First let’s start with this beautiful piece of art [examples of myths which violate Jordan’s interpretations, break down analysis, with the passing note that ‘He does not posit a cure for female unhappiness; the joy of chaos is obviously its own reward.’]
MOM is not legit: critique using examples
Some bothersome JP quotes:
the Great Mother is a terrible force, in the absence of patriarchal protection’.
Sounds like ‘MOM’my issues to me
The hero cuts the world of the unpredictable — unexplored territory, signified by Tiamat — into its distinguishable elements; weaves a net of determinate meaning, capable of encompassing the vast unknown; embodies the divine “masculine” essence, which has as its most significant feature the capacity to transform chaos into order. The killing of an all-embracing monster, and the construction of the universe from its body parts, is symbolic (metaphorical) representation of the central, adaptive process of heroic encounter with the undifferentiated unknown, and the construction or generation of differentiated order as a consequence
At the most basic level this is just illogical. The (masculine) hero defeats the feminine chaos to establish masculine order. This is inline with the title of 12 rules ‘antidote to chaos’ and JPs vehement anger against feminists and denial of transgender gender fluidity. How this could be read as anything less than a defence of patriarchy and of women as subservient/less than (where dominance hierarchy is predicated on competence and males are naturally on top) is beyond me.
It is illogical though, so far as the symbol of Taoism is the yin yang where the masculine and feminine are in balance. This is not dependant on the masculine ruling over/dominating the feminine. That would add another layer to the 50/50 balance of energies and is imbalanced.
(From above article): ‘Girard, like Peterson, finds an unconscious ur-narrative in a wide range of stories: the narrative of scapegoating as the origin of social order. But he at least has some anthropological evidence to support his ascription. The unconscious meaning is, he can say, embodied in the many blood-sacrifice rituals practiced alongside these narratives. Peterson could not follow Girard, however, because Girard’s reading makes the development of social order something deeply morally troubling. The birth of any culture depends on the sacrifice of an arbitrary victim. Peterson, of course, wants a clear-cut narrative of good versus evil that he can sell to flag-wagging patriots who want to know they’re on the right side of history.’
Murky MOM– detailed breakdown
The world as a forum for action is composed, essentially, of three constituent elements, which tend to manifest themselves in typical patterns of metaphoric representation. First is unexplored territory—the Great Mother, nature, creative and destructive, source and final resting place of all determinate things. Second is explored territory—the Great Father, culture, protective and tyrannical, cumulative ancestral wisdom. Third is the process that mediates between unexplored and explored territory—the Divine Son, the archetypal individual, creative exploratory Word, and vengeful adversary.”
Interesting that the father is masculine and tyrannical—Peterson focuses heavily on denying the existence of tyranny when he denies patriarchy, and yet his hero is also masculine, and is considered to be the dominating force.
(From article): ‘of the thousands of cultures in the world, Peterson has tapped into only one line of thinking, so his maps of meaning give a skewed picture of traditional thought’
This is a common error which illustrates Peterson’s lack of true wisdom, his perspective is entirely and repeatedly focussed on white, western ethnocentric worldview.
“Western morality and behavior, for example, are predicated on the assumption that every individual is sacred.”
A laughable idea, when you take into account the devastating impact of the breakdown of the extended family, the oppression of POC and women, and the exploitative and divisive capitalism of which Peterson is a proponent.
(From article): ‘Peterson adopts the pragmatist view that truth is what works, so that if myth works to provide people with a sense of meaning, then it is true… Science works with a correspondence theory of truth: a belief is true if it describes the world accurately.’
In this sense, Peterson is as or more dubious, subjective and unscientific as the humanities departments he decries.
Peterson’s analysis of genocidal horrors (p535) is perhaps accurate in its conclusion that this is rooted in a deep spiritual sickness, which he sees as requiring an individual hero who ‘rejects identification with the group as the ideal of life, preferring to follow the dictates of his conscience and his heart. His identification with meaning—and his refusal to sacrifice meaning for security—renders existence acceptable, despite its tragedy.”
What I fail to understand is why that hero, why the ‘holy spirit’ is considered to be masculine. My perception would be that the ‘alpha and omega’ transcends such duality.
If his line of thinking is summarised as
1. totalitarianism is a spiritual problem, the result of neglecting the moral tradition rooted in Christianity.
2. the best way to resolve this problem is spiritual, based on the “divinity” of the individual.
3. the solution to totalitarianism is a combination of religion and individualism.
…the conclusion that that moral sickness is the result of neglecting the moral tradition rooted in Christianity seems flimsy at best given the horrors perpetuated in the name of christianity, be it holy wars or colonisation or marital rape or pedophilia within the church. It would seem that religion itself does not equal true morality in alignment with the Holy Spirit, and Peterson fails to acknowledge that there are many other avenues to ‘live without sin’, ie beyond said spiritual sickness, though to an extent it is perhaps unavoidable as part of the human condition (the unavoidable suffering he often references).
The above article contrasts Peterson as a “classic liberal” (an ideology that emphasizes personal liberty over equality and social welfare, in keeping with his assumption of the divinity of individuals) with responses to WW2 not grounded in mythology and religion, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which establishes rights and freedoms that apply to people “without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or another status”). The alternative value system of social democracy insists the state has an important role to play in enabling all individuals regardless of wealth to flourish as human beings. Peterson denies this, as evidenced by his objection to bill c16.
“Peterson writes as if religious individualism is the best alternative to totalitarianism, but social democracy provides a morally superior way of challenging oppression. Peterson uses ideas about “dominance hierarchies” to downgrade equality as a social goal”.
“Peterson’s ideas are a mishmash of banal self-help, amateur philosophy, superfluous Christian mythology, evidence-free Jungian psychology, and toxic individualistic politics. Seek enlightenment elsewhere.”
I do infact agree with Peterson’s basic tenant that there is great wisdom to be drawn from myths. However his integrity breaks down when he attempts to focus on the bible to the exclusion of other myths, and use the myths to reinforce the white western patriachial world view and decry communism, losing much of the depth and richness found in stories, and distorting them into something untenable.
A counterbalance to MOM would be a book such as ‘Women who run with the wolves’, which focusses on the feminine instinct as a source of safety and great wisdom. The author, also a skilled psychotherapist with leaning toward Jung, takes myths from all cultures and uses them to distill psychological wisdom and advice which unlike MOM, is multifaceted and unpoliticised.
-On the death & destruction, JBP
‘In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.’
Just because lobsters are in a hierarchy doesn’t mean we ought to be