Alfred Adler — Understanding Human Nature — Videos

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Alfred Adler on film (1929)

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Alfred Adler

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Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychiatrist.jpg

Alfred Adler
Born
Alfred Adler

7 February 1870

Died 28 May 1937 (aged 67)

Residence Austria
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater University of Vienna
Known for Individual psychology
Superiority complex
Inferiority complex
Style of life
Spouse(s) Raissa Epstein
Children Alexandra Adler, Kurt Adler, Valentine Adler, Cornelia Adler
Scientific career
Fields Psychotherapistpsychiatrist
Part of a series of articles on
Psychoanalysis
Freud's couch, London, 2004 (2).jpeg

Alfred Adler (/ˈædlər/;[1] German: [ˈaːdlɐ]; 7 February 1870 – 28 May 1937) was an Austrian medical doctorpsychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology.[2] His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority,[3] the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development.[4] Alfred Adler considered a human being as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology “Individual Psychology” (Orgler 1976).

Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.[5] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Adler as the 67th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.[6]

Early life

Alfred Adler was born at Mariahilfer Straße 208[7] in Rudolfsheim, then a village on the western fringes of Vienna, and today part of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, the 15th district of the city. He was second of the seven children of a Hungarian-bornJewish grain merchant and his wife.[8][9] Alfred’s younger brother died in the bed next to him, when Alfred was only three years old.[10]

Alfred was an active, popular child and an average student who was also known for his competitive attitude toward his older brother, Sigmund.

Early on, he developed rickets, which kept him from walking until he was four years old. At the age of four, he developed pneumonia and heard a doctor say to his father, “Your boy is lost”. At that point, he decided to be a physician.[11] He was very interested in the subjects of psychology, sociology and philosophy.[12] After studying at University of Vienna, he specialized as an eye doctor, and later in neurology and psychiatry.[12]

Career

Adler began his medical career as an ophthalmologist, but he soon switched to general practice, and established his office in a less affluent part of Vienna across from the Prater, a combination amusement park and circus. His clients included circus people, and it has been suggested[11] that the unusual strengths and weaknesses of the performers led to his insights into “organ inferiorities” and “compensation”.

In 1902 Adler received an invitation from Sigmund Freud to join an informal discussion group that included Rudolf Reitler and Wilhelm Stekel. The group, the “Wednesday Society” (Mittwochsgesellschaft), met regularly on Wednesday evenings at Freud’s home and was the beginning of the psychoanalytic movement, expanding over time to include many more members. Each week a member would present a paper and after a short break of coffee and cakes, the group would discuss it. The main members were Otto Rank, Max Eitingon, Wilhelm Stekel, Karl Abraham, Hanns Sachs, Fritz Wittels, Max Graf, and Sandor Ferenczi. In 1908, Adler presented his paper, ”The aggressive instinct in life and in neurosis”, at a time when Freud believed that early sexual development was the primary determinant of the making of character, with which Adler took issue. Adler proposed that the sexual and aggressive drives were ”two originally separate instincts which merge later on”. Freud at the time disagreed with this idea.

When Freud later proposed his dual instinct theory of libido and aggressive drives in Freud’s 1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle, without citing Adler, he was reproached that Adler had proposed the aggressive drive in his 1908 paper (Eissler, 1971). Freud later commented in a 1923 footnote he added to the Little Hans case that, ”I have myself been obliged to assert the existence of an aggressive instinct” (1909, p. 140, 2), while pointing out that his conception of an aggressive drive differs from that of Adler. A long-serving member of the group, he made many more beyond this 1908 pivotal contribution to the group, and Adler became president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society eight years later (1910). He remained a member of the Society until 1911, when he and a group of his supporters formally disengaged from Freud’s circle, the first of the great dissenters from orthodox psychoanalysis (preceding Carl Jung‘s split in 1914).[13] This departure suited both Freud and Adler, since they had grown to dislike each other. During his association with Freud, Adler frequently maintained his own ideas which often diverged from Freud’s. While Adler is often referred to as “a pupil of Freud”, in fact this was never true; they were colleagues, Freud referring to him in print in 1909 as “My colleague Dr Alfred Adler”.[14] In 1929 Adler showed a reporter with the New York Herald a copy of the faded postcard that Freud had sent him in 1902. He wanted to prove that he had never been a disciple of Freud’s but rather that Freud had sought him out to share his ideas.

Adler founded the Society for Individual Psychology in 1912 after his break from the psychoanalytic movement. Adler’s group initially included some orthodox Nietzschean adherents (who believed that Adler’s ideas on power and inferiority were closer to Nietzsche than Freud’s). Their enmity aside, Adler retained a lifelong admiration for Freud’s ideas on dreams and credited him with creating a scientific approach to their clinical utilization (Fiebert, 1997). Nevertheless, even regarding dream interpretation, Adler had his own theoretical and clinical approach. The primary differences between Adler and Freud centered on Adler’s contention that the social realm (exteriority) is as important to psychology as is the internal realm (interiority). The dynamics of power and compensation extend beyond sexuality, and gender and politics can be as important as libido. Moreover, Freud did not share Adler’s socialist beliefs, the latter’s wife being for example an intimate friend of many of the Russian Marxists such as Leon Trotsky.[15]

The Adlerian school

Following Adler’s break from Freud, he enjoyed considerable success and celebrity in building an independent school of psychotherapy and a unique personality theory. He traveled and lectured for a period of 25 years promoting his socially oriented approach. His intent was to build a movement that would rival, even supplant, others in psychology by arguing for the holistic integrity of psychological well-being with that of social equality. Adler’s efforts were halted by World War I, during which he served as a doctor with the Austro-Hungarian Army. After the conclusion of the war, his influence increased greatly. In the 1920s, he established a number of child guidance clinics. From 1921 onwards, he was a frequent lecturer in Europe and the United States, becoming a visiting professor at Columbia University in 1927. His clinical treatment methods for adults were aimed at uncovering the hidden purpose of symptoms using the therapeutic functions of insight and meaning.

Adler was concerned with the overcoming of the superiority/inferiority dynamic and was one of the first psychotherapists to discard the analytic couch in favor of two chairs. This allows the clinician and patient to sit together more or less as equals. Clinically, Adler’s methods are not limited to treatment after-the-fact but extend to the realm of prevention by preempting future problems in the child. Prevention strategies include encouraging and promoting social interest, belonging, and a cultural shift within families and communities that leads to the eradication of pampering and neglect (especially corporal punishment). Adler’s popularity was related to the comparative optimism and comprehensibility of his ideas. He often wrote for the lay public. Adler always retained a pragmatic approach that was task-oriented. These “Life tasks” are occupation/work, society/friendship, and love/sexuality. Their success depends on cooperation. The tasks of life are not to be considered in isolation since, as Adler famously commented, “they all throw cross-lights on one another”.[16]

In his bestselling book, Man’s Search for MeaningDr. Viktor E. Frankl compared his own “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” (after Freud’s and Adler’s schools) to Adler’s analysis:

According to logotherapy, the striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. That is why I speak of a will to meaning in contrast to the “pleasure principle” (or, as we could also term it, the will to pleasure) on which Freudian psychoanalysis is centered, as well as in contrast to the will to power stressed by Adlerian psychology.[17]

Emigration

In the early 1930s, after most of Adler’s Austrian clinics had been closed due to his Jewish heritage (despite his conversion to Christianity), Adler left Austria for a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine in the US. Adler died from a heart attack in 1937 in Aberdeen, Scotland, during a lecture tour, although his remains went missing and were unaccounted for until 2007.[18] His death was a temporary blow to the influence of his ideas, although a number of them were subsequently taken up by neo-Freudians. Through the work of Rudolf Dreikurs in the United States and many other adherents worldwide, Adlerian ideas and approaches remain strong and viable more than 70 years after Adler’s death.

Around the world there are various organizations promoting Adler’s orientation towards mental and social well-being. These include the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI), the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology(NASAP) and the International Association for Individual Psychology. Teaching institutes and programs exist in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Switzerland, the United States, Jamaica, Peru, and Wales.

Basic principles

Adler was influenced by the mental construct ideas of the philosopher Hans Vaihinger (The Philosophy of ‘As if’) and the literature of Dostoyevsky. While still a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society he developed a theory of organic inferiority and compensation that was the prototype for his later turn to phenomenology and the development of his famous concept, the inferiority complex.

Adler was also influenced by the philosophies of Immanuel KantFriedrich NietzscheRudolf Virchow and the statesman Jan Smuts (who coined the term “holism“). Adler’s School, known as “Individual Psychology”—an arcane reference to the Latin individuus meaning indivisibility, a term intended to emphasize holism—is both a social and community psychology as well as a depth psychology. Adler was an early advocate in psychology for prevention and emphasized the training of parents, teachers, social workers and so on in democratic approaches that allow a child to exercise their power through reasoned decision making whilst co-operating with others. He was a social idealist, and was known as a socialist in his early years of association with psychoanalysis (1902–1911).[19]

Adler was pragmatic and believed that lay people could make practical use of the insights of psychology. Adler was also an early supporter of feminism in psychology and the social world, believing that feelings of superiority and inferiority were often gendered and expressed symptomatically in characteristic masculine and feminine styles. These styles could form the basis of psychic compensation and lead to mental health difficulties. Adler also spoke of “safeguarding tendencies” and neurotic behavior[20] long before Anna Freudwrote about the same phenomena in her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense.

Adlerian-based scholarly, clinical and social practices focus on the following topics:[citation needed]

  • Social interest and community feeling
  • Holism and the creative self
  • Fictional finalism, teleology, and goal constructs
  • Psychological and social encouragement
  • Inferiority, superiority and compensation
  • Life style/style of life
  • Early recollections (a projective technique)
  • Family constellation and birth order
  • Life tasks and social embeddedness
  • The conscious and unconscious realms
  • Private logic and common sense (based in part on Kant’s “sensus communis“)
  • Symptoms and neurosis
  • Safeguarding behaviour
  • Guilt and guilt feelings
  • Socratic questioning
  • Dream interpretation
  • Child and adolescent psychology
  • Democratic approaches to parenting and families
  • Adlerian approaches to classroom management
  • Leadership and organisational psychology

From its inception, Adlerian psychology has included both professional and lay adherents. Adler felt that all people could make use of the scientific insights garnered by psychology and he welcomed everyone, from decorated academics to those with no formal education to participate in spreading the principles of Adlerian psychology.[citation needed]

Adler’s approach to personality

Adler’s book, Über den nervösen Charakter (The Neurotic Character) defines his earlier key ideas. He argued that human personality could be explained teleologically: parts of the individual’s unconscious self ideally work to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority (or rather completeness).[21] The desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were disregarded and the individual overcompensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse.[22]

Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions.[23]

Psychodynamics and teleology

Adler maintained that human psychology is psychodynamic in nature. Unlike Freud’s metapsychology that emphasizes instinctual demands, human psychology is guided by goals and fueled by a yet unknown creative force. Like Freud’s instincts, Adler’s fictive goals are largely unconscious. These goals have a “teleological” function.[24] Constructivist Adlerians, influenced by neo-Kantian and Nietzschean ideas, view these “teleological” goals as “fictions” in the sense that Hans Vaihinger spoke of (fictio). Usually there is a fictional final goal which can be deciphered alongside of innumerable sub-goals. The inferiority/superiority dynamic is constantly at work through various forms of compensation and overcompensation. For example, in anorexia nervosa the fictive final goal is to “be perfectly thin” (overcompensation on the basis of a feeling of inferiority). Hence, the fictive final goal can serve a persecutory function that is ever-present in subjectivity (though its trace springs are usually unconscious). The end goal of being “thin” is fictive however since it can never be subjectively achieved.

Teleology serves another vital function for Adlerians. Chilon’s “hora telos” (“see the end, consider the consequences”) provides for both healthy and maladaptive psychodynamics. Here we also find Adler’s emphasis on personal responsibility in mentally healthy subjects who seek their own and the social good.

Constructivism and metaphysics

The metaphysical thread of Adlerian theory does not problematise the notion of teleology since concepts such as eternity (an ungraspable end where time ceases to exist) match the religious aspects that are held in tandem. In contrast, the constructivist Adlerian threads (either humanist/modernist or postmodern in variant) seek to raise insight of the force of unconscious fictions– which carry all of the inevitability of ‘fate’– so long as one does not understand them. Here, ‘teleology’ itself is fictive yet experienced as quite real. This aspect of Adler’s theory is somewhat analogous to the principles developed in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Therapy (CT). Both Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck credit Adler as a major precursor to REBT and CT. Ellis in particular was a member of the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology and served as an editorial board member for the Adlerian Journal Individual Psychology.[citation needed]

As a psychodynamic system, Adlerians excavate the past of a client/patient in order to alter their future and increase integration into community in the ‘here-and-now’.[25] The ‘here-and-now’ aspects are especially relevant to those Adlerians who emphasize humanism and/or existentialism in their approaches.

Holism

Metaphysical Adlerians emphasise a spiritual holism in keeping with what Jan Smuts articulated (Smuts coined the term “holism”), that is, the spiritual sense of one-ness that holism usually implies (etymology of holism: from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) Smuts believed that evolution involves a progressive series of lesser wholes integrating into larger ones. Whilst Smuts’ text Holism and Evolution is thought to be a work of science, it actually attempts to unify evolution with a higher metaphysical principle (holism). The sense of connection and one-ness revered in various religious traditions (among these, Baha’i, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) finds a strong complement in Adler’s thought.[citation needed]

The pragmatic and materialist aspects to contextualizing members of communities, the construction of communities and the socio-historical-political forces that shape communities matter a great deal when it comes to understanding an individual’s psychological make-up and functioning. This aspect of Adlerian psychology holds a high level of synergy with the field of community psychology, especially given Adler’s concern for what he called “the absolute truth and logic of communal life”.[26] However, Adlerian psychology, unlike community psychology, is holistically concerned with both prevention and clinical treatment after-the-fact. Hence, Adler can be considered the “first community psychologist”, a discourse that formalized in the decades following Adler’s death (King & Shelley, 2008).

Adlerian psychology, Carl Jung‘s analytical psychologyGestalt therapy and Karen Horney‘s psychodynamic approach are holistic schools of psychology. These discourses eschew a reductive approach to understanding human psychology and psychopathology.[citation needed]

Typology

Adler developed a scheme of so-called personality types, which were however always to be taken as provisional or heuristic since he did not, in essence, believe in personality types, and at different times proposed different and equally tentative systems.[27] The danger with typology is to lose sight of the individual’s uniqueness and to gaze reductively, acts that Adler opposed. Nevertheless, he intended to illustrate patterns that could denote a characteristic governed under the overall style of life. Hence American Adlerians such as Harold Mosak have made use of Adler’s typology in this provisional sense:[28]

  • The Getting or Leaning They are sensitive people who have developed a shell around themselves which protects them, but they must rely on others to carry them through life’s difficulties. They have low energy levels and so become dependent. When overwhelmed, they develop what we typically think of as neurotic symptoms: phobias, obsessions and compulsions, general anxiety, hysteria, amnesias, and so on, depending on individual details of their lifestyle.
  • The Avoiding types are those that hate being defeated. They may be successful, but have not taken any risks getting there. They are likely to have low social contact in fear of rejection or defeat in any way.
  • The Ruling or Dominant type strive for power and are willing to manipulate situations and people, anything to get their way. People of this type are also prone to anti-social behavior.
  • The Socially Useful types are those who are very outgoing and very active. They have a lot of social contact and strive to make changes for the good.

These ‘types’ are typically formed in childhood and are expressions of the Style of Life.

The importance of memories

Adler placed great emphasis upon the interpretation of early memories in working with patients and school children, writing that, “Among all psychic expressions, some of the most revealing are the individual’s memories.”[29] Adler viewed memories as expressions of “private logic” and as metaphors for an individual’s personal philosophy of life or “lifestyle”. He maintained that memories are never incidental or trivial; rather, they are chosen reminders: “(A person’s) memories are the reminders she carries about with her of her limitations and of the meanings of events. There are no ‘chance’ memories. Out of the incalculable number of impressions that an individual receives, she chooses to remember only those which she considers, however dimly, to have a bearing on her problems.”[30]

On birth order

Adler often emphasized one’s birth order as having an influence on the style of life and the strengths and weaknesses in one’s psychological make up.[31] Birth order referred to the placement of siblings within the family. Adler believed that the firstborn child would be in a favorable position, enjoying the full attention of the eager new parents until the arrival of a second child. This second child would cause the first born to suffer feelings of dethronement, no longer being the center of attention. Adler (1908) believed that in a three-child family, the oldest child would be the most likely to suffer from neuroticism and substance addiction which he reasoned was a compensation for the feelings of excessive responsibility “the weight of the world on one’s shoulders” (e.g. having to look after the younger ones) and the melancholic loss of that once supremely pampered position. As a result, he predicted that this child was the most likely to end up in jail or an asylum. Youngest children would tend to be overindulged, leading to poor social empathy. Consequently, the middle child, who would experience neither dethronement nor overindulgence, was most likely to develop into a successful individual yet also most likely to be a rebel and to feel squeezed-out. Adler himself was the third (some sources credit second) in a family of six children.

Adler never produced any scientific support for his interpretations on birth order roles, nor did he feel the need to. Yet the value of the hypothesis was to extend the importance of siblings in marking the psychology of the individual beyond Freud’s more limited emphasis on the mother and father. Hence, Adlerians spend time therapeutically mapping the influence that siblings (or lack thereof) had on the psychology of their clients. The idiographic approach entails an excavation of the phenomenology of one’s birth order position for likely influence on the subject’s Style of Life. In sum, the subjective experiences of sibling positionality and inter-relations are psychodynamically important for Adlerian therapists and personality theorists, not the cookbook predictions that may or may not have been objectively true in Adler’s time.

For Adler, birth order answered the question, “Why do children, who are raised in the same family, grow up with very different personalities?” While a strict geneticist, believing siblings are raised in a shared environment, may claim any differences in personality would be caused by subtle variations in the individuals’ genetics, Adler showed through his birth order theory that children do not grow up in the same shared environment, but the oldest child grows up in a family where they have younger siblings, the middle child with older and younger siblings, and the youngest with older siblings. The position in the family constellation, Adler said, is the reason for these differences in personality and not genetics: a point later taken up by Eric Berne.[32]

On addiction

Adler’s insight into birth order, compensation and issues relating to the individuals’ perception of community also led him to investigate the causes and treatment of substance abuse disorders, particularly alcoholism and morphinism, which already were serious social problems of his time. Adler’s work with addicts was significant since most other prominent proponents of psychoanalysis invested relatively little time and thought into this widespread ill of the modern and post-modern age. In addition to applying his individual psychology approach of organ inferiority, for example, to the onset and causes of addictive behaviours, he also tried to find a clear relationship of drug cravings to sexual gratification or their substitutions. Early pharmaco-therapeutic interventions with non-addictive substances, such as neuphyllin were used, since withdrawal symptoms were explained by a form of “water-poisoning” that made the use of diuretics necessary. Adler and his wife’s pragmatic approach, and the seemingly high success rates of their treatment were based on their ideas of social functioning and well-being. Clearly, life style choices and situations were emphasized, for example the need for relaxation or the negative effects of early childhood conflicts were examined, which compared to other authoritarian or religious treatment regimens, were clearly modern approaches. Certainly some of his observations, for example that psychopaths were more likely to be drug addicts are not compatible with current methodologies and theories of substance abuse treatment, but the self-centred attributes of the illness and the clear escapism from social responsibilities by pathological addicts put Adler’s treatment modalities clearly into a modern contextual reasoning.[33]

On homosexuality

Adler’s ideas regarding non-heterosexual sexuality and various social forms of deviance have long been controversial. Along with prostitution and criminality, Adler had classified ‘homosexuals’ as falling among the “failures of life”. In 1917, he began his writings on homosexuality with a 52-page magazine, and sporadically published more thoughts throughout the rest of his life.

The Dutch psychologist Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg underlines how Alfred Adler came to his conclusions for, in 1917, Adler believed that he had established a connection between homosexuality and an inferiority complex towards one’s own gender. This point of view differed from Freud’s theory that homosexuality is rooted in narcissism or Jung‘s view of expressions of contrasexuality vis-à-vis the archetypes of the Anima and Animus.

There is evidence that Adler may have moved towards abandoning the hypothesis. Towards the end of Adler’s life, in the mid-1930s, his opinion towards homosexuality began to shift. Elizabeth H. McDowell, a New York state family social worker recalls undertaking supervision with Adler on a young man who was “living in sin” with an older man in New York City. Adler asked her, “Is he happy, would you say?” “Oh yes,” McDowell replied. Adler then stated, “Well, why don’t we leave him alone.”[34]

According to Phyllis Bottome, who wrote Adler’s Biography (after Adler himself laid upon her that task): “He always treated homosexuality as lack of courage. These were but ways of obtaining a slight release for a physical need while avoiding a greater obligation. A transient partner of your own sex is a better known road and requires less courage than a permanent contact with an “unknown” sex. […] Adler taught that men cannot be judged from within by their “possessions,” as he used to call nerves, glands, traumas, drives et cetera, since both judge and prisoner are liable to misconstrue what is invisible and incalculable; but that he can be judged, with no danger from introspection, by how he measures up to the three common life tasks set before every human being between the cradle and the grave. Work or employment, love or marriage, social contact.”[35]

Parent education

Adler emphasized both treatment and prevention. With regard to psychodynamic psychology, Adlerians emphasize the foundational importance of childhood in developing personality and any tendency towards various forms of psychopathology. The best way to inoculate against what are now termed “personality disorders” (what Adler had called the “neurotic character”), or a tendency to various neurotic conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.), is to train a child to be and feel an equal part of the family. The responsibility of the optimal development of the child is not limited to the mother or father, but rather includes teachers and society more broadly. Adler argued therefore that teachers, nurses, social workers, and so on require training in parent education to complement the work of the family in fostering a democratic character. When a child does not feel equal and is enacted upon (abused through pampering or neglect) he or she is likely to develop inferiority or superiority complexes and various concomitant compensation strategies.[36] These strategies exact a social toll by seeding higher divorce rates, the breakdown of the family, criminal tendencies, and subjective suffering in the various guises of psychopathology. Adlerians have long promoted parent education groups, especially those influenced by the famous Austrian/American Adlerian Rudolf Dreikurs (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964).

Spirituality, ecology and community

In a late work, Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind (1938), Adler turns to the subject of metaphysics, where he integrates Jan Smuts’ evolutionary holism with the ideas of teleology and community: “sub specie aeternitatis“. Unabashedly, he argues his vision of society: “Social feeling means above all a struggle for a communal form that must be thought of as eternally applicable… when humanity has attained its goal of perfection… an ideal society amongst all mankind, the ultimate fulfillment of evolution.”[37] Adler follows this pronouncement with a defense of metaphysics:

I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics; it has had a great influence on human life and development. We are not blessed with the possession of absolute truth; on that account we are compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results of our actions, etc. Our idea of social feeling as the final form of humanity – of an imagined state in which all the problems of life are solved and all our relations to the external world rightly adjusted – is a regulative ideal, a goal that gives our direction. This goal of perfection must bear within it the goal of an ideal community, because all that we value in life, all that endures and continues to endure, is eternally the product of this social feeling.[38]

This social feeling for Adler is Gemeinschaftsgefühl, a community feeling whereby one feels he or she belongs with others and has also developed an ecological connection with nature (plants, animals, the crust of this earth) and the cosmos as a whole, sub specie aeternitatis. Clearly, Adler himself had little problem with adopting a metaphysical and spiritual point of view to support his theories. Yet his overall theoretical yield provides ample room for the dialectical humanist (modernist) and the postmodernist to explain the significance of community and ecology through differing lenses (even if Adlerians have not fully considered how deeply divisive and contradictory these three threads of metaphysics, modernism, and post modernism are).

Death and cremation

Adler died suddenly in AberdeenScotland, in May 1937, during a three-week visit to the University of Aberdeen. While walking down the street, he was seen to collapse and lie motionless on the pavement. As a man ran over to him and loosened his collar, Adler mumbled “Kurt”, the name of his son and died. The autopsy performed determined his death was caused by a degeneration of the heart muscle.[39] His body was cremated at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh but the ashes were never reclaimed. In 2007, his ashes were rediscovered in a casket at Warriston Crematorium and returned to Vienna for burial in 2011.[40]

Use of Adler’s work without attribution

Much of Adler’s theories have been absorbed into modern psychology without attribution. Psychohistorian Henri F. Ellenberger writes, “It would not be easy to find another author from which so much has been borrowed on all sides without acknowledgement than Alfred Adler.” Ellenberger posits several theories for “the discrepancy between greatness of achievement, massive rejection of person and work, and wide-scale, quiet plagiarism…” These include Adler’s “imperfect” style of writing and demeanor, his “capacity to create a new obviousness,” and his lack of a large and well organized following.[41]

Influence on depth psychology

In collaboration with Sigmund Freud and a small group of Freud’s colleagues, Adler was among the co-founders of the psychoanalytic movement and a core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: indeed, to Freud he was “the only personality there”.[42] He was the first major figure to break away from psychoanalysis to form an independent school of psychotherapy and personality theory,[43] which he called individual psychology because he believed a human to be an indivisible whole, an individuum. He also imagined a person to be connected or associated with the surrounding world.[44]

This was after Freud declared Adler’s ideas as too contrary, leading to an ultimatum to all members of the Society (which Freud had shepherded) to drop Adler or be expelled, disavowing the right to dissent (Makari, 2008). Nevertheless, Freud always took Adler’s ideas seriously, calling them “honorable errors. Though one rejects the content of Adler’s views, one can recognize their consistency and significance.”[45] Following this split, Adler would come to have an enormous, independent effect on the disciplines of counseling and psychotherapy as they developed over the course of the 20th century (Ellenberger, 1970). He influenced notable figures in subsequent schools of psychotherapy such as Rollo MayViktor FranklAbraham Maslow and Albert Ellis.[46] His writings preceded, and were at times surprisingly consistent with, later neo-Freudian insights such as those evidenced in the works of Otto RankKaren HorneyHarry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm, some considering that it would take several decades for Freudian ego psychology to catch up with Adler’s ground-breaking approach.[47]

Adler emphasized the importance of equality in preventing various forms of psychopathology, and espoused the development of social interest and democratic family structures for raising children.[48] His most famous concept is the inferiority complex which speaks to the problem of self-esteem and its negative effects on human health (e.g. sometimes producing a paradoxical superiority striving). His emphasis on power dynamics is rooted in the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose works were published a few decades before Adler’s. Specifically, Adler’s conceptualization of the “Will to Power” focuses on the individual’s creative power to change for the better.[49] Adler argued for holism, viewing the individual holistically rather than reductively, the latter being the dominant lens for viewing human psychology. Adler was also among the first in psychology to argue in favor of feminism, and the female analyst,[50] making the case that power dynamics between men and women (and associations with masculinity and femininity) are crucial to understanding human psychology (Connell, 1995). Adler is considered, along with Freud and Jung, to be one of the three founding figures of depth psychology, which emphasizes the unconscious and psychodynamics (Ellenberger, 1970; Ehrenwald, 1991); and thus to be one of the three great psychologists/philosophers of the twentieth century.[51]

Personal life

During his college years, he had become attached to a group of socialist students, among which he had found his wife-to-be, Raissa Timofeyewna Epstein, an intellectual and social activist from Russia studying in Vienna. They married in 1897 and had four children, two of whom became psychiatrists.[52] Their children were writer, psychiatrist and Socialist activist Alexandra Adler;[53] psychiatrist Kurt Adler;[54] writer and activist Valentine Adler;[55] and Cornelia “Nelly” Adler.[56]

Author and journalist Margot Adler (1946-2014) was Adler’s granddaughter.

Artistic and cultural references

The two main characters in the novel Plant Teacher engage in a session of Adlerian lifestyle interpretation, including early memory interpretation.[57]

English-language Adlerian journals

North America
United Kingdom
  • Adlerian Yearbook (Adlerian Society, UK)

Publications

Alfred Adler’s key publications were The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1927), Understanding Human Nature (1927), & What Life Could Mean to You (1931). Other important publications are The Pattern of Life (1930), The Science of Living (1930), The Neurotic Constitution (1917), The Problems of Neurosis (1930). In his lifetime, Adler published more than 300 books and articles.

The Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington has recently published a twelve-volume set of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, covering his writings from 1898-1937. An entirely new translation of Adler’s magnum opus, The Neurotic Character, is featured in Volume 1. Volume 12 provides comprehensive overviews of Adler’s mature theory and contemporary Adlerian practice.

  • Volume 1 : The Neurotic Character — 1907
  • Volume 2 : Journal Articles 1898-1909
  • Volume 3 : Journal Articles 1910-1913
  • Volume 4 : Journal Articles 1914-1920
  • Volume 5 : Journal Articles 1921-1926
  • Volume 6 : Journal Articles 1927-1931
  • Volume 7 : Journal Articles 1931-1937
  • Volume 8 : Lectures to Physicians & Medical Students
  • Volume 9 : Case Histories
  • Volume 10 : Case Readings & Demonstrations
  • Volume 11 : Education for Prevention
  • Volume 12 : The General System of Individual Psychology

Other key Adlerian texts

  • Adler, A. (1964). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks. ISBN 0-06-131154-5.
  • Adler, A. (1979). Superiority and Social Interest: A Collection of Later Writings. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00910-6.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ “Adler”Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Hoffman, E (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. pp. 41–91. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  3. ^ Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) Chapter 6
  4. ^ Carlson, Neil R (2010). Psychology the science of behaviour.
  5. ^ “my.access — University of Toronto Libraries Portal”. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ Haggbloom, Steven J.; Warnick, Renee; Warnick, Jason E.; Jones, Vinessa K.; Yarbrough, Gary L.; Russell, Tenea M.; Borecky, Chris M.; McGahhey, Reagan; et al. (2002). “The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century”Review of General Psychology6 (2): 139–152. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.6.2.139.
  7. ^ Prof. Dr. Klaus Lohrmann “Jüdisches Wien. Kultur-Karte” (2003), Mosse-Berlin Mitte gGmbH (Verlag Jüdische Presse)
  8. ^ “Alfred Adler Biography”. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  9. ^ O., Prochaska, James (2013-05-10). Systems of psychotherapy : a transtheoretical analysis. Norcross, John C., 1957- (Eighth ed.). Stamford, CT. ISBN 9781133314516OCLC 851089001.
  10. ^ Orgler, Hertha. Alfred Adler, the Man and His Work;. London: C. W. Daniel, 1939. 67. Print.
  11. Jump up to:a b C. George Boeree (1937-05-28). “Personality Theories – Alfred Adler by Dr. C. George Boeree”. Webspace.ship.edu. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  12. Jump up to:a b Orgler, H. (1976). Alfred Adler. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 22(1), 67-68.
  13. ^ For further detail, see Sigmund Freud#Resignations from the IPA
  14. ^ Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 41n
  15. ^ Jones, p. 401
  16. ^ The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, 1956, edited by H. L. Ansbacher, R. R. Ansbacher, pp. 132–133
  17. ^ Frankl, Viktor. (1959). Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press; also, Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009) “A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology”Mater Dei Institute. pp 10-12.
  18. ^ Carrell, Severin (11 April 2011). “Ashes of psychoanalysis co-founder Alfred Adler found after 74 years”The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  19. ^ “Alfred Adler’s Influence on the Three Leading Cofounders of Humanistic Psychology”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology (September 1990).
  20. ^ Encyclopedia of Theory & Practice in Psychotherapy & Counseling By Jose A. Fadul (General Editor)
  21. ^ ‘Inferiority Complex’, in Richard Gregory ed, The Oxford Companion to the Mind (1987) p. 368
  22. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch. 11 ‘Aggressive Character Traits’
  23. ^ Gerald Corey, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy (1991)p. 155 and p. 385
  24. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 69-76
  25. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 139-42
  26. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 209
  27. ^ Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970) p. 624
  28. ^ H. H. Mosak/M. Maniacci, A Primer of Adlerian Psychology (1999) p. 64-5
  29. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58.
  30. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58–59.
  31. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch 9 “The Family Constellation”
  32. ^ Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1975) p. 71-81
  33. ^ Adler, A. (1932). Narcotic Abuse and Alcoholism, Chapter VII. p. 50-65. The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler: Journal articles: 1931-1937. Transl. by G.L.Liebenau. T.Stein (2005). ISBN 0-9715645-8-2.
  34. ^ Manaster, Painter, Deutsch, and Overholt, 1977, pp. 81–82
  35. ^ “Alfred Adler – A Biography”, G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York (copyright 1939), chap. Chief Contributions to Thought, subchap. 7, The Masculine Protest, and subchap. 9, Three Life Tasks, page 160.
  36. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 44-5
  37. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, p. 275
  38. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, pp. 275–276
  39. ^ Donaldson, Norman and Betty (1980). How Did They Die?. Greenwich House. ISBN 978-0-517-40302-0.
  40. ^ “Lost ashes of Alfred Adler return to Vienna”BBC News. 18 April 2011.
  41. ^ Ellenberger, Henri F. “The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry.” United States of America. Basic Books. 1970. Pages 645-646.
  42. ^ Freud, quoted in Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1964) p. 353
  43. ^ Stepansky, P (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-88163-007-7.
  44. ^ Orgler H (1976). “Alfred Adler”. International Journal of Social Psychiatry22 (1): 67–68. doi:10.1177/002076407602200110PMID 783061.
  45. ^ Quoted in Jones, p. 400
  46. ^ Stein, H.T. (2008). “Adler’s Legacy: Past, Present, and Future”. Journal of Individual Psychology64 (1): 4–20.
  47. ^ Ruth L. Munroe, Schools of Psychoanalytic Thought (1957) p. 437
  48. ^ Adler, Alfred (1931). What Life Could Mean to You. Center City, MN: Hazelden.
  49. ^ Stepp, G. “A Psychology of Change”.
  50. ^ Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for our Time (1988) p. 503n
  51. ^ James Hemming, Foreword, Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) p. 9
  52. ^ “Classical Adlerian Photograph Gallery”. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  53. ^ “Adler, Valentine (1898–1942)”Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research Inc. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 10 January2013.(subscription required)
  54. ^ Burkhart, Ford. “Dr. Kurt Alfred Adler, 92; Directed Therapeutic Institute”The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  55. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  56. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  57. ^ Alethia, Caroline. Plant Teacher. Viator. United States. (2011) ISBN 1468138391. ASIN B006QAECNO.

References

  • Adler, A. (1908). Der Aggressionstrieb im Leben und der Neurose. Fortsch. Med. 26: 577-584.
  • Adler, A. (1938). Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind. J. Linton and R. Vaughan (Trans.). London: Faber and Faber Ltd.
  • Adler, A. (1956). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks.
  • Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
  • Dreikurs, R. & Soltz, V. (1964). Children the Challenge. New York: Hawthorn Books.
  • Ehrenwald, J. (1991, 1976). The History of Psychotherapy: From healing magic to encounter. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.
  • Eissler, K.R. (1971). Death Drive, Ambivalence, and Narcissism. Psychoanal. St. Child, 26: 25-78.
  • Ellenberger, H. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious. New York: Basic Books.
  • Fiebert, M. S. (1997). In and out of Freud’s shadow: A chronology of Adler’s relationship with Freud. Individual Psychology, 53(3), 241-269.
  • Freud, S. (1909). Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy. Standard Edition of the Works of Sigmund Freud, London: Hogarth Press, Vol. 10, pp. 3-149.
  • King, R. & Shelley, C. (2008). Community Feeling and Social Interest: Adlerian Parallels, Synergy, and Differences with the Field of Community Psychology. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 18, 96-107.
  • Manaster, G. J., Painter, G., Deutsch, D., & Overholt, B. J. (Eds.). (1977). Alfred Adler: As We Remember Him. Chicago: North American Society of Adlerian Psychology.
  • Shelley, C. (Ed.). (1998). Contemporary Perspectives on Psychotherapy and Homosexualities. London: Free Association Books.
  • Slavik, S. & King, R. (2007). Adlerian therapeutic strategy. The Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology, 37(1), 3-16.
  • Gantschacher, H. (ARBOS 2007). Witness and Victim of the Apocalypse, chapter 13 page 12 and chapter 14 page 6.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.

Further reading

  • Orgler, Hertha, Alfred Adler, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, V. 22 (1), 1976-Spring, p. 67
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – A Biography. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York.
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – Apostle of Freedom. London: Faber and Faber. 3rd Ed. 1957.
  • Carlson, J., Watts, R. E., & Maniacci, M. (2005). Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-59147-285-7.
  • Dinkmeyer, D., Sr., & Dreikurs, R. (2000). Encouraging Children to Learn. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-082-4.
  • Rudolf Dreikurs (1935): An Introduction to Individual Psychology. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co. Ltd. – New edition 1983: London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21055-0.
  • Grey, L. (1998). Alfred Adler: The Forgotten Prophet: A Vision for the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96072-2.
  • Handlbauer, B. (1998). The Freud – Adler Controversy. Oxford, UK: Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-127-2.
  • Hoffman, E. (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. New York: Addison-Wesley Co. ISBN 0-201-63280-2.
  • Lehrer, R. (1999). “Adler and Nietzsche”. In: J. Golomb, W. Santaniello, and R. Lehrer. (Eds.). Nietzsche and Depth Psychology. (pp. 229–246). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4140-7.
  • Mosak, H. H. & Di Pietro, R. (2005). Early Recollections: Interpretive Method and Application. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95287-5.
  • Oberst, U. E. and Stewart, A. E. (2003). Adlerian Psychotherapy: An Advanced Approach to Individual Psychology. New York: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-122-7.
  • Orgler, H. (1963). Alfred Adler: The Man and His Work: Triumph Over the Inferiority Complex. New York: Liveright.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.
  • Josef Rattner (1983): Alfred Adler – Life and Literature. Ungar Pub. Co. ISBN 0-8044-5988-6.
  • Slavik, S. & Carlson, J. (Eds.). (2005). Readings in the Theory of Individual Psychology. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95168-2.
  • Manès Sperber (1974). Masks of Loneliness: Alfred Adler in Perspective. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-612950-7.
  • Stepansky, P. E. (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. ISBN 0-88163-007-1.
  • Watts, R. E. (2003). Adlerian, cognitive, and constructivist therapies: An integrative dialogue. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-8261-1984-0.
  • Watts, R. E., & Carlson, J. (1999). Interventions and strategies in counseling and psychotherapy. New York: Accelerated Development/Routledge. ISBN 1-56032-690-5.
  • Way, Lewis (1950): Adler’s Place in Psychology. London: Allen & Unwin.
  • Way, Lewis (1956): Alfred Adler – An Introduction to his Psychology. London: Pelican.
  • West, G. K. (1975). Kierkegaard and Adler. Tallahassee: Florida State University.

External links]

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

 

Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson June 2018.jpg

Jordan Peterson in Dallas, Texas, USA in June 2018
Born
Jordan Bernt Peterson

June 12, 1962 (age 57)

EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
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
Notable students Colin G. DeYoung
Influences Carl Jung
Influenced Gregg Hurwitz
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Signature
Jordan Peterson Signature.svg

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a 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 has bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and then an 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, as of 2019, he is a full professor.

Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999), 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 several other topics such as motivation for genocide.[6][7][8] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[4][9][10]

In 2016 Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code”. The Act added “gender identity and expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination,[a][11] which Peterson characterised as an introduction of compelled speech into law,[12][13][14] although legal experts have disagreed.[15] He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.[4][9][10] Peterson is associated with the “Intellectual Dark Web“.[16][17][18]

Contents

Early life

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962,[19] and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.[20] 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.[21][22] His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/ BAIR-ənt),[23] after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[24]

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.[25] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party. He saw his experience of disillusionment resonating with Orwell’s diagnosis, in The Road to Wigan Pier, of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[21][26] He left the NDP at age 18.[27]

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 political science in 1982.[27] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War, 20th-century European totalitarianism,[2][28] and the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[21] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[28] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[29] 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][30]

Career

Peterson at the University of Toronto in March 2017.

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 aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[27] 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][29]

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[31] and has been cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017. [32]

For most of his career, Peterson had an active clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He had been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16.[25][33]As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017[9] and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.[22][34]

In June 2018, Peterson debated with Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver while moderated by Bret Weinstein, and again in July at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London while moderated by Douglas Murray, over the topic of religion and God.[35][36] In April 2019, Peterson debated professor Slavoj Žižek at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Canada over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.[37][38]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999)

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 meaning, form beliefs and make narrativesusing ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[27][5][39]

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[27]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[27][5][39] 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”.[39] Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[21][29][40]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)

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.[41][42][43] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed in the UK by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention, as well as popularity for the book.[44][45][46][47] The book topped bestselling lists in Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom.[48][49] As of January 2019, Peterson is working on a sequel to 12 Rules for Life.[50]

YouTube channel and podcasts

Peterson (right) speaking to Dave Rubin in September 2018

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[51]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 65 million views as of August 2018.[33][52] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received on 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, more than $50,000 by July 2017, and over $80,000 by May 2018.[25][33][53][54] In December 2018, Peterson decided to delete his Patreon account after Patreon’s controversial bans of political personalities.[55]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[52][56] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has included academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker.[57] On his YouTube channel he has interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others.[57] In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson’s daughter as a co-host on some episodes.[58] Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[10]

Biblical lectures

In May 2017, Peterson began The psychological significance of the Biblical stories,[59] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[10][60]

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said that the fellowship would give him “the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months”, and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus.[61] A spokesperson for the University said that there was “no place” for anyone who could not uphold the “inclusive environment” of the university.[62] After a week, the vice-chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobe shirt.[63] The Cambridge student union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation “a political act to … legitimise figures such as Peterson” and that his work and views are not “representative of the student body”.[64]Peterson called the decision a “deeply unfortunate … error of judgement” and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an “ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob”.[65][66]

Self Authoring Suite

In 2005, Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with a series of online writing exercises.[67] Titled the Self Authoring Suite,[21] 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 as since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[68][69] The 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.[4] Peterson’s co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[69][70] 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%.[21]

Political views

Jordan Peterson speaking in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, Hungary, in May 2019.

Peterson has characterized himself as a “classic British liberal“,[28][71][72] and as a “traditionalist”.[73] He has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing.[52] The New York Times described Peterson as “conservative-leaning”,[74] while The Washington Post described him as “conservative”.[75]

Academia and political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[56][76]

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”,[77] while in The SpectatorTim Lott stated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[28] 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”.[33]

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”.[78] Jason McBride claims Peterson places classical liberals in the first type, and places so-called social justice warriors, who he says “weaponize compassion”, in the second.[21][2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[78]

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.[33] According to Peterson, he watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[79] 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“.[28][80][81]

Postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politicsthroughout 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[80]

Peterson says that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s[76] have built upon and extended certain core tenets of Marxism and communismwhile simultaneously appearing to disavow both ideologies. He says that it is difficult to understand contemporary Western society without considering the influence of a strain of postmodernist thought that migrated from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He states that certain academics in the humanities

… 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 identityor 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.[80]

Peterson’s perspective on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments has been compared to Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories.[46][82][83][84]

Peterson says that “disciplines like women’s studies should be defunded” and advises freshman students to avoid subjects like sociologyanthropologyEnglish literatureethnic studies and racial studies, as well as other fields of study he believes are corrupted by the Neo-Marxist ideology.[85][86][87] He says that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[88] cult-like behaviour,[86] safe-spaces,[85]and radical left-wing political activism for students.[76] 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”.[89][90]

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”.[76] In regard to identity politics, while the “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, what should be emphasized is individualism and individual responsibility.[91] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[92]

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”.[25][12] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under 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.[12][93]

Peterson speaking at a Free Speech Rally in October of 2016

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 transgender student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[13] 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”.[14] Other academics and lawyers challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16.[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” and of “fundamentally mischaracterising” the law.[94][25] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[95][96][97] 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”.[97] 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.[98]

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.[99][25]

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.[100] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[101] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[32] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said, “Committees assess only the information contained in the application.”[102] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[103] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[104] 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 about the bill.[101]

In November 2017, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University first year communications course was censured by her professors for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16 with another professor, during a classroom discussion about pronouns.[105][106][107] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate”, being compared to a “speech by Hitler“,[26] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[108] The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[109][110][111] The events were criticized by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[112][113][114] and national newspaper columnists[115][116][117][118] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors.[119] Wilfried Laurier asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.[120]

Gender relations and masculinity

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing “crisis of masculinity” and “backlash against masculinity” where the “masculine spirit is under assault”.[20][121][122][123] He has argued that feminism and policies such as no-fault divorce have had adverse effects on gender relations and destabilized society.[121] He has argued that the existing societal hierarchy that the “left” has characterised as an “oppressive patriarchy” might “be predicated on competence.”[20] Peterson has said that men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that “enforced monogamy”, i.e. societies wherein monogamy is a social norm, decrease male violence.[20][121] He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a push to “feminize” men, saying “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”[124] He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview where he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap.[125][126]Peterson disputed that the gender pay gap was solely due to sexual discrimination.[126][127][128] Writing for The New York TimesNellie Bowles said that most of Peterson’s ideas “stem from a gnawing anxiety around gender”.[20]

Climate change

Peterson doubts the scientific consensus on climate change.[129][130] Peterson has said he is “very skeptical of the models that are used to predict climate change”.[131] He has also said, “You can’t trust the data because too much ideology is involved”.[132][130]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[25] They have one daughter and one son.[21][25]

He is a philosophical pragmatist.[60] In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked “are you a Christian?” and responded “I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes”.[133] In 2018, Peterson emphasized that his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what 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”.[134] 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.[28]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings,[26] displayed in his house as a reminder of, he argues, the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[4][34] 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”).[26][135] In late 2016, Peterson went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables to control severe depression and an auto-immune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[22][136] He stopped eating any vegetables in mid-2018.[137]

Peterson wrote the foreword to the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Gulag Archipelago, released in November 2018.[138]

Bibliography

Books

Select publications

Notes

  1. ^ The phrase “a prohibited ground of discrimination” means that it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or groups of people on the grounds of (based on) race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, etc.

References …

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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

Jordan Peterson: Why Globalism Fails and Nationalism is Relatable

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Jordan Peterson – This evil Social Justice mindset Threatens All

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How Hitler was Even More Evil Than You Think – Prof. Jordan Peterson

Why Hitler Bathed Even More Than You Think – Prof. Jordan Peterson

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A Brief Guide To Life – Jordan Peterson | Depression & Success (LIFE CHANGING)

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Jordan Peterson: Alpha males & everyone below them

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Jordan Peterson gets emotional talking about his daughter and the Final Rule

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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