Clinical Psychologist and Professor Jordan Peterson’s International Best Seller takes both spiritual and analytical approaches to biblical and literary pieces of research. Based on Peterson’s desire to answer questions in a nice rule based process, he quickly found with subsequent lectures and interviews that people have a real desire for self improvement in a more a-typical style. I was intrigued by the very first paragraph, his youth in the Canadian wastes is riveting and also lays bare his own pit falls and weaknesses that he has had in his own life. The book is complex in nature but the ability for it to smoothly relate thousand year old stories to modern day situations allows for a level of connection that is difficult to create in a world fixated on the here and now.
Granted, by Rule 7 (pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient) it began to drag as my own personal knowledge began to lag behind one of the most academically enriching and fascinating minds I have ever known alive today. By page 200 (around half way through) I could honestly say my atheistic nature had been shifted to take into account the amazing and almost impossible nature of how religious texts can give meaning to a world I could not even begin to comprehend. This book actually lead me to start reading the Bible again, I thought back to my twelve year old self barely understanding what I was reading at Church or in Religious Education, and realised that the nuance and deep philosophical meaning these texts convey were surely going to be lost on someone who could only really think literally. I think it is vitally important to understand what our entire western philosophy is fundamentally based upon. A number of interesting philosophical book references and writers open you up to a whole new world of literary geniuses, forget William Shakespeare and Dickens; think Leo Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Nieztche, and Jung.
Jordan Peterson himself has been a Figure of much discussion as he rose to prominence quickly after refusing to accept the law that was enacted in Canada to make it mandatory for people to refer to others by pronouns that they have chosen themselves. Although he did not specifically state that this flexibility in gender pronouns is a bad thing, he suggested that the similarities of this form of compelled speech is not a good road to go down when looking back at other examples of compelled speech in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. This however, did wonders for his teachings where he lectures to thousands of people around the world about the importance of individual responsibility and intrinsic value, something that is not much talked about in this modern era of rights and liberties.
The book gives answers to questions you’d never even think to ask and it feels like something I would have to read several times to understand even vaguely correctly. It is tricky at times, and some references are lost on my barely academically literate mind but the passion that is felt from reading each rule is exhilarating in itself and the rules are lessons I think we all could learn from.