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  • thank you all for coming.

  • Um, I'm going to begin by introducing Jordan Peterson, and then I will talk a little bit about how this event is going to work, and then we'll get underway.

  • So Jordan Peterson has been called Quote one of the most important thinkers to emerge on the world stage for many years by the Spectator.

  • He has been a dishwasher, gas jockey, bartender, short order cook, beekeeper, oil, derrick bit re, tipper plywood, mill laborer and railway line worker.

  • He's taught mythology, toe lawyers, doctors and businessmen.

  • Consulted for the U.

  • N.

  • Secretary general's high level Panel on Sustainable development, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia.

  • Served as an advisor to senior partners of major law firms.

  • Identified thousands of promising entrepreneurs on six different continents and lectured extensively in North America and Europe.

  • He has flown a hammerhead role in a carbon fibre stunt plane.

  • Piloted a mahogany racing sailboat around Alcatraz Island, explored in Arizona Meteorite crater with a group of astronauts, built a Native American longhouse on the upper floor of his Toronto home and been inducted into the coastal Pacific clock.

  • Walk a walk Tribe Malcolm Gladwell discussed psychology with him while researching his books.

  • Norman Deutsch is a good friend and collaborator.

  • Thriller writer Greg Hurwitz employed several of his quote valuable things as a plot feature in his number one international bestseller, Orphan X, and he worked with Jim Balsillie, former R.

  • I M CEO, on a project for the U.

  • N secretary general with his students and colleagues, Dr Peterson has published more than 100 scientific papers transforming the modern understanding of personality and revolutionized the psychology of religion with his now classic book Maps of Meaning.

  • The Architecture of Belief.

  • As a Harvard professor, he was nominated for the prestigious Levinson Teaching Prize and is regarded by his current University of Toronto students as one of three truly life changing teachers.

  • Dr Peterson is a core of most viewed writer and values and principles and parenting and education.

  • He has innumerable Twitter followers and Facebook followers.

  • His YouTube channel now has about a 1,000,000 subscribers, and his classroom lectures on mythology were turned into a popular 13 part TV series on TV Ontario.

  • Dr Peterson's online self help program, the self authoring suite, has been featured in O the Oprah magazine, on CBC radio and on NPR's national website.

  • It has helped over 150,000 people resolve the problems of their past and radically improved their future without further ado, please join me in welcoming Dr Jordan Peterson to laugh.

  • Okay, So the way this is going to work is that I'm going to have a conversation with Dr Peterson for 90 minutes.

  • And then there is going to be a 90 minute Q and A.

  • This event is being video recorded and will be published online for noncommercial non advertising purposes.

  • Um, during the q and a session when you were handed a microphone, Please speak directly into it.

  • Our viewers on YouTube will appreciate it.

  • And finally, I am a moderator between Professor Peterson and the audience, but also a biased participant in this conversation.

  • Okay, well, it's a relief that's all over.

  • Okay, so, um, I thought we would start things off with this.

  • I assume that many in the audience are curious but relatively unfamiliar with you, or have heard a lot about you without ever reading or listening to you.

  • So I thought we might start with you introducing yourself to the audience and maybe telling them some of the main things that you think they might be interested in knowing about you.

  • Well, I guess the most relevant detail is that I spent about 15 years writing this and I worked on it about three hours a day, every day during that period of time.

  • Um, at at the same time I was finishing off my doctor and I started lecturing at Harvard, but I was doing that continually and thinking about it continually and reading the material that I needed to read in order to write the book continually as well.

  • I didn't realize until more recently that what I was doing was at the heart of the postmodern conundrum.

  • I would say I was very much obsessed by the events of the Cold War.

  • For reasons I don't exactly understand.

  • I had a lot of dreams about nuclear annihilation for years on end.

  • It wasn't that uncommon to be obsessed by that when I grew up.

  • I mean, because it was a preoccupation of everyone who was my age.

  • I suppose there there were lots of years, probably between 1962 I would say, probably in 1985 where people were pretty convinced that the probability of a nuclear war was high, much higher now than people considered.

  • Now, Um, and I was curious about this.

  • I was curious about why everyone wasn't obsessed about this all the time.

  • First of all, because it seemed like the fundamental issue that two armed camps were pointing something in excess of 25,000 hydrogen bombs each at each other.

  • I couldn't understand how anybody could concentrate on anything other than that, since it seems so utterly insane.

  • Um, and I was curious what was going on exactly was this one, Nick.

  • The explanation was that there's a very large number of ways that human beings could organize themselves in society like a large number of games that we could hypothetically play.

  • And they're all equally arbitrary and in an equally arbitrary universe, and that the Communists had decided to play one kind of game, and the West and the Western free market Democratic types have had decided to play another game, and it was all arbitrary in some sense.

  • And so that's what I was trying to figure out was what the hell was going on with this conflict And was it merely a battle between two hypothetically, equally valid interpretations of the world, drawn from a set of extraordinary, large potential interpretations, which I think would be essentially a postmodernist take on it?

  • And I think I went into the problem neutrally in that I didn't think I knew what the answer Waas.

  • And also so lots of times when you talk to people who think or wouldn't you talk to people who write, they have an idea, and it's right.

  • And then they write whatever they're writing to justify the idea.

  • That's how they look at it.

  • But it's not a good way to write a good way to write and think it's have a problem and then try to solve it right to actually solve it, not to demonstrate that you're a priori commitment is true.

  • And you know, one of the signs I would say that my a priori commitments weren't the purpose for the writing was that I walked away from that 15 year project with a view of the world that was completely different than the view that I had going in and learned all sorts of things, especially about the role of narrative and and religious thinking in life.

  • That I have no idea was possible when I started.

  • And a lot of that was a consequence of reading the great people who I read deeply.

  • You know, I read well, all the great works of Friedrich Nietzsche in the great works of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, and most of you guys collected works, everything that had been published up to that point, and a very large swath of the relevant clinical literature, the great clinicians of the 20th century and a huge stack of neuroscience and et cetera, et cetera.

  • Because I was reading constantly during this time.

  • And, um, I realized some things that I think are true.

  • The Communists were wrong.

  • They weren't and not just a little bit wrong and not wrong in some arbitrary way.

  • They were playing a game that human beings cannot play without descending into a murderous catastrophe.

  • And there's something about what we've done in the West.

  • That's correct.

  • And it's hard complicated because our cognitive structures, that's one way of thinking about it or our socio political arrangements there.

  • Actually, they actually parallel one another in an important way, aren't are grounded in a strange set of axioms, and the axioms aren't rational.

  • Precisely.

  • It's more like their narrative, their narrative axioms, their stories.

  • And the story of the West is that the individual is sovereign over the group and that that's the solution to tribalism.

  • And I think that's the correct solution now what that means metaphysically, because it's it's also embedded in our religious doctrines, right?

  • Because especially in Christianity, although not exclusively to Christianity, the individual is sovereign, the suffering individualist sovereign.

  • And there's something about that that's true, at least psychologically.

  • And I don't know what that might mean metaphysically, because who the hell knows what anything means?

  • Metaphysically, right?

  • I mean, your your knowledge runs out at some point.

  • Anyways, I worked all these ideas out, and then I taught for a long time courses that were based on the ideas and the courses were very impactful.

  • I would say they have the same impact on the people that I was teaching as walking through the material had on me and well, it was out of that that all of this political controversy arose.

  • I mean, I was never focused on political controversy, even though I'm interested in politics, and I thought it many points in my life about a political career.

  • I always put it aside for a psychological and philosophical career, I would say, and but But things started to shift badly in Canada over the last five years, and our government dared to implement legislation that compelled speech.

  • And one of the things that I had learned when I was doing all this background investigation was that there isn't a higher value than free speech.

  • It isn't free speech.

  • It's not the right way of thinking about because it's free thought.

  • And even that's not the right way of thinking about it, because thought is the precursor to action and life.

  • So there's no difference between free speech and free life.

  • And I was just not willing to put up with restrictions on my free life.

  • And so I made some videos pointing out the pathology of this doctrine and the fact that the government had radically overreached.

  • It's it's appropriate limits and well, then, you know, Well, maybe you don't know, but I've been enveloped in continual scandal since for 18 months as a consequence, which to me as a clinician indicates that I got my damn diagnosis, right?

  • Right.

  • It's not about pronouns.

  • It's about something a lot deeper than that.

  • And I stand by that.

  • I believe that it's the case.

  • And I don't think that we would all be here tonight if that wasn't the situation.

  • So So I wanted my first or my next question, um, to be about Lafayette.

  • And so I thought I would read a couple of Facebook posts that certain students who are critical of you read in the lead up to this event and just ask you to respond to them.

  • Okay, so this is a student writing Lafayette College.

  • I'm utterly disappointed that you're allowing this to take place on our campus.

  • I thought we went through this last semester with roaming millennial.

  • Inviting hateful speakers who make wildly unsubstantiated claims is not going to fly with the student body.

  • I get it.

  • The mill Siri's events are private and not endorsed by the college.

  • But you absolutely have the power to make a statement on this.

  • The fact that you're not is an embarrassment to our community.

  • If you believe this man is a legitimate source of knowledge because he has a degree in clinical psychology fuel free to ask our psychology department faculty and counseling center staff about the validity of his claims.

  • I'm certain they would not endorse this speaker.

  • Do better in all caps.

  • For those of you unfamiliar Jordan Peterson is known for denouncing the me to movement, claiming that women are in no way marginalized in the West, arguing against the existence of gender neutral pronouns, arguing against gun control in the U.

  • S.

  • And claiming that identity, politics and social justice movements are part of a devious Marxist agenda.

  • And then another student responded.

  • And this is briefer College.

  • Conservatives know that if they bring in a speaker who was willing to blatantly insult a portion of the audience and the lives get angry enough about this for good reason, then they may get an op ed written about them in The New York Times.

  • As a result, there are a whole group of hacks like Milo and Peterson, who get famous and invited purely for their promise to miss gender trans students and advocate provocative but ultimately toothless arguments about social Darwinist race theory.

  • What I'm saying is that you have every right to be pissed Jordan Peterson is, Ah, harmful moron, but no the but know that you being pissed is also 100% at the point of why he was invited.

  • He's not a conservative.

  • He's just a guy who's mildly racist enough to offend college liberals and therefore secure winds for the cultural right, comparatively mild stuff.

  • It's the chattering buzz of ideologically possessed demons, so there's nothing in it that's that's not entirely predictable.

  • That's that's one of the things you know you notice when you're talking to people.

  • If you if you want to find out whether the person is there are the ideology, is there.

  • You listen to see if you're hearing anything that someone else of the same ideological mindset couldn't have told you.

  • You know, like I've had thousands of conversations with people because I've spent 20 years as a clinical psychologist, and one of the things I've learned about people is that there are unbelievably interesting.

  • If you get someone to sit down and you move past the superficial, which you can actually do quite rapidly, they'll tell you all sorts of things that only they know that air unbelievably enlightening about their own peculiar problems about the way they look at the world about their their idiosyncratic, familial dynamics, like just fascinating personal stuff.

  • It's the stuff of great novels, you know, and just this is ordinary people.

  • I don't really think there is an ordinary person.

  • Exactly.

  • There's there's the facade of ordinary nous, but behind that people are very rarely ordinary.

  • And so their conversations air almost instantaneously fascinating.

  • And one of the one of the guidelines that I used in my clinical practice constantly was like I had this sense.

  • I probably learned this mostly from Carl Rogers was that if the conversation wasn't really interesting, then we weren't doing anything that was therapeutically useful, but the interesting.

  • All of the interesting elements of it were very, very personal.

  • And so to replace this.

  • And I learned this mostly from from Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

  • In his detailed analysis of what I would call ideological possession I talked to, he talked about people he met in the gulag camps who were under the sway of of rigid communist orthodoxy and noted very clearly that it was like there was a crank in some sense on the side of their head and you could just crank the crank and out would come the ideological dogma, and it's all entirely predictable, and people who are in a situation like that don't understand that they're possessed by an idea rights Carl Young said.

  • People don't have ideas, ideas have people.

  • It's like so there's nothing in that that's anything other than exactly what you would predict.

  • And then there's a deeper issue, too, and this is one that I think has bedeviled me ever since I made my initial videos, which is the rat.

  • It's impossible for those on the radical left to admit that anyone who opposes what they're doing might be reasonable, because what that would mean would be that you could be reasonable and opposed the radical left.

  • And that would imply that what the radical left was doing wasn't reasonable.

  • And so instead of dealing with the fact that I actually happen to be quite reasonable, the attempt is to assume that anyone who objects must be part of the radical right.

  • It's like, well, actually, no.

  • There's lots of space between the radical left and the radical right.

  • There's the moderate reasonable left, for example, and you and then there's the center And then there's the moderate, reasonable right.

  • And then there's the far right.

  • And then there's the extreme right.

  • All of that exists in opposition to the radical left, but it's very convenient for the radicals on the left to say, Oh, well, you don't buy our doctrine And and and then to immediately make the presupposition that you must be the most Highness example of that entire array of potential objection.