12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson: Summary, Notes, and Lessons - Nat Eliason
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Ideologies: ideas that, disguised as science or philosophy, claim to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it.
Ideologues: people who pretend they know how to “make the world a better place” before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within.
Jordan Peterson observed that virtues aim for balance and to avoid the extremes of the vices. Cultivating judgment about the difference between virtue and vice is the beginning of wisdom.
Modern relativism asserts judging how to live is impossible, because good and virtue are relative. Thus relativism’s version of “virtue” is “tolerance.” This leads to people broadcasting their tolerance as a form of self-promotion, and secret vice, which is also known as virtue signaling.
Order is where the people around you act according to the established social norms, remaining predictable and cooperative. Society is simultaneously structure and oppression.
Chaos is where the unexpected happens.
One can transcend blind adherence to social norm, while avoiding the pitfalls of its opposite extreme, nihilism. It is possible to find sufficient meaning in individual consciousness and experience.
We can be freed from social impositions without devolving into anarchy through individual development and through the willingness of all to endure the burden of Being.
We evolved and always will be in a dominance hierarchy. The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the hierarchy is therefore ancient and fundamental, modulating our emotions, thoughts and actions. That’s why people size each other up. Presenting present yourself as defeated, leads to people treating you as such.
To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to voluntarily turn the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order and to make yourself worthy of being well treated. It means to shoulder and accept the burden of self-conscious vulnerability.
Chaos, order and consciousness, the process that mediates between the first two, are fundamental parts of experience. Our eternal subjugation to the first two makes us doubt the validity of existence, leading into despair and failure on proper self-caring. Proper understanding of consciousness allows us the only way out.
By treating yourself as someone you are responsible for you force yourself to see what is best for you instead of what you want.
We have an unconscious propensity to let ourselves be influenced negatively thus the importance to avoid those who behave in a detrimental way.
Aspiring upward reveals the inadequacy of the present and that’s a challenge for those who are fine with it. It requires strength to properly identify and stand up near a good person.
Most people are not the best at anything. Adopting a wide external frame of perspective to judging oneself is counterproductive and leads to unwarranted self-criticism.
Life is not a single game but a composite of them: Personal, professional, romantic, family, physical life. Recognizing that you can’t “win” at everything is fundamental.
Rewarding desirable behavior is a good way to guide people’s behavior but it’s a lengthy process and requires people to behave desirably by themselves before it can be applied.
When it comes to children, proactivity is necessary. Maturing presents an ever closing window for parental influence and experiences in its early stages will compose most of the cornerstone of their behavior. So it’s fundamental to make the rules clear and use the least force necessary to enforce them.
The world is in a much bigger frame than your own life, if you cannot keep your own house in order it may mean you’re lacking in the skills to perceive and address problems appropriately.
Things fall apart because we have not paid sufficient attention. Sometimes there are unpredictable and uncontrollable events but failure to prepare, when the necessity for preparation is well known—that’s sin.
What is expedient works only for the moment. It’s immediate, impulsive and limited. What is meaningful, by contrast, is the organization of what’s expedient towards a goal.
“No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”
To lie is to use language to bend the world into delivering what one thinks is necessary. Only a hopeless philosophy insists that reality can be improved through falsification.
To accept the truth means to sacrifice—and if you have rejected the truth for a long time, then you’ve run up a dangerously large sacrificial debt.
If you listen without premature judgment, people will generally tell you their every thought and that’s “truth” in a sense. Because although someone’s memory is not an objective description of the past, it is informative and thus a tool to guide the future.
When you don’t communicate properly you invite chaos, and it tends to accumulate leading to resentment.
Specify your destination, and chart your course. Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are. Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward, forthrightly.
“The great majority of us cannot listen; we find ourselves compelled to evaluate, because listening is too dangerous. The first requirement is courage, and we do not always have.”
Children often do things that are dangerous and we shouldn’t always intervene because by placing themselves in danger they learn how to be competent and that is a way to safety.
We’re hard-wired to enjoy risk to some extent, it’s a natural mechanism that prepares us to face the world. Overprotected, we fail when faced with the unexpected.
Set aside some time to talk and think about your problems and how it should be managed every day. Don’t think about it otherwise or you risk exhausting yourself on a single issue.
Be present in the now and leave the thinking about problems for the time you reserved for that.
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