Jordan Peterson

One of the core ideas of Mr. Peterson is that ancients viewed as the world as a place to act properly, whereas the modernists view the world as a place of things to be explored with science. He also believes the ancients encoded the ideal ways to act in stories which do not lose meaning over time despite changing circumstances. These stories reappear over and over again throughout time simply because they have the ability to stand the test of time. They tell a common story that I paraphrase thusly:

The ideal way to act is to balance between chaos and order in all realms. Order, and consequent traditions that maintain such order, arise from the chaos of the past. People mindlessly follow such traditions until circumstances change and and then we have to rediscover why, the traditions that helped us, create the order we enjoy today, but are in the risk of losing due to changing circumstances. Once we discover the real reason why traditions used to work, we have to modernize tradition so as to create new traditions.

My personal view of Jordan Peterson is that he is far too optimistic about the human ability to engineer new traditions by understanding old traditions (or as he says it: saving the father from the underworld). Traditions arise from experimentation and variance in behavioral norms of which some survive the test of time by creating societies that stand the test of time. The societies that fail to come up with a workable set of behavioral norms and incentives will perish.

Now that agriculture is industrialized we no longer need half the people to work in it, and therefore more hands don’t mean more food. So we no longer need to make 10 children (of which only 3 would have survived), and that means women do not have to spend their entire lifetime giving birth and raising children, and they are free to be financially independent enough to not need men out of economic necessity but only out of sentiment, which is why other sentiment based lifestyles are also gaining popularity. No longer can children start working as soon as they can sow and reap, so they need to spend their parent’s dime learning for 20 years before they can be financially independent. This makes children expensive, and discourages childbirth and also makes young adults promiscuous before they leave their parents. Fewer expensive children also lead to labor shortages that need to be met using immigration.

The traditions that encouraged women to stay home and be economically dependent to men and raise 10 children, who start working in farms when they are children, and become economically self-sufficient and married in their teens before they have a chance to be promiscuous is no longer relevant.

But other traditions like saying truth all the time, and similar lessons will still stand the test of time.

Perhaps this is a form of saving the father from the belly of the whale or underworld as ancient myths would want us to do.


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