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What is the meaning of life? Is it possible to find happiness in the midst of suffering? What can you do to take responsibility for your destiny? These questions are answered in the book In Search of Meaning. Viktor Frankl recounts his survival experience in a Nazi concentration camp – and most importantly – how to make sense of life even if we find that we’re lost. The video today has two parts – in the first part, we’ll talk about life in the concentration camp. How was the daily life of those prisoners? In the second part of the video you’ll learn how to find meaning for your life in line with the teachings of the author of the book. If you’re a more sensitive person, go straight to minute 24:50 and jump directly to the second part.

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Viktor Frankl

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Victor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997), Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, devoted his life to studying, understanding and promoting “meaning.” His famous book,Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it. He went on to later establish a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy, based in the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances. Frankl pointed to research indicating a strong relationship between “meaninglessness” and criminal behaviors, addictions and depression. Without meaning, people fill the void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions. Some may also strive for Suprameaning, the ultimate meaning in life, a spiritual kind of meaning that depends solely on a greater power outside of personal or external control.

Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man (Frankl 1992, p. 104).

While Frankl rarely touches on the topic of the pursuit of happiness, he is very concerned with satisfaction and fulfillment in life. We can see this in his preoccupation with addressing depression, anxiety and meaninglessness. Frankl points to research indicating a strong relationship between “meaninglessness” and criminal behavior, addiction and depression. He argues that in the absence of meaning, people fill the resultant void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions (Frankl 1992, p. 143).

Frankl’s Background

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist who founded what he called the field of “Logotherapy”, which has been dubbed the “Third Viennese School of Psychology” (following Freud and Alder). Logotherapy developed in and through Frankl’s personal experience in the Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. The years spent there deeply affected his understanding of reality and the meaning of human life. His most popular book, Man’s Search for Meaning, chronicles his experience in the camp as well as the development of logotherapy. During his time there, he found that those around him who did not lose their sense of purpose and meaning in life were able to survive much longer than those who had lost their way.

Logotherapy

In The Will to Meaning, Frankl notes that “logotherapy aims to unlock the will to meaning in life.” More often than not, he found that people would ponder the meaning of life when for Frankl, it is very clear that, “it is life itself that asks questions of man.” Paradoxically, by abandoning the desire to have “freedom from” we take the “freedom to” make the “decision for” one’s unique and singular life task (Frankl 1988, p. 16).

Logotherapy developed in a context of extreme suffering, depression and sadness and so it is not surprising that Frankl focuses on a way out of these things. His experience showed him that life can be meaningful and fulfilling even in spite of the harshest circumstances. On the other hand, he also warns against the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures because of its tendency to distract people from their search for meaning in life.

Meaning

Only when the emotions work in terms of values can the individual feel pure joy (Frankl 1986, p. 40).

In the pursuit of meaning, Frankl recommends three different courses of action: through deeds, the experience of values through some kind of medium (beauty through art, love through a relationship, etc.) or suffering. While the third is not necessarily in the absence of the first two, within Frankl’s frame of thought, suffering became an option through which to find meaning and experience values in life in the absence of the other two opportunities (Frankl 1992, p. 118).

Though for Frankl, joy could never be an end to itself, it was an important byproduct of finding meaning in life. He points to studies where there is marked difference in life spans between “trained, tasked animals,” i.e., animals with a purpose, than “taskless, jobless animals.” And yet it is not enough simply to have something to do, rather what counts is the “manner in which one does the work” (Frankl 1986, p. 125)

Responsibility

Human freedom is not a freedom from but freedom to (Frankl 1988, p. 16).

As mentioned above, Frankl sees our ability to respond to life and to be responsible to life as a major factor in finding meaning and therefore, fulfillment in life. In fact, he viewed responsibility to be the “essence of existence” (Frankl 1992, 114). He believed that humans were not simply the product of heredity and environment and that they had the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for their own lives. This “third element” of decision is what Frankl believed made education so important; he felt that education must be education towards the ability to make decisions, take responsibility and then become free to be the person you decide to be (Frankl 1986, p. xxv).

Individuality

Frankl is careful to state that he does not have a one-size-fits all answer to the meaning of life. His respect for human individuality and each person’s unique identity, purpose and passions does not allow him to do otherwise. And so he encourages people to answer life and find one’s own unique meaning in life. When posed the question of how this might be done, he quotes from Goethe: “How can we learn to know ourselves? Never by reflection but by action. Try to do your duty and you will soon find out what you are. But what is your duty? The demands of each day.” In quoting this, he points to the importance attached to the individual doing the work and the manner in which the job is done rather than the job or task itself (Frankl 1986, p. 56).

Techniques

Frankl’s logotherapy utilizes several techniques to enhance the quality of one’s life. First is the concept of paradoxical Intention, wherethe therapist encourages the patient to intend or wish for, even if only for a second, precisely what they fear. This is especially useful for obsessive, compulsive and phobic conditions, as well as cases of underlying anticipatory anxiety.

The case of the sweating doctor

A young doctor had major hydrophobia. One day, meeting his chief on the street, as he extended his hand in greeting, he noticed that he was perspiring more than usual. The next time he was in a similar situation he expected to perspire again, and this anticipatory anxiety precipitated excessive sweating. It was a vicious circle … We advised our patient, in the event that his anticipatory anxiety should recur, to resolve deliberately to show the people whom he confronted at the time just how much he could really sweat.A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anxiety, he said to himself, “I only sweated out a little before, but now I’m going to pour out at least ten litres!” What was the result of this paradoxical resolution? After suffering from his phobia for four years, he was quickly able, after only one session, to free himself of it for good. (Frankl, 1967)

Dereflection

Another technique is that of dereflection, whereby the therapist diverts the patients away from their problems towards something else meaningful in the world. Perhaps the most commonly known use of this is for sexual dysfunction, since the more one thinks about potency during the sexual act, the less likely one is able to achieve it.

The following is a transcript from Frankl’s advice to Anna, 19-year old art student who displays severe symptoms of incipient schizophrenia. She considers herself as being confused and asks for help.

Patient: What is going on within me?

Frankl: Don’t brood over yourself. Don’t inquire into the source of your trouble. Leave this to us doctors. We will steer and pilot you through the crisis. Well, isn’t there a goal beckoning you – say, an artistic assignment?

Patient: But this inner turmoil ….

Frankl: Don’t watch your inner turmoil, but turn your gaze to what is waiting for you. What counts is not what lurks in the depths, but what waits in the future, waits to be actualized by you….

Patient: But what is the origin of my trouble?

Frankl: Don’t focus on questions like this. Whatever the pathological process underlying your psychological affliction may be, we will cure you. Therefore, don’t be concerned with the strange feelings haunting you. Ignore them until we make you get rid of them. Don’t watch them. Don’t fight them. Imagine, there are about a dozen great things, works which wait to be created by Anna, and there is no one who could achieve and accomplish it but Anna. No one could replace her in this assignment. They will be your creations, and if you don’t create them, they will remain uncreated forever…

Patient: Doctor, I believe in what you say. It is a message which makes me happy.

Discernment of Meaning

Finally, the logotherapist tries to enlarge the patient’s discernment of meaning in at least three ways: creatively, experientially and attitudinally.

a) Meaning through creative values

Frankl writes that “The logotherapist’s role consists in widening and broadening the visual field of the patient so that the whole spectrum of meaning and values becomes conscious and visible to him”. A major source of meaning is through the value of all that we create, achieve and accomplish.

b) Meaning through experiential values

Frankl writes “Let us ask a mountain-climber who has beheld the alpine sunset and is so moved by the splendor of nature that he feels cold shudders running down his spine – let us ask him whether after such an experience his life can ever again seem wholly meaningless” (Frankl,1965).

c) Meaning through attitudinal values

Frankl argued that we always have the freedom to find meaning through meaningful attitudes even in apparently meaningless situations. For example, an elderly, depressed patient who could not overcome the loss of his wife was helped by the following conversation with Frankl:

Frankl asked “What would have happened if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you.”

“Oh,” replied the patient, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!”

Frankl continued, “You see such a suffering has been spared her; and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving her and mourning her.” The man said no word, but shook Frankl’s hand and calmly left his office (Frankl, 1992).

Conclusion

Frankl’s surprising resilience amidst his experiences of extreme suffering and sadness speaks to how his theories may have helped him and those around him. As the alarming suicide and depression rates among young teenagers and adults in the United States continue, his call to answer life’s call through logotherapy may be a promising resource.

Bibliography

Frankl, Victor (1992). Man’s Search for Meaning. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Frankl, Victor (1986). The Doctor and the Soul. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Frankl, Victor (1967). Psychotherapy and Existentialism. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.

Frankl, Victor (1988). The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Frankl, Victor (2000). Recollections: An Autobiography. New York, NY: Perseus Books.

Recommended reading:

The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism (Touchstone Books)

The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy (Meridian)

Viktor Frankl

https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/viktor-frankl/

 

An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy

Meaning in life can help to improve resilience.

 

Getty / Ascent/PKS Media Inc.

 

A Brief History of Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was born March 26, 1905 and died September 2, 1997, in Vienna, Austria. He was influenced during his early life by Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, earned a medical degree from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1930. From 1940 to 1942, he was the director of the Neurological Department of the Rothschild Hospital, and from 1946 to 1970 was the director of the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology.

In 1942, Frankl was deported to a Nazi concentration camp along with his wife, parents, and other family members. He spent time in four camps in total, including Auschwitz, from 1942 to 1945, and was the only member of his family to survive. In 1945, he returned to Vienna and published a book on his theories, based on his records of observations during his time in the camps. By the time of his death, his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” had been published in 24 languages.

During his career as a professor of neurology and psychiatry, Frankl wrote 30 books, lectured at 209 universities on five continents, and was the recipient of 29 honorary doctorates from universities around the world. He was a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford, and his therapy, named “logotherapy,” was recognized as the third school of Viennese therapy after Freud’s psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler’s individual psychology. In addition, logotherapy was recognized as one of the scientifically-based schools of psychotherapy by the American Medical Society, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

 

Understanding Logotherapy

Frankl believed that humans are motivated by something called a “will to meaning,” which equates to a desire to find meaning in life. He argued that life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances, and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning. Taking it a step further, Frankl wrote:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.

This opinion was based on his experiences of suffering, and his attitude of finding meaning through the suffering. In this way, Frankl believed that when we can no longer change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.

 

Fundamentals of Logotherapy

“Logos” is the Greek word for meaning, and logotherapy involves helping a patient find personal meaning in life. Frankl provided a brief overview of the theory in “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

Core Properties

Frankl believed in three core properties on which his theory and therapy were based:

  1. Each person has a healthy core.
  2. One’s primary focus is to enlighten others to their own internal resources and provide them tools to use their inner core.
  3. Life offers purpose and meaning but does not promise fulfillment or happiness.

Methods of Finding Meaning

Going a step further, logotherapy proposes that meaning in life can be discovered in three distinct ways:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed.
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone.
  3. By the attitude that we take toward unavoidable suffering.

An example that is often given to explain the basic tenets of logotherapy is the story of Frankl meeting with an elderly general practitioner who was struggling to overcome depression after the loss of his wife. Frankl helped the elderly man to see that his purpose had been to spare his wife the pain of losing him first.

Basic Assumptions

Logotherapy consists of six basic assumptions that overlap with the fundamental constructs and ways of seeking meaning listed above:

1. Body, Mind, and Spirit

The human being is an entity that consists of a body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos). Frankl argued that we have a body and mind, but the spirit is what we are, or our essence. Note that Frankl’s theory was not based on religion or theology, but often had parallels to these.

2. Life Has Meaning in All Circumstances

Frankl believed that life has meaning in all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. This means that even when situations seem objectively terrible, there is a higher level of order that involves meaning.

3. Humans Have a Will to Meaning

Logotherapy proposes that humans have a will to meaning, which means that meaning is our primary motivation for living and acting, and allows us to endure pain and suffering. This is viewed as differing from the will to achieve power and pleasure.

4. Freedom to Find Meaning

Frankl argues that in all circumstances, individuals have the freedom to access that will to find meaning. This is based on his experiences of pain and suffering and choosing his attitude in a situation that he could not change.

5. Meaning of the Moment

The fifth assumption argues that for decisions to be meaningful, individuals must respond to the demands of daily life in ways that match the values of society or their own conscience.

6. Individuals Are Unique

Frankl believed that every individual is unique and irreplaceable.

 

Logotherapy in Practice

Frankl believed that it was possible to turn suffering into achievement and accomplishment. He viewed guilt as an opportunity to change oneself for the better, and life transitions as the chance to take responsible action.

In this way, this psychotherapy was aimed at helping people to make better use of their “spiritual” resources to withstand adversity. In his books, he often used his own personal experiences to explain concepts to the reader.
Three techniques used in logotherapy include dereflection, paradoxical intention, and Socratic dialogue.
  1. Dereflection: Dereflection is aimed at helping someone focus away from themselves and toward other people so that they can become whole and spend less time being self-absorbed about a problem or how to reach a goal.
  2. Paradoxical intention: Paradoxical intention is a technique that has the patient wish for the thing that is feared most. This was suggested for use in the case of anxiety or phobias, in which humor and ridicule can be used when fear is paralyzing. For example, a person with a fear of looking foolish might be encouraged to try to look foolish on purpose. Paradoxically, the fear would be removed when the intention involved the thing that was feared most.
  3. Socratic dialogue: Socratic dialogue would be used in logotherapy as a tool to help a patient through the process of self-discovery through his or her own words. In this way, the therapist would point out patterns of words and help the client to see the meaning in them. This process is believed to help the client realize an answer that is waiting to be discovered.
It’s easy to see how some of the techniques of logotherapy overlap with newer forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). In this way, logotherapy may be a complementary approach for these behavior and thought-based treatments.

 

Criticisms

Frankl was not without his critics. Some felt he used his time in the Nazi camps as a way to promote his brand of psychotherapy, and others felt his support came only from religious leaders in the United States (indeed, he did recruit ministers and pastoral psychologists to work with him).

In 1961, his ideas were challenged by psychologist Rollo May, known as the founder of the existential movement in the United States, who argued that logotherapy was equivalent to authoritarianism, with the therapist dictating solutions to the patient. In this way, it was felt that the therapist diminished the patient’s responsibility in finding solutions to problems. It is not clear, however, whether this was a fundamental problem of logotherapy, or a failing of Frankl as a therapist himself, as he was said to be arrogant in his manner of speaking to patients.

In this way, it may be that logotherapy argues that there are always clear solutions to problems and that the therapist has the task of finding these for the client. However, Frankl argued that logotherapy actually educates the patient to take responsibility. Regardless, it is clear that in the application of Frankl’s theories, it is important to highlight that the patient must be a participant rather than a recipient in the process.

 

Evidence

More than 1700 empirical and theoretical papers have been published on logotherapy, and more than 59 measurement instruments developed on the topic. While Frank’s early work involved case studies, this eventually evolved to include operationalization of concepts and estimates of clinical effectiveness. In other words, Frankl believed in empirical research and encouraged it.

A systematic review of research evidence pertaining to logotherapy conducted in 2016 found correlations or effects pertaining to logotherapy in the following areas or for the following conditions:

  • Correlation between presence of meaning in life, search for meaning in life, and life satisfaction, happiness
  • Lower meaning in life among patients with mental disorders
  • Search for meaning and presence of meaning as a resilience factor
  • Correlation between meaning in life and suicidal thoughts in cancer patients
  • Effectiveness of a logotherapy program for early adolescents with cancer
  • Effectiveness of logotherapy on depression in children
  • Effectiveness of logotherapy in reducing job burnout, empty nest syndrome
  • Correlation with marital satisfaction

Overall, not surprisingly, there is evidence that meaning in life correlates with better mental health. It is suggested that this knowledge might be applied in areas such as phobias, pain and guilt, grief, as well as for disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, substance abusepost-traumatic stress, and anxiety.

Frankl believed that many illnesses or mental health issues are disguised existential angst and that people struggle with lack of meaning, which he referred to as the “existential vacuum.”

 

Logotherapy in Everyday Life

How might you apply the principles of logotherapy to improve your everyday life?

  • Create something. Just as Frankl suggested, creating something (e.g., art) gives you a sense of purpose, which can add meaning to your life.
  • Develop relationships. The supportive nature of spending time with others will help you to develop more of a sense of meaning in your life.
  • Find purpose in pain. If you are going through something bad, try to find a purpose in it. Even if this is a bit of mental trickery, it will help to see you through. For example, if a family member is going through medical treatments for a disease, view your purpose as being there to support that person.
  • Understand that life is not fair. There is nobody keeping score, and you will not necessarily be dealt a fair deck. However, life can always have meaning, even in the worst of situations.
  • Freedom to find meaning. Remember that you are always free to make meaning out of your life situation. Nobody can take that away from you.
  • Focus on others. Try to focus outside of yourself to get through feeling stuck about a situation.
  • Accept the worst. When you go out seeking the worse, it reduces the power that it has over you.

A Word From Verywell

While concepts of logotherapy continue to be studied to this day, you aren’t likely to hear of people receiving this type of treatment directly. Rather, the components of logotherapy are more likely to be intertwined with other therapies or treatments.

https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-victor-frankl-s-logotherapy-4159308

Viktor Frankl

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Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl2.jpg
Born
Viktor Emil Frankl

26 March 1905

Died 2 September 1997 (aged 92)

Vienna, Austria
Resting place Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria, Old Jewish Section
Nationality Austrian
Education Doctorate in Medicine, 1925, Doctorate in Philosophy, 1948
Alma mater University of Vienna
Occupation Neurologist, psychiatrist
Known for Logotherapy
Existential analysis
Spouse(s) Tilly Grosser, m. 1941
Eleonore Katharina Schwindt, m. 1947
Children Gabriele Frankl-Vesely
Parent(s) Gabriel Frankl and Elsa Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997)[1][2] was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He survived TheresienstadtAuschwitzKaufering and Türkheim. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy“. His best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 24 different languages.[3] Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.[4]

Frankl has been the subject of criticism from several holocaust analysts[5][6] who questioned the levels of Nazi accommodation that the ideology of logotherapy has and Frankl personally willingly pursued in the time periods before Frankl’s internment, when Frankl voluntarily requested to perform unskilled lobotomy experiments approved by the Nazis on Jews,[7] to the time period of his internment, in what is hinted upon in Frankl’s own autobiographical account and later under the investigative light of biographical research.[8][9]

Contents

Life before 1945

Frankl was born in Vienna into a Jewish family of civil servants (Beamtenfamilie). His interest in psychology surfaced early. For the final exam (Matura) in Gymnasium, he wrote a paper on the psychology of philosophical thinking. After graduation from Gymnasium in 1923, he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. In practice he specialized in neurology and psychiatry, concentrating on the topics of depression and suicide. His early development was influenced by his contacts with Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, although he would diverge from their teachings.[3][4]

Physician, therapist

During part of 1924 he became the president of the Sozialistische Mittelschüler Österreich, a Social Democratic youth movement for high school students throughout Austria.[1]:59

Between 1928 and 1930, while still a medical student, he organized and offered a special program to counsel high school students free of charge. The program involved the participation of psychologists such as Charlotte Bühler, and it paid special attention to students at the time when they received their report cards. In 1931, not a single Viennese student committed suicide. The success of this program grabbed the attention of the likes of Wilhelm Reich who invited him to Berlin.[2][10][promotional source?][11][non-primary source needed]

From 1933 to 1937, Frankl completed his residency in neurology and psychiatry at the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital in Vienna. He was responsible for the so-called Selbstmörderpavillon, or “suicide pavilion”. Here, he treated more than 3000 women who had suicidal tendencies.[2][unreliable medical source?] In 1937, he established an independent private practice in neurology and psychiatry at Alser Strasse 32/12 in Vienna.[2]

Beginning with the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, he was prohibited from treating “Aryan” patients due to his Jewish identity. In 1940 he started working at the Rothschild Hospital, where he headed its neurological department. This hospital was the only one in Vienna to which Jews were still admitted. His medical opinions (including deliberately false diagnoses[12][better source needed]) saved several patients[example needed] from being euthanised via the Nazi euthanasia program.[citation needed] In December 1941 he married Tilly Grosser.[2][4]

Prisoner, therapist

On 25 September 1942, Frankl, his wife, and his parents were deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto in Occupied Czechoslovakia. This Ghetto which housed many of the Jewish middle class, as a “model community” was set up by the Schutzstaffel (SS) with the expressed purpose of fooling Red Cross representatives about the ongoing slave labor, the Holocaust, and, later, the Nazi plan to murder all Jews.[13] There, within the Cultural life of the Theresienstadt ghetto, Frankl worked as a general practitioner in a clinic and wrote and gave lectures. When his skills in psychiatry were noticed by the Nazis, he was assigned to the psychiatric care ward in Block B IV, establishing a camp service of “psychohygiene” or mental health care. He organized a unit to help camp newcomers to overcome shockand grief. Later he set up a suicide watch, assisted by Regina Jonas.[2][14]

On 29 July 1943, Frankl organized a closed event for the Scientific Society in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and with the help of the equally controversial Judenrat/Jewish collaborator Leo Baeck,[15][16] Frankl offered a series of lectures, including “Sleep and Sleep Disturbances”, “Body and Soul”, “Medical Care of the Soul”, “Psychology of Mountaineering”, “How to keep my nerves healthy?”, “Medical ministry”, “Existential Problems in Psychotherapy”, and “Social Psychotherapy”.[14] Biographers state that Frankl’s father Gabriel, starved to death at Theresienstadt,[17] by Frankl’s account he died of pulmonary edema and pneumonia.[2][4][14]

On 19 October 1944, Frankl, his wife Tilly, Regina Jonas and many others from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, where he was processed.[citation needed] On 25 October, Frankl is listed as arriving in the southern German Kaufering III, of XI labor camp,[17] which held up to 2,000 male prisoners in earthen huts, who upon its opening in June of that year, the prisoners were required to construct a transport route to connect underground aircraft factories, laying the infrastructure for the mass production of the world’s first jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 bomber destroyer, the Nazi response, to regain vital air supremacy, under the growingly unopposed effectiveness of Allied bombing upon the Nazi armament industry.[18][19][20]According to Frankl, his feats of physical initiative at this work camp were such that they did not go unnoticed and he was gifted “premium coupons” in late 1944.[17] According to Frankl’s autobiography, when infected with the ubiquitous typhoid,[2][4] he was allowed to leave the work camp and was offered a move to the so-called rest camp of Türkheim, prison records list his departure from Kaufering as 8 March 1945.[17] Frankl states that in Turkheim he was placed in charge of fifty men with typhus, it was here he rose to the position of “senior block warden” and began writing his book anew, until 27 April 1945, when the camp was liberated by American soldiers.[17]

Frankl’s mother Elsa and brother Walter were murdered at Auschwitz. Frankl’s wife was similarly transported out of Auschwitz and moved to Bergen-Belsen, a facility that housed a considerable number of women and minors, including Anne Frank, where they were forced to work in the shoe recycling labor camp; she would similarly be murdered, from the brutal conditions sometime close to the time of its liberation in 1945.[17] The only survivor of the Holocaust among Frankl’s immediate family was his sister, Stella, who had emigrated from Austria to Australia.[2][4]

Life after 1945

Liberated after several months in concentration camps, Frankl returned to Vienna, where he dictated to stenographer-typists his well known work, “the flood gates had opened”, completing the book, by 1946.[17] Frankl then published his world-famous book entitled, Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe Erlebt das Konzentrationslager (“Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp”), known in English by the title Man’s Search for Meaning (1959 title: From Death-Camp to Existentialism).[21] In this book, he described the life of an ordinary concentration camp inmate from the objective perspective of a psychiatrist.[4][22] Frankl believed that people are primarily driven by a “striving to find meaning in one’s life,” and that it is this sense of meaning that enables people to overcome painful experiences.

After enduring the suffering in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering is meaningful. This conclusion served as a basis for his logotherapy and existential analysis, which Frankl had described before World War II. He said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”[23]

Frankl’s concentration camp experiences shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook, as reflected in his seminal publications.

He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of Men to exist: decent ones and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. “Under such conditions, who could blame them for trying to dope themselves?” “These were the men who were employed in the gas chambers and crematoriums, and who knew very well that one day they would have to leave their enforced role of executioner and become victims themselves.”[22]

In 1946, he was appointed to run the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology. He remained there until 1971. In 1947 he married his second wife Eleonore Katharina Schwindt. She was a practicing Catholic and the couple respected each other’s religious backgrounds, going to both church and synagogue, and celebrating Christmas and Hanukah. They had one daughter, Gabriele, who went on to become a child psychologist.[2][4][24]

In 1948, Frankl earned a Ph.D. in philosophy. His dissertation, The Unconscious God, is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion.[25]

Grave of Viktor Frankl in Vienna

In 1955, he was awarded a professorship of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna, and as visiting professor, he resided at Harvard University (1961), at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (1966), and at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (1972). Frankl published 39 books, which were translated into as many as 49 languages.[26][promotional source?] He lectured and taught seminars all over the world and received 29 honorary doctoral degrees.[24]

The American Psychiatric Association awarded Frankl the 1985 Oskar Pfister Award for important contributions to religion and psychiatry.[27]

Frankl died of heart failure on 2 September 1997. He was survived by his wife Eleonore, one daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.[28]

Controversy

In The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle: A Reflection on the Odd Career of Viktor Frankl, Timothy Pytell of California State University, San Bernardino,[29] conveys the numerous discrepancies and omissions in Frankl’s “Auschwitz survivor” account and later autobiography, which many of his contemporaries, such as Thomas Szasz, similarly have raised.[8] In Frankl’s Search for meaning the book devotes approximately half its contents to describing Auschwitz and the psychology of its prisoners, suggesting a long stay at the death camp, however his wording is contradictory and to Pytell, “profoundly deceptive”, when rather the impression of staying for months, Frankl was held close to the train, in the “depot prisoner” area of Auschwitz and for no more than a few days, he was neither registered there, nor assigned a number before being sent on to a subsidiary work camp of Dachau, known as Kaufering III, the true setting of much of what is described in his book.[30][20][31]

On Frankl’s doctrine that one must instill meaning in the events in one’s life that work and suffering to find meaning, will ultimately lead to fulfillment and happiness. In 1982 the highly cited scholar and holocaust analyst Lawrence L. Langer, who while also critical of Frankl’s distortions on the true experience of those at Auschwitz,[32] and Frankl’s amoral focus on “meaning” that could just as equally be applied to Nazis “finding meaning in making the world free from Jews”,[33] would go on to write “if this [logotherapy] doctrine had been more succinctly worded, the Nazis might have substituted it for the cruel mockery of Arbeit Macht Frei“[“work sets free”, read by those entering Auschwitz].[34] With, in professor Pytell’s view, Langer also penetrating through Frankl’s disturbed subtext that Holocaust “survival [was] a matter of mental health.” Noting Frankl’s tone as almost self-congratulatory and promotional throughout, that “it comes as no surprise to the reader, as he closes the volume, that the real hero of Man’s Search for Meaning is not man, but Viktor Frankl” by the continuation of the very same distortions of reality and the fantasy of world-view meaning-making, that were so disturbingly, precisely what had preturbed civilization into the holocaust-genocide of this era and others, to begin with.[35]

Pytell later would remark on the particularly sharp insight of Langer’s reading of Frankl’s holocaust testimony, noting that with Langer’s criticism published in 1982 before Pytell’s biography, the former had thus drawn the controversial parallels, or accommodations in ideology without the knowledge that Victor Frankl was an advocate/”embraced”[36] the key ideas of the Nazi psychotherapy movement (“will and responsibility”[37]) as a form of therapy in the late 1930s. When at that time Frankl would submit a paper and contributed to the Göring institute in Vienna 1937 and again in early 1938 connecting the logotherapy focus on “world-view” to the “work of some of the leading Nazi psychotherapists”,[38] both at a time before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938.[39][40]

The origins of logotherapy, as described by Frankl, were therefore a major issue of continuity that Biographer Pytell argues were potentially problematic for Frankl because he had laid out the main elements of logotherapy while working for/contributing to the Nazi-affiliated Göring Institute. Principally Frankl’s 1937 paper, that was published by the institute.[40] This association, as a source of controversy, that logotherapy was palatable to National Socialism is the reason Pytell suggests, Frankl took two different stances on how the concentration-camp experience affected the course of his psychotherapy theory. Namely, that within the original English edition of Frankl’s most well known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, the suggestion is made and still largely held that logotherapy was itself derived from his camp experience, with the claim as it appears in the original edition, that this form of psychotherapy was “not concocted in the philosopher’s armchair nor at the analyst’s couch; it took shape in the hard school of air-raid shelters and bomb craters; in concentration camps and prisoner of war camps.” Frankl’s statements however to this effect would be deleted from later editions, though in the 1963 edition, a similar statement again appeared on the back of the book jacket of Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frankl over the years would with these widely read statements and others, switch between the claim that logotherapy took shape in the camps to the claim that the camps merely were a testing ground of his already preconceived theories. An uncovering of the matter would occur in 1977 with Frankl revealing on this controversy, though compounding another, stating “People think I came out of Auschwitz with a brand-new psychotherapy. This is not the case.”[17]

In the post war years, Frankl’s attitude towards not pursuing justice nor assigning collective guilt to the Austrian people for collaborating with or acquiescing in the face of Nazism, led to “frayed” relationships between Frankl, many Viennese and the larger American Jewish community, such that in 1978 when attempting to give a lecture at the institute of Adult Jewish Studies in New York, Frankl was confronted with an outburst of boos from the audience and was called a “nazi pig”.[39]

In 1988 Frankl would further “stir up sentiment against him” by being photographed next to and in accepting the Great Silver Medal with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria as a holocaust survivor, from President Waldheim, a controversial president of Austria who concurrent with the medal ceremony, was gripped by revelations that he had lied about his WWII military record and was under investigation for complicity in Nazi War crimes. Frankl’s acceptance of the medal was viewed by a large segment of the international Jewish community as a betrayal and by a disparate group of commentators, that its timing was politically motivated, an attempt to rehabilitate Waldheim’s reputation on the world stage.[41]

None of Frankl’s obituaries mention the unqualified and unskilled brain lobotomy and trepanation medical experiments approved by the Nazis that Frankl performed on Jews who had committed suicide with an overdose of sedatives, in resistance to their impending arrest, imprisonment and enforced labour in the concentration camp system. Operating without any training as a surgeon, Frankl would publish some of the details on his experiments, the methods of insertion of his chosen amphetamine drugs into the brains of these individuals, resulting in at times an alleged partial resuscitation, in 1942, prior to his own internment at Theresienstadt ghetto in September later in that year. Historian Günter Bischof of Harvard University, suggests Frankl’s voluntary request to perform lobotomy experiments could be seen as a way to “ingratiate” himself amongst the Nazis, as the latter were not appreciative of suicide being on arrest records.[17][9][32]

Legacy

Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis is considered the third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,[26][promotional source?] among the broad category that comprises existentialists.[42] For Irvin Yalom, Frankl, “who has devoted his career to a study of an existential approach to therapy, has apparently concluded that the lack of meaning is the paramount existential stress. To him, existential neurosis is synonymous with a crisis of meaninglessness”.[42]

He has coined the term noogenic neurosis, and illustrated it with the example of Sunday neurosis. It refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.[43] Some complain of a void and a vague discontent.[42] This arises from an existential vacuum, or feeling of meaninglessness, which is a common phenomenon and is characterised by the subjective state of boredom, apathy, and emptiness. One feels cynical, lacks direction, and questions the point of most of life’s activities.[42]

People without a meaning in their life are exposed to aggression, depression and addiction.[22]

Viktor Frankl once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast:

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.[44][45]

Decorations and awards

Bibliography

His books in English are:

See also

References …

External links[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

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Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a b Yang, Charles (24 August 2000). “Dig-dug, think-thunk (review of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker)”London Review of Books22 (6): 33.
  39. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Stuff of Thought”. Harvard University. Archived from the originalon 9 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  40. ^ Levitin, D. J.; Tirovolas, A. K. (2009). “Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1156: 211–231. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04417.xPMID 19338510.
  41. ^ Perlovsky L. Music. Cognitive Function, Origin, And Evolution Of Musical Emotions. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2011;2(2):WMC001494
  42. ^ Abbott, Alison (2002). “Neurobiology: Music, maestro, please!”. Nature416: 12–14. doi:10.1038/416012a.
  43. ^ Cross, I. (1999). Is music the most important thing we ever did? Music, development and evolution. [preprint (html)] [preprint (pdf)] In Suk Won Yi (Ed.), Music, mind and science (pp 10–39), Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  44. ^ “Interview with Daniel Levitin”. Pbs.org. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  45. ^ Carroll, Joseph (1998). “Steven Pinker’s Cheesecake For The Mind”. Cogweb.ucla.edu. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  46. ^ Levitin, Daniel. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, New York: Dutton/Penguin.
  47. ^ Pinker, Steven (1997), How the Mind Works, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 342
  48. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 186
  49. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, pp. PS14
  50. ^ Pinker, Steven (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Allen Lane. p66
  51. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Decline of Violence”. IAI. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  52. ^ Horgan, John (October 3, 2011). “Will War Ever End? Steven Pinker’s new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: humankind”Slate.
  53. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  54. ^ Brittan, Samuel (22 October 2011). “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes by Stephen Pinker”The Spectator.
  55. ^ Coffman, Scott (28 September 2012). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our NatureCourier Journal. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013.
  56. ^ Kohn, Marek (7 October 2011). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes’, By Steven Pinker”The Independent. UK.
  57. ^ Epstein, R. (October 2011). “Book Review”Scientific American.
  58. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  59. ^ Gray, John (21 September 2011). “Delusions of peace”Prospect Magazine. UK.
  60. ^ “Correspondence”. Claremont Review of Books. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  61. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Peterson, David. “Steven Pinker on the alleged decline of violence”International Socialist Review.
  62. ^ Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (2012-09-13). “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Volence”. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  63. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (3 October 2011). “Peace In Our Time: Steven Pinker’s History of Violence in Decline”The New Yorker.
  64. ^ Pinker, Steven (November 2011). “Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”.
  65. ^ Laws, Ben (21 March 2012). “Against Pinker’s Violence”Ctheory.
  66. ^ “The Big Kill – By John Arquilla”Foreign Policy. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 22 January2013.
  67. ^ Corry, Stephen. “The case of the ‘Brutal Savage’: Poirot or Clouseau?: Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong” (PDF). Survival International. Retrieved 30 May2014. (Summary at The myth of the ‘Brutal Savage’)
  68. Jump up to:a b “Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon”Point of InquiryCenter for Inquiry. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  69. Jump up to:a b West, Ed (17 August 2012). “A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ “PSYCHOANALYSIS Q-and-A: Steven Pinker” The Harvard Crimson Accessed 8 February 2006.
  71. ^ “The Science of Gender and Science: Pinker Vs. Spelke, A Debate”. Edge.org. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  72. ^ Pinker, Steven (2009-11-15). “Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective”The New York Times.
  73. ^ “Let’s Go to the Tape”The New York Times. 2009-11-29.
  74. ^ Burke, Brian (2010-04-22). “Steven Pinker vs. Malcolm Gladwell and Drafting QBs”. Advanced NFL Stats. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  75. ^ Steven Pinker’s “probabilistic” genes, David Shenk
  76. ^ Exchanges At The Frontier 2011“, BBC.
  77. ^ Human violence and morality http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/hgr.2015.7
  78. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304.
  79. ^ Davies, William (2018-02-14). “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better”The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  80. ^ “Steven Pinker Looks At The Bright Side”1A. Feb 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  81. ^ “Paloma Saenz on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  82. ^ “David on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  83. ^ “Does the Enlightenment Need Defending?”IAI TV – Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world’s leading thinkers. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  84. ^ “Steven Pinker: How Our Minds Evolved” by Robert Wright Archived 2005-12-30 at the Wayback MachineTime Accessed 8 February 2006.
  85. ^ “The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals” Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback MachineForeign Policy (free registration required) Accessed 2006-082-08
  86. ^ “Intellectuals”Prospect. 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  87. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2010)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. 69. Steven Pinker
  88. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. 48. Steven Pinker: For Looking on Bright Side
  89. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  90. ^ “Steven Pinker Receives Humanist of the Year Award”American Humanist Association. May 12, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  91. ^ “The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists”Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Filmed talks[edit]

Debates[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

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Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn — Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse — Liberty and Equality: The Challenge of Our Times — Videos

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The Mises and Hayek Critiques of the Modern Political State | Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

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Kuehnelt-Leddihn and American Conservatism

Let us begin with what is most excellent and lasting in the work of the late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn—his profound understanding of, and unyielding opposition to, the Left.  According to the Austrian-born polymath, the Left has its roots planted firmly in democracy.  In its modern form, that object of near worship owed its birth to the French Revolution, but once loosed upon the world it soon transformed itself into socialism—international and national.  Contrary to received opinion, that is, Kuehnelt-Leddihn regarded communism, fascism, and nazism as rivals rather than enemies, brothers under the skin; like their progenitor, democracy, they were all ideologies of the Left.  That is why the Hitler-Stalin Pact should have occasioned no surprise.

The Left, then, comprises a number of ideologies, all of them, in Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s view, toxic.  But although he insisted that the French Revolution was a primal act of rebellion not only against monarchical order, but against God, he failed to draw the logical conclusion—that ideologies are substitute (or secular) religions.  Man, Edmund Burke wrote, “is a religious animal,” and he warned that if Christianity be suppressed or rejected “some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition might take place of it.”

In contemporary America, the reigning superstition goes by the name of Political Correctness (PC).  This ideology possesses neither the intellectual sophistication nor the internal order one finds in at least some varieties of Marxism.  It is a coalition of mini-ideologies that often appear to be contradictory:  feminism, “gay rights,” “civil rights” (preferential treatment of Black Americans), unrestricted abortion, open immigration for those from south of the border, and environmentalism.  It shows sympathy for Islam and a relentless hostility to Christianity.  It combines secularism (sometimes extending to atheism) with egalitarianism.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn died in 1999 and therefore did not live to witness the full flowering, if that is the word, of the PC ideology.  We know, however, that he would have fought against it.  He was, he insisted, a “man of the Right,” “conservative” being too foggy a label.  In fact, he styled himself a “liberal” in the tradition of Tocqueville, Montalembert, and Lord Acton.  Born in 1909 in what was then the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, he maintained a lifelong preference for monarchical, Catholic, and multi-ethnic societies.  (He himself spoke eight languages fluently and had a reading knowledge of 11 others.)  Never could he forgive Woodrow Wilson for the pivotal role the American president played in the Great War victors’ decision to break up the Habsburg Monarchy.

What political form a postwar European Right should take he did not, for some time, specify in detail, though he always insisted that it should base itself on an ideology that could mount a challenge to leftist ideologies.  That “ideology” was a misleading choice of words becomes obvious when one considers his definition of it:  “It is a coherent set of ideas about God, Man and the world without inner contradictions and well-rooted in eternal principles.”  This is a Weltanschauung, not an ideology.

Whether or not political parties should base themselves upon a Weltanschauungdepends largely upon circumstances.  One thing is certain however: Rightist governments are never of the masses.  They are elitist and authoritarian, but notideological (in the sense of a secular religion) or tyrannical.  “All free nations,” Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote, “are by definition ‘authoritarian’ in their political as well as in their social and even in their family life.  We obey out of love, out of respect (for the greater knowledge and wisdom of those to whom we owe obedience), or because we realize that obedience is in the interest of the Common Good, which…includes our own interest.”

Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s mind was European through and through, and as a result he criticized what he called the Anglo-American mind because of its belief that “a genuine conservative contemplates nature, favors age-old traditions, time-honored institutions, the wisdom of his forbearers, and so on.”  The trouble with Burke was that he stood for common sense, which “creates no dynamism whatsoever,” and that he eschewed political ideologies.  Did he not, in his classic Reflections on the Revolution in France,write that he reprobated “no form of government merely upon abstract principles?”

No one would deny that, their common hostility to the French Revolution notwithstanding, there is an immediately recognizable difference between the Anglo-Irish Burke and, say, the French-Savoyard Joseph de Maistre.  American conservatism, however, is not Burkean, Russell Kirk being a somewhat isolated figure.  Nevertheless, Kuehnelt-Leddihn believed that America was in dire need of an ideology if it were to have any chance of winning the struggle for men’s minds.  In a 1990 letter to me (in Hungarian, one of the languages he mastered), he wrote that “among my writings the Portland Declaration is very important.”  That declaration constituted his proposal for an American “ideology.”

The Portland Declaration (1981) grew out of a conference held in Portland, Oregon, and sponsored by the Western Humanities Institute.  Kuehnelt-Leddihn “compiled” the 26 principles it proclaimed, and they breathe his spirit.  The final paragraph of his brief introduction to the published text of the proposal is worthy of note.  “We must have before us a guiding vision of what our state and society could be like, to prevent us from becoming victims of false gods.  The answer to false gods is not godlessness but the Living God.  Hence our ideology must be based on the Living God, but it should appeal also to men of good will who, while not believers, derive their concepts of a well-ordered life, whether they realize it or not, ultimately from the same sources we do.”

Among other things, the Portland Declaration took its stand on diversity (the Left had not yet hijacked the word) rather than uniformity, the spiritual equality (but distinct social roles) of men and women, opposition to the centralization of power, minimal government of the highest quality, an independent supreme court, the teaching of religion in schools, and patriotism rather than nationalism.

Whether or not these principles, taken together, constitute an ideology may be doubted.  And so may Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s belief that the Portland Declaration is a “utopia,” a possible definition of which, he argued, was a state/society “that can reasonably be established by sober reflection and honest effort.”  This was another choice of words that muddied the waters of understanding.  “Utopia” (“no place”) is rightly understood to be some idea of a perfect society, but one that the less starry-eyed know to be unrealizable, and probably undesirable.  To be sure, Karl Mannheim, in his influential Ideologie und Utopie (1929), maintained that utopias, even if unrealizable, are necessary because they give direction to historical change.  Kuehnelt-Leddihn knew Mannheim’s book well and was undoubtedly influenced by it.  He once maintained that “a cure for cancer” was a “utopian” directive, even though it is neither unrealizable in principle nor a re-imagination of an entire society.

As Kuehnelt-Leddihn recognized, his notion of an ideology—if not as a “utopia”—would be welcomed by America’s neoconservatives.  In the excerpt from Leftism Revisited here presented, he pointed out that Irving Kristol, the “godfather” of neoconservatism, had once stated “that the Right needed an ideology if it hoped to win the battle against the Left.”  In that spirit, neoconservatives have insisted that America is a “propositional,” or “creedal,” nation.  That, they claim, is what makes the country “exceptional”—that, and the assumption “that the United   States is somehow exempt from the past and present fate, as well as from many of the necessities, of other nations.  Ours is a special creation, endowed with special immunities” (Richard M. Weaver).

Very well, but what is the proposition or creed?  The answer seems to be that which is proclaimed by the Declaration of Independence:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  To Kuehnelt-Leddihn these “truths” were anything but “self evident.”  He did not believe that all men were equal—not even, as he once told me, before God.  “We are all granted sufficient grace,” he said, “but remember, Christ Himself had a favorite disciple.”  Nor would he have accepted the notion of God-given rights, as opposed to responsibilities.  As for the “pursuit of Happiness,” only an American could imagine this to be an “unalienable right.”

The so-called paleoconservatives reject the notion of an ideological nation.  For the best of them, America is, or once was, bound together not by a “proposition,” but by “the bonds of history and memory, tradition and custom, language and literature, birth and faith, blood and soil” (Patrick J. Buchanan).  On the other hand, they share Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s aversion to reckless foreign interventions—unlike neoconservatives, they oppose crusades for “global democracy.”  We know that the Austrian admired George F. Kennan, the political “realist” who warned against an interventionist foreign policy and identified himself as a “European conservative,” one who was to the right of the paleoconservatives.   For his part, Kennan regarded Kuehnelt-Leddihn as “a kindred spirit in political philosophy.”

While most paleoconservatives are “realists” in their approach to foreign policy, they are not all traditionalists with respect to domestic affairs; some, especially the young, sympathize with libertarianism—a sympathy that Kuehnelt-Leddihn sometimes seemed to share, witness his insistence that he was a rightist and an anarchist.  The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s “numerous books are,” he wrote in Leftism Revisited, “full of notions and ideas that any true lover of liberty or any true conservative could underwrite, concepts that are part and parcel of the ‘arsenal’ of rightist thought.”

It is true that Proudhon detested democracy, but the doctrine of anarchism must ignore man’s fallen nature and assume that we are capable of living together without an authority outside of ourselves.  To be sure, libertarianism is not quite anarchism, but neither is it the disciplined liberty defended by Tocqueville.  John Stuart Mill’s libertarianism, as set forth in On Liberty, would, as James Fitzjames Stephen pointed out, undermine the world’s great moral traditions, all of which expect far more of men than that they not harm another.

Perhaps, after all, Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s writings could have its most salutary influence on contemporary cultural, rather than political, thought.  As the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci argued persuasively, the real war between Left and Right is waged at the level of culture.  Those who establish “cultural hegemony” will ultimately control political life because they are able to form public opinion.  That is precisely what PC propagandists have succeeded in doing, thanks to their takeover of the media, universities, popular culture, and many churches.  It is in the realm of culture, too, that Weltanschauung matters most.  Not all rightists are Christians or believing Jews, but if they do not look to the Judeo-Christian moral tradition for guidance, one wonders where they will find it.  That tradition and the culture it informed have been dealt what appear to be mortal blows in recent years.  If the culture war has indeed been lost, America will never again be the land some still remember.

https://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/kuehnelt-leddihn-and-american-conservatism

 

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

WORKS PUBLISHED INThe Journal of Libertarian Studies

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999) was an Austrian nobleman and socio-political theorist who described himself as and enemy of all forms of totalitarianism and as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right.” Described as “A Walking Book of Knowledge”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others.

ALL WORKS

Monarchy and War

War and Foreign PolicyWorld HistoryPolitical Theory

05/10/2018THE JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES
It is important to understand the relationship between monarchy and war, and between monarchy and warfare.

FORMATS

PDF 

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The Cultural Background of Ludwig von Mises — New Formats Available

Austrian Economics OverviewHistory of the Austrian School of Economics

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s timeless essay “The Cultural Background of Ludwig von Mises” is now easier to read.

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The Mises and Hayek Critiques of Modern Political State

BiographiesPolitical Theory

02/02/2005AUDIO/VIDEO
Presented as part of the Austrian Workshop seminar series. Recorded on 17 November 1997.

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The Cultural Background of Ludwig von Mises

BiographiesWar and Foreign PolicyWorld HistoryHistory of the Austrian School of Economics

04/05/1997ESSAYS IN POLITICAL ECONOMY
Writing about the cultural background of Ludwig von Mises, an eminent former compatriot of mine, poses some difficulties: how to present you with a world radically different from yours, a world far away, which in many ways no longer exists.

FORMATS

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse

World HistoryPolitical Theory

07/15/1974BOOKS
A comprehensive study of the major trends in leftist thought from the era of the French Revolution.
FORMATS

Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time

World HistoryPolitical Theory

03/02/1952BOOKS
In this treatise, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn argues that “democratic equality” is not based upon liberty — as is commonly believed — but the total state.

FORMATS

PDF 

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The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large

Legal SystemWorld HistoryPolitical Theory

06/15/1943BOOKS
A relentless attack on the idea of mass government based on the egalitarian ethic, and its tendency toward the total state of Stalin and Hitler.

https://mises.org/profile/erik-von-kuehnelt-leddihn

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

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Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.jpg

Photo portrait of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
Born July 31, 1909
Tobelbad (now Haselsdorf-Tobelbad), Austria-Hungary
Died May 26, 1999 (aged 89)
Lans, Austria

Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (born July 31, 1909 in TobelbadStyriaAustria-Hungary; died May 26, 1999, in LansTyrol) was an Austrian political scientist and journalist. Describing himself as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn often argued that majority rule in democracies is a threat to individual liberties, and declared himself a monarchist and an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism, although he also supported what he defined as “non-democratic republics,” such as Switzerland and the United States.[1][not in citation given]

Described as “A Walking Book of Knowledge”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others.[2] His early books The Menace of the Herd and Liberty or Equality were influential within the American conservative movement. An associate of William F. Buckley Jr., his best-known writings appeared in National Review, where he was a columnist for 35 years.

Life

At 16, he became the Vienna correspondent of The Spectator. From then on, he wrote for the rest of his life. He studied civil and canon law at the University of Vienna at 18. Then, he went to the University of Budapest, from which he received an M.A. in economicsand his doctorate in political science. Moving back to Vienna, he took up studies in theology. In 1935, Kuehnelt-Leddihn travelled to England to become a schoolmaster at Beaumont College, a Jesuit public school. Subsequently, he moved to the United States, where he taught at Georgetown University (1937–1938), Saint Peter’s College, New Jersey (head of the History and Sociology Department, 1938–1943), Fordham University (Japanese, 1942–1943), and Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia (1943–1947).

In a 1939 letter to the editor of The New York Times, Kuehnelt-Leddihn critiqued the design of every American coin then in circulation except for the Washington quarter, which he allowed was “so far the most satisfactory coin” and judged the Mercury dime to be “the most deplorable.”[3]

After publishing books like Jesuiten, Spießer und Bolschewiken in 1933 (published in German by Pustet, Salzburg) and The Menace of the Herd in 1943, in which he criticised the National Socialists as well as the Socialists directly OE indirectly, as he could not return to the Austria that had been incorporated into the Third Reich.

After the Second World War, he resettled in Lans, where he lived until his death.[4] He was an avid traveler: he had visited the Soviet Union in 1930–1931, and he eventually visited each of the United States.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote for a variety of publications, including ChroniclesThought, the Rothbard-Rockwell ReportCatholic World, and the Norwegian business magazine Farmand. He also worked with the Acton Institute, which declared him after his death “a great friend and supporter.”[5] He was an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.[6] For much of his life, Kuehnelt was also a painter; he illustrated some of his own books.

According to his friend William F. Buckley, Dr. Kuehnelt-Leddihn was “the world’s most fascinating man.”[7]

Work

His socio-political writings dealt with the origins and the philosophical and cultural currents that formed Nazism. He endeavored to explain the intricacies of monarchist concepts and the systems of Europe, cultural movements such as Hussitism and Protestantism, and the disastrous effects of an American policy derived from antimonarchical feelings and ignorance of European culture and history.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn directed some of his most significant critiques towards Wilsonian foreign policy activism. Traces of Wilsonianism could be detected in the foreign policies of Franklin Roosevelt; specifically, the assumption that democracy is the ideal political system in any context. Kuehnelt-Leddihn believed that Americans misunderstood much of Central European culture such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire,[8] which Kuehnelt-Leddihn claimed as one of the contributing factors to the rise of Nazism. He also highlighted characteristics of the German society and culture (especially the influences of both Protestant and Catholic mentalities) and attempted to explain the sociological undercurrents of Nazism. Thus, he concludes that sound Catholicism, sound Protestantism, or even, probably, sound popular sovereignty (German-Austrian unification in 1919) all three would have prevented National Socialism although Kuehnelt-Leddihn rather dislikes the latter two.

Contrary to the prevailing view that the Nazi Party was a radical right-wing movement with only superficial and minimal leftist elements, Kuehnelt-Leddihn asserted that Nazism (National Socialism) was a strongly leftist, democratic movement ultimately rooted in the French Revolution that unleashed forces of egalitarianismconformitymaterialism and centralization.[9] He argued that Nazismfascismradical-liberalism, and communismwere essentially democratic movements, based upon inciting the masses to revolution and intent upon destroying the old forms of society. Furthermore, Kuehnelt-Leddihn claimed that all democracy is basically totalitarianand that all democracies eventually degenerate into dictatorships. He said that it was not the case for “republics” (the word, for Kuehnelt-Leddihn, has the meaning of what Aristotle calls πολιτεία), such as Switzerland, or the United States as it was originally intended in its constitution. However, he considered the United States to have been to a certain extent subject to a silent democratic revolution in the late 1820s.

In Liberty or Equality, his magnum opus, Kuehnelt-Leddihn contrasted monarchy with democracy and presented his arguments for the superiority of monarchy: diversity is upheld better in monarchical countries than in democracies. Monarchism is not based on party rule and “fits organically into the ecclesiastic and familistic pattern of Christian society.” After insisting that the demand for liberty is about how to govern and by no means by whom to govern a given country, he draws arguments for his view that monarchical government is genuinely more liberal in this sense, but democracy naturally advocates for equality, even by enforcement, and thus becomes anti-liberal.[10] As modern life becomes increasingly complicated across many different sociopolitical levels, Kuehnelt-Leddihn submits that the Scita (the political, economic, technological, scientific, military, geographical, psychological knowledge of the masses and of their representatives) and the Scienda (the knowledge in these matters that is necessary to reach logical-rational-moral conclusions) are separated by an incessantly and cruelly widening gap and that democratic governments are totally inadequate for such undertakings.

In February 1969, Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote an article arguing against seeking a peace deal to end the Vietnam War.[11] Instead, he argued that the two options proposed, a reunification scheme and the creation of a coalition Vietnamese government, were unacceptable concessions to the Marxist North Vietnam.[11] Kuehnelt-Leddihn urged the US to continue the war.[11] until the Marxists were defeated.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn also denounced the US Bishops’ 1982 pastoral The Challenge of Peace[12] “The Bishops’ letter breathes idealism… moral imperialism, the attempt to inject theology into politics, ought to be avoided except in extreme cases, of which abolition and slavery are examples.”[12]

Writings

Novels[edit]

  • The Gates of Hell: An Historical Novel of the Present Day. London: Sheed & Ward, 1933.
  • Night Over the East. London: Sheed & Ward, 1936.
  • Moscow 1979. London: Sheed & Ward, 1940 (with Christiane von Kuehnelt-Leddihn).
  • Black Banners. Aldington, Kent: Forty-Five Press & Hand and Flower Press, 1952.

Socio-political works

  • The Menace of the Herd. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1943 (under the pseudonym of “Francis S. Campell” to protect relatives in wartime Austria).
  • Liberty or Equality. Front Royal, Virginia: Christendom Press, 1952; 1993.
  • The Timeless Christian. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1969.
  • Leftism, From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974.[13]
  • The Intelligent American’s Guide to Europe. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House Publishers, 1979.
  • Leftism Revisited, From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1990.[14]

Collaborations

  • “Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.” In: F.J. Sheed (Ed.), Born Catholics. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1954, pp. 220–238.
  • “Pollyanna Catholicism.” In: Dan Herr & Clem Lane (Ed.), Realities. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1958, pp. 1–12.
  • “The Age of the Guillotine.” In: Stephen Tonsor (Ed.), Reflections on the French Revolution: A Hillsdale Symposium. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1990.

Articles

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ Campbell, William F. “Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: A Remembrance,”First Principles, September 2008.
  2. Jump up^ William F. Buckley, Jr. (1985-12-31). “A Walking Book of Knowledge”. National Review. p. 104.
  3. Jump up^ Erik v. Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Letter to the Editor, “Our Coins Criticized: Visitor Finds Artistic Faults in All Except the Quarter”, The New York Times, Nov. 26, 1939, p. 75.
  4. Jump up^ Rutler, George W. “Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn,”Crisis Magazine, November 19, 2007.
  5. Jump up^ “Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909–1999)”Acton Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  6. Jump up^ Rockwell, Lew. “Remembering Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn“. LewRockwell.com Blog, July 31, 2008.
  7. Jump up^ “Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddih (1909–1999),”Archived2013-07-02 at the Wayback MachineReligion & Liberty9 (5), 1999, p. 3.
  8. Jump up^ Baltzersen, Jorn K. “The Last Knight of the Habsburg Empire,”Lew Rockwell, July 31, 2009.
  9. Jump up^ Congdon, Lee. “Kuehnelt-Leddihn and American Conservatism,”Crisis Magazine, March 26, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ Lukacs, John. “Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: A Memoir,”The Intercollegiate Review35 (1), Fall 1999.
  11. Jump up to:abc Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn “No Quick Peace In Vietnam”, National Review, February 11, 1969.
  12. Jump up to:ab Camilla J. Kari, Public Witness: The Pastoral Letters of the American Catholic Bishops: Liturgical Press, 2004. ISBN0814658334 (p. 86).
  13. Jump up^ Brownfeld, Allan C. “Leftism, by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn,”The Freeman, July 1974.
  14. Jump up^ Chamberlain, John. “Leftism Revisited,”The Freeman41(7), July 1991.

Regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Sir (denoting a Knight), not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form.

See also

Further reading

  • Nash, George H. (2006). The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. ISI Books ISBN 9781933859125
  • Frohnen, Bruce; Jeremy Beer & Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006). American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. ISI Books ISBN 9781932236439

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_von_Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Classical liberalism

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Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanization and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States.[1][2][3] Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke,[4] Jean-Baptiste SayThomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law,[5] utilitarianism[6] and progress.[7] The term “classical liberalism” was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism.[8]

Evolution of core beliefs

Core beliefs of classical liberals included new ideas—which departed from both the older conservative idea of society as a family and from the later sociological concept of society as complex set of social networks. Classical liberals believe that individuals are “egoistic, coldly calculating, essentially inert and atomistic”[9] and that society is no more than the sum of its individual members.[10]

Classical liberals agreed with Thomas Hobbes that government had been created by individuals to protect themselves from each other and that the purpose of government should be to minimize conflict between individuals that would otherwise arise in a state of nature. These beliefs were complemented by a belief that laborers could be best motivated by financial incentive. This belief led to the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, which limited the provision of social assistance, based on the idea that markets are the mechanism that most efficiently leads to wealth. Adopting Thomas Robert Malthus‘s population theory, they saw poor urban conditions as inevitable, they believed population growth would outstrip food production and they regarded that consequence desirable because starvation would help limit population growth. They opposed any income or wealth redistribution, which they believed would be dissipated by the lowest orders.[11]

Drawing on ideas of Adam Smith, classical liberals believed that it is in the common interest that all individuals be able to secure their own economic self-interest. They were critical of what would come to be the idea of the welfare state as interfering in a free market.[12]Despite Smith’s resolute recognition of the importance and value of labor and of laborers, they selectively criticized labour’s group rights being pursued at the expense of individual rights[13] while accepting corporations’ rights, which led to inequality of bargaining power.[14][15][16]

Classical liberals argued that individuals should be free to obtain work from the highest-paying employers while the profit motive would ensure that products that people desired were produced at prices they would pay. In a free market, both labor and capital would receive the greatest possible reward while production would be organized efficiently to meet consumer demand.[17]

Classical liberals argued for what they called a minimal state, limited to the following functions:

  • A government to protect individual rights and to provide services that cannot be provided in a free market.
  • A common national defense to provide protection against foreign invaders.[18]
  • Laws to provide protection for citizens from wrongs committed against them by other citizens, which included protection of private property, enforcement of contracts and common law.
  • Building and maintaining public institutions.
  • Public works that included a stable currency, standard weights and measures and building and upkeep of roads, canals, harbors, railways, communications and postal services.[18]

They asserted that rights are of a negative nature, which require other individuals (and governments) to refrain from interfering with the free market, opposing social liberals who assert that individuals have positive rights, such as the right to vote, the right to an education, the right to health care and the right to a living wage. For society to guarantee positive rights, it requires taxation over and above the minimum needed to enforce negative rights.[19][20]

Core beliefs of classical liberals did not necessarily include democracy or government by a majority vote by citizens because “there is nothing in the bare idea of majority rule to show that majorities will always respect the rights of property or maintain rule of law”.[21]For example, James Madison argued for a constitutional republic with protections for individual liberty over a pure democracy, reasoning that in a pure democracy a “common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole…and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party”.[22]

In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible to allow the exercise of individual freedom. In its most extreme form, neo-classical liberalism advocated Social Darwinism.[23]Right-libertarianism is a modern form of neo-classical liberalism.[23]

Friedrich Hayek’s typology of beliefs

Friedrich Hayek identified two different traditions within classical liberalism: the “British tradition” and the “French tradition”. Hayek saw the British philosophers Bernard MandevilleDavid HumeAdam SmithAdam FergusonJosiah Tucker and William Paley as representative of a tradition that articulated beliefs in empiricism, the common law and in traditions and institutions which had spontaneously evolved but were imperfectly understood. The French tradition included Jean-Jacques RousseauMarquis de Condorcet, the Encyclopedists and the Physiocrats. This tradition believed in rationalism and sometimes showed hostility to tradition and religion. Hayek conceded that the national labels did not exactly correspond to those belonging to each tradition: Hayek saw the Frenchmen MontesquieuBenjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville as belonging to the “British tradition” and the British Thomas HobbesJoseph PriestleyRichard Price and Thomas Paine as belonging to the “French tradition”.[24][25] Hayek also rejected the label laissez-faireas originating from the French tradition and alien to the beliefs of Hume and Smith.

Guido De Ruggiero also identified differences between “Montesquieu and Rousseau, the English and the democratic types of liberalism”[26] and argued that there was a “profound contrast between the two Liberal systems”.[27] He claimed that the spirit of “authentic English Liberalism” had “built up its work piece by piece without ever destroying what had once been built, but basing upon it every new departure”. This liberalism had “insensibly adapted ancient institutions to modern needs” and “instinctively recoiled from all abstract proclamations of principles and rights”.[27] Ruggiero claimed that this liberalism was challenged by what he called the “new Liberalism of France” that was characterised by egalitarianism and a “rationalistic consciousness”.[28]

In 1848, Francis Lieber distinguished between what he called “Anglican and Gallican Liberty”. Lieber asserted that “independence in the highest degree, compatible with safety and broad national guarantees of liberty, is the great aim of Anglican liberty, and self-reliance is the chief source from which it draws its strength”.[29] On the other hand, Gallican liberty “is sought in government…the French look for the highest degree of political civilization in organizational, that is, in the highest degree of interference by public power”.[30]

History

Great Britain

Classical liberalism in Britain developed from Whiggery and radicalism, was also heavily influenced by French physiocracy and represented a new political ideology. Whiggery had become a dominant ideology following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and was associated with the defence of the British Parliament, upholding the rule of law and defending landed property. The origins of rights were seen as being in an ancient constitution, which had existed from time immemorial. These rights, which some Whigs considered to include freedom of the press and freedom of speech, were justified by custom rather than by natural rights. They believed that the power of the executive had to be constrained. While they supported limited suffrage, they saw voting as a privilege rather than as a right. However, there was no consistency in Whig ideology and diverse writers including John LockeDavid HumeAdam Smith and Edmund Burke were all influential among Whigs, although none of them was universally accepted.[31]

From the 1790s to the 1820s, British radicals concentrated on parliamentary and electoral reform, emphasising natural rights and popular sovereignty. Richard Price and Joseph Priestley adapted the language of Locke to the ideology of radicalism.[31] The radicals saw parliamentary reform as a first step toward dealing with their many grievances, including the treatment of Protestant Dissenters, the slave trade, high prices and high taxes.[32]

There was greater unity to classical liberalism ideology than there had been with Whiggery. Classical liberals were committed to individualism, liberty and equal rights. They believed that required a free economy with minimal government interference. Writers such as John Bright and Richard Cobden opposed both aristocratic privilege and property, which they saw as an impediment to the development of a class of yeoman farmers. Some elements of Whiggery opposed this new thinking and were uncomfortable with the commercial nature of classical liberalism. These elements became associated with conservatism.[33]

A meeting of the Anti-Corn Law League in Exeter Hall in 1846

Classical liberalism was the dominant political theory in Britain from the early 19th century until the First World War. Its notable victories were the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, the Reform Act of 1832 and the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The Anti-Corn Law League brought together a coalition of liberal and radical groups in support of free trade under the leadership of Richard Cobden and John Bright, who opposed militarism and public expenditure. Their policies of low public expenditure and low taxation were adopted by William Ewart Gladstone when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and later Prime Minister. Classical liberalism was often associated with religious dissent and nonconformism.[34]

Although classical liberals aspired to a minimum of state activity, they accepted the principle of government intervention in the economy from the early 19th century with passage of the Factory Acts. From around 1840 to 1860, laissez-faire advocates of the Manchester School and writers in The Economist were confident that their early victories would lead to a period of expanding economic and personal liberty and world peace, but would face reversals as government intervention and activity continued to expand from the 1850s. Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, although advocates of laissez-faire, non-intervention in foreign affairs and individual liberty, believed that social institutions could be rationally redesigned through the principles of utilitarianism. The Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli rejected classical liberalism altogether and advocated Tory democracy. By the 1870s, Herbert Spencer and other classical liberals concluded that historical development was turning against them.[35] By the First World War, the Liberal Party had largely abandoned classical liberal principles.[36]

The changing economic and social conditions of the 19th century led to a division between neo-classical and social (or welfare) liberals, who while agreeing on the importance of individual liberty differed on the role of the state. Neo-classical liberals, who called themselves “true liberals”, saw Locke’s Second Treatise as the best guide and emphasised “limited government” while social liberals supported government regulation and the welfare state. Herbert Spencer in Britain and William Graham Sumner were the leading neo-classical liberal theorists of the 19th century.[37] Neo-classical liberalism has continued into the contemporary era, with writers such as John Rawls.[38] The evolution from classical to social/welfare liberalism is for example reflected in Britain in the evolution of the thought of John Maynard Keynes.[39]

United States

In the United States, liberalism took a strong root because it had little opposition to its ideals, whereas in Europe liberalism was opposed by many reactionary or feudal interests such as the nobility, the aristocracy, the landed gentry, the established church and the aristocratic army officers.[40]

Thomas Jefferson adopted many of the ideals of liberalism, but in the Declaration of Independence changed Locke’s “life, liberty and property” to the more socially liberal “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“.[4] As the United States grew, industry became a larger and larger part of American life; and during the term of its first populist PresidentAndrew Jackson, economic questions came to the forefront. The economic ideas of the Jacksonian era were almost universally the ideas of classical liberalism.[41] Freedom was maximised when the government took a “hands off” attitude toward the economy.[42]

Historian Kathleen G. Donohue argues:

[A]t the center of classical liberal theory [in Europe] was the idea of laissez-faire. To the vast majority of American classical liberals, however, laissez-faire did not mean no government intervention at all. On the contrary, they were more than willing to see government provide tariffs, railroad subsidies, and internal improvements, all of which benefited producers. What they condemned was intervention in behalf of consumers.[43]

Leading magazine The Nation espoused liberalism every week starting in 1865 under the influential editor Edwin Lawrence. Godkin (1831–1902).[44]

The ideas of classical liberalism remained essentially unchallenged until a series of depressions, thought to be impossible according to the tenets of classical economics, led to economic hardship from which the voters demanded relief. In the words of William Jennings Bryan, “You shall not crucify the American farmer on a cross of gold“. Classical liberalism remained the orthodox belief among American businessmen until the Great Depression.[45]

The Great Depression of the 1930s saw a sea change in liberalism, with priority shifting from the producers to consumers. Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal represented the dominance of modern liberalism in politics for decades. In the words of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.:[46]

When the growing complexity of industrial conditions required increasing government intervention in order to assure more equal opportunities, the liberal tradition, faithful to the goal rather than to the dogma, altered its view of the state. […] There emerged the conception of a social welfare state, in which the national government had the express obligation to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labour, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of social security.

Alan Wolfe summarizes the viewpoint that there is a continuous liberal understanding that includes both Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes:[47]

The idea that liberalism comes in two forms assumes that the most fundamental question facing mankind is how much government intervenes into the economy… When instead we discuss human purpose and the meaning of life, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes are on the same side. Both of them possessed an expansive sense of what we are put on this earth to accomplish. […] For Smith, mercantilism was the enemy of human liberty. For Keynes, monopolies were. It makes perfect sense for an eighteenth-century thinker to conclude that humanity would flourish under the market. For a twentieth century thinker committed to the same ideal, government was an essential tool to the same end.

The view that modern liberalism is a continuation of classical liberalism is not universally shared.[48] James KurthRobert E. LernerJohn MicklethwaitAdrian Wooldridge and several other political scholars have argued that classical liberalism still exists today, but in the form of American conservatism.[49] According to Deepak Lal, only in the United States does classical liberalism—through American conservatives—continue to be a significant political force.[50]

Intellectual sources

John Locke[edit]

Central to classical liberal ideology was their interpretation of John Locke‘s Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, which had been written as a defence of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Although these writings were considered too radical at the time for Britain’s new rulers, they later came to be cited by Whigs, radicals and supporters of the American Revolution.[51] However, much of later liberal thought was absent in Locke’s writings or scarcely mentioned and his writings have been subject to various interpretations. For example, there is little mention of constitutionalism, the separation of powers and limited government.[52]

James L. Richardson identified five central themes in Locke’s writing: individualism, consent, the concepts of the rule of law and government as trustee, the significance of property and religious toleration. Although Locke did not develop a theory of natural rights, he envisioned individuals in the state of nature as being free and equal. The individual, rather than the community or institutions, was the point of reference. Locke believed that individuals had given consent to government and therefore authority derived from the people rather than from above. This belief would influence later revolutionary movements.[53]

As a trustee, government was expected to serve the interests of the people, not the rulers; and rulers were expected to follow the laws enacted by legislatures. Locke also held that the main purpose of men uniting into commonwealths and governments was for the preservation of their property. Despite the ambiguity of Locke’s definition of property, which limited property to “as much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of”, this principle held great appeal to individuals possessed of great wealth.[54]

Locke held that the individual had the right to follow his own religious beliefs and that the state should not impose a religion against Dissenters, but there were limitations. No tolerance should be shown for atheists, who were seen as amoral, or to Catholics, who were seen as owing allegiance to the Pope over their own national government.[55]

Adam Smith

Adam Smith‘s The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, was to provide most of the ideas of economics, at least until the publication of John Stuart Mill‘s Principles of Political Economy in 1848.[56] Smith addressed the motivation for economic activity, the causes of prices and the distribution of wealth and the policies the state should follow to maximise wealth.[57]

Smith wrote that as long as supply, demand, prices and competition were left free of government regulation, the pursuit of material self-interest, rather than altruism, would maximise the wealth of a society[58] through profit-driven production of goods and services. An “invisible hand” directed individuals and firms to work toward the public good as an unintended consequence of efforts to maximise their own gain. This provided a moral justification for the accumulation of wealth, which had previously been viewed by some as sinful.[57]

He assumed that workers could be paid wages as low as was necessary for their survival, which was later transformed by David Ricardo and Thomas Robert Malthus into the “iron law of wages“.[59] His main emphasis was on the benefit of free internal and international trade, which he thought could increase wealth through specialisation in production.[60] He also opposed restrictive trade preferences, state grants of monopolies and employers’ organisations and trade unions.[61] Government should be limited to defence, public works and the administration of justice, financed by taxes based on income.[62]

Smith’s economics was carried into practice in the nineteenth century with the lowering of tariffs in the 1820s, the repeal of the Poor Relief Act that had restricted the mobility of labour in 1834 and the end of the rule of the East India Company over India in 1858.[63]

Classical economics

In addition to Smith’s legacy, Say’s lawThomas Robert Malthus‘ theories of population and David Ricardo‘s iron law of wages became central doctrines of classical economics. The pessimistic nature of these theories provided a basis for criticism of capitalism by its opponents and helped perpetuate the tradition of calling economics the “dismal science“.[64]

Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist who introduced Smith’s economic theories into France and whose commentaries on Smith were read in both France and Britain.[63] Say challenged Smith’s labour theory of value, believing that prices were determined by utility and also emphasised the critical role of the entrepreneur in the economy. However, neither of those observations became accepted by British economists at the time. His most important contribution to economic thinking was Say’s law, which was interpreted by classical economists that there could be no overproduction in a market and that there would always be a balance between supply and demand.[65] This general belief influenced government policies until the 1930s. Following this law, since the economic cycle was seen as self-correcting, government did not intervene during periods of economic hardship because it was seen as futile.[66]

Malthus wrote two books, An Essay on the Principle of Population (published in 1798) and Principles of Political Economy (published in 1820). The second book which was a rebuttal of Say’s law had little influence on contemporary economists.[67] However, his first book became a major influence on classical liberalism. In that book, Malthus claimed that population growth would outstrip food production because population grew geometrically while food production grew arithmetically. As people were provided with food, they would reproduce until their growth outstripped the food supply. Nature would then provide a check to growth in the forms of vice and misery. No gains in income could prevent this and any welfare for the poor would be self-defeating. The poor were in fact responsible for their own problems which could have been avoided through self-restraint.[68]

Ricardo, who was an admirer of Smith, covered many of the same topics, but while Smith drew conclusions from broadly empirical observations he used deduction, drawing conclusions by reasoning from basic assumptions [69] While Ricardo accepted Smith’s labour theory of value, he acknowledged that utility could influence the price of some rare items. Rents on agricultural land were seen as the production that was surplus to the subsistence required by the tenants. Wages were seen as the amount required for workers’ subsistence and to maintain current population levels.[70] According to his iron law of wages, wages could never rise beyond subsistence levels. Ricardo explained profits as a return on capital, which itself was the product of labour, but a conclusion many drew from his theory was that profit was a surplus appropriated by capitalists to which they were not entitled.[71]

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism provided the political justification for implementation of economic liberalism by British governments, which was to dominate economic policy from the 1830s. Although utilitarianism prompted legislative and administrative reform and John Stuart Mill‘s later writings on the subject foreshadowed the welfare state, it was mainly used as a justification for laissez-faire.[72]

The central concept of utilitarianism, which was developed by Jeremy Bentham, was that public policy should seek to provide “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”. While this could be interpreted as a justification for state action to reduce poverty, it was used by classical liberals to justify inaction with the argument that the net benefit to all individuals would be higher.[64]

Political economy

Classical liberals saw utility as the foundation for public policies. This broke both with conservative “tradition” and Lockean “natural rights”, which were seen as irrational. Utility, which emphasises the happiness of individuals, became the central ethical value of all liberalism.[73] Although utilitarianism inspired wide-ranging reforms, it became primarily a justification for laissez-faire economics. However, classical liberals rejected Smith’s belief that the “invisible hand” would lead to general benefits and embraced Malthus’ view that population expansion would prevent any general benefit and Ricardo’s view of the inevitability of class conflict. Laissez-faire was seen as the only possible economic approach and any government intervention was seen as useless and harmful. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 was defended on “scientific or economic principles” while the authors of the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 were seen as not having had the benefit of reading Malthus.[74]

However, commitment to laissez-faire was not uniform and some economists advocated state support of public works and education. Classical liberals were also divided on free trade as Ricardo expressed doubt that the removal of grain tariffs advocated by Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League would have any general benefits. Most classical liberals also supported legislation to regulate the number of hours that children were allowed to work and usually did not oppose factory reform legislation.[74]

Despite the pragmatism of classical economists, their views were expressed in dogmatic terms by such popular writers as Jane Marcet and Harriet Martineau.[74] The strongest defender of laissez-faire was The Economist founded by James Wilson in 1843. The Economist criticised Ricardo for his lack of support for free trade and expressed hostility to welfare, believing that the lower orders were responsible for their economic circumstances. The Economist took the position that regulation of factory hours was harmful to workers and also strongly opposed state support for education, health, the provision of water and granting of patents and copyrights.[75]

The Economist also campaigned against the Corn Laws that protected landlords in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland against competition from less expensive foreign imports of cereal products. A rigid belief in laissez-faire guided the government response in 1846–1849 to the Great Famine in Ireland, during which an estimated 1.5 million people died. The minister responsible for economic and financial affairs, Charles Wood, expected that private enterprise and free trade, rather than government intervention, would alleviate the famine.[75] The Corn Laws were finally repealed in 1846 by the removal of tariffs on grain which kept the price of bread artificially high,[76] but it came too late to stop the Irish famine, partly because it was done in stages over three years.[77][78]

Free trade and world peace

Several liberals, including Smith and Cobden, argued that the free exchange of goods between nations could lead to world peace. Erik Gartzke states: “Scholars like Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Richard Cobden, Norman Angell, and Richard Rosecrance have long speculated that free markets have the potential to free states from the looming prospect of recurrent warfare”.[79] American political scientists John R. Oneal and Bruce M. Russett, well known for their work on the democratic peace theory, state:[80]

The classical liberals advocated policies to increase liberty and prosperity. They sought to empower the commercial class politically and to abolish royal charters, monopolies, and the protectionist policies of mercantilism so as to encourage entrepreneurship and increase productive efficiency. They also expected democracy and laissez-faire economics to diminish the frequency of war.

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that as societies progressed from hunter gatherers to industrial societies the spoils of war would rise, but that the costs of war would rise further and thus making war difficult and costly for industrialised nations:[81]

[T]he honours, the fame, the emoluments of war, belong not to [the middle and industrial classes]; the battle-plain is the harvest field of the aristocracy, watered with the blood of the people…Whilst our trade rested upon our foreign dependencies, as was the case in the middle of the last century…force and violence, were necessary to command our customers for our manufacturers…But war, although the greatest of consumers, not only produces nothing in return, but, by abstracting labour from productive employment and interrupting the course of trade, it impedes, in a variety of indirect ways, the creation of wealth; and, should hostilities be continued for a series of years, each successive war-loan will be felt in our commercial and manufacturing districts with an augmented pressure

[B]y virtue of their mutual interest does nature unite people against violence and war, for the concept of concept of cosmopolitan right does not protect them from it. The spirit of trade cannot coexist with war, and sooner or later this spirit dominates every people. For among all those powers (or means) that belong to a nation, financial power may be the most reliable in forcing nations to pursue the noble cause of peace (though not from moral motives); and wherever in the world war threatens to break out, they will try to head it off through mediation, just as if they were permanently leagued for this purpose.

Cobden believed that military expenditures worsened the welfare of the state and benefited a small, but concentrated elite minority, summing up British imperialism, which he believed was the result of the economic restrictions of mercantilist policies. To Cobden and many classical liberals, those who advocated peace must also advocate free markets. The belief that free trade would promote peace was widely shared by English liberals of the 19th and early 20th century, leading the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946), who was a classical liberal in his early life, to say that this was a doctrine on which he was “brought up” and which he held unquestioned only until the 1920s.[84] In his review of a book on Keynes, Michael S. Lawlor argues that it may be in large part due to Keynes’ contributions in economics and politics, as in the implementation of the Marshall Plan and the way economies have been managed since his work, “that we have the luxury of not facing his unpalatable choice between free trade and full employment”.[85] A related manifestation of this idea was the argument of Norman Angell (1872–1967), most famously before World War I in The Great Illusion (1909), that the interdependence of the economies of the major powers was now so great that war between them was futile and irrational; and therefore unlikely.

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

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Jordan B. Peterson — Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief — Book and Lectures — Videos

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2016 Lecture 01 Maps of Meaning: Introduction and Overview

2016 Lecture 02 Maps of Meaning: Playable and non-playable games

2016 Lecture 03 Maps of Meaning: Part I: The basic story and its transformations

2016 Lecture 03 Maps of Meaning: Part II: The basic story — and its transformations

2016 Lecture 04 Maps of Meaning: Anomaly

2016 Lecture 05: Maps of Meaning: Part I: Anomaly and the brain

2016 Lecture 06 Maps of Meaning: Part I: The primordial narrative

2016 Lecture 06 Maps of Meaning: Part II: The Primordial Narrative continued

2016 Lecture 07 Maps of Meaning: Part I: Osiris, Set, Isis and Horus

2016 Lecture 07 Maps of Meaning: Part II: Osiris, Set, Isis and Horus

2016 Lecture 08 Maps of Meaning: Part I: Hierarchies and chaos

2016 Lecture 09 Maps of Meaning: Genesis

2016 Lecture 10 Maps of Meaning: Gautama Buddha, Adam and Eve

2016 Maps of Meaning Final

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 1 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 2 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 3 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 4 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 5 (Harvard Lectures) [Edited]

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 6 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 7 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 8 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 9 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 10 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 11 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 12 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson: Maps of Meaning 13 (Harvard Lectures)

Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

The Architecture of Belief | Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux

Jordan B Peterson | *Spring 2017* | full-length interview

Jordan Peterson Full Interview Section With Steven Pinker

Genders, Rights and Freedom of Speech

Jordan Peterson – Full Harvard Talk

2017/05/17: Senate hearing on Bill C16

Jordan Peterson Was RIGHT About BILL C16 | Discussion with Dr. Haskell and Dr. McNall

Teaching assistant reacts after Wilfrid Laurier University president promises change

Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepherd Finally Meet on Louder with Crowder

017/01/22: Pt 2: Freedom Of Speech/Political Correctness: Dr. Jordan B Peterson

Jordan Peterson’s Masterclass on Demolishing Identity Politics

White privilege isn’t real – Jordan Peterson

One Big Reason Trump Won – Jordan peterson, Jon Haidt

Jordan Peterson “I’d Vote Donald Trump and Here’s Why”

NBC’s Hit Piece On Jordan Peterson Is Backfiring Big Time

Jordan Peterson: The Left’s new public enemy No. 1

Jordan Peterson vs 60 Minutes

The New McCarthyism: Dr. Jordan Peterson Attacked by Crazed Transloon Pronoun Nazis

Jordan Peterson; The Left Will Destroy Itself ! Full Appearance On The Greg Gutfeld Show

Jordan B. Peterson | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Jordan Peterson LIVE: 12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson- His Finest Moment

 

Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson
Peterson Lecture (33522701146).png

Peterson at the University of Toronto
March 2017
Born Jordan Bernt Peterson
June 12, 1962 (age 55)
EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Education Political science (B.A., 1982)
Psychology (B.A., 1984)
Clinical psychology (Ph.D., 1991)
Alma mater
Spouse(s) Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl
Influences JungFreudPiagetNietzscheDostoevskySolzhenitsyn
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Signature
Jordan Peterson Signature.svg

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1]with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief,[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson studied at the University of Alberta and McGill University. He remained at McGill as a post-doctoral fellow from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and then associate professor in the psychology department.[4][5] In 1998, he moved back to Canada, as a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, where he is currently a full professor.

Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, was published in 1999, a work which examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and motivation for genocide.[6][7][8] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[9][4][10]

In 2016, Peterson released a series of videos on his YouTube channel in which he criticized political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16. He subsequently received significant media coverage.[9][4][10]

Early life

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada. He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[11][12] His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/ BAIR-ənt), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[13][14]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley – mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[15] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party due to what Orwell diagnosed in The Road to Wigan Pier as a preponderance of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[11][16] He left the NDP at age 18.[17]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in 1982.[17] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he developed an interest in the psychological origins of the Cold War, particularly 20th century European totalitarianism,[2][18] and was plagued by apocalyptic nightmares about the escalation of the nuclear arms race. As a result, he became concerned about humanity’s capacity for evil and destruction, and delved into the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[11] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[18] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[19] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][20]

Career

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggressionarising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[17] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[4] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][19]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers.[21] Peterson has over 20 years of clinical practice, seeing 20 people a week, but in 2017, he decided to put the practice on hold because of new projects.[9]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[11][19][22] He has also appeared on that network on shows such as Big Ideas, and as a frequent guest and essayist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin since 2008.[23][24] Since 2018, he has also appeared on BBC Radio 5 LiveFox & Friends and Tucker Carlson Tonight,[25][26] ABC‘s 7.30,[27] Sky News Australia‘s Outsiders,[28] and HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher among others.[29]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything – anything – to defend ourselves against that return.

— Jordan Peterson, 1998 (Descensus ad Inferos)[5]

In 1999 Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaningbeliefs and make narratives using ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[17][5][30]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[17]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[17][5][30] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[30] Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[9][4][10] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[31][32][33] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention, as well popularity for the book.[34][35][36][37] The book was ranked the number one bestselling book on Amazon in the United States and Canada and number four in the United Kingdom.[38][39] It also topped bestselling lists in Canada, US and the United Kingdom.[40][41]

YouTube channel and podcasts

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[42]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 50 million views as of April 2018.[43][44] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received via the crowdfunding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017, and then to more than $50,000 by July 2017.[15][43][45]

Peterson has appeared on The Joe Rogan ExperienceThe Gavin McInnes ShowSteven Crowder‘s Louder with CrowderDave Rubin‘s The Rubin ReportStefan Molyneux‘s Freedomain Radioh3h3Productions‘s H3 PodcastSam Harris‘s Waking UpRussell Brand‘s podcast, Gad Saad‘s The Saad Truth and John Anderson conversational series, as well other online shows.[44][46] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has 45 episodes as of April 26, 2018, including academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker,[47] while on his channel he has also interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others. Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[10]

In May 2017, Peterson began The psychological significance of the Biblical stories,[48] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[10][49]

Self Authoring Suite

Peterson and his colleagues Robert O. Pihl, Daniel Higgins, and Michaela Schippers[50] produced a writing therapy program with series of online writing exercises, titled the Self Authoring Suite.[51] It includes the Past Authoring Program, a guided autobiography; two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[52][53] The Self Authoring Programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Pennebaker demonstrated that writing about traumatic or uncertain events and situations improved mental and physical health, while Latham demonstrated that personal planning exercises help make people more productive.[53] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[11]

Critiques of political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[46][54][55] Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[56] while in The SpectatorTim Lottstated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[18] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[57]

According to his study – conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy – of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: PC-egalitarianism and PC-authoritarianism, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[58] The first type is represented by a group of classical liberals, while the latter by the group known as “social justice warriors[11] who “weaponize compassion“.[2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[58]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[57] He watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[59] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[18][60][61]

Postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politics throughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[60]

Peterson states that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s,[54] while typically claiming to reject Marxism and communism, have actually built upon and extended their core tenets. He says that it is difficult to understand contemporary society without considering the influence of postmodernism which initially spread from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He argues that they “started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name […] The people who hold this doctrine – this radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identity or sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount – they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well”.[60][21]

He emphasizes that the state should halt funding to faculties and courses he describes as neo-Marxist, and advises students to avoid disciplines like women’s studiesethnic studies and racial studies, as well other fields of study he believes are “corrupted” by the ideology such as sociologyanthropology and English literature.[62][63] He states that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[64] cult-like behaviour,[62] safe-spaces,[65] and radical left-wing political activism for students.[54] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses artificial intelligence to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[66][67]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[54] In regard to identity politics, while “left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let’s say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride” he considers them “equally dangerous” and that instead should be emphasized individualism and individual responsibility.[68] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[69]

Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[15][70] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty as part of compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[70][71]

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transsexual student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[72] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[73] Other academics challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16,[72] while some scholars such as Robert P. George supported Peterson’s initiative.[15]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive”.[15] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[74][75][76] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me […] If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no […] If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[76] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[77]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[78][15]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[79] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[80]

In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[81] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said “[c]ommittees assess only the information contained in the application”.[82] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[83] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[84]

In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak on the bill.[80]

In August 2017, an announced event at Ryerson University titled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses”, organized by former social worker Sarina Singh with panelists Peterson, Gad Saad, Oren Amitay, and Faith Goldy was shut down because of pressure on the university administration from the group “No Fascists in Our City”.[85] However, another version of the panel (without Goldy) was held on November 11 at Canada Christian College with an audience of 1,500.[86][87]

In November 2017, a teaching assistant (TA) at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) was censured by her professors and WLU’s Manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16, during a classroom discussion.[88][89][90] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate”, being compared to a “speech by Hitler“,[16] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[91] The case was criticized by several newspaper editorial boards[92][93][94] and national newspaper columnists[95][96][97][98] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. WLU announced a third-party investigation.[99] After the release of the audio recording of the meeting in which the TA was censured,[100] WLU President Deborah MacLatchy and the TA’s supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana published letters of formal apology.[101][102][103] According to the investigation no students had complained about the lesson, there was no informal concern related to Laurier policy, and according to MacLatchy the meeting “never should have happened at all”.[104][105]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[15] They have one daughter and one son.[11][15]

Politically, Peterson has described himself as a classic British liberal,[106][18] and has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing.[44] He is a philosophical pragmatist.[49] In a 2017 interview, Peterson identified as a Christian,[107] but in 2018 he did not.[108] He emphasized his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what it is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[108] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[9] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[18]

In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie (“Great Seeker”).[16][109] Peterson collected more than 300 Soviet-era paintings as a reminder of the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art.[16]

Bibliography

Books

Journal articles

Top 15 most cited academic papers from Google Scholar and ResearchGate:

References

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  67. Jump up^ Gould, Jens Erik; Mottishaw, Leah; Mottishaw, Shane (November 14, 2017). “Jordan Peterson and the media: How one-sided reporting can limit critical thinking”Huffington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  68. Jump up^ Luscombe, Belinda (March 7, 2018). “Jordan Peterson Talks Gun Control, Angry Men and Why So Few Women Lead Companies”Time. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  69. Jump up^ Artuso, Antonella (May 23, 2017). “Prof. Jordan Peterson responds to CBC cultural appropriation fallout”Toronto Sun.
  70. Jump up to:a b DiManno, Rosie (November 19, 2016). “New words trigger an abstract clash on campus”Toronto Star.
  71. Jump up^ Craig, Sean (September 28, 2016). “U of T professor attacks political correctness, says he refuses to use genderless pronouns”National Post.
  72. Jump up to:a b Chiose, Simona (November 19, 2016). “University of Toronto professor defends right to use gender-specific pronouns”The Globe and Mail.
  73. Jump up^ Morabito, Stella (October 17, 2016). “Professor Ignites Protests By Refusing To Use Transgender Pronouns”The Federalist.
  74. Jump up^ Murphy, Jessica (November 4, 2016). “Toronto professor Jordan Peterson takes on gender-neutral pronouns”BBC News.
  75. Jump up^ Denton, Jack O. (October 12, 2016). “Free speech rally devolves into conflict, outbursts of violence”The Varsity.
  76. Jump up to:a b Kivanc, Jake (September 29, 2016). “A Canadian University Professor Is Under Fire For Rant on Political Correctness”Vice.
  77. Jump up^ Peterson, Jordan B. (November 21, 2016). “The right to be politically incorrect”National Post.
  78. Jump up^ Yang, Wesley; Stangel, Jake. “The Passion of Jordan Peterson”Esquire. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  79. Jump up^ Burke, Brendan (Feb 14, 2017). “Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier reverses support for transgender rights bill”. CBC News.
  80. Jump up to:a b Chiose, Simona (May 17, 2017). “U of T professor opposes transgender bill at Senate committee hearing”The Globe and Mail.
  81. Jump up^ Blatchford, Christie (April 3, 2017). “‘An opportunity to make their displeasure known’: Pronoun professor denied government grant”National Post.
  82. Jump up^ “Jordan Peterson’s federal funding denied, Rebel Media picks up the tab”The Varsity. May 1, 2017.
  83. Jump up^ Savva, Sophia (May 1, 2017). “Jordan Peterson’s federal funding denied, Rebel Media picks up the tab”The Varsity.
  84. Jump up^ Artuso, Antonella (May 12, 2017). “Supporters fund U of T professor Jordan Peterson’s research”Toronto Sun.
  85. Jump up^ Hauen, Jack (August 16, 2017). “Facing pushback, Ryerson University cancels panel discussion on campus free speech”National Post. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  86. Jump up^ Hunter, Brad (November 11, 2017). “Jordan Peterson fans pack free speech discussion”Toronto Sun. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  87. Jump up^ Soh, Debra (November 13, 2017). “How to win the war on free speech”The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  88. Jump up^ Blatchford, Christie (November 10, 2017). “Christie Blatchford: Thought police strike again as Wilfrid Laurier grad student is chastised for showing Jordan Peterson video”National Post. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  89. Jump up^ D’Amato, Luisa (November 14, 2017). “WLU censures grad student for lesson that used TVO clip”Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  90. Jump up^ McQuigge, Michelle (November 17, 2017). “Wilfrid Laurier University TA claims censure over video clip on gender pronouns”The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 18,2017.
  91. Jump up^ Platt, Brian (November 20, 2017). “What the Wilfrid Laurier professors got wrong about Bill C-16 and gender identity discrimination”National Post. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  92. Jump up^ “Globe editorial: Why are we killing critical thinking on campus?”The Globe and Mail. November 16, 2017. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  93. Jump up^ “Editorial: Wilfrid Laurier University insults our liberty”Toronto Sun. Postmedia Network. November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  94. Jump up^ “NP View: Laurier’s apology and a petition won’t fix the cancer on campus”National Post. November 24, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  95. Jump up^ Wente, Margaret (November 14, 2017). “What’s so scary about free speech on campus?”The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  96. Jump up^ Bonokoski, Mark (November 15, 2017). “Bonokoski: Odious censuring of grad student worsened by Hitler reference”Toronto Sun. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  97. Jump up^ Haskell, David Millard (November 15, 2017). “Suppressing TVO video, stifling free speech, is making Wilfrid Laurier unsafe”Toronto Star. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  98. Jump up^ Murphy, Rex (November 17, 2017). “Rex Murphy: University bullies student who dares to play Peterson clip from The Agenda”National Post. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  99. Jump up^ McQuigge, Michelle (November 16, 2017). “Laurier launches third-party investigation after TA plays clip of gender debate”Global News. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  100. Jump up^ Hopper, Tristin (November 20, 2017). “Here’s the full recording of Wilfrid Laurier reprimanding Lindsay Shepherd for showing a Jordan Peterson video”National Post. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  101. Jump up^ “Full Text: Apology from Wilfrid Laurier officials over handling of free speech controversy”Global News. November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  102. Jump up^ “Breaking: President of Laurier issues apology regarding Lindsey Shepherd”The Cord. November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  103. Jump up^ Platt, Brian (November 21, 2017). “Wilfrid Laurier University’s president apologizes to Lindsay Shepherd for dressing-down over Jordan Peterson clip”National Post.
  104. Jump up^ Blatchford, Christie (December 18, 2017). “Christie Blatchford: Investigator’s report into Wilfrid Laurier University vindicates Lindsay Shepherd”National Post. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  105. Jump up^ Jeffords, Shawn (December 18, 2017). “Lindsay Shepherd Controversy: Students Never Complained About TA, Laurier Finds”HuffPost. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  106. Jump up^ Kovach, Steve (August 12, 2017). “Silicon Valley’s liberal bubble has burst, and the culture war has arrived”Business Insider. Retrieved November 11, 2017classic British liberal Jordan B. Peterson
  107. Jump up^ “Am I Christian? – Timothy Lott and Jordan B Peterson”Jordan B Peterson clips. YouTube. August 1, 2017. Interviewer: Quick question, are you a Christian? Peterson: I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes, although I think it’s… it’s… let’s leave it at “yes”.
  108. Jump up to:a b Kelman, Andrew (January 31, 2018). “Walking the Tightrope Between Chaos and Order—An Interview with Jordan B Peterson”Quillette. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  109. Jump up^ Jago, Robert (22 March 2018). “The Story Behind Jordan Peterson’s Indigenous Identity”The Walrus. Retrieved 22 May 2018.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Peterson

 

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Johnan B. Peterson — 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

Posted on March 10, 2018. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Corruption, Diet, Diet, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Environment, Essays, Exercise, Faith, Family, Freedom, Friends, Health, Heroes, Homes, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Mastery, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Sleep, Spying, Strategy, Stress Reduction, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Vacations, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Absolutely

Jordan Peterson LIVE: 12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos

The Perilous State of the University: Jonathan Haidt & Jordan B Peterson

Jordan Peterson’s Life Advice Will Change Your Future (MUST WATCH)

2017/06/15: 12 principles for a 21st century conservatism

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jordan b peterson crying about individualism

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A Critique of Jordan B. Peterson

ALEXANDER BLUM

Far from being a darling of the alt-right or secretly promoting fiendish racist ideology, the largest contradiction in Jordan B. Peterson’s sprawling intellectual enterprise is simply the notion that capitalist classical liberalism is the only game we can successfully play on Earth, even as it contradicts the depths of Christian symbols.

Now, this is not intended to be a hit-piece on Dr. Peterson. I have listened to him since the fall of 2016, and he has radically shaped the way I view the world. He is one of the only people on the North American continent I would consider to be a true intellectual. But in the dregs of hero worship, it is too tempting to simply nod along with all that he says. Why wouldn’t I? He is far older, far wiser. But he is also in the archetypal position of ‘dead father’. He represents the golden sphere of the knowledge of both the ancient past and an intellectual development amid the dynamics of the Cold War. In order to effectively embody the spirit of the son, who resurrects the archaic tradition and redeems the blindness of his father, I must pry where there are cracks and make known the fact that no human being is infallible. In fact, if we believe that any human being has secured the total truth on any subject, then every successive generation is an unnecessary appendage insofar as they seek to develop that subject. The son who is incapable of surpassing the father signals the death of humankind, the end of evolution. As such, I must now bring rhetorical wounds against a man who is simultaneously master, bulwark and gatekeeper.

I attended a New York City talk delivered by Dr. Peterson, where much of his worldview crystallized. He explained that the Soviet Union and the West were engaged in a spiritual war over which type of ‘game’ is tenable to play. He concluded that the system of Western capitalism, built upon Enlightenment and mythological foundations (we will return to the mythological) was objectively superior to the Marxist rejection of hierarchy and obsession with central planning. Human nature, so it goes, aligns with the liberal capitalist mode of production.

But Dr. Peterson has made one profound oversight. It is precisely this: capitalism and classical liberalism have destroyed myth. The technological revolution, and the transformation of communal, local bonds of people with shared values into rent-seekers, wage-searchers and otherwise atomized, separate individuals united only by the search for profit, has destroyed the original foundations of human wellbeing. Economics has completely seized and determined culture. Peterson’s notion that economic success equates to playing a good game, or otherwise participating in the good, ultimately leads to a world defined by Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Trump.

The dominance hierarchy is a point of massive spiritual contention. How can the dominance hierarchies of the West be competent when at the very point of Peterson’s peak fame, they are occupied by Trump, a sophist, a marketer, a chronic liar with no internal life, no self-reflection, who will hand over all his wealth to unremarkable, unspecial, mediocre children? The Trump children earned nothing but by virtue of birth, and yet they are in possession of the keys to the world in ways ordinary lowborn people will never experience. How is this not a fundamental, fatal corruption of hierarchy, existing at the pinnacle of the world’s power? Peterson avoids speaking about Trump for this reason: it would force him to admit that liberal capitalism dissolves, finally, into a kind of madness. Decrying left-right polarization, Peterson upholds a center: that center is capitalist realism. The theorist Mark Fisher wrote a whole book about ‘Capitalist Realism’, the notion that social contract capitalism is the final system of economic-political life, and that’s simply that. Except Fisher rejected it, because capitalism destroys community, tradition and culture. It monetizes all these things and produces economically workshopped monoculture. Is it truly heroic to live in a circle for all of existence, the economization of perpetual Star Wars films serving as the only permanent narrative link between us? That is what Nietzsche’s ‘time is a flat circle’ meant – and it is a kind of hell. A world defined by those who purchased it two generations ago is no treading ground for heroes. Of that, I am certain.

Jordan Peterson lives doing what he loves. He makes a fortune off of Patreon and his new book. There is nothing wrong with that – he played the right game. He lived a life of the mind and was paid for it. The upcoming generation will not know what that feels like. University tenure is a non-starter. Being paid to write means working full-time in retail or food service, and not just throughout one’s 20s. Perhaps for one’s entire life. Monetizing a life of the mind is extremely rare. At Peterson’s lecture, I was surrounded by intensely bright, thoughtful young people, mostly young men. But how many of them will get to live a satisfying life of the mind? How many will instead work in offices, and ultimately aspire toward a more fulfilling life than the conditions of an impersonal network of capital that we are supposed to believe is in any way mythically inspired? I suspect that a new generation of Cains will arise out of the low-wage workers who thought they were promised something better.

When we reach the Biblical stories, we reach deeper problems. Equating Earthly success to playing the right game and achieving the good is, in essence, no better than Oprah’s prosperity gospel. People succeed off of bad ideas all the time. Worse, there are bad ideas we don’t even understand are bad, and are structurally incapable of facing. Here’s one: Professor Peterson gave the example of a person buying land, building a factory, and employing others as a total net good. But what if the factory creates irresolvable climate change over the course of 250+ years and sabotages future generations? What if the factory multiplies and creates a monoculture, stifling all new voices and claiming the globe, as Amazon and Google seek to do? When James Damore was fired by Google, Dr. Peterson was rightfully upset. But this is the consequence of prioritizing economics above culture and spirit – economic entities can slaughter free expression. That is entirely left out of a capitalist’s worldview. In fact, by merely writing controversial material, one can be rightfully denied a job by property owners. Fans of Peterson know as well as I do the deep taboos that linger in science. The subject of IQ alone will ruin lives – if intelligence is the predicate of a good life, and only a minority of us will have high IQs, what is to become of the bulk of us? Well, we will merely be followers, members of a herd. That, again, is no hero’s journey.

I always feel put-off by audiences. I felt frankly alienated, when Dr. Peterson said that rule-breaking, criminal children, if not addressed by the ages of 3 or 4, will be rule-breakers for their entire lives and ultimately end up in jail. Peterson’s words didn’t disgust me, but rather, the audience’s reaction did – it was laughter. We are talking about the doom and mass incarceration of millions of lives. We are talking about fate inscribed in biology – and the audience finds pause to laugh it off as just ‘unruly children are funny’? Perhaps they’re not taking this seriously. Perhaps the depths of this problem aren’t fully understood.

Peterson simultaneously argues for self-improvement in the game of atomized profit-seeking, but also that one’s genes largely determine intelligence and the qualities of success, i.e., disagreeableness, conscientiousness, and so on. Monetizing one’s creativity is largely an expression of personality – intelligence plus conscientiousness, with disagreeableness tossed in to ensure you keep coming out on top of negotiations. If you are born without that cocktail, you must work against your own brain where others have a smooth ride. The same is ultimately true in relation to identity. You can tell black people to pull up their bootstraps all you want – but ultimately, if you don’t understand that black people today bear the culture and last names of their former slave owners, and according to certain insane IQ studies, have a lower IQ on average than whites (a claim that debunks meritocracy and individualism in one swoop), you must prepare for the consequences. You must prepare for moral rebellion. What would you do in their situation? Every anxiety compounded by identity-wounds? It would be a hell that young white men do not face. And imagine being transgender and dealing with the world! Peterson is right to say that you must face the world, no matter what – but also wrong to defend the free market and suggest that pulling up your bootstraps is the only mode of life in which responsibility may properly manifest in individuals. The conservative desire for a totally brutal, independent society for ordinary citizens, while enabling state subsidies and legal tax evasion schemes (Apple pays no taxes) for the wealthy, is an infuriating double standard upheld by centrist capitalism.

In a Quora question from years ago, the Professor once argued against universal health care, saying that it is wrong to ‘force’ the hands of doctors, the same line of argument used by Ben Shapiro. I will never understand this in any sense. If you are paid, you have to do work, whether it’s a private or public hospital. Either way, declining work means getting fired. There is no real distinction in ‘forced’ labor here. Of what use are our myths if we share no common community worth funding, for those who would otherwise be bankrupted by their bills? If you say churches or local organizations should provide these services, then see to it that megachurches provide anything at all from their coffers. I guarantee you these ‘Christians’ will cling to their purse strings.

On the topic of transgender people, I split in certain ways with Peterson. As I understand it, he is only opposed to the legal requirement to adhere to proper pronouns, which I understand. I reject state authority as well. But what is the transgender individual, at a deeper level? At its core, it is an attempt to break free from the constraints of biology and achieve ‘one’ where previously there were two. This is a good thing. I see much hope in the transgender movement. And it is mythologically driven.

For all that Peterson speaks of the Bible, so far, he leaves out one vital figure, perhaps the most vital figure: Sophia. In Carl Jung’s Answer to Job, Jung calls Sophia the logos itself. He names Sophia the mediator between humankind and God. Who is Sophia? Wisdom. She is the feminine wisdom exiled from the world, because in Gnostic Christian mythology, she created the world without consent from God, and in doing so, created a false God called the Demiurge, and the serpent and the fall. The redemption of the world is the return of Sophia from exile.

In his epic work of Christian mysticism, Valentin Tomberg wrote that the complete Holy Trinity is not father-son-holy spirit. In fact, it is the Holy Trinity plus mother, daughter and holy soul. The Holy Trinity, according to the greatest master of Catholic mysticism I have ever read, is actually composed of six parts, not three, and it is feminine and masculine in nature. It is intersex, or both sexes, it is fundamentally androgynous. There is so much we do not yet understand about human identity – why must traditionalists cut off all possibility for transformation out of fear alone?

To combine the feminine and the masculine is the goal of all this gender trouble, to make ‘one’ where there is now division. In the Answer to Job, Jung refers to Yahweh, or God himself, as “unconscious”, a monster, a beast of nature. It is only Sophia who is able to create self-reflection through the mediation between Yahweh and Job. it is the feminine out of which the logos is born. If modern feminism is corrupt in spite of this fact, it is because culture itself is corrupt. If the transgender movement is incomplete, it is because it is too political and not enough immersed in the archaic foundations for transforming gender, the mythical synthesis of male and female. But we also have ourselves to blame for removing Sophia entirely from our retellings of the Biblical story – Sophia is the feminine Christ. Without her, there is only cruel and delusional Yahweh, the primal God who shaped the world but who is not fit to run it alone.

But in the Q&A after the talk, Peterson explicitly defined the relationship between male and female as that of Christ and Mary. In other words, Mary raises Christ. The purpose of women is not to become heroes, but to raise them. That is impossible for a truly ambitious woman. If I were born a woman, obsessed with these mystical and philosophical questions, I would resent that statement so deeply I may never recover. Peterson’s philosophy is centered, in this way, upon a male subject. In order to redeem the father, the next generation of mythical thinkers must reorient the woman out of this secondary position. Perhaps that entails changing the very biology of childbirth – with artificial wombs, who knows what will follow. The tranhumanist idea must return Sophia to the world, not be finished at the half-answer of Mary. Valentin Tomberg, interestingly enough, spoke of the Mary-Sophia as the ultimate form of the woman. Both raiser of heroes and the hero herself. That is completeness and perfection. Not this half-answer of women in one corner, men in another, men striving, women bearing children. The reason for the fall and the progress of history is to return to Eden with higher values and more complete myths, not merely to repeat the past. Of that I am certain.

Lastly, the paradoxes of Genesis are not fully appreciated by Peterson’s focus on Western capitalism, property, and contractual profit-seeking life. Ultimately, success in this world is success of the serpent. That much is clear. Satan, and the serpent, are the Gods of this world. And God obeys the serpent! God listens to evil, and bullies Job. God allows evil to run rampant. And this world, crafted in the image of the serpent, is not the place to lay down and hand over one’s lifeblood. Financial success in this nature, this fallen nature, genetic, cyclical birth-death-birth-death nature, is only temporal. Manipulating the mechanisms of fallen nature to secure a wife and get a job are not the full extent of the hero’s journey. The true extent of the hero’s journey is in solving the problem of the fall. It is the return of Christ crucified to heaven. Now, the Marxists have tried to solve this problem, to create paradise and equality on Earth, and they have failed. But I am still committed to the attempt through means other than Marxism.

Finally, Christ himself is the ultimate paradox. I mean, let’s be serious about this. Pontius Pilate and the Romans who crucified Christ were victorious on the dominance hierarchy. Christ was defeated, destroyed. So why, then, is he the maximal expression of the hero in Christian myth? He was crucified by those who did secure wives and careers, and who passed down judgement, and succeed over others. And yet, the man who was destroyed, and not his destroyers, is the ultimate hero. It is because worldly success is not true success. There is a difference. There is absolutely a difference.

My ultimate concern with Peterson’s capitalism is that the modern world has become a place ill-suited for heroes, designed to make us dumb, dull and conformist, and he acknowledges this – he sees the difficulty of the situation, but it is the young, careerless and unmarried who will truly have to figure out a solution. In truth, we will be the ones who face it. The young, those who grew up immersed in the virtual, and the chaotic fragmentation of the decaying liberal order under Donald Trump. That is our inheritance – not the Cold War, not cultural Marxism. Those are both side-shows that make us feel good about our own cultural signaling, while resolving virtually nothing. At the Q&A, two people who asked questions were indicative of madness. One of them opened the question session by asking why Jews have been trying to destroy Russia for two-hundred years. Peterson, wisely, said “I can’t do it”. Touching that question is touching a fine sprinkled dust born of unkempt hair, the aesthetic of the alt-right, But another questioner was taken seriously, though he bothered me immensely. All I could think when he spoke was “Joseph McCarthy”. This kid asked Peterson: “How can we tell the difference between the Marxists trying to destroy Western civilization and the useful idiots?” Some in the crowd cheered. I saw the true nature of that question – authoritarianism. Let’s not be deluded by present culture wars – the right is just as authoritarian as the left, and more successful at implementing its ideas. The original dissident intellectual was the Western leftist. The pendulum will always swing back and forth, and the only way to reject it is to reject the mindset of these damn inquisitors. Yes, I’ve got problems with Western civilization. I live because there are problems to be solved. They are major problems. If the structure is good enough so that nothing major must be changed, then I was born after history ended, and will simply work my way to a cyclical grave. No. I’d rather make a world fit for heroes.

What is a hero? Someone who redeems the blind sight of the past and renews myth by speaking the truth. Well, the truth is that the world of fetishizing Earthly games as a path to goodness and truth is the world that leads to a monoculture dictated by Google, Amazon and Facebook. Individuals unrestrained by mythical truth, modern capitalists, have transformed their ideas into leviathans more massive and powerful than any idea can functionally be. If Jordan Peterson opposes communism, he must also oppose the corporate communism of a world split between a handful of companies that determine the communications, ideas and structure of the world. And that corporate communism is the consequence of believing that classical liberal capitalism is the only way we can possibly live. One entrepreneur, with one idea, one hero – Mark Zuckerberg? No. Something went wrong. He is no Hercules. The myth has degenerated into marketing. It must be made into something more.

 

 

Jordan Peterson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jordan Peterson
Peterson Lecture (33522701146).png

Peterson at the University of Toronto, 2017
Born Jordan Bernt Peterson
June 12, 1962 (age 55)
EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Citizenship Canadian
Education Political science (B.A., 1982)
Psychology (B.A., 1984)
Clinical psychology (Ph.D., 1991)
Alma mater
Spouse(s) Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologistcultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief,[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson studied at the University of Alberta and McGill University. He remained at McGill as a post-doctoral fellow from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. In 1998, he moved to the University of Toronto as a full professor.

His first book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief was published in 1999, a work which examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and motivation for genocide.[4][5][6] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[7][8][9]

In 2016, Peterson released a series of videos on his YouTube channel in which he criticized political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16. He subsequently received significant media coverage.[7][8][9]

Childhood

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada. He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[10] His middle name is Bernt (/bɛərnt/ BAIRNT), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[11][12]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley – mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[13] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party due to what he saw as a preponderance of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[10] He left the NDP at age 18.[14]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in 1982.[14] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he developed an interest in the psychological origins of the Cold War, particularly 20th century European totalitarianism,[2][15] and was plagued by apocalyptic nightmares about the escalation of the nuclear arms race. As a result, he became concerned about mankind’s capacity for evil and destruction, and delved into the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[10] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[15] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychologyin 1984.[16] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][17]

Career

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggressionarising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[14] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[8] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][16]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers.[18] Peterson has over 20 years of clinical practice, seeing 20 people a week, but in 2017, he decided to put the practice on hold because of new projects.[7]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[10][16][19] He has also appeared on that network on shows such as Big Ideas, and as a frequent guest and essayist on The Agenda with Steve Paikin since 2008.[20][21]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything – anything – to defend ourselves against that return.

— Jordan Peterson, 1998 (Descensus ad Inferos)[22]

In 1999, Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaningbeliefs and make narratives using ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[14][22][23]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[14]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[14][22][23] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[23]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[7][8][9] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[24][25][26] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News. In a short time the interview received considerable attention and over seven million views on YouTube.[27][28][29] The book was ranked the number one bestselling book on Amazon in the United States and Canada and number four in the United Kingdom.[30][31] It also topped bestselling lists in Canada, US and the United Kingdom.[32][33]

YouTube channel and podcasts

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[34]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 800,000 subscribers and his videos have received more than 35 million views as of January 2018.[35] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received via the crowd-sourced funding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017 to more than $50,000 by July 2017.[13][35][36]

Peterson has appeared on The Joe Rogan ExperienceThe Gavin McInnes ShowSteven Crowder‘s Louder with CrowderDave Rubin‘s The Rubin ReportStefan Molyneux‘s Freedomain Radioh3h3Productions‘s H3 PodcastSam Harris‘s Waking Up podcast, Gad Saad‘s The Saad Truth series and other online shows.[37] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has 39 episodes as of February 20, 2018, including academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker,[38] while on his channel he has also interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others. Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[9]

In May 2017, Peterson began The Psychological Significance of the Biblical stories,[39] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Genesis as patterns of behavior vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[9][40]

Self Authoring Suite

Peterson and his colleagues Robert O. Pihl, Daniel Higgins, and Michaela Schippers[41] produced a writing therapy program with series of online writing exercises, titled the Self Authoring Suite.[42] It includes the Past Authoring Program, a guided autobiography; two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[43][44] The Self Authoring Programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Pennebaker demonstrated that writing about traumatic or uncertain events and situations improved mental and physical health, while Latham demonstrated that personal planning exercises help make people more productive.[44] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[10]

Critiques of political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[37][45][46] Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[47] while in The SpectatorTim Lottstated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[15] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[48]

According to his study – conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy – of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: PC-Egalitarianism and PC-Authoritarianism, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[49] The first type is represented by a group of classical liberals, while the latter by the group known as “social justice warriors[10] who “weaponize compassion“.[2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[49]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[48] He watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[50] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[15][51][52]

Of postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politics throughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[51]

Peterson believes that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s,[45] while typically claiming to reject Marxism and Communism, because they were discredited as economic ideologies as well by the exposure of crimes in the Soviet Union, have actually built upon and extended their core tenets. He states that it is difficult to understand contemporary society without considering the influence of postmodernism which initially spread from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He argues that they “started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name … The people who hold this doctrine – this radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identity or sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount – they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well”.[51][18]

He emphasizes that the state should halt funding to faculties and courses he describes as neo-Marxist, and advises students to avoid disciplines like women’s studiesethnic studies and racial studies, as well other fields of study he believes are “corrupted” by the ideology such as sociologyanthropology and English literature.[53][54] He states that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[55] cult-like behaviour,[53] safe-spaces,[56] and radical left-wing political activism for students.[45] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses AI to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[57][58]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that, “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[45] In response to the 2017 protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, he criticized the far right‘s use of identity politics, and said that “the Caucasians shouldn’t revert to being white. It’s a bad idea, it’s a dangerous idea, and it’s coming fast, and I don’t like to see that!” He stated that the notion of group identity is “seriously pathological … reprehensible … genocidal” and “it will bring down our civilization if we pursue it”.[59] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[60]

Of Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[13][61] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty as part of compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[61][62]

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transsexual student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[63] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[64] Other academics challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16,[63] while some scholars such as Robert P. George supported Peterson’s initiative.[13]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive”.[13] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[65][66][67] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me … If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no … If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[67] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[68]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[13]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16 after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[69] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[70]

In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[71] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said “[c]ommittees assess only the information contained in the application”.[72] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[73] The campaign raised $195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[74]

In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak on the bill.[70]

In August 2017, an announced event at Ryerson University titled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses”, organized by former social worker Sarina Singh with panelists Peterson, Gad Saad, Oren Amitay, and Faith Goldy was shut down because of pressure on the university administration from the group “No Fascists in Our City”.[75] However, another version of the panel (without Goldy) was held on November 11 at Canada Christian College with an audience of 1,500.[76][77]

In November 2017 a teaching assistant (TA) at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) was censured by her professors and WLU’s Manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16, during a classroom discussion.[78][79][80] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate” and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[81] The case was criticized by several newspaper editorial boards[82][83][84] and national newspaper columnists[85][86][87][88] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. WLU announced a third-party investigation.[89] After the release of the audio recording of the meeting in which the TA was censured,[90] WLU President Deborah MacLatchy and the TA’s supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana published letters of formal apology.[91][92][93] According to the investigation no students had complained about the lesson, there was no informal concern related to Laurier policy, and according to MacLatchy the meeting “never should have happened at all”.[94][95]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[13] They have one daughter and one son.[10][13] He became a grandfather in August 2017.[96]

Politically, Peterson has described himself as a classic British liberal.[97][15] He is a philosophical pragmatist.[40] In a 2017 interview, Peterson identified as a Christian,[98] but in 2018 he did not.[99] He emphasized his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what it is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[99] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[7] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[15]

Bibliography

Books

Journal articles

Top 15 most cited academic papers from Google Scholar and ResearchGate:

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Peterson

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Breaking News: High-speed Amtrak Cascade Train Wreck derails 13 of 14 Trains Off of Track in DuPont, Washington with 77 Injuries and 6 Fatalities — Interstate HIghway 5 Southbound Lanes Closed — Videos

Posted on December 18, 2017. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Environment, Family, Journalism, Life, Links, media, People, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Technology, Trains, Transportation, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The solid route is the updated line that opened Monday. Because it's straighter than the old Puget Sound route, trains could go faster See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Train engineer Robert Bregent gives his expertise on the Amtrak derailment

High speed Amtrak train derails in DuPont, Washington

Alex Rozier discusses being on the train earlier in the morning

BREAKING NEWS AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILED DuPont Washington 6 Dead & 77 Injured Crashed onto Interstate

BREAKING NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2017: At least six dead and 77 injured’ after new high-speed Amtrak train derails after it ‘hit something’ on its FIRST day of service sending rail cars flying onto the interstate below.

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to on the condition of anonymity.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported. Train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

Amtrak confirmed its train was involved but did not provide further information. ‘We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501,’ the rail operator said on Twitter. ‘We will update with additional details as they become available.’

It was the first day of the new $181million high-speed Cascade service, which rerouted trains down 14 miles of updated track. The new bypass between Tacoma and DuPont is straighter, meaning that trains can go faster than they did on the windy old line.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets.

The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

A Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman said there were multiple fatalities on the train, but declined to give an official number,

Despite the fact that the train hit several cars and trucks on the freeway below, no motorists were killed.

An estimated 77 people were injured, with some being rushed to the hospital and others treated at the scene. A spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia said his hospital had received 11 patients. Chris Thomas did not know their specific conditions. Two patients were in the operating room as of early morning, one of them in serious condition, he said.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train. The train was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad’s train tracker app. The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79 mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Witness describes ‘unreal’ aftermath of train derailment

Dr. Marc Siegel on injuries suffered in train derailment

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m48d2OA5KTY]

Official: At least six people killed in train derailment

 

At least 6 dead, scores injured after Amtrak train plunges off bridge onto I-5

 An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a new route hurtled off an overpass at an estimated 80 mph Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said.

Seventy-seven passengers, six crew members and one technician were aboard when the train derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle before 8 a.m., Amtrak said. At least 50 people were hospitalized, more than a dozen with critical or serious injuries, authorities said.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said five passenger vehicles and two semi trucks on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported.

In a radio transmission immediately after the accident, the conductor can be heard saying the train was coming around a corner and was crossing a bridge that passed over Interstate 5 when it derailed.

“Emergency! Emergency! Emergency! We are on the ground!” a radio message from the train came into dispatchers, according audio obtained by Broadcastify.com. “We are on the bridge over I-5 near Nisqually… on the freeway. Need EMS [emergency services] ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.”

Dispatch audio also indicated that the engineer survived with bleeding from the head and both eyes swollen shut.

“I’m still figuring that out. We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway,” he tells the dispatcher, who asks if everyone is OK.

Trooper Brooke Bova with the Washington State Patrol says the train had 12 passenger cars and two engines, and all but one engine derailed. Five vehicles and two semi trucks were struck by the falling train cars on I-5 causing injuries, but no fatalities on the freeway. The extent of the injuires to those on the freeway is not known.

Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four cars back from the front.

“We had just passed the city of DuPont and maybe two or three minutes after that and we felt a little bit of wobbling and then the next thing that we knew we were being catapulted into the seats in front of us and we could hear the train derailing and metal crunching,” Chris Karns told KOMO NewsRadio. “There were people screaming — everything was dark. We had to kick out the window in order to get off the train.”

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a State of Emergency for the disaster and has activated the State Emergency Operations Center.

In a conference call with reporters, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said “Positive Train Control” was not activated on the tracks at the time of the derailment. Positive Train Control is a technology that automatically slows down, and eventually stops, a train if it senses the train is going too fast and could derail or get in an accident.

‘Prepared for the Worst and Hoped for the Best’

Motorists said they drove up to find a train car hanging off the bridge, and dozens of Amtrak passengers stranding along the freeway. Motorists on both sides of the freeway began to help them.

Dr. Nathan Selden, a neurosurgeon at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said he and his son drove through the accident scene while traveling north to visit Seattle. The doctor asked if he could help and was ushered to a medical triage tent in the highway median.

The most seriously injured had already been whisked away, but the patients he helped appeared to have open head wounds and skull, pelvic or leg fractures, as well as small cuts and neck sprains, he said.

He called it a miracle that an infant child he saw from the scene appeared completely unharmed.

Daniel Konzelman, 24, was driving parallel to the train on his way to work as an accountant in Olympia. He was about 30 seconds ahead of the train on the freeway when he saw it derail.

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, told the Associtaed Press he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt – some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

“I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,” he said. “I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.”

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

“I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,” he said.

Southbound I-5 To Remain Closed For Extened Period

All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 are closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and are expected to remain closed for the rest of the day, according to the State Patrol. Troopers have set up a number of detours, including one allowing drivers to cut through Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We have a detour that’s going through Center Drive through the base,” Trooper Brooke Bova said. “JBLM is being amazing and they’re really helping us get traffic through there but please expect congestion through that area. That is one of our biggest detours.”

Other detours take drivers around into Kitsap County or far into eastern Pierce and Thurston County.

High-speed Amtrak train ‘hit something’ before derailing on Washington State line – killing at least six and injuring 77 – as it’s revealed high-tech system designed to PREVENT accident was NOT enabled

  • An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday, killing at least six and injuring 77
  • Seventy-eight passengers were on board, in addition to five crew members 
  • The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing one car to crash onto the freeway below 
  • Five cars and two semi-trucks were struck by the falling car, but no motorists were killed
  • It was the first day of a new high-speed service linking Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon
  • A local mayor voiced his fear about the new train causing a deadly accident earlier this month 
  • An anonymous official said it appears the train may have struck something right before the derailment 
  • High-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on
  • The NTSB is sending a 20-person team to DuPont to investigate the derailment 
  • Records show that the train was going 81 mph before it derailed, when it was supposed to only be going 79 
  • The president of Amtrak said the train was not equipped with positive train control, which automatically slows a train if it’s going too fast  
  • President Trump blamed the crash on ‘crumbling infrastructure’ in a tweet 

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In addition, the new high-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on.

The PTC computer system which prevents a train from exceeding a speed limit and can detect objects or collisions ahead is fitted to all the new Charger locomotives on the Seattle to Portland line.

However, according to CNN, at a conference call today, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said Positive Train Control was not activated on the tracks at the time.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said thirteen of the train’s fourteen cars derailed. One of them crashed onto freeway below, hitting five cars and two semi-trucks. Multiple motorists were injured, but none killed. Police have not given an official death count, but the Seattle Times says it’s at least six.

Seventy-seven people have been hospitalized, with hospital officials saying at least two people are in critical condition and 11 are seriously injured.

Scroll down for video 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday - causing multiple injuries and fatalities 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday – causing multiple injuries and fatalities

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

Thirteen of the 14 cars on the train derailed in the early Monday morning incident 

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured - including both passengers and motorists  

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured – including both passengers and motorists

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The derailment happened near the town of DuPont, Washington, on an updated set of train line 

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland  

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland

The train was headed south towards Portland, Oregon at the time of the derailment. Passengers are seen disembarking the derailed train 

Seventy-eight passengers were on board at the time, in addition to five crew. The train can fit around 250 people

Train 501 was going south to Portland, Oregon when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

The train was making the inaugural run on the new Cascade route as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that’s bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

WHAT IS POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL?

The brand new Amtrak Cascade trains are pulled by the brand new Charger locomotive as part of the $181m infrastructure investment.

Each of the Charger engines is equipped with the high tech Positive Train Control (PTC) which enables trains to be automatically or remotely stopped when trouble is found on the line.

The PTC for Train 501 was not due to be switched on until next year.

 PTC is a computer program which enables a the system to monitor the train using GPS and sensors on trains that are tripped along the tracks.

The program operates simultaneously with the running train and slows a locomotive if it exceeds its speed limit and will trip a red light if a collision is imminent or an obstacle has been seen or detected.

The Amtrak schedule called for the train to leave Seattle around 6am and arrive in Portland about 3 1/2 hours later.

The new route includes a bypass built on an existing inland rail line that runs along Interstate 5 from Tacoma to DuPont, near where Train 501 derailed. Track testing was completed in January and February in advance of Monday’s launch, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets. The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train.  The train was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad’s train tracker app.

The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79 mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The president of Amtrak revealed at an afternoon press conference that the new train was not equipped with positive train control, a mechanism that automatically slows the train if it starts going too fast. This is despite the fact that the technology was supposed to be added to the trains as part of the revamp.

DESPERATE EMERGENCY CALL FROM CREW OF AMTRAK TRAIN

The call made by a member of the crew of the Amtrak train in the seconds after the deadly crash has been released.

The call is believed to have been made by the engineer.

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency… we are on the ground (inaudible) We are on the bridge (inaudible) …on the freeway.’

‘We need EMS ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.

OPERATOR: ‘Hey guys what happened?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘We were coming round the corner to take the bridge on the I5 and right there on the Nissqually we were on the ground.’

OPERATOR: ‘Are you… is everybody okay?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘I am still figuring that out… we’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Two semi-trucks were damaged when one of the train cars fell onto the freeway below 

Five cars were damaged when the train car fell onto the freeway - but no motorist was killed 

A worker walks the tracks at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate 

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate

A train car's wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5  

A train car’s wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5

Firefighters are seen looking for more survivors on Monday 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train

It's still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating 

It’s still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington 

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington

The NTSB will be looking to get the black box fro the train, which will tell how fast the train was traveling when it derailed 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below

The NTSB is sending a 20 person team to investigate the derailment. Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr addresses reporters about the derailment at a press conference in Washington, DC on Monday 

A look at the new locomotives for the Cascade line

Today was the first day of the new multi-million Amtrak Cascades train service daily along the Portland-Seattle corridor.

The more direct route diverged from the shared track which operated with freight trains.

The project was known as the Point Defiance Bypass.

Avoiding a more scene route along the area’s iconic Puget Sound, the new high speed line is designed to take 10 minutes off the travel time and travel at up to 80mph.

Amtrak issued a press released last week to say that using this route would allow for two more daily round-trips between Seattle and Portland.

It would also help trains avoid traveling around tight corners and tunnels.

The Amtrak/Cascade trains are pulled by a state-of-the art locomotive known as a ‘Charger’.

Weighing 42,000 pounds and able to produce 4,400-horsepower they new, quieter and faster engines have been testing for the last month.

They are equipped with positive train control systems which automatically stop trains when troubled is detected. However, these are not due to be activate till 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said that at the moment it has no theories as to what caused the derailment.

 The NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash, but most won’t be on the scene for several hours because they’re flying commercial. The 20-person go team’s  flight is scheduled for 6:55pm and its a five-hour flight.

When they finally get to the scene, the investigators will obtain the black box which will show how fast the train was going when it derailed and whether the engineer braked when they needed to. They will also look at the condition of the tracks and question the train crew.

Mary Schiavo, a transportation analyst for CNN, hinted that the curve in the road might be to blame for the derailment.

‘This train was about to enter or was entering a curve and while they had to modify the tracks and test the tracks – and all of this work was done at the beginning of December – local officials in Washington were highly critical of sending a train at this speed through his area…they specifically warned that it needed to slow down at the curves in the track.

‘I always like to say, whether its a train crash or a plane crash, the laws of physics are the only laws you can’t break. And while they tested it…testing as opposed to running a full-sized, fully-loaded train over the track changes the physics. It changes the dynamics of the forces that you have in that curve.

‘It’s like racing a motorcycle. As you approached that curve, the centrifugal forces on the train change dramatically and I bet the NTSB is gonna pay a lot of attention to the topography and whether the train was entering a curve,’ Schiavo said.

Audio has been released of the engineer talking to emergency dispatchers immediately after the crash.

‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency, we are on the ground!’ the engineer is heard saying.

‘Need EMS ASAP. It looks like they are already starting to show up,’ the engineer continues.

‘He guys, what happened?’ a dispatcher asks.

‘We were coming around the corner to take the bridge over 1-5 there right north of Nisqually and we went on the ground,’ the engineer responds.

‘Ok, is everybody ok?’ the dispatcher asks.

‘I’m still figuring that out,’ the engineer responds. ‘We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Passenger Chris Karnes was on his way to do some Christmas shipping with his boyfriend with the derailment happened.

He told KIRO that he was on the third for fourth car, and said the emergency doors were not functioning so they had to kick out the train windows to escape.

Photos from the scene show three to four cars rolled off the track and into the woods on the side of the road.

‘We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,’ Karnes said. ‘All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.’

‘The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds,’ he continued. ‘I’m not sure what happened at this juncture.’

Maria Hetland was driving to work on the northbound lanes when traffic slowed and she noticed the crash.

‘As we were coming up the hill I rolled my window down and saw the train,’ she told the Seattle Times. ‘It was awful.’

Hetland said she could see people walking around the roadway near the derailment, and people sitting on the side of the freeway wrapped in blankets.

Many rail enthusiasts were on the train to make the first trip of the new high-speed service

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday 

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning 

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, said he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt — some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

‘I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,’ he said. ‘I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.’

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

‘I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,’ he said.

Alex Rozier, a King TV reporter, told NBC News that he got off the train about 10 minutes before the derailment, after taking footage early on in the inaugural trip.

He said there were many people on the train for its first trip, including rail enthusiasts. Passengers were given commemorative lanyards for the journey.

The new service is supposed to make the journey between Portland and Seattle in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than previous services.

Part of the reason why the new route is faster is because it diverges from the main line on a 14-mile bypass between DuPont and Tacoma.

The new track is a straighter line so the train can go faster, while the old track was windy and made the journey slower.

The bypass already existed but had the tracks needed to be updated for high-speed trains, which heat up the metal on the tracks more significantly

Monday’s inaugural trip was the culmination of the $181million project, that also included construction of a new train station at Tacoma.

Amtrak service south of Seattle on the line is temporarily suspended. Service is continuing to the north and east of the crash.

The derailment has also caused traffic chaos on Interstate 5, with all southbound lanes shut down and just two lanes getting by northbound.

The State Police said that the southbound lanes will at least be closed down for the rest of the day.

They are asking that people stay off I-5 if they don’t need to use it.

The freeway is a heavily trafficked road, with even more Washingtonians expected to be on the road this week to do Christmas shopping in sales-tax-free Oregon.

Family of victims are being asked to report to the DuPont City Hall to be reunited with their loved ones. They are being told not to come to the scene.

President Trump used the deadly derailment to call for more infrastructure spending in a tweet sent about three hours after the accident. He said the wreck, on a newly completed bypass, shows ‘more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.’

Ten minutes later, he expressed his sympathies for those who were killed.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White house, he added.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5191431/Amtrak-train-derails-highway-bridge-Washington-state-media.html#ixzz51emnm2C3

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1005

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