Meaning, Depression, & the Weight of the World | Jordan Peterson

Meaning, Depression, & the Weight of the World | Jordan Peterson

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Dr. Jordan Peterson is introduced to the stage in Dublin.
  • The speaker mentions that Peterson's grandfather was from Belfast.
  • Peterson discusses the importance of finding meaning in life to combat depression.
  • He argues that depression is often a result of a lack of meaning and purpose.
  • Peterson suggests that people should strive to find meaning in their lives through their work, relationships, and personal growth.
  • Peterson talks about the burden of responsibility that comes with being a human being.
  • He argues that humans are responsible for their own lives and the lives of others.
  • Peterson suggests that people should take responsibility for their actions and strive to make the world a better place.

The spirit of play (00:01:24)

  • According to Jordan Peterson's book "12 Rules for Life," individuals should treat themselves with the same care and responsibility as they would someone they are helping.
  • While evil is easier to define than good, the true opposite of evil is playfulness.
  • Children possess a unique sense of wonder and can help adults rediscover the world with fresh eyes.
  • Play is crucial throughout life and should not be abandoned as we age.
  • Play is essential for children's development, especially rough-and-tumble play for boys and embodied forms of play like patty-cake and skipping for girls.
  • Through play, children learn about their bodies, manage excitement and fear, and explore various roles and identities.
  • Pretend play is a form of thinking that allows children to envision their future selves and practice different adult roles.
  • Restricting children from certain types of play, such as boys dressing up as princesses, can hinder their understanding of gender and limit their development.
  • Play should be voluntary and driven by enjoyment and fun.
  • Humans have a natural instinct for reciprocal and repeated social interactions, aiming to build long-term, improving relationships.
  • Playful interactions, often seen in friendships, are rooted in the spirit of play and can be highly entertaining.
  • Genuine friendships are founded on the spirit of play.
  • The antithesis of malevolent behavior is the spirit of voluntary play, characterized by joy, laughter, and a sense of freedom.

A vision of heaven as the walled garden (00:13:45)

  • Heaven was envisioned as a place of eternal play and goodness, with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • The idea of becoming, or dynamic improvement, was valued alongside the goodness of being.
  • Play was seen as a means to make things better, marked by positive engagement and the absence of negative emotions.
  • Play is easily disrupted by other motivational states such as hunger, tiredness, anxiety, or upset.
  • A walled garden represents a balance between culture and nature, structure and possibility.
  • A walled garden provides a safe and structured environment for play and flourishing, similar to a playground.
  • The concept of a walled garden can be extended to games, which have rules and principles that govern behavior within a certain level of freedom.

Give yourself the benefit of the doubt (00:15:57)

  • Many people carry an unwarranted burden of existential guilt and treat themselves worse than they treat others.
  • When in trouble, it's important to defend oneself and consider both guilt and innocence.
  • Treating oneself with the same care and compassion as one would treat others can have a positive impact.
  • Gold tends to increase in value during turbulent times, making it a safe haven asset for investors during economic uncertainty or market volatility.
  • Birch Gold specializes in helping individuals navigate financial decisions related to gold investments.
  • Birch Gold offers a dedicated in-house IRA department to guide customers through converting existing IRAs or 401Ks into tax-sheltered IRAs in gold.
  • Birch Gold provides prompt answers and clarity to customers' questions and concerns regarding fees, taxes on rollovers, and the timing of the process.
  • Interested individuals can text "Jordan" to 989898 to speak with a Birch Gold expert and claim a free info kit on gold, explaining how to convert an existing IRA or 401K into a tax-sheltered IRA in gold without any out-of-pocket costs.

Impulsive hedonism does not sustain (00:22:15)

  • Impulsive hedonism, a form of selfishness that prioritizes immediate gratification without considering future consequences, should be avoided.
  • To avoid impulsive hedonism, individuals should consider the long-term effects of their actions and treat themselves as someone they are responsible for helping.
  • Humans seek experiences that evoke a sense of play and spontaneity, such as attending concerts, watching movies, or participating in sports events.
  • People are willing to pay for experiences that facilitate a sense of play and shared rhythm, as seen in great musical performances where the band and audience connect in a thrilling and immersive way.

Clarify what you want (00:27:45)

  • Asking yourself what you need and want is a serious question.
  • People are often reluctant to ask themselves this question because they may feel they don't deserve it or because they don't know what they should do.
  • Not having clarity about what you need and want can lead to a catastrophic way of living, where you sit on the fence and never fully commit to anything.
  • If you let yourself know what you need and want, you can betray yourself.
  • It's an act of existential courage to ask yourself what you need and want.
  • It's terrifying to envision what you need and want because it makes your conditions for failure clear, sets you up to betray yourself, and can be demoralizing and overwhelming.
  • You can make a lot of progress incrementally once you specify a goal.

Targeted reward, how play becomes progress (00:32:18)

  • Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
  • Ask yourself if there's a place you could head to that would be worth getting to.
  • Treat yourself like someone you're responsible for helping.
  • Give targeted reward where credit is due.
  • Incremental progress requires some effort and is what kids love.
  • Play signals that you're pushing yourself forward at the optimal rate.

God’s description of Eve, opponent processing (00:35:37)

  • The concept of a "beneficial adversary" in relationships, where partners challenge each other to facilitate growth and development.
  • The importance of calibrating responses to children's unique needs through discussions and negotiations with one's spouse.
  • The significance of finding a balance between freedom and principles in parenting, creating a playful environment that fosters optimal child development.
  • The notion that playful engagement between partners is a marker of the highest form of being and should be consciously fostered.
  • The Hallow app offers a wide range of guided meditations and prayers to enhance spirituality and strengthen one's connection with God.
  • Users can explore various themes and types of prayer and meditation, including gratitude and forgiveness, with each session providing a unique experience that sparks curiosity and deepens spiritual understanding.
  • The app offers different meditation lengths to accommodate various schedules and has become a popular resource for spiritual growth and healing.
  • Users can download the app for free at, set prayer reminders, and track their progress.

How play shapes interaction and understanding of the world (00:42:08)

  • Children's creativity should be channeled into structured games that promote social order and teach them their place in society.
  • Play is the foundation of social order, and children learn to interact and negotiate through play.
  • Identity is negotiated through social interactions, similar to play.
  • Children who are not adequately socialized, especially aggressive males between the ages of two and four, may face long-term difficulties in forming friendships and adapting to society.
  • Alienation from peers can lead to a cycle of social isolation, aggression, and bitterness, making it increasingly challenging for individuals to integrate into society.
  • Parents should ensure their children's behavior is not disruptive, as it can negatively impact their social development and popularity.
  • Some parents may intentionally hinder their children's growth and happiness out of jealousy.

Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient (00:54:44)

  • Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
  • Expediency might lead to getting something you don't want or something that's positively bad for you.
  • Telling the truth is an adventure and better than expediency because you might be wrong about what you want.
  • There's a deep moral injunction to tell the truth because there isn't anything better that can happen to you than what will happen if you tell the truth.

Be judicious with the truth, the timeline you use matters (00:58:46)

  • Finding meaning in the present moment is crucial for personal growth, regardless of the vastness of the universe or the eventual fate of the Earth.
  • The balance between order and chaos is essential for personal growth.
  • Nihilistic thoughts should be dismissed as they hinder personal growth and wisdom.
  • Wisdom lies in regaining the childlike faith and courage one had, despite life experiences and knowledge.
  • The yin and yang symbol represents the balance between opposing forces.
  • Humans have an ancient reflex that triggers a startle response to unexpected chaos, leading to exploratory behavior for safety and resolution.
  • The optimal approach involves updating plans to prevent similar disruptions in the future.

Meaning manifests as an embodied sense (01:05:14)

  • Meaning is an embodied sense that arises when one is engaged in something that optimizes the balance between stability and transformation.
  • It is not a conceptual or abstract idea but rather a felt sense of being in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.
  • Music, even nihilistic music like punk rock, can provide a sense of meaning through its principled and somewhat predictable patterning spiced with creative unpredictability.
  • The sense of meaning is what puts one in the middle of Chaos and Order, the pathway that runs between them.
  • People find meaning in aesthetic and artistic pursuits, as well as in responsibility.
  • Meaning can be found even in difficult circumstances, such as illness, pain, or hellish circumstances.
  • Having someone to play with, the meaning of one's responsibilities, and a sense of having been a good person can provide meaning and make a difference between life and death, or between hell and life.

Depression is a positive feedback loop (01:10:25)

  • Depression is a positive feedback loop where people isolate themselves, which worsens their depression.
  • Keeping a mood record can help identify activities that improve a person's mood.
  • Spending time with friends, doing enjoyable activities, and avoiding isolation can help alleviate depression.
  • Play can be an antidote to tyranny, and meaning can be an antidote to pain, cynicism, bitterness, and social discontent.
  • A meaningful life can be achieved through play and finding purpose.
  • It is important to test out different activities and see what brings meaning and fulfillment to one's life.

The eye of Horus, how ancient people conceptualized redeeming vision (01:14:08)

  • Horus was an Egyptian god associated with the eye.
  • The eye of Horus represents redeeming vision and the ability to see evil and rectify it.
  • Horus was also depicted as a falcon, known for its exceptional eyesight.
  • Ancient people used the falcon as a symbol of redeeming vision and associated it with the sun.
  • It is useful to assume that others may know something you don't, even if it's just a little.
  • Humility is important because what you don't know is more significant than what you do know.
  • Pay attention to what you don't know, as there might be something valuable to learn.
  • Treat yourself as someone you are responsible for helping, recognizing your potential value despite flaws.
  • Reflect on your current state and consider whether you could improve your life by moving from a state of hell to purgatory.
  • Aim for incremental improvement, such as spending 1% more time in a better state each week.
  • Imagine the positive impact you could have on yourself and others if you were in a better state consistently.

the weight of the world rests on your shoulders (01:18:55)

  • The notion of intrinsic worth and individual responsibility is prevalent, especially in the United States.
  • The idea of free speech stems from the belief that individuals are necessary correctives to the state's blindness and archaic nature.
  • The weight of the world rests on each person's shoulders, implying a responsibility to act and improve the world.
  • The speaker suggests that if individuals focused on fixing their own problems and making sacrifices, the world would improve.
  • Action is driven by the belief that one's actions have redemptive possibilities.
  • Complete commitment and dedication are necessary for meaningful change.
  • The speaker encourages individuals to embrace the intimation of meaning and act with integrity, without deceit or manipulation.
  • The potential for positive change exists if individuals take responsibility and strive to set things straight.

Carl Jung, how abdicated responsibility plays out as fate (01:21:38)

  • Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, predicted that the greatest threat to humanity would come from pathologies of the psyche, not natural or sociological disasters.
  • Jung also stated that any unconscious conflict that is not made conscious and resolved will be played out in the world as fate.
  • For example, if a person has an unconscious conflict with the opposite sex, they may repeatedly have negative experiences with members of that sex.
  • This is because they are projecting their own negative feelings onto others.
  • If a person can become conscious of their unconscious conflicts and resolve them, they can avoid playing them out in the world as fate.
  • Depression is a serious mental illness that can have a devastating impact on a person's life.
  • One of the main causes of depression is a lack of meaning in life.
  • When people feel like their life has no purpose, they can become hopeless and depressed.
  • Finding meaning in life can help to alleviate depression and improve overall well-being.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?