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Thread: Awakening With Russell Brand

  1. #16
    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    Peterson has a full stream of b.s. to pass on. I like this guy less each time i hear him speak. He may believe what he believes but his problem is that any 'thought' that changes the status quo for the 'other' is automatically driven by a power grab by the left. Peterson is permanently stuck in his psychological and emotional dysfunction. My diagnosis ... His mother didn't love him enough. And likely his father was 'stern' about status, proper behavior and success. If somebody checks it out ... let me know? Of course, i'm probably correct.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    I knew you would express your sour feelings about Peterson, NAP. Perhaps you should look at his birth chart.

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    yeah, I didn't want to offend you, but I'll say this about the video. Russel impressed me with his questions and understanding. In fact, I stopped watching it because Brand's questions were too good and I didn't want to hear Peterson wheedle out of them ...
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    It's not offending me, you're entitled to your feelings and opinions. You should give it a chance since their discussions are quite fruitful. I appreciate Peterson even though I don't agree about everything with him. I could say that I'm a leftie or progressive, but I don't like social justice warriors either especially when they go overboard with their mania. I think Jordan has taken his fear of communism and the marxists a bit too far, but otherwise he is a very intelligent man. He has definitely some emotional problems, because he's been suffering with depression for a long time and I can understand it. He's not a bad man, he's struggling with his unintegrated shadow aspects. I think we all are to a degree, some are just totally consumed by their shadow. He has a lot of empathy, I've seen it.

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    ok, that's fair ... the struggle between the self and the shadow should not take place on a public forum though. Way too much damage can be wrought on the unsuspecting. He is a bad man and couches it in terms of 'Woe is me... so unfairly chastised' I just can't buy it. I'll wait to see if he ever gets past his obsession with himself.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    It probably won't be of any use for me to say that you're wrong, but we may agree to disagree.

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    So then it is my wrong impression that makes me feel that he presents himself 'as having the answers' A struggling human may have some answers but certainly not all of them.

    J.P.

    Thoughts On My Mother’s 80th Birthday

    This week my mother, Beverley Anne Peterson, turns 80. She was born on February 6, 1939, in Naicam, Saskatchewan, a small, attractive, thriving prairie town, back when prairie towns were communities with a future. She was the third of four children, each separated by five years, preceded by her older brother, Earl, handsome, charming and reliable…

    Joan, perfectionistic, nervous and talented…
    and followed by Margaret, an attractive combination of conscientiousness, caring, fun-loving and full of tricks (a picture of her later).

    Her father, Frank Ponath, operated a successful car dealership and garage. This made the Ponaths one of the more well-off families by Naicam standards, with all the advantages and jealousies attendant upon that. She grew up on the right side of the tracks, and my grandmother a bit of a social climber was none too pleased when her third daughter was pursued by my father, Walter, smart, tough and good-looking, but not exactly of the right class. None of that mattered to Beverley, who pursued her own heart.

    If my mother was a child in any manner similar to her adult self, then she was friendly, hospitable, caring for other people, honest, hard working and prone to instant fits of guilt if forced even temporarily into leisurely inaction. She had a very good sense of humor, and loved to laugh and tease. She was empathic, perhaps to a fault, although it was and is also the case that she can stand up for herself when necessary. In old pictures, when she was a child and a teenager, she looks very straightforward and pretty and without pretension and I think that those who knew her then would agree. There is no hint of the cynicism and premature world-weariness and false maturity that seems too often to characterize young women today. She worried my grandmother a bit, being more independent and less immediately obedient than that easily worried lady would have liked, but I think that was a testament to her character, and no fault, even though she feels somewhat guilty about it to this day. I never saw her be anything but good to her mother, regardless (and she loved her father, who was a very good man—playful and funny like her— who died too early. She didn’t really know him, in the adult sense, and certainly regretted that, as well, after he was taken away from her).

    I remember my mother and her sisters mostly in the styles in the Kennedy era, at least in my childhood memories. I think those memories forged my essential sense of what defined attractive femininity, of at least the Doris Day version. They dressed in dresses, and sometimes in veils, and often with hats, and sometimes with gloves. The opportunity to do so came at least once a week for Sunday church attendance, and my mother enjoyed that—if enjoyed is the right word. She liked to sing, and enjoyed the community interaction (she’s very extraverted and sociable), and felt what I think was both a moral and spiritual responsibility to consider the divine and the role of proper action in the world. My father was not an attender of church, and this was a source of some chronic sorrow on my mother’s part. I came along with her until I was about 13 when the trouble of convincing me to accompany her began to outweigh any possible joy she might have derived from it. Really, it wouldn’t have been such a sacrifice for me to continue to make her happy for the few years between early teenage life and when I left home, but that’s not the way that people of that age think, when each year seems to stretch out endlessly and without limit.

    She stayed home with her kids until my younger brother went to school (I have two siblings, Bonnie, 18 months younger, and Joel, five years younger) while my father pursued a career as a teacher and vice-principal—an occupation which at that time and in Hines Creek, the small and isolated northern Albertan town 1500 miles away from their hometown my parents bravely moved to when they were first married, provided an income of sufficient magnitude to allow for such a luxury. They lived in a small apartment complex with a number of other young teachers with families, all of whom became life-long friends. It was de riguer at that point for young women to stay home with their children, which is not surprising, because it is a full-time job for someone. Furthermore, that period of life doesn’t last very long, not in the grander scheme of things, and I have seen that most people who miss it severely regret it. That doesn’t mean there are no exceptions. Regardless, she might have been more inclined than many to be happy about her home life with kids because she suffered through two miscarriages, before I was born, and had some difficulty with her subsequent pregnancies.

    In any case, I remember my early childhood, insofar as I can remember it, as a happy time of life, not least because my mother loved me and was funny and easy to get along with and playful and grateful and hospitable. And she stayed my firm friend through adolescence, which I can’t imagine was particularly easy.

    We moved away from Hines Creek in the mid-sixties, and went back to Saskatchewan, and then back to Alberta, where we settled in Fairview, another northerly community, only about 15 miles away from where we were originally. Mom stayed at home until my brother Joel enrolled in school. Then she went to work. She had trained as a nurse, but only practiced briefly. She worked, instead, at the library at our local college and, over a twenty-year period (a decently long career) ended up as the head librarian. She found the transition into the relatively competitive and masculine hierarchy of the college often difficult. She was not taken as seriously as might have been, given her competence, by her more disagreeable male colleagues, some of whom had a lot to learn about being civilized human beings. I know. I happened to have worked for one of them. She had to toughen up. This gave her panic attacks, upon occasion, and plenty of doubt, more frequently. But she bloody well stuck it out, and she stood her ground, and she gained the respect of the people she worked with, and she did a good job. She had to insist on her ambition, too, in the face of some opposition from my father, who felt that having a wife who had to (wanted to) work indicated that he wasn’t fully capable of taking care of his family. Old-fashioned as that might be, and however likely to be casually pilloried as sexist now, it did reflect his firm and admirable belief that it was his responsibility to ensure the economic viability of his family. There are worse flaws.

    But he accustomed himself to it, and it was, overall, a good thing. Mom was too dutiful and inclined to work to manage staying at home after her kids had entered the world outside and wasn’t interested in a continual round of coffee and, potentially worse (although arguably more fun), alcohol. So she pursued a successful career while we finished elementary school and junior high and graduated and then for many years after that. She put up with my quasi-delinquent friends, without imposing her choices on me, and she and my father both let me experiment and make my own mistakes. I can’t imagine that was easy.

    Her children did not stay where they grew up. My sister Bonnie traveled all over Africa and Europe and ran safaris and babysat orphaned gorillas (one of whom attacked her, when almost full size). Then she moved to California. But Mom and Dad see her a lot—perhaps more often than parents see their adult children if they do stay in the same community. They traveled to Norway with her, and to Africa, and had adventures there they would have otherwise foregone. I moved east, to Montreal, and Boston, and Toronto—thousands of miles away—but come back to Saskatchewan every summer, where my parents and my siblings have a cabin at a remote northern lake. Mom and Dad both got to know my kids very well, because of that, and I firmly believe that such intergenerational connection is vital. How else do you learn to travel through life, when you’re young? And I think my kids have some extra people to love, and that’s worth something. We’ve been very successful with that, too, on my wife’s family’s side.

    We still spend a couple of weeks at the cabin, by the northern lake, in the summer, where it’s really a bit too cold to swim, but is peaceful and beautiful, and where you can water-ski, because you don’ have to get into the water slowly, and the lake is deep and clear and with a good sandy bottom.

    I see my parents at least one other time or more a year, and talk to them at least weekly by phone or FaceTime (when I remember that it exists). My brother, Joel, lives in Regina, and he travels up to the lake cottage frequently and maintains it and takes care of my parents, who are getting a bit older, shall we say, and need a bit more help (although not very much). So she encouraged her children to leave, to get out into the world, to have their lives and their separate families, to pursue their adventures, and she benefited from it, surprisingly enough, by staying more involved with their lives, in a manner everyone appreciated, than would have otherwise been the case.

    Last year, I took Mom and her sister Margaret to Iceland for two of the lectures I have been delivering on my last book, 12 Rules for Life. It was a good adventure for them. They made friends with the young and good-looking security service types who were ensuring my safety (unnecessary, but unobtrusive, good-spirited and professional). They shared in the excitement of the large lectures and the odd celebrity that accompanied the tour. It was a very good trip. They were happy to be invited, and good company, and no trouble. She’s always up for an adventure. A few years back, my son sang at Carnegie Hall with a choir from Toronto. Mom and Margaret attended that, too. My wife, Tammy, and sister, Bonnie, got up to some mischief and invited them both to a drag club at a Chinese restaurant (a combination only likely in New York). It was pretty risqué, by 1950’s women’s standards. The drag queen, a very large black guy, zeroed in on my mom. He told her that she was the whitest woman that he had ever seen (probably true, as she has snow-white hair and the pale skin of someone English who lives in northern Alberta). He accused her of making apple pies. He had her stand up in the middle of the show, and raked her over the coals a bit, in a good-natured manner. In truth, it was difficult to envision two more difficult people trying to communicate. But she laughed, and joked, and took it in good form, and admitted rather shame-facedly that she did make a mean apple pie, and it went over fine. My poor aunt, a bit more prudish than my mother, spent the entire evening with her jaw dropped literally fully open. That’s God’s honest truth. But she enjoyed it, too, and certainly hasn’t forgotten it.

    That’s my mom. No trouble. Lots of fun. She is very emotionally stable and happy. That’s a wonderful temperament. She doesn’t complain, except sometimes, and then she has her reasons (and always feels guilty about it). She seriously loves her children, and doesn’t play favorites, although she has a soft spot for my younger brother, which is a bit comical and fine with the rest of us. She likes to have a glass of wine, and to play practical jokes, and is hospitable to a fault. There are always three meals prepared for guests at my mother’s house, or her cabin, or even when she’s visiting. She likes to be taken out for dinner, but doesn’t expect it. It’s easy to feel welcome when visiting her. This is a remarkable and underappreciated attribute. It’s what makes a house feel like a home. You’re welcome in her house. She takes care of you. It’s warm, and I think it’s much, much less common than it once was, now that so much resentment appears to have built up in the kitchen and the domestic sphere, where the increasingly common warfare between men and women and their respective duties means that the basic tasks of hospitality have been abandoned, where mealtimes are no longer collective acts of celebration but individual acts of self-interested grazing, and where people are chronically preoccupied with their individual electronic addictive social hells. Maybe that’s my own age speaking, but I can’t help but think that something crucial has been lost in the hunger for career and social accomplishment, and it’s home and the intense feeling of belonging somewhere that has gone by the wayside. I don’t think people can stand the isolation that loss has produced. But maybe that’s just sentimentality, as I consider this birthday and its particular significance.

    And now my mother, Beverley Anne Peterson, is eighty. That’s just not young, no matter how you slice it. Her older sister, Joan, just passed away a couple of weeks ago, after a dreadful bout with Alzheimer’s (the same disease that took her mother, with equal horror). Her older brother, Earl, is showing some signs of cognitive decline and even Margaret, five years younger, has had some heart trouble. Many of her friends have died, and a larger number of them are in nursing homes, where they are starting to be truly old. Some no longer recognize her. It’s no picnic to get old. The world defies your hard-earned expectations. Your culture disappears. Your friends vanish. You lose your hearing (she’s a bit deaf now), and sometimes your sight (she’s fortunate there) and your mobility (no problems there, either, perhaps because of her habit of daily walking) and maybe a lot more than that. But she manages it with amazing grace, volunteering at the old folk’s home in her home town, maintaining an active social life with the friends she has left, as well as new ones she has cultivated, and traveling, a lot, to see my family and Bonnie and her husband and kids in California and spending summers in the cabin at the lake, where she is joined very frequently by her sister Margaret. She’s no damn victim, my mother, and does what she can, with conscious intent, to make the best of what is sometimes a difficult lot.

    She’s nonplussed by her age; surprised that it arrived so soon; still feels like she did when she was, say, thirty or forty, and can’t believe that the time has been so evanescent and vanished so rapidly. Don’t be thinking that life is long. This is a warning to everyone young. The decades fly by with increasing speed as you march through the days and weeks of your life, and you are a fool to take anything for granted.

    My Mom is a very good person. She’s honest, and lovable, and funny, and grateful. She tries hard to do her best. She has a soft heart, but didn’t take advantage of that to overprotect her kids. She has been married to my father, successfully, for more than fifty years, and that’s taken a lot of commitment and care and work, because it’s no simple matter to manage a negotiation for that many decades.

    I love her a lot. I’m glad she’s still in good shape. It’s quite the miracle, as far as such things go. When she turned 75, my siblings and I took her and some other family members on an Alaskan cruise. That’s a very good thing to do with a family and with older people. You can spend as much time together as you want. You can dine together. There are things to do and, when you don’t want to do anything, you can watch the eternal ocean flow by. I hope we can think of something equally enjoyable and practical this time around, but not for a while, because I’m in Australia for the next month (among other complications).

    I don’t just love her, either. I like her, too. She’s been a very good friend to me. I’m happy to know her, and always happy to see her. The last three years of my life have been filled with exceptional turmoil and a fair bit of health trouble, and she’s been around for more of that than you might think, along with my father. I think it’s made our relationship even better, and it was pretty damn good to begin with. She’s on my side, firmly, just like she has been with her other kids, and her friends, and the rest of her family. There’s something to be said for loyalty, hospitality and gratitude.

    So, here’s to you, Mom. Happy Birthday. More power to you. I think you lived honorably and well and admirably and that the people who knew you well all loved and, just as importantly, respected you. I hope that God shines His grace on you for the next years of your life. I hope that I get to see you for some more good summers. May your spirit stay young and untrammeled. I hope that you and Dad keep contending successfully with one another, and stay together, and support one another, and keep the cords of your life tightly bound together. I hope the burdens of age don’t fall on you in too terrible a manner. May you have as many more birthdays as you want; that they are mercifully delivered; and that you are accompanied in your celebrations by the people whom you love and who love you. Thanks for all your support and your love and your belief in me (even when you had some reason to question that belief). It has made a tremendous difference in my life, and I am very grateful for who you are and who you have been for me and the rest of our family.
    Last edited by Wind, 27th August 2020 at 23:26.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Senior Member Norway Elen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wind View Post
    Very interesting dialog between the two. Russel has made wonderful jump in the right direction and I'm pleased to see Jordan Peterson on the mend.
    Whatever is true. Whatever is noble. Whatever is right. Whatever is lovely. Whatever is admirable. Anything of excellence and worthy of praise. Dwell on these things. Jesus Christ (I agree)

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    I watched it a lot more closely ... it's funny. Very entertaining watching Peterson's facial expressions.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    I have found Jordan to be interesting, at times compelling, and sometimes foolish. When he laughed with Joe Rogan about monetizing triggering liberal snowflakes I found it to be quite immature. It may be true, but for a psychologist who just wrote a book about rules for life it was really petty.

    He's a hit or miss for me but I can glean the good stuff and move on.

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    The thing is Peterson has a dark side that he tries to hide, for me very unsuccessfully.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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    JAKE DESYLLAS

    About Jake



    Dr Jake Desyllas is an author, investor, and podcaster. He writes about entrepreneurship, financial independence, and freedom. He is the host of The Voluntary Life podcast.

    In 2000, he founded Intelligent Space, an award-winning consultancy that led innovation in the field of pedestrian movement simulation and analysis. In 2010, he sold his business, quit the rat race, and retired early at the age of 38.

    He has a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and a doctorate. He is a perpetual traveler, a minimalist, a productivity geek, a peaceful parent, an avid reader of philosophy and psychology, and a marathon inline skater.

    A Critique of Jordan Peterson's Parenting Principles
    January 30, 2020



    One of the chapters in Jordan Peterson’s popular book “12 Rules For Life” relates to parenting. The chapter is called, “Don't Let Your Children Do Anything That Would Make You Dislike Them”. His main argument is that you mustn't be afraid to discipline your kids, even though they won't like it. As he puts it:

    Parents who refuse to adopt the responsibility for disciplining their children think they can just opt out of the conflict necessary for proper child-rearing. They avoid being the bad guy (in the short term). But they do not at all rescue or protect their children from fear and pain. Quite the contrary: the judgmental and uncaring broader social world will mete out conflict and punishment far greater than that which would have been delivered by an awake parent. You can discipline your children, or you can turn that responsibility over to the harsh, uncaring judgmental world—and the motivation for the latter decision should never be confused with love.

    Thus according to Peterson, if you fail to discipline your children, they will have a bad life because other people will punish them. How does his idea of discipline translate into parenting practice?

    Peterson recommends a series of principles for parents which sound reasonable and measured. However, there is a big difference between the title of each principle and how Peterson interprets them in terms of actions as a parent. As I will demonstrate, the way that Peterson interprets his principles does not at all follow from the principles themselves.

    Use of Force
    Peterson advocates using the least force necessary to enforce parental rules. This sounds reasonable. For example, if you've got a rule which is “don't hit or bites other kids”, then you should use the least force necessary to enforce that rule. That would clearly imply that as an adult, you should never hit your children because, if your child is hitting another child, the least force necessary to stop that from happening is certainly not hitting your child, or smacking, or anything like that. You can simply restrain your child. That is the least force necessary.

    But that's not what Peterson thinks the least force necessary means. Peterson is a fan of physical punishment; he thinks it is important and that parents shouldn't shy away from doing it. He says that you should use the least amount of physical punishment which he thinks is necessary. However, he explicitly sanctions using violence on children. Of course, he prefers the term spanking, but he sanctions physical violence against children. His arguments for this are frankly pathetic, especially coming from somebody who is a research psychologist who ought to know the literature on this subject, but who seems to have completely ignored it. Just to give you an example, Peterson says,

    we should note that some misbegotten actions must be brought to a halt both effectively and immediately, not least so that something worse doesn’t happen. What’s the proper punishment for someone who will not stop poking a fork into an electrical socket? Or who runs away laughing in a crowded supermarket parking lot? The answer is simple: whatever will stop it fastest, within reason

    Rather than be explicit in this statement, Peterson leaves the reader to draw his conclusion for him, which is that parents must use corporal punishment on children.

    Yet his conclusion does not follow from his premises. His idea is to use the least force necessary, which is never spanking. In this example of stopping a child from running away in a parking lot, the least force necessary would be to restrain the child by the arm and stop them from running away. The least force necessary would not be to hit the child. In the example of stopping a child from sticking a fork in an electrical socket, the least force necessary would be to remove the fork from the child. Of course, you could also put childproof coverings on your electrical sockets.

    One wonders what the parents are doing in his examples that allow such dangers to develop. What is going on beforehand that leads to a situation in which a child is repeatedly sticking a fork in an electrical socket? Where are the parents? Why does the child still have the fork? Why is it happening repeatedly? In order to bolster his case for parental violence, Peterson chooses dramatic situations of children acting out with no reference to parental responsibility in the lead-up to the problem. He does this because it is impossible to justify parental violence, so he must act as if parents have no role in creating the problem. Poor examples aside, the point is that Peterson is inconsistent with his own principle because at least force necessary is not corporal punishment.

    The False Dichotomy
    Peterson argues that the choice parents face is between either using physical punishment, or overlooking misbehaviour and leaving your child to their own devices. That's what he thinks the two options are for parents. On this view, either you neglectfully leave your child to run wild and stick forks in electrical sockets, or you discipline your child by physical punishment. This is a false dichotomy. (This question posed a dilemma to me when I was a new parent, I shortly realized that it is a total fake dichotomy that most lacking awareness will fall into. Seems Peterson is one of them, i.e. a classic product of bad parenting)

    Anyone can find non-violent alternative approaches to discipline within a few minutes of searching on the internet. I recommend Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) by Thomas Gordon and RIE, which is best expressed in the podcasts and books by Janet Lansbury. Peterson doesn’t provide a critique of these approaches, he simply ignores them.

    Peterson doesn’t address any of the arguments of academics or parenting specialists who advocate non-violent parenting, just as he doesn’t address any of the evidence on the harm of spanking. His book is written as if none of those arguments exist. Instead, he repeatedly resorts to rhetorical tricks to bolster his argument. He says “it is wilfully naive to think that you don't need to use physical violence on kids” and he calls it “wrong. Too simple.” These rhetorical techniques are ways of trying to dominate the reader into agreement through fear. When Peterson confidently asserts that his opponents are the naive ones, many will believe him. Who wants to think of themselves as wilfully naive?

    The reality is that Peterson himself is the wilfully naive to advocate physical violence in light of the massive amount of evidence on the harm of spanking. As Dr Noam Spencer explained, summarising 9 peer-reviewed meta-studies on the effects of spanking:

    The empirical case against spanking is strong, and made stronger by the absence of any empirical case in support of spanking. There is not one well designed study I have seen that links spanking to long term positive outcome.

    Spencer summarised the current state of research in the title of his summary article: “The Spanking Debate Is Over”. The empirical studies demonstrate clearly that spanking leads to negative outcomes including lack of impulse control, aggression, depression poor performance in school and worse health outcomes.

    Jordan Peterson is a psychology professor, he must be aware of these studies. He doesn't bother to refute them in this chapter or say anything about them. He just completely ignores them. This is either wilful ignorance or plain deceit by a psychology professor. Both are inexcusable.

    Parenting As a Pair
    Although there is much to criticise about Peterson’s advocacy of aggression against children, I agree with him about his principle that “parents should come in pairs”. Peterson emphasizes the fact that parenting is very stressful and that if you do it alone then you're more likely to lose your temper on your kids. He advocates empathy towards single parents, especially those who are single parents owing to circumstances out their own control. However, his point is that parenting is better when you do it in pairs.

    Peterson doesn’t go into detail about the evidence that supports this principle, but there is a wealth of empirical studies that show that children simply do much better in families that stay together. Long term statistical studies comparing the wellbeing of children raised in families that stay together versus children whose parents split up, show a clear benefit for children of having two parents.

    Therefore, if you want to have kids you should stay together because it is important for your kids' wellbeing. I don't have any argument with that part of this chapter except to say that it's interesting that Peterson didn't focus on this more. It is a well-established finding that parents who break up have a detrimental effect on their child’s development, so if Peterson’s aim is to improve the wellbeing of children, why does he deal with this topic so superficially and yet focus so much on sanctioning the hitting of children? As we’ve already seen, all the empirical studies show that corporal punishment is detrimental to kids, so Peterson’s focus is doubly strange.

    He merely mentions that parents should come in pairs, but I think this should have been his main argument. It is the only argument that he makes about parenting that is clearly backed by the evidence.

    Understanding Your Psychology As A Parent
    Peterson argues that parents should “understand their capacity to be harsh, vengeful, arrogant, resentful, angry and deceitful”.

    When I first read this principle, I thought it was an injunction to self knowledge. I thought that Peterson was going to argue that if you want to have kids, you've got to be aware of your own dark side and you have to be conscious of it. As a parent, you will be in a position of enormous responsibility. You must be aware of your capacity for aggression and you must control it. You must be aware of your potential to act out, and you must not do so. You can control it. We all have the capability of acting with extreme violence. We all have the capability of assaulting others every day and yet we don’t. We can control it. That's what I thought he was going to say. But his argument is very different.

    Peterson’s argument is that as a parent, you have to be aware of the fact that your kids might annoy you. Therefore, don't let your kids do anything that might annoy you because you're such an angry, vengeful person deep down that they will trigger you. In other words, Peterson thinks it is not the responsibility of the parents to stop themselves from acting out. His argument is the children must behave themselves because otherwise they're going to trigger the parents to act out. In Peterson’s mind, it is the children’s responsibility to be extremely well behaved in order not to annoy the parents because otherwise the parents will take it out on them. (This is important because it spotlights Peterson's propensity of seeing things from only self, from his perspective even his own children are 'others' ... This is sad)

    This is a bizarre inversion of responsibility by Peterson. Why is the onus on the children to be the more responsible ones? Given that the adults are supposed to have more capability of managing their emotions, Peterson has responsibility backwards. He thinks kids should be more adult than the adults! Peterson talks a lot about personal responsibility in his book, but he believes children should take responsibility for managing their parents feelings, not the other way around.

    I agree with Peterson that we all have the capability of being vengeful and deceitful. Peterson’s conclusion from this that children should take responsibility for their parents feelings makes no sense. Rather, the obvious conclusion is that parents have a responsibility to control their aggression and be vigilantly aware of their capability to act out.

    Peterson often advocates taking personal responsibility, and I agree with that aspect of his work. But taking responsibility also means taking responsibility for your feelings. Peterson is right when he states that we are all capable of being vengeful and that we all have a dark side. But that is not an excuse for putting the responsibility on your children to be more adult than you. His idea that children must behave because parents can't control their own dark side gets responsibility the wrong way around.

    Behaviourism
    Throughout his comments on parenting, Peterson advocates a psychological approach called behaviourism. He praises B.F. Skinner (the most important psychologist in the behaviourist movement) for having worked out how to get the behaviour you want using techniques based around punishment and reward. Peterson’s essential argument is that parents should use punishment and rewards on children in order to train them into positive behaviours.

    Within psychology as a whole, behaviourism has a controversial reputation. There are many criticisms of the approach, ranging from ethical issues to critiques of Skinner’s original overblown claims for how effective behaviourism can be. Particularly with regard to children, there are well known negative effects of behaviourism because the approach pushes children to be extrinsically motivated. Behaviourism trains kids to merely try to please reward givers, rather than internalizing values for themselves. Alfie Kohn’s book “Punished By Rewards” provides a summary of these criticisms. It is therefore questionable that Peterson uncritically advocates Skinner as an authority for parenting ideas, as if this were uncontroversial. He doesn’t bother to offer any defence of behaviourism or acknowledgement of the criticisms.

    Behaviourism’s main application has been in training pets. Nobody has to have kids. If you're going to have them, then it's immoral to treat them as if they are pets. That is what Jordan Peterson is advocating.

    Peterson has a problem: his core message to parents is to advocate the use of physical punishments and yet none of the main theories of child development lend any support to the use of violence on children. I think this explains why he has chosen to rely on behaviourism, despite the fact that Skinner didn’t really focus on child development and behaviourism has a distinctly controversial reputation, especially with regard to children. But behaviourism can be used to justify punishments and rewards.

    Peterson’s Psychology
    Peterson’s descriptions of his interactions with children are quite revealing about his attitude towards them. Peterson is a psychologist who often speculates on the motivations of others, so it's reasonable to point the camera back to him and explore his attitudes and beliefs about children. Here is a telling anecdote from his book:

    I remember taking my daughter to the playground once when she was about two. She was playing on the monkey bars, hanging in mid-air. A particularly provocative little monster of about the same age was standing above her on the same bar she was gripping. I watched him move towards her. Our eyes locked. He slowly and deliberately stepped on her hands, with increasing force, over and over, as he stared me down. He knew exactly what he was doing. Up yours, Daddy-O—that was his philosophy. He had already concluded that adults were contemptible, and that he could safely defy them. (Too bad, then, that he was destined to become one.) That was the hopeless future his parents had saddled him with. To his great and salutary shock, I picked him bodily off the playground structure, and threw him thirty feet down the field. No, I didn’t. I just took my daughter somewhere else. But it would have been better for him if I had.

    I presume Peterson was trying to be funny in making that comment about throwing a toddler thirty feet, but there is a definite seriousness underneath his dark joke about assaulting a child. He fantasises about doing an extraordinarily vengeful act to a small boy. I don’t find that amusing.

    I'm aware that Peterson didn't assault the toddler and that this was merely a fantasy. I'm also aware that it was probably supposed to be a joke, but Peterson argues that it would have been better for the boy if he had been thrown. What are we to make of that? Peterson supposedly advocates the principle of “mimimim use of force on kids”. Is his fantasy of throwing a toddler 30 feet down a field supposed to demonstrate his minimum-use-of-force thinking?

    Why did Peterson let this child repeatedly step on his daughter's hands in the first place? Surely the minimum use of force would have been to remove the child’s foot as soon as Peterson saw the boy moving towards his daughter's hands on the climbing frame. If necessary, Peterson could have lifted the boy off the climbing frame altogether (the boy was only 2 years old). Perhaps there would have been as a discussion to be had with the boy’s parents, which Peterson could have had.

    Peterson was the responsible adult in the situation and he failed to act in a timely way to diffuse the conflict. He cites the situation to show how aggressive the boy was (which he was), but this situation was also an example of failure on Peterson’s part to protect his daughter and stop the boy “repeatedly” stepping on her hands.

    Peterson often writes about the importance of establishing dominance. He writes openly about how he sees parenting as a battle of dominance and how important it is to immediately respond to any challenge. For example, he writes that “anger crying is often an act of dominance and should be dealt with as such”.

    He argues that since we evolved over millennia in dominance hierarchies, it is necessary to recognise the reality of such hierarchies within families. This means that when children challenge parents for dominance, parents must win the challenge. He uses phrases like “I prepared for war” when describing his approach to winning dominance over children. When describing how he made his son eat some food, he writes:

    I poked him in the chest, with my free hand, in a manner calculated to annoy. He didn’t budge. I did it again. And again. And again. Not hard—but not in a manner to be ignored, either. Ten or so pokes letter, he opened his mouth, planning to emit a sound of outrage. Hah! His mistake. I deftly inserted the spoon.

    It sounds to me as if Peterson enjoys asserting dominance over little kids.

    Evolutionary Psychology
    Peterson’s justification for his emphasis on establishing dominance is that he thinks it is important to recognise the findings of evolutionary psychology. We are products of evolution and ignoring our nature is unrealistic. The fact that we evolved in dominance hierarchies means that we can’t avoid them and should therefore assert them as parents.

    Even if we accept the idea that humans necessarily live in dominance hierarchies, this only implies that parents have a leadership role to play. Children require leadership and look to their parents to provide it. But being a leader does not necessitate the use of violence or aggression to assert that role. The fact that we evolved in a dominance hierarchy isn't excuse for abusing your leadership role. It’s not an excuse for hitting your kids, and using euphemisms like spanking doesn’t excuse it either. Good leaders do not rely on violence. You do not need to hit children; to do so is an unjustifiable act of aggression.

    Peterson’s emphasis on evolutionary psychology is also highly selective. He cites it in support of his ideas about dominating children but ignores the findings of evolutionary psychology that would inform other parenting decisions. For example, there are very good arguments for co-sleeping from evolutionary psychology. In our pre-history, babies never slept alone. It would have been incredibly dangerous to leave babies to sleep alone when we were in the hunter gatherer stage of our evolution (which was for the majority of our evolutionary development as humans). All children would have slept in the same place as their parents. But Jordan Peterson is certainly not an advocate of co-sleeping. He thinks children should be left to cry it out, and trained not to disturb their parents at night.

    Peterson’s advocacy of aggressive parenting is not a result of following evolutionary psychology, rather he uses evolutionary psychology to support only those arguments he wants to make, and ignores implications that don’t support his arguments.

    Rationalising Violence Against Children
    Of all the parenting issues that Peterson could have chosen to highlight as his main concern, he chose to advocate more physical discipline. His main argument on how to be a better parent is don’t hold back on corporal punishment.

    There are many problems facing children that Peterson could have chosen to focus on to improve the quality of parenting. Parents who break up their family have a lasting detrimental effect on their kids. Peterson mentions this, but only as minor topic. He totally ignores many other pressing concerns for the quality of parenting today. What about neglect? What about the huge number of kids who grow up without dads? What about the fact that school is often little more than a prison for children where they must stay for over a decade? What about the still widespread problem of child sexual abuse? What about barbaric practices such as circumcision? What about the epidemic of giving children drugs like Ritalin because they are so bored out of their minds in school that the only way to get them to conform is by giving them drugs? What about the huge amount of time that kids are stuck in daycare and the lack of time that parents spend with their kids?

    Peterson didn’t tackle tackle any of these issues. He chooses to focus on making an argument for why you should immediately counter any testing of your or authority by your children with old fashioned discipline, including corporal punishment. He's chosen to focus on that because he argues a false dichotomy that as a parent you either spank your child and as a disciplinarian parent, or you leave your child to their own devices and they become dangerously antisocial.

    Peterson doesn't say so explicitly, but we can infer from his arguments that he spanked his own children. He defends spanking extensively and doesn’t state anywhere that he has changed his mind or learned anything new since he was a parent himself. He is a psychology professor who discusses the topic of spanking without a single mention of the many studies that have demonstrated the harm that it does. The most charitable interpretation of this omission is that he is wilfully ignoring all of the evidence on the detrimental effects of spanking.

    Peterson’s advocacy of disciplinarian parenting are probably a post-rationalisation of his own parenting practices, and perhaps an excuse for what his own parents did to him. He probably thinks that he turned out fine, and that he has great kids, therefore everything he did was great, and therefore spanking is probably good too. In writing a long excuse for his own behaviour as a parent instead of focussing on the real problems that children face, he has done children and parents a disservice.

    Conclusion
    Peterson is the most intelligent and well-argued advocate of aggressive parenting that I’m aware of. Yet he makes no valid arguments for the use of aggression in parenting. He can’t, because there are no good arguments for using aggression on children.

    To make his defence of corporal punishment he had to ignore all the research literature on the bad effects of spanking. He had to rely on a controversial and outdated school of thought in psychology (behaviourism) as the only authority he could appeal to in trying to justify his aggressive style of dominance assertion against children. He had to ignore the entire field of child psychology, none of which supports spanking or aggressive parenting. He had to cherry-pick ideas from evolutionary psychology that seem to support aggression, whilst ignoring evolutionary psychology when it leads to promotion of practices such as co-sleeping. His arguments are so weak that he resorts to rhetorical techniques like asserting that anyone who disagrees with him is wrong and holds views that are “too simple”.

    Peterson’s chapter on parenting is called “Don't Let Your Kids Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them”. But that that is a mealy-mouthed way of stating his views. He should heed his own advice and take responsibility for his views, which means not using the passive tense. His chapter should be titled “Don't Let Your Kids Do Anything That You Dislike Them Doing”, because that's what he is really saying. When you put it like that, it amounts to merely saying “Don't Let Your Kids Do Anything That You Don't Want Them To”, which is neither deep nor enlightened. It is merely a sophisticated excuse for indefensible aggression against children.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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  27. #29
    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    You can't say that a man who has given inspiration to thousands if not millions of young men to improve their lives to be bad. He has literally saved countless of lives from the brink of suicide and perhaps even mass murders. That's not a small feat by any means and for that I'm willing to forgive a lot of errors in his character. He's not perfect, but at least he's trying to be a force of good.

    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

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    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    well, he might have saved one, if it was you ... thousands to millions ... maybe ... The darkness will always out, Wind. We need to watch our guides closely. The loss of one soul is one too many. I think there are two dead right now in Kenosha Wisconsin at the hands of one of his devotees. It's a package Wind, you can't have Jordan Peterson without Anders Behring Breivik, the Heritage Foundation, anti-semites, Pat Buchanan.
    Last edited by Aragorn, 28th August 2020 at 18:11. Reason: You ought to know why I edited your post.
    “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which ... will always be incomplete" - courtesy of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem

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