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166 Quotes by Jordan Peterson

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Wikipedia Summary for Jordan Peterson

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is a Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, and YouTube personality. He began to receive widespread attention in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues, often described as conservative.

Born and raised in Alberta, Peterson obtained bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University. After teaching and research at Harvard University, he returned to Canada in 1998 to join the faculty of psychology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which became the basis for many of his subsequent lectures. The book combined information from psychology, mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and neuroscience to analyze systems of belief and meaning.

In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics. He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.

Peterson's lectures and debates—propagated also through podcasts and YouTube—gradually gathered millions of views. He put his clinical practice and teaching duties on hold by 2018, when he published his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Promoted with a world tour, it became a bestseller in several countries. In 2021, Peterson published his third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.


The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.



If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself?

Longer Version:

Here’s something to consider: If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself? You might say: out of loyalty. Well, loyalty is not identical to stupidity. Loyalty must be negotiated, fairly and honestly. Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. Quite the opposite. You should choose people who want things to be better, not worse. It’s a good thing, not a selfish thing, to choose people who are good for you. It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with people whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve.



Kindness is the excuse that social justice warriors use when they want to exercise control over what other people think and say.



There are some games you don't get to play unless you are all in.



If you already are everything, everywhere, always, there is nowhere to go and nothing to be.... No limitation, no story. No story, no Being.



If I was the dictator, with my profound understanding of Marx's real intent, and my universal benevolent compassion, uncontaminated by any proclivity toward darkness or sin, I would bring on the socialist Utopia.



Human health is a matter of moral action, perhaps more than it is a matter of anything else.



If you stand still you fall backwards,
You cannot stand still, because the world moves away from you if you stand still.
And there is no stasis. Only backwards.





If you don't say what you think then you kill your unborn self.



I have clients who are nowhere near as insane as their family is, but they're the people who have been targeted with the mental illnesses because that's convenient for everyone involved.



It isn't you I care about, it is who you could be.



The only time no ever means no in the absence of violence is when it is uttered by one civilized person to another.



Adopt as your ambition the creation of a world in which those who work against you see the light and wake up and succeed, so that the better at which you are aiming can encompass them, too.



Beauty shames the ugly. Strength shames the weak. Death shames the living -- and the Ideal shames us all.







I'm not hurt. I'm appalled.





I don't think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.



The way that you set the world straight is by constraining the malevolence in your own heart.

(From Identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege on YouTube).



Conscious human malevolence can break the spirit even tragedy could not shake.





The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group -- there is absolutely nothing that's more racist than that.



There is nothing so certain that it cannot vary. Even the sun itself has its cycles of instability. Likewise, there is nothing so mutable that it cannot be fixed. Every revolution produces a new order. Every death is, simultaneously, a metamorphosis.





When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself. In such situations--in the depths--it's noticing, not thinking, that does the trick.





Consciousness is a mystery that faces the mystery of potential and transforms it into actuality. We do that with every choice we make. Our choices determine the destiny of the world. By making a choice, you alter the structure of reality.



I'm not a fan of Positive Psychology, by the way, because happiness is basically extroversion minus neuroticism, and we knew that 15 years ago.



The 'natural,' pre-experimental, or mythical mind is in fact primarily concerned with meaning -- which is essentially implication for action -- and not with 'objective' nature.



Everything--that's far too much. It was specific things that fell apart, not everything; identifiable beliefs failed; particular actions were false and inauthentic.



If you bend everything totally, blindly and willfully towards the attainment of a goal, and only that goal, you will never be able to discover if another goal would serve you, and the world, better. It is this that you sacrifice if you do not tell the truth.



I couldn't understand how belief systems could be so important to people that they were willing to risk the destruction of the world to protect them. I came to realize that shared belief systems made people intelligible to one another--and that the systems weren't just about belief.



When you decide to learn about your faults so that they can be rectified, you open a line of communication with the source of all revelatory thought. Maybe that's the same thing as consulting your conscience. Maybe that's the same thing, in some manner, as a discussion with God.





To do something, you have to VALUE something. It is a definitional issue. Because, to DO something, is to ACT OUT the proposition that the thing you are doing, the thing you are AIMING at, let's say, is PREFERABLE to the thing you have. And preferable means that you will do it.



The things that pose the greatest threats to your survival are the most real things.



You have to be willing to be a fool to advance.



If you are not willing to be a fool, you can't become a master.



If you hold out your hand than you're inviting the best part of that person to step forward and that won't happen unless you take that initial step and that's courage, not naivety. So to trust someone once your eyes are open that's an act of courage and that opens up the world.



To those who have everything more will be given. From those who have nothing everything will be taken.



When you are fighting against something than there's something else you are not doing.



If you start with little you start with more possibility.



The more you open yourself up to the possibility that good things will happen the higher probability is that good things will in fact happen.



He said he had parents who were desperate anti-social alcoholic addicted friendless and that they didn't want him to leave their home. He was the only relationship they had and he asked what he should do and I told him that he should leave.





It is so easy for us to demonize those people who are our enemies because our enemies confront us with what we don't want to see. And because of that our first response is to use snake detection circuitry on them.





It's one of the two major fears of people. 'Cause one is social humiliation. And the other is something like mortality and death.



We don't experience any positive emotion unless we have an aim, and we can see ourselves progressing toward that aim.



To share means properly to initiate the process of trade. A child who can't share who can't trade can't have any friends because having friends is a from of trade.



If there are things that upset you, chaotic, terrible, serpentine monstrous underworld things that threaten you, the best thing to do is to open your eyes, get your speech organized, and go out and confront the thing, and make the world out of it.



The best way to learn about something is to talk about it.



You're much better off to confront your fears head on than you are to wait and let them find you.





The most intense hatreds and also sometimes the most intense love is within families.



The best treatment for alcoholism is religious conversion.



Trust is an unbelievably powerful economic force maybe the most powerful economic force.



If you adopt a sufficiently profound mode of being, if you attempt to do that, then the mere act of lifting up that weight is enough to justify the fact that you are insufficient and mortal and bound by tragedy.



If you take the low road than that wins and it gets a little stronger because everything that wins neurologically gets a little stronger.



You look at the world through a story. You can't help it.



God is no wise a safety net for the blind. He's not someone to be commanded to peform magic tricks, or forced into Self-relvelation -- not even by His own Son.



And the answer to why they're mad about the shoes is because they should change jobs.









If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.



I like working-class people, generally speaking.



My publication record puts me in the top 0.5 percent of psychologists.



Obviously, I'm no fan of the radical left.



The right-wingers don't want to admit that for some people, there are no jobs; they think that conscientiousness in and of itself will do the trick.



Everything isn't political.



I've 20,000 hours of clinical practice; you're not naive after the first few thousand. I've helped people deal with things that most people can't imagine.



Assuming if there's such a thing as reality, if you have a false relationship with it, how can you do anything but fail?



If the standard transsexual person wants to be regarded as he or she, my sense is I'll address you according to the part that you appear to be playing.



I've done some analysis of the biblical stories as part of my psychological work. I knew that I had more to do, and every time I've done it, it's been extremely valuable. It makes me a better teacher because I have a richer understanding of cultural history.



All things considered, there's nobody better for children than parents.



Abortion is clearly wrong.



Statistics is not an exact science. It is an investigative technique.



You can't go backward in life.



Whether or not I like a piece of data has very little bearing on whether or not I am likely to accept it.





There's no doubt that inequality destabilizes societies. I think the social science evidence on that front is crystal clear.



Dress like the person you want to be.





Don't lie about anything, ever. Lying leads to Hell.



If you learn a martial art, you learn to be dangerous, but simultaneously, you learn to control it.



I have something in common with Nazis in that I am opposed to the radical Left. And when you oppose the radical Left, you end up being a part of a much larger group that includes Nazis in it.



If you want to occupy the C-suite or the top one-tenth of 1% in any organization, you have to be obsessively devoted to your career at the expense of everything else. And women look at that, and they think, 'No.'



Music has an intrinsic meaning, which has always been mysterious to me.



You have to listen very carefully and tell the truth if you are going to get a paranoid person to open up to you.



Happiness is a pointless goal.



Don't be dependent. At all. Ever. Period.



I'm always surprised when people respond positively to what I am saying, given its seriousnessness and strange nature.



If you don't stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backwards.



If you're not going to be rewarded for your virtues, and instead you're going to be punished for them, then what's your motivation to continue?



We have to rediscover the eternal values and then live them out.



If you're a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a univariate analysis.



I don't tell people, 'You're okay the way that you are.' That's not the right story. The right story is, 'You're way less than you could be.'



People have been fed this diet of pabulum, rights, and impulsive freedom. There's just an absolute starvation for the other side of the story.



Men and women aren't the same. And they won't be the same. That doesn't mean that they can't be treated fairly.







Don't compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.



If you're talking to a man who wouldn't fight with you under any circumstances whatsoever, then you're talking to someone for whom you have absolutely no respect.



The truth is something that burns. It burns off dead wood. And people don't like having the dead wood burnt off, often because they're 95 percent dead wood.



The most propagandistic element of 'Frozen' was the transformation of the prince at the beginning of the story, who was a perfectly good guy, into a villain with no character development whatsoever about three-quarters of the way to the ending.



Once someone has spent enough time cultivating bad habits and biding their time, they are much diminished. Much of what they could have been has dissipated.



Life is tragic. You are tiny and flawed and ignorant and weak, and everything else is huge, complex, and overwhelming.



You should do what other people do, unless you have a very good reason not to.



The people who hold that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don't want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence.



I have a hard time figuring out what kind of box to put me in, too, because I don't know exactly what's going on around me or why. But I need to stay outside of boxes because then I can look at what's inside of them without being part of them.



It isn't generally the case that liberals dominate entire hierarchies. That isn't generally how it works, because the hierarchies are usually set up so that conservatives fill up the hierarchies; it's in the nature of hierarchy.



I'm interested in what motivates individuals to participate in atrocious acts to support their ideological identification.



Part of the reason there's an injunction to the truth, for example, is that if you're in a circumstance of extreme uncertainty, your best weapon, let's say, or your best tool or your best defense is the truth, because it keeps things simpler.



To master a new technology, you have to play with it.



I do believe that there are places where the mythological and the literal touch.



The multiplication force of technology on cognitive differences is massive.




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