Jordan Peterson on Rules for Life, Psychedelics, The Bible, and Much More | The Tim Ferriss Show

Jordan Peterson on Rules for Life, Psychedelics, The Bible, and Much More | The Tim Ferriss Show

Start (00:00:00)

  • Tim Ferriss introduces his guest, Jordan B. Peterson, a polymath with numerous accomplishments including academia, clinical psychology, and authorship.
  • Peterson's work extends to numerous fields and he has developed a following through his books and online platforms.
  • Peterson expresses discomfort at the repeated mention of his name and shares a light-hearted moment with Ferriss regarding self-playback.

Early mentor (00:02:07)

  • Peterson describes Sandy Notley from his hometown in Alberta as a significant mentor who introduced him to important literature.
  • Sandy Notley, a librarian, and wife to a political figure, encouraged young Peterson to engage with complex ideas and guided him into the world of serious reading.
  • Notley influenced Peterson's early political involvement and intellectual exploration through books by Ayn Rand, Orwell, Huxley, and Solzhenitsyn.

Favorite books and Nietzsche (00:05:26)

  • Peterson recognizes the lasting impact of early literary exposures, especially from Huxley, Orwell, and Solzhenitsyn.
  • Through reading, Peterson began thinking broadly about politics and psychology, which emotionally and intellectually excited him.
  • He suggests that his list of recommended reading on his website can provide a rich educational background.
  • Nietzsche's thoughts on morality as more than mere obedience, suggesting that true morality requires courage rather than acting out of fear.
  • Peterson reflects on cultivating self-control and courage, citing personal experiences and his background in clinical psychology to manage stress and maintain composure under pressure.
  • He employs his clinical experience and curiosity to understand and respond effectively to adversarial interactions.
  • Paying attention to non-verbal cues enables Peterson to gain insights into others’ intentions during conversations.

Resentment and meaning (00:14:40)

  • Resentment is instructive, indicating either someone is encroaching on one's territory or that personal growth is needed.
  • Untreated resentment can lead to long-term corruption and physical stress.
  • Anger and resentment are both costly psychophysiological states.
  • Addressing sources of resentment involves either standing up for oneself or ceasing to complain.
  • Resentment-free existence involves occupying enough personal space and asserting one's needs.

New book - Rules for Life and more [Context from various time stamps]

  • Jordan Peterson's new book includes chapters such as "Do not allow yourself to become resentful, deceitful, or arrogant," and "Don't hide things in the fog."
  • The book explores the principles of living in a way that makes suffering irrelevant by finding meaning.
  • One key idea is that without meaning, suffering leads to corruption, emphasizing the need to find value in life.
  • Peterson discusses social institutions which people rely on for structure, such as family, work, and health.
  • People often dismiss the value of traditions and structures without considering the void that their absence will create.
  • Constructive criticism of social institutions should start with actions within one's immediate control, starting small and expanding influence gradually.
  • Change should be approached with caution, ensuring one is competent before attempting to influence broader systems.
  • Personal experience and maturity are important for understanding when and how to engage in activism or institutional critique.

Insights into alcoholism, psychology, and psychedelics [Context based on references to Hunter S. Thompson and Aldous Huxley]

  • Peterson's academic background includes research in psychopharmacology, particularly related to alcoholism.
  • His interest in psychedelics such as DMT and psilocybin comes from their potential therapeutic applications, as explored by researchers like Rick Strassman and the team at Johns Hopkins.

Psychedelics and personality traits (00:33:32)

  • Alcohol affects multiple systems related to motivation and emotion, with drugs generally targeting pain relief, anxiety relief, and psychomotor stimulation.
  • Hallucinogens like psilocybin are a distinct category that can incite religious experiences.
  • Research at Hopkins explores psilocybin's effects on worldviews of religious leaders.
  • Psychedelics in the 1960s were revolutionary and difficult to regulate.
  • Certain traits such as openness and neuroticism can influence the impact of such experiences.
  • High openness can lead to creativity and intellectual curiosity, but can be detrimental if coupled with high neuroticism due to constant change and inability to settle on a single focus.
  • Psilocybin has been shown to notably increase openness after a single dose, but potentially introduces unearned wisdom and complexity in life.
  • Safety concerns are significant when considering the use of psychedelics, and selection criteria for study participants are strict to avoid exacerbating conditions like schizophrenia.
  • Shifts in openness or ego dissolution from psychedelics can significantly reduce acute anxiety, particularly in terminal cancer patients, altering perceptions of fear and death.
  • Reality is viewed as deeply strange and further highlighted by psychedelic experiences, challenging our scientific understanding.
  • Personal and collective religious experiences are hard to categorize and respond to effectively.
  • Jordan Peterson relates the phenomenon of substances and altered states of consciousness to human evolution and other species' inclination towards psychoactive experiences.
  • The "stoned ape" hypothesis suggests a co-evolution of psilocybin mushrooms and humans.
  • The impact of ontological shock can be both terror and awe, explaining why psychedelics are not to be taken lightly and require a suitable therapeutic framework to mitigate potential negative experiences.

The Bible and religion (00:52:26)

  • Cultural foundations are deeply intertwined with the Bible
  • Understanding biblical stories is seen as essential for understanding oneself and one's way of thinking
  • Thoughts and ideas are often not original; they are built on the thinking of others
  • There is a hierarchy of values, with deeper values often aligning with religious beliefs
  • Biblical stories, such as Cain and Abel, contain complex themes that can be pondered endlessly
  • The Bible is considered a source of profound wisdom, irrespective of one's religious stance

Creating stories and messages with durability [N/A]

  • When writing, the aim is to solve problems and communicate the findings
  • First book, "Maps of Meaning," was focused on exploring ideas rather than transmitting them
  • Subsequent books aim to share the understandings that have been reached
  • The writing process involves asking questions and working through possible answers

Life and motivation [N/A]

  • Working on recent book "Beyond Order" provided a sense of purpose during a difficult period
  • Completing a project often necessitates finding a new challenge or "point B"
  • Personal fulfillment can be found in familial relationships and having children and grandchildren
  • Beyond familial life, finding meaning involves seeking competence in various domains

Searching for meaning [N/A]

  • Advises establishing a stable partnership, striving for self-improvement, and embracing parenthood and grandparenthood as sources of unquestionable virtue
  • Other projects can also provide meaning alongside good health
  • Recommends the use of the self-authoring program for self-discovery and planning for the future

Jordan’s new book: Beyond Order (01:05:07)

  • The book's title "Beyond Order" reflects the duality of order and chaos in our world of value.
  • Humans are driven by a gradient of value, prioritizing actions based on importance in a value-oriented world.
  • Order is associated with structure and predictability, where things go according to plan, and theories about the world hold true.
  • Chaos represents the unknown, with potential for unlimited possibilities but also danger if not managed.
  • The book juxtaposes pathologies of chaos with pathologies of order, each one drawing more attention from either liberal or conservative sensibilities.
  • The book suggests that dealing with the balance between order and chaos is an eternal existential concern that transcends culture and time.
  • Mythological language and symbols communicate these fundamental elements of human experience universally.
  • Jordan Peterson discusses the story of Pinocchio as an allegory for the hero's journey, facing and understanding the dragon (chaos) to obtain what is needed.
  • The importance of the hero motif in culture is highlighted, including an interpretation suggesting that humans inherently strive for heroic triumph over nature, culture, or other men.
  • To "try" the hero's journey involves practicing love, valuing existence, and maintaining truthfulness by not declaring known untruths.
  • Peterson summarizes his unpacking of the first sentence of Genesis, proposing that God's creation is guided by love and truth, and that love is a wish for all beings to flourish.

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