A Proper Critique of Jordan Peterson: An Inquiry Into the Role of Propriety on the Observation of the Nature of the Cosmos
There is perhaps a growing movement or perhaps it is simply more observable nowadays with social media, the internet, mobile phone technology (cameras etc.). It’s quite hard to describe and harder to properly encapsulate. I will try in order to hopefully extract some insight.
I’ve been learning about Jordan Peterson’s arguments (and some others like Milo Y, Lauren Southern, Ben Shapiro etc who don’t all share the same arguments but there is some similar qualities in each).
He is a professor from Canada that seemed to gain his fame from opposing new changes in speech laws. The basic story is that Canada was to pass bill c-16 which Jordan argues unjustly forces one to have to use the gender pronouns that another persons claims they identify with (ie it might be a hate crime to call man, that identifies as a woman, a man).
There is SOME valid reasoning to this. Basically he believes the government is not responsible for one’s speech. That law cannot be used to compel certain speech without revealing the government is tending towards tyranny.
Of course he gets a lot of backlash from SJW’s defending the LGBTQ community (although iirc he gets a lot of thanks you’s from actual members of that “community” that don’t agree with the law and movement that supports it).
His works is much more broad however. Here he describes some of what he means when he refers to as “Neo-Marxist”:
Observations On Observations
I think we can paint a higher order perspective although it is not easy to do with our limited language and current perspectives.
Thinking about a hypothetical debate between parties that respectively see a glass as either half full or half empty.
How much energy could be wasted trying to reason and argue to find out which perspective is truth?
How could each party be led to understand the role (and nature) of perspective?
The Subjective Nature of Words and the Objective Nature of Propriety
It is only very subtle where Peterson makes a nefarious mistake and it is difficult to see because he is otherwise very coherent in his arguments.
But his tone and treatment of the word “Marxist” is of an objective spirit. As if he gives a definition that both self-identifying Marxists and anti-Marxists would agree on. Actually perhaps they would agree on his definition but he goes on to extrapolate points and observations that I think they would not explain in the same way that he explains them.
A Game Theoretical Optimum In Regard to the Ideal Governance and Social Structure
In his last speech John Nash described the universe as being eternal which is an expression of his insight that he formulated in what he calls “An Interesting Equation”. The crux of the insight is a revelation on light (and that it satisfies Einstein’s observations/insights but also gives us a broader understanding of the cosmos).
I think the concept of an eternal universe is probably part of what we would need to consider in order to solve some of our largest social problems (which is probably how Nash came to suggest that the universe does in fact exist in this manner ie the conclusion of a thought experiment).
We can also think of the possibility that there is some or a lot (relative to space) of intelligent life out “there”. And this life could be as advanced as us or more or less.
We can also consider the possibility that we are the only life and that we have infinite direction to expand to.
An Insight From Adam Smith’s TOMS
“As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation.”
“…the emotions of the spectator will still be very apt to fall short of the violence of what is felt by the sufferer. Mankind, though naturally sympathetic, never conceive, for what has befallen another, that degree of passion which naturally animates the person principally concerned.” ~Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments (sympathy)
The whole of our perspective as an individual is a function of the sum of our experiences. This relies heavily on your geo-location which cannot be separated from the influences of culture. One cannot perfectly put themselves in another person’s perspective.
Nor can one change one’s perspective readily either which is a loose corollary from the former point.
We evolved to have core beliefs which cause us to fight or flight when challenged. This stability, I think, arose out of natural order as it guarded us from radical social change as we began to require robust social scaling technology.
Transcending Duality: Another Perspective For a Social Optimum
Then I think it is quite natural, at least as a game theoretical consideration, to see the simplest problem as a division of the populace into team red and team blue. And to understand that it is only because of actual experience that each team cannot understand the others view.
Technology must certainly play a role here, for instance, the evolution of language and our ability to translate. That each team might more quickly understand the other sides’ points to some extent that their might be re-solution (ie seeing the glass debate as simply perspective).
We can think of the possibility of team blue, perhaps being half fullers, leaving earth to colonise one side of the universe and team red, naturally being half emptiers, colonising the other side of the eternal (and effectively infinite) universe.
Which side would not survive because of their incomplete view?
They could learn to live each in their own universe free from duality (ie red versus blue, half versus empty) but is this what it means to transcend duality?
On the Nature of Godwin’s Law
Back to Peterson. He is very serious in his arguments and much of the reason is because he dared to read through and research the horrible documented history of the holocaust and Nazi movement. He will often say that such a law of compelled speech is a step towards tyranny and therefore must be vehemently rejected by those that covet true freedom.
He is waiting for someone to say, “Ya but its just a very very small, and therefore harmless, change to appease a small group of people.” (He has probably heard this counter).
To which he would no doubt bark back, “That’s EXACTLY how the Nazi movement happened.” And he will show the records of the history to show how such a change in law was, in (historical) fact, part of the beginning of the slide towards tyranny.
But the problem with his argument lies right there-it is non-sequitur. Scary to think he doesn’t see this-scarier to think he does.
The argument that, “this was part of the beginning of the Nazi movement THEREFORE such a change would signal inevitable Nazism” is non-sequitur. Correlation isn’t necessarily a sign of causation.
Inflation, Taxation, and War
It is widely held by a certain team that inflation is hidden taxation. The narrative usually follows that this stolen wealth is used to finance war. I recently put this inquiry out on my twitter to ask followers about the nature of this stolen wealth. Who receives it (ie give names)? By what medium are they able to store it?
In regard to funding war there is a perfect and proper counter: Do you think that fighting the Nazi’s was a waste?
Then taxation through inflation is difficult to say is pure evil.
Everything boils down to the Nazi crux, why? Peterson is guiltily of covertly evoking Godwin’s Law in order to win and justify his subtle bigotry.
It only recently occurred to me I could use the phenomenon as a debate tactic.
It works because you have to change your core beliefs in order to counter it. And you cannot readily do so.
On the Nature and Cause of Conflict and (Bad) Socialism
I think we cannot properly understand the nature of conflict until we rise above it. Peterson points to a symptom not a cause. Government making a rule that goes against our freedom is not the cause of Nazism.
We have many such inefficient rules and governments often flip flop on decisions regarding law which suggests that at one point such an inefficiency must be implied. If we have to be socially scared of such change then I think our educators have failed us and that the concept of constitutions and charters of freedoms are broken.
But I don’t think they are. I think Peterson needs to rely on fear, uncertainty, and doubt, in order to make a point that is simply only half of the picture (and worse of course he has staked his reputation and career on his beliefs).
A lot of economists, especially around the bitcoin space, speak very condescendingly about socialism and socialist countries. Venezuela is an example. These mistaken economic philosophers try to suggest that it is supporters of socialism and tyrannically minded politicians that sent the country into economic spiral with their outlandish and harmful ideologies.
It is far more correct, however, to understand socialism as a symptom to economic issues. For Venezuelans I would suspect this happened as the global oil prices dropped (“Venezuela has a mixed economy dominated by the petroleum sector, which accounts for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues”~Wiki Venezuela) which seemed to come hand in hand with US sanctions on global dealings with Venezuela.
Venezuelans are starving for food because Venezuela is starved of USD or foreign capital. Their currency doesn’t hyperinflate because they have insane soon to be Nazi level politicians in control of the money supply. It loses its global value because they cannot get the capital they need for their industries and infrastructures necessary for them to produce.
It’s always very strange to see an economist that has walked their career so far towards a certain narrative that they can no longer admit this simple truth of the nature of the purchasing power of a nation’s currency.
Implicate Order and Explicate Order
It might seem slightly out of turn at this point to suggest that an eternal universe might either imply one that never collapses or one that perhaps does and rebirths (which is I think more or less what we believe).
If we can start to re-solve Nash’s works with Bohm’s I think we will see that both of these orders are simultaneously possible.
On Fragmentation and Wholeness
Marxists may want something that the anti-Marxists would agree is Ideal. Perhaps optimal wealth and freedom for everyone. I think the rational anti-Marxist means to point out that the Marxist’s means is counter-productive to their goal.
We can think of the possibility that each team, perhaps the blue anti-Marxists and the red Marxists, go their separate ways, or the possibility that the logical side wins out (perhaps blue) and the other side concedes in the face of newly observed reality (ie a new experiment or event).
I think wave particle duality becomes relevant here. Which side would like to take one observed state (particle or wave) and only herald it as truth? What happens to a society that branches off with only a partial observation?
Taking a higher view, a total view, I think we can see the ultimate asymptotic trend of our evolution as an approach to cohesion and coherence. That our collective might move much more like a whole as we grow our average understanding of the cosmos.
I think what Peterson means to do is to see our collective consciousness like a brain, and to suggest Marxism is a cancer and must be removed. I wish us not to see our collective civilisation in this way (or perhaps the malfunction of the global brain can be brought into order rather than bisected).
In fact I accuse him of the same thing the Nazi’s are accused of in his intentions. To rid ourselves of an at least partially valid view held by team red.
Rather our aim should be to bring our collective under coherent order (I’d be ready to argue this is different in nature than a Nazi order). To transcend duality and fragmentation. This involves spending time re-solving differing views rather than solidifying our inability to relate them.
On The Possibility of the Simultaneous Advancement of Life in the Universe
I don’t know how absurd it is to suggest that there is the possibility that on other planets life that is comparable to our human kind would also arise. And that it is possible that such advancement of species and perhaps technology would happen at near the same time.
I don’t know if we can quantify “near” whether on other inhabited planets human-like beings have also just recently (perhaps within a few years) discovered the internet or whether they are simply merely 300,000 years ahead or behind in a time span of billions of years (or perhaps many more in an eternal model).
To make the suggestion plausible I think our best observable phenomenon (and perhaps oldest in regard to the birth of society etc) is how money arose in different parts of seemingly and otherwise unconnected (economically) civilisations. And that the mediums that naturally arose such as shells and metals and coins were somehow common across the planet (to some extent sometimes and there are certainly common traits to the mediums used).
That we are understanding that money arose out of natural order and not from reason is crucial I think to understand what we should expect to observe in the universe (I also would suggest there could be observed “currency” transfer throughout biology and physical/cosmological observations).
*I also note to the reader that we obviously do not yet, or at all, agree on the nature of money and who it should serve and how etc.
On The Effects of the Dualistic Observer
It shouldn’t be hard to argue that the accuracy of the observation device affects our understanding of the nature of what is being observed. And this device should be as bias free as possible (as if one might be caught using an out of focus observation through a microscope).
Our dualistic temperament pervades our conscious order, whether as individuals or as a collective (a non-dualistic thinker doesn’t see a division here!) and we taint our observation device and thus we cannot hope to perfectly observe nature.
This implies admitting this alone helps us see clearer.
Nash speaks of this in another esoteric writing I cannot find atm. The idea that a computer in a room doing simulations, perhaps over infinite time, still needs some external inputs to understand and relate to “what is reality and nature?”
As a corollary we can ask if the Marxists, being irrational by Peterson’s account, go their own way in the universe will die out because of their denial of social reality? Or perhaps they will stumble upon science and discovery just as our global civilisation did in different nations of the world?
I think we need to get used to the idea that technology and advancement will re-solve otherwise un-re-solvable viewpoints (like everyone having access to their own bathrooms or having shields that protect us from all gun bullets) and that there is not really any danger any of significant social regression (ie we are already far too robust and connected by the internet).
On the True Nature and Cause of Conflict
If socialism is simply a symptom, which is something we might understand better once the whole worlds’ differing currency systems land on the same value trend, then we can understand that to observe the tragedy of Venezuela as being a self induced disease is simply ignorance and bigotry.
That a starving and excluded population has no choice but to cannibalize and go to war to survive is not an observation of an inherently evil population but rather an observation of the nature of mankind (which is a function of our evolutionary history etc.).
What else is the argument for why Nazism occurred? What is it about the German people that caused them to be so horrific? Jordan Peterson notes that its HIGHLY likely, EXTREMELY so, that each you and I would have participated in the terrible acts.
What are we trying to avoid and are we avoiding it when we alienate “ignorant” Marxists?
Re-visiting Team Red Versus Team Blue
Pick a side, the colour doesn’t matter. You are your side with your beliefs based on your experience. The other side, red if you are blue, is the person or people in the world that have views so counter to yours it’s unfathomable to you how they could be so ignorant.
And they feel perfectly the same about you.
If you are western perhaps its an Arab or Muslim person or population etc. (or perhaps that is not such a wide division for you).
Core beliefs form, I believe, out of a need for dense complex association, necessary for the decentralisation of our cognitive process and processing as well as for storage efficiency.
Our brains justify our actions and experiences. We MUST make sense of things and I believe this is how we are able to store our experiences using associative techniques. It’s not “part of our inquisitive nature”, rather, it is how we compartmentalise experiences in order to survive future encounters with danger etc.
For this reason I think its computationally impossible to change our core beliefs simply by experiencing a truth that defeats them (the caveat is when trauma FORCES us to change and this I think often or usually produces PTSD as a result which is effectively an inability to resolve experiences). You have to spend time with what was observed and slowly recall and update conclusions that become not congruent.
From this view trying to convince others to change based on fact is a symptom of one’s OWN insanity (doing the same thing and expecting a new result).
Nevertheless the beliefs of team red are simply extensions of their experience which you cannot possibly yourself fully step into. It is the hidden knowledge you cannot otherwise possibly have access to. They are INTRINSICALLY challenging to your own beliefs and more importantly to your own experiences.
But they are based on reality and actual experience. In this they are part of the whole of the data need to understand the cosmos. You cannot reject the other team as if it is not a part of an unbiased whole.
You have to head the direction of re-solution and away from the direction of duality otherwise you reject the notion that the best science comes from the most impartial observations.
You, as an individual are not impartial, you are by definition a subjective fragment of the whole. You cannot be impartial; you cannot be the whole. But you can understand your limitations and therefore work to free yourself from the conditioning that binds you to them.
Note: Bruce Lee referred to this as the self-realization which to lead to and naturally corresponds with self-actualization.
Closing Comment on Observations and Light
If Nash’s revelations on light are less partial then we need them to properly observe and understand the cosmos and that which might arise within it. I predict as the nature of the comparable relation of the stability of respective state and major currencies (ie Euro) improves we will begin to also change our observations of the cosmos to match Nash’s insights trapped in his “Interesting Equation”.
This as a result of the lifting of our misconceptions of the nature and role of “inflation”. This might cause us to “see” a different history and nature of the universe.
For this it seems propriety plays a great role in what, at least for all practical purposes, the nature of the universe is.