Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast #313

Last updated: Jun 2, 2023

The video is a conversation between Lex Fridman and Jordan Peterson about topics such as life, death, power, fame, and meaning, with a focus on the role of beauty in saving the world and the balance between order and chaos.

The video is a conversation between Lex Fridman and Jordan Peterson, a psychologist, lecturer, podcast host, and author. They discuss various topics such as life, death, power, fame, and meaning. Peterson talks about the importance of beauty, truth, love, justice, and classical virtues in saving the world. He also explains the balance between order and chaos in creating optimal structure and how it relates to the transformation that occurs within every structure. The conversation touches on the concept of the divine and the role it plays in defining one's fundamental axiom. Overall, the video delves into deep philosophical and psychological concepts.

  • Beauty points to truth, love, justice, and classical virtues, and transcends itself to point to the divine.
  • The burning bush in Exodus represents the balance between transformation and structure, and the beauty of the bush attracts Moses to it.
  • Humans have to exist within contradictions, but anxiety arises when contradictions manifest, and optimal beauty is a balance between order and chaos.
  • The divine can be defined as a fundamental axiom that is most divine to an individual, and beauty is a manifestation of the divine that can save the world.
  • Art has the power to reach into the mind and grip people, and may be the thing that remains of all human civilization many centuries from now.
  • Beauty is self-evident and challenges us to become more than we are, and faith is necessary to move forward into the unforeseen horizon of the future.
  • Spirit is a pattern that you must emulate in order to thrive, and the limitations of science prevent it from answering questions about the meaning of life and the nature of consciousness.
  • Cherubim with flaming swords represent that which is difficult to fit into conceptual systems, and the entire Christian narrative is embedded in this image.
  • People are scared of buying art because it exposes their taste to others, but they should still foster and develop it to challenge themselves.

Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast #313 - YouTube

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Beauty and the Divine

  • Beauty is a pointer to what saves the world, which is truth, love, justice, and classical virtues.
  • Beauty transcends itself and points to the divine.
  • The divine can be defined as a fundamental axiom that is most divine to an individual.
  • Humans cannot exist within contradictions, and anxiety arises when contradictions manifest.
  • Beauty and love do not have to be clear, ordered, or simple.
  • Optimal beauty is a balance between order and chaos.
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The Burning Bush

  • The burning bush in Exodus is a representation of the balance between transformation and structure.
  • The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil are represented by the tree-like structure of the bush.
  • The fire in the bush represents the transformation that occurs within every structure.
  • The fact that the fire does not consume the bush indicates the balance between transformation and structure.
  • The balance between transformation and structure is presented as God.
  • The beauty of the burning bush is what attracts Moses to it.
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Existence within Contradictions

  • Humans have to exist within contradictions, but when contradictions manifest, anxiety arises.
  • Anxiety is a cardinal negative emotion signifying multiple pathways forward.
  • Entropy signals can be channeled into beauty and love.
  • Optimal beauty is a balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty and love do not have to be clear, ordered, or simple.
  • Humans cannot exist within contradictions, but they can exist within a balance between transformation and structure.
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Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast #313 - YouTube

The Divine and Fundamental Axioms

  • The divine can be defined as a fundamental axiom that is most divine to an individual.
  • Humans cannot exist within contradictions, and anxiety arises when contradictions manifest.
  • Beauty and love do not have to be clear, ordered, or simple.
  • Optimal beauty is a balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty transcends itself and points to the divine.
  • The divine is what saves the world, which is truth, love, justice, and classical virtues.
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The Daunting Nature of Beauty

  • People are scared of buying art because it exposes their taste to others.
  • People generally have terrible taste, but they should still foster and develop it.
  • Putting your taste on display exposes you to yourself and can reveal how mundane, trite, cliched, sterile, too ordered, or too chaotic it is.
  • A real piece of art doesn't become mundane even after seeing it many times.
  • Religious images, or deep images, have been unpacked for 4,000 years and still have meaning.
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The Symbolism of Cherubim with Flaming Swords

  • Cherubim are the supporting monsters of God and represent that which is difficult to fit into conceptual systems.
  • Cherubim have an angelic or demonic aspect.
  • A flaming sword is a symbol of judgment, separation of the wheat from the chaff, and death.
  • Flaming swords are also a symbol of apocalypse and hell.
  • The entire Christian narrative is embedded in the image of cherubim with flaming swords.
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The Power of Art to Reach into the Mind

  • A piece of art with an image like cherubim with flaming swords has all the information of hellish judgment embedded in it.
  • Art reaches into the back tendrils of the mind at levels that can't be comprehended and grips people.
  • People go to museums and gaze at paintings they don't understand because of the power of art.
  • Artistic images have survived for at least 50,000 years and some are already profound in their symbolism.
  • Art may be the thing that remains of all human civilization many centuries from now.
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The Importance of Beauty in Saving the World

  • Beauty is a balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty is a manifestation of the divine and can save the world.
  • People make pilgrimages to Europe because of the beauty.
  • Beauty is self-evident and partly why classic art and high-level technological implements are so expensive.
  • Even secular people go to museums and look at art, which may make them not so secular after all.
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The Importance of Beauty

  • Beautiful things fill us with a sense of awe and we need to see those things.
  • Beauty is a terrible pointer to God.
  • Modern architects like to erect giant middle fingers everywhere.
  • Beauty challenges us and is a way to become more than we are.
  • Religious systems have become propositionally dubious.
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The Role of Faith

  • We cannot move forward into the unforeseen horizon of the future except on faith.
  • Not having faith can lead to nihilism, hopelessness, and anxiety.
  • Something is guiding us forward, whether it's faith in something or multiple things.
  • God in the highest sense is the spirit that you must emulate in order to thrive.
  • Spirit is a pattern that you must emulate in order to thrive.
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The Definition of Spirit

  • The human spirit is an animating principle.
  • Spirit is a pattern that you must emulate in order to thrive.
  • Admiration means there's something about the way a person is that compels imitation.
  • Worship means celebration and proclivity to imitate.
  • The set of all admirable people represents God.
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The Limitations of Science

  • God is not a set of propositional facts.
  • God is not a scientific theory about the structure of the objective world.
  • Post-modernist types have been skeptical of science for a long time.
  • Science cannot answer questions about the meaning of life.
  • Science cannot answer questions about the nature of consciousness.
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The Role of Transcendent Reality in Science

  • Scientists believe in the existence of the ontological transcendent before moving forward.
  • Contact with the transcendent reality is redemptive in the most fundamental sense.
  • Freedom from want, disease, and ignorance is what the contact with the transcendent reality offers.
  • Science posits a transcendent reality that is corrective and should be regarded with humility.
  • Scientists take a vow to follow the path of truth as a redemptive force.
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The Complexity of Belief in God

  • Belief in a transcendent reality is a complicated topic.
  • Presuming a materialist, reductionist, objective view of nature is problematic.
  • Scientists do not know the origin, destination point, or teleology of nature.
  • Reductionism is not a scientific assumption but a specific, limited human assumption.
  • Matter is what matters, but scientists do not know what it is.
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The Importance of Beauty in Saving the World

  • Beauty is a manifestation of the transcendent reality.
  • Beauty is a source of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Beauty is a way to connect with the transcendent reality.
  • Beauty is a way to combat chaos and nihilism.
  • Beauty is a way to bring order and meaning to the world.
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The Balance Between Order and Chaos

  • Order and chaos are necessary for life.
  • Too much order leads to tyranny and stagnation.
  • Too much chaos leads to destruction and nihilism.
  • The balance between order and chaos is where meaning and purpose are found.
  • The balance between order and chaos is where creativity and innovation thrive.
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The Importance of Ethics in Science and Technology

  • Science can err in taking a trajectory away from humility without something more powerful than individual human.
  • Frankenstein story is a good example of playing around with making new life and the importance of having arrows pointed up.
  • Biology, chemistry, genetics, and physics are different communities with different traditions, but biology has a history of taking ethics seriously.
  • Robotics and artificial intelligence don't have a history of taking ethics seriously.
  • Robotics engineers are often thing people who are very logical thinkers and outcome-oriented, but there's a human side of the equation that needs to be considered.
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The Dangers of Artificial Intelligence

  • Building an artificial intelligence is not a toy, it's a whole new kind of monster.
  • Artificial intelligence can quickly become a monster.
  • Many artificial intelligence systems can no longer be turned off.
  • Engineers need to be careful when adding off switches to things.
  • The off switch gives a deadline to humans and systems of existence.
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The Importance of Death and Transformation

  • Death brings clarity to life.
  • The flaming sword is a thing of transformation that consumes the thing in the process.
  • The amount of chaff in a thing determines whether it can touch the flame or not.
  • People can have bad psychedelic trips if they're 95% dead wood and get too close to the flame.
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The Magic of Beauty

  • Beauty has the power to save the world.
  • Beauty is a manifestation of the balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty is a way of transcending the mundane and connecting with something greater than ourselves.
  • Beauty is a way of accessing the divine.
  • Beauty is a way of finding meaning in life.
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Optimizing Death

  • There is an aspect of destruction that is part of humility.
  • Invite in the judgment to die a little bit instead of dying completely.
  • We can let our ideas die instead of us.
  • Optimizing death is finding the optimal balance between growth and death.
  • If you live your life properly and let your stupidity die before it takes you out, you will live longer.
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Fame and Corruption

  • Do you worry that your fame traps you into the person that you were before?
  • Fame to some degree has corrupted Jordan Peterson.
  • People are much more likely to do what you ask for when you are famous.
  • One of the things that keeps you dying properly is people pushing back against you.
  • As your influence increases, the responsibility attendant upon that increases.
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Managing Fame

  • Jordan Peterson tries to have people around him all the time who are critics.
  • The responsibility attendant upon fame increases as your influence increases.
  • As your influence increases, it becomes a lot of responsibility.
  • It's difficult to take problems on in a serious manner, and it's frightening.
  • Jordan Peterson is tempted to draw on anger as a motivating energy to help him overcome the resistance to doing things.
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The Danger of Fame

  • Celebrities spiral out of control, especially the tyrannical types that run countries.
  • Everyone around them stops saying they're deviating a little bit there.
  • One of the things that keeps you dying properly is people pushing back against you.
  • It's not a good deal if the red carpet is rolled out to you on your way to perdition.
  • It's important to have critics around you all the time who are saying you could have done that better.
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The Role of Anger and Beauty in Life

  • Debates about the balance between anger and kindness in activism.
  • Anger can harden the mind and make people cynical about the world.
  • The story of Christ is about radical acceptance of the worst possible tragedy.
  • Christ's journey through death into hell is a voluntary journey to hell.
  • Gazing upon death and the abyss can lead to seeing the light instead of the darkness.
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The Fear of Death and Hell

  • Thinking about death is a constant presence in Jordan Peterson's life.
  • Many people don't think about death and it's not part of their character.
  • Peterson wakes up every morning with the thought of time being short.
  • He was ready to die a year ago, but he's worried about making a mistake.
  • Elon Musk's offhand comment about death being a relief was a telling moment.
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The Connection Between Death and Hell

  • Peterson is more afraid of hell than death.
  • He's not sure if hell follows death or if it's always here.
  • The connection between death and hell is unknown.
  • There may be something that needs to be done before arriving at death.
  • Gazing upon death and the abyss can lead to seeing the light instead of the darkness.
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The Importance of Beauty in Saving the World

  • The balance between order and chaos is important in life.
  • Beauty can save the world by providing a balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty is a reminder of the quiet love that permeates everything.
  • Beauty can help people notice the subtle and quiet aspects of the world.
  • Beauty can help people avoid becoming deeply cynical about the world.
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Elon Musk

  • Peterson admires Musk's accomplishments and would like to talk to him about his ideas.
  • Musk's ideas about humans becoming a multi-planetary species could be one of the things that human civilization looks back at as obvious.
  • Musk built an electric car that works and a rocket at one-tenth the price of NASA rockets.
  • Musk's Boring Company is a whimsical joke in some sense but it's not a joke.
  • Musk puts his finger on things oddly, such as the problem of underpopulation.
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Anti-Truths

  • An anti-truth is something that's so preposterous that you couldn't make a claim that's more opposite to the truth.
  • The claim that there are too many people on the planet is an anti-truth.
  • People say that we have to accept limits to growth, but Peterson thinks that's because they're frightened of the future.
  • Peterson believes that the idea of limits to growth is an anti-truth.
  • He thinks that the claim that there are too many people on the planet is a bloody catastrophe.
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The Dragon

  • Peterson compares environmentalists who push limits to growth to someone who claims there's a dragon and they're the only one who can deal with it.
  • He asks whether the dragon is real or not, and whether the apocalypse is looming on the environmental front.
  • Peterson thinks that you can make a case both ways for environmental concerns.
  • He believes that we've overfished the oceans terribly and there are looming environmental issues.
  • Peterson thinks that the concern about climate change is not trivial.
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Conclusion

  • Peterson admires Musk's accomplishments and would like to talk to him about his ideas.
  • He thinks that the claim that there are too many people on the planet is an anti-truth.
  • Peterson compares environmentalists who push limits to growth to someone who claims there's a dragon and they're the only one who can deal with it.
  • He believes that we've overfished the oceans terribly and there are looming environmental issues.
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Leadership and Environmental Problems

  • Leadership is important in solving problems like environmental issues.
  • A good leader should not be paralyzed by fear and willing to use tyrannical compulsion to get their way.
  • People like Bjorn Lomberg, Matt Ridley, and Marion Toopey are good leaders because they have thought deeply about environmental problems.
  • The human race has a track record of learning fast and doing more with less.
  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy are difficult to make and cannot be trusted.
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Privation and Poverty

  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy predict that people will go through a difficult period of privation.
  • To avert a catastrophe 50 years in the future, people will have to accept limits to growth.
  • People will be poorer than they would be if they were left alone.
  • People at the bottom of a hierarchy are more stressed and have compromised immunological function.
  • People sacrifice the future for the present.
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Climate Models and Economic Models

  • Climate models are extended into economic models.
  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy are difficult to make and cannot be trusted.
  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy predict that people will go through a difficult period of privation.
  • People will be poorer than they would be if they were left alone.
  • People at the bottom of a hierarchy are more stressed and have compromised immunological function.
  • People sacrifice the future for the present.
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The Environment and Everything

  • Complex systems like the environment are difficult to talk about because there is so much involved.
  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy are difficult to make and cannot be trusted.
  • The environment is everything, so saying you are concerned about the environment is like saying you are worried about everything.
  • People have gone after Jordan Peterson because he does not buy the climate models.
  • Models that predict the future of the environment and economy predict that people will go through a difficult period of privation.
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Deloitte Consultants' Hypothetical Models

  • Deloitte consultants claim that a lot of poor people will have to die so that a lot more poor people don't die in the future.
  • They have modeled the entire ecosystem of the world, including the economic system, and predicted a hundred years forward.
  • There is a moral hazard in making such a claim, especially when 150 million people will suffer food insecurity this coming year.
  • The governments destabilize during famine and appropriate the food from the farmers, which leads to the farmers not having any money and not being able to grow crops.
  • It is better to cast the lot with the actual poor people that will be killed in the next 10 years than with the hypothetical poor people that will be saved 100 years from now.
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The Famine of the 30s and the Dutch Farmers

  • The Dutch farmers are so efficient and productive because they swore at the end of World War II that famine was not going to happen again.
  • The Dutch had to scrape land out of the ocean because Holland is a small country, but it is the world's number two exporter of agriculture products.
  • The broader ecosystem of agriculture production in Holland is six percent of their GDP.
  • Putting 30 percent of the farmers out of business will demolish the grocery stores and impoverish the transport systems.
  • You can't take something like that and pair it back by fiat by 30 and not kill it.
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The COVID Lockdowns and Supply Chains

  • The COVID lockdowns broke the supply chains.
  • It is difficult to buy something lately.
  • The Chinese are threatening Taiwan at the moment, and we may not have chips.
  • It is unclear what the centralizing politicians are thinking.
  • It is impossible to knock an industry back by fiat by 30 percent and not bring the whole thing down.
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Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning

  • Life is suffering, and we need to find meaning in it.
  • Death is the ultimate end, and we need to live our lives in a way that makes it meaningful.
  • Power is necessary, but it can be dangerous if it is not balanced by responsibility.
  • Fame is a byproduct of doing something meaningful, but it can be dangerous if it is not balanced by humility.
  • Beauty is necessary to save the world, and it is the balance between order and chaos.
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The Dragon and Ideologies

  • Corporate employers and environmentalists pit the planet against the poor.
  • Environmental globalist utopia may kill the poor and destroy the planet.
  • The fear of the dragon drives ideologies that can build or destroy the world.
  • Trustworthiness theory: if the dragon turns you into a terrified tyrant, you're not the man for the job.
  • The intensity of anger and concern about certain things in society may drive one off the path that ultimately takes us to a better world.
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Anger and Nazis

  • There's a cultural conclusion about the Nazis.
  • People who are angry about the Nazis may not be trusted.
  • Actual Nazis and people who call others Nazis are different.
  • The belief that Nazis have taken over Ukraine is used by people to spread any kind of ideology they want.
  • It's a human proclivity to demonize the scapegoat and drive it out of the village.
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The Importance of Boundaries

  • Issues with boundaries are complicated.
  • Renee Gerard believed that it was a human proclivity to demonize the scapegoat and drive it out of the village.
  • We need a place to put Satan.
  • Should Satan be inside or outside the village?
  • Maybe Satan should be inside.
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Conclusion

  • The fear of the dragon drives ideologies that can build or destroy the world.
  • People who are angry about the Nazis may not be trusted.
  • Issues with boundaries are complicated.
  • We need a place to put Satan.
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The Story of Cain and Abel

  • Adam and Eve are thrown out of paradise for becoming self-conscious.
  • To become self-conscious is to become aware of the future, which is to become aware of death.
  • As a consequence, they now have to labor to prevent the catastrophes of the future.
  • Cain and Abel are the first two people who are born rather than created.
  • Abel's sacrifices please God, but Cain's don't.
  • Cain gets resentful and calls God out.
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The Spirit of Resentment

  • God says to Cain that he's not making the sacrifices he should.
  • He says sin crouches at your door like a sexually aroused predatory animal and you've invited it in to have your way with you.
  • God basically says that Cain has allowed his resentment to preoccupy himself and now he's brooding upon it and generating something creative new and awful possessed by the spirit of resentment.
  • Cain leaves and kills Abel instead of changing.
  • Cain's descendants are the first people who make weapons of war.
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The Eternal Story of Mankind

  • The story of Cain and Abel is the eternal story of mankind.
  • It's playing out right now except at a thousand times the rate.
  • It's not always easy to know which among us are the Cain.
  • The spirit of resentment is always there, waiting to take over.
  • We need to be aware of it and fight against it.
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The Importance of Sacrifice

  • Work is sacrifice, sacrifice of the present to the future.
  • It's delay of gratification, maturity, and sacrifice to something.
  • Abel thrives because he brings the finest to the sacrificial altar.
  • Cain is not all in, he's not bringing his best to the table.
  • Cain gets resentful and jealous of Abel.
  • Cain's sacrifices are rejected, and he becomes possessed by the spirit of resentment.
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Resentment towards the Left

  • Universities are threatened by the Left, not the Right, and this has affected Peterson's profession and clinical practice.
  • Peterson has 10 lawsuits against him from the College of Psychologists due to complaints from anyone in the world for any reason.
  • He has been tortured nearly to death multiple times by bad actors on the Left.
  • Peterson and his family have been put at risk by the Left, and he has been cancelled 40 times.
  • The specter of resentful Marxism is back in full force, and Peterson has animus against it.
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Challenge to Stealman Trudeau

  • Trudeau seems to get along well with his wife, has some kids, and has no sexual scandals.
  • He has done some good things on the oceanic management front, putting a fair bit of Canada's oceans into marine protected areas.
  • Trudeau's family speaks to his character, and he seems to be a good man.
  • However, he has no training or experience for the position of Prime Minister.
  • Trudeau was asked to run by the Liberals, despite not knowing enough to be Prime Minister.
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The Importance of Beauty

  • Beauty is a fundamental human need, and it can save the world.
  • Beauty is a balance between order and chaos, and it can be found in art, music, and literature.
  • Beauty is a way to transcend the mundane and find meaning in life.
  • Beauty is a way to connect with the divine and experience something greater than oneself.
  • Beauty is a way to combat nihilism and find purpose in life.
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The Search for Meaning

  • Meaning is a fundamental human need, and it can be found in responsibility, relationships, and purpose.
  • Meaning is a way to combat nihilism and find purpose in life.
  • Meaning is a way to transcend the mundane and find something greater than oneself.
  • Meaning is a way to connect with the divine and experience something greater than oneself.
  • Meaning is a way to combat the chaos of life and find order in the world.
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Trudeau's Leadership

  • Trudeau's first act as Prime Minister was to make the cabinet 50% women despite only 25% of elected members being female.
  • This decision was a bad move as it limited the talent pool for cabinet positions.
  • Compassion is not a virtue, it is a reflex.
  • Judicious compassion is a virtue, but treating adults like infants is not.
  • Love is a complicated dance between compassion, encouragement, and truth.
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The Importance of Growth

  • The growth element is crucial in fostering love.
  • To foster growth, judgment and compassion must operate in tandem.
  • Mercy and justice are the two hands of God that must also operate in tandem.
  • There has to be an active exchange of information between the maternal and paternal poles.
  • Trudeau's decisions show a lack of judgment and a disregard for growth.
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Trudeau's Contempt for the West

  • Trudeau's father devastated the West in 1982 with the National Energy Policy.
  • Trudeau is doing the same thing again, which has caused animus towards him in the West.
  • The glittery literati elite in the Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto triangle have exploited and expressed contempt for the West for too long.
  • Trudeau's recent attack on Canadian farmers and his lack of support for the oil and gas industry is a catastrophe.
  • Trudeau is no friend to the farmers.
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Leadership and Responsibility

  • Leadership requires responsibility and the ability to make difficult decisions.
  • Leaders must have a vision and the ability to communicate it effectively.
  • Leaders must be willing to take risks and make mistakes.
  • Leaders must be willing to learn from their mistakes and grow.
  • Leaders must have a balance between order and chaos.
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Power and Corruption

  • If you're not suited for a position of power, the power will corrupt you.
  • If you don't have the chops for the job, you have to devalue the job to feel comfortable inhabiting it.
  • Power has corrupted politicians, including those in Canada.
  • Politicians double down on their positions instead of retreating from them.
  • Parliament in Canada has been compromised by lockdowns and fear-driven paralysis.
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Talking to Politicians

  • Jordan Peterson would talk to anyone, including politicians.
  • He would ask politicians questions about their positions and beliefs.
  • He has had political types in Canada on his podcast and tried to ask them questions.
  • He would like to know if he has a big part of a politician wrong.
  • He believes in the power of conversation to understand people better.
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Fear-Driven Paralysis

  • There is a fear of the unknown that lurks in the shadows.
  • This fear is leveraged by people in academic circles who are in administration.
  • People in positions of power who are not good at handling that power become slowly more corrupt.
  • Brilliant people are lost in this paralysis.
  • Paralysis and fear are caused by lockdowns and the unknown.
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Trustworthy Advice

  • Facts are tricky things and depend on where you look for them.
  • There are too many facts to determine if someone's advice is trustworthy.
  • The answer to trustworthy advice is that the person giving it is not a terrified tyrant.
  • Compulsion should not be used when goodwill is an option.
  • Farmers in Canada objected to the use of fertilizer and have cut their use substantially in the last 40 years.
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Impact of Policies on Poor People

  • Policies that aim to reduce carbon emissions can negatively impact poor people.
  • For example, a policy that reduces fertilizer use without considering the amount of food produced can lead to higher food prices and hunger.
  • Politicians often claim that such policies will ultimately benefit the poor, but this is not true in the short term.
  • During times of war, the poor often suffer the most from decisions made by the political elite.
  • Ultimately, policies that harm the poor can lead to social unrest and instability.
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The War in Ukraine

  • The war in Ukraine has multiple causes, including mismanagement by the West, Russia's expansionist tendencies, and Putin's manipulation of his people.
  • Jordan Peterson was criticized for suggesting that Putin's belief in Russia as a salvific force was a reason for the war.
  • Eastern Europeans also believe that the West has lost its mind due to "wokism."
  • Peterson talked to 300 political and cultural leaders in 15 Eastern European countries, including liberals and canceled progressives.
  • The culture wars are a signal of possible social unrest and instability.
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The Importance of Beauty

  • Beauty is an important aspect of life that can help save the world.
  • Beauty can be found in art, music, literature, and nature.
  • Beauty can inspire people to strive for something greater than themselves.
  • Beauty can help people find meaning in life.
  • Beauty can help balance the chaos and order in the world.
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The Meaning of Life

  • The meaning of life is a difficult question to answer.
  • For Jordan Peterson, the meaning of life is to find a purpose and strive towards it.
  • Meaning can be found in relationships, work, and personal growth.
  • Meaning can also be found in the pursuit of truth and beauty.
  • Ultimately, the meaning of life is subjective and varies from person to person.
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Putin's Beliefs and the Third Way

  • Jordan Peterson believes Putin thinks of himself as a bulwark for Christendom against the degeneration of the West.
  • The third way that Dugan and Putin have been talking about for 15 years is very amorphous.
  • Solzhenitsyn thought the Russians would have to return to the incremental development of Orthodox Christianity to escape from the communist trap.
  • There has been somewhat of an Orthodox revival in Russia, and Jordan Peterson doesn't think that's all bad.
  • Even if Putin doesn't believe any of this, he's convinced his people that it's true.
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The Power of Lies and Propaganda

  • People generally do what they say they're going to do, and Hitler is an example of that.
  • When you tell the same lies over and over, you start to believe them.
  • Neurology shows that when you first formulate a concept, huge swaths of your cortex are lit up, but as you practice, the right hemisphere stops participating and the left participates less and less until you build specialized machinery for exactly that conceptual frame.
  • If you're telling effective lies over and over, you're not fooling anyone, and you won't be able to withstand them.
  • Putin believes to the degree that he believes anything, and Jordan Peterson doesn't think he's just a psychopathic manipulator.
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The Human Cost of Conflict

  • People who have lost their homes and those on the Russian side who believe they're saving a land from Nazis genuinely think that there's some degree to which they have love in their heart.
  • They see themselves as heroes, and that's how you motivate young men to go fight.
  • Humans are destroying not only their homes but creating generational hate and destroying the possibility of love towards each other.
  • Hate was born at a scale that region has never seen before on February 24th this year.
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The Importance of Beauty and Balance

  • Beauty is a manifestation of the balance between order and chaos.
  • Beauty is a pointer to the transcendent, and it's what makes life worth living.
  • Beauty is what makes people willing to bear the burden of existence.
  • The world is in desperate need of beauty, and it's what can save us from the chaos of the world.
  • The balance between order and chaos is necessary for life to exist, and it's what makes life meaningful.
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The Importance of Hospitality

  • There is a real emphasis on hospitality in the Old Testament.
  • Being hospitable can help people get to know and trust each other.
  • Trust can lead to deeper conversations and more meaningful interactions.
  • Many politicians in Washington lack hospitality and social occasions with their colleagues.
  • Bringing young Republican and Democratic congressmen together to talk can lead to interesting conversations.
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The Missing Element in War

  • War is not fought over agriculture, energy, or geopolitics.
  • Wars are started and averted based on human beings.
  • Lockdowns due to COVID-19 limited face-to-face communication between the West and Vladimir Putin.
  • Europe was dependent on Putin for energy supplies.
  • Experts need to consider the human element in their analysis of war and conflict.
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The Benefits of Intellectual Challenge

  • Intellectually engaging challenges can be rewarding.
  • Eight scholars spent eight days discussing Exodus with Jordan Peterson.
  • They got to know and trust each other through hospitality and fun activities.
  • They enjoyed the intellectual challenge and would do it again.
  • The culture of hospitality has broken down in Washington, D.C.
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The Challenges of Being a Congressman

  • Being a congressman is not an easy job.
  • Congressmen spend a lot of time fundraising and are beholden to the party apparatus.
  • They have to run for election every two years and are constantly vilified.
  • Many congressmen lack apartments and social occasions with their colleagues.
  • Bringing young Republican and Democratic congressmen together to talk can lead to interesting conversations.
Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast #313 092

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