A Wing And A Prayer (Jordan Peterson)
I Wanted to Cancel Jordan Peterson
The reason I got into the teachings of Jordan Peterson wasn't because my friends were fans. At the time, most people around me were trying to cancel him. His name wasn't to be mentioned. He was a Universally Bad Thing. So, I planned to cancel him. EXCEPT... I had set myself a rule. The moment I want to cancel someone, except if their action was directed at me personally and was demonstrably dangerous or hateful, I HAVE TO watch their videos, listen to their podcasts, or buy their books.
With Peterson, this was hard. What I'd seen (clips of videos and text) was absolutely at odds with my beliefs. Of course he must be cancelled. But... the rule. So, I bought a book of HIS rules, and I read.
He is Fractally Wrong, Except Where He's Right
The state of being fractally wrong is that you are wrong on all parts. Your overview is wrong. The specifics of your points are wrong. Every fragment is wrongness. From what I'd seen, this was accurate. But then I started to look at his body of work. He wasn't fractally wrong. He was wrong, absolutely wrong, on some things. From my perspective, that wrongness couldn't have been wronger. When these points appeared in his work, I almost yelled at his books or videos that he could not possibly be more wrong. Yet, not only was he right for much of the rest of what he said, but he was right for pretty much all of it.
My experience of Peterson is: "Yes. Well put. That's brilliant. That's insightful. I see that. Interesting. NO! NO! NO! That is moronic! How could you even think that? That is SO wrong!! Yes. That is right. OK. I see how you... NO! WTF Jordan? How can you be so right and so wrong at once??"
In short, it isn't a COMFORTABLE experience for me to learn from him. I don't disappear into his world and lose all my edges as I merge with his mind. But, I see him. I see where he's coming from. I respect his opinions, even where I don't agree with them. And on the points where I find resonance, I appreciate his honesty and raw vulnerability. He knows himself. I admire that.
The Importance of A Wing and A Prayer
This video resonates with me. I feel what he's saying. I have been saying it for years. We cannot continue in division. It isn't bringing us anywhere good.
We MUST speak with those with whom we disagree.
This means that if you're left of centre, you must speak with respect to those who are right of centre, and vice versa. You don't have to agree with them on all things, and you can start with those closer to the centre, but you MUST begin dialogue. It cannot wait any longer.
It also means that if it is safe for you to do so (check with your therapist if you're not sure) you MUST find a way to feel compassion for people like those who have abused you. None of the abuse needs to be forgiven, but there must come a point (for your own healing) where you release the need to see those who are abusive in cut and dried terms. Everyone has a backstory. Happy people don't torture others. Chances are that both of you are trauma survivors. Find a safe way to think this through. You need not connect with anyone who has abused you, but finding compassion can help you heal.
Also, if you have been abusive, you MUST find a way to stop being abusive, to make amends for abuse you've committed, and you must also forgive yourself. The therapy link above may help you.
Also, for anyone who has experienced abuse (whether as the receiver or giver of it) this podcast can help you to reframe it in a simple way: How to Handle Psychological Clusters of Bees
We are all playing the game of life at the same time. Let's be better team players. Spoiler alert: we're all on the same team.
Let me know how you get on,
P.S. If you want to chat with me because you're thinking of hiring a coach or want to know more about my membership, for example, click the orange "Let's Talk" button at the bottom of the page and send me a message or book a slot to chat.
P.P.S. When you leave comments in the comment section on my blog posts an angel gets a library. If you share them on social media, and tag me, an angel gets a secret room that is accessed by a hidden door, operated by the removal of a book. In that room are organic chocolates, bakery treats, and extensive artwork, as well as a string quartet and a harpist. I don't know this for sure, but it seems probable. Thanks to everyone who does.
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