whatever they wish is akin to letting them go to bed when they wish, to eat what they wish, to have free reign on electronics, etc. Kids need direction!
God is who brings order out of chaos. The Earth was without form and void, meaning a chaotic desert. (Note- or meaning in a liquid water state, which has no definite form. Several scriptures and cutting edge science attest this.)
God uses words to solve the problem – he says things and names things.
God created man and woman equally.
When God created humans it was good (note- unlike the radical environmentalists or evolutionists claim, who would rather see most of us dead).
The creation was inherently good; when we create it is an act of faith.
God is not a casual granter of wishes; you have to give up everything first. To ask, seek and knock is to gather up everything that’s left unfinished and take care of it now. An unsolved problem doesn’t just sit there it grows new heads like a Hydra. It’s not easy to face the horrors of life, to repent of your wrongs, but the alternative is even worse.
It is our destiny to transform chaos into order. If our past has not been organized, if your map isn’t well made, we won’t be able to avoid that danger in the future. You must have the faith to let die what must die from our old maps of meaning and adopt wiser ones. We are our assumptions.
Married people have to date regularly if they are to have romance. Being romantic is a skill.
You’re going to be together for a long time so put in the time to make it right.
Two people in love become better than they were alone, but that vision can fade away.
You must tell your partner what pleases and displeases you or your partner will get it wrong, then you might blame them for that even though there are many possibilities of what you could like, and they’re trying to guess.
Trust between two people who are not naive is a form of courage.
(Note – so beware perpetual childhood if you’re ready to be courageous, and trust that it pays to be courageous. Make that family. And choose someone who is wise and righteous, not just pretty and fun. And you better do some growing up yourself so such a person will be interested in you. Another element of trust between people who are not naive means picking friends who are the best for you, not just friends who are entertaining or cool. It’s ok to be entertaining and cool if you (or they) don’t trade that for righteous moral standards and good habits. It’s not easy to be around excellent people, they are on the lookout for frauds, they demand your best. It’s the easy friends that you want to look out for, the ones who only require a drink or a dollar before they’ll attach themselves to you, so are they really interested in you for you? Even if they are, beware the company of those who will bring you down rather than up! That sounds harsh, but its the least harsh of the two options. Better to be selective about friends now and set yourself up for success in life and the ability to help many people as you tap into your full potential, than to “help” a lost youth by spending all your time with them, and both of you drown in what you could have been . It’s in everyone’s best interest if you make yourself as strong and good as you can. Remember Joseph Smith taught that a righteous soul will not be content with blessing a few close associates, but wishes to bless the whole world. And such a person can. A key message of The Book of Mormon is that one person really can make a major difference. Peterson expounds on this from additional angles in another chapter.))
Two minds are better than one when it comes to addressing life’s difficult and complex problems. If you are on your own you are inevitably lopsided.
(Note – the Ensign did a story on my wife and I, our approach and experience with this which you can read here: A Love Greater than Terminal Illness (churchofjesuschrist.org))
Romance requires trust and the deeper the trust the more possibility for romance. The first part of trust is truth because you can’t have confidence in yourself or others if there is lying. At some point in your life you’re going to make a big mistake and you’re going to need someone to talk to about it, and you can if you’ve established that honesty.
There’s a marriage tradition where a lighted candle is held together by the couple up high. This shows that the two of them are creating and accessing something beyond themselves.
Christmas evergreens are trees that never die throughout the year; they are a symbol of the tree of Life.
The Christmas tree is lit with candles and the holiday is at the darkest time of the year, symbolizing the resurrection, Life coming from death, and remaining forever. (The light emerging from the darkness, triumphant over all.)
The marriage vow to stay together for life is a threat. It’s a public declaration “I’m not going to leave you and you’re not going to leave me.” We are shackled together like two angry cats at the bottom of the barrel with the lid on, there is no escape. If you have an escape route, if there’s a way out you won’t be able to muster the heat needed to solve the problems, to get along. No one simply gets along. Life is often mundane and difficult, you have to face that together. Even if you succeed admirably in your marriage they’re still going to be brutal times. You have to figure it out so you don’t have your hands around each other’s throats for 60 years.
Do you really want to keep asking yourself for the rest of your life if you made the right choice and who to marry? Most likely you did not when you consider how many people are in the world. At least 100 million of those people could have married you.
Slavery isn’t good for the tyrant or the slave. The slave is miserable and tries to get back at the tyrant. The tyrant is cursed by the disobedience of the slaves who are disgruntled, and there’s nothing honorable about being a tyrant and constantly lashing out in anger; this isn’t what people want.
Negotiation is the alternative to slavery and tyranny. Negotiating fighting it out can be awful but it is the least worst of the three options.
When there is an issue brought up don’t say ‘I don’t know’ because this is another way of saying ‘I don’t care, you figure it out, you do the work.’ Put forth some solution or other even if it’s not very good.
If you can get past tears you can have a real conversation.
Do not confuse nice with good.
For all you know you’re fighting the spirit of your abused grandmother in your partner, because effects of that can be passed on generationally. From a very young age children pick up on things and it can stick with them for life.
Hope can help you get through a difficult negotiation but hope is not enough. You need desperation too, that’s why the marriage vow includes ‘till death do you part.’ You are stuck with each other if you are serious, and if you are not serious you are still a child.
Note – It’s a good point that an adult’s refusal to marry is the key indicator of childishness. Also note that a temple marriage takes a step further and says ‘you are chained to this person even after death,’ all the more motivation to get it right and maintain it.
In a typical lifelong marriage you’re together for more than 60 years, that’s longer than Moses spent (40 years) wandering in the desert looking for the promised land, and you’ll have plenty of problems in that time.
Note – that is hilarious!
If you leave a marriage that failure will haunt you and continue to haunt you in your next marriage
If you’re willing to negotiate you can have the prize of a marriage that works, an exceptional achievement.
Then you have a solid reliable playful home into which you can bring kids, another great achievement. This leads to the real possibility of relationships of the highest quality. Then you’ll have grandchildren so that you are surrounded by new life when yours begins to slip away. Miss family life at your peril!
In our culture we live as though we were going to die at 30. Many of our 30-year-olds say they don’t want children. We lied to young women about what they’re most going to want in life, because that’s children. It’s a lie to say that career is what brings the most satisfaction in life; most people don’t even have careers, they have a series of jobs. Childlessness is a pathway to misery. 30% of couples experience difficulty becoming pregnant so don’t risk it and wait until you’re at the edge of fertility age to begin trying.
If your marriage is stagnant it’s a mistaken idea that a new romance with someone else will fix your problem.
If you’re 50 and there’s some 24 year old lady threatening to break up your marriage (by an affair or tempting a divorce (note – surely you could call such a calculation another type of affair)), what are you thinking? She must have a personality disorder to be attracted to you. And she doesn’t care if she destroys a marriage. This means she doesn’t care about long-term relationships and that’s not going to work out well for you. If you have an affair it’s just about fun, and if that affair ever turns into a permanent relationship, then you’re going to get all the problems with it that used to be in your other permanent relationship (and many more).
When it comes to affairs do you really want to deal with all those lies, all those lawsuits, all those broken hearts of your wife and children, all of those things make you truly wish you were dead. An affair is about your spouse taking on all the real life, all the difficulty, and someone else just having fun, not shouldering any responsibility, and getting attention you should be giving to the person who’s going through something hard with you. You owe primary allegiance to your children.
If you’re dating someone and you choose to move in together rather than get married you’re saying to each other “you’ll do for now… and you must feel that same way about me otherwise we would get married. We’re going to reserve the right to swap each other out for someone else at any given time.” The breakup rate of people who are living together unmarried (cohabitating) is statistically much higher than the rate of married people who divorce. Even if you do end up marrying the person you cohabited with, you are statistically much more likely to divorce that person than if you never cohabitated with them first. The idea of ‘trying each other out’ before permanency sounds enticing but doesn’t work. Cohabitation is living together without the ceremony & social announcements of permanence, and it doesn’t make marriage more robust than if you were to just get married in the first place.
Note – it’s like communism – it might sound nice but it doesn’t work. If I hear “testing our sexual chemistry” one more time…! You know ultimately people who have forgotten God will never understand how to do marriage right. God instituted marriage in his infinite wisdom. People seldom discover that wisdom nor do they know the human program as well as God does, and they get it wrong all the time, in just about every way a person can get something wrong.
Children do much worse in single parent families than in married families.
Don’t keep spending ‘5-year chances’ on new people; you’re getting older, the chances you have for life, for family, for children start expiring before you know it.
Your options decrease as you wait, not increase.
(Note – sooner or later (hopefully sooner than later) you have to make the plunge, you have to take the step of faith, you have to pull the trigger and let it fly. You’ve got to launch and never turn back. You’ve got to take your collected wisdom (hopefully you’ve collected some from society rather than relying on just your own) and make a claim, take a stance, and never back down from it. Some are confused about such a monumental decision (marriage) being made in relative youth (you begin to run out of fertile years sooner than later). I’m sure more and more people just throw in the towel altogether with both childbearing and marriage in dismay on this account. Here is a key to all of this: the doctrine of premortality. You’ve collected enough experience from that realm as well as from your time in this one to be able to affirmatively step out into the unknown (that’s what every marriage is). You’re ready for the next step in the journey, the time is now! Then you get to have the adventure of a lifetime (some have called it the adventure of 1000 lifetimes due to the exponential posterity that can come from marriage). You get to explore together. You get to not be alone for God’s sake! That’s all you need. Now go forward, and upward forever! Some fuss about particulars and sacrifices that always have to be made in marriage, accommodations, imperfections, etc. But these people would do well to remember the doctrine of the resurrection, the doctrine of heaven, the doctrine that this life is a mission, not a makeover. Let’s get ‘er done, let’s build the kingdom, and let’s not wait around about it!
Young people are better at meeting someone and making a lifelong friendship with them than older people are.
When you become wise in family life with a stable happy marriage, that wisdom spills over into your professional life etc. and you become a valued counselor.
When it comes to improving a marriage it’s not so much about the big vacations, it’s about the little things of the day that you do over and over that constitute a big chunk of your life. Ask each other how you want certain times of the day to be structured.
It’s not so much about whether or not you fight, it’s about whether or not you make peace. Problems are inevitable but negotiating these things is key to sanity. So talk about everything. Strife is the default position so thank God when you have peace.
Note – This is also the message of famous family researcher John Gottman, that repairing is key, and having friendship (health in the marriage in general when not arguing) is key to bouncing back.
People keep each other sane. A typical person will be perhaps half insane and will marry someone who is hopefully insane in different areas than, so they help each other. Differences in personality cause short-term difficulty but in the long run actually help you attain balance.
Two imperfect people come together and make one perfect person. This is ideal for children because they can now have a perfect role model.
If you assume there’s a perfect person for you to marry, you’re in love with the idea of it more than even the person you meet whom you think meets this. No one out there is perfect and if they were they wouldn’t be interested in you. Unless you’re deceiving someone you shouldn’t be ending up with someone better than you. Pairing up with someone who is as damaged as you are is terrifying but it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire, and it’s in the fire that you can be refined. The two of you can be transformed into a reasonable person.
Romance is play and prerequisites to play are peace and negotiation. In the marriage contract you agree to create romance for each other. Rather than having an affair with someone else, have one with your spouse. Create such a situation you would envision.
Note – this isn’t to say fantasize about an affair, it’s to say channel your feelings in a positive direction and seek to have a good marriage.
Marital intimacy for strong families is typically twice a week. Twice is better than once, and once is better than none. When it’s at none there is going to be an affair either physically or emotionally. Normal human beings have some intimacy needs.
Single people put in the work to get romance because they are lonely. You have to make space in your life for dating. You have to plan, use your imagination and spend money. When you get married it’s a relief that you’re done kissing frogs to find the prince, but there’s plenty you have to upkeep in marriage for the romance to remain.
Life is very busy so you can’t expect spontaneity in romance and intimacy, it’s better to have a plan of when you will have your marital time. That may make it seem like a chore but it’s the most realistic approach to success in marriage. Even when you were dating spontaneous was rare, so how is it going to be when even busier as a married couple? Absolutely necessities take priority over preferences so you have to make time for it. Help yourself prevent falling into a bad situation like an affair by maintaining your marriage in a way that you like it.
Note – of course life isn’t all about getting what you want, but consider the higher values, that you’re working toward the life missions, and have a reasonable amount of self-care and marriage-care built into that.
Maintain your marital vows so you are desperate enough to negotiate honestly.
Don’t let your partner brush you off and refuse to communicate. Don’t be a tyrant and don’t be a slave. Talk to your spouse about the deep things of your life because who else are you going to tell? Rough times are always on their way so you better have something good in place so the rough times don’t break you.
The investigation into possibility is the most important of all investigations.
(Real) science is about discovering truth to make the world a better place.
Note- there is a trend in modern science to deny that there is such a thing as truth; truly the demise of real science.
Things which have no story to go with them are not interesting to most people. We are inherently social beings, not objective. Stories are gripping and remembered. Kids want to hear the stories night after night, perhaps even the same one, and this is indicative of how important they are.
Pinocchio’s whale turning into a dragon is the motif of chaos exploring the unknown, the challenge that could lead to the reward.
If you were neglected first realize that you didn’t deserve that, second give to others what wasn’t given to you.
We sacrifice doing hard things now so we can have a good future. We let go of the partying and easy hours.
In sleeping beauty the wicked lady locks the kid in the tower and is like the parent who refuses to let him leave home.
The evil lady turns into a dragon and people don’t have a problem with that. It seems natural. That’s because chaos gets out of hand. Dangerous situations we can handle suddenly turn themselves into dangers we cannot handle.
Parents should let their kids know there’s always something dangerous lurking in the dark but that it’s their job to confront that.
We explore because life is not as good as it could be.
The evil queen represents the harsh element of the natural world.
In Sleeping Beauty they finally get their child they’ve been waiting for, the new dawn is here, everything is great, but they fail to invite some negative aspect in an attempt to shield their daughter from the negative in the world, they did this knowingly and it was a bad move. The evil queen shows up even if it’s not invited, but angry if uninvited. She will show up either way so you may as well invite it and take it head on and it won’t be as bad.
The lady falls asleep at age 16 because she still doesn’t want to face reality. Sheltered from harsh realities of life by the time they reach the young adult age they’ll be stunned by reality, knocked unconscious. If you over protect your kids you become the very thing from which you were trying to shelter them. If you deprive them of necessary young life adventures you weaken their character. You become the witch that devours their autonomous consciousness.
Exploration, courage and fortitude are what awakened sleeping beauty and that is represented by the prince.
Beauty has a price, you have to be where you have to look out for the sharks for the riptides.
Some people who are okay with the harsh realities of life refuse to eat meat. Animals are sentient beings and we should be doing the least harm to them we can but they should not be confused with humans. Excessive sentimentality is a mental illness.
Note – this is true, but many others also refrain from meats for health reasons and spiritual reasons. But it should be known that these things are available for us as needed as an acceptable part of life when needed.
When you’re aware of life’s harsh realities you become tougher, more able to cope, and less prone to use drugs to avoid life. You need to be tough, hard and harsh when you’re too sentimental. These adjectives often get a bad rap but they’re just what you need when you’re so sentimental that you can’t handle life.
Peterson believes that dreams deliver truths. He disagrees with Freud that dreams are hidden messages and says that dreams are the first cognitive step of turning chaos of the unknown into order.
Show yourself that you can face the worst, then you have that to remember when you encounter difficulty.
Note – this is part of why it is important to do intense physical exercise regularly. Of course, we also need to voluntarily do intense spiritual, mental and social exercises.
Become acquainted with both the wise benevolent ruler and the tyrannical ruler so that you can know how to react when you encounter either. If the map you are using misses a piece of the world you’re going to be stunned when you encounter that piece.
When you have constant genuine dialogue with all different kinds of people so that you can have a well made thorough map.
Liberals are attracted to new ideas and it’s true that sometimes solutions need to be new to solve current problems. These people tend to not be very orderly because in order to encounter new ideas you have to be able to cope with temporary chaos.
The conservative does not like new ideas; he’s less interested in the possibilities and more concerned about what could go wrong. Just because a solution fixes one problem does not mean it will not generate others. Conservatives are necessary for keeping things working and liberals are necessary for fixing things. It’s no easy task to tell when something needs to be preserved and when something needs to be transformed. That’s why we have politics and dialogue rather than war tyranny and submission. It is necessary for us to argue strongly so we can correctly determine when and when not to change something.
Note – This is not to say that today’s breed of liberalism is needed. In fact, though they use the title liberal, it’s often something quite different, something quite ideological, something agenda driven. In every politician we don’t just want someone who is only sensitive to one side, but who is sensitive to the whole. This doesn’t mean they compromise, it means that their overall political philosophy takes into account the whole gambit of the complexities of society.
The liberal tends to see the world as a tyrant suppressing a goddess, and this is useful when culture has become tyrannical. The conservative tends to see the world as being wisely ruled in serving order and predictability, to tame the evil Queen of nature, of disorder and chaos. This too is necessary. No matter how beautiful the natural world, we must always remember that it is conspiring to starve sicken and kill us. To have a realistic view you have to see from both sides. Mere order is insufficient and what worked before will not necessarily work now. We must also have gratitude for the institutions in place which shield us from terrors of nature. It’s hard to see what we are blinded to with our personalities, and for this reason we must continue to listen to people who are different than us.
Note – I would say principles remain the same, we may just need creative ways of applying them. There are eternal laws of nature which when discovered and applied, bring peace. The conservative values those discovered principles and applies them in new situations. The liberal throws out the principles, and shoots from the hip. Use what terms you wish, the underlying truth is that things work when God’s laws are applied, but we also need creativity/ingenuity as we apply them.
The island is culture which is the authoritarian tyrant and wise King.
The dragon is chaos and opportunity.
The hero is battling with his twin in the middle of the island. The two brothers are the hero and the adversary. The two forces. We must contend with these forces if we are not to be deceived and become arrogant and contemptible.
Nature is the evil queen and the benevolent mother.
You have to bargain with nature while you keep the tyrant at bay.
If you don’t know that the treasure is guarded by a dragon, or that nature can turn its teeth on you in an instant, or that the peaceful society you live in is constantly under threat of tyranny, or that within yourself you contain the adversary that wishes all of those bad things to come true, then you are blind and dangerous. A wise political philosophy has to take all these different aspects into account.
The prophet-swallowing whale is dangerous, but also grants rebirth.
Sometimes we harm the planet and we have to be aware of that, but we also know it is necessary and okay to do so to accommodate life.
Beware that you do not give positions based on power favors, but based on competence.
Note – in Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand there’s a character who is the brother of a great successful industrialist, and this character approaches his successful brother asking for a job just because he is his brother. The industrialist says he will give his needy brother money, but he won’t give him a job because it would be dishonest and terrible to pretend like he’s competent when his brother is really just a beggar. The great man is willing to give money to the beggar, but not willing to lie about who the beggar is. What a great lesson! Of course the beggar brother isn’t willing to take a lowly position for which he qualifies, he isn’t willing to work his way up like his successful brother did…
We have a president from either political party that typically rotates of who holds office which more or less allows everyone’s needs to be heard within a 10-year period.
Note – this would be fairly accurate were it not for the deception and political machinations, the corruption, the saying one thing and meaning and doing another. Both parties in America are corrupt, but the “Democratic Party” of the left has concentrated much more corruption, and appeals to the ‘new ways,’ the ‘throw out old principles’ way, the ‘get it quick utopia theory’ way.
The question is not ‘why is someone resentful’, the question is ‘why is not everyone resentful?’
When something really bad happens to you, you should ask ‘why me,’ and so much so that you should search your past to see if there are some bad choices you were making that could have contributed to that event. But don’t ask ‘why me’ in the victim sense, wishing that ill upon someone else. There is some true randomness about bad things that happen.
Note – it is true that all people good and evil alike must suffer the fallen nature of this world and this fallen society. Not until we entirely escape Babylon and transcend to a higher sphere (make this sphere into a higher one) will we be immune to these things. But it is also true that God can intervene to bless and deliver the righteous, as well as to curse and abandon the wicked.
It is deceptive if you don’t investigate the misdeeds of your child. We think this or other lies will give us a more peaceful present, but it destroys the future. People can be arrogant thinking they deserve a break now, justifying their lies now, but such brings disaster.
Truth creates, but not just anything, it creates the good.
The liar tries to alter reality, tries to trade the truth for his own creation. He thinks he can alter the world for his sake and get away with it. (Note – in scripture we call it making a law unto himself) The liar lives in a different world than everyone else, and makes himself therefore weaker. The lair thinks he is smarter than everyone else, that no one else will notice that he is cheating the system, including God not noticing, being smarter than God.
As the liar gets away with a few lies, he becomes more arrogant and makes bigger lies, preparing the way for a big fall.
The liar thinks that life has been altered as though that lie is somehow real and that that lie will stand, but truth exposes lies.
Resentful people have a warped sense of justice. They think they can do what they want because they’ve been mistreated. They now become the very people who mistreat others. If you’ve been mistreated, you should all the more seek to do the opposite.
The nihilistic attitude is a son of pride. We shouldn’t damn existence itself.
Children who don’t learn how to give and take by age 3 won’t make friends.
Taking the easy road is the self imposed curse. Take the hard road and people will respect you.
Adam and Eve learn to see and they learn good and evil at the same time. You can’t know how to hurt someone until you’ve been hurt yourself. You become capable of good and evil. Adam blames the woman, doesn’t take personal accountability for choosing to eat the fruit, and blames God for giving him the woman.
Note – Latter-day Saints revere Adam and Eve as noble beings both pre-mortally, mortally, and post-mortally. But they were in fact human, and did, as is apparent by the text, manifest some human tendencies. But it is also true that we don’t have a full account of the scenario.
Don’t think that you can stand by quietly to your tyrannical boss. Don’t think you can hide from your responsibility. You know your flaws, there’s no excuse.
Corruption distorts your sense of right and wrong, your ability to be guided in life. This should scare you enough to be very careful to ensure there’s no corruption in your life.
You need your instinct. When you’ve set yourself up with deceit, you can rely on nothing but luck, your inner compass is gone.
The unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, this means you’ve lied so much that you no longer have access to the divine in yourself.
(Note – no more compass, which means you’ve rejected God and his help, you don’t want forgiveness, you want it your way.)
Conscience is sharing moral knowledge with the self.
(Note – conscience a little more than that, it’s God, The Holy Ghost, the light of Christ, the heritage in each of us as literal children of, offspring of God. That light was given to you to help you succeed in life, squash it as your eternal peril.)
Drug use develops a living monster in the user’s psyche. That monster wants one thing and it comes armed with an entire philosophy of why that one thing should be more important than anything else. When you’re recovering, something goes wrong in your life and you say ‘to hell with it’ and use the drug. Then you experience a dopamine hit. Then the part of you that says ‘to hell with it’ grows more powerful than the parts of the psyche that motivate refusal to use the drug. ‘To hell with it’ means ‘this is worth sacrificing anything for.’ That means ‘who cares about my life, it’s not worth anything anyway.’ It means ‘I don’t care if I have to lie to those who love me because what difference does it make anyway, what I want is the drug.’ It’s not easy to come back from that. When you get away with it, the reward for this substance abuse is high (and sets you up for a big inevitable fall).
Believing that what you know is sufficient and refusing to learn more when you know you really should – this is a sin of omission.
The alternative to arrogance is that there’s enough good in society and yourself to justify existence. This is faith in yourself, faith in your fellow man, and faith in the structure of existence itself. It is the belief that there is enough good in you to oppose the forces that keep you from being the best you can be.
When you become bitter you create and live in hell.
When we stop warping reality by lies, when we stop being angry and resentful, the sky is the limit to how awesome of a society we could have. The cruelty of nature & the cruelty of society doesn’t have to overcome us.
Humans are able to transcend their suffering.
Nobility is a word rarely used now.
Beginning to stop knowingly lying is a major step in the right direction. If you can’t say the truth, begin by not saying the false.
Optimism is more reliable than pessimism. Caregivers of the terminally ill and dying are able to do that repeatedly without sinking into depression because they know they’re doing something good, something to help a bad situation be a little better.
Voyaging into the darkness reveals a light. It is a surprise and a relief. You can’t properly appreciate life until you’ve seen the hard side. Why do we look into the darkness, why do we watch movies with bad guys? It’s not just thrilling, it’s part of our education about good versus evil.
If you encounter an evil person they have power over you to the extent that you do not comprehend them.
Note – there is a lot of truth to this; if you have knowledge you can dispel the falsehoods of someone who claims false knowledge and you can do it boldly. This is true for both intellectual claims and social moral claims.
Goethe is to drama what Shakespeare is to English.
When you avoid doing things there’s two problems:1. you are lazy 2. you are bad.
There is an evil spirit; we ask ourselves when we do something particularly bad, ‘I don’t know what came over me!’
Note – there’s also a spirit of good wherein you can do things that are even better than you. There is both supernatural evil and supernatural good. Peter Kreeft in “Culture War” has a great message about this.
The burdens of life can become so great that even God himself loses faith. We have Jesus on the cross saying, “my God why hast thou forsaken me?” so if God goes through that, you can be sure that we will too.
Note this is a big point, and hearkens to the truth that the path to godhood involves being a mortal, and all the hardship that comes with that. As Lorenzo Snow taught, “As God is man may become, and as man is God once was.” We could say that the pathway to Godhood involves this feeling of being forsaken (which could be called a loss of faith in a way though certainly not entirely), but then in the fully exalted perfected state the Father is in and which the Son entered upon his resurrection, that such is complete. We do also see that God is one who weeps over his creations, apparently its not all roses and daisies there. Being a king has its hard parts, not the least of which is seeing the suffering of one’s children.
Many people are so overwhelmed by suffering that they refuse to have children. Soon they’ll think it’s merciful to kill living people, like Hitler who killed the mentally ill and the old. Where does it stop? The devil’s teaching is that life is so bad it would be better if it didn’t exist at all.
Note – it takes faith to be a parent, to choose life for yourself and your could-be posterity, who await in heaven hoping that you’ll make the right choices.
People have been managing the difficulties of life for a long time; that is our heritage, we come from the people who successfully dealt with it.
A dying person wants people to go on with their lives after a reasonable time of mourning; they don’t want their death to be a cause of more wreckage, more halting of people’s lives. Strength in the face of death is better for the dying and the living. Someone has to step in and exercise the terrible authority to not let death of a person ruin everything. We are morally obliged to manifest strength in the face of difficulty. The devastated people need someone to lean on. This makes a bad situation much less dreadful. When people in despair see others who rise above the despair they learn that such is possible.
Strength in the face of diversity is the opposite of destructive nihilistic cynicism.
Note – even when done imperfectly, it is more noble to attempt to exercise that authority, to make those claims, to influence those lives, to have those children, to enter that marriage, to steer that ship, that to sit back and say, ‘I couldn’t do it imperfectly, so I’ll leave that to someone else.’ Such a stance is cowardly and damning. God doesn’t expect perfection, he expects effort. Only with effort can we grow into perfection, the ultimate goal. We naturally want to hide, to not make a spectacle of our ignorance and flaws, but such hiding only results in the perpetuation and compounding of those flaws, whereas the humble who were willing to stumble forward will go onward to perfection.
Your life is very hard but you’ll meet someone whose life is much harder, and you’ll wonder how they exist. Then there’s someone else with it even harder which makes them feel guilty for thinking that their lot is hard because they know how much worse it can be. Bitterness is just not a good option.
The giving of thanks is the alternative to bitterness.
To have a primary national holiday of giving thanks shows that the people in that land are trying to get themselves right.
Note – this reminds me of a propaganda piece at the time of the covid pandemic where ads said that people were allowed to not be grateful that year. What a way to poison the minds of the people, to turn them into slaves!
Be grateful not because you are naive, but because you want to encourage what is good in the world. It is valiant to remember what you have and what you may still be offered. (Note – few are familiar with the concept of valiance these days, I mean real valiance. Self sacrificing valiance. They’re too concerned about their rights to be bothered with sacrifice.
When you are grateful for others you treat them better.
When you are grateful for society you remember many who went before who went through great pain to give you what you have.
Work to make things better for yourself as though you were someone that you are responsible for helping. Do the same for your family and community.
It is courageous to not be bitter.
At family gatherings there’s happiness for being around people you love, and sorrow for hoping that they would choose something more excellent in life. But despite all of that you come to the conclusion that it is good for you all to be together enjoying a meal.
A parent always sees their child as the fragile little thing it was. That is embedded in their memory. The sorrow of a parent is to know that the child’s fragility will be exploited. Parents both protect their children and push them out into the world. Note – if the parent fails to give the push, the child’s fragility will cause the difficultly of life to entirely overwhelm them.
You love people not only despite their limitations but because of their limitations. It all works together to make them who they are. Note – some have compared that to the beautiful swirls etc. of various gems, which don’t exist in the synthetic ones.