Jordan Peterson on acts of God

I’m an atheist, yet I found the following reference to acts of God rather fascinating. The context is the importance of the Old Testament as a guide for life, which sends the strong message to be mindful of your actions and to not do anything stupid, or you’ll take the full brunt of the consequences. It’s the diametral opposite of the leftist message that no matter how fucking stupid your decisions are, Daddy Government will always be there for you to bail you out, dear single moms, aging whores, and useless eaters.

My quotation is from a 2009 blog post, yet Peterson said something very similar in his currently ongoing lecture series on the Bible:

“One of the clear messages in the Old Testament is that if you’re not honest and you don’t walk a careful path then God will come along and wipe you out, and as much as we might not like to like a God like that and think that is an archaic way of looking at things, I would say that’s exactly what happened to New Orleans, because people think that it was an Act of God so to speak that destroyed the city; it was a hurricane but it wasn’t a hurricane; it was the fact that New Orleans is an unbelievably corrupt city and no one paid any attention to the dykes and millions of dollars of public money were spirited into people’s pockets.”

The leftist dipshit who quoted Peterson waffled about him conjuring up images of a “vengeful God”, when the point is simply that your stupid and short-sighted actions in the present may forcefully wipe you out at some point in the future. A quibble I have with Peterson, not only with this quotation, but in more general terms, is that he seems to have fallen victim to the just-world fallacy, i.e. good actions will be rewarded, and evil ones punished. This is most definitely not the case.

That being said, a powerful case can be made that your own poor choices may come back and haunt you. It is very easy to find examples. Think of celebrities who evade taxes, politicians who accept bribes, people taking on more debt than they will ever be able to repay, or Western whores fucking losers who will turn them into single mothers. For a while, everything may go well, but your past sins may very well catch up with you. In fact, it is often only a matter of time.

For instance, Jimmy Savile got away with sexually abusing children for decades as he was protected by the elites. The pedophile demographic in the US likewise thought they could pull a Savile and never get caught. Yet, Trump won the presidency, and the FBI caught 1,500 low-life pedophiles in the first month of the Trump administration alone! So, those people certainly thought nothing could happen to them, probably expecting the Democrats to rule forever — yay moral depravity! That isn’t how things turned out, thankfully.

That was one particularly appalling scenario. The larger point, though, is that if you think you’ll get away with something, you may want to reconsider your actions. In the end, it is not God who will punish you, but it could very well be interpreted that way.

8 thoughts on “Jordan Peterson on acts of God

  1. The Bible and Religion seem useful, because they put life in perspective, so people live better. You can argue if “god”, “heaven”, “hell”, etc. are good concepts, but they did/do have a function.
    As for Peterson, sorry, but I don’t understand the hype. I find his teachings literally useless. It’s not actionable. He is riding this rational trip, which has very little value. Actually it’s dangerously close to some RSD shit.
    If he really believes that rationally understanding negative or destructive behaviour/thoughts which is rooted in the subconscientious part of a human is actually helping, then… sorry mate, you’re dead wrong. No, intellectualizing over psychological sickness is not productive. I don’t have much confidence in his psycho-therapeutic capabilities to be honest.
    As an alternative I suggest you read up on Habib Davanloo and his approach to break through the defense mechanisms of a patient. I’ve searched online, but obviously I couldn’t find a relevant recording of a session with him. My sessions are all recorded and after one approx. 8 months my therapist and I watched one together, to gain better understanding. Even a recording mobilizes emotions which is the whole point. The recording is sort of an insurance policy for both me and my therapist, who btw is 60+ and still interviews him and others in Canada on a regular basis.
    Peterson does not seem healthy himself, I mean he is rather pissed, which, looking at gis intellectual level and the world we live in is kind of understandable. Yet, for a psychiatrist with apparently such a deep understanding I do expect a higher level of inner peace.
    Read up on Davanloo and Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.

    1. I found something, which is helpful and describes the process of a session I was referring to.
      The whole video is very good, I have time-stamped the link where he talks about the cognitive insight and how it is practically fruitless.
      https://youtu.be/g2ZQJ2ZcG9o?t=50m19s

      I know the whole thing is one hour, but I find it very valuable.

    2. Aaron, I have some free time on my hands this week.
      Peterson had this interesting video about agreable and disagreable people:
      https://youtu.be/XVMvQhxN_M8
      One year ago I would have agreed with him with regards to agreable people offering the (too easy) possibility of being exploited.
      Today I have a different view on this topic and I could write a a bit about it, but it might come out a bit longer and (obviously) it cannot be entirely subjective. Do you feel that this would add some value to your blog here?

    3. I would very much appreciate if you took the time to post your thoughts on that issue.

    4. I have to start somewhere and I think that it’s important to say that if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail and I cannot be objective. I will have to make a detour through my personal life and my experience to explain why I disagree with Petersons view on agreeableness. So before we get to my argument against his position let me share some quite personal details.
      I have been in therapy since last summer, so it’s been almost a year. The symptoms were depression (bearable but getting worse over time), self-destructiveness, submissive behavior, lack of motivation to actually live my life and suicidal thoughts. I did then actually seek help by my own motivation, there have been some triggers in my environment but for now let’s just say that I went by my own will. As background information, what’s necessary to know is that I had an abusive mother, who used to beat me up since I don’t remember what age and stopped doing so after I turned maybe sixteen (I grew tall rather late but therefore rather fast) and it was just ridiculously clear that I could do more harm to her than she to me. Important to add is that her mother (my grandmother) used to beat her up for not practicing enough (she earns her living as a musician). My father died when I was a bit older than one year, so there was no neutralizer for me in this situation. What we have here is a quite complex and rather individual situation, yet, it provokes a quite common set of symptoms and trauma which I am going to explain and then get back to Peterson.
      So, the basic premise my therapist (and now, also me) believe in, is that life in humankind is driven by love and a strong bond between mother and child and father and child. Now before this becomes all peace-and-love and let’s-get-high-1968-style, I think we can safely say that just from pure logic, and here I totally agree with Peterson, parents must deeply love their children so that they can be what they have to be: caring individuals.
      (If there is no capacity to bond though, then indeed we are having to do psychopaths, which unfortunately happens sometimes, too.)
      The issue is that, as it was with my case, this initial bond and the love were harmed. What comes out is a conflict in me. On one hand I do love my mother because, after 9 months inside her, how can I not? And on the other side, she is hurting me physically and I have hate in myself. Now, what we have to understand is that all these complex emotional structures are being imposed on an emotionally very primitive little child. The child will experience the ultimate creator of future problems and that is: GUILT.
      It feels guilty for feeling a murderous rage against the genetic figure which is closest to it and this guilt is being carried on for pretty much the rest of its life. This is why I’m astonished when I tell people that in a session I get to live out an incredible hate and anger which translates in killing/raping my mother and they just say: “Yes, but I understand, she hurt you so often”. I used to be quite puzzled by that, but of course it would be a natural counter-reaction to hate the oppressor and be ok with that hate. Yet, when it’s a figure you love, then it is guilt which comes into play. Guilty for my own hate.
      How does the guilty feeling manifest itself? Well, roughly speaking it is by self-punishment. A form of self-punishment could be self-mutilation (I never engaged in that), but also, and here we get already a bit to Peterson, it is submission. So, since a four-year-old can impossibly defend himself against an abusive parent, then he/she will try to appease him/her through submissiveness. The pathological pattern over the years has become: Pressure through experienced injustice which can be physical or mental (I’ll get to that later) >> Submission.
      A healthy response would be: Experienced injustice >> Fight back (defend).
      As for the mental pressure, it is worth noting that usually an abusive parent has had an abusive parent himself, consequently a lot of hate lies in him/her subconsciously. Every time the own child shows anger (now this can be completely unrelated, say it doesn’t get to have a chocolate bar from the food store and because of that throws a full-blown temper tantrum, which kids are totally capable of doing^^), the parent gets reminded subconsciously of his/her own feelings and the same fear of them (remember, he/she is guilty). What follows is a disproportionate reaction (yelling, beating, other forms of punishment), not recognizing the child’s emotions for what they are: childish, primitive and immature reactions, which need to be treated as such.
      Whenever I had a fight in school I would get a huge problem with my mother (being well reminded of her own anger) because “one shouldn’t fight”. The result was that it turned me into a very submissive person, extremely prone to exploitation.
      Worth mentioning is how people deal with this conflict: They build up defense mechanisms, when their anger is provoked. Examples are display of passiveness, avoiding eye-contact, gazing away, loss of momentum in the conversation and if the pressure persists then sarcasm, actually insulting the other person and really being a nasty asshole to them.
      Try it out and ask a submissive person and be a bit persistent. Might look like this
      – Can we see why you didn’t refuse to take on this extra task from your boss?
      – Well I always do what he tells me.
      – Yes but that meant you gave up on your long planned week-end? Why did you give in?
      – Well I’m just like that, I do what I’m told.
      – Ok, but it makes you feel bad to not have had that week-end, is it so hard to fight back?
      – (gazing away now) You don’t know how my boss is like.
      – Can you tell me what you feel about your boss imposing you all the work all the time?
      – My feelings are none of your business
      – You’re having a wall, can we see what you feel when you stop censuring yourself?
      – Pff, what do you want now, to play some feelings game, Mr. Freud? (irony/sarcasm)
      And so on…

      As to how I’m working on this (read: growing my balls back^^), the link is in my reply above, it explains the process of a session.

      My argument is not agreeable persons are submissive. I say there are healthy individuals and unhealthy individuals. And submissive persons are just NOT healthy.

      So, let’s have a look at the video (I’ll time stamp some of the parts I find interesting)
      https://youtu.be/XVMvQhxN_M8?t=44s
      For Peterson, the agreeable and the conscientious attitudes oppose each other. He doesn’t actually say it, but by making this cross with his hands he implies it. I disagree here. His logical fallacy is that agreeable people are submissive and that you have the facts based people who are not submissive and do well in a hierarchy. To me a) these attitudes are not opposed and b) they have nothing to do with each other.
      “There wouldn’t be these two dimensions if there wasn’t something correct about both of them. You can certainly point out that they often conflict”.
      Well, being agreeable is certainly fine and being conscientious, too. Saying that they conflict? Nope. Why? Why can’t you be nice, but decisive/ conscientious at the same time? They only conflict if one person always bows to the other person, but that’s not a genetic trait as such, it’s LEARNED BEHAVIOUR.

      Next:
      “The demand for inclusiveness and unity and care, and the demand for high level performance in a hierarchical structure, they’re very different orientations in the world”
      Again, why would a hierarchy not be marked by inclusiveness, unity and care? Look at documentations about Legion étrangère, certainly the soldiers there described the group as their second family, now if that’s not about unity and care I don’t know. Yet, the military is as hierarchical as it can get and not all of the soldiers describing these feelings had the same rang, so it’s something that goes through the entire organization.
      I get what he wants to say though. Hierarchy is a tool and, it can be miss-used. It’s being miss-used by both sides. The abusive side is using the more submissive people as a LIGHTNING ROD for their own problems and the submissive people play along with it, because such is the nature of the structure of the organization.
      So a hierarchy ENABLES the mentally sick traits to be played out on both sides, but it’s not one of the sides and “agreeableness” the other.

      https://youtu.be/XVMvQhxN_M8?t=1m49s

      Ok, here he makes an interesting point, when he says that you are in danger of being exploited if you are agreeable because you’re wired to be exploited by infants.
      I cannot judge that, but I think that a healthy mother can damn well make the difference between her child having its demands and her having to fulfill them because if not, IT MIGHT DIE and her business environment trying to exploit her. Well then again, maybe there is something to it on a genetic level, but I have my reservations.
      See, Peterson talks so much about responsibility giving you meaning in life, yet he fails soooo hard here: Yes people, if you make a choice to who’s demands you bow (your kid’s or the ones of your boss), then that’s taking responsibility. What does he do? “Oh, they are just like that, I guess they are wired.” He is outsourcing responsibility to nature, wtf…

      https://youtu.be/XVMvQhxN_M8?t=2m5s

      This one is almost funny, if it wasn’t deeply concerning, about how he sees things.
      He says that too agreeable people get assertiveness training in psychotherapy. He is completely missing the point here. The traits he associates with agreeableness are the symptoms and he is trying to cure them. Such a beginner’s mistake, incredibly foolish. He goes on to explain that he teaches the patients to “negotiate on their behalf”.
      And then they should tell the truth about what they think, even if that’s nasty. Ok, here I agree yet, it’s not about what they think it’s about what they feel deep down there. And he says, rightly so, that it’s not so easy to do that but his explanation is, to me very wrong, i.e. he says they are wired to avoid conflict, because “you don’t want conflict around the infants”. Now he seemingly believes that humans are incredibly stupid and incapable of making the difference between work environment and child raising (or maybe I’m dead wrong and the genetic wiring is so incredibly strong that women always act within their “mother-wiring, but I don’t really buy it) and also he believes that shielding children from any conflict is actually a good thing. Children do actually learn to negotiate via conflicts. I mean it’s small conflicts, like “my toy if I get yours” during games, but complete peace makes children much less resilient in the long term.

      As long as his patients have to rationally think before they defend themselves and their interests (negotiating on their behalf), his therapeutic attempts will be useless. They key ins access to the unconsciousness, there is a way to get there. The reason why it works is that any self-defense is a mechanism which is a by-product of a healthy mind and not an actively steered behavior.

      I think I have made my point. Peterson simplifies the issue of mental sickness by categorizing into given states of being i.e. agreeable vs. disagreeable and in my eyes, it’s wrong. I see healthy individuals and unhealthy ones. Go on a public transport and look at parents how very often they use their kids as a lightning rod for their own unsolved emotions.
      When you see troubled persons, whenever you see a disproportionate emotional reaction to something, (disproportionately strong or weak) if you dig deep enough, you can way too often go back their parents and find this issue of their traumatic experience there. Which unfortunately leads us to the conclusion, that, yes, most people on this planet would need to go seek professional help. Of course, some people are not curable, but I strongly believe that most of them are, and can find their inner peace.
      Again, I can’t be objective.

      Thanks for letting me share Aaron.

  2. If you are already into alt-right writings you should take a look at neo-reaction (NRx).

    They have the concept of “Gnon” or “God of Nature” as a kind of placeholder term for a kind of teleological force in nature that theists and non-theists can agree on. Here’s an explanation by an NRx writer: https://www.quora.com/What-is-gnon

    I could be wrong but I suspect you’d find NRx more similar to your own perspective than the generic alt-right one. I already mentioned Curtis Yarvin (a.k.a. Mencius Moldbug) who’s working on Urbit. Nick Land is also interesting reading sometimes.

    I personally don’t believe in any kind of teleological force but IMO the basic concept that your actions have consequences whether within your lifetime or not is part of many other religions too, like karma in Buddhism, which doesn’t necessitate some kind of deity as a judge anyway.

  3. The funny thing about treating natural disasters as a divine punishment is that the guilty parties usually avoid the disaster and a lot of people whose sin is proximity become collateral damage. Peterson should be smarter than to use that sort of analogy.

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