Jordan Peterson is a figurehead at exactly the right moment in time. While the mainstream strays further left, weighing itself down with nonsensical rules, like “a man can be a woman just by believing so,” Jordan Peterson comes along to inject a dose of hard truth. Based on reason, logic, and a keen understanding of what makes people tick, Peterson can explain human truths in a way few can. Below is his explanation of the futility of comparing yourself to others, and the uselessness of complaining about inequality.
The entire segment is good, but here are my favorite gems:
The problem with a hierarchy is it produces inequality. The problem with inequality is it produces resentment. Right, but you can’t get rid of the damn hierarchy just because they produce inequality and resentment, because then you don’t have anywhere to go. So that’s not an answer.
But it’s a completely ridiculous game to pick someone else arbitrarily, who’s doing much better than you on one of those dimensions, to assume that you’re a failure because of that, or that the world is unfair because of that, without knowing in full detail all of the rest of the elements of their lives. I mean, look, we’re absolutely awash in stories of unhappy celebrities mired in interminable divorces or in affairs or in addictions. And that’s par for the course.
A favorite joke of mine is “Mark Zuckerberg is two weeks younger than me. Boy, do I suck.” Because like most people, I compare myself to others using one measurement. Also, note the byline. For the Zuckster and I, that’s our shared age and dissimilar socioeconomic positions. But it’s still a joke. My bank account holdings the clear punchline.
It’s natural for us to use each other as barometers of where we should be in the game of life. But Peterson is right. We’re all different. We’ve all had different upbringings, experiences. We all have different talents, skill sets, and weaknesses. It’s really quite silly to say “I hate my life because it’s not like that person’s life.” Becuase I’m not that person. I’m me.
But that’s the basis for the arguments against inequality. Be it financial inequality or otherwise: “It’s not fair because I don’t have what that person has.” Followed by “Gimme, gimme, gimme.”
Inequality and hierarchy have utility, though, as Peterson points out:
And it’s really practically useful. And I’ve done this in my clinical practice very frequently. It’s like okay, let’s take stock of where you are and then let’s hypothesize about where you would like to be. It’s a complex conversation because we want to figure out what’s not so good about your present situation—exactly, precisely—and then come up with a hypothesis about what your life would look like if it was better. And then we can work on incremental improvement.
And the idea would be there’s some step you could take, that you would take, that would make today or tomorrow fractionally better than yesterday. And then you can iterate that. And that’s actually unbelievably powerful. You hit the effect of compounding interest, let’s say, very, very rapidly if you do that.
Shorter: if someone else has a lifestyle you want, then how can you get that? Work toward a goal one day at a time (as if taking three were an option, name that movie), and use “inequality” as an inspirational starting off point. Recognizing there’s something about your life that leaves you wanting.
Complaining, whining, shitposting on Twitter with hashtags, marching in the streets, writing protest signs with your tears, however, is not the same as actively working toward a life goal. Just for any errant leftist reading this post.