Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021 • 53min

Q&A with Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson joins Mikhaila for a Q&A. My dad published his book!! I thought we’d have a qanda to celebrate! We covered advice for young people in their 20's, having a family and a successful career, whether it’s ever ok to cancel someone, the main differences between Beyond Order and Jordan's first 12 Rules for Life, and more. Pick up Jordan’s new book Beyond Order at: https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/beyond-order-12-more-rules-for-life/ If you enjoyed this, be sure to subscribe! This episode was sponsored by Self Authoring. The Self-Authoring Suite helps you sort through your past to get past trauma, write your present life, and organize your mind for the future by identifying and prioritizing goals. Visit https://www.selfauthoring.com and use promo code “MP” for 15% off. Thanks to Youtube demonetization, any donations to keep this trucking are appreciated - https://donorbox.org/mikhailapeterson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Speakers
(2)
Jordan Peterson
Mikhaila Peterson
Transcript
Verified
Break
Mikhaila Peterson
02:48
Jordan Peterson
, welcome to my podcast.
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Jordan Peterson
02:51
Thanks, Mik.
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Mikhaila Peterson
02:53
It's good to have you here.
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Jordan Peterson
02:53
Thank you. It's good to be here too.
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Mikhaila Peterson
02:56
I thought it would be fun because you've been out of the public eye for a very long time.
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Jordan Peterson
03:05
My electronic avatars are still out there working away.
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Mikhaila Peterson
03:08
This is true. This is very true. But I thought a good way of kind of bringing you back in an easy way would be, to do a Q&A, a kind of type thing.
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03:20
So you're okay with that?
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03:22
Cool. So I asked my audience on Instagram, they're a handy bunch what kind of questions and I was overloaded with questions and there seem to be like a couple of categories, but I'm going to start with like some of the common ones that people asked. So let's start. Well, first of all, the main question was, how are you doing?
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Jordan Peterson
03:42
I'm alive.
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Mikhaila Peterson
03:44
You look live.
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Jordan Peterson
03:45
Yeah, how am I doing? I'm functioning at about 20%, I would say, which is a lot better than one percent, but it's not good.
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Mikhaila Peterson
03:52
And then the last podcast we did, you were in worse shape.
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Jordan Peterson
03:59
Could be.
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Mikhaila Peterson
04:00
Okay, okay, we're not going to dwell on that very much. Let's do some questions. These are fun ones. Advice.
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04:08
What advice do you have for a young man in his 20s?
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Jordan Peterson
04:15
It's a pretty non-specific question, make a plan, look at what you're interested in, get disciplined about something, allow for the possibility that you have something important to contribute to the world and that the world would be a lesser place without that contribution. Don't be afraid of taking on responsibility.
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04:37
Your soul it's where you find what sustains you in your life. You can take on too much responsibility. You have to be cautious in that regard, but that's a less common problem than not taking on enough.
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04:51
A lot of the things that people regard as traps are actually the means to their life. You know?
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04:57
Often young people are afraid of commitment, for example, in the context of a romantic relationship and because they feel that that's going to interfere with their pursuit of something more valuable, but that's just not the case is you're not going to find something more valuable in your life than a committed relationship with someone that you love that sustains itself across time and that in all likelihood produces children, that's life.
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05:22
And there may be people for whom avoiding that is the better route.
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05:27
But those people are very rare and you need a real reason to assume that you're one of those people and hopefully, for you, you're not, you know, I've had a very good career, a very meaningful career in multiple dimensions and it's still been the case for me that the most important part of my life has been my intimate relationship with my wife and my and my family.
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05:53
So don't be afraid of that or be afraid of that, but don't let that stop you from pursuing it.
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Mikhaila Peterson
05:58
What about like how much do people have to kind of date around to find somebody though? Because it does take a bit of exploration to find somebody you're compatible with. So what's a reasonable amount of exploration and like by what age should people have figured it out? Because I mean there's always the "grass looks greener." So at some point maybe you should just settle down. But what are your thoughts on that?
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Jordan Peterson
06:23
Well, life isn't very long and so you don't get to evaluate that many relationships, You probably only have a 5 to 10 year period to do that, something like that. And then the reason you only have that amount of time is because it gets more and more difficult as you get older rather than easier, partly because people your age are increasingly in relationships.
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06:44
So I would say get at it, don't overestimate the degree to which you have to find someone versus create the relationship. You know, there's many cultures and I'm not suggesting that this is necessarily a desirable alternative.
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07:02
There are many cultures that arranged marriages and those arranged marriages frequently work. It's not obvious that they work less frequently than relationships or marriages that are predicated on romantic attraction.
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07:15
Which has its own pitfalls is that no matter who you find there are going to be full of flaws like you are. And so a lot of it is something you create, I think you want to find someone you can trust and someone that you're attracted to and perhaps someone who shares the same ambitions as you do or at least has ambitions that are compatible with yours.
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07:36
And then, well then pretty much all of it after that is what you create rather than what you find
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Mikhaila Peterson
07:43
Is part of the reason that arranged relationships or arranged marriages work is part of it because there's a societal pressure to not get divorced and because it's somebody your parents have chosen. There might be an expectation that you're supposed to uphold.
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Jordan Peterson
07:58
Of course. I mean that's partly why marriages in the west work to our marriages and cultures where the primary impetus for the marriage is romantic or sexual attraction. Part of the reason those marriages works is because work is because of social pressure. It's very difficult to sustain a relationship across time.
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08:17
And you need all sorts of social institutions as well as conceptual schemes operating to help ensure that that's the case because life is so difficult. You're going to go through periods of time where your relationship is extraordinarily difficult, but there's no escaping that.
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08:34
And if the pressure to stay together wasn't there, the relationship might fragment prematurely. And then not only would you have your problems, you'd also not have any relationships and that's not helpful. So you go through thick and thin together and it can be very thin.
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08:51
The thin times can be very thin, but the collective judgment of the human race so far has been that long-term monogamous relationships are the best that you can manage. And that's true cross-culturally with there are exceptions,
polygamy
is relatively common, nowhere near as common as
monogamy
, but there are exceptions made for
polygamy
.
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09:17
But the problem with polygamous societies is that they tend to be more violent, especially the young men in them tend to be more violent because they are more shut out of the mating game and that makes them very frustrated.
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Mikhaila Peterson
09:28
Oh, that makes sense. It would be mostly. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes me pissed off too. Why is this once this guy over here have seven wives? He'd be better off dead.
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Jordan Peterson
09:39
Yes. Yes. And I might be the one to help them along with that.
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09:43
I mean that's part of what
monogamy
does is stabilized societies. And that means that fewer stable instable societies, fewer people die. And so all things considered our species has decided that that's a good tradeoff.
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Mikhaila Peterson
09:60
Life's too hard. I tried to do. I tried to do it by myself for a while.
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10:06
It was like I probably I might have needed some time to be by myself to learn what it was like to be by myself. It's possible that I made a terrible mistake. Which or both.
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Jordan Peterson
10:17
Well you even when you were by yourself though, you had friends and you had family.
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Mikhaila Peterson
10:24
Yeah, but it is like life is easier if you can find somebody who you're compatible with like a little bit compatible.
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Jordan Peterson
10:31
Yes. Well, it's also something there's something to be said about sharing your experiences with someone they are more real than and your past and your present and your future all more real. If you have someone who shares them with you.
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Mikhaila Peterson
10:49
So advice for, I said advice for a mid-20s man.
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10:54
But that's more advice for just young people, in general, is a big-
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Jordan Peterson
10:58
Well, the best advice that you can really give to people who are young is that unless you have very good reason not to, you should do what all people have always done. And so what does that mean?
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11:09
When I see my clinical clients, although I'm not practicing anymore, when I saw my clinical clients, I would evaluate their lives across a number of dimensions. Were they immersed in the network of friendships? And did they have a family? And that could be their family of birth? But also the family that they've produced their own husband or wife and children.
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11:32
If they were of an age where that was appropriate, did they have a career or at least a job, and was their job productive and matched well with their abilities and their ambitions. Were they educated to the extent that their intelligence and curiosity might demand?
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11:53
Were they in reasonable physical and mental health independent of those other areas? All of those things need to be established and you don't want to question them so much that you don't establish them. You might think of yourself as a rebel and someone who's particularly unique.
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12:11
And it's also possible that you are unique in one or more ways. But fundamentally speaking, if you don't do what everyone else does, then the probability that you're abdicating your responsibility and that you will miss out on something important is extremely high.
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12:29
So, you know, our culture, virtually every movie that's made for children now, you see this coming out of the
Disney
studios constantly always concentrates on the special child who's got abilities that no other child has and is being crushed by society into being, you know, unpleasantly normal.
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12:47
And there is a fair bit of crushing that goes along with being socialized because part of being socialized is to become like everyone else. But you don't want to underestimate the benefit of that.
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13:03
It's very, very difficult to tread your own path and you're only going to be able to do that in a limited number of areas, You blow apart the social routines, you'll find yourself out there in a domain of chaos that will overwhelm you and that's not pleasant. You do not want that.
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Mikhaila Peterson
13:23
You talked about socializing and I had a few parents reach out and I haven't actually thought about this, but you talked about how kids have to be socialized by the age of four or they're basically screwed.
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13:33
And right now-
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Jordan Peterson
13:34
That's true, more true with some kids than others. So there's a minority of children who are quite aggressive by temperament at the age of two and if they're not socialized out of that higher than average level of aggression by the age of four, there isn't any evidence that that can be rectified later.
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13:51
Now, that may have implications for other elements of socialization as well. It's certainly the case that you want your children to be acceptable to their peers by the time they're three and four because peers do most of the socialization.
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Mikhaila Peterson
14:06
Here's the problem right now though.
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14:08
Like, I mean take
Toronto
for existence, everyone's in lockdown, you're not even allowed to go to elementary school right now. So I have, I had a couple of parents reach out and they're like, we've heard about socializing our kid is so like they're alone at home.
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14:23
So other than the fact that I personally think lockdowns are ridiculous, what do people do right now if they're missing out on those developmental like 2-4 years. Like are there things you could recommend they do?
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14:39
Are there things their parents could do with them, perhaps? That-
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Jordan Peterson
14:41
They can play with them and ensure that the children have time to play and you can be a reasonable replacement for a play partner for your child.
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14:50
Not entirely, but most parents know how to play with their kids and it's very, very important for children to play. So if your children don't have other children to play with, then you play with them, they need to play. So and you remember too that children are very resilient.
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15:07
So I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that they're going to be permanently damaged by this period of relative deprivation, especially if they have parents who care for them and who are doing what they can to keep them on the proper track, so to speak, during this terrible pandemic.
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Mikhaila Peterson
15:26
Plus everyone's gonna be a little stunted after the last couple of years and hopefully, we're all equally stunted come out a little dizzy like, "Did you feel behind in your development?" Hell yeah, well me too, but we're both two years behind. So-
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15:38
Hopefully.
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15:41
Okay, well that's good advice. Focus on like take seriously the part of your life because you hear some people and they say especially to men the 20s your 20s is for learning, going to university, getting a job, getting experience.
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15:58
You can focus on relationships later. Like I've heard a lot of men's, I don't know if you call them like men's rights activists or what online say like you push the relationship off because you can do that later.
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Jordan Peterson
16:09
Well, I think they're, men have more freedom to do that than women do because the biological clock ticks more urgently for women. And I think it is the case that men become more attractive through their 20s rather than less all things considered because they become more competent.
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16:30
And so I think and if you look cross-culturally. Again, women tend to find men who are about four years older than them optimally attractive. All other things held equal. I mean there's lots of things that each gender finds attractive or unattractive about the other.
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16:49
So I'm not trying to say that age is the only consideration, but men tend to prefer younger partners and women tend to prefer older partners and the gap seems to be 3-4 years and that does seem to be stable cross-culturally. And so men do have that additional time and they can use that additional time to make themselves more attractive.
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17:07
And they basically do that by making themselves more, probably more competent and more generous I would say. And that's a good combination, competent and generous. So women are appreciative of that and the fundamental reason they're appreciative of that I believe is because women bear the primary responsibility for early childcare.
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17:31
Certainly during pregnancy obviously and then I would say for at least the first year afterwards when breastfeeding is and when the child is so dependent and so tied to the mother primarily because of breastfeeding, but not only because of that, women need to find a partner to help them redress that imbalance.
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17:50
And that's reasonable. So they look to men for the kind of competence and generosity that allows for the possibility of infant caretaking during that extraordinarily dependent time.
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Mikhaila Peterson
18:08
Givenchy
begs ideally. I'm not allowed to say that.
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Jordan Peterson
18:11
Well that would be a market for that kind of competence possibly
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Mikhaila Peterson
18:19
The first time Andrey got me a
Givenchy
bag and I pronounced it "ga-vin-shee." I did that.
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Jordan Peterson
18:25
Did that decrease your attractiveness in his eyes?
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Mikhaila Peterson
18:27
I don't think he knows the difference, luckily, but the store clerk didn't say anything, they didn't even blink. They're like of course this way.
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Jordan Peterson
18:36
Okay. I'm quite embarrassed about that as your father.
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Mikhaila Peterson
18:39
I don't think the camera will catch it but I definitely turned a more healthy shade color.
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Jordan Peterson
18:43
I should also tell people that the scientific research, the academic research that I found most credible with regards to male-female differences has been derived from biology and evolutionary psychology. David Buss' work particularly. And so there's all sorts of academic schools that purport to describe gender or sex similarities and differences.
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19:13
But the more biologically oriented fields and modes of analysis produced the most reliable results as far as I'm concerned. So you may disagree with that. For example, if you're one of the people who believe that gender roles and sexual roles are entirely socially constructed, then you're going to be unhappy with my biological predisposition, but-
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19:38
Well, you be that as it may it's clearly the case that sex and gender roles are socialized to a large degree. But there's a big difference between a large degree and entirely and I think you're a fool if you don't pay attention to the role of biology which is not to say that the biological interpretation is necessarily free from all bias.
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20:00
But the scientific method is pretty good at eradicating bias across time
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Mikhaila Peterson
20:05
It's also not to say that you're if you're a woman that you're gonna be a girly woman, like I'm not a girly, like I am in some aspects girly, but I'm also very career-oriented and I'm very disagreeable and I have male personality traits, right?
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20:19
So, like it's not like just because there are differences, doesn't mean you have to be put in the barbie category versus like-
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Jordan Peterson
20:28
There are more similarities between men and women across the dimensions of personality, for example, than there are differences.
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20:35
So on average women and men are more the same than they are different. That means the curves, the distributions of the traits overlap to a large degree, but that doesn't mean that the differences are trivial.
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20:46
There was a new study published this week, which I tweeted showing yet once again that as cultures become more
egalitarian
in their social policies, that occupational choice differences between the sexes increase rather than decrease and that's actually a consequence of not, of differences in interest that aren't immense.
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21:08
They're on the order of one standard deviation, which is a large difference, all things considered, but still allows for retention of the truth, that there was more similarity between men and women than difference. The thing is is that a lot of activity occurs at the extremes.
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21:24
And so even minor differences can produce very in base rates can produce very different, very great differences in social outcomes. For example, men are more aggressive than women more physically violent, let's say, and that's about half a standard deviation in different, something like that.
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21:43
And so you might say that the average man, the average man would be more aggressive than something between 65 and 80% of women, something like that. But what that translates into a massive difference in incarceration rates, because the only people get incarcerated are the most aggressive individuals and almost all the most aggressive individuals are men.
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Mikhaila Peterson
22:13
That makes sense. I did-
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Jordan Peterson
22:14
It makes sense, but people don't like it and it causes a tremendous amount of controversy.
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Mikhaila Peterson
22:18
Well, that's because it's slightly more complicated than an elevator pitch and anything that's more complicated than an elevator pitch.
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Jordan Peterson
22:25
Well, it's also because it's somewhat contradictory, you know, it's not easy to understand how at one level of analysis things can be essentially the same and at another level of analysis, they can be markedly different, but you have to accept a couple of presuppositions and for example, with regards to occupational choice, it's a very, it's a minority of people who become engineers.
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22:46
Our engineers tend to be interested in things rather than people and more men than women. Women, men on average are more interested in things than women on average, and the difference, it's actually the largest sex difference that's known.
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22:60
Measurable sex difference than known is that's known is interesting people versus interest in things. But it's large enough, so that it produces a tremendous difference in the rates of women, for example, even mathematically gifted women who end up in engineering or physics for that matter. So it seems somewhat independent of ability, which is also quite interesting.
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Mikhaila Peterson
23:24
Yeah, that's true. I did. I put up a post today and I remember going to a class that you taught where you mentioned. And I looked up to study and it was every 16, I don't know why they did 16
IQ
points, slightly above-
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Jordan Peterson
23:40
It's about the standard deviation approximately.
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Mikhaila Peterson
23:42
Every 16
IQ
points a woman goes up from 100 she's 40% less likely to get married.
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23:48
And every 16
IQ
points a man goes up from 100 he's 35% more likely to get married. And I didn't I couldn't remember the exact statistics and I wanted to post it. So I googled it, but that's hard to argue with. I did. And it's like I remember hearing that I was sitting in on one of your classes because I don't know why maybe it was summertime or something or I wasn't going to-
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Jordan Peterson
24:11
It was probably a punishment I had arranged for you.
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Mikhaila Peterson
24:13
It probably was. But because I think I had classes at the time, I don't anyway, I was there and I remember hearing that and being like this is bad, this is bad news.
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Jordan Peterson
24:23
Yeah. Well, it might be that, I don't know, and this is pure speculation, but I don't think it's unreasonable to point out that pursuing a career and a family is more difficult for women than it is for men. And again I think that's because of the differential commitment during pregnancy and for the first couple of years.
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24:43
And so it might be that more intelligent women have a harder time because they're more interested perhaps in a broad range of, they have a broader range of interests and perhaps of abilities. It's less obvious to them how to reconcile that with the more traditional maternal role.
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25:06
And I don't know like speculation.
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Mikhaila Peterson
25:09
That seems like pretty, you're being careful there. That was pretty I think that was pretty on point. I've been talking to people on my podcast about some really successful people who have kids and I've been saying like how do you do it? Or how if it's a man like how does your wife do it? How does she have businesses and have kids?
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Jordan Peterson
25:30
Sorry. There's another reason to which I should point out is that women tend to prefer men at or above their position in the social hierarchy. And you can think of that as a hierarchy of power which I think is inappropriate or you could think about it as a hierarchy of competence. And so a high
IQ
woman is going to want a man whose
IQ
is as high as hers or higher, whereas a man.
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25:56
Men aren't like that they'll marry across and down the competence hierarchy. And so what that means is that as a woman becomes more competent which would include intellectually competent. Her pool of eligible mates from her perspective shrinks there's just fewer men like that.
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26:15
So if you're a woman with an
IQ
of 145 the only men you're going to be interested in. Obviously, these are over-generalizations but all other things being equal. Our men with an
IQ
of 145 above and that's like 1% of the population. So your pool shrink.
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Mikhaila Peterson
26:30
And they might like the 110 or 120
IQ
woman with big boobs, that's 23.
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Jordan Peterson
26:38
Well, they'll, I don't know.
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26:46
You know you could give men credit and say that they're willing to take care of someone and that's index by their preference for women who are at or below them in the competence hierarchy.
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27:01
However you define that or you could say that they don't like to be threatened in their domain of competence by their partner. They don't like feeling insecure and inferior and perhaps both of those are true and perhaps neither of them and something else entirely is true.
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Mikhaila Peterson
27:18
I think that makes sense. I think both could be true to a degree. I mean if you end up being smarter than your. As a woman, I think if you end up being smarter than your significant other and you're challenging them all the time, then it does take away from the kind of dominant aspect that you find attractive in a relationship, so that makes it difficult.
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27:37
And that they probably find attractive in the relationship as well being the dominant guy.
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27:41
And if you're constantly being like, well, here's why you're dumb, then that's not going to go well.
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Jordan Peterson
27:46
Well, I think it's also we don't want to underestimate the degree to which men are also intimidated by women who are outstanding across multiple dimensions. So men are certainly intimidated by women who are very physically attractive.
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28:04
So then if you take a woman who's very intelligent and very physically attractive, then she's going to be a very intimidating target and fewer men in all likelihood are going to approach her. So-
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Mikhaila Peterson
28:17
Okay, what about. So we kind of did advice for young people in their 20s, I would say, do you have any specific?
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Jordan Peterson
28:29
Well, the other thing I might advise that this is more, I said make a plan.
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28:33
I've developed a program with my colleagues at selfauthoring. com and there's a program there called the "Future Authoring" program and it helps, it's designed to help people make a plan for their life across multiple dimensions and-
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Mikhaila Peterson
28:48
It's work for me.
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Jordan Peterson
28:50
It's worked for many people.
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28:51
I'm not saying that you should go out and buy it, but it's there and you are saying that.
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Mikhaila Peterson
28:56
It works really well and it's not very expensive, it's like 25 dollar.
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Jordan Peterson
28:58
No, it's hard work though but it's not as hard work as stumbling blindly through your life and failing continually.
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Mikhaila Peterson
29:05
It is hard though, you have to write out like it it gets you to focus on your problems and it makes you think about a plan, it's kind of like doing homework.
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29:13
Like if you're really, if you want something that's pleasing really quickly, it's going to be tricky, but it definitely helps you organize your brain and try and make a future plan, especially if you're one of those people that are super open and everything seems like a good idea.
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29:28
"Oh, I can go in this direction, I could be a lawyer, I could be an astronaut!" that was me, I could be a make-up artist, that sounds great. Maybe I want to we want to do physics. No, no, no, I'm not smart enough for that.
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29:42
Okay, let's do a like, I like the family aspect, but let's do a 180.
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29:49
Two questions: 1. What are your thoughts on
Biden
being in power? But more importantly, there are a lot of
conservatives
out there that were very
pro-Trump
and I think a lot of them don't know what to do now and they don't know whether to feel angry or lost or if they start supporting
Biden
that they're you know that they're doing something wrong.
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30:18
So I guess first question is, do you have recommendations for
conservatives
now about what they should do now that they don't have a conservative leadership?
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Jordan Peterson
30:27
Well, the only recommendation I would have, and I don't have any particular. I wouldn't claim any particularly brilliant ability in this area, let's say, you'll get your chance again. I mean, one of the things you can be sure of in a democratic society is that power flips back and forth between people of different political persuasion.
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30:56
And I think all things considered, it might be best to have some faith in that process. Now, you might say that your faith has been badly shaken by the events of the last four years. And I think people feel that across the political spectrum, and that's a very bad thing. But I have more faith in the institutions, all things considered.
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31:15
Get your house in order. That's my advice generally to people, rather than concentrating if you're a
conservative
, rather than concentrating on what the
democrats
have done wrong or the people on the left, you might concentrate on what your crowd and you are doing wrong and try to stop doing that and hope that that works.
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31:34
I don't know, I'm not saying that will necessarily work, but I don't know a better alternative.
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Mikhaila Peterson
31:39
I have a good alternative, potentially. Okay, so if everything goes completely sideways even more than now, I think that we could just make a fund and get a whole bunch of people in it and take a whole bunch of money and buy an island and just move there.
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Jordan Peterson
31:56
And who do you mean by we?
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Mikhaila Peterson
31:59
I can head it because you'll get a lot of flak.
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Jordan Peterson
32:02
Well all the people on the island immediately, yeah, and we'd immediately fragment into warring groups.
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Mikhaila Peterson
32:09
We also need a lot of like lambs and cows and that would be most of the island. It would definitely, I'd get a tribe right away and be like, oh, I invited those people and they were not like, I thought they were, so they're off the island. There's always that option though.
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32:27
If things go completely sideways there a little bit sideways now
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Jordan Peterson
32:30
They're a little sideways, but everybody is very stressed by the lockdown and the pandemic. And so I'm hoping across time that the cooler heads will prevail. So that means we should each try to cool our heads, I would say.
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Mikhaila Peterson
32:43
How do you feel about you talked like in 2016, 2017, 2018, I guess, you talked about the importance of free speech and things have gone sideways way more since then. Everyone was running around in 2018 thinking things were going badly and then boom. But how do you feel about the tech-like kind of the, I guess the power that certain tech companies have right now. Social media companies, I should say.
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Jordan Peterson
33:16
Well, I'm ambivalent about it in many ways. I mean, I don't think it's a good thing that our society is now organized, so that private companies that control and allow for a tremendous amount of our interpersonal communication, have the power or have been forced into the position where they're policing speech.
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33:41
Now, maybe that's inevitable when you produce a new communications technology, it's obvious that that can go dreadfully wrong. I wish I had a simple solution to it. I have a social media platform.
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33:56
I own some of it,
Thinkspot
, and it's not, there aren't millions of people using it, and no doubt, we're going to run into policing problems.
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34:04
And it isn't obvious to me how those can be solved they're solved by people trying to be by people at the individual level, attempting to be as reasonable as they possibly can, even in their online discourse, but there's going to be people who are unreasonable on purpose and people who are unreasonable by accident, and it's not obvious how that can be dealt with, or where the lines should be drawn.
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Mikhaila Peterson
34:29
People who are unreasonable who are running things.
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Jordan Peterson
34:31
Well, the free speech proponents can say, well, if you're a private company, you don't have the obligation to host the opinions of people with whom you do not agree, and, you know, I have some sympathy for that, perspective, if I wouldn't like it, if my social media platforms were forced to open themselves up to just anyone's opinion, you know?
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35:00
I wish I had a simple solution for it. With
ThinkSpot
, we had promised that we wouldn't take down any contributions that weren't that didn't violate or appear to violate American law.
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35:17
That's a reasonable restriction. Since as long as you assume that the law is reasonable, I don't have any words of wisdom other than that. It's frightening to see what's happening. It's disturbing to see what's happening with de-platforming and so forth, but-
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Mikhaila Peterson
35:35
But what's the solution?
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Jordan Peterson
35:41
That's right, what's the solution?
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Mikhaila Peterson
35:43
Yeah, and it's funny you hear like when, so
Trump
got kicked off of Twitter and everything else, and
conservatives
were generally up in arms about that because they're like that's terrifying, which I agree, it's scary.
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35:59
But then there's this
Antifa
group got kicked off of Twitter and they were like yeah, they should have been kicked off a long time ago. Not to compare
Trump
to
Antifa
necessarily, but those are the same people saying, well private companies should be able to do whatever they want, which I agree with.
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Jordan Peterson
36:14
Well, they're not even necessarily the same people.
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36:17
That's the other thing that's so strange about social media is that you can get groups of people who are hypothetically allied by their political beliefs saying opposite things at the same time, but even if you're united with other people, by your political belief, all the people within that union are still extraordinarily diverse and are going to have all sorts of diverse opinions.
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Mikhaila Peterson
36:37
So is it ever acceptable to cancel somebody? Is there like is there a line or you said American law?
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Jordan Peterson
36:46
Well, it's always the case that these things have to be thought through in their specific instantiation. And I'm often parodied for my answers to questions like this. But it depends on what do you exactly mean by cancel?
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37:04
Like it's clearly the case that there have been instances where people have been fired or blocked off social media.
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37:14
Without perhaps, without sufficient provocation.
Share
37:21
So, but it's the same question again, at what point does misbehavior amount to the mount to the degree that something that intervention has to occur. And we don't know how to answer that. We don't know how to regulate these new technologies. They're too complicated and sophisticated.
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37:43
They're beyond us in some ways. I mean, Twitter, for example, seems to promote irritable responses and impulsive responses. And that's probably in part because of its strict character limit. You have to react, with short bursts of thought.
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Mikhaila Peterson
37:60
So there's no nuance.
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Jordan Peterson
38:01
Well, the room for nuance is limited and you could your anger systems can produce short outbursts, short verbal outbursts. And so it's an unexpected consequence of that strange limitation in communication. Perhaps that Twitter tends to be an impulsive forum, we just don't understand enough about human psychology to predict that sort of thing, much less police it.
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38:25
We have no idea what effects on personality, like what's the effect on personality of being forced to communicate in bursts of less than 280 characters? No one knows the answer to that.
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38:40
Maybe that brings your disagreeable aspect out to the forefront in a way that a longer post just wouldn't, you know, maybe compassion takes 500 words and 500 characters and anger takes 180, no one knows
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Mikhaila Peterson
38:58
That seems logical.
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Jordan Peterson
38:60
Well, anger is an impulsive response, an impulsive immediate response. And so it's likely adapted to shorter timeframes.
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Mikhaila Peterson
39:11
I've thought about it a lot because I'm generally of the opinion just like leave, let people have the most freedom they can, don't impose rules, right? But social media was tricky because it's a private company and I wouldn't want my company to have random rules put on it by the government, right?
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39:31
More than that's already happening. But I think these social media giants are so big that they can't be treated as a private company anymore. I think maybe once you have a certain, maybe it's that what to have a certain number of users. There are guidelines that I don't know who would even make these, that's part of the issue.
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39:49
But maybe the guidelines are the law and that it just switches over to that because Twitter like everybody's on Twitter, everybody's on Facebook, it's the government almost, right?
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Jordan Peterson
39:59
At some point, a public company becomes a utility infrastructure, part of the utility infrastructure.
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40:07
And at that point, it seems to emerge in some ways beyond the merely private domain. I do think something like that's the case but exactly when that happens and you know people have used the example of telephone companies though, for example, everybody uses the telephone but nobody polices the content.
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40:25
Now with a phone, I mean the old phone when you were just speaking with someone you couldn't influence a million people with one utterance. So the phone was one-on-one and its danger was constrained at least in part by that. But now a single utterance on, you know what major influencers part can be broadcast to a couple of million people multiple times a day.
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40:51
I do think that at some point private companies provide services that are so ubiquitous that they become public necessities and that new rules need to govern.
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Mikhaila Peterson
41:04
Yeah, that's what I think too.
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41:06
I don't know who would make the rules because I also don't trust the government.
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Jordan Peterson
41:10
Governments would make the rules and the reason for that is we don't have a better mechanism than that.
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Mikhaila Peterson
41:15
Yeah. But I mean maybe the old rules, you don't want whoever is in power to suddenly dictate all the social media companies that could easily be a disaster.
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Jordan Peterson
41:23
Well, you do if you don't have a better option, right? We don't have a better decision-making alternative for large-scale public decisions than government.
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Mikhaila Peterson
41:34
That's terrible.
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Jordan Peterson
41:35
Well, yes and no.
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Mikhaila Peterson
41:37
There's always the commune.
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Jordan Peterson
41:38
Well, the government has its role and private enterprise has its role and they balance each other to some degree and so-
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Mikhaila Peterson
41:44
Isn't very balanced at the moment.
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41:47
Things are like not good right now. I know you can be all optimistic and things, but I just I'm going to make a video about this. But like I told you yesterday, I just found out that it's mandated that you give birth in a mask.
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41:59
Even if you've been vaccinated and are negative. Can you see that ever going away? No, I don't think things are very good right now. Maybe things will magically get better when everyone is vaccinated and the death rate plummets.
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Jordan Peterson
42:11
I suspect that will improve things a lot. And I don't think that we should make the mistake of assuming that our current surreal reality is what we're going to experience for the long run.
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Mikhaila Peterson
42:22
But even in places in
Asia
after they got hit with
SARS
masks became a fashion staple, they just worn, they just wear masks.
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Jordan Peterson
42:32
I don't I certainly have no specific ability to see where this is headed and we don't know how effective the vaccines will be or how the virus will mutate. I'm optimistic about the vaccines. I think they'll bring them under bring the epidemic under control quite rapidly. So, God, I hope so.
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Mikhaila Peterson
42:50
And like I said, there's always the commune option. Things go completely sideways. Okay.
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Jordan Peterson
42:54
Yes. Well, people tried that a lot in the 60s and it never did work.
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Mikhaila Peterson
42:58
I wasn't around in the 60s. I don't remember them. Plus, there were a lot of psychedelics involved in that right?
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43:06
People were a little too naked. Like maybe.
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Jordan Peterson
43:09
There'd probably be a lot of that involved in any commune that you're a part of too.
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Mikhaila Peterson
43:12
Yeah, they're probably. Okay, to do a 180. I don't think we've talked about this before. But what are your thoughts on this is philosophical, free will versus not having any free will. Do you even care about that?
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Jordan Peterson
43:28
Determinism?
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Mikhaila Peterson
43:28
Determinism, yeah.
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Jordan Peterson
43:30
Well, it's not an either-or proposition.
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43:33
You're free in some regards and determined in others. And the farther out you look in the future, as far as I can see, the farther out you look in the future, the more your behavior is free will like and the closer it is to the present, the more your behavior is determined. So for example, if you make a ballistic movement.
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43:53
So if I move my hand rapidly from here to here and stop it. I disinhibit that movement and its ballistic once the movement starts, I have no free will once I have initiated the movement, I can't react fast enough to stop my hand. I have to pre-plan that using unconscious mechanisms beforehand and then allow the program to run.
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44:14
And so as you move towards an action, you become increasingly determined. So that, I wrote a paper on that years ago, a student of mine was the first author a good enough theory of free will. I believe it was called, you can look that paper up on the online.
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44:36
I'm embarrassed to say, I can't remember the name of the first author. He's a professor now, I believe in the
University of British Columbia
. It may come to me soon. A good enough theory of free will.
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44:48
And we attended-
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Mikhaila Peterson
44:49
Is it the guy that start with a J?
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Jordan Peterson
44:50
Don't remember.
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Mikhaila Peterson
44:51
Okay, I know that's not that useful, anyway. You attempted to.
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Jordan Peterson
44:55
Yeah, well we treat each other as if we have free will and societies that are predicated on the assumption that we have free will seem to be functional societies. And when we observe our own behavior, we treat ourselves like we have free will and we reward and punish ourselves as if we have free will.
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45:11
And so I'm not willing to dispense with that presumption given its high degree of functionality, even though it's not easy to understand how it might be the case.
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45:24
I think it may be that we have free will because we're actually too complex to be determined. Simple systems act in a determinant manner, but once they exceed a certain level of complexity? I don't think that's the case anymore? I don't know how to understand that though.
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Mikhaila Peterson
45:41
I like that. That you can kind of aim to where you're going and then you have tons of options, right? Especially if you're looking at career or who you're going to marry maybe or family or you know, big things, career particularly. So you can aim. But then, yeah, each action you take kind of leads to a limited number of actions or maybe just one realistically?
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Jordan Peterson
46:03
Well, it better because otherwise you wouldn't be able to act. You actually want to constrain your field of choices until you hit a determined point because then you act
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Mikhaila Peterson
46:11
The obvious choice.
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Jordan Peterson
46:12
Or even the inevitable choice. I mean obviously, when you put your hand on a stove, you don't have any choice about whether you jerk it off.
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46:23
And so that's a place where you're determined in your response. There's reflex. There's determinism at a reflex of level and a lot of your behavior has changed reflexes. But that doesn't mean that you don't decide where to aim those chained reflexes.
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Mikhaila Peterson
46:40
I've never really been, I asked the question because I got interested in it for a second. But I've always kind of avoided that conversation because I thought honestly, what difference does it make? Say everything's determined and you could track where you're going if you had enough information, right?
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46:57
Does that mean that you're going to be a crappy person? If nothing, if everything you do is determined, right? Because people I find that the problem with it is people can make the excuse well, if it's out of my control and I have no self will, then it's not my fault kind of thing.
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Jordan Peterson
47:12
Well, and people do make that argument and sometimes validly. So you can sustain forms of brain damage that clearly impair your ability to make moral choices.
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47:22
So if you have a pre-frontal damage, then you often become impulsive and make choices that are immoral, perhaps even by your own judgment before you had the damage. So you can be unfortunate and end up in a very determined condition. And courts do take that into account frequently.
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47:45
It looks like someone who's healthy and functioning optimally has a high degree of free will and someone who's ill and is constrained, is not as free in their actions. It's reasonable to take that into account.
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Mikhaila Peterson
48:04
Yeah, that's depressing but definitely true. You have very limited, a limited number of things you can do if you're sick or even how you can think, right? For sure if you're really sick.
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Jordan Peterson
48:14
Yes. Well, it's almost the definition of sickness apart from the pain and the anxiety that it produces, but those are limitations as well.
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Mikhaila Peterson
48:23
What's the difference between, so you're coming out with a book? When is the publishing date?
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Jordan Peterson
48:27
March 2nd, "Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life."
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Mikhaila Peterson
48:31
So what's the difference between "Beyond Order" and your first "12 More Rules for Life?"
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Jordan Peterson
48:36
Well, the first one has a white cover and the second one has a black cover.
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Mikhaila Peterson
48:39
That's sold. I'm sold.
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Jordan Peterson
48:41
Well, the first, as the title indicates, the first book was "12 Rules for Life," an antidote to chaos. And the second book is "Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life." I divided up a set of rules that I had written for a website called
Quora
into two categories and the categories essentially were, rules that pertain to how to the situation where too much uncertainty and chaos ruled.
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49:09
And alternatively, is the situation where too much constraint in order reigned. And those are two fundamental conditions of existence. You can be swamped by chaos or you can be over-constrained by structure and order. And so the first book was about how to deal with an excess of uncertainty, let's say.
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49:30
And the second book is oriented more towards how you deal with an excess of constraint. And I would say also, if you thought about it politically, in some sense, the first book would be more conservative in its orientation in the second book, more
liberal
because
conservatives
tend to be more temperamentally upset, let's say by uncertainty and chaos and liberals are more temperamentally upset by the excesses of the patriarchal structure? Let's say? I don't think that necessarily would come as a surprise to anyone, but each of those situations can get out of hand.
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Mikhaila Peterson
50:09
Do you think that's still true? I was talking to Andrey the other day about, you know, I definitely used to identify, I was always kind of
libertarian
was like them. I like those people, but probably more liberal.
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50:23
And then, and now I'm certainly more on the conservative side, even though I'm not, even though that word doesn't make sense to me, right? Like, if I'm talking about psychedelics, how can I be a conservative? Like that it doesn't make sense. So, do you think nowadays
conservatives
are still the people who are less open?
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Jordan Peterson
50:43
I think your question might be more, where do the
libertarians
fit? Do they fit on the liberal side or the conservative side? And you might be making the case that the libertarians have now shifted towards the conservative side? I don't know if that's if it's changed the personality predictors of
liberalism
and
conservatism
?
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51:02
And I don't know if the underlying political order has shifted.
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Mikhaila Peterson
51:05
That would be interesting to figure out, because do you have the personality indicators for liberals versus-
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Jordan Peterson
51:11
True, liberals are higher in openness.
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Mikhaila Peterson
51:14
But that was from, when?
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Jordan Peterson
51:15
10 years ago, 15 years ago? Something like that.
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Mikhaila Peterson
51:18
I'm curious-
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Jordan Peterson
51:19
I suspect it's mean, I suspect it's still the same, but I don't know for sure,
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Mikhaila Peterson
51:23
Then how can, like it feels to me, just from looking at the political spectrum and maybe this is wrong and this is the view I get, but it feels to me that it's the liberal people who are putting rules in now?
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Jordan Peterson
51:36
Well, I think that it may be that something shifts in political belief near the extremes. I mean, it's not like I don't I certainly believe there are left-wing
totalitarians
.
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51:50
But the rules that apply at the extremes might not be the same rules that apply in the middle.
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51:58
So, and then the question is how should the middle deal with the extremes? And I actually think that that's the question that bothers us politically right now, how did the liberals control the radical left-wingers? And how do the
conservatives
, moderate
conservatives
control the radical right-wingers?
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52:15
Now, I've been more concerned as an academic with the actions of the radical left-wingers, because they've produced more of what I see as a threat to free academic inquiry, how that's playing out on the broader social sphere, isn't self-evident to me.
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Mikhaila Peterson
52:33
I feel like it's fairly self-evident.
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Jordan Peterson
52:34
Well, perhaps it is.
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Mikhaila Peterson
52:36
I think so, but I'm a disagreeable human being. Didn't we, pa, didn't you and Andrey told me that you guys passed a playground the other day that said play inclusively on it, That sounds like
1984
.
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Jordan Peterson
52:51
Yes, it was. I wasn't very happy with the signage.
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Mikhaila Peterson
52:55
Yeah, wow, You're welcome in the psychedelic commune.
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