The swastika has an emotional impact the hammer and sickle doesn’t have

I can’t figure out why the swastika is an immediate identifier of a pathological personality and the hammer and sickle isn’t. There’s actually a reason, it is’t arbitrary. Maybe it’s something like: the nazi is the guy who knifes you in the alley and steals your wallet and the communist is the white collar criminal who takes your pension. And you’re more afraid of the first person than the second person because the damage they do is more proximal and emotionally recognizable, but the second guy who takes your pension is perhaps even more dangerous.

There’s a bloodiness about the nazi symbol, an immediate emotional impact that the hammer and sickle just doesn’t produce and some of that is because people are badly educated historically.

Jordan Peterson | 08:12

The smoking gun of the left

In the aftermath of Charlottesville many conservatives immediately distanced themselves from the nazi’s. It seems to be easier for the right wing to draw a line around the nazi’s and say: “That’s not us.” Partly because right-wingers, conservatives, are better at drawing boundaries. But let’s say we wanted to draw a boundary around the radical lefties. Okay, point to something! On the right they say: “You wore a swastika, you are out of the club, man.” On the left, what’s the smoking pistol? You believe in equity? That’s a smoking pistol if I’m concerned. But it doesn’t have the same emotional punch as someone wearing a swastika.

Jordan Peterson | 09:40

Something is scientifically credible when the science has settled

James said: “There is credible evidence that there are biologically mediated differences between man and woman, at the level of temperament and interest, that are actually large and profound.” I would say the science on that is sufficiently settled, so that someone can come out and say “That’s scientifically credible.” Now, that doesn’t mean it’s right because the scientists could be wrong. But what you can’t say is that what James Damore said is scientifically uninformed. It is scientifically informed.

Jordan Peterson | 39:10

Free speech has been associated with the right, and that’s terrible

Free speech has become an ideological issue and increasingly identified with the right, which is horrible. It’s horrifying. But the right justification for free speech is (…) What we can agree on, what’s already known, isn’t sufficient. We still have problems, so people have to be out on the fringes, on the border between chaos and order, where they can discover new things and can communicate it back to the collective. And free speech does that, that’s the mechanism.

[Also see: Paul Cliteur – ‘De vrije gedachte als zin van de geschiedenis,’ in: Moderne papoea’s. (Dutch)]

Jordan Peterson | 53:30

Innovations proceed from the fringe

This is a deep evolutionary truth. Which is that all of the innovations proceed from the fringe. The people at the center, for whom things are working best aren’t gonna be the ones to innovate new ways. It’s the people for whom the things aren’t quite working who are gonna innovate new ways. It’s also true for birds and plants. The ones that are not well situated are the ones where an experiment can pay off.

Bret Weinstein | 54:10

Being tormented drives creative success

Hans Eysenck wrote a good book called Genius and he was interested in what predicted high levels of creative success. And some of it is what you’d expect, IQ for example and creative temperament, but loosing a parent before the age of ten was a nice predictor. And people think about creativity as if it’s all sweetness and light and it’s like no bloody way, man. If you are gonna be creative it’s because you are tormented by a problem. If you are not in a position to be tormented you are not gonna put in the time and effort and risk necessary to be creative.

[See: Hans Eysenck Genius: The natural history of creativity (1995) Cambridge University Press.]

Jordan Peterson | 54:50

“Beware of being called by God!”

I’ve been trying to delineate how the biblical stories lay out the pathways by which the divine individual should manifest him or herself in time, because that is what it is. I’ve been studying the Abrahamic stories. They are very interesting.

Abraham is called by God, and when he is called, he is old. He is like one of the guys who is 40 years old and has stayed in his mothers’ basement, that’s Abraham. It’s a little late for Abraham to be getting out there in the world.

God basically says to him: “Leave your family and your friends and your place of comfort and journey into the land of the strange.” That’s the call to adventure. And Abraham does that.

He is chosen by God. You think: “Well, everything goes well for Abraham.” That isn’t what happens at all. The first thing he encounters is a famine, and to escape that he flees into the tyranny of Egypt, where they try to steal his wife.

It’s like: beware of being called by God.

Jordan Peterson | 58:35

The Domain of Order

The great religious myths operated at a level of abstraction such that abstract entities are applicable in every single environment.

It is extremely useful to represent the phenomenology of your experience as a domain of chaos and order. That works in every single environment for every single person.

You are in a domain of order when your actions produce results you desire.

You are in a domain of chaos when they don’t.

And your task is to straddle the border between those domains because you don’t always want to be where everything that you do is working because you don’t learn anything. And you don’t always wanna be where nothing you do is working because it’s overwhelming. You want to be dynamic and stable at the same point.

Jordan Peterson | 01:09:00

What something has to be to be wise

Here’s what something has to be like to be wise.

First of all, it would be good if it was in accordance with the facts.
If you operate according to the wisdom principle, whatever it is, it has to work in the world.

Then it has to work in a world where it allows you to maintain relationships with people in the world.

Wisdom is not only constrained by objective reality, it is also constrained by the neccesity of a functional social contract. You are only allowed to put forward actions in the world if they simultaneously don’t undermine the structure within which you live. Then there’s a game theory element to that which is if it’s wise it works in the world, the contrains of objective reality. But then it works for you, now, and the you you’ll be in a week and a month, and it works for you and your family and it works for you and your family and society and it work is a way where all those things line up, reiterated across time.

Jordan Peterson | 01.23.48

Ethics is the landscape of functional interpretations

What the postmodernists missed is the idea of ethical constraint. Yes, there is a potentially infinite landscape of interpretations, but hardly any of them will work in the real world and hardly any of them will work in the real world in a way that doesn’t get you killed by other people or doom you because of your own stupidity.

So the landscape of interpretation is almost infinite but the landscape of applicable interpretations, functional interpretations, is unbelievably constrained. And that constrained system is what we regard as ethics.

Jordan Peterson | 01:25:00

Why Marxism is attractive

There’s a lot in Marx’ critique of capitalism that’s actually right. And that gets you through the door once you start looking at the analysis. And then there’s the prescription, which is toxic. But it’s not obvious why it’s toxic.

In other words: it’s a pretty good story that doesn’t happen to function. People gravitate towards it because the story is moderately compelling. It’s not gametheoretically functional or stable or viable and it does descent into this inevitable great violence and we know this now historically, it’s not just theoretical. We’ve seen enough of it to know it doesn’t work.

Nonetheless, the fact that there are people telling this story to kids who don’t know yet what to de with something that sounds like it might be true is very dangerous.

Bret Weinstein| 01:30:00

Why Marxism is wrong

Marxism does not take into account what a human being is and what make society function.

Bret Weinstein | 01:31:30

Why Marxism is wrong. Part II. “It’s not a flaw, it’s a feature.”

In any creative endeavor that human beings engage in, there’s variability in individual production. Here’s what happens. People compete to produce and almost everyone produces zero. A small minority is a tiny bit successfull and a hyper-minority is insanely successful.

The Pareto-distribution.

Here’s how it manifests itself. If you have 10,000 people, 100 of them have half the money. This works everywhere. So, if you take 100 classical composers, 10 of them produce half the music that’s played. And if you take those 10 composers, and you take a 1000 of their songs, 30 of those songs are played 50% of the time. There’s this underlying natural law which is expressed as the Matthew effect, from the New Testament: “To those who have everything, more will be given and from those who have nothing, everything will be taken.” It’s a viscious statement, but it’s empirically true.

So, Marx observed that capitalism tended to accumulate in the hands of fewer and fewer people. And he said: “That’s a flaw of the capitalist system.” That’s wrong. It’s not a flaw of the capitalist system. It is a feature of every single system of production that we know of. No matter who set it up and how it operates.

Now we have a problem. As soon as you set up a domain of production, and you need to, because you need things to be produced. Then you instantly produce a competition, and the spoils go disproportionally to a tiny percentage of people. So then what? The rest of the people starve, or the system becomes unstable because everybody gets mad. That’s a big problem. How did humans fix that? First, we diversified the number of productive games. So you don’t get to be an NBA basketball star, but you get to run a podcast.

It’s got the power of a physical law. In fact there are people studying it. No one knows that there’s a field called econophysics.

So, Marx pointed to a fundamental issue, but he said that it was a fault of capitalism and it isn’t, it’s something way more pernicious than that. It’s something like: when one good thing happens to you it makes you a little more powerful and attractive, and that fractionally increases the probability that another good thing will happen to you. And that spirals out of control and then you get people who have all the money. Or all the podcast downloads. And that’s not because there’s something oppressive about you. You rode the wave of the Pareto-distribution and it threw you way up into the stratosphere. And we don’t know what to do about that.

Like, should you be sharing your podcast downloads with the oppressed and downtrodden? You’ve got a few billion, you could spread the damn things around. It’s not fair that you are the only one that’s being listened to. That’s the same argument. And it’s a compelling argument, because, why should you have all that power? You could call it power, or authority, or competence.

The other problem with the Marxist perspective, and the postmodernists in particular: they conflate power, competence and authority.

The problem is: when you let a monetary system run, all the money ends up in the hands of a very small number of people.

Jordan Peterson | 01:32:13

People who wear Che Guevara t-shirts are saying: “Hey man, I’m stuck at zero!”

If you’re at zero. Jesus man, you’re poor, you don’t have anything, no one wants to talk to you, you can’t get out of it because you’re too poor to get out of it, you’re penalized by the economic system because you can’t even afford to start playing the game. You’re stuck at zero and you can’t get out.

And the revolutionary types go to the people who are stuck at zero and say: “Hey, you are stuck at zero. Burn the whole goddamn thing to the ground. Because maybe in the next iteration you won’t be stuck at zero.” And for young men, that’s a hell of a call. Bacause they’re already biologically expendable, which makes them more adventurous and risk taking. And maybe that’s why they wear the Che Guevara t-shirt. It’s like: “Hey, I’m stuck at zero. I’d rather be with the romantic who’s burning everything to the ground than to just stay locked into my immobile position.”

Jordan Peterson | 01:39:18

By innovating we restore the state of privation

We don’t understand what we are wired to produce evolutionarily. We think we all operate based on the idea that we are pursuing some state of happiness or satisfactyion. We think we know what’s going to get it for us. Maybe it’s inventing something and then you’ll be happy.

But it’s a trap.

The fact is: what we are wired to do, is to discover opportunities. And when we discover an opportunity, it benefits the population we come from and we turn that discovery into either more mouths to feed or more consumption and we restore the state of privation. We restore the state into which people don’t have enough.

If you really want to fix the problem that communism thinks it’s solving but fails to, you have to engineer around this feature of human beings where we pursue new opportunities and as soon as we find a new opportunity, instead of figuring out a way to stabilize the benefits so that it results in a stable sense of satisfaction, we fall all over ourselves to turn it into more of the same, because of course, that’s how we got here.

[Also see: the Red Queen hypothesis.]

Bret Weinstein | 01:42:17

What the right and the left should agree upon.

You can make a Republican argument that says: “Don’t let the inequality in your neighborhood get out of hand because the crime rate will skyrocket.” The empirical evidence of that is overwhelmingly strong. Inequality drives crime. You can argue about why, but the fact that it happens is not disputable.

So we can have an intelligent discussion between the left and the right, and the discussion would go something like this:

You need innovation, but you pay for innovation with inequality, but you need to bind inequality because when it gets too intense, things destabilize. We can agree on that, we’ve got the parameters set. Now we have to think very carefully about how to do the redistribution.

Jordan Peterson | 01:46:49

Radical oversimplifications: a link to Nietzsche

We’ve skittered off into these radical oversimplifications, which are something like: if you have more than another person, then you’re an oppressor and you’re evil, and if you have less it’s because you are virtuous and victimized and that’s just a non-starter.

[Those oversimplifications are basically saying: poor = good, rich = bad. Which resonates the analysis Nietzsche gave in Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887) in which he says that ressentiment of the weak pushed an inversion of values, so that Good came to mean ‘weak’, and Evil came to mean ‘powerful’.]

Jordan Peterson | 01:48:55

What’s wrong with democrats and conservatives

Here’s an ugly stat. It’s illegal to induct anyone in the army if they have an IQ of less than 83. That’s because the armed forces, despite having every reason to draw the opposite conclusion, has found out there isn’t a single thing you can be trained to do in the military that isn’t positively counterproductive.

That’s 10% of the population.

And we are producing a culture that’s very cognitively complex. For example: what are you going to do if you can’t use a computer? If you can use a computer you are at least in the game. If you can really use one, you are hyper-powerful. If you are not literate enough tot use a computer you are at zero.

10% of the population.

That’s what’s wrong with the conservatives. they say: “Well, there’s a job for everyone, if they just work hard enough.” And that’s untrue, and increasingly untrue. And the liberals say: “Well, everyone’s basically the same. You can train anyone to do anything.” No, you can’t.

[Also see: Jordan Peterson. People with an IQ less than 83 (The Army Observation)]

Jordan Peterson | 01:48:53

An evolutionary reason why TV sucks

We know from careful study that people are motivated more than anything else, by the degree of inequality, more than their absolute level of wellbeing. It’s tragic, but there’s a good evolutionary explanation for this.

Imagine you are working on this piece of land and your neighbour has the adjacent piece of land and he’s doing twice as well as you are, then it’s because they do something you don’t. So, focussing on what they’re doing that you are not doing is a rational thing to spend your time on, to figure out what it is they know and you don’t.

In the modern environment, this is a catastrophy.

Because: who are your neighbours? Well, you’ve got some box on the wall of your living room that gives a totally artificial portrait of other people that may very well be wealthier than you and it may be broadcasting as if you are looking in the window of the adjacent house. And you are triggered to think that you are doing something wrong, which you might fix.

Bret Weinstein | 01:50:02

The American dream

People are actually not as resentful about the succes of others as you might expect. They are resentful about it if they feel the game is fixed. But they are also willing to consider the game long term. Lots of people will say: “Look, I’m stuck at 1. But my kids might make it to 4, and that’s good enough. And that’s been the American Dream.”

Jordan Peterson | 01:53:03

The doom endscenario that awaits us if this idiot proces of polarization continues

The neo-marxists and the postmodernists say, and this is a pernicious thing, that the reason that some people are having more than others is because every hierarchy is based on arbitrary power. And they are all oppressors. And the reason they have the money is because they stole it from you. And there’s some truth to that because there are some criminals, but when you get to the point where you fail to distinguish between the productive people and the criminals, which is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union in the 1920’s, you better bloody well watch out, because when you radically make things equalitarian you are gonna wipe out all your productive people and then you are gonna starve.

And that’s one of the doom endscenarios that awaits us if this idiot proces of polarization continues.

Jordan Peterson | 01:54:45

Why cultural marxism is not a conspiracy

It’s one of those runaway positive feedback problems. The universities started tilting hard to the left in the sixties, and that just went outta control. And now we’re at the point where that’s the dominant force. And the Why is probably another manifestation of the Pareto-principle. At some point there are enough lefties hired so that the probability that they are only going to hire people equally as left or greater starts to reach 100%. And then you iterate that across a couple of generations and you get no conservatives, which is more or less the situation in the humanities and the social sciences. And it looks like a conspiracy but that doesn’t mean that someone is actually planning it. Although there are also conscious attempts to silence conservative voices.

And that’s also driven by the neo-maxist / postmodern ethos that says that all of the moral right is on the side of the left.

And there are more things. If you paid sociology professors three times as much, the probability that they are anti-capitalist would decline precipitously. There are a lot of smart people in academia and they are underpayed relative to their intelligence.

Jordan Peterson | 01:57:57

Why companies are forced to move towards immorality (like Google in China)

In an absolute free market, which is not what we have but our system tends to that direction. In an absolute free market, if you compete two individuals, one whom is completely amoral, who will embrace any opportunity if it makes a profit, no matter what it is, and the other individual has some limit as to what he will do. Then there is no question who wins if we give this experiment a long enough period. The amoral person will outcompete the moral individual.

Joe Rogan: “But if people find out you don’t have moral limits, then they are going to remove themselves from your market.”

Unfortunately not. It seems like that, and in any given round that is true, but to the extend that people police their purchasing, they will stop using Uber if Uber is ethically compromised for example. But then the game is to find out which things are being monitored. And then to not do any of the unethical things that are being monitored. But to do all the unethical things that aren’t being monitored. So the individual who is perceiving which things he can get away with has an advantage.

A market will train you to do this, if it is unregulated. And the best that the ethically restrained person can do is compete dead even. They have no way of getting ahead because the person who is free, the amoral actor, has the abilty to do anything the constrained actor cannot.

There’s one exception: people who have done something that has suddenly brought them into a position of power. Like tech companies who have skyrocketed. They have not gone through the markets’ training to discover the landscape of what isn’t being monitored that you can make a profit out of.

Think about how Google started. “Don’t be evil.” And Don’t be evil is what it sounds like if you haven’t been trained by the market to have to do whatever you have to do to beat your competition. But over time, that entity will be exposed to competition from other entities that will increasingly have found advantages in being freeer to do ethically questionable stuff. That forces an entity like Google to evolve in the direction of immorality.

Jordan Peterson: “Like what happed when they started doing business with China, they had to make a deal with the devil.”

Joe Rogan: “They had to accept censorship.”

Right. They will find ways to rationalize everything because to not rationalize that which their competitors can avail themselves of, would be to perish.

Bret Weinstein | 2:00:41

Markets are wonderful but there are things they shouldn’t touch and things they shouldn’t do

Journalism in a free market ends up telling you what you wanna hear, not what you need to know. So markets are wonderful, but there are certain things they shouldn’t be allowed to touch, and there’s certain things they shouldn’t do, like telling us what to want.

Bret Weinstein | 2:05:4

The necessary path between libertarianism and communism

It couldn’t be more important. The real answer is that both failures are frightening. You really don’t want a state nannying you and overregulating the market, and taking the magic out of it, and you really don’t want the completely unregulated landscape where the market starts probing the minds of your children figuring out how to sell them things that they dont have any ability to resist.

You need to figure out what that path is. It’s not easy but you can’t do it in a landscape where you can’t talk about the questions.

Bret Weinstein | 02:07:06