battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes also into you right but i would say bring it on if you gaze into the abyss long enough you see the light not the darkness are you sure about that i'm betting my life on it the following is a conversation with jordan peterson an influential psychologist lecturer podcast host and author of maps of meaning 12 rules for life and beyond order this is the lex friedman podcast to support it please check out our sponsors


in the description and now dear friends here's jordan peterson dostoevsky wrote in the idiot spoken through the character of prince mishkin that beauty will save the world soulja nissan actually mentioned this in his nobel prize acceptance speech what do you think this yes game meant by that was he right well i guess it's the divine that saves the world let's say you could say that by definition and then you might say well are there pointers to that which will save the world or that which eternally


saves the world and the answer to that in all likelihood is yes and that's maybe truth and love and justice and the classical virtues beauty perhaps in some sense foremost among them it's a that's a difficult case to make but definitely a pointer which direction is the arrow pointing well the arrow is pointing up no i think that that which it points to is what beauty points to it transcends beauty it's more than beauty and that speaks to the divine it points to the divine yeah and i would say again by definition


because we could define the divine in some real sense so one way of defining the divine is what is divine to you is your most fundamental axiom and you might say well i don't have a fundamental axiom then i would say that's fine but then you're just confused because you have a bunch of contradictory axioms and you might say well i have no axioms at all and then i'd say well you're just epistemologically ignorant beyond comprehension if you think that because that's just not true at all but you don't think a human being can exist within contradictions


well yeah we have to exist within contradiction but when the contradictions make themselves manifest say in confusion with regard to direction then the consequence of that technically is anxiety and frustration and disappointment and all sorts of other negative emotions but the cardinal negative emotion signifying multiple pathways forward is anxiety it's an entropy signal but you don't think that kind of entropy signal can be channeled into


into beauty into love why does beauty and love have to be clear ordered simple well i would say it probably doesn't have to be it can't be reduced to clarity and simplicity because when it's optimally structured it's a balance between order and chaos not order itself if it's too ordered if music is too ordered it's not it's not acceptable it sounds like a drum machine it's too repetitive it's too predictable it has to have well it has to have some fire in it along with the structure i was in miami doing a seminar on exodus with a number of scholars and


this is a beauty discussion when moses first encounters the burning bush it's not a conflagration that demands attention it's something that catches his attention it's a phenomena and that means to shine forth and moses has to stop and attend to it and he does and he sees this fire that doesn't consume the tree and the tree the tree is a structure right it's a tree-like structure it's a branching structure it's a hierarchical structure it's a self-similar structure it's a fractal structure and it's the tree of life and it's the


tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the fire in it is the transformation that's always occurring within every structure and the fact that the fire doesn't consume the bush in that representation is a an indication of the balance of transformation with structure and that balance is presented as god and what attracts moses to it in some sense is the beauty now it's the novelty and all that but like a painting is like a burning bush that's a good way of thinking about it a great painting it's too much for people often you know i my house


was and will soon be again completely covered with paintings inside and it was hard on people to come in there because well my mother for example say well why would you want to live in a museum and i'd think well i would rather live in a museum than anywhere else in some real sense but beauty is daunting it scares people they're terrified of buying art for example because their taste is on display and they should be terrified because generally people have terrible taste now that doesn't mean they shouldn't foster it and develop it but


and you know when you put your taste on display it's a real really exposes you even to yourself as you walk past it oh dear every day this is who i am yeah well and and look how mundane that is and look how trite it is and look at how cliched it is and look at how sterile or too ordered it is or too chaotic or how quickly you start to take it for granted because you've seen it so many times well if it's a real piece of art that doesn't happen you notice the little details the whole is greater than the sum of the parts i mean there are images religious images in particular so we could call them deep images


that people have been unpacking for 4 000 years and still have i'll give you an example this is a terrible example so i did a lecture series on genesis and i got a lot of it unpacked but by no means all of it when god kicks adam and eve out of the garden of eden he puts cherubim with flaming swords at the gate to stop human beings from re-entering paradise i thought what the hell does that mean cherubim and why do they have flaming swords i don't get that what is that exactly


and then i found out from matthew pagio who wrote a great book on symbolism in genesis that cherubim are the supporting monsters of god it's a very complicated idea and that they're partly a representation of that which is difficult to fit into conceptual systems they've also got an angelic or demonic aspect take your pick why do they have flaming swords well a sword is a symbol of judgment and and and the separation of the wheat from the chaff use a sword to cut away


to cut away and to carve and a flaming sword is not only that which carves it's that which burns and what does it carve away and burn well you want to get into paradise it carves away everything about you that isn't perfect and so what does that mean okay well here's part of what it means this is a terrible thing so you could say that the entire christian narrative is embedded in that image why well let's say that flaming swords are a symbol of death


that seems pretty obvious let's say further that they're a symbol of apocalypse and hell that doesn't seem completely unreasonable so here's an idea not only do you have to face death you have to face death and hell before you can get to paradise hellish judgment and all that's embedded in that image and and a piece of art with an image like that has all that information in it and it shines forth in some fundamental sense it it reaches into the back tendrils of


your mind at levels you can't even comprehend and grips you i mean that's why people go to museums and gays at paintings they don't understand and that's why they'll pay what's the most expensive objects in the world if it's not carbon fiber racing yachts it's definitely classic paintings right it's high level technological implements or it's classic art well why are those things so expensive why do we build temples to house the images even secular people go to museums i'm secular well are you in a museum yes


are you looking at art yes well what makes you think you're secular then it's arguable that the thing many many centuries from now that will remain of all of human civilization will be our art not even the words well you know the a book has remained a very long time right the biblical reasons that long uh humanity that's right but that's in the full arc of living organisms perhaps will not well we have images that are we have artistic images that are at least 50 000 years old right that have survived and some of those are they're already profound in their


symbolism yeah we found them and and and they've lasted they've lasted that long and so and then think about europe secular people all over the world make pilgrimages to europe well why because of the beauty obviously i mean that's self-evident and it's partly because there are things in europe that are so beautiful they take your breath away right they make your hair stand on and they fill you with a sense of awe and


and we need to see those things it's not optional we need to see those things the cathedrals was in the cathedral in vienna and it was terribly beautiful you know terribly well it was terribly beautiful is beauty painful for you is is that the highest form of beauty it really challenges you oh definitely yeah yeah i got a good analysis of the statue of david michelangelo says you could be far more than you are that's what that statue says and this cathedral you know down we went down into the into the under structure of it and there were three floors of bones


from the plague and there they all are and then that cathedral is on top of it it's no joke to go visit a place like that no it's it it rattles you to the core and our our religious systems have become propositionally dubious but there's no arguing with the architecture although modern architects like to with their sterility and their giant middle fingers erected everywhere but beauty is a is a terrible pointer to god and you know a secular person will say well i don't believe in god it's like


have it your way you gotta you cannot move forward into the unforeseen horizon of the future except on faith and you might say well i have no faith it's like well good luck with the future then because what are you then nihilistic and hopeless and anxiety-ridden and if not well something's guiding you forward it's faith in something or multiple things which just makes you a polytheist which i wouldn't recommend well let me ask you one short-lived biological meat bag to another who is god then


let's try to sneak up to this question if it's at all possible is it possible to even talk about this well it better be because otherwise there's no communicating about it right it it has to be something that can be brought down to earth well we might be too dumb to bring it down it's not just ignorant it's also sinful right so because there's not knowing and then there's not wanting to know or refusing to know yeah and so you might say well could you extract god from a description of the objective world


right is is god just the ultimate unity of of of of the natural reality and i would say well in a sense there's some truth in that but but not exactly because god in the highest sense is the spirit that you must emulate in order to thrive how's that for a biological definition spirit is a pattern the spirit that you must emulate in order to thrive so it's a kind of uh in one sense when we say the human spirit it's that it's an animating principle


yeah it's a meta it's a pattern and you might say well what's the pattern okay well i can tell you that to some degree imagine that like you're grip by beauty you're gripped by admiration so and you can just notice this this isn't propositional you have to notice it it's like oh turns out i admire that person so what does that mean well it means i would like to be like him or her that's what admiration means it means there's something about the way they are that compels imitation another instinct


or inspires respect or awe even okay what is that that grips you well i don't know well let's say okay fine but it grips you and you want to be like that kids hero worship for example so do adults for that matter unless they become entirely cynical i worship quite a quite a few heroes yeah well there you go proudly yes well there you go and there's no that worship that celebration and proclivity to imitate is worship that's what worship means most fundamentally now imagine you took the set of all admirable people and you extracted out ai learning you extracted


out the central features of what constitutes admirable and then you did that repeatedly until you purified it to what was most admirable that's as good as you're going to get in in terms of a representation of god and you might say well i don't believe in that it's like well what do you mean yeah it's not a set of propositional facts it's not a scientific theory about the structure of the objective world and then i could say something about that too because i've been thinking about


this a lot especially since talking to richard dawkins it's like okay the post-modernist types going back way before daradan foucault maybe back to nietzsche who i admire greatly by the way he says god is dead it's like okay but nietzsche said god is dead and we have killed him and will not find enough water to wash away all the blood so that was nietzsche he's no fool he's got away with words he certainly does and so then you think okay well we killed the transcendent well


what does that mean for science well it frees it up because all that nonsense about a deity is just the idiot superstition that stops the scientific um what process from moving forward that's basically the new atheist claim something like that it's like wait a second do you believe in the transcendent if you're a scientist and the answer is well not only do you believe in it you believe in it more than anything else because if you're a scientist you believe in what objects to your theory


more than you believe in your theory now we've got to think that through very carefully so your theory describes the world and as far as you're concerned your description of the world is the world but because you're a scientist you think well even though that's my description of the world and that's what i believe there's something beyond what i believe and that's the object and so i'm going to throw my theory against the object and see where it'll break and then i'm going to use the evidence of the break as a source of new information to revitalize my theory so as a scientist


you have to posit the existence of the ontological transcendent before you can move forward at all but more you have to pause it that contact with the ontological transcendent annoying though it is because it upsets your apple cart is exactly what will in fact set you free so then you accept the proposition that there is a transcendent reality and that the that contact with that transcendent reality is redemptive in the most fundamental sense because if it wasn't why would you bother making contact with you're going to make everything worse or better why does the


contact with the transcendent set you free as a scientist because you assume that you assume i mean freedom in the most fundamental sense it's like well freedom from want freedom from disease freedom from ignorance right that it informs you the logos in it of science it is definitely that yeah it's it's the what it's the direction let's say the directionality of science that's a narrative direction not a scientific direction and then the question is what is the narrative well it posits a transcendent reality it posits that the transcendent reality is corrective it posits that our knowledge


structure should be regarded with humility it posits that you should bow down in the face of of the transcendent evidence and you have to take a vow you know this as a scientist you have to take a vow to follow that path if you're going to be a real scientist it's like the truth no matter what and that means you posit the truth as a redemptive force well what does redemptive mean well why bother with science well so people don't starve so people can move about more effectively so life can be more abundant right so it's all ensconced within an underlying ethic so the the reason i i was saying that while we were talking


about belief in god it's like this is a very complicated topic right do you believe in a transcendent reality see okay now let's say you buy the argument i just made on the natural front you say yeah yeah that's just nature that's not god and then i'd say well what makes you think you know what nature is like see the problem with that argument is that it it already presumes a materialist a reductionist materialist objective view of what constitutes nature but if you're a scientist you're going to think well in the final analysis i don't know


what nature is i certainly don't know its origin or destination point i don't know it's teleology i'm really ignorant about nature and so when i say it's nothing but nature i shouldn't mean it's nothing but what i understand nature to be so i could say will we have a fully reductionist account of cognitive processes and the answer to that is yes but by the time we do that our understanding of matter will have transformed so much that what we think of as reductionists now won't look anything like this what we think of reductionism now


matter isn't dead dust i don't know what it is i have no idea what it is matter is what matters there's a definition that's a very weird definition but the notion that we have you know that if you're a reductionist a materialist reductionist that you can reduce the complexity of what is to your assumptions about the nature of matter that's not a scientific your specific limited human assumptions of this century of this week that so in that in some sense without god


in this complicated big definition we're talking about the there's no humility or it's not enough there's less likely to be or rather science can err in taking a trajectory away from humility well without something much more powerful than uh individual human yeah well then and we know you know the frankenstein story comes out of that instantly and that's a good story for the current times it's like you you're playing around with making new life you bloody well better make sure you have your arrows pointed up


and it's interesting because you said science has um an ethic to it i think it's embedded in an ethic well there's a you know science is a big word yeah and it includes a lot of disciplines that have different traditions so biology chemistry uh genetics physics those are very different communities and i think biology especially when you get closer and closer to medicine into the human body does have a very serious first of all has a history with nazi germany of being


abused and all those kinds of things but it has a history of taking this stuff seriously what doesn't have a history of taking this stuff seriously is robotics and artificial intelligence which is really interesting because you don't uh you know you called me a scientist but and i i would like to wear that label proudly but often people don't think of computer science as a science but nevertheless it will be i think the science of one of the major scientific fields of the 21st century and you should take that very seriously oftentimes when people build robots


or ai systems they think of them as toys to tinker with oh isn't this cool well i feel this too isn't this cool it is cool but you know uh at a certain moment you might isn't this nuclear uh explosion cool yes it is or birth control pill cool it's like or or transistor cool yeah well the other thing too and and this is a weird problem in some sense the robotics engineer types they're thing people right i mean the big classes of interest are interesting things versus interest


in people some of my best friends are thing people yeah right and thing people are very very clear logical thinkers and they're very outcome oriented and practical now and that's all good that makes the machinery and keeps it functioning but there's a human side of the equation and and you get the extreme thing people and you think yeah well what about the human here and when we're talking about we've been talking about the necessity of having a technological enterprise embedded in an ethic and you can ignore that like most of the time right you can ignore the


overall ethic in some sense when you're toying around with your toys but when you're building an artificial intelligence it's like well that's not a toy that might be toy becomes the monster very quickly yeah yeah yes yes and and this is a whole new kind of monster and maybe it's already here yes and you notice how many of those things you can no longer turn off and what is it with you engineers and your inability to put off switches on things now it's like i have to hold this for five seconds for it to shut off or i can't


figure i just want to shut it off click off well what is it with you humans that don't uh put all switches on other humans because there's a magic to the thing that you notice and it hurts uh for both you and perhaps one day the thing itself to turn it off and so you have to be very careful as an engineer adding off switches to things um i think it's a feature not a bug the off switch the off switch gives a deadline to us humans to systems of existence it makes you uh it's you know death is the thing that really brings clarity to life and i do think yes hence the


flaming swords the flaming sword i do like your view of the flame with the bush and perhaps the sword as a thing of transformation it's also it's a transformation that kind of consumes the thing in the process well it depends on how much of the thing is chaff you know this is why you can't touch the ark of the covenant for example and this is why people can have very bad psychedelic trips it's like if you're 95 dead wood and you get too close to the flame the five percent that's left might not be able to make it so you think it's all chat but i think


there is some aspect of destruction that is that's you know the the bukowski line of uh do what you love and let it kill you right don't you think it that destruction is part of that's humility that's humility you bet you bet you bet it's like invite in the judgment invite in the judgment because maybe you can die a little bit instead of dying completely yeah you know that's i think it's alfred north whitehead we can let our ideas die instead of us right we can have these partial personalities that we can burn off and we can let them go before they


become tyrannical pharaohs and everything and we lose everything and so yeah there's this optimal bite of death and who knows what it would mean to optimize that like what if it was possible that if you died enough all the time that you could continue to live and the thing is we already know that biologically because if you don't die properly all the time well it's cancerous outgrowths and and like it's a very fine balance between productivity on the biological front and the culling of that right life is a real balance between growth and death


and so what would happen if you got that balance right well we kind of know right because if you live your life properly so to speak and you're humble enough to let your stupidity die before it takes you out you will live longer that's just a fact well but then what's the ultimate extension of that and the answer is we don't know we have no idea well let me ask you a difficult question because as opposed to the easy ones that you've been asking so far well uh dostoevsky is always just the warm-up so if death if if if death every single day is the way to progress through life


you have become quite famous death in hell death in hell yeah yeah because you don't want to forget the hell part uh do you worry that your fame traps you into the person that you were before yeah well yeah elvis became an elvis impersonator by the time he died yeah do you fear that you have become a jordan peterson impersonator that do you fear of in some part becoming the famous suit wearing brilliant jordan peter this the certainty in the pursuit of truth right i think i worry about it more than


anything else i hope i hope i do i better has fame to some degree when you look at yourself in the mirror in the quiet of your mind has it corrupted you no doubt in some regard i mean it's very difficult thing to avoid you know because things change around you people are much more likely to do what you ask for example right and so that's a danger because one of the things that keeps you dying properly is that people push back against you optimally this is why so many celebrities spiral out of control


especially the tyrannical types that say run countries everyone around them stops saying yeah you're you're you're deviating a little bit there they laugh at all their jokes they open all their doors they they always want something from them the red carpet's always rolled out it's like well you think would that be lovely it's well not if the red carpet is rolled out to you well you're on your way to perdition that's not a good deal you just get there more efficiently and so one of the things that i've tried to learn to manage is to get have people around me all the time


who are critics who are saying yeah i could have done that better and you're a little too harsh there and you're alienating people unnecessarily there and you should have done some more background work there and and i think the responsibility attendant upon that increases as your influence increases and that's that's a as your influence increases then that becomes a lot of responsibility so you know and then maybe have an off day and well one here's an example i've been writing some columns lately about things that perturb me


like the forthcoming famine for example and it's hard to take those um problems on it's difficult to take those problems on in a serious manner and it's frightening and it would be easier just to go up to the cottage with my wife and go out on the lake and watch the sunset and so i'm tempted to draw on anger as a motivating energy to help me overcome the resistance to doing this but then that makes me more harsh and judgmental in my tone when i'm reading such things for example


on youtube then might be optimal now i've had debates about with people about that because i have friends who say no if you're calling out the environmental environmentalist globalists who are harassing the dutch farmers then a little anger is just the ticket but then others say well you know you don't want to be too harsh because you alienate people who would otherwise listen to you it's like that's a hard balance to get right but also maybe anger hardens your mind to where you don't notice the the subtle quiet beauty of


the world the quiet love that's always there that permeates everything sometimes you can become deeply cynical about the world if it's the nietzsche thing yeah battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes also into you right but i would say bring it on right because well i also say knowing that he's absolutely right but if you gaze into the abyss long enough you see the light not the darkness are you sure about that i'm betting my life on it yeah it's a heck of a bet well that's


because it might distort your mind to where all you see is it this is is abyss is the evil in this world i would say you haven't looked long enough you know that's back to the you're just the limited the swords the flaming swords it's like so i said the whole story of christ was prefigured in that image it's like the story of christ psychologically is radical acceptance of the worst possible tragedy that's what it means that's what the crucifix means psychologically it's


like gays upon that which you are most afraid of but that story doesn't end there because in in the in the story christ goes through death into hell so death isn't enough the abyss the abyss of innocent death is not sufficient to produce redemption it has to be a voluntary journey to hell and maybe that's true for everyone and that's like there is no more terrifying idea than that by definition and so then well do you gaze upon that well who knows who knows how often do you gaze upon death your own how often do you


remember remind yourself that this ride ends personally personally all the time because you as a as a deep thinker and philosopher it's easy to start philosophizing and and forgetting that you're you might die to the angel of death sits on every word how's that i how often do you actually consciously all the time uh notice the angel all the time i think it's one of the things that made me peculiar when i was in graduate school you know i i thought about i was i had the thought of death in my mind


all the time and i noticed that many of the people that i was with these were people i admired fine they that wasn't part of their character but it was definitely part of mine i'd wake up every morning this happened for years think time short get at it time short get at it there's things to do and so that was always that's still there and it's still there with i would say and it's unbearable in some sense are you afraid of it like what relationship yeah you know i was ready to die a year ago


and not casually i had people i loved you know so no i'm not very worried about me but i'm very worried about making a mistake yeah i heard elon musk talk about that a couple of months ago it was really a striking moment someone asked him about death and he said just off hand and then went on with the conversation he said i'd be a relief and then he went on with the conversation and i thought well you know he's got a lot of weight on his shoulders


i'm sure that part of them thinks i'd be easier just if this wasn't here at all now he said it offhand but it was a telling moment in my estimation so for him that's a why live question the exhaustion of life yeah yeah if you call it life is suffering but yeah the hardship i'm more afraid of hell than death you're you're afraid of the thing that follows i don't know if it follows or if it's always here and i think we're going to find out what's the connection between death and


hell i don't know i don't know i don't know is there something that needs to be done before you arrive you're more likely to die terribly if you live in a manner that brings you to hell that's one connection and terribly it's as a very deep kind of concept okay yeah yeah and that's the definition by the way what do you make of elon musk you have spoken about him a bit you might have struck with admiration that's what i mean when i was actually this idea i always think of that as a


primary well it's all it's like do you find this comedian funny it's like well i laugh at him you know what i mean it's not propositional again and so i would there are things i would like to ask mr musk about the mars venture i don't know what he's up to there it strikes me as absurd in the most fundamental sense because i think well it'd be easier just to build an outpost in the antarctica or in the desert well how much of the human endeavor is absurd well that's what did nietzsche say great men


are seldom credited with their stupidity who the hell knows what musk is up to i mean obviously he's building rockets now he's motivated because he wants to build a a platform for life on mars is that a good idea who am i to say he's he's building the rockets man but i'd like to ask him about it i i i would like to see that conversation i do think that having talked to him quite a bit offline i think these several of his ideas like mars like humans becoming a multi-planetary species could be one of the things that human


civilization looks back at as duh i can't believe he is one of the few people that was really pushing this idea because it's the obvious thing for for society for life to survive yeah well it isn't obvious to me that i'm in any position to evaluate elon musk like i would like to talk to him and find out what he's up to and why but i mean he's an impossible person what he's done is impossible all of it it's like he built an electric car that works now does it work completely and will it replace gas cars or should it i don't know but


if we're going to build electric cars he seems to be the best at that by a lot and he more or less did that people carp about him but he more or less did that by himself i know he's very good at distributing responsibility and all of that but he's the spearhead and then that was pretty hard and then he built a rocket at like one-tenth the price of nasa rockets and then he shot his car out into space that's pretty hard and then he's building this boring company more or less as a what would you call it it's sort of it's this whimsical joke in


some sense but it's not a joke he's amazing and you're a link delving into the uh the depths of the mind and starlink it's like go elon as far as i'm concerned and then you know he puts his finger on things so oddly the prob the problem is under population it's like i think so too i think it's a terrible problem that we're the west for example is no longer at replacement with regard to birth rate it means we've abandoned the virgin and the child in a most fundamental sense it's a bloody catastrophe and musk he sees it clear as can be it's like wow and where


everyone else is running around going oh there's too many people it's like nope got that not only see i've learned that there are falsehoods and lies and there are anti-truths and an anti-truth is something that's so preposterous that you couldn't you couldn't make a claim that's more opposite to the truth and the claim that there are too many people on the planet is an anti-truth so you know people say well you have to accept limits to growth and etc it's like i have to accept the limits that you're going to impose on me because you're


frightened of the future that's your theory is it okay well it's an idea it could be a right idea it could be a wrong idea i don't i think anti-truth oh here i'll tell you why it's the wrong idea i think so imagine that there's an emergency dragon there's a dragon someone comes and says there's a dragon i'm the guy to deal with it that's what the environmentalists say the radical types who push limits to growth then i look at them and i think okay


is that dragon real or not that's one question well i asked that question of myself every time when you spend time alone is the apocalypse looming on the environmental front yes or no i'll just leave that aside for the time being i think you can make a case both ways for a bunch of different reasons and it's not a trivial concern and we've overfished the oceans terribly and there are environmental issues that are looming large whether climate change is the cardinal one or not is a whole different question but we won't get into that that's not the issue you're clamoring about a


dragon okay why should i listen to you well let's see how you're reacting to the dragon first of all you're scared stiff and in the state of panic that might indicate you're not the man for the job second you're willing to use compulsion to harness other people to fight the dragon for you so now not only are you terrified you're a terrified tyrant so then i would say well then you're not the moses that we need to lead us out of


this particular exodus and maybe that's a neurological explanation it's like if you're so afraid of what you're facing that you're terrified into paralysis and nihilism and that you're willing to use tyrannical compulsion to get your way you are not the right leader for the time so then i like someone like bjorn lomberg or matt ridley or marion toopey and they say well look we've got our environmental problems and uh maybe there's a there you could make a case that there's a malthusian element in some situations but fundamentally the track record of


the human race is that we learn very fast and faster all the time to do more with less and we've got this and i think yes to that idea and i think about it in it in a fundamental way it's like i trust lomberg i trust tupi trust matt ridley they thought about these things deeply they're not just saying oh the environment doesn't matter whatever the environment is you know the environment i don't even


know what that is that's everything the environment i'm concerned about the environments like which is how is that different than saying i'm worried about everything how are those statements different semantically well yeah the environment it could be i'm worried about human society a lot of these complex systems are difficult to talk about because there's so much involved for sure yeah everything and then these models because people have gone after me because i don't buy the climate models well i think about the climate models as


extended into the economic models because the climate model is well there's going to be a certain degree of heating let's say by 2100 it's like okay some of that might be human generated some of it's a consequence of warming after the ice age this has happened before but fair enough let's take your presumption although there are multiple presumptions and any error in your model multiplies as time extends but to have it your way okay now we're going to extend the climate model so to speak into the economic model so i just did an analysis of a paper by deloitte


third biggest company in the u.s 300 000 employees major league consultants they just produced a report may i wrote an article for it in the telegraph which i'm going to release this week on my youtube channel said well if we get the climate problem under control economically because that's where the models are now being generated on the economic front so now we have to model the environment that's climate and we have to model the economy and then we have to model their joint


interaction and then we have to predict 100 years into the future and then we have to put a dollar value on that and then we have to claim that we can do that which we can't and then this is our conclusion we're going to go through a difficult period of privation because if we don't accept limits to growth there's going to be a catastrophe 50 years in the future thereabouts and so to avert that catastrophe we are going to make people poorer now how much poor well not a lot compared to


how much richer they're going to be but definitely and they say this in their own models definitely poorer definitely poorer than they would be if we just left them the hell alone and so then i think okay poor array who well let's look at it biologically you've got a hierarchy right of stability and security that's a hierarchy or one type you stress a hierarchy like that a social hierarchy so there's birds in a environment and an avian flu comes in


and then you look at the birds in the social hierarchy and the the low ranking birds have the worst nests so they're most exposed to wind and rain and sun and farthest from food supplies and most exposed to predators and so those birds are stressed which is what happens to you at the bottom of a hierarchy you're more stressed because your life is more uncertain you're more stressed your immunological function is compromised because of that you're sacrificing the future for the present an avian flu comes in and the birds die from the bottom up


that happens in every epidemic you die from the bottom up okay so they say when the aristocracy catches a cold the working class dies of pneumonia all right so now we're going to make people poorer okay who well we know who we make poor when we make people poorer we make those who are barely hanging on poorer and what does that mean it means they die and so what the deloitte consultants are basically saying is well you know it's kind of unfortunate


but according to our models a lot of poor people are going to have to die so that a lot more poor people don't die in the future it's like okay hold on a sec which of those two things am i supposed to regard with certainty the hypothetical poor people that you're going to hypothetically save 100 years from now or the actual poor people that you are actually going to kill in the next 10 years well i'm gonna cast my law with the actual poor people that you're actually going to kill


and so and then i think further it's like well okay the deloitte consultants have you actually modeled the world or is this a big advertising shtick designed to attract your corporate clients with demonstration that you're so intelligent that you can actually model the entire ecosystem of the world including the economic system and predicted a hundred years forward and isn't there a bit of a moral hazard in making a claim like that just like just a trifle especially when so i talked to bjorn lomberg and michael leon last week i accepted the un uh estimates of starvation this coming year


150 million people will suffer food insecurity food insecurity yeah food insecurity that's the bloody buzzword famine well michael yawn thought 1.2 billion and then that little spiral because he said what happens in a famine is that the governments go nuts crazy the governments destabilize and then they appropriate the food from the farmers then the farmers don't have any money then they can't grow crops and i think yeah that's exactly what they do that's


exactly what would happen and so john told me 1.2 billion and then bjorn lombard said the same thing i didn't even ask him he just made it as an offhand comment so let me ask you about the famine of the 30s yeah do you think ukraine in the ukraine oh yeah fun fun fun similar a lot of the things you mentioned in the last few sentences kind of echo to that part of human history the holy door do you use no one knows about


well now i've just spent four weeks in ukraine oh yeah there's different parts of the world that still even if they don't know they know yeah right they feel history is runs in the dutch knew in some sense they had a famine at the end of world war ii and part of the reason the dutch farmers are so unbelievably efficient and productive is that the dutch swore at the end of world war ii that that was not going to happen again and then they had to scrape land out of the ocean


because holland that's quite a country it shouldn't even exist the fact that it's the world's number two exporter you know that's the world's number two exporter of agriculture products holland it's like i don't think it's as big as massachusetts it's this little tiny place it shouldn't even exist and they want to put here's this here's the plan let's put 30 percent of the farmers out of business well the broader ecosystem of agriculture production in holland is six percent of their gdp now these centralizing politicians think tell me if i'm stupid about this


take an industry you knock it back by fiat by thirty percent now it runs on like a three percent profit margin now you're going to kill 30 percent of it how are you not going to bring the whole thing down the whole farming ecosystem down how are you not going to impoverish the transport systems how are you not going to demolish the grocery stores you can't take something like that and pair it back by fiat by 30 and not kill it i i can't see how you can do that i mean look what we did with


the covid lockdowns we broke the supply chains tried buying something lately you can't and wait and aren't the chinese threatening taiwan at the moment what are we gonna do without chips so i don't know what these people are thinking and then i think okay what are they thinking well the deloitte people are thinking aren't we smart and shouldn't we be hired by our corporate employers it's like okay too bad about the poor um what are the uh environmentalists thinking we love the


planet it's like do you we love the poor do you okay let's pit the planet against the poor who wins the planet okay you don't love the poor that much do you love the planet or do you hate capitalism let's pit those two things against each other oh well it turns out we actually hate capitalism how can we tell because you're willing to break it and you know what's going to happen so what's going to happen in sri lanka with these 20 million people who now have nothing to eat are they going to eat all the animals are they going to burn all the firewood they're stockpiling firewood in germany


it's like so is your environmental globalist utopia going to kill the poor and destroy the planet and that's okay because we'll wipe out capitalism it's like okay yeah the the dragon and the fear of the dragon drives ideologies some of which can build a better world some of which can destroy that world yeah what do you think of that theory about about trustworthiness if the dragon that you're facing turns you into a terrified tyrant you're not the man for the job is that a good theory it's an interesting theory let me use that theory to challenge because what what does terror look like


let me table the turns turn the tables on you you are terrified afraid concerned about the dragon of something we can call communism marxism am i terrified of it well terrific okay okay a tyrant your theories had two components yeah i'm not paralyzed i had a dragon yeah i'm not paralyzed and i don't want to be a tyrant the tyrant part i think is missing with you uh so you are very concerned the intensity of your feeling


uh does not give much space actually at least in your public persona for sitting quietly with the dragon and sipping in a couple of beers and thinking about this thing the intensity of your anger concern about certain things you're seeing in society is that going to drive you off the path that ultimately takes us to a better world that's a good question i mean i don't i'm trying to get that right so we've kind of come to a cultural


conclusion about the nazis do you get to be angry about the nazis seems the answer to that is yes well actually let me push back here um i also don't trust people who are angry about the nazis because i mean the actual nazis well i i there's a lot as you know there's a lot of people in the world um that uh use actual nazis to mean a lot i know i know one of them is very important to me for example yes he's a nazi i think magical super nazi as it turns out i i think they actually


sort of steal men all their perspectives i think a lot of people that call you nazi mean it so yeah so but like that there's an important thing there though because i i went to the front in ukraine yeah and a lot of the people uh that lost their home or there kind of uh that got to interact a lot with russian soldiers ukrainian people interact with the russian soldiers they reported that the russian soldiers really believe they're saving the the people


of ukraine in these local villages from the nazis so to them it's not just that the ukrainian government has or ukraine has some nazis it's like it has been the idea is that the nazis have taken over ukraine and we need to free them this is the belief yeah so this again nazi's still a dragon that lives yeah and it's used by people because it's safe to sit next to that dragon and spread any kind of ideology you want so i just want to kind of say that we um have agreed on the


on the on on on this particular dragon but i still don't trust anybody who uses that yeah but we have issues with boundaries right no no it's so this is a very complicated problem right so renee gerard believed that it was a human proclivity to demonize the scapegoat and then drive it out of the village and yeah i've thought about that a lot we need a place to put satan like seriously this is a serious issue should he be inside the village or outside well maybe he should be inside you right that's that's the fundamental essence of the christian doctrine it's


like satan is best fought on the battleground of your soul and that's that's right that's right can you actually put words to the kind of dragon that you're fighting is it is it is it communism it's the spirit of cain yeah can you elaborate well what the spirit of cain is so adam and eve are thrown out of paradise for becoming self-conscious or when they become self-conscious they're destined to work


and the reason for that as far as i can tell is that to become self-conscious is to become aware of the future that's to become aware of death that certainly happens in the adam and eve story to have the scales fall from your eyes and then the consequence of that is that you now have to labor to prevent the catastrophes of the future that's work work is sacrifice sacrifice of the present to the future it's delay of gratification it's maturity it's


sacrificed to something as well and in the spirit of something okay so now adam and eve have two children cain and abel so those are the first two people in history because the garden of eden doesn't count and they're the first two people who are born rather than created so they're the first two people and that's a hell of a story because it's a story of fratricidal murder that degenerates into genocide flood and tyranny so that's fun for the opening salvo of the story let's say and abel and cain both make sacrifices and for some reason abel's sacrifices


please god it's not exactly clear why and canes don't now there's an implication in the text that it's because cain's sacrifices are true or second rate god says that abel brings the finest to the sacrificial altar he doesn't say that about cain so you can imagine that cain is sacrificing away but he's he's holding something in reserve he's not all in he's not bringing his best to the table he's not offering his best to god and so abel thrives like mad


and everyone loves him and he gets exactly what he needs and wants exactly when he needs and wants it he's favored of god and cain is bearing this terrible burden forward and working and his sacrifices are rejected so he gets resentful really resentful enough resentful enough to call god out and say something like this is quite the creation you've got going here i'm breaking myself in half and nothing good is coming my way what the hell is up with that and then


there's abel the sun's shining on him every day how dare you it's like okay but this is god that cain's talking to and so god says what cain least wants to hear which is what god usually says to people he says look to your own devices you're not making the sacrifices you should and you know it and then he says something even worse he says sin crouch is at your door like a sexually aroused predatory animal and you've invited it in


to have your way to have its way with you and so he basically says you have allowed your resentment to preoccupy yourself and now you're brooding upon it and generating something creative new and awful possessed by the spirit of resentment and that's why you're in the miserable state you're in so then cain leaves his countenance falls as you might expect and cain leaves and he's so incensed by this because god has said look your problems are are of your own making


and not only that you invited them in and not only that you engaged in this creatively and not only that you're blaming it on me and not only that that's making you jealous of abel who's your actual idol and goal and cain instead of changing kills abel right and then cain's descendants are the first people who make weapons of war and so that's okay you want to know what i think that's the eternal story of mankind and it's playing out right now


except at a thousand times the rate can i present to you a difficult truth but not perhaps not a truth but uh a thought i have that it is not always easy to know which among us are the cane that's for sure and resentment it is um it is possible to imagine you as the person who has a resentment towards a particular world view that you really worry about yeah well i've talked i talked to a good friend of mine last week about that


publicly we'll release it so i said well do i have a particular animus against the left let's say it's like well probably okay why well first of all i'm a university professor it's not like the universities are threatened by the right they're threatened by the left 100 percent and they're not just threatened a little bit they're threatened a lot and that threat made it impossible for me to continue in my profession the way i was and it cost me my clinical practice too and that's not over yet because i have 10 lawsuits


against me out right now from the college of psychologists because they've allowed anyone to complain about me anywhere in the world for any reason and have the choice to follow that up with an investigation which is a punishment in and of itself and are doing so and then i've been tortured nearly to death multiple times by bad actors on the left now i've had my fair share of radical right wingers being unhappy with what i've said but personally that's been the left the whole time not only me but my family put it might


put my family at risk in a big way and constantly like not once or twice because many people get cancelled once or twice but i've been canceled like 40 times and i know like 200 people now who've been cancelled and i can tell you without doubt that it is one of the worst experiences of their life and that's if it only happens once and so and then i also know that the communists killed 100 million people in the 20th century that the intellectuals excused them for it non-stop and still haven't quit that almost no one knows


about it and that the specter of resentful marxism is back in full force and so do i have a bit of an animus against that yes does it go too far i don't know i'm trying to figure that out the story you just told it is seems nearly impossible for you an intellectual powerhouse not to have a tremendous amount of resentment well and this is the so let me challenge you yeah let me challenge you go right ahead and challenge you can you steal man the case that uh the prime minister of this country


trudeau wants the best for this country and actually might do good things for this country as an intellectual challenge sure um he seems to get along well with his wife he has some kids there's no sexual scandals and he's in a position where that could easily be the case he seems to have done some good things on the oceanic management front he's put a fair bit of canada's oceans into marine protected areas and that might be his most fundamental legacy if it's real


i've been trying to get information about the actual reality of the protection and i haven't been able to do that but that's a good thing so sorry the family thing is there's something speaks to his character this is a character there is some aspect to him who's that makes him a good man well in that sense i mean there's the evidence there you know i mean he's not a jeffrey epstein profligate on the sexual front so that's something and his wife they seem to have a real marriage and he has kids so you know good for him that's a good start by the way for a leader yeah right to be a great man well then i


also thought okay well after the liberals had brought in a harvard intellectual who was a canadian to be their last leader he didn't work out and then they're flailing about for a leader and the liberals in canada are pretty good at maintaining power and leadership and have been the dominant governing party in canada for a long time and so they went to justin and said well you know it's you are a conservative and you can imagine that's not a positive uh specter for someone who's on the left


or even a liberal especially trudeau is quite a bit on the left and uh they said we need you to run and then i thought okay well the answer to that should have been no because the trudeau justin has no training for this no experience he's not he's a part-time drama teacher fundamentally he hadn't run a business he just didn't know enough to be prime minister but then i'm trying to put myself in this position and so it's like okay i don't know enough but i'm young and we don't want the conservatives and they had had to run a 10-year run so maybe it was time for new government i could maybe i could grow into this man


maybe i could surround myself with good people and i could learn humbly and i could become the person i'm now pretending to be which we all have to do as we move forward right and so and so then i thought okay i think you made a mistake there because you ran only on your father's name and you didn't have the background but let's give the devil as do and say that's no problem okay so now what do you do well you get elected and your first act is to make the cabinet 50 women


despite the fact that only 25 of the elected members are female it's like okay you just have your talent pool that was a really bad move for your first movie ask you about that yeah uh do you think where does that move come from deep somewhere in the heart or is it is it trying to listen to the social forces that of the moment and try to ride those ways towards maybe greater greater popularity by after thinking it through it's like no you just have your talent pool for cabinet positions that's what you


did there's enough cabinet positions you know you could argue that each of the met threshold it's like there's a big difference between threshold and excellent so you don't think that that came from a place of compassion i don't care i don't regard compassion as a virtue compassion is a reflex not a virtue you don't think judicious compassion is a virtue wait wait a minute wait a minute compassion can come deep from the human heart and the human mind i think are we talking about the same kind of compassion yes trying to understand the suffering treating adults like infants is not virtuous i i see but


you're you're you well compassion isn't treating adults like and i mean it doesn't just terms are you sure okay whatever the term is maybe you eat love love compassion is i mean i i suppose i'm speaking to love you don't think those ideas came from concern compassion you don't think love is a blend of compassion and encouragement and truth love's complicated man yeah if i love you if i love you is it compassion or encouragement you want from me yeah the dance love love is definitely a


dance of two to humans ultimately that leads to the growth of both well that's the thing the growth element is crucial yeah because the growth element to foster the growth element that requires judgment compassion and judgment well even and have been conceptualized this way forever two hands of god mercy and justice they have to operate in tandem right and mercy is flawed as you are you're acceptable it's like well do you want that do you want your flaws to be acceptable and the answer to that is no it's so


it's like well that's where the judgment comes in it's like but you could be better you could be more than you are and that's the maternal and the paternal in some fundamental sense and there has to be a active exchange of information between those two polls so even if even if trudeau was motivated by compassion it's like yeah just how loving are you first of all no it was a really bad decision and then he and he's expressed contempt for monetary policy i'm not interested in monetary policy


it's like okay but you're prime minister and he's expressed admiration for the chinese communist party because they can be very efficient in their pursuit of environmental goals it's like oh yeah efficiency a the efficiency of the tyranny in the service of your terror and so and i've watched him repeatedly and i've listened to him a lot and i've tried to do that clinically and with some degree of dispassion and that's hard too because


his father pierre devastated the west in 1982 with the national energy policy and trudeau is doing exactly the same thing again and so as a westerner as well i have an inbuilt animus and one that's well deserved because central canada especially the glittery literati elite types in the ottawa montreal toronto triangle have exploited the west and expressed contempt for the west far too much for far too long and that's accelerating at the moment for example with trudeau's recent attack


on the canadian farmers he's an enemy of the oil and gas industry it's an utter and absolute bloody catastrophe and look what's happened in europe at least in partial consequence and he's no friend to the farmers so i've tried to steal manhattan you know i try to put myself in the position of the people that i'm criticizing i think he's a narcissist do you think there's a degree to which power changed him if you're not suited for the position if you're not the man for the position you can be absolutely 100 percent sure that the power will corrupt you how could it


not i mean at the at the least if you don't have the chops for the job you have to devalue the job to the point where you can feel comfortable inhabiting it so yes i think that it's corrupted and i mean look at him doubling down we wear masks into in flights into canada we have to fill out an arrive can bureaucratic form on our phones because a passport is good isn't good enough we can't get a passport what if you're 85 and you don't know how to use a smartphone oh well too bad for you yeah it's like


yes it's corrupted him would you talk to him well uh if you were to sit down and talk with him and he wanted to talk uh would you and what kind of things would you talk about perhaps on your podcast i don't think i've ever said no to talking to anyone so which is you know would you would that be a first or would you would you make that conversation do you believe in the power no i'd ask him those kinds of context no if if if he was willing to talk to me i'd talk because i'd like to ask him i have lots of things i'd like to ask him about i


mean i've had political types in canada on my podcast and tried to ask them questions so i'd like to know is that you know what maybe i've got a big part of him wrong yes and i probably do but my observation has been that every chance he had to retreat from his pharonic position let's say he doubled down and these our parliament is not running for the next year it's still zoom in


it's still covid lockdown parliament for the next year it's already been fatally compromised perhaps by the lockdowns for the last couple of years and this is parliament we're talking about yeah there's a kind of um paralysis fear-driven paralysis that also impart some of the most brilliant people i know are lost in this paralysis i don't think people assign a word to it but it's almost like a fear of this unknown thing that lurks in the shadows and that unfortunately that fear is leveraged by people


um that you know who are in in academic circles who aren't faculty or students and so on are more administration and they they start to use that fear which makes me uh quite uncomfortable it it does lend people in the positions of power who are not good at handling that power to become slowly day by day a little bit more corrupt i was really trying to figure out you know the last two weeks thinking this through it's like how do you know let's say someone asked me a question in in the youtube comments said why why why can i trust your advice on the


environmental front and i thought that's really good question okay let's see if we can figure out the principles by which the advice would be trustworthy okay how how do you know it's not trustworthy well one potential response to that would be the claims are not in accordance with the facts but you know facts are tricky things and it depends on where you look for them so that's a tough one to get right because for example lomberg's fundamental


critics argue about his facts not just his interpretation of them so that can't be an unerring guide and so i thought well the facts exactly doesn't work because when it's about everything there's too many facts so then how do you determine if someone's a trustworthy guide in the face of the apocalyptic unknown because that's really the question and the answer is they're not terrified tyrants i think that's the answer now maybe that's wrong if someone has a better answer how do you know if they're a terrified tyrant because they're


willing to use compulsion on other people when they could use goodwill like the farmers in canada objected they said look we have every economic reason to use as little fertilizer as we can because it's expensive we have satellite maps of where we put the fertilizer we have cut our fertilizer use so substantially in the last 40 years you can't believe it and we grow way more food we're already breaking ourselves in half and if you know farmers especially the ones who still survive you think you think those people don't know what


they're doing it's like they're pretty damn sophisticated man like way more sophisticated than our prime minister and now you tell them no it's a 30 reduction and we don't care how much food you're growing so it's not a reduction that's dependent on amount of food produced per unit of fertilizer used which would be at least you could imagine it it's okay so you're producing this much food and you use this much fertilizer so you're hyper efficient maybe we take the 10 of farmers who are


the least efficient in that metric and we say to them you have to get as efficient as the average farmer and then they say well look you know our our situation is different we're in a more northern clime the soil is weaker you know you obviously have to bargain with that but at least at least you reward them for their productivity well it's like well holland isn't going to have beef well where are they going to get it well you don't need it it's like oh i see you get to tell me what i can eat now do you really okay


and holland is going to import food from where that's more efficient on the fertilizer front there's no one more efficient than holland and same with canada and like isn't this going to make food prices more expensive and doesn't that mean that hungry people die because that is what it means so ultimately poor people pay the price of these kinds of policies no not no not ultimately now today today that's a crucial distinction because they say well


ultimately the poor will benefit yeah except the dead ones yes today today right it seems like the story of war too is a time when the poor people suffer from the decision made by the powerful the rich the uh yeah because the political elite yeah let me ask you about the war in ukraine oh yeah i got into plenty of trouble about that too you're you're just a man in a suit talking on microphones and writing brilliant articles


there's also people dying fighting it's their land it's their country it's their history this is true for both russia and ukraine it's people trying to ask they have many dragons and they're asking themselves the question who are we what is this what is the future of this nation we thought we are a great nation and i think both countries say this and they they say well how do we become the great nation we thought we are yeah and


so what first of all you got in in trouble what what's the dynamics of the trouble and uh well it wasn't regret no saying no no i thought about it a lot i laid out four reasons for the war and then i was criticized in the atlantic for the argument was reduced to one reason which was a caricature of the reason i gave a variety of reasons why the war happened mismanagement on the part of the west in relationship to russia and foreign policy over the last since the wall fell it's understandable because it's extremely complex


hyper reliance on russia as a cardinal source of energy provision for europe in the wake of idiot environmental globalist utopianism the expansionist tendencies of russia that are analogous in some sense to the soviet union empire building and then the last one which is the one i got in trouble for which is putin's belief or willingness to manipulate his people into believing that russia is a salvific force in the face of idiot western wokism and that's the one i got in trouble for it's like while you're justifying putin it's


like it's not only it's not only the russians that think the west has lost its mind the eastern europeans think so too and do i know that it's like well i went to 15 eastern european countries this this spring and i talked to 300 political and cultural leaders and you might say well they were all conservatives like actually no they weren't most of them were conservatives because it turns out that they're more willing to talk to me but a good chunk of them were


liberals by by any stretch of the imagination and a fair number of them were canceled progressives well because you're very concerned about um the culture wars that perhaps are a signal of a possible bad future for this country for this part of the world that reason stands out and do you sort of looking back at four reasons think it deserves to have a place in one of the four because absolutely because it is you


know uh well the forum was bifurcated because i said look putin might believe this and i actually think he does because i read a bunch of putin's speeches and i have been reading them for 15 years and my sense of people generally and this was true of hitler it's like what did hitler believe well did you read what he wrote he just did what he said he was going to do and you might think well some people are so tricky they have a whole body of elaborated speech that's completely separate from their personality and their personality is pursuing a different agenda and this


whole body of speech is nothing but a front it's like good luck finding someone that's sophisticated first of all if you say things long enough you're going to believe them that's a really interesting and fascinating and important point even if you start out as a as a lie as a propaganda i think hitler's is an example of somebody that i think really quickly you start to believe the propaganda well you've thought a lot about ai systems it's like don't you become what you practice and the answer to that is well


absolutely we even know the neurology it's like when you first formulate a concept huge swaths of your cortex are lit up so to speak but as you practice that first of all the right hemisphere stops participating and then the the laugh participates less and less until you build specialized machinery for exactly that conceptual frame and then you start to see it not just think it and so if you're telling the same lies over and over who do you think you're fooling think well i can withstand my own lies not if they're effective lies and if they're effective enough to fool


millions of people and then they reflect them back to you what makes you think you're going to be able to withstand that you aren't and so i do think putin believes to the degree that he believes anything i do believe that he thinks of himself as a bulwark for christendom against the degeneration of the west and that's that third way that dugan and putin have been talking about the philosopher alexander dugan and putin for 15 years now what that is is very amorphous solzhenitsyn thought the russians would have to re return to


the incremental development of orthodox christianity to escape from the communist trap and to some degree that's happened in russia because there's been a return to orthodox christianity now you could say yeah but the orthodox church has just been co-opted by the state and i would say there's some evidence for that i've heard for example that the metropolitan owns now i don't know if this is true owns five billion dollars worth of personal property and i would say there's a bit of a moral hazard in that and it's possible that the orthodox church has been co-opted but there has


been somewhat of an orthodox revival in russia and i don't think that's all bad now even if putin doesn't believe any of this if he's just a psychopathic manipulator and unfortunately i don't think that's true i've read his speeches it doesn't look like it to me and he is by no means the worst russian leader of the last hundred years well there's quite a selection there there certainly is but and i say that knowing that even if he doesn't believe it he's convinced his people that it's true and so we're stuck with the we're stuck


with the claim in either case and that's the point i was trying to make in the article sometimes i'm troubled by people that explain things and i've a lot of people reached out to me experts telling me how i should feel what i should think about ukraine oh you naive lex you're so naive you know here's how it really is but then i get to see people that lost their home i get to see people on the russian side who believe they're i genuinely think that there's some degree to which they have love in their


heart uh they they see themselves as heroes saving a land from uh from nazis how else would you motivate young men to go fight it's just it's these humans destroying not only their homes but creating generational hate destroying the possibility of love towards each other they're they're basically creating hate what i've heard a lot of is on february 24th this year hate was born at a scale that region has not seen hate towards not vladimir putin hate towards not the soldiers in russia but


hate towards all russians hate that will last generations and then you can you you could see um um just the the pain there and then then when all these experts talk about uh um agriculture and energy and geopolitics and yeah maybe like what you say with with the fighting the ideologies of the woke and so on i just feel like it's missing something deep


that war is not fought about any of those things war started and wars averted based on human beings based on well here's humanity here's another ugly thought since we haven't had enough so far we locked everything down for covid how much face-to-face communication was there between the west and vladimir putin how about none how about that was the wrong amount especially given that europe was completely dependent on putin for its energy supplies well not completely but you know what i mean


materially and significantly so maybe he had to go talk to him once every six months maybe he's in a bit of a bubble probably and not just an information bubble how all these experts tell me about yeah no a human human human bubble look one of the things i've really learned there's a real emphasis on hospitality in the old testament i just brought all these scholars together to talk about exodus i have this security team with me and they're tough military guys but they're on board for this mission let's say and so they went out of their way to be hospitable to my academic guests they


laid out nice platters of meat and cheese crackers they spent all day preparing this house i had rented so that we could have a hospitable time with these scholars most of whom i didn't know well but who said they would come and spend eight days talking about this book with me we rented some jet skis we had a nice house we had fun and we got to know each other and we got to trust each other because we could see that we could have some fun and that we could let our hair down a bit we didn't have to be on guard and that made the talks way deeper and then we found out we couldn't get through exodus in eight days and so


i had proposed very early on that we're going to double the length and so i pulled eight people out of their lives for for eight days that's a that's not an easy thing to do it's also quite expensive and the daily wire plus people picked all that up and they said right they said yes right away so we'd love to do this again well why well partly because it was intellectually it was unbelievably engaging i learned so much it'll take me like a year to digest it if i can ever digest it and but they had they had a really good time


and so when they were offered that combination of intellectual challenge let's say in hospitality it was a no-brainer they just said every one of them said if i can do it in any way i will definitely be there and this whole i went to washington a bunch of times and the the culture of hospitality has broken down in washington 40 percent of congressmen sleep in their offices they don't have apartments their family isn't there with them they don't have social occasions with their fellow democrats or republicans much less across the table


and so and i tried to have some meetings in washington that were bilateral a couple of times get young republican congressmen and democrats together to talk and as soon as they talk they think oh it was so interesting because one of the lunches was about 15 people half democrats and half republicans and all i'd asked them to do was just spend three minutes talk about why you decided to become a congressman which is not a job i would take by the way you spend 25 hours a week fundraising on the telephone your family isn't there with you


you have to run for election every two years you're beholden to the party apparatus right you're vilified constantly this is not you know people think well this is a job for the privileged it's like yeah you go and run for congress and find out how much fun it is and put your family on the line and then have to beg for your job every two years well your enemies the worst of your enemies are the and the worst of your friends are viciously hen pecking you and so anyways we had them all sit around the table said okay just say why you ran for congress it was so cool


especially for a canadian because you americans you're so bloody theatrical it's such something to watch it was like mr smith goes to washington for every one of them it's like well this country has given us so much where families have been so so uh we've benefited so much from our from our time here we think this is a wonderful country we really felt that we should give back then the next one would talk and it was like exactly the same story and then it didn't matter if they were republican or democrat you couldn't tell the difference no one could and was it genuine it's like well are you genuine


you think these people are worse than you first of all they're not second of all they're probably better all things considered it's not that easy to become a congressman and i'm sure there's some bad apples in the bunch but by and large you walk away from your meetings with these people and you think pretty impressive they really are giving a part of themselves in in the name of service maybe over time they become cynical and become jaded and worn down by the whole system but i think a lot of it could you imagine that is healed i think


and i don't think i'm well i'm in part naive but not fully that a lot of it is healed through the power of conversation just basic social interaction i do think that the batman the effects of this pandemic by listening look listen just sitting there and it doesn't have to be talking about the actual issue it's actually humor and all those kinds of things uh about personal struggles all those kinds of things that remind you that you're all just humans yeah well the great leaders that i've met because and i've met some now they go listen to their constituents


it's not a policy discussion it's not an ideology discussion they go say okay what's what's your what's your life like and what are your problems and tell me about them and then they listen and then they're struck by them and then they gather up all that misery and they bring it to the congressional office or to the parliament and they think here's what the people are crying out for and the good leaders that's a leader leader listens it's like i talked to jimmy carr about comedy and he's sold out


stages worldwide on a tour being funny that's hard he said comedy is the most stand-up comedy which is what i do in some real sense it's a thing i do that it's most akin to what i'm doing on my book tours i would say it's the closest analog he said it's the most dialogical enterprise and i thought well why what do you mean because see it's just a monologue and it's a prepared monologue i mean you have to interact dynamically with the audience while you're telling your jokes and you've got to get the timing right but you have a body of jokes


i said well here's how you prepare the jokes and i've been told this by other comedians you go to 50 clubs before you go on your tour and you got some new material and you think it's funny and you go into a club and you lay out your new material and people laugh at some of it and you pay attention to what they laugh at and what they don't laugh at so you subject yourself to the judgment of the crowd and you get rid of everything that isn't funny and if you do that enough even if you're


not that funny the crowd will tell you what's funny so you can imagine imagine you do 50 shows and each is an hour long and you collect two minutes of humor from each show so you throw away 90 you throw away two hours more than 98 of it collect two minutes per show so you're not very funny at all you're like funny two percent of the time you aggregate that man you're a scream so so that's what a leader does is that is what leader does it goes out and he aggregates the misery you know and the hopes and then i do think that's revivifying to someone who would otherwise be


cynical and jaded because then the person can say to themselves despite the inadequacies of the system and my inadequacies i'm i'm gathering up the misery and and the hope and i'm bringing it forward where it can be redressed giving it a voice giving that's right giving it a voice can you actually take me through a day because this is fascinating um through your comedy tour uh what is a day in the life of jordan peterson look like which is this very interesting day let's look at the day when you have to speak


preparing your mind thinking of what you're going to talk about preparing yourself physically mentally to interact with the crowd through the actual speaking how do you adjust what you're thinking through and how do you come down from that so you can start all again as a limited system well i'm usually up by seven and ready to go by 7 30 or 8. coffee no no steak and water how many times a day steak


oh that's all i eat how many times three or four depending on the day steak and water taking sparkling water yeah so monastic asceticism man well i did the proper i i usually just once a day i did the the proper jordan peterson last night and just ate two steaks and how was that it was wonderful yeah well if you have to only eat one thing you know could be worse so anyways i'm ready to go at eight because we're generally moving what does it moving mean you're constantly flying somewhere okay and we usually use private flights now


because the commercial airlines aren't reliable enough and you cannot not make a venue right so that's rule number one on the tour you make the show so everything and then number rule number two is anybody who causes any trouble on the tour is gone because there is zero room for error now no there's zero room for unnecessary unaddressed error so because there's going to be errors the guys i have around me now if they make a mistake they fix it right away yeah so and that's great there's a lot of people relying on you to be there so you have


like like 4 000 people typically yeah so so then i'm on the plane and i'm usually i usually write or often because there's no internet on the plane and that's a good use of time so i'm writing a new book so i write on the plane typing or handwriting typing yeah typing and uh then we land and we go to it's usually early afternoon by then we go to a hotel it's usually a nice hotel that's not corporate i don't really like corporate


hotels my secretary and my one of my logistics guys has got quite good at picking kind of adventurous hotels boutique hotels are usually in the old parts of the city especially in europe somewhere interesting and so we go there and then lunch usually and sometimes that's an air fryer and a steak in the hotel room and i leave a trail of airfryers behind me all across the world and then tammy and i usually go out and have a walk or something and take a look at the city and then i have a rest for like an


hour and a half or an hour half an hour like a nap yes now i have to sleep for 20 minutes and that's about all i can say but i need to do that in the late hour it never refreshes your mind yeah that gives me that wakes me up again for the evening and then tam has to sleep longer she's still recovering from her illness and so she has to sleep longer in the afternoon and that's absolutely necessary for both of us or things start to get frayed and so then we go to the venue and then i usually sit for an hour if i'm gonna lecture i've been doing a


lot of q and a's and that's a little easier but if i'm gonna lecture i have to sit for an hour and then i think okay what question am i trying to investigate i have to have that that's the point what mystery am i trying to unravel it's usually associated with one of the rules in my book because technically it's a book tour but each of those rules is an investigation into an ethic and each of them points to a deeper sort of mystery in some sense and there's no end to the amount it can be explored and so i have the question the question might be something like uh


put your put your house in perfect order before you criticize the world okay what does that mean exactly put what does house mean what does put what does put mean that active verb what does perfect and order mean why before you criticize the world what does it mean to criticize what does it mean to criticize the world how can you do that properly or improperly so i start to think about how to decompose the question and you start to think which of these decompositions are important to really dig into yeah well then they'll strike me it's like okay


there's something there that that i've been maybe noodling around on that i would like to investigate further then i think okay how can i approach this problem i think well i have this story that i know i have this story and i have this story but i haven't juxtaposed them before and there's going to be some interesting interaction in the juxtaposition so i have the question and i kind of have a framework of interpretation and then i have some potential narrative places i can go and then i think okay i can go juggle that and see what happens and so then what i want to do is concentrate on that process while


attending to the audience to make sure that the words are landing and then see if i can delve into it deeply enough so that a narrative emerges spontaneously with an ending now i'm sure you've experienced this in podcasts right maybe i'm wrong but my experience has been if i fall into the conversation and we know about the time frame there'll be a natural narrative arc and then so you'll kind of know when the midpoint is and you'll kind of see when you're reaching a conclusion and then if you really pay attention you can see that's a good place to stop


it's kind of you come to a point and you have to be alert and patient to see that and you have to be willing to be satisfied with where you've got to but if you do that and then it's like a comedian making the punch line work it's like i've got all these balls in the air and they're going somewhere and this is how they come together and people love that right they say oh this and this this and this whack together


and that's an insight and it is very much like a punchline well that's interesting because your mind actually some i'm a fan of your podcast too and you are always driving towards that i would say for me in in a podcast conversation there's often a kind of alice in wonderland type of exploration down the rabbit hole man and then you just a new thing pops up and the more absurd the wilder the better yeah conversations with elon are like this yeah it's like actually the more you drive towards an ark the more uncomfortable you start to get in


a fun absurd conversation because oh i i'm now one of the normies no i don't want that i want to be i want i want the rabbit i want the crazy because it makes it more uh fun but somehow throughout it there is wisdom you try to grasp at well such that there is a thread well that's the thing man you're following the thread eh yeah the thread's right the thread well that's right that's what we're trying to do that thread that thread is the proper balance between structure and spontaneity and it manifests itself as the instinctive meaning and that's the logos in the


dialogues and it really is the logos and god only knows what that means you know i mean the biblical claim is that logos is the fundamental principle of reality and i think that's true i actually think that's true because i think that that meaning that guides you well here's a way of thinking about i've been writing about this recently what's real matter it's like okay that's one answer what's real what matters is real because that's how you act okay that's different than matter


it's like okay what's the most real of what matters how about pain why is it the most real try arguing it away good luck so pain is the fundamental reality all right well that's rough doesn't that lead to nihilism and hopelessness yeah doesn't it lead to a philosophy that's antithetical towards being the most fundamental reality is pain yes is there anything more fundamental than pain


love really if you're in pain love and truth that's what you got and you know if they're more powerful than pain maybe they're the most real things when you think about reality what is real that is the most real thing well it's a tough one right because you have to because if you're a scientist a materialist think well the matter is the most real it's like well you don't know what the matter is yeah and so and then when push comes to


shove and it will you'll find out what's most real yeah i i feel like this is uh missing physical reality is is missing some of the things so of course pain has a biological component and all those kinds of things but it it's missing something deep about the human condition that at least the modern science is not able to uh describe but it is reaching towards that yeah it is the reason one way to describe it as you're describing is the reason it's reaching it is because underneath of science is


this assumption that there's a deep logos thing to this whole thing we're trying to do well you know there's two traditions right in some sense there's two logos traditions there's the the greek rational enlightenment tradition that's a logos tradition and it insists that there's a logos in nature and that science is the way to approach it and then there's the judeo-christian logos which is more embodied and more spiritual and i would


say the west is actually an attempt to unite those two and it's the proper attempt to unite those two because they need to be united and i see the union coming in near terms you know i talk to friends to wall for example about the animating principle of chimpanzee sovereignty and that's pretty close biologically is it power because that's the claim even from the biologists often the most dominant chimp has the best reproductive success it's like oh yeah dominant eh you mean using compulsion


okay let's look are the chimps who use compulsion the most successful and the answer is sporadically and rarely and for short well that's sporadically for short periods of time why because they meet an unpleasant end the subordinates over whom they exercise arbitrary control wait for a weak moment and then tear them into shreds right every dictator's terror and for good reason and dewall has showed that the alpha chimps the males who do have preferential mating access


often are often and reliably the best peacemakers and the most reciprocal and so even among chimps the principle of sovereignty is something like iterative iterated reciprocity and that's a way better principle than power and it's something like i've been thinking what's the antithesis of the spirit of power i think it's the spirit of play and you know you i don't know what you think about that but when you have a


good podcast conversation you already described it in some sense as play it's like there's a structure right because it's an ordered conversation but you want there to be play in the system and if you get that right then it's really engaging and then it seems to have its own narrative arc i'm not trying to impose that even though that's another thing i don't do i didn't come to this conversation at all thinking here's what i want out of a conversation with lex friedman like instrumentally i thought i'll go talk to lex why i like his podcasts


he's doing something right i don't know what it is he asks interesting questions i'll go have a conversation with him where's it gonna go wherever it goes embracing the spirit of play so what you have this when you're lecturing you're going in front of the crowd you thought of a question yeah just you get on the stage first of all are you nervous at all i'm very nervous when i'm sitting down thinking through the structure initially which is why my wife and i have been doing q and a's and that's easier on me yeah it's the uh


it's the the way comedians are nervous like uh joe rogan just did his special so this weekend and so he now has to sit nervously like a comedian does which is like i have no material now right i have to start from scratch when i was doing the lectures constantly instead of the q and a's basically what i was doing was writing a whole book chapter every night and you know now that's a bit of an exaggeration because i would return to themes that i had developed but it's not really an exaggeration because i didn't ever just


go over rote material ever so it was it's very demanding and that part's nerve-wracking because i sit down it's an hour before the show and i think can i pull can i do this and you know the answer is well you did it a thousand times but that's not this time yeah it's like can i come up with a question can i think through the structure can i pull off the spontaneous narrative can i pull it together and the answer is i don't know and so then i get it together in my mind i think and that's hard it takes effort and it's


nerve-racking okay i got it but then there's the moment you go out on stage and you think well i know i had it but can i do it no notes and then the question is well you're going to find out well you do it and so then i go out on stage and i don't talk to the audience i talk to one person at a time and you can talk to one person you know because you know how to do that so i talk to a person and not too long because i don't want to make them too nervous and then someone else and someone else and then i'm in contact with the audience and then i can tell


if the words are landing and i listen it's like are they rustling around are they dead quiet because they want dead quiet you're so i see because that's what focus sounds like you're you're in it together then you bet well and i also here's a good rule if you're learning to speak publicly i never say a word till everyone is 100 quiet and that's it's a great way to start a talk because you're set in the frame and if the frame is we'll all talk while you're talking the message is well you can talk


this is a place where everybody can talk it's like no it's not this is a place where people paid to hear me talk so i'm not going to talk till everyone's listening and so then you get that stillness and then you just wait because that stillness turns into an expectation and then it comes turns into a kind of nervous expectations like what the hell is he doing it's not manipulative it's a sense of timing it's like just when that's right you think okay now it's time to start well that nerve the interesting thing about that nervous expectation is from an audience


perspective we're in it together yeah i mean there is into that silence there's a togetherness to it of course it's the union of everyone's attention yeah yeah and that's and that's a great thing i mean you love that at a concert when everyone it's not silenced then but when everyone's attention is unified and everyone's moving in unison it's like we're all worshiping the same thing right it's when that would be the point of the conversation the point of the lecture and the worship is the direction of attention towards it and it's uni it's communion because everyone's doing it at the same time


and so i mean there's not much difference between lecture theater and a church in that regard right it's the same fundamental layout and structure and they're very integrally associated with one another one really grew out of the other the lecture theater grew out of the church so it's it's perfectly reasonable to be thinking about it in those terms and so and then okay so after the lecture we play a piece of music that is a piece of music that i've been producing with some musicians for a couple of books i'm going to release


in the fall terrible books abc of childhood tragedy they're called dark dark books dark and comical books terrible books heartbreaking illustrations we've set them to music and so we play a piece from that and then afterwards i usually meet about 150 people to have photographs and so each of those is a little is there a little sparkle of human connection a lot a lot it's it's very intense 10 seconds with every person you think how can 10 seconds be intense it's like pay enough attention it gets intense


real quick does it break your heart to say goodbye so many times it's like being at a in a wedding lineup at a wedding that you want to be at and everybody's dressed up and that's so weird because i bought these expensive suits when i went on tour and it broke my heart because i spent so much money on them i thought god that's completely unconscionable i thought no way man yeah i'm in this 100 and so i'm gonna dress with respect and like sixty percent of the audience comes in two or three-piece suits they're all dressed up then there's this line to greet me and


they're all happy to see me that's not so hard to take you know although it is in a sense right because normal interactions are pretty shallow and you think i don't want shallow interactions like yes you do most of the time yeah it's intense it's very intense and i don't know if you but you've had a taste of this no doubt because people recognize yeah but i also have um when a person recognizes me and they come with love and they're often brilliant people one of the thoughts i have to deal with one of the dragons in my own mind is you know thinking that i don't deserve that kind of attention


and so well you probably don't right so it's a burden in that i have to step up to be the kind of person that deserves that that deserves that but in part deserves that kind of intention and that's like holy it's crucially important too because if someone comes up to you in an airport and they know who you are and they're brave enough to admire you or who you are attempting to be and you make a mistake they will never forget it yeah so it's a high-stakes


enterprise and the flip side of that especially with young people a few words you can say can change the direction of their life one way or another and so i really have to watch this too in airports i do not like airports i do not like the creeping totalitarianism in airports they've always bothered me yes they really bother me and i'm an unpleasant travel companion for my wife sometimes because of that although i think we've worked that out thank god because we're doing a lot of traveling but most of the security guards and and the


border personnel all those people they know me and as a general rule they're positively predisposed to me and so if i'm peevish or irritable yeah then well that's not good it's not good and so that's a tight rope to walk to because i do not like that creeping totalitarianism but by the same token you know if you're just one of the crowd just you know sometimes you it's good just to be one of the crowd and then you're a little irritable and people can just brush that off but if you're someone they have dared to open their heart to


because that's what admiration is and then you're be and you betray that then that's a real they'll never forget it and then they'll tell everyone too so it takes a lot of alertness and so tammy in our life has got complicated because in toronto for example we can't really just go for a walk it's always a high drama production because always people come up and they have some heart-rending story to tell and i'm not being cynical about that yes it's a hard thing to


bear because people don't do that they don't just open themselves up to you like that and share the tragedy of their life but that's an everyday occurrence and so when we go up to our cottage which is out of the city it's a relief you know because as wonderful as that is like it's a weird i have a weird life because everywhere i go it's very weird it's like i'm surrounded by old friends because i walk down the street in any city now virtually and people say hello dr peterson so nice to see you or they say better things than that very rarely bad things


one one experience in 5000 may be very rare although you don't forget those either but it's very it's very strange so and there's an intimacy they know you well and and because they leap into uh they avoid the small talk often they leap into familiarity it really is like it's an old friend and it feels like that for me personally the experience is the goodbye hurts because um you know there's a sense where you're never going to see that friend again right yeah that's a strange thing eh so to me a lot of the uh


a lot of it just feels like goodbyes mm-hmm well it is you're right about that and i mean that's i suppose in some sense part of the pain of opening yourself up to people because they also tammy has been struck particularly she said i really never knew what men were like i said what do you mean she said i cannot believe how polite the men are when they come and talk to you because it's always the same the pattern's very similar the person comes up they're mostly men not always but mostly


and they're tentative and they're very polite very very polite and they say i hope i'm not bothering you do you mind you know do you mind that i say that they're not bothering me and i'm doing everything i can to not be the guy who's bothered by that it's like who do you think you are yeah yes you're the guy that what is famous and now is above that yeah you don't want to be that guy yeah so you want to be grateful all the time when people open up like that and and so you got to be alert and on point to do that properly like right away


because for these for you it's 5 seconds or 10 seconds or 20 seconds whatever it is but for them they've opened up and so you can really nail them if you're foolish after the 150 people how do you come down from that how do you how do you find yourself again well that was when i got taught caught in twitter traps you know because i'm so burnt out by then from the from the talk and the and the audience interactions and the whole day because it's a new city it's a new hotel it's it's a new 5 000 people


it's a new book chapter it's a whole new horizon of ideas and it's off to another city the next day i'm so burnt out by then that i'm not as good at controlling my impulses as i might be and twitter was a real catastrophe for that because it would hook me and then i couldn't like i used to when i was working on my book a lot i used to call tammy and say look you have to come and get me i can't stop i can't stop i got tired and then i kind of because it's part of a kind of hype hypomanic focus i couldn't quit it's like oh no i i'm still writing i need to


get away from this but i couldn't stop and so it's better to to read something a book fiction nonfiction fiction stephen king i was reading a lot of stephen king when i was on tour last time that was good i like stephen king a lot great narratives great and great characterization you know so and there's a familiarity about stephen king's writing too that it's he writes about people you know


and so i really found that a relief and so that was useful and that in order to tolerate this let's say or to be able to sustain it well let's take a lot of negotiation on the part of tammy and i because she's dragged into this and you know her life is part of this whatever this is and she's had to find her way and has for example now she has a different hotel room than me when we travel and she she found that she didn't want to be on the tour this spring and i was ill again for part of it not made it complicated but she went away back home and she came back and she said and she


was nervous but she said i think i need my own room and part of me was not happy with that it's like what do you mean you need your like are we not married anymore it's like you need your own room and she said well you know i can't she has to do exercises because she was really sick and she has to keep herself in shape and she has to have some time to do that she does a lot of prayer and meditation and she needs the time and she has her own podcast which is going quite well and she needs the time and and i trust her and she said well i need this in order to continue and i thought well


okay like if you need this in order to continue yes because she went away and didn't say well i i don't want to be on the tour i don't want to do this anymore she went away and prayed let's say how can i continue to do this and that was the answer and so she has her own hotel room and that was a really good decision on her part and she's very good and getting better all the time at figuring out what has to happen for her to make this


sustainable and all that's been is a plus because i don't want to travel without her and and i don't want her life to be miserable and i want her to be fully on board and so she has to be properly selfish like everyone does in a relationship and you have to not just say yes this is a weird thing that you're doing and you have to both you and her have to figure out how to like how to manage this very intense intellectual well there's another element to it too that i


didn't tell you about so that was a typical day but it's missing a big component because usually we also have a dinner with like 30 cultural representatives i suppose 10 to 30 from each country because i have a network of people who have networks who are setting me up with key decision makers in each country and so then we have like an hour and a half of that now sometimes that's on a day when i don't have a talk if we but sometimes the talks are back to back and so she also has to manage that and to be gracious and and


then people are showing us exciting things and tours in the cities and which is all like it's a surf fight of wonderful yes exactly but you're it's still yeah you have to be there for you have to be present for it mentally yeah as a curious mind as an intellectual mind how do you uh how do you get to sleep fortunately that is almost never a problem even when i was unbelievably ill for about three years i thought about that a lot too you know that i didn't do a really good job of explaining that while i was ill because


it appeared in some sense that the reason i was ill was because i was taking benzodiazepines but that isn't why i was ill and then i took them and very low dose and i took that for a long time and it helped whatever was wrong with me and it looks like it was an allergy or maybe multiple allergies and then that stopped working and so i took a little bit more for about a month and that made it way worse and so then i cut back a lot and then then things really got out of hand and so so there was a deeper thing oh yeah


oh yeah what can you put words to well i had a lot of immune my my daughter as everyone knows has a very reactive immune system and tammy has three immunological conditions each of them quite serious and i had psoriasis and peripheral uveitis which is an autoimmune condition and alopecia areata and chronic gum disease all of which appeared to be elderly related and so michaela seems to have got all of that and so that and that i think was at the bottom of because i also had this proclivity to depression that was part of my family history but i think that was all immunological as far as i can


tell so one of the things that's happened to me i always noticed i really couldn't breathe like i could breathe about one-fifth as much as i sometimes could and so i was always short of breath and it looks like what that was perhaps was i was always on the border of an anaphylactic reaction which is not pleasant and that's hyper sympathetic activation no parasympathetic activation i couldn't relax at all that's an immunological response allergic response yeah


so anyways that was what seemed now this i don't like to talk about this much because it's so bloody radical and you know i don't like to propagate it but this diet seems to have stopped all of that i don't have psoriasis all of the patches have gone yeah my gum disease which is incurable i had multiple surgeries to deal with it it's completely gone took three years my right eye which was quite cloudy it's cleared up completely [Music] what else has changed well i lost 50 pounds and like instantly kept it off i should mention that i i too am not a deep investigator of nutritional science


i have my skepticism towards the degree to which it is currently the science because like a lot of complex systems is various full of mystery uh and full of uh profiteers the people that profit of different kinds of diets but i should say for me personally it does seem that i feel by far the best when i eat only meat that's very interesting and i discovered that a long time ago first of all how do you discover it uh so by the discovery went like this i started listening to ultra marathon runners about


15 years ago and they started talking about fat adapted running so i first discovered that i don't have to run super fast to enjoy running and in fact i really enjoy running at a slower pace so that was like step one it's like oh okay if i maintain something called uh the math rule which is a pretty low heart rate if i maintain that you can actually get pretty fast while maintaining a pretty slow average speed in general anyway they fuel themselves on


low carb diets so i got into that on top of that i also they also fast often so i discovered how incredible my mind feels when fasted you know people call it intermittent fasting but well that's an optimization of death eh because you're when you fast your body logically and obviously if you think about it biologically is well what does your body scavenge first well damaged tissue so the the i know the literature on fasting to some degree and it's it's very compelling


literature if you if you starve dogs down i think it's 20 below rats too below their optimal body weight they live 30 percent longer yeah that's a lot thirty percent like it's like thirty percent yeah yeah thirty percent well there there is aspect to a lot of these things that make me nervous because it's i always feel like there's no free lunch that i'm gonna pay for it somehow but there is a focus that i am able to attain when i fast especially when i eat once a day my mind is almost like nervously focused it's almost like an anxiety but a positive one or one that i can channel


into just like an excitement you know i wonder how much of that's associated with well imagine that that signifies lack of food which not that hard to imagine well maybe you should be a lot more alert in that situation right biologically speaking because you're in hunting mode let's say you know not desperate but in hunting mode and god only knows maybe human beings should be in hunting mode all the time often but that we don't know that so i wonder if it has a stress on the system that long term causes the system doesn't it doesn't look like it it it seems in case of


fasting not and then on top of that i discovered that the thing i enjoy i just don't enjoy eating fat as much so i love eating meat and when you talk about low carb diets so i just discovered through that process if someone fatted me but just me i just feel a lot of the things that make me feel weird about food like a little groggy or like full or just whatever the aspects of food that i don't enjoy they're not there with meat and i'm still able to enjoy company and when i eat once a day


and eat meat at least in texas you could still have all the merriment oh yeah you have dinner with friends now i don't do the uh this you know you have a very serious thing that um there's health benefits that you are very serious about for me i can still drink whiskey i'll still do the things that add a little bit of uh spice spice into the thing yeah now when you completely remove the spice it it does become more difficult yeah it's more difficult socially and tami seems to only be able


to eat lamb although she might be able to eat non-aged beef and that makes traveling complicated too right because well for obvious reasons it's like really that's all you can eat yeah well c'est la vie and maybe that's a form of craziness but if it can return to actually the thing you were talking about when you're thinking about a question before the lecture yeah let me ask you about thinking in general um this is something maybe that you and jim keller think a lot about is thinking how to think um


how do you think through an idea well first of all i i think okay that's a really good question we tried to work that out with this essay app that my son and i have developed because if you're going to write the first question is well what should i write about what's the name of the app and well the first question is well what bugs you what's bugging you this is such a cool thing it's like where is my destiny well what bothers you well that's where


your destiny is your destiny is to be found in what bothers you why do those things bother you there's a lot of things you could be bothered by like a million things man but some things grip you they bug you and they might make you resentful and bitter because they bug you so much like they're your things man they've got you so then i look for a question that i would like the answer to that i don't and i would really like the answer to it so i don't assume i already have the answer because i would actually really


like to have the answer so if i could get a better answer great and so that's the first thing and that's like a prayer it's like okay here's a mystery i would like to delve into it further well so that's humility it's like here's a mystery which means i don't know i would like to delve into it further which means i don't know enough already and then then comes the revelation it's like well what's a revelation well if you ask yourself a question


it's a real question do you get an answer or not the answer is well yeah thoughts start to appear in your head so from somewhere that's right from somewhere where do they come from do you have a sense depends on what you're aiming at depends on the question but no no it don't it does to some degree it depends it depends on your intent so imagine that your intent is to make things better then maybe they come from the place that's designed to make things better maybe your intent is to make things worse


then they come from hell and you think not really it's like you're so sure about that are you is your intent conscious like are you able um conscious and habitual right because as you practice something consciously it becomes habitual but it's conscious it's like i when i sit down before i do a lecture i think okay what's the goal here to do the best job i can to what end well people are coming here not for political issues they're coming here because they're trying to make their lives better okay so what are we doing we're conducting a joint


investigation into the nature of that which makes life better okay what's my role to do as good a job about that as possible what state of mind do i have to be in am i annoyed about the theater or am i do am i clued in and thrilled that 4 000 people have showed up at substantial expense and trouble to come and listen to me talk and if i'm not in that state of mind i think well maybe i need something to eat or maybe i need to talk to someone because that ingratitude is no place to start it's like i should be thrilled to be there obviously and so that that orientation


has to be there and then i said conscious all this is conscious what am i serving the highest good i can conceptualize what is that i have some sense but i don't know it in the final analysis which is why the investigation is being conducted who's doing it me whoever i'm communing with and the audience and so i want i try to get myself and i chase everybody away for that it's like i have to do that by myself are you writing stuff down yes at that point i make no i just make point notes and it's usually about maybe 30 notes but then i on stage i never refer to them and i often don't even use


the structure that i laid out kind of an interesting thing from where do powerful phrases come from do you have a do you have a do you try to encapsulate an idea into a sentence or two well i when i talk i practice this since consciously since 1985 i try to feel and see if the words are stepping stones or foundation stones right it's like is this solid is this word solid is this phrase solid is this sentence solid like it's a real sense of fundamental foundation under each word


and i suppose people ask me if i pray and i would say i pray before every word well when you're when you're asking questions like you're very clear headed and present in your ability to ask questions and inquire so how do you do that so first of all i'm worried that my mind easily gets trapped when i step on a word and i know it's unstable you kind of realize that you don't really know the definitions of any words you use


and that can be debilitating so i kind of try to be more carefree about the words i use because otherwise you get trapped you don't want to be obsessional like literally my mind halfway through the sentence will think well what does the word sentence mean right right right well you know everything else just explodes your big picture idea explodes and you lost yourself in the minutia well neurologically there's a production center and an editing center


and those can be separately affected by strokes and so often when people are writing or talking they try to activate both at the same time and that's so people will try to write an essay and get every sentence right the first draft that's a big mistake and so then you might say well how can you be careful with your words but carefree and the answer is orient yourself properly right while in the conversation we're having you you have an orientation structure you want to be prepared you want to be attentive then you want to have an interesting


conversation and you want to have the kind of interesting conversation that other people want to listen to that will be good for them in some manner okay so that's pretty good frame and and then you kind of scour your heart and you think is that really what you want are you after fame or after notoriety are you after money i'm not saying any of those things are necessarily bad but they're not optimal especially if you're not willing to admit them right and so they can contaminate you so you want to


be decontaminated so you have the right trip let's say and and so you have to put yourself that's a meditative practice you have to put yourself in the right receptive position with the right goal in mind then you can and i think you can get better and better at this then you can trust what's going to happen you know so for example before i came here i i mean i presume you have a reason for doing the podcast with me


what's the reason um i mean we wanted to talk for a long time so the reason has evolved the one of the reasons is i've listened to you uh for quite a long time so you become a one-way friend and i have many one-way friends some of my best friends don't even know i exist so i'm a big fan of podcasts and audiobooks actually most of my friends are dead yeah right um the writers the definition of a reader uh a lot of dead great dead friends so i


wanted i wanted to meet this one-way friend i suppose didn't have a conversation and then there's this kind of puzzle that i've been longing to solve the same reason i went to ukraine of asking this question of myself who am i and what was this part of the world what is this thing that happened in the 20th century that i lost so much my family there and i feel so much of my family is defined by that place now that place includes the soviet union it includes russia and ukraine it includes nazi


germany includes these big powerful leaders and huge millions of people that were lost in the beauty the power of the dream but were also uh the torture that's uh was forced onto them through different governmental uh institutions and you are somebody that seemed from some angle to also be drawn to try to understand what was that and not in some sort of


historical sense but in a deeply psychological human sense what is that will it repeat again in what way is it repeating again and how can we stop it and how can we stop it and so that's the crucial issue i felt i wanted to from a very different backgrounds uh pull at the threat of that curiosity you know i'm an engineer you're a psychologist both lost in that curiosity and uh both were suits and a talk with various levels of eloquence um


about sort of um the shadows that these that that history uh cast on us and so that was one and also the psychology i wanted to be a psychiatrist for a long time i was uh i was fascinated by the human mind and until i discovered artificial intelligence the fact that i could program and make a robot move and until i discovered that magic i thought i wanted to understand the human mind by being psychiatrist by talking to people by through to talk therapy psychotherapy now you've got the best of both worlds


because you get to talk to people and you get build robots yeah i mean but the dream ultimately is the robot that i felt like by building the thinking you start to try to understand it yeah that's one way i mean we're all we all have different skills and proclivities so like my particular one is uh has to do with uh i learn by building yeah i i think through a thing by building it and programming is a wonderful thing because it allows you to like build a little toy example so in the same way you can do a little thought experiment uh programming allows you to create a thought experiment in action it can move


it can live and can right and then you can ask questions of it so all of those because of my interest in freud and young you're also in different ways have have delved deeply into um into humanity the human psyche through the perspective of those of those psychologists so all for all those reasons i thought our password across yeah so that well so that's quite a frame for a discussion right you had all sorts of reasons and then you think well are you just letting the conversation go where it will it's like


well not exactly you spent all this time it's not like this came about by accident this conversation you spent all this time framing it and so all of that provides the implicit substructure for the play in the conversation and if you have that implicit here's another way this is very much worth knowing is if you get the implicit structure of perception right everything becomes a game and not only that a game you want to play and maybe in the final analysis a game you'd want to play forever so


you know that's obviously a distant beckoning ideal but we known games need rules or there's no play is there a device you can give uh now that we know the frame to give to me lex about how to do this podcast better how to think about this world how to be a good engineer how to uh be a good human being from take your preoccupation with suffering seriously it's a serious business


right and that's part of that to circle back to the beginning let's say that's that willingness to gaze into the abyss which is obviously what you were doing when you went to ukraine it's like it's gazing into the abyss that makes you better the thing is and this is maybe where nietzsche's idea is not as differentiated as it became sometimes your gaze can be forcefully directed towards the abyss and then you're traumatized if it's involuntary and accidental it can kill you


the more it's voluntary the more transformative it is and that's part of that idea about facing death and hell it's like can you tolerate death in hell and the answer is this terrible answer is yes to the degree that you're willing to do it voluntarily and then you might ask well why should i have to subject myself to death in hell i'm innocent and then the answer to that is even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good that's such an interesting distinction


voluntary suffering voluntary yeah yeah well that's why the central christian doctrine is pick up your cross and follow me and i'm speaking not in religious terms saying that i'm just speaking as a psychologist it's like one of the things we've learned in the last hundred years is voluntary exposure to that which freezes and terrifies you in measured proportions is curative so a form of at least in part involuntary suffering is depression do you have advice for people on how to find a way out


you're a man who has suffered in this way perhaps continue to suffer in this way how do you find a way out the first thing i do as a clinician if someone comes to me and says they're depressed is ask myself a question well what does this person mean by that so i have to find out like because maybe they're not depressed maybe they're hyper anxious or maybe they're obsessional like there's various forms of powerful negative emotion so they need to be differentiated but then the next question you have to ask is well are you depressed


or do you have a terrible life or is it some combination of the two so if you're depressed as far as i can tell you don't have a terrible life you have friends you have family you have an intimate relationship you have a job or a career you're about as educated as you should be given your intelligence use your time outside of work wisely you're not beholden to alcohol or other temptations you're engaged in the community in some fundamental sense and all that's working now if you have all that and you're feeling really awful you're either ill or you're depressed


and so then sometimes there's a biochemical route to that treatment of that my experience as being as a clinician is if you're depressed but you have a life and you take an antidepressant it will probably help you a lot now maybe you're not depressed exactly you just have a terrible life what does that look like you have no relationship your family is a mess you've got no friends you've got no plan you've got no job you use your time outside of work not only badly but destructively you have a drug or alcohol habit or some other vice


pornography addiction um you are completely unengaged in the surrounding community you have no scaffolding whatsoever to support you in your current mode of being or you move forward and then as a therapist well you do two things well if it's depression per se well like i said there's sometimes a biochemical route a nutritional route there's ways that can be addressed it's probably physiological if you're at least in part if you're depressed but you have an okay life sometimes it's conceptual you can turn to dreams sometimes to help


people because dreams contain the seeds of the potential future and if your person is a real good dreamer and you can analyze dreams that can be really helpful but that seems to be only true for more creative people and for the people who just have a terrible life it's like okay you have a terrible life well let's pick a front how about you need how about you need a friend like one sort of friend do you know how to shake hands and introduce yourself i'll have the person show me


so let's do it for a sec so it's like this hi i'm jordan right and people don't know how to do that and then they can't even get the ball rolling for the listener jordan just gave me a firm handshake yeah as opposed to a dead fish you know and and there's these elementary social skills that hypothetically if you were well cared for you learned when you were like three yeah and sometimes people have i had lots of clients to whom no one ever paid any attention and they needed like 10 000 hours of attention and some of that was just listening because they had 10 000 hours


of conversations they never had with anyone and they were all tangled up in their head and they had to just one client in particular i worked with this person for 15 years and what she wanted from me was for me just to shut the hell up for 50 minutes was very hard for me and to just tell me what had happened to her and then what happened at the end of the conversation then i could discuss a bit with her


and then as we progressed through the years the amount of time that we spent in discussion increased in proportion in this sessions until by the time we stopped seeing each other when my clinical practice collapsed we were talking about 80 of the time but she literally she'd never been attended to properly ever and so she was an uncarved block in the taoist sense right she hadn't been subjected to those flaming swords that separated the wheat from the chaff and so you can do that in therapy if you're listening and you're depressed i would say if you can't


find a therapist and that's getting harder and harder because it's actually become illegal to be a therapist now because you have to agree with your clients which is a terrible thing to do with them just like it's terrible just to arbitrarily oppose them you could do the self-authoring program online because it helps you write an autobiography and so if you have memories that are more than 18 months old that bother you when you think them up part of you is locked inside that an


undeveloped part of you is still trapped in that that's a metaphorical way of thinking about that's why it still has emotional significance so you can write about your past experiences but i would say wait for at least 18 months if something bad has happened to you because otherwise you just hurt yourself again by encountering it you can bring yourself up to date with an autobiography there's an analysis of faults and virtues that's the present authoring and then there's a guided writing exercise that helps you make a future plan


that's young men who do that could go to college young men who do that 90 minutes just the future authoring 90 minutes they're 50 less likely to drop out that's all it takes so sometimes depression is this heavy cloud that makes it hard to even make a single step towards it or you said isolate make a friend oh man sometimes first step is extremely difficult oh my god sometimes it's it's way worse than that like i had clients who were so depressed they literally couldn't get out of bed so what's their first step it's like can you sit up once today


no can you prop yourself up on your elbows once today like you just you scale back the dragon until you find one that's conquerable that moves you forward there's a there's a rubric for life scale back the dragons till you find one conquerable and it'll give you a little bit of gold commensurate with the struggle but the plus side of that because that's you think that god that's depressing you mean i have to start by sitting up while you do if you can't sit up but the the plus side of that is it's


the pareto distribution issue is that aggregates exponentially increase and failures do too by the way but aggregates exponentially increase so once you start the ball rolling it can get zipping along pretty good this person that i talked about was incapable of sitting with me in a cafe when we first met just talking even though i was her therapist but by the end she was doing stand-up comedy so you know it took years but still most people won't do stand-up comedy that's that's quite the bloody


achievement she she would read her poetry on stage two so for someone who was petrified into paralysis by social anxiety and who had to start very small there's a hell of an accomplishment yeah it all starts with one step do you have advice for young people in high school you're giving a lot of people look up to you for advice for strength for strength to search for themselves to find themselves take on some responsibility do something for other people you're doing something for yourself


while you're doing that even if you don't know it for sure because you're a community across time find something to serve somebody to help someone to help a job to find a job do your best with the customers don't be above your job you're going to get an entry level job when you're a kid or what else would you want you want to be the boss what do you know you don't know anything you could be the boss of your job you know if you're working in a grocery store or you're working in a convenience store assuming you're not working for terrified tyrants


you can be nice to the customers you can develop your social skills you can learn how to handle boss employee relationship you can be there 15 minutes early and leave 15 minutes late like you can learn in an entry-level job man and i'll tell you if you take an entry-level job and you learn and it's a reasonably decent place you will not be in an entry-level job for long because everyone who's competent is desperate for competent people and if you go and show yourself as competent there'll be a trial period but if you go show yourself as competent all sorts of doors you didn't even know were there will start opening like mad so you strive for competence


for craftsmanship yeah yeah yeah for discipline you know i mean i i said in one of the chapters in my books is is focused on putting your house in order it's like well how do you start make your bed you know i i it actually took me quite a long time in my life before i made my bed regularly in the morning most of my life was put in pretty good order but that was one thing i didn't have in order my clothes in my closet as well all that's in order not all of it i'm cleaning out some drawers right now but


look around and see what bugs you in your room just look it's like okay i'm in my room do i like this room no it bugs me okay why well the paint's peeling there and it's dusty there and the carpet's dirty and that corner is kind of ugly and the light there isn't very good and my clothes closet's a mess so i don't even like to open it um okay that's a lot of problems that sucks that's a lot of opportunity pick something and fix it something that bugs you yeah but not too much so the rule is pick something you know would make pick a problem


pick a solution to it that you know would help that you could do that you would do so you have to negotiate with yourself it's like well i won't clean up this room how do you know i've been in here for 10 years and i've never cleaned it up it's like well obviously that's too big a dragon for you would you clean one drawer find out and so imagine now you want to be happy when you open that drawer and you think well that's stupid it's like is it maybe it's your sock drawer which i cleaned up in my room the other day by


the way you're gonna you're gonna open that every morning that's like 30 seconds of your life every day okay so that's three minutes a week that's 12 minutes a month that's two hours a year so maybe your life is made out of you've got 16 hours a day let's figure this out 5 12 in an hour 12 in an hour 144 in 12 hours yeah let's say 200. 205 minute chunks that's your life ladies and gentlemen jordan peterson did just some math how many five-minute chunks there are in a day and i got pretty sure that's pretty accurate it's


approximately right so you got 200 5-minute chunks and they repeat a lot of them repeat so if you get every one of those right they're trivial right who cares what my sock drawer looks like it's like fair enough man but that's your life the things you repeat every day the mundane things think i could get all those mundane things right that's the game rules it's like now all the mundane is in place now you can play because all the mundane's in place and this is actually true so with children imagine you want your children to play well play is very fragile neurologically


any competing motivation or emotion will suppress play so everything has to be in order everything has to be a walled garden before the children will play that's a good way of thinking about it so you put everything in order and you think oh my god now i'm tyrannized by this order it's like no you aren't not if it's voluntary and then the order is the precondition for the freedom and so then all of a sudden you get all these things in order it's like oh look at this i've i've got some room to play here and then


then maybe you're not depressed now it's it's often not that simple you know it's not that simple try putting your room in order perfect order that's hard i mean it's a really powerful way to think about those five-minute chunks just get one of them right in a day yeah if you do that for 200 days your life is in order yeah you know i thought i did that with my clients a lot so a lot of them would come home from work the guys say and and their wife would meet them at the door and it'd be a fight right away you know and it's a clash there because he comes home and he's tired hungry he's worked all day and he's hoping that you


know he gets welcomed when he comes back to the home but then the wife is at home and she's been with the kids all day and she's tired and hungry and she's hoping that when he comes home he'll show her some appreciation for what's happened today and then they clash and then they both have problems to discuss because they've had their troubles during the day and so then every time they get together they're not like it's a bit of a fight for 20 minutes and then the whole evening is screwed and so then you think okay here's the deal it's knock and the door will open okay


you get to pick how what happens when you come home but you have to figure out what it is so now this is the deal you treat yourself properly you imagine coming home and it goes the way you want and need it to go okay what does that look like you get to have it but you have to know what it is what does it look like and you think okay i want to come home i want to be happy about coming home i come home i open the door i say hello honey i'm home


my wife says hi it's so nice to hear your voice she comes up she says hi dear she gives you a hug she says how was your day and you say well we'll sit and talk about that how was your day well we'll sit and talk about that do you need something to eat probably let's go sit and talk about our day it's like that sounds pretty good okay that sounds pretty good might not be perfect sounds a hell of a lot better than what we're doing now so how about we go talk to we'll go talk to your wife and say okay


this is what's happening when i come home i would like it to be better what would you like to have happen if you could have what you wanted and so she sits down and she thinks okay if he comes home what do i want to have happen and then now you've got two visions and you say well what would you like and you listen and she says what would you like can you tell her and then you think okay now can we bring these visions together so not only do we both get what we want but because we've brought them together we even get more than we want well who wouldn't agree to that unless they were even down


and that's so exciting it's not a compromise it's a union of ideals that's even makes a better ideal and then you get to come home and then then there's another rule that goes along with that which is please dear have the grace to allow me to do this stupidly and badly well i learned at least 20 times yeah and all give you the same leeway and then we'll practice stupidly for 20 times and we'll talk about it and then maybe we'll get it right for the next 10 000 times yeah right and you can do that with your whole you can do that with your whole life and you


can do that with your kids and you can do that with your family like it's not easy but you can do it's a lot easier than the alternative let me ask for some dating advice from jordan peterson how do you find on that topic the love of your life that's a good question i was asked that multiple times on my tour three times in a row in fact because we asked people to use this slido gadget that's a popular question two very it always came up to the top and i got asked that three times in a row and i didn't have a good answer and then i thought


why don't i have a good answer i thought oh i know why because that's a stupid question so so why yeah why because it's it's putting the cart before the horse here's the right question how do i make myself into the perfect date you answer that question and you will not have any problem answering the previous question it's like what i want in a partner if i offered everything i could to a partner who would i be you work on that ask that question just ask just ask yourself okay


i have to be the person that women would want okay what do they want clean that's not a bad start reasonably good physical shape so healthy productive generous honest willing to delay gratification so you dance with a woman it's like what's she doing what are you two doing well it's a patterned your there's patterns happening around you that's the music patterns patterns of being that's the music


now can you align yourself with the patterns of being gracefully that's what she's checking out and then can you do that with her and then can you do that in a playful and attentive manner and keep your bloody hands to yourself for at least a minute and so can you dance in a playful manner it's like you can go through this in your imagination and you know you'll know you know and then you think well how far am i from those things and the answer is usually man it's pretty horrible abyss separating you from that


ideal but the harder you work on offering other people what they need and want the more people will line up to play with you so it's the wrong question it's like how can i be the best partner possible and then you think well if i do that people will just take advantage of me and that's the non-naive objection right because the naive person's think well i'll be good and everyone will treat me right it's like the cynic says no i'll be good and


someone will take me out and then you think well what do you do about that objection and the answer is well you factor that in that's why you're supposed to be what is it as soft as a dove and as wise as a serpent it's like i know you're full of snakes i know it maybe i know it more than you do but we'll play anyways and that's the risk that's right voluntarily right it's like and that what's so cool about that is


that even though the person you're dealing with is full of snakes if you offer your hand in trust and it's real you will evoke the best in them yeah and that's true even i've dealt with people who are pretty damn criminal and pretty psychopathic and sometimes dangerously so and you tread very lightly when you're dealing with someone like that especially if they're intoxicated and even then your best bet is that


alert trust it's the it's the only fact the only thing i know that if i had one client who was a paranoid he was paranoid psychopath that's a bad combination he was a bad guy man he had like four restraining orders on him and restraining orders don't work on the sort of people that you put restraining orders on and he used to be harassed now and then by you know a bureaucrat in a bank with with delusions of power and he would say to them he he used to kind of act this out to me when i was talking to him he'd say i'm going to be your worst nightmare


and he meant it yeah and he would do it he had this obsessional psychopathic vengeance that was just like right there paranoid to the hilt and paranoid people are hyper acute so they're watching you for any sign of deceit or manipulation and they're really good at it because like they're 100 for that's what paranoia is it's 100 focus on that and even under those circumstances if you step carefully enough you can maybe you can avoid the acts that's a good thing to know if you ever meet someone


truly dangerous uh absolutely i believe in that that being fragile nevertheless taking that leap of trust towards another person even when they're dangerous especially when they're dangerous if you care if there's something there in those hills you want to find then that's probably the only way you're going to find it is taking that risk i have to ask you about gulag archipelago by soulja nitzin that speak to this very point there's so many layers of this book who could talk


about it forever i'm sure in many ways we are talking about it forever uh but there is sort of one of the themes captured in a few ways that was described to the book is that line between good and evil that runs through every human being as he writes the line dividing good and evil cuts to the heart of every human being during the life of any heart this line keeps changing place sometimes it is squeezed one way to exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish


one and the same human being is at various ages under various circumstances a totally different human being at times he's close to being a devil at times to sainthood but his name doesn't change and to that name we ascribed a whole lot good and evil what do you think about this line what do you think about this thing where we talked about if you give somebody a chance you actually bring out the best in them what do you think about this other aspect that throughout time that line shifts inside each person and you get to define that shift what do you think about this line


are we all capable of evil well you know the cosmic drama that's satan versus christ it's like well who's that about if it's not about you i i'm speaking just as a psychologist or as a literary critic those are characters at least they're that well are they human characters well obviously well are they archetypal human characters yes what does that mean cosmically and ontologically i don't know is the world a story


maybe but the way stories are often told is the characters and body i know those are those are unsufficient not great literature though it's very rare in great literature what you have in great literature generally is the internal drama right in as the literature becomes more pop i would say the characters are more unitary so there's a real bad guy and he's all bad and there's a real good guy and he's all good and that's not as interesting it's not as sophisticated when you reach dostoevsky in heights in in literary representation or


shakespearean heights you can identify with the villain and that's that's when literature really reaches its pinnacle in some sense and also the characters change throughout the shift they're unpredictable throughout uh taking the speaking of russia more seriously recently and i've gotten to talk to translators of dostoevsky and tolstoy and um czechov and those kinds of folks and you get to one of the mistakes that translators made with dostoyevsky for the longest time is they would quote unquote fix


the chaotic mess that is destievsky because there was a sense like he was too rushed in his writing it seemed like there was tangents that had nothing to do with anything the characters were unpredictable not inconsistent there's parts of phrases that seem to be incomplete that kind of stuff and what they realize that is that's not that's actually crafted that way it's not it's you know it's like editing james joyce like finnegan's wake or something because it doesn't make any sense they realize that that is the magic of it that captures the humanity of these characters that they are unpredictable they change their whole time there's a


bunch of contradictions on which point i gotta ask is there a case to be made that brothers karmazov is the greatest book ever written yeah there's a case to be made for that i don't know is it better than crime and punishment yes yeah do you think so why do you i'm not arguing with it why do you think that uh well this is every every book is a person some of my best friends are inside that book yeah it's an amazing book and there's no doubt about it uh i think it's some books are defined by your personal relationship


with them and that one was definitive and i almost graduated to that one because for the longest time the idiot was my favorite book uh of all because i identified with the ideas represented by prince michigan i also identified oh that's interesting to prince michigan as a as a human being holy fool the fool because the world kind of my whole life still kind of sees me saw me in my perception my narrow perception is kind of the fool and


i different from the interpretation that a lot of people take of this book i see him as a kind of hero to be oh definitely to be a naive uh quote-unquote fool but really just a naive optimist and naive in the best possible way i i do believe that childlike yeah childlike is a butter so naive is usually seen as that's childish yeah but child childlike that's why no one enters the kingdom of heaven unless they become like a child that's prince mishkin dostoevsky knew that so that's why you like the idiot that's


so interesting see i think i like crime and punishment because while you identified with michigan i think i identified more with raskolnikov because i was tempted by a luciferian intellect you know in in in the manner that in a manner very similar to the manner he was tempted but i mean i think i think you can make a case that the brothers karamazov is dostoevsky's crowning achievement wow and that's something man all right he ruined literature for me because everything else just felt insipid afterwards not everything not everything i i found some books that


in my experience hit that pinnacle um the master in margarita that's a deadly book i've read that i think four times and i still there's still it's unbelievably deep uh there's a nikos kazansicus a greek writer some of his books are his writing is amazing as well did you ever connect with the literary like existentialist camus uh or or people like carmen hesse or um or even kafka did you ever connect with those to the same degree yeah to the same enough to be an influence


you know you have to be deaf in some fundamental sense not to encounter a great dead friend and fail to learn no and and i mean i tried to separate the wheat from the chaff when i read you know and i read all the great clinicians all of them perhaps not those who are foremost in the pantheon and i tried to pull out what i could and that was a lot i learned a lot from freud i learned a lot from rogers and i learned a lot from well from dostoevsky and nietzsche i'm going to do a course on dostoevsky and nietzsche for this peterson academy this is coming up in january oh that'll be damn i'm really looking forward to it


you're weaving i mean i hadn't thought about doing them together oh that'd be fun that's a good idea well that's a good idea uh there's a feel that idea you often weave them together really masterfully because there is a there is religious in the broad sense of that word themes throughout the writing of both you know there's uncanny parallelisms in their writing in their lives so um and dostoevsky's deeper than nietzsche but that's because he was a


writer of fiction nietzsche is almost the character in a dusty yes he is definitely that he is definitely that yes and apparently nietzsche knew more about dostoevsky than people had thought there's been some recent scholarship on that grounds dostoevsky didn't know anything about nietzsche as far as i know i could be wrong about that but the thing that dostoevsky had over nietzsche is nietzsche had to make things propositional in some real sense because he was a philosopher and it's hard to propositionalize things that are outside your ken but you can characterize them and so


in the brothers karamazov ivan is a more developed character than eliotia in in in the explicit sense he can make better arguments but elosha wins like michigan because he's the better man and dostoevsky can show that in the actions rather he can't render it entirely propositional but that's probably because what's good can't be rendered entirely propositional and so dostoevsky had that edge over nietzsche said well ivan is this brilliant rationalist atheist materialist and puts forward an argument on that front that's still unparalleled as far as i'm concerned


and overwhelms eliot who cannot respond but eliot is still the better man so which is very interesting you know that what you know the funny thing about those two characters is you jordan peterson seem to be somebody that at least impart embodies both because you are one of the intellectuals of our time rigorous in thought but also are able to have that kind of would you describe if you if you remove the religiosity of yosha there's a what's a good word love towards the


world spirit of encouragement yes well it's it's you know one of the things i did learn perhaps from looking into the abyss to the degree that i have had to or was willing to was that at some level you have to make a fundamental statement of faith when god creates the world after each day he says he saw that it was good you think well is it good it's like well there's a tough question you know do you want to bring a child into a world such as this which is a fundamental question of whether or not it's good


it's an act of faith to declare that it's good because the evidence is ambivalent and so then you think okay well am i going to act as if it's good and what would happen if i did and maybe the answer to that is i think this is the answer the more you act out the proposition that it's good the better it gets and so that's dostoyevsky said this is something else every man is not only responsible for everything he does but for everything everyone else does it's like


what is that profound or are you just insane then you think is what you receive back proportionate to what you deliver and the answer to that might be yes that's a terrifying idea man and it's certainly you can see that it's true in some sense because people certainly respond to you in kind with how you treat them that's certainly the case i mean it's it's terrifying and it's exciting yeah right that's an adventure isn't it you uh uh yeah you create the world


by the way you live it the the world you experience is is defined by the way you live that world and that's really that's really interesting and then taken as a collective we create the world together in that way yeah what do you what do you think is the meaning of it all what's the meaning of life jordan peterson you've we've defined it many many times throughout this conversation the adventure along the route man and i would say where's that adventure to be found in faith what's the faith the highest value is love and truth is


it's handmade that's a statement of faith right because you can't tell you have to act it out to see if it's if it's true yeah and so you can't even find out without and that's so peculiar you have to make the commitment a priory yeah it's like a marriage it's the same thing it's like well is this the person for me oh that's the wrong question how do i find out if this is the person for me by binding myself to them well maybe the same thing's true of life right you bind yourself to it and the tighter you bind yourself to it


the more you find out what it is and that's like a radical embrace and it's it's a really radical embrace that's the crucifix symbol and more than that because like i said the the full passion story isn't death it isn't even unjust death it isn't even unjust death and the crucifixion of the innocent which is really getting pretty bad it's unjust torturous innocent death attendant upon betrayal and tyranny followed by hell


well that's a hell of a thing to radically embrace it's like bring it on i think a lot of people put truth as the highest ideal and um think they can get to that ideal while living in a place of cynicism and ultimately escape from life and hiding from life afraid of life and it's a is beautifully put that uh love is the the highest ideal to reach for and truth is it's handmade i thought about that for a long time right this hierarchy of ideal and the thing about truth that bitter


truth let's say that cynical truth is it can break the shackles of naivety and actually a burnt cynicism is a moral improvement over a blind naivety even though one is in some ways positive but only because it's protected and the other is bitter and dark but still better but you're not done at that point you're just barely started it's like you're cynical you're not cynical enough it's like how cynical are you are you i'm an auschwitz prison guard level of


cynical because you have to be you have to go down pretty deep into the weeds before you find that part of you but you can find it if you want and then you think well i want to stop this well that was the question you posed in some sense you're obsessed with say what happened on these mass scale catastrophes in co in the communist countries it's like well millions of people participated so you could have and maybe you would have enjoyed it so what part of that is you and you can find it


if you want yeah it's it's all there the prisoner the interrogator the judas pontius pilot all of it all of it and it's all of it is inside us yeah and you just have to look and once you do maybe eventually you can find the love jordan you're an incredible human being i'm deeply honored you would talk to me thank you for being a truth seeker in this world and thank you for the love hey thanks for the invitation man thanks for listening to this

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Human Existence and Consciousness

  • Individual Responsibility and Destiny

  • Societal and Cultural Influences

  • Pursuit of Purpose and Meaning

  • Nature of Human Consciousness

  • Power of Art and Beauty

  • Dynamics of Power and Fame

  • Resilience and Personal Growth

  • Integration of Self and Society

  • Influence of Beliefs and Values


In this podcast episode, Jordan Peterson, a renowned psychologist, lecturer, podcast host, and author of notable works like "Maps of Meaning," "12 Rules for Life," and "Beyond Order," engages in a profound conversation with Lex Fridman. This discussion covers a wide range of topics, weaving through the intricacies of life, death, power, fame, and the quest for meaning.

Peterson and Fridman delve deep into philosophical and psychological themes, exploring how these elements intersect with everyday life and the broader human experience. The conversation is marked by Peterson's insightful analysis and Fridman's thoughtful probing, leading to a rich exploration of complex ideas. Key topics include the role of individual responsibility in shaping one's destiny, the impact of societal and cultural forces on personal development, and the pursuit of purpose and meaning in life.

The dialogue also touches on the nature of human consciousness, the transformative power of art and beauty, and the dynamics of power and fame in shaping human relationships and societal structures. Peterson shares his views on facing life's challenges with resilience and wisdom, and how personal growth is often born out of adversity.

Throughout the conversation, Peterson and Fridman discuss the importance of integrating different aspects of the self and the world, balancing the needs of the individual with the demands of society. They explore how personal beliefs and values influence one's actions and decisions, and how these, in turn, contribute to the larger tapestry of human history and culture.

In summary, this podcast episode presents a deep and nuanced exploration of some of life's most profound questions, offering listeners a chance to reflect on their own lives and the world around them through the lens of Peterson's and Fridman's insightful perspectives