12 Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson has become somewhat of a controversial figure in our world today.

He is an author and clinical psychologist who teaches at the University of Toronto. He first received notoriety for a political stance he took against a piece of Canadian legislation that would mandate language in regards to transgender individuals. Because of that stance he was invited on the Joe Rogan podcast where I first heard him. He has since created his own podcast, been back on Joe's show several times, and, after the publication of his latest book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, been interviewed and publicized in just about every media outlet available.

Peterson's opinions are controversial to say the least. Many are upset by the things he has said and just as many applaud them. He's definitely a love him or hate him type figure. It is not for the controversy that I write this post but the content.

 I read his latest book a few months ago. His ideas are stimulating and have given me pause to reflect and think about my own life, how I lead it, and what I consider a life well lived. The book is a broken down into 12 rules. Over the next few posts I will tackle each of them and give my thoughts, what they mean to me and how I will try and implement them in my own life. I welcome your comments.

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  1. I heard about Dr. Peterson and have been intrigued by his thoughts. I have not read the book as I have been digging into his positions more and discovered that the views he expressed about the legislative proposal was widely misrepresented. Being as smart as he clearly is, I doubt this was by misinterpretation or an oversight.

    I still think he makes some great points but I cannot in good conscience support his work seeing as he has benefited from false pretenses. He has not corrected the record much less apologized for his part. I wonder if this news changes your view on spreading his philosophy.

    • Thanks for commenting Carlos.

      I must admit I’ve slowed somewhat in my enthusiasm for Jordan Peterson. I can’t speak to the Canadian legislation you mention, but he has shown himself at times to be shrill and fall short of the ideal he paints for us to strive for. This is not surprising as we are all human and to expect us to be able to live at the level of ideal is unrealistic at best. I haven’t followed up on this series for this reason. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the man and I know how we, as a culture, tend to be incapable of separating the individual from his ideas.

      That said, I still think his work and many of his ideas are valid and worth exploring. I’ve read _12 Rules for Life_ multiple times and find value in the work. This is not the first time I’ve found work to have merit that stands outside of the inconsistency of its author. Carlos Casteneda’s _The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge_ and James Frey’s _A Million Little Pieces_ were both profoundly influential books in my life. Both were sold as non-fictional accounts and both turned out to be largely fabricated. The fact that they were “literary lies” does not change the meaning these works had for me or the benefit I gained from them.

      Dr. Peterson may or may not be the man he claims to be, but his work stands on its own and as such that work has value I can get behind.

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