34 votes

The Intellectual We Deserve

37 comments

  1. [15]
    onyxleopard Link
    What has gone wrong is our public education systems have disintegrated due to defunding. If you’ve learned a modicum of critical thinking skills then reading Peterson is painful. I learned in...

    This much should be obvious from even a cursory reading of him: If Jordan Peterson is the most influential intellectual in the Western world, the Western world has lost its damn mind. And since Jordan Peterson does indeed have a good claim to being the most influential intellectual in the Western world, we need to think seriously about what has gone wrong. What have we done to end up with this man?

    What has gone wrong is our public education systems have disintegrated due to defunding. If you’ve learned a modicum of critical thinking skills then reading Peterson is painful. I learned in school that some people with great ideas are not great writers, but Peterson is the worst of both worlds: he has no ideas of merit, and he is also a terrible writer. I don’t think he’s a charlatan, I think he’s just confused. Like, his minterpretation of Orwell, or his lack ability to do basic math about his time spent on food preparation. He somehow equates 1.5 hours of food preparation per day for his child (which is 90 minutes per day or ~22 days per year) to 3 months per year. That’s pretty far off. Like, even if you are incredulous, what sensible person can think to themselves: "Yeah, I usually spend about 1/4th of my day preparing food. That sounds about right."

    26 votes
    1. [13]
      Akir Link Parent
      I think you're being a little unfair in your analysis. The problem is not that people are uneducated (though it's certainly a contributing factor), but that people tend to grant authority to...

      I think you're being a little unfair in your analysis. The problem is not that people are uneducated (though it's certainly a contributing factor), but that people tend to grant authority to people who don't deserve it. Look at all the popular lifestyle gurus we've had, people like Doctors Phil and Oz or Deepak Chopra. Jordan Peterson is not the first fake intellectual guru out there, and he surely will not be the last.

      20 votes
      1. [12]
        onyxleopard Link Parent
        Even if lack of education isn’t the problem, and there is some basic human instinct at play, education is still the solution. If you’re well educated and you still incidentally cede authority to...

        The problem is not that people are uneducated (though it's certainly a contributing factor), but that people tend to grant authority to people who don't deserve it.

        Even if lack of education isn’t the problem, and there is some basic human instinct at play, education is still the solution. If you’re well educated and you still incidentally cede authority to charlatans or confused academics, you’ll probably be able to self-correct as soon as someone points out the flaws (and sooner or later, you’ll realize your mistake).

        12 votes
        1. [11]
          Akir Link Parent
          I think you underestimate human nature. People who believe in whatever are more likely to defend whatever instead of learning the problems with it. I'm sure if you look around you will still find...

          I think you underestimate human nature. People who believe in whatever are more likely to defend whatever instead of learning the problems with it. I'm sure if you look around you will still find people who deny the wrongdoings of celebrities like Chris Brown simply because they are too far in their infatuation with them.

          10 votes
          1. [10]
            onyxleopard Link Parent
            You don’t usually find well educated people obsessing over celebrities like Chris Brown or watching Dr. Phil. There is a stratum of popular culture that is consumed nearly exclusively by people...

            You don’t usually find well educated people obsessing over celebrities like Chris Brown or watching Dr. Phil. There is a stratum of popular culture that is consumed nearly exclusively by people who were failed by their education systems. Those people will go through life letting their mind go to waste. And there’s a high correlation between those who have not had a good education and those who are taken in by those who are happy to take advantage of the credulous. You can say that it’s in their nature, inherently, but I really don’t think that’s the case. I think the right resources directed at education could propel society to be much better than that. If people practiced more critical thinking, Deepak Chopra would be laughed out of every conversation and he’d have to find a different way to make a living.

            4 votes
            1. [9]
              sublime_aenima Link Parent
              I have to disagree. Education tends to have little effect on people being star struck and thus falling to an appeal to authority. I know tons of PhD’s would would gladly accept the word of a...

              You don’t usually find well educated people obsessing over celebrities like Chris Brown or watching Dr. Phil.

              I have to disagree. Education tends to have little effect on people being star struck and thus falling to an appeal to authority. I know tons of PhD’s would would gladly accept the word of a celebrity over the word of an unknown person simply because the celebrity is revered. It really comes down to each individual’s proclivity towards desire of knowledge vs the desire of being “correct.”

              9 votes
              1. [7]
                alyaza Link Parent
                it's also worth keeping in mind there are plenty of people who are well versed in things like engineering, but will with a straight face tell you that the 9/11 attacks were a planned demolition...

                it's also worth keeping in mind there are plenty of people who are well versed in things like engineering, but will with a straight face tell you that the 9/11 attacks were a planned demolition alongside other conspiratorial nonsense, and there are plenty of genuinely quite intelligent people like ben carson who are completely out of their league outside of their field of study but think their field of study qualifies them to be knowledgeable on everything else.

                people being educated almost certainly does cut down on believing pseudoscience or things which are plainly wrong, but preventing people from buying into alternative authorities, pseudoscience or conspiracy, deeming themselves to be authorities in all things for simply being educated in something, or other permutations of things like that are problems that definitely cannot be solved just by educating people--because otherwise they'd all be much smaller issues than they actually are currently. there are other factors that play a part in it all.

                13 votes
                1. [6]
                  onyxleopard Link Parent
                  I think you’re conflating intelligence with education. You don’t have to be extraordinarily intelligent to see through bullshit like Peterson, you just need to have acquired critical thinking...

                  I think you’re conflating intelligence with education. You don’t have to be extraordinarily intelligent to see through bullshit like Peterson, you just need to have acquired critical thinking skills. And, conversely, highly intelligent people who somehow never acquired critical thinking skills can go through life making fallacy after fallacy. I think that’s what happened to Peterson—he got on an academic track without having ever acquired common sense and the ability to think critically. That’s why he thinks his own pseudo-intellectual drivel is profound. He thinks a children’s book about pancakes and dragons is profound. He’s either the most creative bullshitter in history, or he’s simply incapable of real, critical thought.

                  4 votes
                  1. [3]
                    alyaza Link Parent
                    i'm not. i'm well aware of the difference, and in fact that's literally part of my point. it's well established that people can be smart but have only basic education (plenty of tech wiz folks...

                    I think you’re conflating intelligence with education.

                    i'm not. i'm well aware of the difference, and in fact that's literally part of my point. it's well established that people can be smart but have only basic education (plenty of tech wiz folks dropped out of college), and people can have education but be dumb as shit (those people who majored in engineering but buy 9/11 truther bullshit). this is why i say that while it helps to educate people, that's not the silver bullet to solving any of the problems that we're talking about here because it's more complicated than that.

                    however, as far as the topic of intelligence and education goes, there is a relationship between the two, presumably because educational attainment on some level is effectively self-selecting for being intelligent in the first place. regardless, the current picture painted by studies on the matter does suggest that among other things, the smarter someone is on the scales we use to quantify intelligence--bullshit as those scales might be--the better their ability to progress through the educational stages tends to be. how much of a relationship there is varies by study (and again it's not the only factor that goes into it by a long shot) but on the whole, the average IQ score of someone who doesn't attend education at all tends to be lower than someone who only completes high school, and so on up the chain of educational attainment. so there's definitely an element of intelligence in how far someone goes educationally that appears to exist.

                    You don’t have to be extraordinarily intelligent to see through bullshit like Peterson, you just need to have acquired critical thinking skills. And, conversely, highly intelligent people who somehow never acquired critical thinking skills can go through life making fallacy after fallacy. I think that’s what happened to Peterson—he got on an academic track without having ever acquired common sense and the ability to think critically. That’s why he thinks his own pseudo-intellectual drivel is profound. He thinks a children’s book about pancakes and dragons is profound. He’s either the most creative bullshitter in history, or he’s simply incapable of real, critical thought.

                    what you seem to be missing in this analysis are the possibilities that people (1) people who listen to peterson might not actually be acting in good faith, just as many people who support donald trump do not; and (2) that peterson himself is actually very much self-aware of what he's doing. on the whole, right-wing ideologies like peterson aren't rubes, and most of them are actually quite well educated and almost certainly know what they're peddling is bullshit, but it makes them a fat paycheck. there are tons of dumb billionaire conservatives willing to bankroll talking heads like milo yiannopoulos or ben shapiro if it can change the conversation, and even if you can't get bankrolled by one, the field is still quite lucrative. peterson himself for example probably makes at least a million dollars doing what he does before things like books or speaking engagements, and until the cash well dries up, he doesn't exactly have an incentive to change.

                    4 votes
                    1. [2]
                      onyxleopard Link Parent
                      And my point is that, with a properly funded public education system, you can rectify this and reduce the gap between the self-selected intelligencia and the average person. My point is that, with...

                      however, as far as the topic of intelligence and education goes, there is a relationship between the two, presumably because educational attainment on some level is effectively self-selecting for being intelligent in the first place.

                      And my point is that, with a properly funded public education system, you can rectify this and reduce the gap between the self-selected intelligencia and the average person.

                      there are tons of dumb billionaire conservatives willing to bankroll talking heads like milo yiannopoulos or ben shapiro if it can change the conversation, and even if you can't get bankrolled by one, the field is still quite lucrative.

                      My point is that, with the proper education, there would be many fewer prey for these predators to take advantage of, thus the profitability of such bad faith actors would be infeasible.

                      2 votes
                      1. alyaza (edited ) Link Parent
                        at least currently, i'm not sure this is true. you can certainly rectify the sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors that hold people who are what we would consider less intelligent back from...

                        And my point is that, with a properly funded public education system, you can rectify this and reduce the gap between the self-selected intelligencia and the average person.

                        at least currently, i'm not sure this is true. you can certainly rectify the sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors that hold people who are what we would consider less intelligent back from achieving an education--but, in general, IQ and other measures like it are pretty static. i'm hesitant to say that you can't make someone more intelligent because in the context of this conversation i don't feel that's particularly accurate, but ultimately there are limits on how much you can do for some people before you cut into the quality of their education and invert the problem. it is also very hard to get the balance right, even with adequate funding (even good schools in america absolutely struggle to handle people with intellectual disabilities or things which impair "normal" cognitive function like autism), and that's before you consider things like the physical implementation of this, which would likely take years.

                        in short what i'm saying is, maybe you can? but really, it'd be completely uncharted territory in any country's education system and since you're working with aspects of humanity that simply are not that flexible, it would also be very difficult and possibly be years or decades before any results come from such a thing, if there are any results to be had in the first place.

                        My point is that, with the proper education, there would be many fewer prey for these predators to take advantage of, thus the profitability of such bad faith actors would be infeasible.

                        i'm pretty sure you're agreeing with me on that point, then.


                        edit: grammar

                        3 votes
                  2. [2]
                    sublime_aenima Link Parent
                    But that’s the point. There are well educated morons, poorly educated geniuses, and everything in between. Well educated smart people are just as capable of dumb decisions as poorly educated...

                    But that’s the point. There are well educated morons, poorly educated geniuses, and everything in between. Well educated smart people are just as capable of dumb decisions as poorly educated dumbasses. The need to belong is often more important than than the desire to be knowledgeable.

                    2 votes
                    1. onyxleopard Link Parent
                      And I attribute this to failures of the education systems. That’s at least a problem worth trying to tackle. You’d rather attribute that to what? Inherent moronism? What do you think we can do...

                      There are well educated morons

                      And I attribute this to failures of the education systems. That’s at least a problem worth trying to tackle. You’d rather attribute that to what? Inherent moronism? What do you think we can do about that?

                      2 votes
              2. onyxleopard Link Parent
                If they really would do that, I think you have to question whether if they received a good education. (An advanced degree is not equivalent to a good education.)

                I know tons of PhD’s would would gladly accept the word of a celebrity over the word of an unknown person simply because the celebrity is revered.

                If they really would do that, I think you have to question whether if they received a good education. (An advanced degree is not equivalent to a good education.)

                2 votes
    2. sp4z (edited ) Link Parent
      Regarding the basic math, he does make sure to state “a full work week” which is roughly ¼ of the available hours in a regular week (assuming an average 8-hour workday, 5-day work week of a...

      Regarding the basic math, he does make sure to state “a full work week” which is roughly ¼ of the available hours in a regular week (assuming an average 8-hour workday, 5-day work week of a 168-hour week). So when you multiply your answer by 4, you do then get ~88 ‘work days’ a year or ~3 ‘work months’ which is how he arrives at “three full months of 40 hour days” (he says days but I believe he means 40 hour weeks there).

      Of course, saying this is rather disingenuous as no one talks about a ‘work week’ in the context of anything other than work itself or a company’s business hours, so all this does inflate the perceived amount of time taken up feeding the child in his yarn as a means to further strengthen his point.

      This in itself ties in with one of the main critiques of this author about Jordan Peterson, which is that Peterson often starts with something that is indisputably true and correct and then make little leaps of logic over and over to eventually arrive at some conclusion which is either no longer true or is now one possible true conclusion out of many possible true conclusions that have since arisen from the numerous postulations he made since his original statement.

      Peterson makes ominous-sounding (and seemingly false) generalizations and yet builds in caveats so that nobody can accuse him of endorsing the thing it sounds like he’s endorsing.
      …The multiplicity of possible interpretations is very important. It makes it almost impossible to beat Peterson in an argument, because every time one attempts to force him to defend a proposition, he can insist he means something else.

      This constant shifting of goal posts to always stay on top in a debate when anything he says is refuted is what gives him the appearance of having a sage-like all-encompassing worldview. This, along with the general dearth of life-guiding advice available to young people in which someone also explains the ‘why?’ behind the advice, is what I believe attracts so many people to him or at least is what attracted me to him for a long period of time.

      5 votes
  2. [21]
    AhThatsTheStuff Link
    So I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the article and I am also currently reading 12 Rules for Life (about half way through) and I have to say the author of the article, Robinson, makes some...

    So I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the article and I am also currently reading 12 Rules for Life (about half way through) and I have to say the author of the article, Robinson, makes some great points. Peterson is verbose. He does state fairly obvious advice in an overly complex manner, but his advice isn't bad. I agree I don't think he's "brilliant" or the "greatest modern thinker," but I do think he's highlighting a serious gap in society today. He seems to primarily be giving fatherly advice to a large portion of men in the US that missed that in their youth and now that they're grown up and asking how to live their life - they're looking for a role model or someone with advice. I think that's the gap Peterson fills and I belive that's a positive. If more people took his advice the world would be a better place. The people claiming his genius are likely the people who we're the most in need of his advice and guidance. Those who have received the most benefit from his advice are hyperbolic about the their admiration as a result.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      alyaza Link Parent
      i think you're highlighting exactly what the problem is, though. peterson is good at writing self-help for well off white males who need someone to kick them in the ass and tell them basic life...

      i think you're highlighting exactly what the problem is, though. peterson is good at writing self-help for well off white males who need someone to kick them in the ass and tell them basic life skills because their parents never bothered to challenge them to be better. he is not good or knowledgeable about really anything else he does for a living, and yet those things he doesn't know shit about but feels inclined to weigh in on anyways are what he uses to market himself and define him to the people that look up to him--and then, because those people know him as the dude who is good at giving them a kick in the ass and he has a credential in his name, they take his misinformed, ill-informed hot takes on those other things as statements of fact, and craft their beliefs around that.

      19 votes
      1. vektor Link Parent
        I challenge anyone with any academic background to look at the stuff he has said about your branch of academia. He has most likely dabbled at some point and if so, it is even more likely he...

        I challenge anyone with any academic background to look at the stuff he has said about your branch of academia. He has most likely dabbled at some point and if so, it is even more likely he completely messed it up. I'm a computer scientist. He's talked about Gödel's incompleteness, and he managed to be so utterly wrong, it's kind of funny. It might take some digging if you're not a biologist, psychologist or philosopher, but he's surely weighed in on your branch and I'd be interested in anyone's findings.

        My problem with the man is that his life-advice is decent, but unremarkable, but it's marketed as the advice of a Prof. of psychology. His psychology is questionable at best though, and he uses his life-advice to market a whole host of other questionable opinions. At the end of the day, it's smoke and mirrors and the only thing of any authority is him being a psych prof with opinions not necessarily shared by his field. Some treat his opinions on other subjects as those of a educated professor when they're the opinions of a man out of his depth. He didn't get his academic degrees for his work on Gödel.

        13 votes
    2. [16]
      Loire Link Parent
      My father didn't teach me much. He was there, and he loved me, and he made sure I ate and went to school every day, but I can't think of a single life lesson I recieved beyond, perhaps, what I...

      My father didn't teach me much. He was there, and he loved me, and he made sure I ate and went to school every day, but I can't think of a single life lesson I recieved beyond, perhaps, what I gleaned from osmosis. No one told me to stand up straight, or make my bed, or dress nicely, go to the gym, treat my partner and women in general well, or whatever other fatherly advice Peterson hawks. It was uneeded because, as the author states, it's common sense.

      Cleaning your bedroom is not some vast cosmic mystery. It doesn't require forty pages of pseudo-psychological sophistry in order to be understood.

      And that's the crux of the article. Peterson is heralded as a great mind of the western world. He is often spoken of glowingly as if his overly verbose paternalistic wisdom is more than chicken soup for the lost male's soul. The author is arguing that we as a culture and a society have gone off the rails if Peterson's bullshit can be considered the most influential philosophy of our modern society.

      We are lost, from an intellectual standpoint, because there are so many young men out there so utterly unable to figure out the most basic aspects of life that they require this paternalistic lifestyle guru to teach them to button up their shirt and get a haircut.

      And that's completely ignoring the lobster bullshit.

      15 votes
      1. [15]
        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
        The emphasized part, I'm going to contend. I'm not perfect – I'll be the first to admit that. I lack some things you'd consider normal; some by nature, some by the dubious virtue of lacking the...

        It was uneeded because, as the author states, it's common sense.

        The emphasized part, I'm going to contend.

        I'm not perfect – I'll be the first to admit that. I lack some things you'd consider normal; some by nature, some by the dubious virtue of lacking the education.

        Nobody may need to tell you, or millions of other people, that treating people with respect, even if you don't know 'em, is good. I needed that. I needed someone to point it out to me that there's a line in human relationships that's best treaded carefully, because about it lies human dignity. I've always valued that – but didn't know about it until in my mid-teens.

        My father never taught me things. I did learn some things from him, too. He worked hard, and I have deep respect for that, even if I don't know much about it. (He worked as a miner for ~25 years. Is it hard? I wouldn't fucking know. I had to learn about it from peripheral sources, and even now I have but a faint image.) Or that time he chased after a thief half his age when our elderly neighbor's purse got stolen. That left an impression. Not sure what that impression is, still, but I know it's a good one.

        My mother taught me some bullshit, though. She's manipulative, narcissistic, and shallow. That's what formed the basis for my personality for long years ahead. I like to think of myself as a fundamentally good person, but the echoes of that vexatious parental education still reflect in many of the things I do, no matter how hard I try to fight them. They'll probably persist for a decade more, growing fainter as I build myself into someone better – but they'll still be there, and I'm going to have to re-learn a lot from the years I could've spent doing – being – meaningful.

        All of this is why I find the idea of common sense unfounded bullshit. There's a lot of talk about accessibility nowadays: the Web has to be open to as many different groups of people as possible, the buildings we build have to meet a reasonable standard of traversability for people with lower movement ability... No one ever talks about mental accessibility for people who seem normal otherwise but were never taught those basic things.

        Many years of my life have been wasted as I was raised to be mommy's little doll, conforming to her views and her views alone – the anxious, self-centered, borderline-machiavellian views. There was no place there for encouraging self-sufficiency and independence because my parents never wanted me to leave them. This kind of passive degradation is all you have when your parents want you not to suffer so much they're eager to keep you on the leash 'cause the world is a dangerous place and I can't possibly have the strength to face it.

        I grew up a sheltered, helicoptered, scared kid, so when the university came, and when the first jobs came, I was thrown way into the deep end with no life support 'cause why the fuck didn't I know that in the first place? I never learned to cook because no one ever taught me. I never learned discipline because no one ever taught me. I never learned a whole bunch of life-important skills and lessons because no one ever fucking taught me.

        This is why the talk about common sense makes me angry. You got it. Millions of other kids got it. I never got it – and neither did millions of other kids whose parents had the resources but not the emotional capacity to raise a child ready to brave the turbulent waters of the real world and face its challenges with dignity. And nobody fucking talks about it because why the fuck didn't I know that in the first place?, like it's some kind of genetic memory that I was too lazy to access or something.

        You know when I started to grow as a person? When I met an Internet user by the name of kleinbl00. We butted heads hard when we met, and he talked to me with respect and dignity even though he disagreed with my actions heavily. He was pissed with my cocky, arrogant ways – and he still treated me like an adult. Sure, I was upset about the way he scolded me for a few months, but when I came to, I reached out to him for advice – and he gave one to me. And another. And one more. And a few more after that. He gave me the kind of perspective my parents couldn't dream of: intelligent, based on wide experience, eloquent, and on-point.

        "Common sense" assumes a lot about the way one was brought up, including the fact that lacking common sense is the person's fault alone. Not their environment's, not their family's, not their schooling's – but, for some reason, the person's. I have contempt for few things. This kind of unempathetic, high-horse approarch to educating people in a world that's full of bad parenting, bad teaching, and bad social norms boils my fucking blood.

        So you know what? I'll take Jordan Peterson. He has some stupid ideas on his end, but in the end, he gives people like me – raised soft, unassuming, personality-less, obedient – the respect and the agency we deserve. If you have better sources – talk about them; share them; let them be known, so that someone like me might find them and enjoy their lessons better than Peterson's.

        Until then, take a good, hard fucking look at what the notion of "common sense" represents and ask around if it's really that common that you should base your outlook on it.

        12 votes
        1. [6]
          vektor Link Parent
          I disagree with some of what you said and some of it resonates with me. I'll maintain that JBP writes unremarkable life advice and straps a lot of BS right into it. But this here: This resonates....

          I disagree with some of what you said and some of it resonates with me. I'll maintain that JBP writes unremarkable life advice and straps a lot of BS right into it. But this here:

          All of this is why I find the idea of common sense unfounded bullshit. There's a lot of talk about accessibility nowadays: [...] No one ever talks about mental accessibility for people who seem normal otherwise but were never taught those basic things.

          This resonates. Some things you just don't learn, and you can't consciously learn them by picking up a book so long as you don't know what it is you lack. So in that sense, modern society is lacking something. Parents messed that up before and people survived because of some kind of community they could fall back on that wouldn't abandon them. I kinda think most communities today are much quicker to drop someone who lacks "common sense" without realizing that they could help. If family fails you, you lack common sense; but since no one expects family to ever fail you (cause it didn't happen for them) then others must assume that you lacking common sense is a "you" problem, not a "your family" problem. Thus, they assume that lack of common sense is not fixable by them.

          And while as a society it would be a trivial task of compiling a list of "common sense" things that everyone should know - in most cases just mentioning the thing is enough to solve the problem - I just can't see anything like that. A readily readable "user's guide to life" is not something I have ever seen.

          6 votes
          1. [5]
            ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            If you're up for it, I'd like to hear what you disagree with me on. I came here to share my point of view, but I'm also looking for others' perspective. This rings true to me. It sounds like the...

            If you're up for it, I'd like to hear what you disagree with me on. I came here to share my point of view, but I'm also looking for others' perspective.

            So in that sense, modern society is lacking something. Parents messed that up before and people survived because of some kind of community they could fall back on that wouldn't abandon them.

            This rings true to me. It sounds like the world – the people of the world – are realizing, slowly, that productivity, career advancement, money – all of that is no substitute for human connection. There's a lot of talk about making interactions more humane and "alive", in a way, in the design community. Things for a long time have been built mostly for consumption – rarely for people; to be bought, rather than to be used meaningfully. Designers all around are starting to address that, and it warms my heart.

            Involuntary solitude – out of inability to readily connect with others – is common in the modern world. I'm not sure why, but it's clear that people are more secluded and form fewer meaningful, genuine connections with others. This is intuition, but it seems to me that the problem is not one to solve – it's one to find the cause of, somewhere deeper in the thread of society, by solving which we can make it a little better on ourselves.

            If family fails you, you lack common sense; but since no one expects family to ever fail you (cause it didn't happen for them) then others must assume that you lacking common sense is a "you" problem, not a "your family" problem.

            It's an issue of environment. Some people talk about it, but it often goes unheard. "Society failed you" is almost a meme, and for a good reason.

            A readily readable "user's guide to life" is not something I have ever seen.

            I think it's possible to make such a guide. We spend years of our young lives at school, learning to conform to expectations and to tests. Adding a "life course" to the list of classes necessary for graduation might just make things better. It should be an ungraded course, though: you absolutely can not pressure children who need such life lessons to succeed in them, because this way lie anxiety, depression, and failing to live up to enormous external expectations, and a whole bunch of lost-in-life young adults will tell you that's no way to treat a child.

            Not a simple list, of course: "memorize these 100 things and you'll be ready for life". That would be ridiculous: no life lesson can be taught by rote memorization. Children need guidance, and today, a lot of that comes from teachers. I went through school and two universities, and I've seen all sorts of teachers. There were those who want to life you up, those who don't care about you, and those who drag you down. Mostly, though, there were those who care about their subject and want to share their passion about it with the students – not all of them great teachers, but passion rubs off.

            I think it can be done. I think it should be done, unless we manage to make parents less stressed, give them more control over their reproduction, and have them not worry so much about whether tomorrow's gonna be okay or awful that they might just give their children enough attention and emotional support and experience to guide them through life towards success, whatever that is for their children. I hope one day to contribute to making the situation better for everyone.

            3 votes
            1. [4]
              vektor Link Parent
              Ok, I'll bite. Here's what I disagree with: Firstly, the above came across as harsh to me because the poster you replied to (to me) read like they were distancing themselves from not giving common...

              Ok, I'll bite. Here's what I disagree with:

              So you know what? I'll take Jordan Peterson. He has some stupid ideas on his end, but in the end, he gives people like me – raised soft, unassuming, personality-less, obedient – the respect and the agency we deserve. If you have better sources – talk about them; share them; let them be known, so that someone like me might find them and enjoy their lessons better than Peterson's.

              Until then, take a good, hard fucking look at what the notion of "common sense" represents and ask around if it's really that common that you should base your outlook on it.

              Firstly, the above came across as harsh to me because the poster you replied to (to me) read like they were distancing themselves from not giving common sense advice. Something like "my father didn't give me that advice, because he thought it was common sense. But peterson did, and he tacked on 40 pages of bullshit.". So, in that sense, they're (I think) not saying that common sense advice is unnecessary.

              Secondly, I beg to differ on your opinion of peterson. He's a quack. He doesn't know what he's talking about in any academic setting. His points are controversial or outdated in psychology and completely remarkably dumb in any other discipline I've seen him dabble in. His self-help advice is generic and you're probably better off with any other reputable self-help author. And lastly, he's a gateway drug to right-wing extremism. His views of left-wing policy, women and feminism are incredibly unfounded, wrong and downright malicious. Unfortunately, I'm not any more knowledgeable on self-help literature than you are and can't guide you to someone I like better.

              Now, that was quite harsh. How about something more reconciliatory? I don't judge you at all for enjoying his work. It's well-written and probably helpful. What I'm trying to do is to get you to try and be critical of the man, do some lateral reading. Dude is high-profile enough he's probably getting debunked everywhere. Read some of that too whenever you find something he says hard to believe.

              As for the user's guide:

              Not a simple list, of course: "memorize these 100 things and you'll be ready for life". That would be ridiculous: no life lesson can be taught by rote memorization.

              My mental picture would've been a wiki. Try to sort the entirety of life into a tree-structure. Everything is - transitively - sorted into the root node, and each node provides an overview of all its subnodes. The idea would be to start at root, check all the subtopics on whether you can identify a problem in your own life and discard all the nodes that you're content with. So I could for example check that my financial, social and romantic lives are all good by running through brief checklists and notice that my mental health is messed up, so I expand my search there. I'll then be asked about the common kinds of problems - stress, mood, etc. That of course doesn't stop me from missing tiny details in, say, my social life. But it's a lot better than living life not knowing that I should keep my mental health in check.

              (It could well be that it's impossible to structure everything into a tree, but we'll just make it a DAG then, i.e. cross-references from one branch to the other are ok as long as they don't lead to cycles.)

              4 votes
              1. [3]
                ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                First of all, I don't think anything you'd written here was harsh or even confrontational. I explicitly asked you to provide your perspective, and you obliged. Whether you like the man, or the...

                First of all, I don't think anything you'd written here was harsh or even confrontational. I explicitly asked you to provide your perspective, and you obliged. Whether you like the man, or the man's work, is only inclusive in your opinion, not in your attitude towards me or any reader of your comment.

                Secondly, I beg to differ on your opinion of peterson. He's a quack. He doesn't know what he's talking about in any academic setting.

                I don't know anything about his professional qualifications, so I can't dispute that straightforwardly. I'm not going to attempt to defend Peterson as a psychologist or a professor. I would, however, like you to consider that he's been employed in a prestigious university for a long time, and he's taught courses, and he's had a clinical practice for a while, too. Would a quack be able to hold those positions – especially, in the academic setting, if he's surrounded by professional scientists who'd spot bullshit?

                Again, I'm not to defend the man. Much like yourself with your intent to raise critical thinking, I'd like you to consider the fact that if here truly a fraud of any capacity, he would've been ousted a long time ago. I don't think Canadian psychologists are any worse qualified for their jobs than those of any other country. I reckon they'd be able to see through.

                And lastly, he's a gateway drug to right-wing extremism. His views of left-wing policy, women and feminism are incredibly unfounded, wrong and downright malicious.

                I'm going to give you that, but only because I have little idea about his views outside of self-development advice. I've heard some of it, but never considered it. He's not the relationship guru or a gender psychologist I'd look up to.

                What I'm trying to do is to get you to try and be critical of the man

                It's a shame that you think I'm following Peterson in any capacity. I'm not a fan of his, or of his work. I did, however, point out that, for an empty life that I had prior to hearing his words, I'd rather have his advice over nobody's. He may not be a guru in any meaningful sense, but for what I had, I'd have him rather than no guidance at all: at least a faulty light would lead somewhere.

                I follow a few other people whose advice matters to me. Mark Manson, who speaks my language. David Cain (of Raptitude and Camp Calm fame) always shares profound advice of mindfulness that I can use. Henry Rollins embodies the general perspective of "live your life: it's the only one you have". All of them shared good advice, and I'd advise following whatever they have to share, but not one shared the idea of taking some goddamn responsibility or choosing a path (well, Mark Manson did, but it only had weight after I'd heard Peterson). I think it's important enough an advice to go "You know, he may be not worthy of my attention otherwise, but this bit really resonates with me; let's hear what else he has to say about it".

                You see how it is for me? I think it's about the same for loads of other people, many of whom aren't so lucky to find their better gurus as I was with mine. I never cared about Peterson's opinions outside of the part that can get me to move forward with life – but I get the feeling that others can't filter him out as well as I do, and they get a taste of faulty, failed perspective. He's a captivating speaker: you just want to listen to him more. I can see why others would get sucked in, and it's a damn shame if they get lousy ideas from the guy.

                Sorry if I seem confrontational. It wasn't my intent to antagonize you, or to counterattack after you've graciously given me the perspective I asked for. As always, my goal is to share my own perspective in hopes that makes my position clearer for the other person – in this case, for you.

                My mental picture would've been a wiki.

                That would be even better: anonymous, private access to non-binding information that may shed light onto the things you didn't notice about your life, especially at the age where you get to essentially make yourself into who you want to be. I'd get behind that, one hundred percent.

                Lacking that, I'm aiming to make something of my own personal wiki to share with others. I've shared a lot online – about my history, my successes, my failures, my pain, my shame... – and I think it's a good thing to do, because someone might wander into the conversation, see some things about my story resonate with theirs, and have their difficulties made a little bit clearer, more tangible, so that they could be solved. It sure had that effect on me, and I can't be the only one.

                I thought having the same thing in a structured, cross-linked manner would have an even better effect. I'm okay with sharing bits of myself as long as my identity remains concealed. It's not about me, exactly: it's about sharing the information others could use to build their own bridges, so to speak.

                In an ideal world, you'd have everyone who's willing share their life stories, and a consensus would compile those into a guide of sorts, much like what you're talking about. We're not advanced enough, technologically, to serve a consensus, so a wiki or a similar online resource would be good enough.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
                  If he has tenure, which I assume he does since he has been teaching at the same place since 1998, he absolutely can be a fucking moron and still teach there. Not saying he is a moron (though I...

                  If he has tenure, which I assume he does since he has been teaching at the same place since 1998, he absolutely can be a fucking moron and still teach there. Not saying he is a moron (though I personally think he is in everything I’ve read of his which admittedly doesn’t include his self help book), but you can be fucking terrible at your job and if you have tenure it is so fucking hard to get fired.

                  Source: almost all my friends are academics

                  2 votes
                  1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                    You know what, I'm ready to leave this conversation. I find myself defending a person I don't particularly care about, against people who dislike him for reasons I don't understand (which nobody...

                    You know what, I'm ready to leave this conversation.

                    I find myself defending a person I don't particularly care about, against people who dislike him for reasons I don't understand (which nobody bothers to explain, either), at no gain for me, the person, or the community at large.

                    For some reason, my comment on a lack of personal gurus for a lost young male, like I was, got bogged down in politics of "Jordan Peterson is no good" that seems to bring no good to the conversation, and I want no part of it.

                    3 votes
        2. [6]
          Akir Link Parent
          I agree with you. There are many examples of why parents should not be the only source from which a child learns basic social responsibility and life skills. Many adults think that they have to...

          I agree with you. There are many examples of why parents should not be the only source from which a child learns basic social responsibility and life skills. Many adults think that they have to teach their children some kind of idealized version of how they should live their lives, but when you reduce complex societal rules to an ideal you strip away many of them, not realizing that all of them are important in some way.

          Personally speaking, this is the main reason why I think that public bording schools should be commonplace. That would thrust children into a microcosm of real society and give them first-hand experience on how to solve their life's problems by themselves.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            That's quite profound. I agree. Lots of thoughts on the matter, but none of them concrete or succinct enough yet. Interesting way to look at it. Makes sense to me, too. My first taste of real...

            when you reduce complex societal rules to an ideal you strip away many of them, not realizing that all of them are important in some way

            That's quite profound. I agree. Lots of thoughts on the matter, but none of them concrete or succinct enough yet.

            Personally speaking, this is the main reason why I think that public bording schools should be commonplace. That would thrust children into a microcosm of real society and give them first-hand experience on how to solve their life's problems by themselves.

            Interesting way to look at it. Makes sense to me, too. My first taste of real responsibility and real-life consequences came with the first university experience, where I was left to my own devices for the first time. It was rough, and I had to push myself to get by way more than I wish I had to, but in the end, it made me mature quite rapidly.

            For the second university, I moved to a different region, so I was living on my own for the first time. That came with its own set of surprises and life rules to learn. I never realized how quickly dust accumulates in an apartment until I had to clean it by myself. Sounds ludicrious, and yet, that was my life. Does that make me less as a person? as an adult? I don't think so: it just makes me one of those young people who started being adults late in their lives.

            I think boarding schools is one thing. Have them travel, too: I dunno why, but it was quite a revelation for me to see a different part of the world as a teenager. It's like there turned out to be better places and better life, you know? That made me want to do the things to get there, to that better place. It was nothing special – I lived in a handful of different hotels every day for two weeks, and I saw a bunch of cities in other countries briefly – but it was like fresh air to me.

            Not sure if there are other, similar options to boarding schools. If there are, I'd like to learn about them. It's not a simple problem to solve. More data would serve us all good.

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              Akir Link Parent
              I got the idea because there is a private boarding school in Florida that is a charity designed to help disadvantaged youth. They are incredibly successful in terms of grades since they take the...

              I got the idea because there is a private boarding school in Florida that is a charity designed to help disadvantaged youth. They are incredibly successful in terms of grades since they take the students out of the stress of a poor household.

              I also know that many other countries integrate life skills into their public school system. In Japan, for example, elementry school students learn about food through class lunches and their entire public school career has them cleaning and maintaining the classroom.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                This part, I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to, because I've always seen "school help" as thankless, unpaid child labor that I wanted no part of. Doesn't help that I disliked my school time,...

                their entire public school career has them cleaning and maintaining the classroom.

                This part, I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to, because I've always seen "school help" as thankless, unpaid child labor that I wanted no part of. Doesn't help that I disliked my school time, overall.

                Now that you put it in terms of getting discipline for cleaning and maintaining one's place (whether it's place of work or place of living), I have a less-negative knee-jerk reaction to it. I imagine explaining the idea to children at a young age would go a long way to making the task seem meaningful and reasonable. That's the part that always irritated me about such assignments: that I had to do it because a teacher said so, and for no better reason. I knew there were better reasons a lot of the times, but not being given the courtesy of having this explained to me, as if I'm not mature enough to handle responsibility and reasoning, never sat well with me.

                I can't be the only person who either has little respect for granted, rather than deserved, authority or needs the explanation in order to work with it. I couldn't have remotely been the only child with those ideas.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  Akir Link Parent
                  You certainly were not the only child with those ideas. I despise the arbitrary, but I don't think that social norms are arbitrary in the "because I told you so" sense. I like this form of...

                  You certainly were not the only child with those ideas. I despise the arbitrary, but I don't think that social norms are arbitrary in the "because I told you so" sense. I like this form of education even though when I first heard about it I would have absolutely hated it.

                  But it's got some good advantages. First off, their responsibilities start as soon as they first start school, before they start rebelling. I'm not sure if they start cleaning immediately, but one of the first things they start doing is to collectively serve the school lunch to the rest of the class, which helps them understand the social reasons why they do the things they are doing and also gives them basic hands-on lessons on nutrition. As they grow older, more responsibilities are given to them. One person becomes a class representative, who largely is in charge of keeping the peace. Schools also have culture festivals, during which the entire class will work collectively on a relatively large task which requires planning, dividing responsibilities, and fulfilling responsibilities given to them.

                  1 vote
                  1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                    You know, I loved serving lunch. For some reason, it was just plain fun for me as a kid. Not sure why. I could probably get hooked on taking responsibility if that were a starting point. But then,...

                    You know, I loved serving lunch. For some reason, it was just plain fun for me as a kid. Not sure why. I could probably get hooked on taking responsibility if that were a starting point.

                    But then, you have to remember that Japan has a uniquely-honor-oriented culture. These are the people that work themselves to death because they find it shameful to leave their coworkers to "do their job". While the lessons they teach might apply, they won't apply reliably: attention should be paid to how aspects of behavior traverse the aspects of culture, and how not to intertwine the two in the process of bringing foreign success experience to your country.

        3. bigjew222 Link Parent
          Can't thank you enough for introducing me to kleinbl00. I just spent the better part of an hour reading his post history, and much of the advice he imparts is nothing short of brilliant.

          Can't thank you enough for introducing me to kleinbl00. I just spent the better part of an hour reading his post history, and much of the advice he imparts is nothing short of brilliant.

          1 vote
        4. cadadr Link Parent
          I don't want to sound dismissive or emotionless---my parents are great people but I still had to learn a lot by myself that youd expect they'd teach, so I do feel empathy---but this is...

          I don't want to sound dismissive or emotionless---my parents are great people but I still had to learn a lot by myself that youd expect they'd teach, so I do feel empathy---but this is unnecessarily harsh and there is a great glowing non sequitur with the part about Peterson. I don't really know him, but that he supposedly has good advice does not mean he gets a pass for spreading misinformation and approfitating from this situation to push false views. I happened to recently watch some videos partly on him that Genetically Modified Sceptic made on YT, and the impression I get is that he is harmful.

          1 vote
    3. [2]
      45930 Link Parent
      I read 12 rules for life and enjoyed it. I don't agree with jpo on basically any political issue he's commented on, but reading that book set me on a slow path toward reading and writing more,...

      I read 12 rules for life and enjoyed it. I don't agree with jpo on basically any political issue he's commented on, but reading that book set me on a slow path toward reading and writing more, setting goals for myself, etc... I guess it's just not going to be a popular opinion on most sites, but I don't expect many people on tildes have read the book. I don't read a lot of self-help, so I can't really contextualize it in its genre, all I can say is that it had a positive and non-toxic effect on me.

      6 votes
      1. Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
        I think a lot of people also don't know the origin of the book. He wrote a really popular answer on Quora in response to "What are the most valuable things everyone should know?", and it got so...

        I think a lot of people also don't know the origin of the book. He wrote a really popular answer on Quora in response to "What are the most valuable things everyone should know?", and it got so much attention that he figured he could write a successful self-help book.

        There wasn't some kind of deep philosophical purpose behind it, he basically wrote a really popular AskReddit comment and decided to expand on it and sell it.

        6 votes
  3. nothis Link
    I'll admit, I didn't read this, I'm tired of him. I just want to point out that I read the headline and knew it was Jordan Peterson.

    I'll admit, I didn't read this, I'm tired of him. I just want to point out that I read the headline and knew it was Jordan Peterson.

    3 votes