Jordan Peterson
There’s a “thing” that sometimes happens to me when I discuss philosophical or religious issues with my wife, which she finds incredibly humorous — I shed tears and get temporarily choked up. I told her for years that my theory on the phenomenon is something like this:

  • Deep in your heart is a conduit to the transcendent. There are times when your mind comes into direct contact with Truth with a capital ‘T’, but the finite parts of your being are obviously not equipped to handle the infinite. To grab hold of the transcendent, even for a brief moment, is like grabbing hold of a live wire. The difference is that the pain you feel is something beautiful, the charring and burning of spiritual impurities like rust on the soul. So you happily search for that place again and again because you wish that you could share it with everyone.

I was recently watching a video with Jordan Peterson, the famous professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He was talking with Dave Rubin about Pinocchio, and when I saw where he was going with it I could almost predict the point at which he would tear up.

Mr. Peterson said:

“Most of your viewers will have watched Pinocchio. There’s a scene in Pinocchio where Geppetto wishes upon a star. What it means is he lifts up his eyes beyond the horizon to something transcendent — to something ultimate — because that’s what a star is, it’s part of the eternity of the night sky.

And so he lifts his eyes up above his daily concerns and he says, ‘What I want — what I want more than anything else — is that my creation will become a genuine individual.’ Right? It’s a heroic gesture because it’s so unlikely. And that catalyzes the puppet’s transformation into a real being. And we start as puppets. And so the trick is to get rid of your god**** strings.

And you remember in Pinocchio, he faces a lot of temptations. One is to be a liar; the other is to be a neurotic victim. That’s how he ends up in Pleasure Island where he just about gets sold into the salt mines and turns into a braying jackass … because it’s run by authoritarians.

Well, okay, so what you do is lift up your eyes and you say, ‘Look, I would like being to progress in the best possible manner. And that’s best for me, best for my family, best for society — maybe best for the world. Simultaneously, I would like to attain that, whatever that is. That’s what I want. You commit to that.

Then you tell the truth. And you can tell if you’re telling the truth. You can tell it physiologically. And so this is something to learn. […] That’s really the core idea in Western civilization, to build yourself into a forthright individual who’s capable of telling the truth and capable of bearing the responsibilities of citizenry.” — Jordan Peterson.

Bingo.

Here’s another way to explain it. Imagine your mind’s eye witnesses the transcendent, and it’s like an ocean. A whole ocean can fit inside your head and you can see it clearly, but the person sitting across from you has no clue what you’re “looking” at. The only way you can make this ocean known is by embarrassingly running it through the tiny sink that is your mouth and the filter of language. Your task is to convince someone of the beauty of the transcendent ocean — or God, or Truth, or Love — when all you can give them is a bucket filled with water.

So you cry.

You cry because in some sense the metaphysical ocean has burst forth into the physical world.

You cry because you’ve seen what lies beyond and you know that if others saw it too then they would change their lives in profound ways.

You cry because you are unworthy of something so magnificent, and you cry because of all the souls who will never have a similar experience through the misbegotten application of their own free will.

If you have never watched Jordan Peter’s videos, I highly suggest you begin sooner rather than later. He knows what he is talking about. He speaks the Truth. If you listen to what he says and actively carry out his advice, then your life will be exponentially better for it.

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

22 comments

  1. Funny, because my youtube history of late is FILLED with Jordan Peterson stuff. (I think we should call him the Internet Dad.) Now I must apologize since I don’t think I had shared any of them with you and it seems I should have. 🙂

    1. “Funny, because my youtube history of late is FILLED with Jordan Peterson stuff.”

      I usually listen to him when I go to Panera for breakfast. I have a ten minute drive there and back. I’ve been doing it for months now. It gives me hope to know that his message is resonating with so many people.

    2. I’ve shied away from these subjects for most of the time I’ve written this blog. I never really sought out videos on the subject either, instead opting to just continue to do my private studies (the more time I spend on YouTube, the less time I’m reading). The point is that it was one of the coolest things to watch Mr. Peterson’s videos and think, “Yes! Someone else — someone alive — gets it! And he’s eloquent!”

      Here’s a clip on the flood myths for those who are interested.

    3. And if you don’t mind, here’s another one on the new counterculture:

      (p.s. I think i forgot to tell you, just recently took a trip to Israel – you definitely need to save up and go sometime)

    4. “And if you don’t mind, here’s another one on the new counterculture.”

      Any time.

      “I think i forgot to tell you, just recently took a trip to Israel – you definitely need to save up and go sometime.

      You mentioned that you were going, but I didn’t know the actual dates. That’s pretty cool! I should get my act together so an Israel trip can happen. I need to fill out my passport application.

  2. That’s really beautiful. Well said. Trying to explain the Divine is like, I don’t have the words, I don’t even speak the language. Language is just so inadequate,it doesn’t even begin to explain the experience. It is more like a knowing. I’m left standing there kind of helpless, just pointing up or saying things that sound so trite like, “God is good. He’s so beautiful.” I’m often absolutely desperate to share these things with others,but they really have to see Him themselves or they just don’t understand.

    As to emotion and guys, the modern world is full of fashionable stoics, but if you look to the bible those guys were powerful and full of passion.Jesus wept, Peter lopped off a man’s ear, David is writing psalms from the heart. They are crying out to God and rending their clothing and lamenting and rejoicing,with passion. That’s what we were designed to do. 🙂

    1. “As to emotion and guys, the modern world is full of fashionable stoics, but if you look to the bible those guys were powerful and full of passion. […] That’s what we were designed to do.”

      Well, perhaps one day my YouTube videos will take on some of these topics. I’ve traditionally stuck to movies and comic books because those topics are in my emotionally safe zone. Haha! 🙂

  3. I admit, I started binge-watching his videos after finding myself surprisingly mesmerized by his speech on growing up and taking responsibility. I can’t quite put it into words… so all I can say is, thank you, Doug, for leading me to this great man.

    1. “I admit, I started binge-watching his videos after finding myself surprisingly mesmerized by his speech on growing up and taking responsibility. I can’t quite put it into words… so all I can say is, thank you, Doug, for leading me to this great man.”

      Welcome to the Jordan Peterson Binge-watching Club! 🙂 But seriously, I’m glad that you’re getting something useful out of his videos.

    2. Just got done listening to his (long) speech on the dangers of post-modernism and how to combat it. This man, I swear, is like the parental figure I never knew I needed… but always resonated with on a subconscious level. Sigh… a wonderful beacon of true wisdom in the sea of leftist quagmire that Canada has flooded itself in… There may be hope for that country yet.

    3. “This man, I swear, is like the parental figure I never knew I needed … but always resonated with on a subconscious level.”

      That’s a good way to put it. You’re not alone with that conclusion.

  4. From Nate above, “It is hard to look at the rioting on campus or the cries of “safe space!” from snowflakes and think the problem today is a lack of emotion.”

    I hear you, but it so is a complete denial of emotion. They are fleeing from their own feelings. So shame,offense, how dare you make me “feel” these things. I need a safespace for my cognitive dissonance to reside so I am not “abused” by these feelings I am having.

    Of course it is all very weepy and whiny, so it looks like feelings, emotion, passion, but it really isn’t. Proverbs 25:28 comes to mind, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

    1. I hear you, but it so is a complete denial of emotion. They are fleeing from their own feelings.

      Of course it is all very weepy and whiny, so it looks like feelings, emotion, passion, but it really isn’t. Proverbs 25:28 comes to mind, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

      Wait… wut? Feelings are not actually feelings? Sure I guess you get to be right if you start with “no true scotsman” as an axiom, the only problem is you’ve just set a fallacy as your cornerstone. Talking about building a house on sand.

      No, the snowflakes are NOT feeling feelings, they are completely surrendering to the emotions of fear and panic. Same as any animal that, upon seeing Man, turns and runs. No sane person says that animal is completely denying their emotions. That’s all they are, bundle of emotions, it’s man’s rationality that sets him apart and above such creatures. Dune nailed it long ago:

      “You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind.”

      AND

      I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

      Look I get it, you have an ideology that emotion is always good. Well you’re wrong. It’s not. It’s neutral. It is the fuel that drives the human soul but fuel is neither good nor bad. It can be used to power a tank just as easily as an ambulance. But only after being processed and channeled into a useful form and structure that can utilize it.

      This postmodernist trend of redefining words to mean whatever you want them to mean has got to stop.

    2. Well, I suspect there is a difference between the words “emotions” and “feelings.” In the context of faith, one reason why it’s important to understand is that offense, fear, anxiety, are all things we used to call “conviction.” People were motivated to change their behavior because they “felt” convicted, so you would lay sin and shame down at the foot of the cross. That is our safeplace.

      Today however,we have much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but feelings are now all external, so somebody else caused me to feel this way, somebody else is offending me, somebody else is shaming me, somebody else needs to change. Nobody knows how to actually feel those feelings and walk through them anymore. Proverbs 25:28 is really a good passage because it speaks well to what we are seeing within our society right now.

  5. I am just the opposite. When I think on, study, or talk about the Logos I feel more like a kid at a museum, just in awe of it all. My wife says I get a little confusing as I chase down one rabbit and just before catching it I find another to go after.

    My favorite person to listen to while I code is Dr John Lennox.

    1. “I am just the opposite. When I think on, study, or talk about the Logos I feel more like a kid at a museum, just in awe of it all.”

      I wouldn’t call it “the opposite,” since on many levels I feel the same way. 😉 That’s a good thing to view the world with the wonder of the child. It shows humility. It shows that no matter how much you know, you also realize that you don’t know squat. You’re not so filled with pride that you think you have the universe all figured out, or that you could figure it out if you just had a really long timeline.

  6. I think, when we were speaking some time ago, I had mentioned a close friend of mine…honestly, my best friend.

    He was an Atheist, like I use to be, and early on in our wonderful friendship we would discuss things like God, the meaning of life, why we love…and so forth…as we worked aircraft avionics and instrument calibrations…great times.

    He was a part of the ‘fedora’ brigade you see on youtube…the earliest days stuff…Flying Spaghetti Monster and all that. However he had learned his lessons about skepticism a little too well and would often hear me out. I would come up with some deep stuff…mostly because he was such a challenge to debate…

    For example, In our many discussions about science:
    “Do you believe in Science?”

    he said, “Of course I do, Science is real, not some imaginary device to comfort me about the unknowns”

    I said, “Do you believe Science is beautiful?”

    he said, “Yes…Exactly! it makes people happy to understand the world, it beings me joy”

    I said, “Then you already believe in God. Joy brings us to God, celebrating your existence and finding not just the reason for…but satisfaction in… life”

    I guess I did drop a CS Lewis trap on him…but it was a good one. While he was in shock mode, I offered to eat the FSM for breakfast.

    Anyway, the reason for this story…It was he that introduced me to Jordan Peterson. “He’s like you, even with the rabid anti-communism” (I used to keep a copy of ‘The Black Book of Communism’ in the break room) …though honestly, he’s much more controlled and intelligent than a grenade thrower like me will ever be.

    Thank Doug, I know youtube has the viewers, but I always fear you’ll stop writing in the blog…that’s where all the good stuff is.

    1. “Thank Doug, I know youtube has the viewers, but I always fear you’ll stop writing in the blog…that’s where all the good stuff is.”

      I appreciate the kind words, Chuck. The blog allows me to reach a very different audience than YouTube, so it’s not going anywhere. The same thing with Twitter. Each tool is different and I use them for the kind of people you find on those platforms. There are some very sharp dudes on YouTube, but I think my regular readers here tend to be much more intellectual. Youtube obviously had people who watch a lot of great videos (e.g., Jordan Peterson), but the blog is where I reach voracious readers.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing more details about your friend. That’s a pretty cool story! It’s cool to look back at the people in our lives and see how little things they said had profound impacts months or years down the line.

  7. Thanks for introducing me to J. Peterson! How refreshing it is to hear someone so articulate mining for Truth. I’m a fan.

    1. “Thanks for introducing me to J. Peterson! How refreshing it is to hear someone so articulate mining for Truth. I’m a fan.”

      Nice! I’m glad you like him. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback, Edwardo.

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