Maps of Meaning #1

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(Benjamin Lupton) #1

Discussion thread for 2017 Maps of Meaning - Lecture #1

study group discussions

Discussion as part of our Jordan B Peterson Study Group.


2017-12-02: Bible #1, Maps of Meaning #1
2017-01-27: Maps of Meaning #1
(Benjamin Lupton) #2

my notes

  • If you don’t fit within social structures you drift.

  • 7:00 - for each according to their need

  • 7:30 - Pareto distribution

  • 31:00 - alert to the miracle of man made systems that keep you alive every day

  • 32:30 - cynics say you have no reason to be happy, but they are blind

  • 33:00 - industrial revolution, road to wigan pier

  • 36:00 - Dallas tv show - germany government informers

  • 37:00 - we are lifting people out of poverty at a greater rate than even the wildest optimist couldn’t hope of dreaming up

  • 38:00 - bombs

  • 1:48:00 - when you screw up, and confront chaos

  • 1:49:00 - women are nature, culture is the judgemental father

  • 1:54:00 - why might you be villainous? (book called ‘Panzram’ - raped many people -

  • 2:16:00 - aiming above the mundane is transformative

  • 2:25:00 - your brain is constantly calculating how dangerous the world is, based on the ratio of your successes to failures - so fixing your failures, turning them into successes, is important at fixing that ratio

  • 2:27:00 - 3 people review your self authoring -

(Sumit Rai) #3

my notes

Note to the reader: English is not my mother tongue so please don’t expect same level of sophisticated language as folks from the west. I try to improve and will continue to do so, in the meantime just try to grasp what you can please.

  • 0:46 - Every generation has it’s worries real or imagined.

    • << Hahahaha. For Peterson’s generation it was a “real threat” of nuclear holocaust but for my generation (and for me too) the threat seems to be imaginary. I mean getting upset over no. of likes you get on social media or catastrophizing.>>
  • 1:00 - JBP worried about nuclear war ?

    • << Why JBP is so worried about nuclear holocaust. He admits in his book (Maps of Meaning) other people he saw around him went about their daily business just fine so why was he so hot and bothered about it ? This is important because if you read Maps of Meaning it’s very clear that it’s his distress over this issue that caused him to follow the path he followed and it became kind of his life’s work. All because of his so called “genuine worry”. It makes you wonder was it the “Muse” or something divine that caused him to be distressed like that or christ suffering for the good of people. Please understand Peterson is the one guy who could make something out of that suffering. Intention is not enough - I got all the intention in the world. He had something else too - not sure if I should call it talent or something else (really high IQ ?).>>
  • 1:30 - Went down to Arizona to see decommissioned ICBM missile silo.

    • << Wow man, you are scared to death of this stuff and you want to go and actually look at it. Something to be said about facing your demons. >>
  • 2:31 - It was decommissioned under “Reagan”.

    • << Why did all of a sudden he feel the need to point that out explicitly ? >>
  • 5:04 - Keys were in once (in the launch panel of nuclear silo).

    • << I just find it hard to believe every time this comes up, that this world came really close to all out nuclear war, that we would be willing to destroy everything like that. How do you even imagine something like that ? >>sufferin

    • << Movie mentioned: “The day after”. Will watch it when I get free time. >>

  • 5:31 - “The day after” influenced Reagan to seek peace.

    • << wow, that’s interesting. A movie can shape International politics and in this case future of the world. Again the same point about how movies/drama can influence change in a positive way. >>
  • 6:46 - Communists and utopian nature of their philosophy

    • << This is exact opposite of what they teach in India during meditation - accept the reality for what it is and deal with it with an equanimous mind. Not losing your mind when you fall and not getting excited when you succeed. Be aware. If you can do that you will have utopia inside yourself only. >>
  • 7:21 - From each according to his ability to each according to his need. Every other system produces income equality. Pareto distribution.

    • << Why would you want to take someone else’s money as a default policy for yourself and your family ? And if you are going to do this what are you going to do with your free time if you are not working ? I know how tough it is to do higher level work (Knowledge work) because of “Resistance”. I know I fail so many time, at least works keeps you grounded and helps you maintain a schedule. People who don’t have that and have lot of free money in their hands end up falling for all kinds of addictions. >>
  • 09:00 - The trick with money game is zero. Once you hit zero, you are done.

    • << I wonder how many times we could have hit zero in life and someone (some friend, some author, some idea) saved us, at times even luck or what seemed to be divine intervention. Help showing up out of no-where. Kind of reminds me of that book “The Alchemist”. >>
  • 09:17 - At times you are headed for zero even if you have some resources left. You know when you are doomed.

    • << And I think this is when growth happens. So many people including me only get their asses moving and fix chronic characters problems when they figure out they are headed for doom or to use his Bible terminology “The flood” is coming. What happens to this growth attitude when crisis is averted (in reality or as you see it) ? Well it goes away, and process of continuous self improvement stops for so many folks until next time. Reminds me of an Indian verse attribute to Kabir :
      “In anguish everyone prays to Him, in joy does none. To One who prays in happiness, how can sorrow come.” >>
  • 10:36 - 1% having most of wealth happens to every society that has been studied regardless of the governmental system.

    • << Wow, try telling that to our progressive friends who want to redistribute the wealth. >>
  • 10:41 - A lot of people had zero in Soviet Union so they just died.

    • << A point about trust. A society with little trust and where people hate each other this can happen where you let your fellow citizens die. But as much demonized religion might be it does bring a lot of charitable deeds. >>
  • 10:58 - Very hard to fight against Pareto distribution pattern.

    • << Reminds me of a point Rush Limbaugh keeps making about how progressives keep fighting human nature. >>
  • 10:17 - Pareto distribution just doesn’t apply to wealth, it also applies to books. Million english books published, 500 of them sold more than 100,000 copies. One of them was by Stephen King and he took half the money.

    • << ROFL>>
  • 12:09 - Success breeds success, and failure breeds failure.

    • << He really had to say that, kind of hard to digest when you are not doing too well but it’s more true than not in my experience unless you use the failure to push even harder.>>
  • 12:29 - Every man has a threshold for violence.

    • << I live in India and if you watch the traffic over here, that threshold seems pretty low man. >>
  • 12:46 - Status is important to man because it makes them marketable to women.

    • << ok. >>
  • 15:21 - Pareto distribution applies to everything people produce.

    • << Kind of reminds me of this idea in computer programming that a program spends 80% of its time executing 20% of the code. >>
  • 15:35 - Almost everything fails and few things succeed beyond wildest imagination.

    • << Now that I am sitting here typing this, my ancestors managed to somehow not fail I guess. >>
  • 18:16 - Poverty is caused by lack of money is a stupid idea.

    • << Today with even rural areas getting access to the Internet, I would say it’s even more stupid. Because even they can now access a lot of this world’s information and learn from it. Assumption is more you know, more money you can make. >>
  • 20:25 - Raising IQ is next to impossible.

    • << So, what does this mean for me ? I have always thought that you can improve your intelligence by working hard and pushing it. I just don’t believe him. I think there has got to be a way. There has got to be a way. >>
  • 21:02 - 115 is like the minimum you ought to have and if you have an IQ of 145 you can do whatever you want.

    • << So if I want to achieve things and my IQ is not compatible with that, does that mean I am pretty much FUBAR? I won’t ever make it ? >>
  • 23:39 - Harder to get a volunteer job than a real job.

    • << Another one of the things about a western country that I don’t get. Why they are doing this ? One would think you would want to make it easy so that more people can volunteer. In my country you can sign up left and right, I don’t think they even ask you for your ID at times. >>
  • 26:13 - The charity decided to fire this guy just because he couldn’t fold the damn envelops, he had IQ of 80.

    • << Christ, makes me want to re-evaluate my own life and realize how grateful I am, that guy went through all that. No fault of his own. Boy low IQ can really kill ya. Well at least this story has a happy ending because that guy finally got a job training dogs. >>
  • 27:58 - Different theories about inequality and why it exists led to cold war.

  • 29:35 - People aren’t taught about all those people died in communist Russia (30 million b/w 1919-1959).

    • << Why ? >>
  • 30:23 - In Russia a couple selling body parts for food.

    • << How come I am 27 years old and didn’t hear about it till now ? Am I that ignorant or societies have decided to swept it under the rug so you won’t know unless you are looking ? >>
  • 30:41 - When I learn someone has done something terrible, I try to imagine what kind of situation I would have to find myself in to do that ?

    • << A good life advice I might add. >>
  • 31:22 - You get enlightened by doing things that are really really necessary but you don’t want to do.

    • << Do I really need to say anything here ? What a remarkable statement ! >>
  • 32:59 - Highly functional society where infrastructure always works is a miracle.

    • << Ya I live in India and somethings water is not there, electricity goes away. There is garbage on the streets. These things don’t kill you exactly but they make your daily reality painful and prevent you from focusing on higher goals or knowledge goals. When I got to work, I am risking my well being during the commute because of people who don’t follow the traffic rules (I doubt if they know there is such a thing), it puts you in fight-flight situation for no good reason. Kind of makes it hard to relax. >>
  • 34:51 - Being poor is the natural state. Westerral world and Russia took two different paths.

    • << John Locke, James Stuart Mill’s ideas are the ones on which West is based. I should read about them some day. >>
  • 36:51 - Dallas was the most popular show in East Germany.

  • 39:27 - 10s of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other during cold war.

    • << Interesting how humans were ready to end everything because of ideology. >>
  • 42:04 - Why do people value something? How can someone believe something so much that they would risk their own death to protect it or death of other people ?

  • 44:30 - Difference between knowing where you are and not knowing where you are?

    • “The distinction between the territory that you have mastered and the territory you haven’t mastered is a fundamental distinction. It’s the distinction between home and the strange land.”
      << @leabstrait The distinction between order and chaos, meaning and nihilism, being the prey of some unknown predator.>>
  • 49:51 - You might decide to take the troublemaker down, but you would be an exception.

    • << I can relate to this, how have seen many bad things happen and also saw my colleagues couldn’t care less even though they were happening in physical proximity. So, the guy who intervenes become the odd one out and it’s not an easy place to be. >>
  • 50:14 - Belief systems regulate emotions but not directly. When you have a theory about the world and other people have the same theory and they act out on that theory. You both get what you want.

    • << What happens when you are in a system where your theory is vastly different from others ? You will be at conflict all the time. >>
  • 51:53 - When other people’s behaviour don’t match your theory whole model falls apart. It’s very destabilizing to the society.

    • << Maybe increasing tolerance of change would help ? >>
  • 52:51 - You can’t look at anything without any hierarchy of values.

    • << One issue I have seen is when you run into people who have different values hence they value/perceive different things, they automatically start converting you or bothering you just because you are different. They just can’t sit there and enjoy the difference e.g. while growing up many people I knew just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to sit and study instead of partying. They try to put enormous pressure on you to behave just like them. Even now as an adult when other people are sitting in a group drinking/enjoying and you are walking by - telling them you don’t drink offends the hell out of them. They are like what’s wrong with you ? Why aren’t you joining us (even though they don’t explicitly say it). Looks like we are always acting out this war of belief systems on a micro level in the society all the time. They believe in having a good time and not bothering yourself with depth, having drinks at night. Making jokes, sharing stories what he/she did. I believe in learning something useful so that I can actually improve my life. I would much rather study books, or watch a JBP lecture. What’s interesting is that I have nothing to do with these people, I couldn’t care any less what they were doing as long as the music is not so loud but why do they bother with changing me ? Is it arrogance (Why is this guy not joining our group ? How dare he insults us ?) ? or they are just not that tolerant of individual differences ? >>
  • 56:30 - You are sitting here listening to me because you value doing well in life (getting degree, getting a job, and having a family later on).

    • << Is that why they are listening to the professor ? What explains the situation where a person knows what is good or what he should do and don’t do it e.g. at work. The person still wants a better future but can’t act out in a way that will bring that about. At other times you are so fed up that you don’t want to do anything, even eat. So what explains that ? You are certainly not helping yourself by starving I assume. >>
  • 56:47 - Dan Simon experiment at a counter. People don’t notice the clerk at the store change because it doesn’t matter as long as the entity acts like a clerk.

    • << Reminds me of the book “Games people play”. >>
  • 57:57 - You have values that you don’t know because you don’t know yourself that well.

    • << So, I am running around acting and perceiving things because of this unknown belief system. So much for being in control. Sometimes it happens that you encounter a situation and behave in a certain way that surprises you. You never knew you had it in you. This can manifest in a negative way also, where you think you are a good person but you end up doing some harm. >>
  • 58:27 - The more integrated you are the more control you have. You are a loose collection of arguing sub-personalities and they are directed towards a single goal (more or less depending upon how many contradictions you have managed to resolve).

  • 59:48 - You are not required to believe what I am telling you, if you have a different argument follow that sucker.

    • << It’s interesting that he is saying that when so much of western culture is purely developed to making other people comply with latest developments in culture like the gender pronouns issue. Those people have no concept of tolerance and enjoying the differences knowing it’s ok to differ.>>
  • 1:00:25 - A shared belief keeps your emotions under control. David Hume’s idea that you cannot derive an ought from an is. What this means is that merely knowing basic facts about something doesn’t mean you are able to implement them in your life. There is a gap. Science takes the subjectivity out of perception. I don’t believe you can create morality from Science.

    • << Ya I have believed Science has all the answers for quite some time, recently from my own experience I am beginning to differ. >>
  • 1:02:57 - If everything is of equal importance than you are paralyzed. Truism - A wedge in the middle of the society in the sense that moral systems that we use to unite us has been subject to intense critique from the Scientists. Pretty effective critique. That’s a problem. The problem of how you should act ? **Nietzsche ****said we are still running on the fumes of christianity. **Even convicted felons have something divine in them. Presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

    • << So, lots of things I admire about the west came from Christianity. Cool. Hell I am all for beheading rapist and stuff - this whole thing about innocent until proven guilty is a big deal. It’s not default. >>
  • 1:05:57 - Societies that give more power to the individual in a framework of laws seem to work better. Natural rights come from metaphysical beliefs. If you take out the metaphysical belief. Eventually it will fall.

  • 1:07:16 - Western society has oscillated since 1800s from extreme right to extreme left. Democracies managing to stay in the middle. That cannot be maintained without the underlying metaphysics.

  • 1:07:56 - There is more that one kind of truth, pragmatic truth. It’s deeper than scientific truth. These truths help you stay alive.

    • << >>8
  • 1:09:48 - Camille Paglia, classic modern feminists. She is influenced by the same book JBP is influenced by. “The origins and History of Consciousness” by Erich Neumann. Other authors: Joseph Campbell, and Mircea Eliade.

    • << Let’s add that to reading list >>
  • 1:11:30 - Humans being have an innate build in narrative. Narrative is the dramatic expression of necessary system of human values.

    • << What does this mean ? >>
  • 1:11:45 - The proper goal of coming to university and studying humanities is not to do premature criticism of something you don’t even yet understand. Learn as much as you can about poetry, drama, religion, literature, music etc….Why music helps get through stuff ?

    • << Ok professor. I have done premature criticism of religion, I have seen recently that it was incorrect thing to do. That takes me to this idea that came up in Biblical lecture #1 group meeting. Someone pointed out I didn’t take something seriously because I didn’t like the package. I have a colleague who recently taught me to process information in such a way as you ignore repulsive things and focus on the value you can gain from parts that are good. So, not to throw away the whole things just because some parts are bad. It requires practice and cultivation but I think it’s pretty useful idea. >>
  • 1:12:54 - When you grow older your favourite music would be the music you listened b/w 16-20.

    • << Interesting. >>
  • 1:13:50 - Great dramas are more real than real. So they are hyper real. They give you abstract lessons.

    • << That’s really interesting, it would be kind of hard to have a lesson for every out of millions of situations you can encounter. Instead you come up with a general framework of behaving and refine it over time. Is that what religious text is all about ?