An Emergent Cosmopolis

Last week we established that there are three general types of questions: real, attack, and ideologically driven. This week we explored Peterson's response to the four attack questions in order to understand how he dealt with the issues involved behind the question. A few suprising observations:

  1. Peterson is operating at the third level of reflective intelligence: improving one's orientation, engaging in free personal relationships, and attempting to establish that which is of real value.
  2. His general approach seems to be based on what he has learned through his professional practice as a therapist. The goal is not to convince another of one's own position but to help others define and deal with their own problems.
  3. In responding as he has, he has in effect redefined the entire Q&A event. He has done this through an emphasis on intellectual rigor and facing the consequences of one's own ideological bent, this setting the very criteria with which he is to be judge.

A few observations from the way Peterson responds to attack questions:

  • At no point does Peterson question the motives or intentions of the person asking the question.
  • When he does counter-attack, he does so by emphasizing the attempt by various ideologists to mandate human affairs.
  • His general strategy is to turn the question away from the attack by encouraging them to think in a more rigorous fashion for themselves.
  • He does not seek to persuade, but only to offer people information that may help them to help themselves.
  • His therapeutic roots underlie his interaction with Kuhn and various members of the audience.

This week we delved into the questions themselves, specifically the intentions of the person asking the question and generally the background of the question itself. At this point we introduce the notion of a "Non-Present Presence", for our previous work suggests that there is some "presence" outside of the event itself that not only sets the grounds for the question but is the "real" entity to which Peterson is engaged. This "presence" arose when Peterson became a public personality following his critique of Bill 16, exposing him to contemporary battles, the need to understand his "opposition", and making a judgment as to their intentions.

Jordan Peterson being interviewed before the Cambridge Union, published November 4, 2018.

In this opening session we consider the context of this YouTube communications event. This is similar to working within the functional specialty of Research so necessary when it comes to the next specialty of Interpretation. All this is to prepare the ground for our personal encounter with Jordan Peterson at the Foundations level of conversion and differentiation of mind. Details are given in the attached pdf.


Cambridge University, England, November 2018: stepping into a modern Roman Coliseum?

Analyzing Peterson's responses to "real" questions:

  • Hints of an underlying unity of character and intentions
  • Reverts in part to his basic training and extensive practice in therapy, with the additional awareness of current ideological (Utopian) demands in the public sphere
  • Affirms "truth" through careful and systematic questioning, contrasting his approach with the totalitarian design for uniformity
  • Affirms beyond doubt the importance of the subject

Observations concerning Peterson's responses to ideologically-based questions:

  • Peterson sets up a dialectic between his own values with respect to thinking things through in a rigorous and systematic manner and the generally group-think of those who give their allegiance to ideological or Utopian interests.
  • In this, he contrasts the rigidity of social constructionists and other totalitarian mentalities who believe that they can create their own values with an intellectual honesty that affirms human beings are mysteries to themselves that can only be explored through encountering the values of those who have come before us.
  • In the end, facing the possibility of yet another ideology gripping the human imagination he offers the opportunity to contend with the past, and in doing so reinvigorate themselves.

This is our second foundational exercise following that conducted on Dennis Prager. The purpose is to to arrive at a sound understanding of who such people are, but the inbuilt foundational stance we all have that sets the standards for all the creation of worlds mediated by meaning, orientations, diagnosis and evaluations, and estimates for scope and constraints on rational action during times of fundamental institutional change.

Educational Projects: Foundations: Jordan Peterson I

It took a few weeks, but here is the word clusters broken down by question asked. After this we take up the question of what Peterson is about, i.e., our interpretation of the event not only in terms of the event itself but in the context of a greater world within which this particular event has meaning.