Experiencing the Joe Rogan Experience: Guest Jordan Peterson
Episode 1208 of the Joe Rogan Experience is a firehose of brilliance. Give Joe and Jordan three hours or so and they'll give you an incredible ROI. Tweet
Great philosophers don't come from nowhere. They are products of a time and a place.
For how we live now, Peterson is the inevitable philosopher. No one else will do.
Wow. That was incredibly brilliant! I tapped out at 1:32:00. Not because I was bored. Certainly not. I just needed water and air.
Strap on your Ray-Bans and see for yourself:
By 1:30—roughly halfway through the Experience-the following big-ticket items had been discussed:
- The natural, innate difference between men and women and why “disparate impact” is a war on human nature that cannot end.
- Transphobia and a defense of preference.
- Hierarchy as a bastion of competence not power.
- How Free Speech is a liberal means of keeping hierarchies competent.
- And how our preoccupation with group oppression necessarily results in group oppression.
The conversation is quick. Sacred cows are served up and quickly slaughtered. Not with snark. Peterson is the opposite of a deconstructionist; he’s a Jedi reconstructionist in a world run by the deconstructionist minders. The force is strong in him.
When you watch Peterson mop the floor with his critics, it becomes apparent why the intellectual establishment is against him.
When you watch him mop the floor with his critics, it becomes apparent why the intellectual establishment is against him. Peterson is a threat to lazy thinking-as-usual and the spoiled spoils system built on it. It’s a joy to watch him deconstruct the deconstructionists. At the end, he not only vanquishes falsehoods, he shares his arguments with the world. It seems to be appreciated: I was the 12,154,452nd viewer, and that was only up to then.
Since Joe Rogan regularly has MMA fighters on his show, the following comparison will not be lost on his fans. The current intellectual environment is like the cage used to contain MMA contests, and Jordan Peterson is the Royce Gracie of that cornerless ring. He creates his own cage by erecting and defending interesting ideas. The popularity of these contests has been built on the infrastructure of you Youtube and Patreon, and Peterson uses them to test his most sophisticated ideas in demonstration bouts that can be watched globally and studied for free.Sadly, even though the truth can set you free, it’s a hard sale — particularly to an audience who values celebrity over truth and who have already been forced to overpay for a university degree which validates a credential in chaos.
I don’t want to suggest that the good professor is not well-compensated. He is a rock star within the academic hierarchy structure, but taking a Dave Matthews path to wealth. In other words, he gets rich by giving stuff away. Peterson makes money because fans reward those they love. They follow what’s free—the stand up, the working through of an idea publicly, the showcased polemics all of which provides the basis for a book—which they will buy—and a book tour that they will pay to attend. This is the road to riches, fame and influence that are open to the creators of today.
Peterson has a new book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. I will buy it. And I’ll read it. But before I read it, I want to explore Peterson’s pre-12 Rules for Life mind. I just love the title of his first book, Maps for Meaning. The title captures Peterson’s superior skill set. A mapper of meaning—an Amerigo Vespucci of the mind—a necessary guide capable of navigating our troubled waters to a port of enlightened sanity.
When I was a young man— a man in the making—a wonderful book came my way at the suggestion and hand of a teacher who changed the trajectory of my life—The Closing of the American Mind, its author Allan Bloom. Allan Bloom was my time’s Jordan Peterson.
If you like Peterson, you would like and benefit from reading the Closing. Bloom, who died 30-odd years ago, was great at raising and framing good questions, and pointing to the weaknesses in the arguments of those in authority. However, unlike Peterson, Bloom was less generous with sharing definite answers. The Closing shares a couple of crumbs of partial truth but never a complete answer—a developed, tested, defended truth that could be stood up against a competing falsehood.
There was a principled selfishness to Bloom’s public presentation lacking in Peterson. Bloom was a reconstructionist, but his heart was not really in it. Bloom was selfish and justified his selfishness on philosophic grounds. As a philosopher, he did not think it was his job to serve up the whole truth to his students, but only to point them in the right direction. In a healthier age, he could indulge himself with the Socratic conceit of smacking around those with strongly-held but untested opinions with the purpose of forcing them to learn to defend their opinions, and in so doing, ascend to a higher and deeper understanding of the world. The Closing of the American Mind was as far as Bloom was willing to go. In my case, it was far enough to get me on my way.
In contrast to Bloom’s principled selfishness, Peterson doesn’t hide the truth. For Peterson, the truth is the jugular. That rhetorical ruthlessness might have been a politic thing do once upon a time—William F. Buckley was a master of it — but not now. Now, a debate ends in snarks and social disapproval. The purveyors of weak ideas have circled their carts defensively and what was closing in Bloom’s day is now closed and exporting its flabby, intellectual weakness to those who are intellectually weak and unfit both inside and outside the University. For the sake of everything genuinely liberal and enduring, for the sake of pursuing what philosophers have always called “the good life,” we need to stand up, overturn their carts and resist, with reason, to persuade our fellow humans of the reality of the dead-end toward which we are being led — and offer a better route for meaning.
The shared virtue of the way of thinking of Gracie-style Jujitsu and Jordan Peterson-style combat: both work. Both are built on stripped-down essentials. Their utility is the product of testing and retesting. Unlike Bloom, Peterson did the hard work of a philosopher who gives more than a passing fuck about what happens in the madhouse he occupies. He has taken up the big questions and challenges and he has done the hard work for us. Unlike Gracie, he seems to care for those he has dispatched. Peterson has shouldered a lot—and injured himself in doing so. We owe him much. So buy a couple of his books, read them and share them. Tell them you met some Guy who was pitching them
I have a black belt in karate and a blue belt in BJJ. A Gracie blue belt is a black-belt killer. It’s a Pepsi challenge that I don’t suggest that you take. Everyone who is looking to intellectually defend themselves needs a blue belt in Jordan Peterson.
If practice make perfect, Peterson is perfect for our times.