|buy the banned version here|
So speaking as a person of Optimistic Cynicism.
I think I've watched about 60% percent of his lectures on YouTube . I fall more into the line that Prof Jordan articulates what I want to say or do say, but better than I can, than looking for guidance on living.
After reading his book what I can say that its the sort of thing as a father I tried to instil in my children, how things work in reality, stand up straight, take responsibility for your actions, how to deal with tyrants, do good. Getting them to clean up their rooms was difficult, but then I liked to be a father so cleaning up after them wasn't a super big issue. But I'm also the tyrant father yelling 'FFS! clean your room like I asked.'
Peterson articulates the disenfranchisement of otherwise intelligent people who are constantly let down by a University and a school structure that pushes a line of post modern thought and philosophy.
- life is an endless interpersonal power play
- existence is meaningless
- the only correct politics to be had are those that are vaguely left leaning, puritanical and immature
- Real Art can only ever be badly made, Avant guard nonsense
- Science and facts are only science and facts from a personal point of view.
- 'Critical reading' is taught instead of you know, actual reading.
- Marxist critical theory is the only way to understand anything.
- everyone is biased (because a sociologist read a paper once where this was important and proved that everyone is a racist misogynist, power playing nasty man)
From an education perspective post modernism has corrupted the Humanities to the point where in an Art school there is a total refusal to teach any technique or have objective standards, facts are irrelevant, the politics are always PC and at its worst the Universities' fail to teach actual post modernist theory properly or with any real depth.
Kids think that if they have read the course outline they know every thing there is to know, and can thus face the world with smug glib platitudes appearing to be 'knowing' graduates, when in fact they know nothing.
But back to the Book.
Its good, its entertaining and deep. Easy to read, no stupid unintelligible post modern word salads, no pulling the wool over your eyes, even the illustrations are clear and concise.
I'm utterly dubious about self help gurus and books. I've worked with many of those guys since I was a teenager in my television work. I find they usually just spout the same load of easy to digest nonsense that most Ted talkers, snake oil salesmen and wannabe messiahs always do. The main one being 'surround yourself with positive people' 'get rid of negative people in your life'. Which is such good advice until you have to, oh I don't know, deal with your spouse, parents, in laws, kids and friends.
But Peterson's book is better than that, and doesn't try and give you all the answers. Its also a funny and wry take on philosophy, but not on the same comedic level as Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy's sci fi examination of Plato's Republic and the meaning of life . You might disagree, but then I'm more in the Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics camp than Bible camp.
What did strike me about 12 Rules for Life is how close it is to Hardcore Punk Rock attitudes. Whether it's seeking the truth, not blindly following leaders and those in authority, being a strong individual, anti Marxist, doing it yourself and finding your own path, being a good person and a man of honour.
Punk rock, at least in the American Hardcore style from the 80s was always individualistic, wry, ironic and came with a tough attitude to life, a life we knew was going to shit on us and continue to shit on us so you learned you had better sort yourself out bucko!
I've picked a few songs for some of the chapters to prove the absolutely important point that I'm making. I'm sure you could do it with any genre of music. (Perhaps not hair metal)
Stand up Straight with your Shoulders Back
Crucial Youth 4 Rules While its an ironic joke by the New Jersey satirical hardcore band Crucial Youth: 4 rules captures hardcore punk's ethos of making rules in a scene of anarchy and chaos. Lots of bands did this, I just prefer Crucial Youth, because I found the annoying preachy Minor Threats of the world painful and patronising, Black Flag did the tough guy individualist thing seriously so here's Rise above
Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
Bad Brains - Attitude HR tried to help himself with his P.M.A , we all tried to follow HR's lead, its only later we saw that mental illness is a tough bitch to crack.
Make friends with people who want the best for you
Madball Pride There were some malevolent evil bastards in the punk scene in the 80s, you learned to avoid them or hope someone took them out before you got screwed over or hurt. But ultimately in a scene of misfits you could always find the good people. On the flipside you might be that malevolent evil bastard and in that case you should probably read 12 Rules for life.
Clean your room
Just don't follow all of Cosmo Jarvis's Lyrics
I'm going with Nine Inch Nails I always sing the lyrics as 'don't lie', its actually 'terrible lie'. Trent is everyone's favourite nihilist, he's probably read Nietzsche so he fits here in an obtuse kind of way.
Do not bother Children while they are skateboarding
Who else could I pick but Suicidal Tendencies? 😀