Friday, February 09, 2018

your dose of Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson has garnered wide coverage for his views. A Canadian clinical psychologist with an interest in philosophy, history, religion, and many other areas, Peterson is something that we modern North Americans don't take very seriously, but which Western Europeans still do: a public intellectual. Ever since Peterson's hilarious interview with (or rather, against) Cathy Newman (whom Peterson tore to shreds on air—analysis here), the good doctor has made appearances all over the place, including alt-media venues on YouTube. Here are two YouTube videos of (friendlier) exchanges with Jordan Peterson. The first is an interview with Joe Rogan (standup comic, Brazilian jiujitsu practitioner, and former host of "Fear Factor," my favorite "reality" TV show); the second is a sort of round-table discussion with Ben Shapiro (mighty-mite intellectual) and Dave Rubin (talk-show host and all-around media personality who used to work for Cenk Uygur's way-way-leftie "The Young Turks" broadcast before he saw the light and skedaddled).

The Joe Rogan interview:

The round-table talk:

I found the round-table discussion fascinating. At over an hour and forty minutes, it's a good chunk of your time, but if you're interested in things like psychology, culture, politics, and religion, you might think about giving it a listen. Much of what was discussed was right up my alley; I had no clue that Dr. Peterson's interests overlapped to such a degree with my own. I was also surprised to see how much of a Jungian he is. Jung is a hoot to read; his Answer to Job is a hilarious psychotherapeutic dissection of God's mental problems, written in a serious tone to greatly humorous effect. (Or is the humor unintentional?) I'm not usually one for tweedy, effete academic japery, but Answer to Job is definitely a worthwhile read, as well as a great gateway to reading Jung. (I'm not, however, as big a fan of Nietzsche as Peterson apparently is. Nietzsche is arguably the father of postmodernism, a sloppy, un-rigorous school of thought that has polluted the Western academy for far too long. In fact, one of the topics discussed at the round table is whether we're living in an age in which postmodernism's veracity is on trial. I'd say it is on trial, and personally, I found it guilty a few years after finishing grad school, when I was finally able to un-hypnotize myself. Anyway, I'd highly recommend that you sit down and watch the round table. It's worth your while.

ADDENDUM: speaking of PoMo and why I hate it, Dr. John Pepple at I Want a New Left just published a post in which he takes a Korean academic to task for complaining about microaggressions and subtle racism despite the fact that she's in a fairly privileged position. Read Pepple's post here; read the woman's whiny, unreadable, critical-theory-laden bullshit here. (I admit I couldn't finish.) God, these fuckers are insufferable.

ADDENDUM 2: Here are Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson (this time talking on Shapiro's show) going over a definition of postmodernism and then critiquing PoMo:

I didn't agree with Peterson's initial description of postmodernism as "identity politics." I think identity politics could be considered an outgrowth of PoMo thinking, but it's not PoMo's essence. Peterson got closer to the mark when he described postmodernism as forwarding the view that "there are no grand narratives." (I've written several times on this blog that postmodernism rejects so-called "totalizing metanarratives.") Shapiro was also close to the mark when he talked about PoMo's tendency to defang the notion of truth such that, from the PoMo perspective, truth isn't something objective that can be discovered. Keep in mind that claiming "There is no truth" is self-undermining: the claim is itself a truth claim, such that we can reword it with its enthymeme exposed: "It is true that there is no truth." So there's no escaping truth, even when—or especially when—making such a grand truth-claim.

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