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The secrets of Jordan Peterson, the Canadian guru psychologist who is driving the web crazy

You are misrepresented more than anyone I know. You are villainised in a weird way. Speaking is Joe Rogan, from the inside of one of the grueling,  highly followed episodes of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan is a singular character, something between a comic monologue, a sports reporter and a bulletproof-necked columnist. This time the guest is more singular than he is: on the other side of the table is a dry Canadian, well-dressed and as serious as gallows, named Jordan Peterson.
Jordan Peterson is the psychologist and style icon that until a couple of years ago we could not have foreseen: a teacher of psychology and practicing psychologist becomes a charismatic preacher, motivator of crowds, an inspirational guru with his feet firmly in the middle of his neurological and literary studies. Jordan Peterson made a bestseller,12 Rules For Life, and his own particular brand of self-help philosophy that inspires action and  ambition to even those who do not have a particular need to help themselves. Moreover, that forces those who want to try to demolish him to do their homework first, thus getting into the infinite den of the White Rabbit of his public interventions and his YouTube channel.

If your moorings are weak, storms will destroy you. And in life, storms happen.

And to demolish it, according to the psychologist, is actually the dream of many.  Because it happens that Jordan Peterson insists, in parallel, with his second crusade: the one against the tyranny - true or presumed - of the politically correct. Therefore he is "villainised in a weird way", with the same intensity with which others exalt themselves to the sound of his microaggressions, according to a script that you have certainly already seen elsewhere. These are times in which the subcontracting of an opinion often becomes an oasis to be protected.
Jordan Peterson during a street speech - Picture by Gage Skidmore - CC BY-SA 3.0
Before we go on: it's fair to remember that Jordan Peterson follows a diet of only beef. Last November's GQ  was talked about with a ferocity that left no doubt about the message between the lines: can a potential self-defeater of this caliber offer advice on how to live better? We're not convinced by GQ's assurance, but we can't even get the data out of our heads: just water, beef, and salt, all day, every day. Well. Anyway, we wrote it down. We're off the hook.
A brief summary of what is at stake. People who crowd his seminars, Jordan Peterson says, are looking for a discussion on the relationship between responsibility and meaning. That is, the kind of discussion that had lost some of its appeal since the 1960s, replaced by that on rights and privileges, freedom and impulsive pleasure. All these things are useful in their own way, according to the psychologist, but they are empty: the search for happiness is overestimated, in the absence of solid foundations. If people are moored shallowly then storms wreck them. And storms come along.

The purpose of the human being according to Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson in Conference By Gage Skidmore - CC BY-SA 3.0
The purpose of the human being is to explore what he doesn't know, and to better organise what he has already acquired; these are the responsibilities, there is the meaning. And there is a reason, again according to Jordan Peterson, if the West is flourishing: humanity needs a shared narrative, a basic trace on which to proliferate or become extinct; the West has chosen what the individual tells. It will not be exhaustive, he admits, but it is the best if you want to have a constructive exchange of ideas.

Politically correct would be the blackmail weapon of a precise radical ideology, what psychologist Jordan Peterson calls postmodernism.

What's Jordan Peterson's alternative? A collectivist narrative, the one that looks at the world as a battleground between groups of different power and that Peterson is convinced is becoming prevalent: a narrative with little room for maneuver, where everyone is the expression of his group of belonging and each conversation a clash between tribes.
Reflective person
Jordan Peterson talks about it by a debate that took place in Toronto in May last year; he never pronounces the phrase politically correct, which is precisely the subject of the debate. It seems to share the theorem that the politically correct is the blackmailing weapon of a precise radical ideology - Peterson calls it postmodernism - which, to begin with, would have taken the universities (humanistic faculties above all) and is beginning to annex the world of work.
A focused thought is behind seemingly unthinkable performances
In short, a politically correct, muffled-conversations and annihilated-development public enemy, inevitable for someone like Jordan Peterson  who is a motivator by trade. Psychlogyist's invitations to responsibility are one and the same with his direct invectives to the organized social claim: it is up to us, as we said, to assume them together.
Only beef. How long can it go on? "I lost fifty pounds in seven months. I stopped snoring. I'm not taking antidepressants. I sleep much less. I can work more". Not only that but: "I think all of the dietary knowledge we have is rubbish. (...) It's all correlational, there are so many variables". But it's a fact that we take too many carbohydrates, he says elsewhere to an astonished Joe Rogan. Sorry, we'll do our best to never come back to it.

That's one of the reasons why we're so obsessed with sport: we like to look at someone who stages a proper adaptation process.

Those who keep repeating that Jordan Peterson is impermeable to the idea of cultural progress are wrong. However, the visionary nature of the individual must be taken on board, and on this, he assures us, we can rest assured: a functioning society can only be destined to improve. It is significant that discussing with feminist Helen Lewis the decisive factors in the emancipation of women in the twentieth century, the invention of the pill comes to mind before the struggles for universal suffrage.
The relationship between man and woman in Jordan Peterson's way of thinking
And before emancipation? Accordin to Jordan Peterson, women and men cooperated voluntarily, from different positions, to push back against the absolute catastrophe of existence. And now what? No systemic discrimination, but hierarchies based on competence.

Jordan Peterson trusts the revolutionary potential of the status quo. Even when he talks about the climatic upheavals that risk breaking the toy. Are CO2 emissions in China a cause for concern? Give it time: it will grow economically and then will happily allow itself the luxury of regulating them, says the psychologist.

Change is a chance.
For the record, the first to embrace the diet was his daughter Mikhaila, afflicted with celiac disease and - at the time - a devastating form of rheumatoid arthritis. Today Mikhaila Peterson is a public figure, she declares herself completely cured and until last month she offered paid consultations; her blog "Don't Eat That" riports the enthusiastic testimonies of admirers successfully converted to the new dietary regime. Sorry again.
Accordin to Jordan Peterson's ideas, growth must be encouraged, hierarchies preserved: they are part of our DNA, they precede us (see under lobsters) and transcend us  (It doesn't just apply to human beings: it applies to the height of trees in the Amazon Rainforest; it applies to the size of cities and it applies to the mass of stars); the myths and stories and parables that we have forged to illuminate the path are imbued with them, and to the post- hierarchical man, he shudders a Jordan Peterson who is suddenly less optimistic, we wouldn't even know how to turn to him, if we can still call him a man.

The metaphor of the sportsman and the ethic of victory in the thought of Jordan Peterson

We need, of course, an ethic of victory that mitigates the law of the jungle, and the figure of the sportsman is the best metaphor: life is not a game, then Jordan Peterson suggests ours, but a series of games, even of championships, spread over time, well, if we devoured all would remain neither coaches nor teammates, and we would remain stuck in the box of our first and last success. Part of the reason that we're so obsessed with sports is because we like to see (...) someone dramatizing the process of proper adaptation.

Every now and then, Mikhaila buys fat from the butcher, which they cut into pieces and fry until it becomes crispy. "It's actually quite delicious".

Summing up, it is difficult to blame those who, in Jordan Peterson's cauldron, smell objectively retrograde or vaguely Darwinist ingredients. And yet demonizing him remains unadvisable, as much as building around him a sect of worshippers. It could be valid for any non-violent philosophy, including Politically Correct, which is often the result of spontaneous thrusts (hence clumsiness and excesses) rather than of a monolithic ideology: there is no Manual of Politically Correct with respect to which to qualify as heretics or faithful; for now, until proven otherwise, there is only the Manual for Good Life of Jordan Peterson. Inside there is one of the many possible stories. And, this one, like the others, cannot do without its bad guys.
The politically correct is not acceptable in Jordan Peterson's system
JORDAN PETERSON: When we restricted our diet and then ate something we weren't supposed to, the reaction to eating what we weren't supposed to be was absolutely catastrophic. (...) We had some apple cider. (...)

JOE ROGAN: What was it doing to you?

JORDAN PETERSON: Oh, it produced an overwhelming sense of impending doom.

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