Life is Just the Right Amount of Suffering, says Peterson

First of all: because it’s impossible for some AI researchers to yet produce robot vision capable of discerning “true, existing!!” objects in no way suggests visual perception is impossible. This is a quite obvious logical fallacy entirely on its own, and one that I wish he wouldn’t have made so early, because I enjoyed the lecture up until then. Regardless of the logical fallacy that on its own refutes this particular argument of his, I pounce on this a little because I have an acquaintance who is Head of Research at a company that develops robot vision. ;)

Dr. Jordan Peterson seems well-spoken and intelligent, and there’s an interesting reference to the notion of “playing the levels game is necessary for description and understanding” in one of my drafts on Reality vs. Science. What follows is, more or less, the points on which I think he has failed to convince, realizing of course that he is talking to freshmen.

Jordan seems anxious to try to convey some common psychological thread he’s seen between various religious symbols. Pray his interpretation is the correct one, for the symbols are abstract enough and the parallels a wide stretch of the imagination that at best is true for the few symbols he selected.

He gives a psychological explanation. These symbols and the ancient wisdom behind them may represent in-/voluntary response to stress that humans display. But which road from there to sanctity? You may as well say clinical psychology treatment is an act of consecration. (I note, of course, that he only hints at this himself, but others such as the YouTube poster will take it the rest of the way to validate at least some parts of those religions.)

About 31 minutes in, St. George coming out and “Rescuing the dragon that the virgin had been guarding”, with the momentary reflection, was very funny to me. :)

But not much later, the 35th minute’s “And the suffering is inescapable. – So what do [we] do about it?” is also very funny. :) He makes no attempt, later, to resolve this strange paradox he invented. Except (something like) to “live meaningfully on the edge and battle chaos until there’s harmony” or some hopeless vagary like that.

A philosopher would immediately respond, “Why not battle order until there’s chaos? All the symbols are symmetrical.” He would have to either answer that the subject-object distinction would disappear then, too, and that it is as desirable, or explain why it doesn’t and isn’t.

My immediate response to the 40th minute was to exclaim that the problem everyone’s trying to solve is the carrying of the right type of load. Now, he may not meet a representative slice of the public during therapy, but I think this reveals an underestimation of his of these generations’ capability for occupying themselves with very meaningful activities if relieved of societal duties and being, as it were, pensioned off with full days in which to really live. I can’t understand how he can’t see this. Perhaps a cultural difference.

“Fundamental nature of reality or meaning of life is suffering” is Buddhistic doctrine. If it’s truth, he fails to provide the clinical psychology proof for it. Cough. Suffice to say that a person who is allowed to be an individual always disagrees with this, and a human who has power over others does – even more so – unless, of course, it applies to those under his boot.

There is no dispute that there are many (disparate and contradictory) beautiful thoughts in various religions, as well as many ugly thoughts. You are free to pick the ones you like, but it’s about truth. Isn’t it?

Quite beside the point that you would like to believe in a whole, it would seem to me that if you made the picking, you would go to hell in each religion you picked from that even has one – or alternately, completely relinquish any hold that the religions have on morals, sin and punishment, et cetera.

A final note: There’s plenty of triangular symbols in religion, but he doesn’t pick them to show the trichotomy between reality and the sacred and “some third thing”. There are also plenty of religions that don’t show the dichotomy he claims to have found a psychological basis for.

Certainly, many religions may well have been borne of fear of the unknown and the indescribable, but it would seem to be that if he were to present any psychological basis for religion it would be one and the same for all, or else he would have to show the difference in psyche of the peoples whose religions he did not pick.

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About maximilion

I seek truths and try to make you see them. View all posts by maximilion

2 responses to “Life is Just the Right Amount of Suffering, says Peterson

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