Who’s complacent?

by on March 19, 2017 at 12:28 pm in Education, History, Philosophy, Science | Permalink

Not Jordan Peterson:

Raised and toughened in the frigid wastelands of Northern Alberta, Jordan Peterson has flown a hammer-head roll in a carbon-fiber stunt plane, piloted a mahogany racing sailboat around Alcatraz Island, explored an Arizona meteorite crater with a group of astronauts, built a Native American Long-House on the upper floor of his Toronto home, and been inducted into the coastal Pacific Kwakwaka’wakw tribe.

He’s been a dishwasher, gas jockey, bartender, short-order cook, beekeeper, oil derrick bit re-tipper, plywood mill labourer and railway line worker. He’s taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and businessmen, consulted for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Sustainable Development, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an advisor to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, identified thousands of promising entrepreneurs on six different continents, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe.

With his students and colleagues, Dr Peterson has published more than a hundred scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality, and revolutionized the psychology of religion with his now-classic book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. As a Harvard professor, he was nominated for the prestigious Levinson Teaching Prize, and is regarded by his current University of Toronto students as one of three truly life-changing teachers.

…Dr. Peterson’s online self-help program, The Self Authoring Suite, featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, CBC radio, and NPR’s national website, has helped tens of thousands of people resolve the problems of their past and radically improve their future.

Here is more, and for the pointer I thank Adam Kazan.

1 rayward March 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

That’s from Peterson’s own web site. Not a modest man, for sure. The API (Arnold Palmer Invitational) is this weekend and I have enjoyed the reminiscences about Mr. Palmer, who died this past Fall. Besides winning many golf tournaments in the U.S., he made the Open Championship the world event it is today by going over and playing and winning the event at a time when the tournament had lost much of its prestige, he piloted his own jet around the world in record time, he built an enormous business, he co-founded a television network (the Golf Channel), he built one of the largest children’s hospitals in the world, all the while remaining a modest man, a gentleman among the many wealthy and entitled members of the exclusive golf clubs where he earned his fame. A modest man, for sure.

2 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Indeed it’s funny to watch an academic go on a sailboat invite with bay area friends and then say he “piloted a mahogany racing sailboat around Alcatraz Island.”

As a licensed pilot I can also report that there is no such thing as a “hammerhead roll,” though it’s totally possible that Jordan got caught up in the excitement of sitting in the back seat for both a hammerhead and a snap roll.

Complacency ≠ ridiculous self promotion, got it.

3 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm

What is the reason for it being important to find something about this guy to criticize or portray in less flattering light?

4 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Perhaps it’s that pilots don’t enjoy hearing non-pilots say they pilot things.

Anyway I like a lot of what he does, bullshitting tendencies aside.

5 Peter March 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Points deducted for referring to Northern Alberta as a “wasteland”. He should read Robert Macfarlane.

6 Charlie March 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm

No kidding. It’s also where Wolverine originates, so beware.

7 dan1111 March 20, 2017 at 8:17 am

The words are from his personal website, so he almost certainly wrote them himself, based on his own experience of the region.

8 Peter March 20, 2017 at 9:07 am

Yes, I know. That’s why I’m deducting points.

9 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Agree with rayward: Peterson should be MR’s Honorary Prince of Self-Recommendation. Nonetheless I’m glad to see him getting mention here…anybody who thinks the PC left is cute and fuzzy should read up on the amazing free speech wars Peterson has to fight in Canada.

10 Alain March 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Yep, he is fighting the good fight.

PM goodhair will, likely, make a martyr out of him though.

11 Donald Pretari March 19, 2017 at 1:11 pm

He has an interesting reading list posted, which includes one of my favorite authors, Jeffrey Burton Russell. I don’t see him often mentioned.

12 Twisted Stink Pickle March 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Even by your usual standards, this is really inane.

13 George March 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm

He is also fighting the good fight for freedom of speech against the PC/SJW crowd with their “no platforming” mindset.

14 chrisare March 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Am I the only person who docks an academic points for the lack of self awareness shown by still using a middle initial? It works for Samuel L Jackson because it’s fresh among actors. Among academics it’s trite and signals feelings of inferiority: be THE Jordan Peterson

15 Thursday March 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Academics tend to do this all the time, because if you have a relatively ordinary name, someone else will often have the same name. It is helpful in avoiding confusion.

16 chrisare March 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

That would make sense if other academics in the same field had the same name, but that usually isn’t the case.

17 improbable March 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

No, Thursday is right. You do this on your very first paper to minimise the chance of there ever being any confusion. Later you end up drifting into a different field, and find your papers indexed alongside people you never dreamed existed… and with luck are still unique!

18 Thiago Ribeiro March 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm

“works for Samuel L Jackson because it’s fresh among actors.”
What about James T. Kirk?

19 Anon March 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Remember a Jeopardy-style contest where no one got the answer as to what H stood for in ” Jesus H Christ” .

The H was silent.

20 Thiago Ribeiro March 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

?

21 Biologist humor alert! March 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Haploid

22 middyfeek March 20, 2017 at 8:32 am

How about Harry S. Truman?

23 Dan Hanson March 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm

The H stands for Harold. It’s right there in the Lord’s prayer:

“Our Father, who art in heaven. Harold be thy name…”

24 Axa March 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Using the name your parents gave you signals inferiority?

25 Barkley Rosser March 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Are the people who use middle initials worse than the people who use their middle name and then a first initial like I do, J.
Barkley Rosser, Jr. (oh, and add a suffix to their names as well), chrisare?

26 Art Deco March 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

People who use a first initial are worse than even cucks like me!

27 Art Deco March 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

oh who am I kidding, there’s nobody worse than me

28 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Being familiar with you through this site only, you strike me as 100% the type of guy to refer to himself as Initial Middlename Lastname.

29 chrisare March 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm

@Barkley Rosser. Yes. I prefer a whiff of pretension to the complacency of the tired middle initial tradition. I might however be tempted to replace the Jr. with Esq. just to go all in.

30 Barkley Rosser March 19, 2017 at 9:37 pm

I can assure you, chrisare, that nobody matches me for pretentiousness, which is only matched by my complacency, :-).

31 Lanigram March 20, 2017 at 11:51 am

I wish philosopher John Gray used a middle initial. Every time I search for him on Youtube I get a bunch of hits for the preacher John Gray – they are not not even close.

32 Thursday March 19, 2017 at 1:59 pm

His and Christine Brophy’s work on political correctness is really important, because it solves the apparent paradox of liberal purity. Furthermore, his analysis of how Agreeableness/Compassion can turn oppressive and even murderous is also absolutely essential.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_fBYROA7Hk
https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=HcEJr8h_yGM
https://youtu.be/8ABa4RdNPxU? t=1h3m16s

33 Thursday March 19, 2017 at 2:02 pm
34 Ray Lopez March 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

He might flunk TC’s Complacency online test however, as I did, just because he does not work at a salaried position.

No way should I have flunked that test.

35 Borjigid March 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Ray, the test was not pass/fail.

36 Thiago Ribeiro March 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

The only winning move is not to play.

37 Art Deco March 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Shh! Don’t tell anyone.

38 Chip March 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm

It’s quite remarkable to see Peterson surrounded by snarling mobs blowing whistles and pounding drums while he calmly parses the latest science on gender identity or the philosophical history of truth and meaning.

So his unique upbringing and hobbies – rather than being just self-promoting fluff – probably explain why unlike most academics he’s unwilling to submit to the wave of PC totalitarianism sweeping through academic life.

The irony is that Peterson’s life and ideas are the poster child for diversity on mono-cultural university campuses, and yet the diversity cult hates him for it.

39 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm

I respect that he doesn’t give in to demands to use 70 pronouns in class.

But “PC totalitariamisn”? Total nonsense.

Try to have some respect for people. Most of the more absurd expressions are coming from anti-PC people who wants to stir up folks (for example yourself), for example by spreading various memes, half truths and outright lies.

Anyways, if the multiplication of pronouns is too traumatic, the option to just point, or maybe use “you” and “that person” for everyone, are some pretty easy options. Maybe not that traumatic.

40 dear god March 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

He is fighting speech codes at penalty of criminal sanction, you hapless buffoon.

41 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Who is threatening “criminal sanction”?

I thought the issue was that some students want to order him to use newly invented pronouns, and claim that some speech code can back them up to force him to do this. But that he refuses to do so, and now certain groups are relaying the words of some handful of individuals far and wide as though this is representative of the actual situation.

It’s pretty “fake news”, despite the grains of truth.

But if someone manages to get him into court for refusal to take orders from students about which pronouns are to be used when and where (wouldn’t names work?), then obviosuly that would be something to speak out against.

Mountains out of molehills.

42 George March 19, 2017 at 8:53 pm

The university of Toronto sent him letters threatening legal action against him if he does not comply because of the laws in Canada. He could have been jailed for his refusal to use those pronouns because the Canadian law makes his employer the university responsible for his speech. This isn’t making any mountains out of any molehills the legal interpretation of the law is not in doubt by Jordan’s or the university’s attorneys.

43 Troll me March 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm

That was so the university would not be liable, right?

I have not heard anything about the university pressing the matter. Maybe some handful of LGBT activitists and an entire army of anti-new-pronoun people u pin arms about it. (Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. If it’s that big of a deal, how about just use “they” for anyone regardless of gender and use first names of the individual requires additional attention to their individuality.)

44 Chip March 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Bill C-16 is making its way through Canadian parliament. If passed, it would include gender identity and expression in hate speech laws. And because gender identity would be deemed a social construct rather than biological fact, to insist that gender is chromosomal could be a form of hate speech.

Peterson has received two warnings from his university employer. One said, in response to Peterson’s claim that true gender dimorphism is very rare:

“However, in view of these impacts, as well as the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code, we urge you to stop making these remarks.”

To silence true speech, not just free speech, is totalitarian.

45 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Well, if you think that Canadians are so completely retarded as to deem “XX is not XY” as hate speech, then it’s hard to think that there’s any possibility of rational discussion from there.

1 is not 100. 99 is not 0. The possibility to make an absurd arugment does not make it the main description of the reality of a situatoin.

46 Thor March 20, 2017 at 12:35 am

You said “retarded”?

47 Lanigram March 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

I am offended by your use of the term “retarded” – a very hurtful word to describe the neuro-diverse. You should be ashamed of yourself. Maybe you are a nazi or perhaps a believer in eugenics. Are you in Canada? I’m calling the Mounties, you might be Mengele.

48 Troll me March 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Nice effort to conflate intent and content.

I thought it was rather complementary given how insulting it is to think things are remotely so absurd here.

The proliferation of such false claims is disseminated with the intent of making people with generally decent intent to fell like they should shut up. That makes “retard” a very complimentary word when directed towards yourself.

And in the same breath as harassing me about language that does not in fact offend YOU in any way, you then turn the content of prsumed offense to speak in ways which are in fact extremely damaging, by virtue of the effects this is intended to have on other peoples views.

Intent, not content. And you, sir, are the one agitating in the direction of Nazi eugenic views in the process of harassing me for insufficient adherence to what is viewed as ideal by those who beleive it is better to try to speak with respect when speaking of others (unless there’s a good reason not to, say).

49 Sleazy P Martini March 20, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Looks like half of Canada should be arrested:

https://www.google.com/amp/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN16R0SK

Double-plus ungood!

50 Anonymous March 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm

That webpage is the most audacious self-recommendation I have ever seen.

51 Thiago Ribeiro March 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

I could boldly recommend myself if I had not become so complacent – I would rather say contemplative and wise, but anyway… Who cares? “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?”

52 Anonymous March 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

As an aside, is soaring in an ancient WWII training glider better or worse than a “carbon fiber” stunt plane? My instructor was Peter Patton, nephew of George S.

https://paw.princeton.edu/memorial/peter-wilson-patton-’53

53 Hazel Meade March 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Is modesty the soul of complacency?

(Asking for a friend…)

54 Adam March 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Meh, nothing interesting there. If you want to praise the guy for his politics, just do that.

55 Barkley Rosser March 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

No, this Jordan B. Peterson does not look complacent and also looks to have been and be very productive as well as gutsy. Good for him.

What I am waiting to see is Tyler recognize that a lot of the people he is labeling “complacent,” indeed quite likely a majority of them, are not complacent but afraid. They are afraid of losing their jobs, their spouses, their lifestyle. They are hanging on for dear life, not sitting around in hot tubs drinking champagne and sneering as the little people not in their exalted neighborhoods. They are the little people not in the exalted neighborhoods, and they have very good reasons for being afraid.

Not everybody, indeed, very few people, can be Jordan B. Petersons.

56 TheNewHumeanBeing March 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm

What keeps someone like Tyler from being honest about the situation of the people he seeks to demonize?

57 Anonymous March 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm

I think a lot of people (like me) can be very boring in general, but still end up with a few good stories.

I agree though that “complacency” does not seem a great handle on these times. Too many people think these are times of great struggle. That makes it difficult to get back to knitting. It would be nice, for instance to have incremental improvement in healthcare or federal budgeting *without* Two Tribes Go To War.

https://youtu.be/RTOQUnvI3CA

58 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Barkley, this is the best comment I’ve read from you.

I was thinking this morning about how academics have become 2% “fiat lux” and 98% “what will look good on my CV and not get me uninvited from dinner parties.”

Nobody has the balls to say what’s true anymore; if they do they have their mics shut off.

59 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 7:29 pm

I think most are driven mostly by curiosity, plus a practical sense that doing research that will attract further funding would enable them to do more of that stuff they are interested in.

By letting them do kind of whatever they want, you get some of the most brilliant minds on the planet for the price of a middling New York accountant.

60 thfmr March 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Nathan, would you do me a huge favor and never respond to me? I can’t speak for everyone but I find your babble useless and irritating. Thanks.

61 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Legitimate believers in free speech speak knowing that the risk of facing return free speech is always a possibility.

I do not plan to “pre shut up”. But if you would shut up yourself, you would be completely free of the traumatic situation of having to face ideas and people that you disagree with.

62 Dick Black March 19, 2017 at 11:00 pm

How do you get the smell of ass off your hands, after butt-fingering someone?

63 Troll me March 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Is someone pushing your pain stimulus buttons or your pleasure stimulus buttons?

64 Curious March 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Agreed.

If anything, academics should be the ones being brave and shaking up the status quo.

65 Barkley Rosser March 19, 2017 at 9:40 pm

BTW, on this matter of people being fearful, I just did a little checking and found a poll taken this past September in which it was found that 75% of the US population fears losing their housing. That would be three quarters of the population that is afraid of losing their housing. That is pretty basic, and I would suggest that not a one of those people should be described as being “complacent,” not one. That is an overwhelming majority of the population.

66 Barkley Rosser March 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm

On this matter of three quarters of the population fearing losing their homes in a crisis, see http://www.citylab/housing/2016/09/most-americans-are-worried-about-losing-their-housing/499616 . Not remotely complacent, the vast majority of the population, not remotely.

67 EmanuelNoriega March 20, 2017 at 8:39 am

Do you consider Tyler complacent for ignoring these three quarters of the population?

68 Barkley Rosser March 20, 2017 at 8:24 pm

I do not know, Emanual, although apparently he said he is complacent and “part of the problem” in the Sunday Times interview that I cannot access. I do not think he is ignoring these people, I think he is misinterpreting and perhaps misunderstanding them.

69 Steve March 20, 2017 at 10:19 am

I think the way Tyler uses “complacent” serves two purposes. One is as a basic, factual description. The second is intended to be judgmental and to prod readers into sharing his point of view: that people are costing themselves quality of life by living this way.

This deserves a deeper amount of consideration, but people are both complacent and afraid. Complacent because anything approaching a middle-class lifestyle in the modern era carries with it an amount of material comfort unimaginable to previous generations, and afraid because modern life is dizzying and incomprehensible. Netflix helps drown out the unceasing hum of a growing, throbbing abyss.

70 Steve March 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

fwiw, I think you and Tyler are both mostly right. People are genuinely scared, but evidence still suggests they’d be happier if they could put that to the side and take more personal risks. It’s the third piece — the nonmaterial threats the modern age poses to developing the coherent selfhood needed to fearlessly avoid “complacency”; what I’d call a spiritual crisis if I were a spiritual man — that’s missing in both analyses.

71 durumbai March 19, 2017 at 5:03 pm

huh? got a link?

72 jc March 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm

He also drinks Dos Equis.

73 Dick Black March 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

How much celebrity box does he crush?

74 Mason Masters March 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm

mfw a bunch of the commentariat are psychoanalyzing a psychologist over the internet.

75 Troll me March 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

The absurdities you project onto those who disagree with him are just that – absurdities.

Maybe somewhere on the planet you can find someone who thinks that. But to my knowledge, one of his more extreme acts is to refuse to be told which new pronouns should be used when and where.

76 dearieme March 19, 2017 at 8:02 pm

I suppose your point is that not all the absurd, obnoxious braggarts in North America are USians?

77 Curious March 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Peterson also did not fall for the idea that men can become women by self-identification. He got into hot water for pointing this obvious truth out.

78 Eric March 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm

I wonder who the other 2 profs are

79 Turkey Vulture March 19, 2017 at 10:54 pm

I’d like to lead a life more like that, but I am not fully confident of being able to properly provide for my family if I do.

There are a lot of people who aren’t “complacent” so much as “risk averse,” and perhaps rightly so.

80 Jack Block March 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

For years Peterson was doing reasonable survey based personality research. A niche within which he was fairly speculative in his conclusions. His interested in the big five factors of personality is a bad long term investment. His real work which was supported by this personality reaseach and his teaching was to study the completely discredited topics within Jungianism.

His recorded lectures which he posted online for many years are quite solid. He is clearly an excellent lecturer. Last summer when his U of T controversy broke his persona went viral. He hagen posting long winded “flight of ideas” type speeches in which he traveled quickly from topic to topic. He lost weight rapidly and regularly described synhronicities he was experiencing between his political activity and his reading on the internet and ancient texts.

Around this time he was picked up by alt Right internet based media like The Rebel and others to become a right wing shill. The highlighted his more abrasive aspects and constructed his interviews to make him an expert on all kinds outrage media hot buttons.

It was clear that Petersons wheel House was that of being a quite “of the media” presence doing his routine as a tenured faculty member. Suddenly plunged into YouTube vitality and being interviewed by this generation’s Anne Coulter (with whom I heard he spent a great deal of time with.) really took a toll on him. It seemed clear that he was suffering from some kind of psychological disturbance, he says so in a later interview but without giving much detail.

81 A Black Man March 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

It’s even more clear that Jack Block is a paranoid nut.

82 mad_kalak March 20, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Standing up for free speech when your boss (the university) and hordes of PC snowflakes use the Alinksyite tactic of “‘Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.” is bound to have a negative psychological effect on any average person.

83 Northrop Frye March 20, 2017 at 9:58 am

I do not approve.

84 Christian P Hansen March 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Unanswered question: does he deadlift?

85 Matt March 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

Future interviewee in a Conversation with Tyler?

86 Chava March 25, 2017 at 8:30 am

Hope so. He is doing a good job for better understanding the moral and psychological underpinnings for political extremism, a bit like Jonathan Haidt. His general Jungian approach can be off-putting for some, but he makes damn good case for the ‘truth value’ of religion and mythology.

He is also an excellent lecturer, maybe the best I’ve ever witnessed.

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