Skip to comments.3 Things I Learned From Attending Jordan Petersonís Sold-out Show In DC
Posted on 06/12/2018 9:50:34 AM PDT by Textide
Renowned psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson took the stage at the sold-out Warner Theater in Washington DC Friday night. The crowd got on its feet and started cheering, ecstatic to hear him speak.
Peterson gained fame after opposing a Canadian bill that criminalized using the wrong pronouns for transgender persons. His notoriety only grew from there after a video of his interview with British broadcaster Cathy Newman went viral. Now, hes got a cult following who call themselves lobsters (in reference to an example in the viral interview) and a best-selling book titled 12 Rules for Life.
That night, Peterson worked through only nine of the twelve rules, drawing from clinical psychology, philosophy, and common sense. Before he started walking through his rules, he talked about what motivated him.
Earlier that day, he and Dave Rubin, a YouTube personality who opened the show and appeared on The Federalist Radio Hour last week, were at the Lincoln Memorial when a young man walked up to them. This mans brother had been going through a divorce when he started watching Peterson lectures online. The advice Peterson gave helped turn his brothers life around. Peterson said these experiences were the highlight of what he did.
Its personal, not political, he said.
Its an important clarification, because most of the coverage of Peterson has been only the latter. Hes either a spokesman for alt-right hatred or the last defense against stifling political correctness. Yet Peterson is a clinical psychologist. According to him, his aim is to help people.
Before attending this event, I had very little knowledge of Peterson and his views. I had seen clips of his famous interview and glanced at his 12 rules, but lacked an understanding of him and his work. Here are three things I learned about Jordan Peterson after attending his show.
Peterson certainly doesnt play the alt-right type by wearing a three-piece navy-blue suit and drinking Perrier. Throughout his lecture, he paced the stage, not goose-stepped, and took frequent pauses in order to word his next thought carefully. This is not the demeanor of a brazen white nationalist.
Neither was his message. He did not blame women or minorities for the problems in his followers lives. Rather, it actually targeted his followers themselves. Peterson asked the crowd repeatedly, If your life is truly miserable, are you actually doing all that you can to make it better? He also has called for people to restrain themselves from violence and focus on managing themselves rather than attempting to manipulate or bully others.
Additionally, his rules called for vulnerability and personal suffering rather than blood and soil. His first rule is probably the best example of this. It states: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. At first glance, one might pounce on this as a command to show the world whos boss. That is not the case. Peterson told the crowd to be open to the wounds of the world, so they can experience its suffering and learn from it. His message does not seek to oppress or dehumanize. Rather, it seeks truth and meaning.
2. Peterson Can Help You Help Yourself, But Not Save You Because Peterson is seeking out truth and meaning, he cant avoid questions of faith. In fact, he calls the propositions on which he bases his rules religious, because theyre about the fundamental reality of life. His propositions are these:
1. Life is tragic.
2. The worlds tragedy is touched with malevolence, because humans often make their suffering worse.
3. In order to contend with this suffering, one must have a noble goal to justify your existence, clear your conscience, and get yourself out of bed.
Most world religions contain the first two premises in some form. Even secular humanism acknowledges that the world is a broken place. Peterson noted that Youre perfectly okay the way you are is the most pessimistic advice you can receive. If this is the best humanity can do, we all will start staring into the abyss very soon. In fact, our society has already done a good deal of that lately.
Petersons third conclusion doesnt meet his prior statement. He claims that hes become an optimist about the human condition because hes such a pessimist about the state of the world. The grandeur of the human spirit is enough to confront the worst pain that we face today, he says.
These rules can repair and improve things like mindset, work ethic, and family life, which are very important things. However, they fall short in addressing the brokenness of the human soul. Thats because, even at our best, we cant follow Petersons 12 rules perfectly. Even if we could, we wouldnt be immune to senseless tragedies like death and illness. Our hurt stretches far deeper than his moral guidelines can reach.
To be fair, I dont think Peterson believes that his 12 rules are the cure-all for the worlds brokenness. However, for his many secular followers, this is the sole semblance of religion they have, so they are going to treat it as such.
3. Peterson Isnt Going Anywhere Any Time Soon
Natalie Wynn, a transgender person, responded to Peterson in a NSFW video, admitting, [People] have this need to have purpose in the face of suffering and like not just complain about patriarchy. Peterson recognizes that it is not enough to stand against bad ideology; people also need a positive belief system.
Peterson engages the common YouTuber in questions of truth and meaning. He acknowledges and fills a gap in society. He doesnt show open disdain for people who havent read Plato, but speaks to his crowds at their level, showing how complex philosophy has the potential to improve ones life.
Peterson also engages with his fame well. He treats it with caution and doesnt revel in his spotlight. During the question and answer, he said he thinks his fame will end in catastrophe at any moment. This mindset gives his message endurance over the fleeting fame that so many viral stars chase. It is unlikely hell burn out like Milo Yiannopolous, an actual provocateur. Petersons tour is only halfway through, and his videos still rack up millions of views all over the Internet.
As I left the theater, I noticed that the woman sitting in the row in front of me wore lobster earrings. As I walked out, I saw a man who had donned a lobster hat, complete with antennae. He waved his red foam claw around and shouted that this was the best show he had ever been to. Petersons message is one focused on finding meaning, not fueling hate. Although its not a saving message, its one well be hearing for a long time.
Juliana Knot is an intern at the Federalist.
I’m a fan of Jordan Peterson. He’s an honest debater who is against the liberalism on college campuses, recognizes that the current PC culture has historically led to Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and is incredibly smart and fast, having been a clinical psychologist and university lecturer for 20+ years.
Unfortunately. I couldn’t make it to see him nearby in DC. Did any of you attend?
I attended that lecture in DC with my son. It was great.
So much to like about the guy. Perhaps my favorite bit (which he has done more than once) involves his response to the transgender pronoun legislation in Canada.
Basically, transgenders want to invent new pronouns and then pass legislation which forces people to use those invented pronouns.
Peterson is a polite,respectful, calm person. He can discuss this sort of madness in a courteous manner. He points out that forcing him to say certain things is wrong. And his conclusion is consistently forceful and notably less polite: "It's NOT going to happen!"
Fantastic. I tried to get a ticket too late.
Anything that night that made you think? His youtube lectures and especially his Biblical Series are challenging to digest in one siting. The man’s mind and mouth move very quickly.
Just call 'em effin' queers and be done with it. TRUTH...it's the new HATE SPEECH.
I like that he puts himself out there. Gets interviewed by the BBC for Christ’s sake! I’ve yet to see him bested in an interview or debate. Fun and important. Not many people like that.
Peterson has amazing, insightful insights. I wish I had been exposed to someone like him when I was young.
It was a great evening to spend with my son.
I’m a believer in Christ and while I don’t know that Jordan is a believer, he is certainly close. He referred to Scripture many times in a supportive way - as a point of reference of truth..
As I raised my son (he’s now 30), I taught him about God and all it meant to live a life that honors Him. Some of this he rejected.
I think what surprised me is that Jordan comes out in largely the same place in regards to living life, but by a different pathway. I think this surprised my son.
Now, that is different than knowing the Savior and having eternal life...
... but for a generation of young men who have little in the way of moral bearings or knowing what a man is, it is a positive thing.
And it certainly never hurts to take a step closer to truth.
Indeed - Peterson rarely talks about politics (although he does mention large social trends, like compelled transgender speech)
The Left attacks him because he is logical, doesn’t trust politicians in handling social/religious matters, and he doesn’t back down
I love this Canadian!
Peterson scrupulously avoids talking about the divinity of Jesus Christ. He often talks about Jungian Archetypes and how they are hard-wired into the human brain. He believes these synch with Christian Morality and spirituality that have developed in the West over the last 2000 years. Is the Bible true? Peterson would say yes, in that it represents lessons, behavior and morality that are part of man's DNA, which will move you towards Truth, fulfillment and avoidance of problems.
His approach to religion has prompted me to take another look, perhaps similarly to your son.
I bought into the ‘fairy tale’ view of our ancestors and their reverence for the Bible in college. The doubt and inability to reconcile Biblical truth with the reasoning of our philosophical forebears has crippled me spiritually. It’s great to hear Peterson’s arguments. They’re not necessarily in favor of Biblical truths, but more that our modern proclivity to toss them off as fairy tales is perhaps in error. That strikes me as wise.
Anyways, I’m glad you got to see him live. Youtube is replete with Peterson videos, thankfully. He’s furthered Christianity and brought many back to religion. A great man.
Hey Im ex-Canadian too LOl. There are a number of us who just dont think Canadian, with all the socialist nonsense that’s why I moved here. My HS teachers didnt like it when I made arguments defending the US when we are all indoctrinated to trash America to make us feel good our country. Believe me, if you have a kid in the Canadian school system, it’s North korea lite..
Missed him in Philadelphia, but was able to see him in Houston with my wife and daughter. Talk was very good. He read the preface to the soon to be released 50th anniversary edition of the Gulag Archipelago. I would rather have heard him talk about is book, but this was very good. David Rubin...not so much. His “F” bombs turned off my wife and daughter. Peterson does not need a warm-up person.
I think he believes there is great truth in the Bible but he just doesn't seem to think God or Jesus actually exist, except in our imagination.
Peterson is the Wood Chipper of logical thought and reason. Hes fascinating to listen to, but he moves faster than my brain can adequately absorb at times. I love the way he deconstructs a liberals condescending BS with ease.
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