JRE 1070 – Jordan Peterson Transcript

Why did I transcribe The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, episode 1070 featuring Jordan B. Peterson?

Because I’m interested in this shit.

Why am I sharing it with you?

Because I believe in transparent and free information.


Read up, soak it in, spit it out, swallow it; do what you will. You’re welcome.

[YOUTUBE LINK] The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast #1070 – Jordan Peterson

[VIMEO LINK] The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast #1070 – Jordan Peterson



Joe Rogan: My guest today is the great and powerful Jordan Peterson. Jordan has been on the podcast multiple times, he’s one of my favorite human beings to talk to, I’m just happy that he exists. He’s a brilliant man and he has an amazing book out right now it’s called twelve rules for life: an antidote to chaos is one of the most important messages that this brilliant man has, so please welcome Jordan Peterson.

Boom and we’re live. 12 Rules for Life. So without reading this…”So, what you’re saying is…”

Dr Jordan B Peterson: There’s only twelve things you need to know in life, right? That’s it? Yeah, yeah.

Joe: This, um— this interview that you just did with this woman Cathy Newman, uh, was that in the UK?

Jordan: Yes, it was. Channel 4 UK.

Joe: Um, I just went— I felt bad but I was also laughing— I went to her Twitter page to read, like, and with each one of her tweets, no matter what she says; someone writes underneath it, “So what you’re saying is…” and then some ridiculous. But, by the way, your fans were mocking her but politely, non-aggressively. There— I didn’t read any rude things, like there was no insults, or, well maybe a few insults but there were no swears. It was just playful mocking of the interview that she did with you because the interview was ridiculous. It was a ridiculous interview. I mean, I listened to it or watched it several times. It was like, this is so strange. Like, her determination to turn it into a conflict— it’s one of the issues that I have with television shows because they have a very limited amount of time and they are trying to make things as salacious as possible, they want to have these sounds bites, these clickbait sound bites. And she just went into it incredibly confrontational, not trying to find your actual perspective; but trying to force you to defend a non-realistic perspective.

Jordan: Well, yes. I was the hypothetical villain of her imagination, essentially.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Well, what happened was interesting too— the way it played itself out— because I met her in the green room beforehand you know she was being made up and they put a little powder on me and we had a friendly kind of interchange and then we went and sat in front of the cameras for a couple of minutes you know for a couple of minutes, you know, before the show got rolling. We had a pretty pleasant back and forth and then as soon as the cameras went on she was a completely different person.

Joe: Uh.

Jordan: And I thought, oh, I see.

Joe: It’s a trick.

Jordan: I see what’s going on. Well, so that kind of alerted me to, well, the fact that there was something rotten in the state of Denmark, let’s say. Yeah but, you know, this is also why YouTube is going to kill TV. Because television— by its nature, all of these narrow broadcast technologies, they rely on forcing the story, right?

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Because it has to happen now, it has to happen in like, often in five minutes because they only broadcast five minutes of that interview. They did put the whole thing up on YouTube.

Joe: To their credit.

Jordan: It— it— it hasn’t ceased to amaze me yet. I think that they thought that the interview went fine. That’s the scuttlebutt I’ve got from, sort of, behind the scenes; because, you know, I know some people who know what’s going on at Channel 4 and they’re shell shocked by the response, you know? And then, of course, there is the counter response; The Guardian, the next day, published a paper— or published an article saying that the head of Channel 4 had to call in police security because of threats. Well, first of all, you can call the police in about anything; and they never did detail out exactly what the threats were, you know? But then about 20 newspapers picked that up and went for that; well, Cathy Newman is now being harassed by an army of online trolls for doing nothing but doing her job, which, well, I— and then there was a backlash against that in the press, and so it’s been a— well, I don’t know what you say about that.

Joe: Well someone took an audit of the actual interchanges between fans and her and there was way more negative ones coming your way.

Jordan: Yes, that were seriously negative. Yeah, that’s right.

Joe: Yes, seriously negative, violent, harassing, just rude. There were way more; and no one picked up on that at all.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: It was— all the narrative was she’s a victim.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: Even though she was highly aggressive in this. But—

Jordan: You know what, she’s a funny victim. It’s not like she’s not successful, you know?

Joe: Yeah, that’s what was interesting.

Jordan: Like at some point you’d think you should have to hand in your victim card, you know. I think that when you go to an Ivy League university, it’s like right then and there.

Joe: You have to hand it in.

Jordan: Yes, because you don’t get to be oppressor and oppressed at the same time. That’s just too much.

Joe: Well, one of the things that you pointed out was when you were talking about competition for very lucrative jobs and you were saying like, look what you’ve done.

Jordan: Mhmm.

Joe: Like you must have had to work here and she proudly was saying how hard she had to work to get there.

Jordan: Yeah

Joe: Well, yes, of course, nobody is going to hand this to you.

Jordan: No.

Joe: This is why you were saying you are opposed to equality of outcome. Which—

Jordan: Equality of outcome. I can’t imagine anything we can possibly strive for in our society that would make it into hell faster than equality of outcome. Like, the historical— the historical evidence for the pathology of that root is so strong, it’s like, you have to be historically ignorant beyond belief, or malevolent, or resentful beyond comprehension in order to think that that’s a good idea or to argue for that.

Joe: I agree with you but I think that even if you came into this with no knowledge of history but a complete understanding of human beings, well you would say well that doesn’t make any sense and one of the best quotes that I ever read about it is that if you have real true freedom you’re never going to have equality of outcome, because with real true freedom you have the freedom to not engage.

Jordan: To differ.

Joe: Well, look, if you look at a guy like Jeff Bezos, for instance, that Amazon guy that’s worth more money than anybody ever, right?— that guy works all day. Yeah, I mean, he’s a maniac.

Jordan: Well, yeah.

Joe: He’s acquiring all these different companies and everything he is doing is designed to succeed.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I mean he’s just fanatical.

Jordan: Well that’s what Gates just said too in a recent interview and I know some guys that are, you know, they’re in approximately the same universe as those two and they just work all the time.

Joe: That’s what they do.

Jordan: All the time. And they don’t just work they work so efficiently and so effectively and make use of every second in ways that you can’t even imagine unless you’re in that sort of position. So, and you know, doing that doing doesn’t mean that you will succeed but not doing it certainly means that you will fail.

Joe: Well, you s— well, not doing it certainly means that you will never achieve that level of success and that’s what we’re talking about, we’re talking about equality of outcome.

Jordan: Yes.

Joe: I don’t want that. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to work like that. I don’t want to do what he’s doing; and I should have the freedom to not do that—

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: — as he should have the freedom to do that. If we’re going to play this game called capitalism— which we are all agreeing is probably at least in the models that we have right now is the best one that we have— if we’re all going to play this game, if someone decides to be the Michael Jordan of capitalism; you can’t stop them. You can’t say no, no, no, no you’re playing this game too well, you’re playing this game too hard, you’re too obsessed with this game. You’re going to have that.

Jordan: Yeah, you can stop them— you can try to stop people from winning crookedly.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: Which is what you should do.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: And you know there’s a couple of things that are really worth delving into in regards to that too because there’s this sort of Marxist notion that all of this inequality is generated as a consequence of capitalism. And that’s actually technically false because if you look at— there seems to be something like a law of nature that’s described by this statistical model called the Pareto distribution. And it basically suggests that in any creative domain there is going to be a small number of people will do almost all of the output but it doesn’t just apply to human beings, it applies to the heights of trees in the Amazon rainforest, it applies to the size of cities, and it applies to the mass of stars; which is— and it’s something like the more you have the more you get. You can imagine how that would work with a star, as it gets bigger and bigger and its gravitational mass increases it’s going to attract more and more matter. And then as a city grows, well, more and more people are excited to move there because of all of the opportunities and so some cities start to grow tremendously and others don’t. But this- this- this phenomena where a small number of people end up controlling a tremendous proportion of the resource is not only limited to money; and doesn’t only occur in capitalist societies. It occurs everywhere; it’s like a natural law. So you see this same thing with number of points scored by, you know, a spectacular sports figure. There’s always a tiny proportion of people that are way ahead, way ahead on the curve. Or people who make records, or people who sell paintings, or people who compose music, or people who sell music online. It’s all the same. It’s the 1% gets 80%. And so— well, first, we can’t blame that on capitalism. And second, we should note that it actually does constitute a problem which is what the left-wingers are always jumping up and down about, right? Like, too much inequality starts to destabilize your society and it isn’t obvious how to shovel money from the top end. Maybe the 1/10th of 1% who have almost all of the money down to the people who have almost nothing in a way that’s effective so that they don’t get thrown out of the game completely and so that the whole society doesn’t destabilize. We don’t exactly know how to do that. It is a problem because inequality does exist and it tends to magnify across time. And then there is another problem too which we haven’t figured out is, imagine that in order to make everyone rich you have to tolerate a certain amount of inequality; it seems obvious. We don’t know how many units of inequality you need to tolerate per unit of wealth generated but the answer is definitely not zero. It’s definitely not zero, so…

Joe: Yeah, so it goes back to this equality of outcome idea.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah.

Joe: And this thing has perplexed me since I’ve met you and since you were involved in this original debate over gender pronouns. And there was an article that was written recently, I forget the exact title of it, I think it was something along the lines of “why can’t people hear what Jordan Peterson is saying.”

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: You are misrepresented more than anyone I know, in a weird way. You are villainized in a weird way, where I can’t believe these people are honestly looking at your opinions and coming up with these conclusions. I can’t help but feel like what is happening is, people are consciously deciding to ignore reality and paint you as this archetypal figure of a oppressive white male, patriarchy, ignorance, fill in the blank with all the rest of the descriptors you’d like to use. They decided to paint you in this way, like as a target, because they need a target to sort of reinforce this idea that transgender people are being victimized and women are being victimized, and—

Jordan: Yeah. Well, even deeper— that the right narrative is, the way that we should view the world is victim vs. oppressor. Because that’s the basic postmodern, neo-Marxist template. It’s that the right way to view the world is that it’s a power ground, it’s a battleground of power interests competing constantly. The ones that win are oppressors, the ones who lose are oppressed. That’s the way to look at the world and I think that that’s wrong, that’s a bad way of looking at the world, psychologically, sociologically, politically, economically, ideologically, you name it. It ends in nothing but catastrophe. I mean, first of all because it puts your group identity as something that’s paramount. And I mean that’s just not— well, that isn’t what we do in the West, let’s say; we put your individual identity paramount. And then, well that’s just for starters fundamentally, and then— I guess the other reason that people are on my case to some degree is because I have made a strong case, which I think is fully documented by the scientific literature, that there are intrinsic differences say between men and women and I think the evidence of that, this is the thing that staggers me, no serious scientists have debated that like for four decades. That argument was done by the time I went to graduate school everyone know that human beings are not a blank slate that biological forces parameterize the way that we thought, and felt, and acted, and valued; everyone knew that. The fact that this has become somehow debatable again is just, especially because it’s being done by legislative fiat, they’re forcing it. To me as a scientist it’s just—

Joe: In Canada.


Jordan: Well and in the states too with title 9, for example, because Title 9 is sort of predicated on that viewpoint.

Joe: What is Title 9?

Jordan: Oh, Title 9 was originally just a piece of legislation that um, mandated that female sports teams were funded to the same degree that male teams were funded in the American universities. But it’s been expanded out so that if there is any differences in any areas whatsoever between the genders then the universities are being taken to court. And like, 200 of them, I mean, last I looked, about 200 of them were up and they can have their funding revoked if they violate Title 9 provisions, so it’s become a vicious weapon for social justice, equality of outcome types.

Joe: So, it’s not just about sports.

Jordan: No, it’s gone way, way beyond that. It’s become an equality of outcome issue fundamentally.

Joe: There was an article that I sent you, um, one of them was from— I think I got it off of digg.com— but it was “Jordan Peterson is having his moment and we should ignore him.”

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: I sent this to you.

Jordan: The last part of that might be true. Hahaha!

Joe: Hahaha!

Joe: But one of the things in the article was citing this study that showed very little difference between men and women.

Jordan: Oh, yeah, I read that damn study. Oh God, it’s a pathetic study.

Joe: Yeah, I sent it to you because I was like, this is not right.

Jordan: Well, the thing is, like most things, it’s complicated, you know? So, are men and women more similar or more different? Well, it depends on how you define the terms first. But they’re more similar. Well why? Well, they’re the same species. So we could start with that. But the question is what are the differences and how do they manifest themselves and are those manifestations important? So, here’s an example; if you took a random woman out of the population and a random man and you had to bet on who was more temperamentally aggressive if you bet on the man you’d be right 60% of the time, but you’d be wrong 40% of the time and that’s not a walloping difference, right? 60/40. It’s not 90/10. SO there’s a lot of overlap in men and women and their levels of aggression. And you think well, they’re more the same. Well, yeah, except… So then let’s say no, no, let’s play a slightly different game, let’s pick the one in a hundred most aggressive person from the random population. Well, they’re all men. And that’s why all the people in prison are men. So even though on average, men and women—

Joe: Most, most.

Jordan: Well, yeah it’s 90-95% right? So, and often if the women are in prison it’s because they got tangled up with a really bad guy, you know, so— So one of the problems is that, differences at the extreme is where the differences really start to manifest themselves. And so you can have a small difference at the level of the average but out at the extremes it’s starts to make a massive difference. So let’s say, to be a Google engineer— which is hard, right, because not only do you have to be an engineer but you have to be a very good engineer— say, well, you have to be interested in things rather than people. That’s a huge difference in interests, like men are more interested in things; generally speaking, and women are more interested in people; generally speaking. Now there’s still a lot of overlap between them but that’s one of the biggest differences between men and women being demonstrated cross-culturally, it’s also a very big difference in the Scandinavian countries. Well, on average, the differences in that, great, even though it’s a relatively large difference but at the extremes it’s the same thing. Almost all of the people who are hyper, what would call hyper-focused on things, they’re almost all men. And all of the people who are hyper-focused on people are almost all women. And so how does play out in the world? Well, in the Scandinavian countries it plays out this way; about 85% of nurses in Scandinavia are female and about 85-90% of engineers are male. It doesn’t mean that women can’t be engineers. It doesn’t mean that men can’t be nurses. It also doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence. But it does have to do with interest and the differences are interest are big. Now, at the extremes in particular. So when you read a review like that, like the one that was pointed out, the first question is, well, what do you mean by big and little? There’s more overlap, there’s more overlap between men and women than there is than difference, on virtually every parameter. Okay, fine. Are the remaining differences significant in how they play out in the world? The answer to that is, overwhelmingly significant; because you select for extremes. So here’s another example, Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ of 115. So in the typical population overall has average IQ of 100. 15 points is about the difference between the typical college student and the typical high school student. OK, so, it’s not a massive difference but if you go out to the extremes, say, well let’s go look at people who only have an IQ of 145, which is kind of where you hit the beginnings of genius level. It’s like the Jews are overwhelmingly overrepresented. So, relatively small differences in the average can produce walloping differences at the extremes. People don’t understand that. It’s not surprising because it actually requires a fairly sophisticated grasp of statistics, but when we’re talking about things like differential outcome in the workplace, um, then you have to take a sophisticated statistical approach to it, or you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. And that unfortunately many of the people who are talking about gender differences they have no idea what they are talking about, they don’t know the literature, they don’t know there is a literature. They don’t understand biology, like the social constructionist types, the women’s studies types, the neo-Marxists, they don’t give a damn about biology. It’s like they inhabit some disembodied universe. So, the review was poorly written at best and did not— was— showed a very poor grasp of the relationship between group differences and economic and practical outcomes.

Joe: It’s not just that, it’s deceptive. And there’s a need in some way on that side— this side of the debate, the anti-Jordan Peterson side— to label men and women as being virtually identical when there is so much evidence that’s that not the case. And what you’re saying— you’ve never said one is superior/one is inferior— what you are is a guy who is pointing out the reality of the difference between the various types of humans and you’ve been very open about the extremes about— Look, I’m well aware of the extremes, I deal with MMA fighters. I know a lot of female MMA fighters, they’re as aggressive and as tough as any man you’re ever going to meet in your life. And I know a lot of men from comedy that are meek, little guys who— they’re not nearly as aggressive as some of these female fighters. Look, there’s— I think one of the beautiful things about freedom is that people get an opportunity to express themselves in a way that’s genuinely them.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: And whether that is like our friend Alex Honnold who is a free climber, who is like climbing up these fantastic mountains with no ropes, or whether it’s a female MMA fighter like Raquel Pennington who is just a tank and beating the shit out of people and that’s what she loves to do. All of these extremes are available to people because of freedom. This is not a suppressive thing, no one is stopping people from choosing these paths. I don’t know if you saw the most recent slip up by the CEO of YouTube, um, I retweeted it today, um, they were talking about why there is as not as many as women in tech and she basically said— they both, her and the CEO of Google said exactly what James Damore was saying in his memo. They completely fucked up. They tried to—did you find this?— look at this. This is goddamn hilarious. And James Damore had this on his page. They respond “women lack of tech”— now go to James Damore’s tweet. Just go to what I retweeted and what he said.

Jordan: So there was a study published awhile ago about—

Joe: No, Jamie, scroll back. It’s right there. It’s right there. Just make his tweet larger, there you go. Look, see, it says— he’s saying— did I read this right? I don’t know how to say her name, Susan Wajiki— I’m sorry I don’t know how to say her name. W-O-J-I-C-I-C-K-I said that women find geeky male industries, as opposed to social industries, not very interesting and Sundhar cites research on gender differences.

Jordan: Well, yeah. That’s exactly the difference in interest that I just pointed out. Yes, that’s right.

Joe: This is what James Damore wrote in his memo that got him fired. And this, in my mind, if I was the lawyer for James Damore, I’d be like, “Oh, well look what we have here.” This is checkmate, you dummies.

Jordan: The Damore is really interesting, you know, because I think it’s such a classic story of an engineer getting tangled up in politics. So, Damore went to this diversity seminar and he wasn’t very happy about it because he knew the literature, so at the end of the seminar they asked for feedback. Well, James Damore is an engineer so when you tell an engineer that you want feedback, the engineer thinks, “oh, you want feedback? And you want facts and stuff, right?” Because that’s what feedback would be like. So Damore went and wrote this, like, thorough memo and gave it to them. He said, well, you know, this is what I think, here’s some feedback. And then it traveled around, he got no real response from the diversity people and then he posted it on one of these internal boards at Google where people tend to discuss things, which people at Google do all of the time, so it’s perfectly reasonable for him to post it because he didn’t get a response from the diversity people; he thought well what do other people think, and then it was there for a long time before it was leaked into the outside world. It wasn’t like Damore was trying to expose Google for what it is, he was just doing what an engineer type would do when someone asked him to provide feedback because he’s not thinking politically; he’s not thinking of they just want to hear what they already just said; he thought they actually wanted some facts. Anyways, I think they picked on the wrong guy because Damore turns out to be pretty damn tough.

Joe: Well he’s very smart and a very kind guy. When you sit down and talk to him he’s not a sexist, he’s a guy that’s talking about facts. In fact, he wrote more than a page and a half, I believe, on the strategies for getting more women interested in tech; he’s not a sexist. This is just a guy that was talking about the differences in the choices that people make that’s based on, just, the variations that you’re just discussing.

Jordan: Well, there’s a good study done awhile ago, unfortunately I don’t remember the author, but they were looking at junior high math prodigies and they’re pretty equally distributed between boys and girls; but by the time university came along, the math prodigy boys, they tend to go into the STEM fields but girls wouldn’t. And it isn’t because they lacked ability because they had stellar ability, it’s because they weren’t interested. And it turns out— like, the interest thing turns out to be a big one, so— with personality alone, if you measure men and women’s personalities, and then you add up all of the differences in personalities, you could tell with about 75-80% certainty by looking at a full personality readout, whether a person is male or female; so you’d be wrong 25% of the time, something like that. But if you add interest to that you can get it up to 90%. And so, you know, you say, well, are these differences large? Well, individually they’re not that big, they make more difference at the extremes, but if you add them up, then you could almost completely differentiate men from women, so by that token they’re very large. And the interest thing actually turns out to matter a lot; like, it’s probably the most important individual difference that is being discovered between men and women at the psychological level and has real decent explanatory power because you might say well, men have a slight edge in spatial intelligence and that’s why they’re overrepresented in STEM fields and women have a slight edge in verbal intelligence— this is debatable, but the literature kind of indicates that— and that’s why they’re overwhelmingly the majority of fiction readers for example. Um. Is that the reason that there’s differential representation in the STEM fields? It’s like, no, it doesn’t seem to be, it doesn’t look like it’s an intellectual issue. Which is also what Damore pointed out by the way, he never said once that this was a cognitive issue, but it’s a matter of choice, a matter of interest. And women tend to be more more people oriented. Now the thing is this is also being discovered in chimpanzees and other primates. Like if you offer baby or child chimpanzees, juvenile chimpanzees, the choice between thing like toys, like cars or people toys, like dolls, the males will go for the thing-like toys and the females will go for the people-like toys so we see that in primates. And you think, well is that surprising? It’s like, well no it’s not. It’s not that surprising, really. I mean women have to take care of infants, tiny infants. And you have to be really people oriented to do that because a tiny infant is an unbelievably demanding social relationship and it’s a primary relationship for about two years. Now, and so women are tilted towards the kind of temperament that makes that possible. It’s like, well is that such a shock? Really? Is that such a surprise? So—

Joe: It’s not a surprise and what’s confusing to me is the narrative that anybody that points out these differences is somehow a sexist or discriminatory—

Jordan: Worse.

Joe: Or yeah, worse.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. Well, whatever epithet that they can— well I think the other reason that the left, the radical lefties, has been doing after me constantly is, well there’s— one reason is, if you stand up against the radical left, you’re in a group that also has Nazis in it; because the Nazis also stand up against the radical left. So it’s perfectly reasonable— from a strategic perspective— for the radical leftists to say well you’re against us, how do we know you’re not a Nazi? It’s like well, statistically, I’m probably not. So there’s that. But you could say at least the question is open. But, but then the next part of it comes is that— it’s motivated epithet, slangy, because if I’m reasonable and I’m standing up against the radical left and they admit that I’m reasonable, then there has to be an admission that reasonable people could stand up against the radical left; which kind of implies that the radical left isn’t that reasonable. And so, well, they’re not going to go there. Of course they’re not that reasonable, they’re unreasonable beyond belief, as we saw in that situation with Lindsay Shepherd in Canada. So, at Wilfrid Laurier University—

Joe: Yeah, let’s talk about that really quick because that was a fast name thing and that also had to do with you. So, she was discussing you in class and could fill up, fillin’ everyone up with—

Jordan: Well, yeah, she’s in a communications department at Wilfrid Laurier and they were talking about the role of language in communication, which is kind of what you do in a communications class, and she decided to show a five minute clip from a program I had done for TV Ontario, which is a public station; mainstream, left-leaning, liberal television station news program, and a good one, a good one. And I had been on there with a number of other people including a professor, Nicholas Matt from the University of Toronto, who claimed, essentially, that there were no biological differences between men and women and that had been the scientific consensus for the last four decades. So anyways, she showed a clip from this, and, well, she got hauled in front of two professors and an administrator, Adrian Joel, who was basically hired for that purpose, and raked over the coals for daring to show this video. And she had the wherewithal to tape it. And then she made the tape public and in that tape they compared me with— it was really blackly comical, you know— they compared me to Hitler.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And, but then, said, well it’s Hitler or Milo Yiannopoulos. And I thought you guys are so damn clueless you can’t even get your insults right. It’s like, you can’t say that’s like playing a video of Hitler or Milo Yiannopoulos, it’s like, first of all, Hitler and Milo Yiannopoulos, they’re actually not in the same category, right? Except that they’re both human. That’s about the narrowness of the category. And then, Milo’s like a comic provocateur and you can hate him or love him, or be indifferent, but to put him in the same category as Hitler just shows how muddle headed you are; and then to assimilate me to that category so carelessly, like, you don’t mess about with epithets like that. Now Hitler was one of the great super-villains of the 20th century, right? I mean, he was— he’s up there with Stalin and Mao in that— in the panoply of satanically possessed leaders. You don’t just toss that around, especially not when you’re torturing your teaching assistant for daring to show a video about language in a communication class. And so, that was a massive scandal in Canada. It was the biggest— I think it was the biggest scandal that ever hit a University in Canada and it got a lot of international attention and rightly so. And she also turns out to be a tough cookie. I mean the last I heard, she was— she’d started a club at Wilfrid Laurier and I think it was last night or the night before, maybe it’s coming up, they’re going to show the whole video from television Ontario at a club meeting and invite people to come and discuss it. It’s like they picked on the wrong girl there too.

Joe: So, they certainly did. She’s obviously very smart and you can hear that in her discussion with them and how flabbergasted she was by their take on things. But this was essentially proof to a lot of people that were on the outside of how preposterous some of the dialog was inside these universities.

Jordan: Yeah well they couldn’t have done me a bigger favor than having that scandal because when I made the videos about Bill C16 15 months ago I said, look here’s what’s going to happen because this legislation is written in an appalling manner and the surrounding policies are pathological. I said here’s what’s going to happen, and so I laid it out, and then people came out and said, “No you’re being paranoid,” it’s like, that’s possible, “No, the bill— the legislation is going to have that effect, no you’re not a legal expert what the hell do you know,” etc, etc. “You’re crazy, you’re a bigot, you’re a transphobe,” you know? They threw everything but the kitchen sink at me, and like, fair enough, you know, because there is always the possibility that I was wrong. But the problem was, is I read the policies and I understood them and I knew where they were leading but I never imagined that one of the consequences of Bill C16 and it’s sister legislation was that a teaching assistant at a Canadian University would be pelloried and accused of breaking the law and then accused of all sorts reprehensible political beliefs by two professors and an administrator hired for that purpose, um, merely because she showed a video about two people talking about the law. It’s like, that— that paranoid as I am, let’s say, that, that exceeded the grasp of the reach of my imagination. And then, of course it was made public and people just couldn’t believe it and then you’d think, well, okay, well, what’s the defense? Well, they misinterpreted Bill C16, it’s like, no, I don’t think so. Um, they aren’t representative of the university professor administration, well, all of Pimlott and Rambukkana’s colleagues rose to their defense, the whole department. The university when they apologized did it in a really mealy-mouthed way. Like, there is no evidence that it is an anomalous occurrence. So, what had happened is they overextended their reach of Bill C16 in exactly the way that I said would happen. It was inevitable. And, it wasn’t an anomaly. It was actually— that’s actually the way that the universities are and it is the way that they are. It wasn’t a one off. It was exactly diagnostic and it’s appalling— it’s appalling, the universities have so much to be ashamed of. They’re— well, there was an article in the Boston Globe this week saying the same thing that all of this crazy post modern identity politics equality of outcome nonsense is not only disrupted the university, in a way that might be irreparable as far as I can tell, but it’s rapidly spreading outside into the normal, say, business world, which is exactly what you see for example at Google.

Joe: Well, the tech industry in particular seems to be, like, more left-leaning than pretty much any industry there is and I guess it’s because there are so many intelligent people there, and so many people that spend a tremendous amount of time at universities and they get indoctrinated into this mindset. And you’re seeing that in this— the CEO of YouTube’s response to James Damore’s memo completely misrepresented it— they’re talking about harmful gender stereotypes; that’s not what he talked about at all. What’s fascinating to me about all of this is it just reeks of tribalism. That these people on the left have decided— and I mean, I’m mostly on the left; which is really crazy. I mean when it comes to most policies, and most thoughts of equality, and the idea of just letting people be who they are; I mean, that’s what the left used to stand for it used to stand for being open minded, it used to stand for being a reasonable person. Now it seems to be all about this very toxic tribal ideology and this is one of the reasons why so many of these attacks on you are so baffling to me. It’s because there is a willful ignorance or a deceptive narrative. There is a deceptive description of who you are, of what you’re saying, and what you represent. And it’s this conveniently categorized, not even convenient, willfully ig— willfully deceptively categorized into these categories of homophobia, transphobia, sexism. These are reprehensible categories, that, if they can just shove something that you’re saying, figure out a way to push you into this little, narrow confine then everyone has to disagree with you, everyone has to insult you, and everyone has to, like, take that girl into their office and chastise you for— even use— not even speaking up for you, just use you.

Jordan: Right. Which, and she said she wasn’t.

Joe: Yes. That’s what was more fascinating about it more than anything.

Jordan: Mhmm. Yeah, and then they give her hell for that. Well you can’t present something like that neutrally, that’s like presenting something Hitler said neutrally or maybe Milo Yiannopoulos.

Joe: Ugh. It’s, it’s so strange but what they don’t understand and this is what’s really crazy, is that the world is watching. And that most people would— maybe it’s the 64 like you were talking about before when it comes to aggressive women vs aggressive men. I don’t know what the number is but I think most people—

Jordan: I think it’s about 50 to 1, actually. Like, I’ve been watching the comments on Youtube and so forth trying to track this it’s like I think that like I think that what the radical leftists are doing is overwhelmingly, um, unrepresentative of the general population.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: Overwhelmingly. But they’re very well organized, and verbal, and prepared minority. And they’ve occupied powerful positions in many, many institutions. HR— one of the things that I can’t figure out right now is for anybody who’s running a company that’s listening they should think this through, like to let these postmodern neo-Marxists into your company through the guise of human resources is an absolute catastrophe; you’re going to pay for that. It’s the ideology that drives post modern neo-Marxism, this identity politics— what, the identity politics movement and it’s insistence on equality of outcome is a powerfully anti-capitalistic. It’s powerfully anti-Western. Why you would let that into your company is so that you can look good socially that say is beyond me it’s a big mistake.

Joe: I agree with you but I don’t think people are aware of it. I think part of the problem is this battleground is largely ignored by the general population. I don’t think most people are aware of what’s going on. You are ’cause you’re obviously you’re deeply embedded in the university system in Canada and you’re obviously, now, branching out into Youtube and podcasts and all these different ways to get this information out but the average person that is a CEO of a company, or— they’re concerned with their own company they’re concerned with they’re own individual needs, they’re concerned with organizing things, and keeping their bottom line and making sure—

Jordan: Well they’re also concerned with looking fair and making sure that they’re not prejudiced and all of that which is laudable but—

Joe: I just don’t think they see the wave coming.

Jordan: No they don’t. they don’t see it coming. They don’t understand it. And they’re incautious about it, but they’re going to pay for it. Well, Google is a good example because now Google is in court on the feminist end for, like, being prejudiced against females and also on the conservative end for being prejudiced against conservatives. It’s like, well, so both camps are after them. I think well, why is that? Well that’s what happens when you play identity politics; there’s tribalism. And this is really what I can’t stand about identity politics and I’ve been warning about the consequences of all of that on the right wing too. Because what I see happening is that as the left— like let’s say the left gets to define the linguistic territory, which is what I was objecting to Bill C16; when it came out, I said look, I’m not going to use these neologisms, zhe and zher, etc., because as far as I’m concerned, they have nothing—

Joe: People don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a bunch of different made up gender pronouns to describe people in non male or female way.

Jordan: Yes that’s right. So there’s like 70 different categories of non-binary gender, something like that, generated now. nd there’s lists of pronouns that hypothetically that people who are in those categories can choose to be addressed by. And now that has the force of law. And so— and I don’t care if they choose to be addressed by those pronouns, whatever. That’s— that’s— that’s up to them and whoever else they can convince, or ask, or intrigue, or negotiate with, fine. As soon as it’s law, that’s a whole different story. Okay, so now I have to use a certain terminology. So then I look at the derivation of the terminology and I say oh that’s terminology generated by the postmodern neo-Marxists. Oh, well I think those people are reprehensibly murderous. So guess what, I’m not going to say their words, period. Because I know what they’re like. I know where that leads. Okay, so—

Joe: So most people think that’s a gigantic step, to go from saying you don’t want to say zhe or zher or any of these gender pronouns to these are murderous people.

Jordan: Mmhmm. The ideology is murderous, not the people.

Joe:The ideology being Marxism.

Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Jesus. How much proof of that do you need?

Joe: Yeah, right, but that’s— most people don’t understand Marxism. Like when you’re saying this, like, when you were so adamant about it I had to start reading about it myself I had to start doing a lot of research about it myself and I think most people hear Marxism and they think socialism.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: They think pooling all of your money together.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: You know, making things more even for people like that’s—

Jordan: Yeah, like they are in Venezuela. Everyone has an equal chance to starve to death. You know how the Venezuelan government solved the problem of kids starving to death in hospitals?

Joe: How?

Jordan: They made it illegal for the doctors to report starvation as the cause of death. Right.

Joe: Well, uh—

Jordan: That’s Venezuela in a nutshell. Yeah, that’s— everyone is equal there. They all have the same amount of bones to naw on.

Joe: That’s a horrible thing but—

Jordan: Yeah. It’s a horrible thing.

Joe: Undeniable. But there is no like connection between gender pronouns and murder.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: This— it’s a big leap.

Jordan: Yeah, that’s for sure. Well that’s why you have to look at the underlying ideology. Well, you think what level at— what is the level at which these things should be addressed? Well, is it economic? Is it political? Is it personal?

Joe: It’s the beginnings of the this ideology and you understand where the roadmap leads.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: You understand the X at the end of the road.

Jordan: Yeah. Right. Well, absolutely. Well and I think that’s why I recommended to people to continually to read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. So actually there is a set of books that laid this out perfectly. You read— Dostoevsky wrote a book called The Possessed (or, The Devils) and it’s a description of the original breakdown of the, of Orthodox Christian society in Russia in the late 1800s and the rise of radical socialist ideas. So, it’s sort of like the prodrome to the Russian revolution. It’s a brilliant, brilliant book. Brilliant book. And it concentrates on the personalities that are involved. And then if you read after that, Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, where he details— what he does in that book is quite remarkable so— he says, look, there were tens of millions of people killed from 1919-1959 in the Soviet Union, and, as a consequence of internal repression; and it’s so dreadful that words can’t do it justice. I mean it’s absolutely dreadful what happened in the Soviet Union. I mean just for starters, 6 million Ukrainians died in the 1930s because of enforced starvation. In fact, in the 1930s— here’s how terrible it was, so, all of the food that the collective farmers, newly collectivized farmers, had produced, which wasn’t very much by the way, was taken from them and brought to the cities. So all the farmers starved to death. Now here’s how, here’s how draconian it got— so, let’s say you’re the mother of some children and all your grain had been shipped off to the cities, well, I’m not going to have my children starve to death, I’m going to go out to the field on my hands and knees, and I’m going to pick up the grains that are leftover that the harvesters didn’t get, and I’m going to feed those to my kids. That was punishable by death. You’re supposed to hand in those extra bits of grain so that they could be shipped to the city as well. So, that was just the beginning of the fun in the Soviet Union. And what Solzhenitsyn did was say, look, this wasn’t a consequence of the Marxist system gone wrong; this was a consequence of the Marxist system. It was inevitable consequence of the axioms of the Marxist system and then he lays that out and it’s— well, I think he got it right. That’s why he won the Nobel prize.

Joe: What is what that connection? But what is the connection?

Jordan: It— How much tyranny you have to impose in order to produce something like equality of outcome? And Thomas Sowell has talked a little about this too. He said— what the people who are agitating for equality of outcome don’t understand is that you have to cede so much power to the authorities to the government in order to ensure equality of outcome that a tyranny is inevitable. And that’s right. And the other— another problem with equality of outcome, this is also a big technical problem; it’s like, well, what measure of outcome? You know, there’s lots of outcomes; like, how happy are you, how much pain are you in, how healthy are you, how much money do you have, how much opportunity for movement forward do you have, what’s the width of your social connections, like, what’s the quality of your friendships? Do you have exposure to arts and literature, like, you know you can multiply the number of dimensions of evaluations between people, innumerably, right? Because there’s all sorts of ways to classify people. You’re going to get equality of outcome on every one of those measures? It’s like, is everyone going to have to be equally happy in their relationship? And if not, why not? Why stop with economic, why stop with pay? There’s no place to stop. So, and that’s a huge technical problem because there is no place to stop there will be no stopping. It’s like nobody can have anything else— nobody can have anything else that everyone else doesn’t have at the same time. That’s the ultimate outcome of equality of outcome. Well, you think about what that would mean? It’s terrible. Well, instantly you think, oh, well, there’s nothing but a tyrannical system could impose that.

Joe: Have you ever debated a Marxist reporter? Have you ever debated someone who is pro equality of outcome?

Jordan: No, they don’t debate me. Well, the only— the closest thing I think to that was the debate I did at the University of Toronto about the Bill C16 issues. But they didn’t actually have a debate, they had a forum which is the postmodern equivalent of a debate. It’s supposed to be friendlier, I suppose. But, no, I haven’t because people don’t do it. They don’t ask me to do it.

Joe: But what is it about that idea? Or that ideology about Marxism that’s so attractive to young students and to university officers.

Jordan: Oh, that’s a good question, I think it goes back to the issue of inequality. And this is something that has to be dead seriously addressed; like, you might say well why is the left wing necessary? Let’s put it that way. So, and then a subset of that well, why is the left wing attractive? Well, the left wing is necessary because inequality does spiral out of control, and so there has to be a political voice for the dispossessed. And you don’t want people to stack up at zero, you know? Where they can’t play the game at all; that’s a bad idea. Normally do you not if people stack up at zero they’re too poor to get ahead at all, let’s say. They’re too poor to open a bank account. They’re too poor to buy enough food. Like, they’re stuck at zero and they can’t get out of it. It’s a really bad scene, first of all, that’s a lot of suffering. And that’s not so good. Second of all, well, at least in principal a lot of those people might have something to offer the world or their children might, and you want to open up avenues of opportunity to them so that they can succeed but that so everyone else can benefit from their success. So— and then the next thing is, if the inequality gets out of hand too much then the whole society starts to destabilize because if you get enough people stacked up at zero, especially young men, you get enough young men stacked up at zero they think, oh to hell with it, we’ll just flip the whole board over and it’ll settle in a new configuration and maybe we won’t be stuck at zero in the new configuration. So it foments revolutionary thinking. So there’s lots of reasons to be concerned about inequality and so you need a voice on the left look we got to parameterize the tendency towards inequality so it doesn’t destabilize society, so everyone has an opportunity to advance. Yes, right, you need that. Okay, so, that’s the technical reason for the necessity of the left and then, I think it’s attractive because— well because young people can be resentful because they are at the bottom of the heap so to speak. They’re not ‘cause they’re young. Like look, you want to be poor and 18, you want to be rich and 80? Which you going to choose? Well—

Joe: Most people are going to take poor at 18.

Jordan: Well, yeah.

Joe: Especially if you’ve been rich at 80 and you understand you can get back there.

Jordan: Yeah, well, that’s the thing, you know, is that most of the people who have a million dollars or more in the United States are old. Well, why is that? Well do we really need an explanation for that? You’ve had a lot more time to make money. How would that be? That’s the explanation. So that’s one of the big drivers of inequality, is just simply age. But it’s not obvious that the old-rich-people have an advantage over the young starting-out-people. So, so, anyways, but anyhow. Maybe you’re resentful and irritated ‘cause you’re young and you’re still at the bottom of the heap and, you know you’ve got other problems too. It’s more difficult for people of your race, or ethnicity, or gender, or at least you think it is. And so you say, well, I want to make things fair; and then that’s also driven by some real compassion because nobody really likes that, the consequences of radical inequality. Like, nobody likes the fact that homeless people exist and have to go to the emergency ward, you know, to get treated and they don’t have medical coverage and they have to live in tents on the street. and so if you have some compassion, then you think well we got to do more for the poor and dispossessed. It’s like, okay, that’s an understandable sentiment. But the problem is, is that the people— but the problem is it’s that— that— that desire to help is contaminated by resentment and ideological certainty, and then also by something that’s George Orwell pointed out so nicely in his book, Road To Wigan Pier. It’s like, the typical middle class socialist— this was his diagnosis and he was a socialist, by the way— his diagnosis was, the typical middle-class, intellectual socialist doesn’t like the poor. In fact, they don’t want to have anything to do with the poor, they’re contemptuous of the poor; but they hate the rich. And I think it’s even more devious than that because I think who they hate are the successful. Some of the successful are rich but really who they hate is the successful. It’s like Cain and Abel. It’s the retelling of Cain and Abel. So, there’s some positive motivation for being engaged on the left and there’s a lot of negative motivations as well, and the people who are really driven by the radical left ideology, the real radicals, they’re almost all driven by by resentment and hatred, as far as I’m concerned. Now, the— let’s look at both extremes. So, back to the idea of the ideological and verbal territory, I said with Bill C16 that I wouldn’t speak the language of the radical leftists because I don’t think that that language should define the game. But let’s say it does. So, here’s the game, the world is a battleground of groups and they’re battling for power. That’s it, that’s the game. And some of them win and they oppress those who don’t win. So that’s how we’re going to view the world. Okay, now the leftists say, well, okay well here’s the oppressed people, the oppressors, the patriarchy, the patriarchal types, they should be ashamed of themselves and give up some power. The right wingers, the radical right wingers look at that and say, oh I see, so the game is ethnic identity is it? It’s identity politics. Okay, we’re white males. We’re not going to lose. That’s the right wing version of identity politics, it’s like, screw you. If we’re going to divide into groups— if we’re going to divide into tribes and I’m in my tribe, I’m not going to get all guilty and lose, I’m going to get all cruel and win. And that’s like, and then you think there’s people in the middle are kind of looking back and forth, which side of the identity politics spectrum am I going to fall in? Do I want to go with the— do I want to go— do I want to be driven primarily by compassion and am I going to accept guilt for my historical privilege? So, that’s one possibility. And then I’m the oppressor, I’m a member of the oppressor group? Or am I going to say to hell with that I’m just going to play to win. Well then I’m going to go to the right. Well, it’s like my sense is how about we don’t play either of those games. And the reason we shouldn’t play them is, well, the Soviets played the left-wing game and like, killed who knows how many tens of millions of people, you can’t even count it accurately; the estimates range from twenty to one hundred million. Those are pretty big error bars. And then the Maoists maybe 100 million, certainly 60 million. So okay, that didn’t work out so well. And then there’s the Nazis. Like, they played ethnic identity politics and racial superiority. It’s like, well, do we want to play that game? See, what I’ve been trying to do, really what I’ve been trying to do for the last thirty years is say, look, there’s heavy temptations to play those sorts of games but that’s the only game in town. It’s a much better game to play individual, it’s like; get your act together, stand up in the world, make something of yourself, stay away from the ideological oversimplifications, set your house order— that’s rule six in the— in this book. So I have a book rule in there, it says, set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. And it’s a very dark chapter about the motivations of the Columbine high school killers and this other guy named Carl Panzram who was a serial rapist and arsonist and murderer. And these— he wrote an autobiography and the Columbine kids also wrote about why they did what they did. They’re resentful to the core, bitter, bitter, resentful, terrible. And well, I’m suggesting that people stay away from that resentment— resentfulness and bitterness even though life is hard. And it— and there’s malevolence in the world. It’s like, yeah. You can tell a story where everyone is a victim because we all die, we all get sick. And now– and things happen to us that are bitter and terrible; betrayal, deceit, lies. Like, people hurt us on purpose, you know. So it’s not just the tragedy of life, it’s malevolence as well.m Everyone’s a victim. You can tell that story. The problem is, if you tell that story and you start to act it out, you make all of that worse. That’s the problem. And it’s so this is why partly I got attracted to Christian imagery, at least in part, um, because there’s an idea in Christianity that you should pick up your goddamn cross and like, walk up the hill. And that’s— dramatically, that’s correct. That’s the right answer, it’s like— you’ve got a heavy load of suffering to bear and a fair bit of it’s going to be unjust. What are you going to do about it? Accept it voluntarily and try to transform as a consequence. That’s the right answer. It’s the right answer. Because the rest of it is tribalism and we’re too technologically powerful to get all tribal again.

Joe: What’s exciting to me is that I think this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen so much communication on the subjects. And I think so much recognition about the consequences of tribal— toxic tribalism. This tribal thinking that everyone seems to be engaged in on the right and on the left. I mean, in America you need to go no further than going back and forth from CNN to FOX News to see something is wrong here. These are supposed to be news outlets, you have two completely different narratives, and that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about gender politics and radical left socialism and marxism. But what you’re seeing in universities though, um, is a radical departure from what I always considered universities’ great forte, what I always considered forte is separating from your parents, challenging belief systems, and being engaged in the works of brilliant people who you can compare all of their findings and their discoveries and sit down and debate them in class. When I was a kid and I was in high school, I went to a very good high school, Newton South High School in Newton, MA; and one of the things that they did is they put on a debate between from a guy from the moral majority which was this uh, right wing, uh, Christian group— that, I don’t even know if they’re around anymore, but this was 19— I was 14, so ’81. And Barney Frank, who was that congressmen who is now one of the first openly gay guys in congress and, and uh, we got to watch these two people in this auditorium debate their points and this moral majority guy had this, you know, right wing Ronald Reagan sort of point of view and Barney Frank was kind of crazy— he got busted in some male prostitute scandal and but, gay community that’s not that big of a deal— and uh— just— Barney Frank tore him apart. It was brilliant to watch but it was a real debate. It was fast and you got to see a mediocre mind vs. a great mind and you get to see this whole thing and I was like, wow, this is one of the things that’s always attracted me about the— the idea that two people with differing viewpoints can get together in front of a neutral audience and these people can sort of decipher which way these people are thinking and why they’re thinking.

Jordan: Yeah, well, and bad as that is, and in rife with conflict as that is, the alternative is to separate, as you pointed out, into two camps that don’t talk.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: And the thing is that the consequence of not talking is that you fight, that, that’s the endgame. Because the only way you can stop from fighting with other people is by negotiating with them. And you know, one of the things that’s also interesting— this is partly why Silicon Valley leans to the left— is that a fair bit of your political preference is determined by your biological temperament; it’s strongly influenced. So if you’re a creative type, who is kind of disorderly, then you’re likely to be on the liberal left end of the distribution. And if you’re a non-creative type who’s orderly, and— especially if you’re orderly— you tend to be on the right wing end of things. And so, and, well, why is that? Why do those variations exist? Well, they exist because some of the time your best strategy is to do what other people have done and shut the hell up, and just do it. Run the algorithm. Right? The pathway is already laid clear. It works. Stay in the damn rut and move forward. Okay, so that’s the conservative approach and when things are going right, it’s the right approach. The problem is is that sometimes it’s not the right approach because something has shifted; and so something new has to emerge. And so then there’s a bunch of people who are adapted to the new and those are the entrepreneurial and creative types and of course they dominate Silicon Valley because it’s a very entrepreneurial, it’s a very entrepreneurial— what would you call it, um— geography. And so, they’re going to lean to the left but they have to understand, people have to understand that the left and the right need each other; the liberals and the conservatives need each other. Liberals start companies, conservatives run them. And the problem with the conservatives is, well, they can only run a company in one direction; because they’re conservative, they don’t think outside of the box. But, so, if the company is working and the product line is good and everything is stable, like, hire some conservatives because they’ll maximize efficiency and they’ll move down that track. But if the track is no longer going in a good direction because something’s changed, the environment’s changed, well then you gotta bring in the creative people. And so we need each other. And the only way that we can survive the fact that we’re different and the fact that we need each other is by continually talking. Talk constantly. It’s like, well, how much of what we’re doing should we preserve vs how much of what we’re doing should transform? And the answer is, we don’t know because the environment keeps changing. So what do we do about that? We talk. Now, I was on a CBC Canadian broadcasting corporation interview a couple of days ago and they took me to task. I tweeted out this, uh, this invitation to the KEK Boys to fill out this program that I developed called Future Authoring. And it helps people make a plan for life.

Joe: Explain the KEK Boys.

Jordan: Yeah, well they’re they’re an online group. They’re— they—

Joe: I know what it is.

Jordan: They run Kekistan. It’s this fictional polity. It’s a satire of identity politics, essentially. We’re going to be our ethnicity.

Joe: Highly demonized satire.

Jordan: Highly demonized satire, right.

Joe: Because— and with good reason for— with some individual examples of racism and Nazism and—

Jordan: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. There’s lots of misbehavior. It’s like graffiti. It’s like online graffiti, something like that. So, um, and— and— the KEK Boys are the ones are often using the Pepe memes for example, and you know, and the left regards Pepe as a hate symbol.

Joe: Pepe the frog— the feels good frog.

Jordan: Pepe the frog. That’s right. The kind of reprehensible frog. And so I tweeted out to them, I said, “KEK Boys, seek your 4chan, rescue yourself from the underworld, use code Pepe for future authoring.” So, it’s free for one week. So, they had to figure out what it meant. And then I showed this picture of Michigan J frog, which is this frog from the old Warner Brothers cartoon, a dancing frog that wouldn’t perform when anyone was watching it. So CBC hauled that out and said, well look, aren’t you like, um, appealing to the radical right? And I said, well, no— I’m doing, I said, look, these people are attracted by the radical right, although they’re satirists, juvenile satirists, graffiti types. And you know, they’re playing a weird satirical game.

Joe: They’re having fun being naughty.

Jordan: Yes. That’s exactly what they’re doing. they’re provoking. And I— my sense was, well, why don’t you develop yourself as an individual and get the hell out of the ideological trap. So here’s my program which helps you write about your future and that’ll help you decide who you are as an individual, ‘cause that’s the way out of the ideological trap. It’s like and that’s the way— obviously what’s the way out of tribalism? First, the way out of tribalism is not to never join a tribe. You actually have to join a tribe as you mature, right? Because what happens is first of all you’re an infant and then you have your parents to— to make a relationship with but then when you move from your parents, you have your tribe, you have your group; maybe it’s the music you listen to, it’s the gang you hang around with, whatever. You have to be socialized into the tribe. You have to because otherwise you stay a dependent infant. Okay, but now you’re socialized into the tribe. Well, is that where it ends? It’s like, no. The next thing to do is differentiate yourself from the tribe while still knowing how to behave within the tribe. Well, that’s the call to individualism; and that’s what I think the west got wrong. I think what the west got right ‘cause we figured that out. It’s like, you’re more than your— you have to be a member of a group because otherwise you’re not socialized, you’re not good for anyone. You have to be able to play on a team, man. You have to have team loyalty. Okay, but that isn’t where you should stop. You should take the next step and become a fully developed individual. And see, the problem with just a group member is that the group— it’s the problem with conservatism. The group is a fixed entity; it’s has its rules and regulations and if you’re a member that’s all you are. But the group can go badly wrong so the group needs individuals to keep the group alive and revivify. So you have to become an individual so you can revivify the group. And that’s the call— that’s the call in the west, to heroism, essentially, to noble way of living is to develop yourself past your group identity so that you can reconfigure the game when that becomes necessary and I think there’s a very influential line of developmental psychology pioneered by Jean Piaget that laid that out as a developmental, well, progression. First, you’re a child, then you’re a member of a group, then you’re an individual. It’s like get to the individual level, that’s the solution. It’s the solution to tribalism. But you have to accept responsibility to do that.

Joe: And this is what your future authoring program is basically all about.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I mean, it’s a wonderful program along with this book. Rules and guidelines for life; I think that’s one of the things that a lot of young people are lacking, is a structure to how to go about establishing who they are in the world.

Jordan: Yep. Yep. Well that’s— you know what’s really cool and has been really quite remarkable, I would say, is that what I’ve noticed when I’ve been speaking publicly, say over the last year and a half, because there’s a hole in our culture where there should be a discussion about maturity, truth, and responsibility. No one’s talking about that. Okay, so now I’ll come out and I’ll start talking about that. I’ll say, like, look, what should you do with your life? Um, well, take care of yourself but take care of yourself in a way also means that simultaneously you’re taking care of your family and also means you’re simultaneously taking care of the broader community. That’s kind of your goal, so orient yourself towards that personal success but in a way that your success breeds success. Because if you’re going to establish an aim, why not establish, like, a really good aim that’s a good one. It’s good for you, it’s good for everyone else. Yes. Okay, that’ll give your life some meaning. Now adopt— make a plan, generate a vision. That’s what the future authoring program helps people with. Make a— develop a vision of what your life could be like if it was worth living despite all its suffering. It’s like, what would you need so that you would be happy to be alive? You’d find your life meaningful so you don’t get all bitter, and resentful, and cruel, and hostile, and ideologically addled, and like murderous, and genocidal. It’s like, none of that. You think real hard. How would you have to configure your life so that despite its suffering and the malevolence that’s part of it, that you would regard it as worthwhile? So that’s up to you to develop a vision. Then put a plan into practice. And so when I talk to people about this— most of my audience is young men, it’s about 65/35, more and more women are showing up but that’s about what it is right now— the halls are dead silent, you could hear a pin drop. Because nobody said so clearly, for like 50 years, that almost all of the meaning you will need to get you through the hard times of your life is going to be a consequence of adopting responsibility; not of rights and impulsive action, impulsive freedom. Like, fine. Rights. Yeah, got it. Freedom, no problem. Even freedom to do impulsive things, fine. But that isn’t where you’re going to find the meaning that keeps you sustained through the storms of life. That’s going to be, you take care of yourself, you take care of your intimate partner, you take care of your damn family, you don’t run off. You take care of your community. You rescue the wisdom from the past. You stand up straight and you be courageous despite the fact that life is tragic and tainted by malevolence. It’s like that’s the— that’s ancient wisdom, that’s what that is.

Joe: And understanding that there’s structure and discipline and that, you know, I am in a lot of ways both of those things you described earlier. I’m in a lot of ways— my mind is— I’m creative and I’m always sort of half paying attention to things but I’m also disciplined.

Jordan: Yeah, right.

Joe: And it’s one of the reasons why I think I’m— I so relate to both sides of this issue. Because I could have easily—

Jordan: It’s also one of the reasons you’re successful.

Joe: I could have easily been some hardcore, right-wing asshole. I’m a competition oriented person and I’ve been since I was a child.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I grew up competing in martial arts tournaments. I mean that’s— and you have to be a hard person to do that.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: You have to understand what discipline is. But before that I was an artist. I wanted to be a cartoonist, I wanted to do comic books. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an illustrator. If it wasn’t for one bad teacher in high school that totally shied me away from art, I probably would have went into that as a living.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: When I look at both sides, I see myself in both sides.

Jordan: Yep, yep. Well, the other thing I have been telling you on men is that— and this something I think that you can relate to tremendously is— I read this New Testament line, well, decades ago and I could never understand it; this line is “the meek shall inherit the earth” and I thought there’s something wrong with that line, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Meek just doesn’t seem to me to be a moral virtue. And so, I did a series of biblical lectures this year, like 15 of them, and that was also a weird, little experience that we can talk about, but I was looking through these sayings, these maxims, and that was one of them, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” But I’ve been using this site called Bible hub and it’s very interesting, it’s organized very interestingly. So you have the biblical line and then they— they have like three pages of commentary on each line. And so, because people have commented on every verse in the Bible, like, to the degree that’s almost unimaginable, so you can look and see all of the interpretations and all of the translations and get some sense of what the genuine meaning might be. And the line “the meek shall inherit the earth”— “meek” is not a good translation or the word has moved in the 300 hundred years or so, three hundred years or so since it was translated. What it means is this, “those who have swords and know how to use them but keep them sheathed will inherit the world.” And that’s another thing I’ve been telling—

Joe: Hmmm…

Jordan: Yeah, no kidding. That’s a different—

Joe: That’s a big difference.

Jordan: Yeah, that’s a big difference. It’s so great and so like one of the things I tell young men, well, and young women as well, but the young men really need to hear this more, I think— is that, you should be a monster. You know, because everyone says well you should be harmless, virtuous, you shouldn’t do anyone any harm, you should sheath your competitive instinct, you shouldn’t try to win, you know? You don’t want to be too aggressive. You don’t want to be too assertive. You want to take a back seat in all of that. It’s like, no. Wrong. You should be a monster, an absolute monster. And then you should learn to control it.

Joe: Do you know the expression, it’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war?

Jordan: Right, right, exactly. That’s exactly it.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah. And that’s exactly right. And so when I tell young men that, they think— well, lots of them are competitive, they’re low in agreeableness because that’s part of being competitive temperamentally; it’s like, is there something wrong with being competitive? There’s nothing wrong with it. There’s something wrong with cheating. There’s something wrong with being a tyrant. There’s something wrong with winning unfairly. All of those things are bad. But you don’t want people to win? What’s the difference between trying to win and striving? You want eradicate striving?

Joe: Well, it’s the uncomfortable feeling that people associate with losing when they’ve personally experienced it, they look at losing as— they’ve been oppressed or they’ve been hurt. But what they don’t understand is, that is the motivation for growth. And one of the most beautiful things that I think a young person can get involved in is martial arts. Because martial arts teach you that in a way that very few things do. They teach you it in— especially jiu jitsu because jiu jitsu is so complex and there’s so many possibilities too that it attracts a lot of really smart people. If you think of jiu jitsu, you would think of like, brutish individuals engaging in this hard martial art. If you go to a real good jiu jitsu school you see nerds.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: You see a bunch of, like, really smart kids that really get obsessed with the possibilities of this physical language. This physical language also teaches you the consequences of not working hard, of not being prepared, of not understanding positions, of not doing due diligence and doing the work.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: And it’s an amazing— an amazing scaffolding for developing your life.

Jordan: Well, it also teaches you how to lose. You know?

Joe: Yes, that’s very important.

Jordan: And one definition of a winner is someone who never let losing stop them.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: You know? And the idea that a single loss in a competition is somehow a defeat is completely insane. First of all, well, let’s say you’re a hockey player and you’re a good player and you lose the tournament; it’s like, well, so what? You played the game, you’re increasing your skills, like, there’s always next time. And one of the things that I’ve also been telling people— informing people about is that life isn’t a game. It’s a series of games. And the right ethic is to be the winner of the series of games. And part of that means well you have to be a good loser because you’re not going to win every single game.

Joe:Yes. Well, you also have to embrace those losses as learning experiences. And the people that have never lost are afraid of losing.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: They’re afraid of learning.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: They’re afraid of that feeling, that terrible feeling that you get from losing is so beneficial. It’s aided me in so many ways, like, it’s one of the reasons— also one of the reasons I talk so openly about bombing on stage. And I do it with other comedians. I always want to tell people; yeah, I’m an established comedian, I’ve been a comedian for a long time. Let me tell you about when I was two years in or five years in, or four years ago. Like let me tell you about some horrible moments on stage when it went wrong, just so you understand; like, those things took me to another place.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: Because I realized that I don’t want to ever feel that feeling again. And so I rant everything up and then I went back to work and I went over my notebooks, and I went over my— my recordings. And figured out what I was doing wrong and I tried to improve upon it. But if it wasn’t for that horrible, sick feeling; that’s the same feeling when you get tapped out in jiu jitsu class, same feeling you get when you lose a martial arts tournament, or anything else. Losing is important.

Jordan: Well, you might also say, like, let’s say that you could pick— you can pick your level of competition in life to some degree. Okay, so let’s say you pick a level of competition where you’re always winning. It’s like, well, all that means is that you picked the wrong level of competition.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: Because, you know, like, let’s say you’re a grandmaster chess player and you’re— all you do is play amateurs and every night you go home and you congratulate yourself on what a genius you are because you just stomped these people left, right, and center. It’s like, you’re not a genius. You’re a dimwit.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: What you should be doing is playing people who are beating you like, well, as much as you can tolerate.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: So maybe that’s 40% of the time, maybe it’s 60% of the time. But that way— because to be a winner, you want to be disciplined, you want to know what you’re doing and then you want to be on the edge where your skills are being developed. And if you’re going to be on the edge where your skills are going to be developed, you’re at a place where loss— where losing is always a possibility. Because otherwise you’re not pushing yourself beyond your current capacity. And so, one of the things that I’ve outlined in 12 Rules for Life is a theory of meaning. Because meaning, as far as I’m concerned, the sense of meaningful engagement is the antidote to malevolence and suffering, essentially. Because you want to have a life that’s so engaging that you think, despite the fact that I’m limited ,and that we’re mortal, and that life is tragedy, and there is evil in the world, despite all that; this is worth doing. And I think that there is— there’s a technical meaning that, that genuinely exists and that’s the meaning that you get when you’re in a domain where you have some discipline and some skill. So you’re laying out your competence and your ability. But you’re simultaneously pushing yourself to develop past where you are. That’s really engrossing. And what’s that doing— what that is doing is expanding your competence; and so, life is suffering and betrayal in many senses of the word. But you can adopt a way of traversing through life that is more powerful than the tragedy and the malevolence.

Joe: I agree. And I say to many people that what is going on in your life is you have a series of human reward systems that are in your body— encoded in your body, in your genetics— and it’s the reason why human beings survived to 2018. And in order to be happy, you have to feed those things. You have to feed all of them. You have to feed the one that wants to overcome difficult tasks. You have the feed the one that wants to solve problems. You have to feed the one that wants to be with a loving tribe of people that you care about. You have to feed the one that wants to procreate. You have to feed all of these things. You have to feed the love. You have to feed the competition. You have to feed the discipline. And that to me is the only way to stay balanced.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: Or with me, with my body and my mind. Its the only way I’ve been able to stay balanced. And when either— any of those things get out of whack, I get out of whack.

Jordan: Yeah, well, so— so part of that is— so, imagine this; so imagine that you’re this loose collection of all these things that need to be gratified, that need to be fed; it’s a perfectly reasonable way of looking at it biologically. Okay, so now you have to conjure up a mode of being that satisfies all of those necessities simultaneously, but then— and this is— this is a technical explanation of why the postmodernist insistence that there’s an infinite number of explanations turns out to be wrong. An infinite number of interpretations. There’s a very finite number of viable interpretations. So the first constraint is what exactly what you just said. You have these inner demons, let’s say, all of which need to be satisfied; but they need to be satisfied in a very particular way. Not only do they need to be satisfied today, but they need to be satisfied today in a way that doesn’t interfere with satisfying the next week, next month, next year, and in a decade. So, because there’s no point in you betraying your future self to gratify your present self.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: It’s a stupid game. Okay, so you’re constrained by the necessity of satisfying yourself but of maintaining that satisfaction across time— but then it gets even worse; that’s hard enough— but, it’s like an infinite of yous extending indefinitely into the future and all of them have to be satisfied simultaneously. But then it’s worse, because it isn’t just you. You have to figure out how to gratify all those internal demons in a sustainable way, in a way that other people not only don’t object to, but probably help you with and that benefits them at the same time. Well, then you think— you think that just aren’t that many ways of solving that problem and we know some of them; one of them is reciprocity. You know, like, if you go out of your way for me it’s incumbent on me to notice that and to attempt in some manner to, to repay you. And like, if— if we’re good friends that’s what we’ll do. If we’re good brothers, that’s what we’ll do. That’s what you do with your wife, it’s a reciprocal arrangement; and that keeps things flowing properly across time. So there is— there is an ethic. This— and this is the answer to the postmodern conundrum. It’s like, well, is life meaningless? Is everything just nihilist? Is nihilism the right answer? Or maybe, you know, the— what would you call— identification with an ideology as a counter position to nihilism? So, nihilism is wrong. Life is meaningful. That— and that’s what 12 Rules for Life is about. The first meaning of life is suffering and malevolence as indisputable realities. Okay, well what’s after that? Well there’s a noble way of being that allows you to exist properly despite that, and also not to make it worse. So, can your life be meaningful enough so that you— what is it?— confront chaos voluntarily, establish and revivify order, constrain malevolence; that’s a good three part doctrine for life. There’s things to do and so that’s what I’ve been talking to the audiences that I’ve been seeing over the last years. It’s like, get your act together, stand up forthrightly, that’s rule one. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. That’s a vulnerable position, right? Because you’re open. But it’s a powerful position because it means you’re brave enough to take what’s coming. And it isn’t like what’s coming isn’t dangerous; it’s dangerous. So, but your best bet is to be dancing on your feet and ready for it. Pay attention and be awake. And to treat yourself properly, that’s rule two; it’s figure out how to treat yourself as if you’re someone worth coming to the aid of. To detach yourself a bit and say okay, I’m going to setup my life so it— it’s good for me and good for other people as well; that’s a corollary to that. So the book is all about— all about the meanings of life. The negative meanings, suffering, malevolence; those are indisputable realities. And then a motive being that integrates the sorts of things that you were talking about, these underlying needs with everyone else’s and, like, doing that voluntarily. It’s a call to responsibility and meaning. And I actually think it’s not — the thing that’s been so exciting for me for the last three decades, looking into these things, is that, I believe that there is a genuine human ethic. It’s not arbitrary. It has to do with reciprocity for example. It has to do with honest, that’s another thing. You should speak the truth because your life turns out better if you speak the truth, and so does everyone else’s. So in this biblical lecture series I did, I looked at the first chapter in genesis and there’s a theory in there, it’s a really interesting theory; and the theory is that there’s three parts to being. There’s chaos and potential, and that would be like the potential you should live up to, because everyone says, well, you should live up to your potential. It’s like, what the hell’s that? You can’t measure it or touch it or taste it or feel it. It’s this hypothetical thing that everyone regards as real. It’s like the future; what’s the future? Well, it’s not here yet, you can’t measure it. What makes you think it’s real? Well, we act as if it’s real and that seems to work. There’s the— so there’s potential, that’s one, that’s chaos, chaotic potential. Then there’s order, and that’s the structure that you need in order to confront the chaos. And you’d be born with that biologically, and then there’s your ability to call forth from the potential, new order. And that’s what you do with your speech. And that’s what happens in the first chapter of genesis it that God uses— God orders, let’s say— uses the power of truthful speech, that’s the logos, to transform potential into order and that’s what people are made in the image of. So there’s this theory, it’s a lovely theory that’s laid out right at the beginning of the bible that says that, if you tell the truth you transform the potential of being into a habitable actuality, that’s how it works. Say, how do you— how do you make the world better? Tell the truth. Because the world you bring into being as a consequence of telling the truth will be a good world. And I believe that’s true. I think it’s true metaphorically. I think it’s true theologically, and I think it’s true at the practical and scientific level as well. I think it’s true on all those levels simultaneously. So that’s being ridiculously exciting to sort through.

Joe: I think this notion and one of the things that you said that I think really resonates is that, there’s not a voice out there that is advocating for responsibility, and that is a talking about how important this is ,and I think this is is an inherent principle that most people are kind of aware of and it feels good to them to hear. Like it resonates and you feel it. You— you— when you’re saying this “clean your room, put your house in order,” people are like, yeah… yeah! How come I’m not hearing this?

Jordan: Right? Right?

Joe: So how come I’m not hearing this?

Jordan: Well it’s so funny because one of the things psychologists have done for the last 20 years, especially the social psychologists, is push this idea of self esteem. You should feel good about yourself. Now I think, why would you tell someone 20 that? It’s like, “you should feel good about who you are”. It’s like no you shouldn’t. Why should you feel good about who you are? It’s like you should feel good about who you could be. That’s way better because you got 60 years to turn into who you could be.

Joe: But wait a minute, are you what your accomplishments are? Or are you this individual going through this journey. I mean I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling good about who you are. If— as long as it’s tempered by an understanding of potential and what you have accomplished versus what you can accomplish.

Jordan: Well I think—

Joe: But having confidence is a big part—

Jordan: It is, it is and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have confidence but, like, often you take young people, say they’re 16-22, and they’re not really feeling that good about who they are.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Because their life is chaotic and in disorder and they don’t know where they’re going and they don’t know which way is up.

Joe: Also it could be bad parenting.

Jordan: Oh, god yes.

Joe: Bullying.

Jordan: Oh, yes.

Joe: It could be a lot of abuse going on. And I think that’s one of the reasons that resonates with people, this idea of be happy for— about who you are.

Jordan: Right.

Joe: Feel good about who you are.

Jordan: Right. But— but the thing is— it has to be stated with precision. It’s like—

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: It’s like you should treat yourself as if you’re valuable, especially in potential. But you should concentrate on you should become, especially if you’re young. So let’s say you’re miserable, and nihilistic, and chaotic, and depressed, and all of that, and you have your reasons, you know, terrible parenting, abuse; all of those things. It’s like, well, you should feel good about yourself. It’s like, no, no, it’s not the right message. It’s more like you should understand how much potential there is within you to set that straight; and then you should do everything you can to manifest that in the world and it will set it straight. And that’s better than self-esteem. It’s like you’re in a crooked, horrible position. Okay, fine. There’s a lot of suffering and pain associated with that. Yeah, you can’t just feel good about that because it’s not good. But you can do something about it. You can genuinely do something about it. And I think all the evidence suggests that that’s the case.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: So I’m telling young people, look, no matter how bad your situation is, I’m not going to pretend it’s okay, it’s not okay. It’s tragic, tainted with malevolence. And some people really get hurt by malevolent people, like, you know, terribly hurt, sometimes they never recover. It’s really awful. But there’s more to you that you think and if you stand up and face it with a positive— with a— with a noble vision, with discipline and intent; you can go far farther to overcoming it than you can imagine. And that’s the principle upon which you should predicate your behavior. And I think that one of the things that’s really nice about being a clinical psychologist is that this isn’t just guesswork, like, one of the things— we know two things in clinical psychology; one is truthful conversations redeem people because if you come to a clinical psychologist who’s worth his salt, you have a truthful conversation. The conversation is, well here’s what’s wrong with my life, and here’s what caused it. You know, maybe it takes a year to have that conversation and both of the participants are doing everything they can to lay it out properly; here’s how it might be fixed here’s what a beneficial future might look like. And so it’s a completely honest conversation if it’s working well. And all that’s happening in the conversation is that the two people involved are trying to make things better. That’s the goal. Let’s see if we can have a conversation that will make things better. Okay so we know that works, it does make things better. And then another thing we know is that, let’s say there’s a bunch of things that you’re afraid of that are in your way. So you have some vision about who you want to be, maybe you have to, you know, you want to be successful in your career so you have to learn to talk in front of a group. It’s like, okay, well, you’re afraid of that. No wonder you don’t want to be humiliated. So, okay, so what do we do about that? Well, maybe we first get you to speak in front of one person, and then three people, you know for five minutes and then ten minutes. Like, graduated exposure to what you’re afraid of. Voluntary graduated exposure to what you’re afraid of is curative. And that’s true. It works. The documentation is in. It’s how people learn. So, so, to— to tell people that if you confront the world forthrightly, if you speak the truth, and you expose yourself courageously to those things that you’re afraid of, that your life will improve and so will the life of people around you, like, as far as I’m concerned, that’s as close to undeniable fact as we’ve got and it also dovetails nicely with the underlying archetypal stories, the heroic stories. It’s like, go out there, find the dragon, confront it. It’s a dragon, it might eat you, it’s dangerous; but it’s worse to cower at home and wait for it to come and devour you. Go out there. Confront it. Get the gold. Share it with the community. It’s like, yeah, it’s the oldest story in mankind.

Joe: I think one of the factors in the resistance of these ideas of discipline and taking responsibility for yourself a lot of the things you’ve been saying in regards to all of the things we discussed earlier, is people recognizing that they’re not doing that in their own lives and they get upset and instead of looking internally they try to attack the thing that’s upsetting them. They attack your message. They attack the philosophy behind it rather than look internally and objectively. And having some sort of introspective point of view where you go okay, am I reacting to this because this resonates, because I’m missing this aspect of my life? Is this— does this diminish me? Or is this guy pointing something out that I can benefit from? Very few people are willing to do that. Very few people are willing to take that critical moment to look at their own behavior and look at their own thought process and wonder if the actual adverse reaction may have to this person’s message is because they know that they’re wrong.

Jordan: Yeah, well it’s— there’s a couple of reasons for that. One is— well, what makes you think that you’re someone we should listen to?

Joe: Right. Sure.

Jordan: It’s like, hey, fair enough. You know? so you gotta be poked a bunch to see if that’s true. And then the next thing is— well, it’s— it’s painful to understand how much of what you’re doing isn’t productive. So, I’ll give you an example; so, I’ve done this a couple of times with classrooms full of students usually when I’m lecturing about career development, say okay, how much time do you waste? So then I get the class to vote. How many of you waste ten hours a day? It’s like 10% of the kids will put up their hands. And it’s interesting because I don’t define what constitutes waste. I just ask the question. So they’re diagnosing themselves, right? I’m not saying you’re wasting 10 hours a day, I’m just asking. It’s like, given your own attitude, how much time are you wasting? 10 hours a day? It’s like 10% of the people put up their hands. Well, when you get to 6 hours a day, 80% of the people put up their hands. So then we do the arithmetic, it’s like, because I like doing the arithmetic with people. People hate arithmetic but I like doing it. It’s like, okay, 6 hours a day is 42 hours a week, so let’s that call that a work week, 40 hours a week. So that’s a work week. Let’s say, what’s your time worth? You’re a university student. Well it’s certainly worth minimum wage, because obviously. But it’s worth way more than that because if you spend a productive hour when you’re 20, then you gain the benefits of that hour for the rest of your life so there’s the compounding effect of time spent when you’re young. So, I say, let’s assume your time is worth $50 an hour, which is I think is an underestimate, but whatever, let’s call it 50. We could call it 25 but we’ll call it 50. That’s $2,000 a week you’re wasting. That’s $100,000 a year. It’s like, how much better would your life be if you weren’t wasting $100,000 a year? It’s like, what is that over 40 years? 4 million dollars. It’s like, you’re rich. You don’t even know it. Quit wasting time, by your own definition. It’s like, people shake their heads, like, oh I never thought of it that way. It’s like, yeah. Think about it that way. Don’t waste your damn life. And then you think, well, why would people be resistant to that message? It’s like, well, you really want to wake up and figure out that you’re wasting half your life? And you know when people do that kind of wasting, they actually hate it. You know? And I’ve had lots of people come to my clinical practice who were chronic procrastinators, you know, and so they’re watching YouTube videos, say, but not ones that are good for them, although sometimes they will do that, but just browsing in that kind of mindless way that you do when you’re not paying attention and you’re trying to kill time. And people doing that, they feel bad, they get depressed, they feel anxious, they can’t get away from it, they feel kind of quasi addicted. Or they do—

Joe: That’s what they’re saying about social media now. It’s a huge issue with young kids.

Jordan: Sure. Absolutely. But there’s this feeling of kind of internal wrought and corruption that goes along with it. It’s like, yeah, well, you’re wasting your life. It’s like, so— it’s painful. It’s painful to recognize that. Then it’s painful to think, oh my god, look how undisciplined I am. I don’t know anything. I can’t use a schedule. I can’t stick to a calendar. I don’t have any aims. I don’t know anything about the world. Right? And maybe there’s a part of me that’s bitter because I haven’t got everything already and I’d like just like to say, to hell with it; that’s the recognition of the Jungian shadow. It’s like, that’s what makes you vicious and untrustworthy. All of that. No one wants to look at that. And no bloody wonder. But hey, the alternative is worse. So—

Joe: The problem is you saying, like, just saying to stop wasting your life. Like, I think that that’s not enough. I think this is one of the reasons why I book like this is so important. The idea of discipline in most people’s eyes, if you’re not a disciplined person it’s uncomfortable, it’s going to be painful, it’s frustrating. You have to force yourself into these things. It’s a muscle. And it’s a muscle that needs to be developed, these patterns need to be developed in your own minds.

Jordan: Incrementally.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: You’re right just telling people not to waste their lives is not enough and this is another reason why I’ve so much enjoyed being a clinical psychologist. Because clinical psychologists don’t stick with high level abstractions; especially the behaviorists, they’re really practical. It’s like, okay you want to get your act together. It’s like, well, how about if— let’s say you’re not studying well, and so we do a real analysis of how much you’re studying. You say, well I go to the library 4 hours a day. It’s like, yeah yeah, okay. How much time do you actually study in the library? Well, you know, I waste time. I have to travel there, I look at my phone. It’s like, okay, well how much? 15 minutes? Half an hour? How much is real studying? Well maybe we figure out it’s 15 minutes. So okay, so what you’re going to do for one week, is you’re going to study for half an hour, that’s all. You don’t get to go to the library for 4 hours. You have to sit down, we’ll figure out a time, 10 o’ clock in the morning, whatever, we’ll put it in your schedule; try to study for half an hour, no more. And then just come back and let’s have a conversation about how well that worked. And people come back and they say well, you know well I managed it 4 days. And one say I went over and one day I couldn’t do it at all. It’s like, okay, that’s better. Instead of 75 minutes of studying, you know, 15 minutes a day for 7 days, what is that? 15, 70… 105 minutes. You’ve managed about 210 minutes. So you’ve already produced an improvement of 50% in your bumbling, horrible way; you got 50% improvement in one week. It’s like, that’s deadly. It’s like, so, in the future authoring program what we ask people to do is, well think about your life along six dimensions. What do you want for— so that the goal is this, you’re going to take care of yourself. You’re going to have a life in three years that’s justifies its suffering. That’s the goal. So, you can invent the damn life but you have to think what you would be satisfied with so you wouldn’t be all bitter and resentful. It’s like, okay, what do you want from your family? What do you want from your friends? How are you going to educate yourself? What do you want for your career? How are you going to use your time outside of work? How are you going to handle drugs and alcohol and other temptations like that? How are you going to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy? And these are open questions. Like, you get to answer them. The idea is you can have whatever you want but you have to figure out what it is. It has to be realistic and you have to figure out what it is. So, okay, so now develop a vision, what’s your life going to be like in 3-5 years? So, you write down. Then we do something else, which is— okay, um— your bad habits and your resentment and your bitterness and all of that, your procrastination gets completely out of hand and you auger down and you’re in your own personal version of hell in 3-5 years. What does that look like? Everyone knows that. It’s like, everyone can look in the future and think, well, if I keep going on this dark path, this is where I’ll end up. Well then you’ve got a little hell outlined for yourself to run away form. You’ve got a little heaven outlined for yourself to run towards; and then you’re motivated. Because sometimes, you know, you’re just hopeful. I would like a good thing to happen. It’s like, yeah but you know but I’d like to drink half a bottle of whiskey tonight too. It’s like, so which is it going to be? Well, just being hopeful about the future might not be enough. But then you think, oh, I see, there’s that little hell thing that I outlined and it’s waiting for me. And maybe I’m afraid of taking the next— next step forward because it’s demanding and challenging. It’s like, yeah, I’m afraid of that but I’m way more afraid of where I might end up if I don’t get my act together. And people should be. That’s why there are conceptions of hell in so many religions; it’s like, hell is a real place. Whether it’s eternal, that’s a whole different question. Whether it’s waiting for you in the after life, that’s a whole different question. But if you’ve never met anyone in hell, you haven’t lived very long. You haven’t had your eyes open.

Joe: Yeah, it’s undeniable. That feeling of total, complete misery.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: It’s undeniable.

Jordan: Yeah, especially when it’s compounded by the fact that you know you did it to yourself.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: That’s the real fun. That’s the real fun part. It’s like, I’m having a bitch of a time and I richly deserve it. Jesus, that’s rough man.

Joe: This is another concept that is— doesn’t have a voice right now. This is another— I mean, this is a giant part of being human being. And instead of identity politics and right vs. left, I think these right versus left battles often times what they are is simply the battleground for the conflicts in your own mind.

Jordan: Better to have the conflict in yourself. That’s another thing I really learned, well, not only from the New Testament, but a fair bit from that. You know, the idea is that— well, there’s evil in the world, of all sorts, and some of it’s the evil in other people, and some of it’s the evil in your brother’s heart, but the part of it that you can really do something about, that’s the malevolence in your own heart. You can actually do something about that and that’s actually way more useful than you think. So, because— if you can face it in you, then you start to understand it, and that also makes you strong enough to identify it and to fight it when you see it in the external world plus you don’t do any harm. It’s like there’s lots of people all over the world going out and doing reprehensible things and you might say well you should go out and protest against them. It’s like and sometimes you should. But most of the time you should think where am I falling short of the ideal? My own ideal. It doesn’t have to be that someone puts on you. Where am I less than I should be? Where am I bitter? Where am I making the world a worse place than it has to be? Like, you ask yourself those questions, you’ll be in for a big shock. Say, well, what would happen if you stopped doing that? That’s what 12 Rules for Life is about. It’s like, stop saying things that make you weak. Stop telling lies that you know to be lies. Stop doing things you know to be useless and counterproductive. Aim high. Adopt some responsibility. And then see what the hell happens. It’s like, it’ll work. And that’s what I’m hoping people will do.

Joe: Yeah, I’m hoping people do that too and I think that if more people live their life in this sort of a manner, I think we’re going to have less differences in terms of our ideologies and more of an understanding that people have different ways of looking at things and different ways of living. And this— this combat between people, this internal strife that manifests itself, and this combat between ideologies, I think you’re much more inclined to let other people live their lives if you’re living your life in a satisfactory manner.

Jordan: That’s exactly it. That— I have a chapter in there on raising kids. It says, don’t let your kids— don’t let your kids do anything that makes you dislike them. It’s like, that’s first predicated on observation that you’re quite a monster and it would be better for your kids if they didn’t get on your bad side. And like, again, because I’m a clinical psychologist—

Joe: You keep saying ‘monster’. Why do you use that term?

Jordan: Because I’ve watched families, like, I’ve seen families where it’s as if every single person in the family has their hands around the neck of the family member that’s close to them and they’re squeezing, but only tight enough to strangle them in 20 years.

Joe: But you’re not always using it as a pejorative. You— you’ve also used it ‘you should become a monster’, ‘ you should be a monster’

Jordan: Yeah, but that’s— that’s— you shouldn’t be— it shouldn’t be accidental. That’s the thing.

Joe: So what do you mean by ‘monster’, then, in a positive sense? You should be a monster.

Jordan: Ohhh, a monster. Oh, that’s easy. A mons— a positive monster is someone who says no and means it. ‘Cause when you say no, what you mean is, there isn’t anything you can do to me that will make me agree to do this.

Joe: Why is that a monster?

Jordan: Because you have to be— because no one will take you seriously otherwise. No one will take you seriously. Like, no means, if you keep pushing this, something that you do not like will happen to you. That’s what no means. You don’t have any strength of character unless you can put up a fight. And you know, to be able to say no to something is to be able to put up a fight. So, and you can’t do that if you’re— if you could be pushed around. You’ll just get argued into submission or you’ll feel guilty because you’re causing conflict, or something like that.

Joe: But isn’t there confusion using those terms as a positive and a negative? Maybe there’s another word instead of ‘monster’?

Jordan: Well, there is— there is the potential– there is the potential for confusion. You say, well that’s something that can be—

Joe: Because I think that ‘monster’ is a horrible thing. I don’t think of it as being a wall, like someone who is just rock solid in their belief system and rock solid in their understanding of themselves—

Jordan: Well, when you fight someone who is formidable, say, what do you think of the person that you’re fighting? Like, how would you characterize them? They— I mean, they have a monstrous side because they can— they’ll— they can— they can bring physical, substantial physical force to bear on the situation, and be willing to do it. So, they’re not naive and harmless by any stretch of the imagination, right? They have a well developed capacity for mayhem. You think, well, is that monstrous? It’s like, well, I would say yes.

Joe: I would say fierce.

Jordan: Fierce? Fine, let’s go with that.

Joe: Yeah, because someone who is fierce and formidable is not necessarily a monster, you know? I think of a monster as being just an awful person who has done awful things and just, you know?

Jordan: Okay, well, so, fair enough. Well, so back to the situation with your kids. Well, you definitely don’t want to have your kids act in way that awakens your inner monster.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Let’s put it that way. And so you need to— you need to organize your family with a certain amount of discipline and a certain amount of structure so that you get to do what you want, which is back to the point that you made earlier, so that you’re happy to have your kids around. So that you won’t take revenge on them. And so, you want to lay your life out so that— well, so that it’s providing you what you need to not be bitter and to work for your best interests and for the interests of everyone else. That would be lovely. And I think it’s attainable, you know? Because the book is very dark and I’m a very dark guy in some ways because I’ve looked at the terrible things that people do to one another.

Joe: That’s a fascinating way of looking at it. You think of yourself as dark? Because I don’t. I don’t think of you as dark.

Jordan: Oh, well that’s good. I’m—

Joe: You seem— you’re a very friendly guy. I think you’re very serious and especially about these very complicated issues. And I think that’s one of the reasons why you have made this gigantic wave in online discourse. And people discussing these very tumultuous times we live in is ‘cause you’re a guy that did extrapolate, you’re a guy did look at that C16 bill and look at Marxism, and go, do you know where this is heading? And you’re the guy that had the courage to say, murderers. And people are what the fuck is he talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. And you had to spell it out and explain it and when you do you realize why this is so significant.

Jordan: Yeah, well, the tribalism issue that you were discussing earlier doesn’t seem to be all that— what would you say?— debatable? That if we degenerated into tribalism, the probability of bloodshed becomes vastly enhanced. It’s like, well that always happen when people devolve into tribalism. So, and I’m pointing to a particular kind of tribalism. I guess the darkness is that, you know, I’m very aware of the terrible things that people not only are likely to do to each other but do do to each other all the time. I mean, it’s about 40% for divorce rate, right?

Joe: I think it’s higher— I think it’s higher than that.

Jordan: You have to go through a fairly— a fair bit of ugliness to get to divorce.

Joe: Canadians are nicer than Americans. Maybe you guys have 40%. Hahahah.

Jordan: Maybe, maybe. I think we’re pretty similar.

Joe: I think we’re, like, 80%.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I think it’s actually 50% here, somewhere around there. But yeah, yeah, you have to go through a lot. That’s— Chris Rock had a joke about that.

Jordan: Yeah, a lot of it’s really ugly too, you know? And—

Joe: Chris Rock had a joke about that. He’s like 50% of people get divorced, he goes, but that’s just the people who had the courage to leave. How many cowards just stay and suffer?

Jordan: Yeah, yeah.

Joe: And meanwhile, he wound up getting divorced a few years later. A horrible divorce. So—

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: True story. Hahahaha.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joe: But it’s a good point, yeah. I think, um, we need more people who are actualized human beings. More people who understand themselves, more people who have gone through adversity, both in real life and personal, in terms of their understanding of their own growth, of their own potential, and their own understanding of how they’ve managed their life, their mind, their— their actions. And the more we have people that have personal sovereignty, the better we’ll be able to have these conversations.

Jordan: Well, that’d be the hope, you know? One of the things that I’ve been suggesting to people is that they picked something difficult to do. I read this funny little paragraph by Kierkergard, it was written about 1840, he was thinking about his role as student and writer, and he was a student and writer forever, you know? He never really had a career apart from that. And he said that he wasn’t one of these people who is capable of inventing something wonderful to make life easier for everyone, like so many people were doing during the industrial revolution. He said, well maybe I’m one these people whos benefit to society will be that I will make things more difficult for everyone because there will come a time when what people want— they don’t want ease difficulty instead. And I think, well, that is what people want. That is what they want. You think well, I want an easy, happy life. It’s like, no, actually. That isn’t what you want. You want a—

Joe: mI think that what people want is things that are difficult that they can overcome.

Jordan: Yeah, right. That’s right. They want an optimal challenge. That’s a whole different thing.

Joe: Well, there’s a feeling— when you overcome something, when you do something difficult, whether it’s— I mean, I’ve never written a book, but I assume when you write a book— when you’re done writing that book, there is a great feeling of accomplishment because it’s very difficult to do. That feeling of accomp— for me, it’s like, when I put together a comedy special.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: Or when I, you know, just anything that’s difficult. There’s a feeling like, I did it.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I did it.

Jordan: Yeah, and one of the mysteries is why that feeling exists. You know, it’s a genuine— it’s not a trivial thing that. It’s to say, I did something difficult and that was worthwhile. Basically, what you’re saying to yourself is, well there was a lot of suffering attendant on that along with just the general suffering of life; but it turned out that was worth it. That’s what you want. It’s like, you want that sense that you’re engaged in something that’s worth it. And I say, like I— I try to— I’m not a casual optimist about these sorts of things. I mean, one of the things I do in 12 Rules for Life is lay out the rational like the Columbine high school killers. Because I understand that rational, I’ve studied it for a long time; I know why they did what they did. And they have a powerful argument, but it’s wrong. But you don’t— there’s no sense in showing how it’s wrong before showing that it’s a powerful argument. Like, life is suffering. There is lots of malevolence. It’s no wonder that people want to bring being itself to a halt. They want to take revenge on it. It’s not surprising. It’s the wrong way of going about it. The right way is— it’s akin to the sorts of things you were just observing. You take on a difficult task that pushes you past where you are already and you succeed in it and you get this sense that, yes, that was worthwhile. It’s like, that’s what you want. You want to live in that place where things are worthwhile. That’s paradise on earth, that’s what that is. And it isn’t some happy little place where someone is feeding you peeled grapes. That isn’t what it is, it’s more like victory on the honorable battlefield, or something like that.

Joe: Yeah, the perception that people have of ultimate success and ultimate happiness is, uh, it seems motivated by what they don’t have rather than an understanding of what success and happiness really is. Their idea is that one day I’m going to go and I’m going to be in my golden years and I’m just going to be able to sit around and do nothing and tell everyone to fuck off. You won’t be happy at all.

Jordan: Yeah, I talked to one of the people that I was working with who had a vision of retirement. I said, well, what’s your vision for retirement? Well, I see myself on the beach, you know, in some tropical country, drinking margaritas. And I thought, first, that’s not a plan; that’s a travel poster! It’s like, okay, let’s walk through this. Alright, so, you go down to this tropical country and you go sit on the beach, and you have a margarita. It’s like, okay, well, how many margaritas? Like, 10? Okay, so you’re going to do that, you’re going to do that for six months?

Joe: You’ll be dead.

Jordan: Yeah, well, you’ll be this pathetic, sunburned—

Joe: Fat.

Jordan: — unhappy, hungover, sorodic

Joe: In pain.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. It’s like, that’s your vision?

Joe: Dehydrated.

Jordan: And so, how long can you have a margarita on a beach? Like maybe you can do that once every six months for like 10 minutes, something like that. It’s not a vision.

Joe: It’s true but when you are working and slaving away you think about that beach with your feet up and—

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: And the waiter comes over, would you like another margarita, Mr. Peterson? Yes, I would.

Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Joe: And you’re like, all right, baby.

Jordan: But, it’s— right, exactly. But, it’s like this 16 year old fantasy of paradise. It’s like, well—

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: And it just doesn’t work out.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And the thing is is— the thing that sustains people through life really is the lifting of the worthwhile burden. It’s something like that.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And it’s partly because we’re social animals, right? It’s like we’re evolved to be useful to the people around us because they’re much more likely to let us live if we’re like that.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: So— and it’s been very fun talking to you, especially talking to young men about this, it’s like, well, and that’s the other thing too; the world is full of darkness, let’s say, and we could say each of us has a little bit of light and if we release that light, if we let it shine properly— Christ it’s too cliche to go on with in some sense but— the world is a lesser place if you do not reveal from within yourself what you have to reveal. And the fact that the world is a lesser place actually turns out not to be trivial. Like, if you aren’t everything you could be, more people will die, more people will suffer, more evil will be unconstrained, more tyranny will reign, more chaos will remain chaotic and dangerous; all of that.

Joe: Do you mean this in the sense of like the old proverb the wings of a butterfly fluttering become a hurricane?

Jordan: It’s something similar to that but even can be more local. It’s like, your family is more messed up than it could be if you were less messed up than you are.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: So if you just got your act together, like, 10% more, your family would be 1% better.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: It’s like, well, do it.

Joe: And that would ripple off in people they interact with

Jordan: And it ripples fast.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: That’s the other thing that’s so cool, is that people think, well there’s 7 billion of us and each of us is just this separate dust mote, like, floating in the cosmos and what the hell difference does it make what you do anyways? It’s like, that is not how we’re connected. It’s like, you’re the center of a network and you know— well, you know way more people than this, but let’s say typically— you know a thousand— you’re going to know a thousand people in your life well enough to have an impact on them. Okay, and each of those thousand people is going to know a thousand people; so you’re one step from a million and two steps from a billion. And we are networked, technically. That’s how human interactions work. And so, when you do something that you shouldn’t do, it’s worse than you think. And when you do something that you should do, it’s better than you think. And so you think, well, think is why I’ve been telling people, clean up your room. Well, it’s like, your room is actually networked too. It’s not that easy to clean up your room, to set it— so, you want your room to be setup so that when you walk in there it tells you to be better than you generally are. Its organized. It’s got direction, everything is in its place. You try to do that in a chaotic household. And I’ve watched people do this ‘cause I had students do these sorts of things as assignments. I’d say look, pick a small moral goal; clean up your room. And just write down what happens as a consequence. So maybe these are students in a chaotic household, the whole place is a bloody mess. No one’s taking any responsibility for anything. And so they decide they’re going to start to clean up their room and then the people in the household notice. Well, the first thing they do is get pissed off, it’s like, who do you think you are? Like, you think you’re better than us? Like, why do you think this is worthwhile? Who made— who died and made you God? All of that. So, just by trying to organize this little part of their life they immediately run into the people whose actions they’re casting in a dim light by trying to improve themselves to some degree. They might have to have a thorough war in their household to be allowed to do something as simple as keep their room orderly. They find out very rapidly that A, that’s way more than it difficult than it sounds and B, the consequences are far more far reaching than people think. So that’s quite fun, you know, because maybe part of this is that, like, everything around you is full of potential. Everything. Maybe more potential than you could ever possibly utilize. And so maybe all you have is this little rat hole of a room in some run down place in the world, it’s like, fix it up; there’s more there than you think. See what happens if you fix it up and you’ll fix yourself up simultaneously because you have to get disciplined in order to fix up the room. And then you have a fixed up room and you’ll be a more fixed up person. It’s like, you think that nothing will happen as a consequence of that? It’s like, all hell will break loose as a consequence of that. It’s really worth trying.

Joe: It is worth trying and it’s a concept that seems alien to people but if you think about it, it makes sense.

Jordan: Well, people don’t take what they have right in front of them seriously enough. It’s like the wasting time thing; they don’t do the arithmetic, you know? And they also don’t understand— they devalue what they have right in front of them. Like, another client I worked with was having a hard time putting his kid to bed at night. And so, we did the arithmetic. It’s like, well, I’m fighting with my kid for 45 minutes a night trying to get him to go to bed. Okay, so, let’s analyze. Alright. So what does that mean? Well, it means that both of you end the day upset. That’s not so good because why would you want that? It means that you’re spending 45 minutes fighting, when you could spend 20 minutes doing something positive, like reading to him, say? It means that you don’t get to spend that time with your wife. So, she’s not very happy with you, plus you’re annoyed because you don’t see her, plus you blame it on the kid because he’s the proximal cause. It’s like, that’s pretty damn ugly. And then— and then let’s do the arithmetic, it’s like 7 days a week, 45 minutes a day, let’s call that 5 hours. 20 hours a week. 240 hours in a year. 6— You’re spending a month and a half of work weeks fighting with your 4 year old son. Think you’re going to like him? You don’t like anyone you spend a month and a half a year fighting with. It’s a bad idea. Fix it. It’s important. Get him to bed. Make it peaceful. You do it, like, these things that repeat every single day, that’s a motif in this book too. You’re life isn’t margaritas on a beach in Jamaica. That happens now and then. Those are exceptions. Your life is how you’re wife greets you at the door when you come home every day because that’s like 10 minutes a day. Your life is how you treat each other over the breakfast table because that’s an hour and a half or an hour every single day. You get those mundane things right, those things you do every day, you concentrate on them and you make them pristine. It’s like you’ve got 85% of your life put together. These little things that are right in front of us, they’re not little. That’s the first thing, they are not little. And they’re hard to set right and if you set them right there is a rippling effect and fast too. Way faster than people think.

Joe: I want to talk about the rippling effect because I know you have to get out of here at 1. But I want to talk about the rippling effect that you have had on people and how— how that makes you feel. I mean, you were relatively unknown just a year and a half, two years ago. And now you have become— I mean, for lack of a better term, you’re an online celebrity. And you’re reach is fantastic now. This thing that you were talking about about how your impact can effect the people around you in a not insignificant way, a very significant way. What has that been life for you? I mean, what has that adjustment been like?

Jordan: Oh, I haven’t adjusted to it.

Joe: How old are you?

Jordan: 55.

Joe: So for 53 years, you’re relatively anonymous other than outside of universities.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. I had a little bit of— you know, a little bit of exposure. I did some work with a public television station in Canada. And you know, I had my little flashes of public appearances but—

Joe: But compared to—

Jordan: Oh yeah, this is just crazy.

Joe: What you’ve done on this show, I mean, millions, millions of people have listened and watched to each sing— each individual episode.

Jordan: Yeah. There are about 2 million views each and then about—

Joe: And that’s nothing compared with Youtube. Youtube is nothing compared to the audio.

Jordan: Yes, so the audio is like 5 times that, or something. Yeah, so, so that’s, yeah it’s completely crazy. And no, I haven’t adjusted to it. It’s like, I mean, have you adjusted to your status?

Joe: I’m naummm…

Jordan: Yeah, so, well, so, but so what’s it like when you think about it? You wake up in the morning and you think I’m going to get a billion downloads this year.

Joe: I don’t think that. I think I’m going to talk to Jordan Peterson, what do I want to talk to him about.

Jordan: Okay, that’s how I handle it. It’s exactly the same thing. For the last 15 months this is what I’ve done; got up in the morning, I’ve looked at the like, 25 things I have to do in a mad rush before 7 o’clock at night. I think I’m going to go through them and I’m going to concentrate on them, do the best job I can. And at 7 o’clock tonight, I’m going to have a rest, I’m going to take a look at what I have to do tomorrow, and I’m going to do the same thing, and that’s what I’ve been doing. And then when I stand back a little bit, like, when it sort of dawns on me, you know, then it’s disconcerting, like, it’s surreal. I can’t figure out, I can’t understand it, but then I, look— there’s no sense dwelling on that because first of all, I don’t know how to conceptualize it, I don’t know why it’s happening exactly, like, I think what’s happened is that— two things, one is that I said it there was something I wouldn’t do with regards to this legislation and I meant it, I actually meant it. I wasn’t going to use those words under legal compulsion, period, no matter what. And I actually meant that, so there was that. But then, I think the more relevant thing is that I’ve been studying these old stories, these archetypal stories for a very long period of time and they have power. They really have power. And they manifest themselves everywhere. They manifest themselves in movies and in books. I mean, Harry Potter is a mythological story. It made Rowling richer than the Queen of England. You know, these stories have power. And I was fortunate enough to study a large number of people, a large number of scholars, who knew what that power was; Carl Jung, in particular. And I could make it more accessible to people. And so, that’s a big part of it. But what the overall significance of that is, well, I just, it just leaves me speechless. I mean this Cathy Newman thing is a good example. And that means so many things have happened. I’ve got involved— I’ve been in this scandal of some sort, a serious scandal of some sort, probably every three weeks for a year and a half.

Joe: Hahaha.

Jordan: You know, and there are things that are just— well, the James Damore thing is a good example of that. Like, that’s a big deal, you know? That explosion that— that emerged around him and the court case that’s coming out of it, it’s a big deal. And this thing with Lindsay Shepherd, that was the worst scandal that ever hit Canadian universities. And then there was all the protests and— and then there was what happened with Channel 4 in the UK, and it’s like, I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t— what— what I’m trying to do is have a good conversation when I come to talk to somebody like you where we can have a good conversation, try not to say anything stupid. That’s really what I’m trying to do is to not say anything stupid.

Joe: Hahahahah. That’s hard.

Jordan: Or, too stupid.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah. Well, it’s been high stakes poker.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: You know? For— it’s not quite so bad now because— especially after what happened with Channel 4 with some journalist— like, people have been trying to take me out for quite a long time and it’s not— it isn’t working. So far, it’s not working—

Joe: You actually believe what you’re saying and it actually makes sense.

Jordan: Well, you know, that’s not a bad start.

Joe: That’s rare. It’s not a bad start.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: And it’s rare in this world. Especially in these ideologically charged times.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: This toxic tribalism that we keep bringing up, it’s—

Jordan: Well, and I also decided, like, a long time ago and— and I think this runs through 12 Rules for Life, is— well, I believe that people’s decisions tilt the world towards heaven or hell. I think there’s no more accurate way of describing the consequences of each of your decisions, in that, you face potential; that’s what you face. That’s what you face in the world is potential. It’s not material reality. It’s potential. And every decision you make, you’re deciding whether you want to make the world better or worse. And if you— like the ultimate better is heaven and the ultimate worse is hell. We know how to make the world into hell. We’ve done that multiple times; much of the 20th century was that. It’s like, I’ve looked at all of that and I thought, okay, I would rather that the world didn’t degenerate into hell. And I understand why people want it to degenerate into hell; they’re angry. They’re angry because they suffer; they suffer unfairly; and they suffer because people hurt them. And so, they think, this is a bad game, I’m not going to help make it better; I’m angry, I’m going to make it worse even. That’s what the Columbine kids did. Now, that’s what all the mass shooters do; they say to hell with this, I hate it, I’m going to make it worse.

Joe: They’re so far behind the game, they just want to flip the table over.

Jordan: Yeah. Worse than that, they want to obliterate the game.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: And they want to do it with as much malice as possible, just to obtain revenge. And I understand that. But I decided a long time ago that I would rather not play that game. I think that it’s possible that we could make the world better. I really believe that.

Joe: I believe that too.

Jordan: So, I think, well, so— I’m trying to tell people, look, there’s more to you than you think; there’s more potential— there’s more than enough potential to go around. There’s definite suffering and malevolence in the world; we can fix it. You haven’t got anything better to do.

Joe: That’s a very big point; that, there’s more potential to go around.

Jordan: More than enough.

Joe: There’s more than people understand.

Jordan: Yep. We aren’t going to run out of potential.

Joe: No, we’re not. And this idea of the famine thinking is one of the reasons why people get upset at other people’s success.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: They think somehow or another that this other person’s success takes something away from them.

Jordan: Yep. Yeah, well, there’s a— the other thing too is that I’ve realized that people actually act like what they confront in the world is potential. It’s so funny because whatever potential is, it’s not materialy measurable; but if you tell someone, you’re not living up to your potential, they go, yeah, well, I know that. It’s like, well, what is that potential that you’re not living up to? And then when you say there’s potential in front of you, you know that, you can walk out on the street and you go right or left, or straight ahead, like, you’re facing this thing that isn’t fully formed; and you get to decide how it’s going to form; and you can make it better. And so, my question is, the world’s a rough place, there’s no doubt about it, it’s a harsh place, but my question is, what would happen if we stopped making it worse? How good could it be if we stopped making it worse? And I don’t know if there’s an upper limit to that; like, it might be— maybe we could make it really, really, really good. Why not? And we don’t have anything better to do than that. It’s like, aim at heaven. Start at home. Aim at heaven. Tell the truth. Let’s see what the hell happens. Now, like, it’s— it is the case, clearly on the facts of the matter, in 20 years there wouldn’t have to be a single person in the world that was hungry; in 20 years we could get rid of the five biggest diseases that currently plague the planet; we could straighten things out and God only know what things could be like then. Or we could let the whole thing degenerate into hell. So, and each of us is making that decision with each decision; that’s the other thing that I’ve understood. So, take a choice; you want hell or you want heaven? If you pick hell, just remember, you knew what you were doing when you picked it.

Joe: But nobody picks hell.

Jordan: Yeah—

Joe: They just sort of let it slide.

Jordan: Yeah, but they do it because they blind themselves. You know, you know when you do it; you say ahhh, you know, well, I let that one slide. And then you don’t think about it; it’s like, you could think about it; you could think about it; you could know, but you don’t let yourself know.

Joe: Is any of this all— all— all the pressure and the scandal every three weeks, is this, uh— is it a weight on you? Is it— is it difficult? How are you feeling? Like, when all of this is going on— it’s a new thing.

Jordan: Well, I’m feeling stretched.

Joe: Stretched?

Jordan: Yeah. It’s like— it’s like simultaneously the worst possible thing and the best possible thing that could happen.

Joe: Well, financially, it’s been a boom, right?

Jordan: Yes, as an evil—

Joe: It’s— which is hilarious

Jordan: Oh, I th— yes. And th— the thing that I’ve— I shouldn’t say this but I’m going to because it’s just so goddamn funny, I can’t help but say it— I figured out how to monetize social justice warriors.

Joe: Hahaha. That is what it is.

Jordan: I know, it’s so funny. I just can’t believe it.

Joe: It is..the other way.

Jordan: It’s just— it’s just, every time I think that, it’s one of the surreal circumstances that characterize my life. It’s like, I’m driving this social justice activists in Canada mad because if they let me speak then I get to speak and then more people support me on Patreon. It’s like, that’s annoying. Its like, goddamn capitalists just make more money off this ideological warfare. It’s like, okay, fine, let’s go protest it. So they go protest it and then that goes up on Youtube and my Patreon account goes way up. So, it’s like, I don’t know what to do. Well, and so one of the things they keep accusing me of—

Joe: Bigger and bigger.

Jordan: Yeah, they keep me accusing of, uh, like, hauling in the loot. And I think, well, look, here’s the situation guys; I give away everything I do online for free. It’s free. And people are giving me money; they’re just sending it to me. I’m not twisting their arm; not even asking them for it. Well, I guess that’s not exactly right because I setup the Patreon account but that’s more complicated than it looks; that— a lot of that was curiosity. And I thought, well, I could increase the production quality of my online videos.

Joe: Well, it’s also the potential of you being removed from the universities.

Jordan: Well, yes, well that— and that was real potential.

Joe: You were lied to.

Jordan: Oh yeah. Oh and— yeah.

Joe: And people wanted that.

Jordan: {laughs} Yeah, they haven’t stopped wanting that.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: And in October, when the Lindsay Shepherd scandal broke and it looked so bad for the left wing ideologues, like, 200 university of Toronto community members signed a petition to get me fired again. And I was kind of upset about that and— wha— this is what my life has been like. And so, my son came over that day and I said, Jesus, Julian, you know, like, 200 people at the faculty— at— at the University of Toronto petitioned the faculty association and then they send in a petition to the administration to get me fired. It was the faculty association, that’s my union; they didn’t even contact me. And Julian said, uh, don’t worry about it Dad, it was only 200 people. And I thought, that’s what my life is life. It’s like a day where 200 people sign a petition to get me fired as a professor, my son can come in and say, well, that’s not so bad, it’s like, it’s only 200 people.

Joe: That’s how weird the scale has gotten.

Jordan: That’s right. It’s so surreal.

Joe: Because you could say that online and look what’s happening; and then the support would be overwhelming from who knows how many people.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: It would be multiple times of that.

Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and the administration at the University of Toronto, they didn’t take it seriously at all; the call to have me removed; it didn’t cause any— didn’t even cause a ripple. So—

Joe: Now, who are these two hundred people and what was their motivation?

Jordan: Oh, well, they’re— hard to say what their motivation is. They’re not very happy about being—

Joe: If they listen to you, or read the transcripts, or listened to those recordings—

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: How could they possibly be against you based on that?

Jordan: Oh, because they think that the people who— who— who conducted the inquisition were right.

Joe: Well that’s madness.

Jordan: Oh, yes. But look— look, I mean this formally; like, 20 members of Pimlott and Rambukkana’s faculty, that was communications at Wilfrid Laurier, wrote a letter supporting them. So that’s why it’s not an isolated incident; it’s like, no, no, they thought that what they were doing was right.

Joe: It’s mass hysteria.

Jordan: Yeah. Well there is an element of that, that’s for sure.

Joe: And there’s certainly, again, I hate to bring this term up again, but this toxic tribalism thing; it’s like, they’re supporting their own and they understand that their own ideologies have been completely connected to the same type of group thing that’s going against Lindsay Shepherd in that meeting. And she—

Jordan: Oh yeah, and they tried to paint her as a radical right winger and as a— which she certainly isn’t.

Joe: Of course not; neither are you. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. You’re not alt-right, you’re not a neo-Nazi, you’re not— I’ve read a lot of crazy things about you.

Jordan: Mmhmm.

Joe: And knowing you, personally, seeing this stuff, I’m like this is, this is a fascinating time we live in.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. Yeah, and it’s been— well, it’s been crazily— well, I’m— look, when I say crazily stressful; it’s the best way to describe it is surreal.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Like, it’s like I stepped outside myself. I can’t— I can’t put this is a box. I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know what to make of the Channel 4 interview. You know? It’s like, what the hell? Really, it’s crazy. But—

Joe: Well, it’s these conversations are so limited by what you’re saying before that they’re trying to get this five minute sound bite in and that what television has become.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: It’s a dying media.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense to sandwich these commercials in every 15 minutes, or whatever they do. None of it makes any sense. It’s an archaic way of communicating ideas.

Jordan: Yeah. Well, and I think that is part of it too, is that, like, I happen to catch a technological wave, well, like you did, you know? I mean, there— there— television offers nothing over Youtube. Nothing. Because Youtube offers everything that—

Joe: I get Youtube on my TV.

Jordan: Yeah, well, exactly.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And then, there’s no space requirements on Youtube; so you don’t have to do this twist the complex event into a short sound bite and entertain everyone.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: And it turns out, too, that there’s this huge audience online for actual content. Like, just genuine conversation. One of the things that’s happened between you and I when I’ve come down here, we’ve actually had a conversation, right? We’re trying to figure things out, you know, we have our viewpoints and everything, but we’re basically, and I outline this in— there’s a chapter in 12 Rules for Life called assume that the person you’re talking to might know something you don’t; which is like, the formula for good conversations. Like, there’s a bunch of things I don’t understand about the world; I mean, that’s a big book. Things I Don’t Understand About the World, right, that’s a very thick book. And I can come in here and talk to you about what’s going on and hopefully we both emerge with a better understanding. We’re not the same people that we were when we walked in. And that’s a good thing and then we have those conversations online and people can participate in that. And I’m trying to do that with my lectures too. Like, when I did this Biblical series— because that was another thing that was so strange, Joe. Imagine I walked into a, like, a venture capitalist, um, organization; I said, look, I want you guys to bankroll me. I’m going to do 15 lectures on the Old Testament and I’m going to try and attract young men. I’m going to rent a theatre. Like, they’d just laugh me out of there.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Could you imagine anything less salable than that? (laughs) But, so, I did that. I went ahead with it, I rented the theatre, and then I walked through these stories and I was learning a lot because, like, I knew the first stories in genesis up to the flood, I knew them pretty well, I kind of understood what they meant. But then all of the stories from Abraham onward, I had read them but I hadn’t done a detailed, in depth analysis; and so I was learning a tremendous amount walking through those stories. And they had a big, like, the’ve have a big impact, man. And so, I’m going to do Exodus soon because I want to do that. But it’s just another example of how surreal things have become but also the utility of a good conversation. Because when I’m up on the podium, say, lecturing, I’m not exactly lecturing; I’m trying to figure something out and sharing that process with the audience.

Joe: Which is so different than what is going on in universities that is freaking everybody out.

Jordan: Mmhmm. Mhmm.

Joe: What’s going on is indoctrination into this group think.

Jordan: Yeah. Yeah, it’s like, here’s what’s right, memorize it. It’s like, my lectures are more like, well, I don’t know what’s right, like, here’s some things I know, they seem to be working and here’s how I used those tools to dig at this story and here’s what it might mean and this is what I got from it.

Joe: And here’s some universal truths about human beings.

Jordan: Mmhmm, that— that— that seem to be. And then I try to explore this, like, should we believe this? Should we— like, when Abraham— in the Abrahamic story, for example, I mean, Abraham’s an old guy and he’s basically lived in his mom’s basement, that, that’s really the beginning of the story. And he gets a call to adventure, you know, God says, well, get away from your family and your kin, get out there in the world. It’s the call to adventure. Think, okay, fine, that’s a heroic motif. But then Abraham goes out and the first thing he encounters is, like, tyranny and starvation, and then a bunch of guys who want to steal his wife. So, it’s, it’s been entertaining to take those stories apart and to see why they’re foundation; because they are foundation and they’re not mere ignorance that wh— whatever they are, ignorant superstition is not the right category.

Joe: How has this changed your classrooms?

Jordan: Well, I haven’t gone back teaching since all of this hit ‘cause—

Joe: When did you stop teaching?

Jordan: Well, oh no I guess that’s not true. That’s not true. I taught from January to May of 2016. Well, first way it changed it was that I was like, so, so shell shocked when I went to teach last January and I was really sick, like really sick this year. I had— last January, Jesus, it was just dismal. I wouldn’t have wished that on my worst enemy. I had three weeks where I didn’t sleep a wink. Try that, that’s really entertaining; one long day of misery that’s three weeks long.

Joe: What kind of an illness?

Jordan: It looks like an autoimmune disorder.

Joe: Do you think this is because of stress?

Jordan: No, I don’t.

Joe: You don’t think it’s connected, at all?

Jordan: No, well, yeah, I think it probably made it worse, but no, it’s something that I’ve battled with for a long time. And it’s something that really— both my wife and I have autoimmune illness and my daughter got—

Joe: What autoimmune illness?

Jordan: Don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t know what it is. In my daughter, it manifests—

Joe: Have you adjusted your diet?

Jordan: Yes. That’s what’s fixed it.

Joe: What fixed it?

Jordan: Oh, all I eat is meat and greens. That’s it. No juice, no vegetables, no carbohydrates; meat and greens, that’s it.

Joe: And that fixed it?

Jordan: That seems to have fixed it. Yes.

Joe: That fixes so many people. I don’t know if you’ve listened to the podcasts I’ve done but—

Jordan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I’m following them because my daughter has a blog too, called ‘don’t eat that’ and my daughter has a terrible autoimmune disorder. It was awful. I detail that out in chapter 12. She had 38 affected joints and she had her hip and her ankle replaced when she was 16.

Joe: Jesus.

Jordan: So she walked around on two broken legs for a year in excruciating pain. She was on extremely high doses of opiates; and so she was addicted to opiates which she, like, she just— once she had her surgery, she just went off them cold turkey and just like suffered through the withdrawal for two months. Compared to what she had been through that was nothing. Like, what she went through man, it was dreadful. And that was just the surface of it, like, that was only the beginning of her illness. She had all sorts of other things that were worse than that. And so, we figured she was probably going to die by the time she was 30 because my cousin’s daughter had a similar autoimmune problem and she died when she was 30. So it was bloody dreadful. But she figured out at one point that it was associated with diet and then she went on a radically restricted diet and she— christ, she was on antidepressants; she’s not. She had to take Ritalin to stay awake; she could only stay awake about six hours a day and she had to take high doses of Ritalin to stay awake. She—

Joe: Oh god. What is this autoimmune disease?

Jordan: Well, she had— her diagnosis was rheumatoid arthritis.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: But she didn’t have the blood markers for it. But she had all the other symptoms. Anyways, she figured out this restrictive diet. She only ate chicken and broccoli for about two months and almost all her symptoms went away. And she’s pretty much symptom free now, which is a complete miracle. And she convinced me to try this diet about a year and a half ago. And so, I lost 7 pounds for 7 months; that was the first thing.

Joe: What?

Jordan: Which was just bloody amazing. Yeah, it was unbelievable. It was unbel— I couldn’t believe it.

Joe: Was your diet rich in refined carbohydrates before that?

Jordan: Rich enough.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Rich enough, you know?

Joe: Pastas and bread, and things along those lines?

Jordan: Yeah, breads. Bread in particular, I ate a lot of bread. Um, so the first thing that happened was I quit snoring; that happened immediately. It took one week. And I was snoring quite badly. So that disappeared in a week. And that was amazing— I thought, oh, that’s interesting. And then I had gastric reflux disorder; that went away. And then I lost seven pounds the first month; I thought, oh, that’s a lot, seven pounds. I had psoriasis, that went away. I had floaters in my right eye, which is also an autoimmune problem; that went away. Um, I’ve had had gum disease for 30 years, that went away. That went away, that’s amazing. I’m 55, like, my gum disease away. It’s ridiculous. So, I figured all that out— my life in the last year was so, so strange, like, I’d get up in the morning and I’d think, God, all these bloody scandalous things are happening around me; and I have to deal with that. And then I think, I need a break. But I can’t eat anything. I can’t eat anything because if I ate the wrong thing it would like knock me out for a month, so I was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with my diet. And I was feeling wretched, and so it was like, if I— it was like wolves at the back door and crocodiles at the front door, something like that. So, but— but whatever, like, I’m down to the same weight when I was 25.

Joe: Wow.

Jordan: Yeah, no kidding. And I’ve got lots of energy. I wake up in the morning and I wake up; that’s never happened in my whole life. I’ve always had to have a shower, it took me an hour to wake up my whole life; that’s gone. Not hungry. Um, I don’t have hyperglycemia. I have lots of energy. Um, I can’t eat anything but— so, I can’t go out for dinner.

Joe: You can’t eat nonsense. You can eat. I mean, I’m on the same diet.

Jordan: I can eat meat and greens, man.

Joe: I don’t have a disorder like you did in the same regard but I take a day where I have a cheat day. And I don’t even do it every week. But I’ll have a cheeseburger, something like that.

Jordan: Yep.

Joe: But for the most part, that’s the diet I follow as well.

Jordan: Yep, well, for some people it’s like, like– well.

Joe: For a massive amount of people.

Jordan: Well, I think, for far more people than we know. I think people are carbohydrate poisoning themselves like they can’t believe.

Joe: Yes. And along with all the other things that go along with it, insulin, you know, all the—

Jordan: High blood sugar is not good.

Joe: Cholesterol. And this idea that cholesterol and saturated fat are the problems that people are experiencing; it’s not true.

Jordan: No.

Joe: The real problem is sugar.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: And cholesterol’s been demonized. You know, I’m sure you read the article in the NY Times, how the sugar industry paid off scientists to lie about the results.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. Well I know too that two food scientists in the UK resigned about three years ago; they were— they were part and parcel of the organization that had produced the food pyramid; they said it was the worst public health disaster in the last 40 years; pretty much got it backwards.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And you look around, you know, you drive through the US— it’s really obvious in the US— is people are overweight like mad.

Joe: Like mad.

Jordan: Yeah. Crazy.

Joe: It’s crazy.

Jordan: Ridiculous.

Joe: Go to Disneyland.

Jordan: Yeah, exactly.

Joe: And it’s insane.

Jordan: It is. But you know the reason is, as far as I can tell, the reason is is that their poisoning themselves with carbohydrates and it looks like—

Joe: And the thought process is so out of whack, I, um, retweeted an article today from Nina Teicholz, she tweeted it; about this trend of eating only egg whites and how terrible it is for you; it’s a health disaster. And this idea that cholesterol from the egg yolk is bad for you; it’s one of the most important things you can eat. And then Weight Watchers has adjusted— see it goes, Weight Watchers now adjusts their protocol and they say that eat all the eggs you want, it is now a zero point food; which is fucking incredible.

Jordan: Yeah, yeah. And so the way that I don’t get hungry is that I eat a lot of oil, a lot of olive oil.

Joe: Yes.

Jordan: Yeah, so, and that keeps—

Joe: Fats. So you’re basically burning fat. You’re on a like, ketogenic diet.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: Yeah, so and it seems to be, well, and that was com— that would have been complicated enough to keep me occupied for the last two years.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Which is sorting it out with my daughter because she— well, that was quite the bloody nightmare, I can tell you. It was really something. But, I can’t believe she figured it out.

Joe: It’s amazing.

Jordan: It is amazing. And, like, she’s really— she’s in pretty damn good shape; she just had a baby like five months ago, so that was a—

Joe: That’s amazing.

Jordan: Yeah, we’re— we’re stunned, man. We’re stunned ‘cause it was like, it was rough.

Joe: Well, she sounds like an incredibly extreme example—

Jordan: She’s quite the tough cookie, that girl.

Joe: Sounds like it.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: Many people are experiencing the same revelation that their diet is killing them. I was tired all the time.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I’d hit— I would hit a— I mean, I was always very, very active; so I stayed lean because of my physical activity but by the end of the day I’d need a nap.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: I would always take a nap before I’d go to jiu jitsu. I was like, I have to take a nap or I can’t train.

Jordan: Same with me.

Joe: And it was because of carbohydrates.

Jordan: Yeah, I had— I’d nap about two hours a day.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: And now I don’t nap at all.

Joe: Me too. Same thing.

Jordan: Well, that’s not exactly true. When I’ve been zooming around, I take, like, two minute naps when I’m in the airport, or whatever.

Joe: Well, that’s also, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.

Jordan: Yeah, right, exactly.

Joe: Big difference.

Jordan: Exactly. So, yeah, it’s been remarkable. So—

Joe: So, why did you stop teaching?

Jordan: Oh, well, I took a sabbatical.

Joe: Because of all of this?

Jordan: Yeah, well, I told my department chair, I said, look, I had a sabbatical coming up next year; I said look, you know, there’s too much going on; it would be better if I take the sabbatical this year then I could concentrate on my teaching next year.

Joe: So you take the entire year off?

Jordan: Yeah, yeah.

Joe: So, you’re about eight months in? Is that correct?

Jordan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and then I always teach from— I put all my courses from January to March; I teach all of them in the same semester and that enabled me to concentrate on my research for the rest of the time. And so, technically I’ll be going back teaching in January of 2019.

Joe: Technically?

Jordan: Technically.

Joe: You’re not convinced.

Jordan: Well, I can’t think a year ahead at the moment.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: I don’t know what the hell’s— like, I’m not going to go back and teach the same way.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Because, see, at some point, the technological transformation means you have to approach things differently. And so now, if I do a lecture online, whatever lecture it happens to be, I could get 150,000 people to watch it; that’s minimum. So, the first question would be, well, why would I teach 300 people when I could teach 150,000? That’s just stupid.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Who would do that?

Joe: Those same 300 people also have access to the 150,000.

Jordan: Well, exactly.

Joe: Yeah.

Jordan: That’s right. That’s exactly it. And the next thing, well, I taped my Maps of Meaning class and my personality class for three years running; it’s like, it’s there. Well, I could do it again but why?

Joe: Right.

Jordan: It’s taped.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: I would rather lecture about new things so that’s what I did this year, I did this Biblical series, which I hadn’t done before. But now, if I’m going to lecture again, I’m going to lecture about different things because the technology has transformed the landscape’ we’re not in 1990 anymore.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Not even a little bit.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: So, and—

Joe: This is something that I brought up to Bret Weinstein and I’m hoping he follows along the same line. Bret Weinstein, not “steen,” I make that mistake often, sorry Brett. But the same thing, brilliant guy restricted by his university, big scandal, leaves, and I’m hoping he follows the same path because he has so much to offer.

Jordan: Yeah.

Joe: And he has so much to offer for anybody who can get online.

Jordan: Well, one of the things that’s really fun about Youtube and having my lectures on Youtube is that the only reason people watch them— there’s only one reason; it’s because they want to learn. That’s it.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: And so, it’s— you might think, well, where is the university? Well, the university is where people want to learn.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: It’s like, okay, well, Youtube is the university because there’s hundreds of thousands of people on Youtube, maybe millions, who just want to learn. It’s like, fine. I’m an educator. I’ll talk to people who want to learn because if you’re an educator that’s what you do. Is that most effectively done in the universities? Not self-evidently. And so, now I’m trying to figure this out. You know, like, I like my job at the university; U of T has treated me well apart from this scandal thing but they were kind of taken aback by it, you know; it was a new law. And when I made the video criticizing Bill C16, I said, I think that making this video is probably illegal in it of itself.

Joe: Was there controversial moments in your career before that?

Jordan: No.

Joe: Wow.

Jordan: No. I mean, it’s surprised me because I’ve always— I would say that the content of my lectures has been atypical but it’s been atypical in a good way. Like, the student response to my lectures has always been, well, extremely good, extremely good. I’m always surprised that I was able to teach what I’m teaching because I always thought that it was insanely revolutionary; but it was revolutionary in a really, like, in a scholarly way, you know. Like, I’m a careful scientist, I’m a careful thinker. I think things all the way through to the bottom and I’m really self-critical. Like, when I wrote Maps of Meaning, which was my first book, I suspect that I rewrote every sentence at least 15 times; it’s probably more than that. And I really literally mean rewrite it, so I take the sentence out of the paragraph, put it in another document, write, like, ten variants of the sentence, and then pick the one that was best. And I did that, like, it took me 15 years to write. I did that over, and over, and over. And so what I was— I’d write a sentence and then I’d think, okay, have I got all the words right? Every single word, is that the proper words? Proper phrase? Is it the proper sentence? Do I believe that this sentence is true? And then I’d think, like, of ten ways I could attack it and see if I could break it apart and find out what was wrong. And I only kept the ones that I couldn’t destroy. And like, I was going out full force to destroy them because I wanted to come up with um, you know, come up— I wanted to produce a book that I could not break, no matter what I did. And so I spend 15 years on that, and then that was the basis— well, it’s the basis for 12 Rules of Life. It’s been the basis for all of the lectures that I’ve done and so forth. Like, I can’t see where it’s wrong. And mostly what I was trying to do was to see where it was wrong; and I can’t get underneath it; I can’t break it.

Joe: That’s what’s so fascinating to me about all this stuff, and not to— not to overly exaggerate the significance of this but just to be completely honest about it, you’re the right guy for the job; and it sort of found you. It’s real weird because there’s not a lot of people that are that meticulous about their thoughts, and about their work, and about their writing, and about their— criticizing their own ideas to the point where they break them down and try to break them, try to tear them apart.

Jordan: Yeah, well, I had— I had a big problem. So, when I— when I started to write Maps of Meaning, I thought, okay, what’s the situation? This is the Cold War. We’ve divided into two armed tribal camps and we’ve decided that settling the difference between us is worth risking ‘being’ itself. We could— we could drive everything into extinction; we’re willing to take that chance. What the hell is going on? So, I wanted to know two things; what was truly driving the tribalism of the Cold War, including its— including the generation of that fast, nuclear arsenal, because that just seemed to me to be insanity taken to the final pinnacle. So, I wanted to know that, and I wanted to know, okay, having figured out why that’s happening, what could be done about it so it would stop? And at the same time, I was also studying what had happened in Auschwitz and with the Nazis, and all of that. And so, it was a very a serious problem. And I actually wanted to have the answer; I actually wanted the answer. I didn’t want to write an interesting book about it. It wasn’t even that I wanted to write a book exactly, it was just that writing a book was the best way to figure out the problem because it’s— really writing a book is so rigorous, you know? Because you think but you can only remember so much. You have to write it down.

Joe: Right.

Jordan: Beause then you can remember way more and you can write. And then the next day you can go back and think, okay, I’m going to take that goddamn argument apart and see if there’s anything about it that’s weak. And so, and I think I did figure out, I think I did figure it out. So— and then when I— when I— well, then I started lecturing about it; and the lectures were always unbelievably well regarded. Like, people, the kids in the classes would always write for the evaluations at the end of the year; 80% of them would say— and this happened for 20 years— say this class changed everything about the way I look at the world. It’s like, yeah, that’s what happened to me too when I wrote that book. It’s like, I didn’t think the same way at all when I was done. I started to understand what these ancient stories meant. It’s like, shocking; never recovered from them. So—

Joe: Wow. Listen, you’re out of time. Thank you, always. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Jordan Peterson.

Jordan: I made a— I made a discount for your viewers again for the Future Authoring Program.

Joe: Okay, what do they have to do.

Jordan: Rogan.

Joe: Just use Rogan. And how do they get to the website?

Jordan: Selfauthoring.com

Joe: Okay.

Jordan: And I’ll send you a link for that. Thanks a lot and also thanks for everything, eh? Really, you are the portal into this weird world that I’m in. And people say that all the time, they come up, they say I heard about you on Joe Rogan; and like, thousands of people have told me that. It’s your fault.

Joe: It’s been an honor, I appreciate it, sir. Thank you.

Jordan: Yep, you bet.


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