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Boethius

Jordan Peterson says we must be cruel?

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For whatever reason Youtube suggested this link to me from Jordan Peterson, where he says we must be cruel monsters who tame our monstrosity in order to survive in a world of even crueler monsters:

I haven't listened to much Jordan Peterson over the years, though he has been on my radar of culturally significant voices. I thought his main message was about the importance of learning self-discipline (clean your room!), self help, and emotional control. I found useful his rhetorical question "how can a person hope to contribute to the management of a society if they cannot even manage their own lives?" But this message about cruelty and monstrosity seems a lot weirder and nastier, quite frankly.

I agree, of course, that people shouldn't allow themselves to be bullied or be pushovers, and that a certain go-getter attitude (a healthily integrated Red sense of agency) is essential in a labor market where we are now generally expected to "sell ourselves". But I think the message that our young people should tap into their sense of cruelty and become monsters is poisonous to society at large. I mean, like begets like, and if people are pre-emptively cruel to one another it just leads to more cruelty overall. I guess I can see how this could make some sense from an individual's perspective, but from a collective perspective it is grotesque.

So is this just an odd piece of advice from Jordan Peterson -- something that maybe he hasn't thought about as thoroughly as other pieces of advice -- or is this in fact representative of Jordan Peterson's program for personal development?

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There is a story about when Peter Ralston was training with a Chinese martial arts master -- supposedly the best guy in Asia he could find.

Ralston was struggling with some fights and this Chinese master told him to go get a dictionary.

Then he told him to look up the word: "Cruel"

Then he told him: That is what you must be. You are not cruel enough.

So he became cruel.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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It is semantics and word choice, but that can have a impact as words have connotations. Cruel just has a negative connotation hence your reaction to it.  Hero would be a better word than monster, one is a positive use of strength and has better connotation, the other negative and has negative connotation. His main point is to be strong but win win so that you are protected from the ones who are strong but live in a zero sum game (win lose) paradigm and will crush you to meet their own survival agenda / needs. 

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I'm looking the definition of "cruel" on dictionary.com:

(1) willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.

(2) enjoying the pain or distress of others

(3) causing or marked by great pain or distress

(4) rigid; stern; strict; unrelentingly severe

I don't see the positivity in this. I mean, yes, young people need to learn to toughen up, grow a thick skin, become resilient, stand up for themselves, and fight against injustice, but it seems to me that Jordan Peterson is suggesting something more: that we should view the world as being filled with a bunch of assholes, basically, that we own our own ability/propensity to be assholes, and that we are willing to "stand down" if other people stand down, but we are quick to "stand up" for ourselves if others do not stand down. I would not recommend that almost any young person adopt this view of the world (unless they're growing up in a neighborhood that has a lot of violence, in which case I would be humble in providing any advice to such a person). It seems to me that a person who adopts JP's view of the world as being populated with cruel monsters is

(a) at best, going to end being very prickly and defensive and sensitive to the slights of others, or

(b) at worst, enjoys being an asshole themselves since "everyone else" is an asshole already.

This just doesn't seem to be a healthy, balanced, mature view of the world. But I don't know, maybe some other people would say that I'm being naive.

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cruelty has to be part of your arsenal else you are limiting yourself to one half of reality ... one man's cruelty is another man's kindness ... all is relative and arbitrary ... maybe there are some in the world who only understand through the lens of cruelty ... should i exclude these from my bubble? maybe not

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He is just talking about classic shadow integration, with the focus on ID integration. It means that you need to integrate your already existing capacity for cruelty and own it, this is about it. Either you will own it in a conscious way, or you will be possessed by it. I do not see another way around it.

The trick is, if you have it integrated, there will be less of a need to act it out, or even if there is, it will be done in an integrated manner.

Think of a stereotypical martial arts master, he is the best one at it, but has the least need to use it, even prefers to go trough matters in other ways.

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The idea is obviously not that you should literally be cruel. The idea is that you should be able to be cruel, but consciously decide not to be cruel. 

It's based on Nietzsche's idea that people aren't good in and of themselves, but just afraid to be bad. And that's quite true. 

You need to recognize that you have the capacity for cruelty within yourself and that you can be so cruel that it would scare the shit out of you (shadow integration). That's what he means by saying that you have to become a monster. And then, when you know that you are capable of being a cruel monster, you consciously decide to be good. And that's real moral goodness (depending of course on what we mean by "good").

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Peterson has no idea about how to live a peaceful happy life or reduce suffering, the dude is neurotic as hell, it baffles me how people can follow him

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21 minutes ago, Tim R said:

The idea is obviously not that you should literally be cruel. The idea is that you should be able to be cruel, but consciously decide not to be cruel. 

It's based on Nietzsche's idea that people aren't good in and of themselves, but just afraid to be bad. And that's quite true. 

You need to recognize that you have the capacity for cruelty within yourself and that you can be so cruel that it would scare the shit out of you (shadow integration). That's what he means by saying that you have to become a monster. And then, when you know that you are capable of being a cruel monster, you consciously decide to be good. And that's real moral goodness (depending of course on what we mean by "good").

To be honest this discussion can kinda go both ways, either into useless JP mind garbage or touch on some wisdom. I'd say I sort of see it similar to this way. It's recognizing the sort of capacity or faculty of being cruel and not judging it and seeing it as a part of human psychology and behavior. Expressing it in healthy ways, usually it is attached to anger and other uncomfortable emotions. The video is kinda distracting though and probably would appeal to everyone that liked that Joe Rogan post in the other thread.

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3 hours ago, Boethius said:

labor market where we are now generally expected to "sell ourselves".

Probably way off-topic, but I think your misplacing the quotation marks here, since it's literal not metaphorical.

Now "dream job", that's a lot more valid.


The winds follow the will of our sails.

We are the ships and all the seas.

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5 hours ago, Tim R said:

The idea is obviously not that you should literally be cruel. The idea is that you should be able to be cruel, but consciously decide not to be cruel. 

It's based on Nietzsche's idea that people aren't good in and of themselves, but just afraid to be bad. And that's quite true. 

You need to recognize that you have the capacity for cruelty within yourself and that you can be so cruel that it would scare the shit out of you (shadow integration). That's what he means by saying that you have to become a monster. And then, when you know that you are capable of being a cruel monster, you consciously decide to be good. And that's real moral goodness (depending of course on what we mean by "good").

Deserves re-read.

I like the emphasis on "choice".

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Maybe he is hinting at a stage Red philosophy where in order to survive your cruel circumstances you need to be harder and tougher and crueler with yourself. 

Sometimes this works. 

Sometimes you need to be gentle with yourself and others. 

It's like saying - "toughen up." 

This is not that easy though. Being tough and cruel needs a certain degree of self confidence, machismo and raw strength both physically and mentally. 

 

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