Reading Peterson Etc. 5 LOBSTER MINDSET

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12,…

My notes on the thing that I call ‘the thing’ started with ‘dominance hierarchy’ long before I’d heard of Jordan Peterson, so it is almost alarming that Peterson starts Chapter 1 of his book with his pet theory on dominance hierarchies. The far right love bad-biology. Perhaps its the hope of finding some biological proof of their racist theories or biological proof of their sexist theories or proof that evolution proves that they are right or proof that evolution is wrong. It really doesn’t matter, as there’s no particular commitment to actually engage with the biology in depth.

Instead, biology plays the role of a source of stories, whether it be Vox Day ranting about rabbits, Stefan Molyneaux ranting about wolves or Mike Cernovich beating his chest about gorillas, animals are a regular source for arguments that aren’t quite analogies, not entirely metaphors and never well grounded in science. So some slight kudos goes to Jordan Peterson for at least picking out an animal not usually covered – the humble lobster.

RULE 1 STAND UP STRAIGHT WITH YOUR SHOULDERS BACK

To put it politely, this is bad. The lobster’s territorial habits and rivalries are invoked to demonstrate the great age of dominance hierarchies in the existence of life. Peterson argues that if lobsters have these issues then so do we and that are biological similarities with lobster demonstrate that such hierarchies and psycho-biological response to our position in a dominance hierarchy are deeply and inextricably baked into our beings.

This is, of course, nonsense.

Biologist and blogger P.Z.Myers has already cracked open the carapace of Jordan’s bad biology and feasted on the fleshy insides of confused biology more adeptly than I could, in two videos that I’ve linked too and at the end of this post.

I’m less interested in why the biology is wrong as to how dominance hierarchy is part of this broader ‘thing’. The essence of all the rightwing version of self-improvement has to juggle a set of competing ideas:

  • individualism
  • free will
  • biological determinism
  • everybody is either a sheep, a wolf or a guard dog

Put another way, everything about human nature has to be fixed and inescapable. That’s vital for these pundits to claim that established gender roles are just biology and incapable of change and also vital for their racial theories. At the same time, they also want to promote the idea of the power of will, individualism and god-granted independence.

Dominance hierarchies help them square these circles. The argument is basically this (I say ‘basically’ because as always Peterson never properly explains it but just waves his hand at it). Biology forces us into dominance hierarchies based on territory and mate-finding. These hierarchies are inevitable and unavoidable and we are trapped in them BUT by modifying our behaviour then we can climb up the ladder of those hierarchies and become winners.

Whether it is being a better lobster or being a better salesman* the situation is the same. The pundit/guru wants you to see the world as a struggle for dominance that you can hack your way to success. Note that the very inevitably of these hierarchies means that these secret winning strategies cannot succeed if EVERYBODY adopts them. The dominance hierarchy is taken to be a fixed aspect of our nature, so we can’t all be winners. Given that, is it surprising that the inevitable extrapolation of this argument is the pro-psychopathy stances of the likes of Ivan Throne (see part 4)?

The common ideological threads here are territory and sex. Seeing biological dominance in terms of territory feeds into pro-imperialist, pro-colonialist and pro-capitalist arguments.

“Over the millennia, animals who must co-habit with others in the same territories have in consequence learned many tricks to establish dominance, while risking the least amount of possible damage. A defeated wolf, for example, will roll over on its back, exposing its throat to the victor, who will not then deign to tear it out. The now-dominant wolf may still require a future hunting partner, after all, even one as pathetic as his now-defeated foe. Bearded dragons, remarkable social lizards, wave their front legs peaceably at one another to indicate their wish for continued social harmony. Dolphins produce specialized sound pulses while hunting and during other times of high excitement to reduce potential conflict among dominant and subordinate group members. Such behavior is endemic in the community of living things. “- Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 4-5). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

It’s just nature! Inequality is inevitable!

“When a defeated lobster regains its courage and dares to fight again it is more likely to lose again than you would predict, statistically, from a tally of its previous fights. Its victorious opponent, on the other hand, is more likely to win. It’s winner-take-all in the lobster world, just as it is in human societies, where the top 1 percent have as much loot as the bottom 50 percent— and where the richest eighty-five people have as much as the bottom three and a half billion. That same brutal principle of unequal distribution applies outside the financial domain— indeed, anywhere that creative production is required.”- Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 8). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Peterson scratches around the notion of power-law distributions as if finding a mathematical description of a thing makes that thing an inevitability.

And what works for inequality works for both sex and for gender as far as Peterson is concerned:

“There is an unspeakably primordial calculator, deep within you, at the very foundation of your brain, far below your thoughts and feelings. It monitors exactly where you are positioned in society— on a scale of one to ten, for the sake of argument. If you’re a number one, the highest level of status, you’re an overwhelming success. If you’re male, you have preferential access to the best places to live and the highest-quality food. People compete to do you favours. You have limitless opportunity for romantic and sexual contact. You are a successful lobster, and the most desirable females line up and vie for your attention. 18 If you’re female, you have access to many high-quality suitors: tall, strong and symmetrical; creative, reliable, honest and generous. And, like your dominant male counterpart, you will compete ferociously, even pitilessly, to maintain or improve your position in the equally competitive female mating hierarchy. Although you are less likely to use physical aggression to do so, there are many effective verbal tricks and strategies at your disposal” -Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 15-16). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Peterson is demanding that we see some things as biologically fixed and that we cannot succeed in changing them – nor should we even try! It’s dressed up in pop-science & self-help clothes but it is essentially a very old reactionary argument. God has ordained a place for everything and to go against God’s will is to be unnatural and to be unnatural is wrong.

Now couple that with the other aspect of self-help I’ve discussed before – the focus on the individual changing themselves. Peterson is setting out a view that we cannot change these fixed aspects of the world but only change our position within them (I noted in a previous chapter how better self-help books avoid this trap).

You can see how appalling this trap is when Peterson starts discussing bullying – now note he is an actual practising therapist who gives advice to actual clients.

“Sometimes people are bullied because they can’t fight back. This can happen to people who are weaker, physically, than their opponents. This is one of the most common reasons for the bullying experienced by children. Even the toughest of six-year-olds is no match for someone who is nine. A lot of that power differential disappears in adulthood, however, with the rough stabilization and matching of physical size (with the exception of that pertaining to men and women, with the former typically larger and stronger, particularly in the upper body) as well as the increased penalties generally applied in adulthood to those who insist upon continuing with physical intimidation. But just as often, people are bullied because they won’t fight back. This happens not infrequently to people who are by temperament compassionate and self-sacrificing— particularly if they are also high in negative emotion, and make a lot of gratifying noises of suffering when someone sadistic confronts them (children who cry more easily, for example, are more frequently bullied). It also happens to people who have decided, for one reason or another, that all forms of aggression, including even feelings of anger, are morally wrong. I have seen people with a particularly acute sensitivity to petty tyranny and over-aggressive competitiveness restrict within themselves all the emotions that might give rise to such things. Often they are people whose fathers who were excessively angry and controlling. Psychological forces are never unidimensional in their value, however, and the truly appalling potential of anger and aggression to produce cruelty and mayhem are balanced by the ability of those primordial forces to push back against oppression, speak truth, and motivate resolute movement forward in times of strife, uncertainty and danger.” – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 23). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

This is an extraordinarily toxic message from a mental-healthcare professional. He portrays bullying often (50%?) due to people not standing up for themselves. He sees the problem as them being too nice, too unwilling to be confrontational or just too kind. Note he doesn’t see the problem as being an issue of the BULLIES becoming better people or perhaps more relevantly seeing bullying as a SYSTEMIC problem that can be reduced not by an intrapersonal change in the victim but interpersonal changes and social structural changes. Why not? Because oddly it is the things that can be changed that he sees as immutable and the things that are notoriously difficult to change (our own habits) as the things we are obliged to change.

In short, if Peterson thinks you are acting like a loser you should expect to be bullied. OK, that’s a bit mean to me. Peterson is an experienced therapist and well-known psychologist – he doesn’t go around classifying people as ‘losers’. I’m being unfair to him and setting up a strawman to make his position look more evil.

Ha, I’m kidding – OF COURSE, he goes around calling people ‘losers’:

“Maybe you are a loser. And maybe you’re not— but if you are, you don’t have to continue in that mode. Maybe you just have a bad habit. Maybe you’re even just a collection of bad habits. Nonetheless, even if you came by your poor posture honestly— even if you were unpopular or bullied at home or in grade school— it’s not necessarily appropriate now. Circumstances change. If you slump around, with the same bearing that characterizes a defeated lobster, people will assign you a lower status, and the old counter that you share with crustaceans, sitting at the very base of your brain, will assign you a low dominance number. Then your brain will not produce as much serotonin. This will make you less happy, and more anxious and sad, and more likely to back down when you should stand up for yourself. It will also decrease the probability that you will get to live in a good neighbourhood, have access to the highest quality resources, and obtain a healthy, desirable mate.”-Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 25-26). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

It isn’t exactly the same as the more overtly fascist models of Vox Day or Mike Cernovich but the differences are small. They tend to blame low testosterone whereas Peterson blames low serotonin but the basic narrative is the same. Biology determines that you must live in this hierarchy and you can only move within it not move beyond it or change it. The implication is also clear – if you don’t live in a good neighbourhood and don’t have access to quality resources and don’t have a desirable mate, it is because you have let yourself slide to the bottom. For Peterson et al it is your fault if you a poor – you simply didn’t try hard enough NOT to be poor.

Peterson moderates his views of the pre-eminence of dominance hierarchies somewhat in Chapter 7 (RULE 7 / Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)). He gives an example of one person getting above it all – Jesus and then himself in a weird spirit quest dream:

“Finally comes the third temptation, the most compelling of all. Christ sees the kingdoms of the world laid before Him for the taking. That’s the siren call of earthly power: the opportunity to control and order everyone and everything. Christ is offered the pinnacle of the dominance hierarchy, the animalistic desire of every naked ape: the obedience of all, the most wondrous of estates, the power to build and to increase, the possibility of unlimited sensual gratification. That’s expedience, writ large. But that’s not all. Such expansion of status also provides unlimited opportunity for the inner darkness to reveal itself. The lust for blood, rape and destruction is very much part of power’s attraction. It is not only that men desire power so that they will no longer suffer. It is not only that they desire power so that they can overcome subjugation to want, disease and death. Power also means the capacity to take vengeance, ensure submission, and crush enemies. Grant Cain enough power and he will not only kill Abel. He will torture him, first, imaginatively and endlessly. Then and only then will he kill him. Then he will come after everyone else.

There’s something above even the pinnacle of the highest of dominance hierarchies, access to which should not be sacrificed for mere proximal success. It’s a real place, too, although not to be conceptualized in the standard geographical sense of place we typically use to orient ourselves. I had a vision, once, of an immense landscape, spread for miles out to the horizon before me. I was high in the air, granted a bird’s-eye view. Everywhere I could see great stratified multi-storied pyramids of glass, some small, some large, some overlapping, some separate— all akin to modern skyscrapers; all full of people striving to reach each pyramid’s very pinnacle. But there was something above that pinnacle, a domain outside each pyramid, in which all were nested. That was the privileged position of the eye that could or perhaps chose to soar freely above the fray; that chose not to dominate any specific group or cause but instead to somehow simultaneously transcend all. That was attention, itself, pure and untrammeled: detached, alert, watchful attention, waiting to act when the time was right and the place had been established.”- Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 183-184). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

I should add that a LOT of the book is like that. It isn’t all bad nature documentaries about lobster or half-baked alt-right talking points – some of it is weird purple prose passages.

It isn’t a contradiction that Peterson seems critical of the dominance hierarchy in Chapter 7. After all, he doesn’t think he is saying that we SHOULD all live in some bitter struggle against one another, just that we do and we can’t escape it unless we are Jesus or maybe Peterson on acid.

Well, I’m not even sure of that. Peterson never feels obliged to develop a theme systematically but rather dances around it or deploys it for convenience.

By Chapter 11 (RULE 11 / Do not bother children when they are skateboarding) he shifts gear again to rail against political correctness.

“The strong turn towards political correctness in universities has exacerbated the problem. The voices shouting against oppression have become louder, it seems, in precise proportion to how equal— even now increasingly skewed against men— the schools have become. There are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men. These are the areas of study, dominated by the postmodern/ neo-Marxist claim that Western culture, in particular, is an oppressive structure, created by white men to dominate and exclude women (and other select groups); successful only because of that domination and exclusion.

The Patriarchy: Help or Hindrance? Of course, culture is an oppressive structure. It’s always been that way. It’s a fundamental, universal existential reality. The tyrannical king is a symbolic truth; an archetypal constant. What we inherit from the past is willfully blind, and out of date. It’s a ghost, a machine, and a monster. It must be rescued, repaired and kept at bay by the attention and effort of the living. It crushes, as it hammers us into socially acceptable shape, and it wastes great potential. But it offers great gain, too.” – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 302). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

He wants it both ways – it is a universal existential reality and also it is really good and those bad people (women) shouldn’t change it! Although if he was truly committed to this ‘existential reality’ then should he not just blame himself and his own gender for not standing up straight enough, with his shoulders back enough and letting himself lose the dominance game to the women? After all, if women are WINNING these battles as he claims, surely that means that is the system he lauds working?

Ah, but it doesn’t count when Peterson sees himself as the loser.

Next – Nietzche.

*[‘man’ intended there]

 

 

 

And…

 

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55 thoughts on “Reading Peterson Etc. 5 LOBSTER MINDSET

  1. Proofreading notes: Check the syntax in paragraph 1, and the paragraph with P.Z. Meyers. Also, in general, “thing” manages to replace “think” from time to time. Kick your spell-checker.

    When I read the excerpts about being a better lobster, the image I have is of some lobster being the dominant lobster in the tank of live lobsters at the grocery store. Shades of the passage about the heap of soup-bound turtles in A Walk on the Wild Side. (Wild side note: I have a humor anthology edited by Nelson Algren. Just think about that. Nelson Algren. Humor anthology.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Peterson argues that if lobsters have these issues then so do we and that are biological similarities with lobster demonstrate that such hierarchies and psycho-biological response to our position in a dominance hierarchy are deeply and inextricably baked into our beings.”

    Maybe Peterson has recurring nightmares about being dropped into a pot of boiling water?
    Now I’m dreaming about baked lobster.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. On the section about bullies, at least his arguments are aimed at empowering the victims of bullying, and that’s no small thing. Yes, if I’m the victim of bullies, I shouldn’t have to do anything; it is 100% the fault of the bully. But it’s awful to tell me I can’t do anything. A message of “here are some things you can do that don’t depend on anyone but you” can be a welcome relief. He deserves some credit for that, if not for much else.

    By an odd coincidence, my mother and I were talking about a kid who bullied me back when I was 13 or 14 and attended a boy’s prep school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was over a year younger than the other kids in this particular class, and he was big for his age, so he towered over me. I don’t remember what set him off, but it had to have been something I said in class. Anyway, he ambushed me after class and beat me up. His big mistake was that he loosened one of my front teeth, which made it impossible for me to conceal what had happened. That plus the fact I was obsessed with fear of losing my tooth. My mother said she never saw my father so angry–particularly when the bully tried to claim that I had started it.

    To make a long story short, I kept the tooth, the kid got punished (but not expelled), and he never touched me again. I looked him up online just to see where he is 45 years later. Turns out he’s serving time for attempted murder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my sophomore year of high school in Colorado, I had to go to gym class, where I would be threatened each day by a tall goat roper (they thought of themselves as cowboys) who I will call Tanner. Tall and unsmiling with oddly thick, red lips, he wore the hat proudly. I don’t recall for sure, but he probably had a purple Future Farmers of America gang jacket. They all seemed to. Every day in the locker room, I had to put up with him calling me ‘faggot’ and offering violence. (My observation of similar types in those years shows that their conversations among themselves was basically calling each other the same thing, but without the violence part.) Though there were a number of cowboys in the class, he was the only one who gave me grief, possibly because JA (who went by his first two initials, though they weren’t JA), who was something of a respected figure among them, made it a point to be cordial to me, and I owe him for that.

      Tanner, however, was a real asshole, and seemed to get worse every time. One day I snapped. He called me a hippie queer or whatever for the thousandth time, and I just didn’t care any more. “At least I don’t wear lipstick!” I said, and there were widespread snickering sounds at the lockers as he turned away redfaced.

      And that was that. I don’t even think I saw that much more of him, and he disappeared from school not too long after that. I learned from someone that he had gone up for Manslaughter, having killed his nephew somehow. By accident, I’ve always thought.

      One day after I was out of school and living in town, I bought some food at Steele’s Market. Paul Steele (a family friend, at least slightly) was known as a man who gave second chances, and hired people who had been in trouble, and there was Tanner, bagging my groceries. “Hey, Tanner,” I said, mechanically (‘hey’ = ‘hi). He looked up and sullenly mumbled a reply, and I took my purchases and walked out into the sunshine, free at last.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. //On the section about bullies, at least his arguments are aimed at empowering the victims of bullying, and that’s no small thing.//

      Yeah but at best it is cheap advice that bullied people will get anyway. I’d be happier to give him the benefit of the doubt if he was some random guy doshing out some dime-store philosophy on being bullied…but the guy is a professional therapist and professor of psychology.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve just been reading about humans and self-domestication in New Scientist (here, but it’s behind a paywall: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731660-600-the-tamed-ape-were-humans-the-first-animal-to-be-domesticated/ ).

    Despite what Peterson and VD think, it’s not the bullies and violent assholes who advance, or who “win” the women, or whatever. Quite the opposite. Humans seem to have been self-selecting for millennia for those who are *not* violent, for those who will cooperate and work with others, and for the ability to communicate effectively.

    The whole “alpha dog” myth is an alt-right invention, which doesn’t match what we see happening in evolution or in history.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m pretty certain I’m not a lobster. There are clues. I have the wrong number of limbs; I have a soft, doughy exterior instead of a hard carapace; I am not delicious. So I’m not seeing how lobster behaviour is a reliable guide to mine. Sorry, Mr Peterson.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Back before I decided to steer completely clear of Vox’s blog I somehow ended up taking a tour around his similar-sounding theory: people are either alpha, beta, or gamma, and maybe some other types; you don’t want to be gamma but beta isn’t terrible, though of course Vox is alpha; people Vox hates are all coincidently gamma, and they’re rabbits too for some reason, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out why.

    I finally decided that if people want to put themselves in uncomfortable boxes, to pretend to be tougher than they really are or to treat everyone they meet as an enemy, as one-up or one-down, that was up to them, and good luck to them. (Does an alpha think things are funny? I mean besides someone being punched in the face?) Then I read something that pretty much broke my heart. A man said (hopefully) that he thought he was a beta, but that unfortunately his son looked like he might be a gamma, and was there anything this man could do to help him? I just can’t stop thinking about that. That poor, poor kid.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I suspect he had too many people joining him in the rank of Alpha so he had to assert his dominance.
        It reminds me of a generalissimo upgrading himself to Supreme Generalissimo, with extra gold braid.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. This all reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine yada-yadas about the sex part of a date with a lawyer, b/c the lobster bisque was the best part of the date. Status… sex… lobsters…

    Everyone except the RWNJ knows the whole “alpha wolf” thing is thoroughly debunked — wolves live in family groups, and the “alpha” is really the mom wolf. And FFS, lobsters don’t have a complex central nervous system or a brain, and we’re not even 100% sure they can experience physical pain, much less mental — or have emotions. Not so much family groups either.

    The vision is completely wack. LSD or shrooms?

    Is he one of those people who became a shrink to figure out what his own mental problems are?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suppose this is part of Peterson’s thesis – that the hierarchical instinct is so fundamental to biology that it’s shared even by creatures which are radically dissimilar from us. Trouble is, all he’s got is a general tendency, shared between humans and lobsters, which is *so* general as to be effectively meaningless. It’s like noticing that humans and lobsters both tend to avoid death, and trying to argue from that that lobsters must understand the concept of eternal damnation and hellfire.

      I’m not entirely convinced by his assertions about lobster behaviour anyway, though I have no particular knowledge of the field…. I do know that lobsters express aggression and territoriality when they’re confined together in small spaces (e.g. tanks in posh restaurants), but that’s not necessarily indicative of the way they act in the wild, surely? (Not to mention the problem with natural selection, there… being a big strong dominant alpha lobster with massive meaty claws actually works *against* them, as a survival strategy.)

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I thought Peterson was a philosophy professor, not a therapist, but I don’t know that much about him.

    But he’s basically just doing feudalism. All the dominance authoritarian philosophies are built on a feudalistic model — that there are lords who are the natural, logical rulers/authorities of the vast herds of inferior others in a hierarchy. The lords are superior — it can be based on gender, sexual orientation, physical make-up and ability at violent force, race and ethnicity, heritage and lineage (blue bloods,) intelligence, perception and insight, education, culture, religious beliefs and moral values, political ideology and party affiliation, logic and skepticism skills, pragmatic manual labor skills, business acumen and financial skills, tech skills, etc., usually a combination of a number of them, with new ones added as needed. And as the superiors with those qualities, the qualities of “winners”, of strength, they supposedly dominate. Women are breeding cattle with the best ones providing perpetuation of the lords and the lesser ones providing perpetuation of the pool of laboring workers and servants. Smart or otherwise “superior” women can work jobs providing money to the male lordlings, hold positions of power that help the lordlings and be useful mouthpieces and grifters for the lordlings, and in return get to feel superior to most other women and many men, as long as they support or seem to the hierarchy.

    In whatever version of feudalism they go by, wealth and power are the logical rewards and the poor are inferior serfs. If someone who considers themselves a lordling isn’t winning, there are two possible reasons for it. Number one is that they are blocking themselves by acting like a serf and being weak and they need to adjust their outlook on things and strike forward (the self-help part,) and number two is that uppity serfs who don’t understand that they are inferior (or for some “just different,” i.e. inferior,) and are seeking to upset the lordlings and take their stuff and power, blocking them from their rightful place. That viewpoint lets them cover every possible scenario that comes up. It’s used in the alt right atheistic harassers who claim that the hierarchy both hurts them if they are somewhat weak and inferior in some areas, but has also been made worse by the SJW’s destroying/taking over the hierarchy. It works for the theocrats obviously. It works for Communist dictators, where political ideology makes rulers superior and allows them to amass great fortunes, etc. Ayn Rand used it to build a cult to fleece businessmen who then let her die in penury.

    So it’s not just a matter of seizing power and being atop a dominance hierarchy. The belief has to be there that the persons dominating do so because they are innately, uniquely set to dominate and rule, which therefore cannot be changed without total collapse, since they are heroically keeping things going. It also makes them feel secure, that they are in the right group that will do well: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/968836006106497024.html Even if they themselves aren’t directly ruling and haven’t acquired much wealth, they at least feel they are in the right group that will rule properly and make sure they have power in the society over other groups, as we know. So Peterson’s hierarchy seems to be based on religious views, intelligence, gender, and various other flotsam for his own meandering high tower version of feudalism.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think there’s a possible argument that you are describing serfdom rather that feudalism, because serfdom (and, dangerously closely related, slavery) does not require those “in charge” to do anything. Feudalism, on the other hand, does generally have a far more fluid power relationship both up and down. But I guess this is – as pretty much everything is – a definitional argument, since I agree with everything you actually say. 🙂

      It’s like the common mistake that assumes that managers must have a more important position in the dominance hierarchy, when, of course, they are actually there to enable those they manage to achieve their maximum potential; they are not there to enforce petty power dynamics.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, technically it’s serfdom and slavery, but feudalism, the idea of nobles and vassals in relation to each other, is the main driving idea — that there are nobles of some sort — superior humans with superior understanding who thus have the wealth and power over others. Ideologically, the idea is that those at the top of a feudal system serve those who are their vassals just as much as they are served, and that language of care-taking, guardianship — the guard dogs — is often used to justify the hierarchy. But as we know, actual feudal hierarchical systems don’t work that way. They operate by violent force and the threat of violent force for small groups to rule at the top and block competitors and steal people’s stuff, and so forth.

        There is the concept of hierarchy (ruling nobility) and there is the concept of equality (democracy, equal representation,) in which all humans are equal as humans and have a say in their government and have their rights protected from violent exploitation by business lords. We don’t have any full equal democracies yet, but we have democratic systems that are closer to equality, that progress towards it, and those countries tend to be less violent, have less violent crime and are less likely to go to war with each other. But they still have feudal systems, and a lot of people who try to keep those systems in place because that’s what they know and it makes up their identity and gives them security and power in that identity. And then we have a lot of other people who don’t necessarily want to keep that hierarchy in place, but they are so used to it and to its promise that they are exceptional, fair, intelligent, perceptive, kind, etc. people (lords,) that they deny the hierarchies are there or that at least the hierarchy has anything to do with them and their identity and position in life.

        But Peterson — who should be nowhere near patients — isn’t doing that. He’s going right for a nobility is great approach and giving guidelines for how to be a noble. If you’re a guy, that is.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. The link worked – thanks.
      It’s an interesting read but I think the review is missing what Peterson is doing because Peterson never offers a clear argument or a clear stance. A lot of the ideological payload is in the fake pop-science anecdotes.

      Like

  9. “Peterson thinks you are acting like a loser you should expect to be bullied.”
    That’s because Peterson is a bully.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Also, about that whole standing straight thing… a decent percentage of humans are unable to do that. Of course, they aren’t alphas and thus don’t count. No women (or rich men) for them, and… gosh… there’s a foreign language word for that… Oh! Untermenschen. Sometimes called “rabbits” in the 30’s-40’s. Completely useless, like those hacks Prof. Hawking and Prez FDR.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The reason that these writers use this nature-imagery and evo-psych a lot is because their philosophy and way of thinking is a reversion back to pre-civilized norms. Notice in their writings how they universally hold that—at some unspecified point in time—society, or government, or the church (or whatever topic they’re addressing) became corrupted; and that their special ‘Red Pill Awareness’ allows them to see through the Veil of Deception. Their solution is always to default society back to ‘a restore point’. But usually they can’t tell where this point is because it never existed.

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