Sunday, April 1, 2018
Some Takeaways From Scott Alexander On Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules....
I read Alexander’s review of Peterson’s book.
I haven’t read the book.
Some of what I got from the review is that:
The only proper slotting of the book’s Peterson is as a prophet;
As that he’s exemplary in making cliches come alive and that there’s not so much that’s original in his thinking and writing as there is force and vitality such that they make home truths felt, experienced, by the reader who will then in countless small and subtle ways be better and do better. (He’s too crazed looking, maybe too lean and hungry, too angrily intense, to be thought of as a Dr. Phil aka a pompous windbag.)
Peterson points us towards heaven on earth and the god within us, the divinity about us.
There are many unanswered questions in what Peterson says and some slippage between his professions of pragmatism and righteous conduct, between, to use five dollar words, the consequentialist and the deontologist.
But that’s ok, he’s a prophet not a philosopher.
He’s a deep reader of the canonical texts he cites and makes them come alive.
Alexander doesn’t exactly say this but he in effect he says Peterson is an extraordinarily gifted teacher. As that he makes a reader thrilled to, and feel privileged to, be taken on the journey through those texts and through lessons in Peterson’s expertise. He’d have “killed’ to have Peterson as a teacher when he, Alexander, was in residence. (Me: At the U of T and at Harvard he has and had a reputation and awards for being a fabulous teacher.)
(Me: My thought maybe teacher or great teacher is better than prophet.)
Peterson must be a hell of psychotherapist, says Alexander. He doesn’t impose his theory on his patients. Rather he expertly listens perhaps guides and prods to let his patients discover the order that awaits them as with his help they sort through the chaos within that brought them to him.
Ideal for Peterson in his advice is finding a balance between order and chaos. That balance-finding underlies much of his thinking.