Dr. Jordan Peterson has been in the news a lot. I have read both of his books – Maps of Meaning and 12 Rules for Life. I think they are important works, and I’d recommend reading 12 Rules. Maps of Meaning is quite involved and somewhat academic. It too is worth reading, but might be a difficult hill to climb. It will challenge you to accept that there is value in myths and religion. Value in communication of meaning. By myths and religion such meanings have survived a culling, an evolutionary process by which only that information which universally appealed to all men, because it spoke to something innate within them, survived.
Peterson also has a YouTube series of videos on this subject. If you want a good introduction to Peterson, see his podcasts with Sam Harris (#2), Joe Rogan, and Jocko Willink. (Check these podcasts out, and subscribe for a while. It’s worth your time.)
Dr. Peterson’s Maps of Meaning has been fundamental in my development. I was, about 18 months ago, faced with irrefutable proof of the existence of God. The next day, proof that God was not an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being, but was explained purely in terms of natural processes: complexity arising from localized systems obeying localized rules. Being raised an atheist, I had no way of understanding this revelation. But it burned inside me. I had to resolve these contradictions.
I had a profound connection, supported only by faith (which, when you have rejected “faith” all your life is difficult to deal with.) I had to acknowledge that I was but a speck in the universe, an insignificant outcome of the fantastic processes of life. I was, however, indelibly part of something so much grander than me that I could not comprehend it, but nonetheless, required I be responsible to it. Accepting that required an understanding and acceptance of my self, of my function, purpose and meaning. And of the choices I may make, and the indelible truths that I cannot avoid. Hence, Maps of Meaning.
Peterson’s work can help you find the courage and strength to wrestle with such issues. And by that understanding, to have the courage and strength to deal with anything. It’s not about telling you how to be, what the truth is, and what to believe. To live, you must advance in confidence and faith towards the terrifying unknown. How that plays out is unique for each individual.
For anyone with something they don’t want to face up to, such a call can be troubling. If he shows a way to seeing the things you are afraid of, then that means people with such courage will see what you cannot face up to or admit. In Canada, we have a lot we won’t face up to, and Peterson seems to refuse to live with this any longer.
Thus, Peterson is vilified. He had the audacity to say that the State SHOULD NOT be telling people what words they must say, and to subject those who do not obey to regulatory and criminal sanctions. This makes him a fascist mystic, who joins a distinguished line of conspirators, such as Wagner and Carl Jung, now slandered by accusations that their philosophical and artistic work was all aimed to put the Third Reich in power (never mind that the Reich was nothing more than a pack of thugs.) He is alleged to be an exploiter of First Nations peoples (a cultural expropriator, no doubt, except that particular slur is now over a year old, and so the Left has more fashionable accusations to make.) “How awful is Jordan Peterson, anyway?” The answer, for all of these kinds of critics, is awful enough so you don’t have to see how awful you are, and how awful your progressive cult is. And judging by the amount of pure projection in these articles, whatever they’re hiding is pretty God damned awful.