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Friday, December 15, 2023

Why I Like Jordan Peterson

 I learned of Jordan Peterson this summer. I don't remember what I was reading or watching that involved him but I did a quick search, read a bit of The Book of Knowledge and watched a Rogan interview. 

He was not as represented - naturally - so I continued my investigation. He is worthy of respect in a world of increasingly useless people. I count him a lion. 

His most valuable contribution to my life so far is a non-religious argument for how to live with meaning. 

In my darkest moments, I have gone from "there is no God" to "God is an immortal sadist and there is no way out of this hell I call life." I often think of the movie Dark City with Rufus Sewell and the "crazy cop" in those times. 

But Dr. Peterson has spent his life in the search for existential truth and its practical applications. He agrees that life is bloody hard, possibly by design, and the only way to wring meaning and satisfaction from the struggle is to accept hardship as the path to truth and embrace the battle with gratitude for the opportunity. He often quotes "take up your cross and follow me" as a classic example, although I see no evidence that he believes Jesus is anything more than a Jungian manifestation of a hero arch-type. Which doesn't change the usefulness of his argument for me. 

Because, on my dark days, when I wonder if God is real, there is still a brilliant human who has drawn the conclusion that to live as if God is real by moving forward with gratitude and grit, seeking and speaking truth as I find it, provides the same benefits as anything else I might try. In this worldview, truth is God and truth is the prize that must be sought and gratitude is expressed truthfully as worship when encountered, and even if I become nothing at death, I will have lived with as much chance of happiness and fulfillment in the search as if there is a God who can provide eternal reward. 

I find great comfort in that thought. A man who at best appears agnostic has concluded that what I call a religious life has value even if ultimately it may have no meaning allows me to go on until my dark mood passes and my rational brain returns. 

Thank you, Jordan Peterson. May the God of peace and the source of truth bless you and your family in your quest. 

Keep the faith. 

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