“Harvard Talk: Postmodernism & the Mask of Compassion”

Another great talk from Dr. Jordan Peterson:

Absolute hooligans (a.k.a. how to ensure racism remains alive and growing)

And here’s what I believe is the original twitter uploading of this video: https://twitter.com/quefieri/status/861042019023671296

What fucking assholes! Seriously.

There’s so much more I’d like to say, but it will have to wait for another time.

“Alan Watts ~ Stop Competing With Yourself” (his BEST lecture!)

That was excellent. Tied together so many of his past lectures succinctly while also feeding into other reading material I’ve been pondering over time. This particular lecture cemented my respect for Alan Watts. Haven’t always understood what he was talking about, but I stuck with him and appreciate the light he’s helped provide overall. He’s right — the skill to living isn’t simply self-discipline (important as that unarguably is) but learning how to find the right balance. Differs for each of us, and the possibilities are nearly endless.

We can be snobs to one another. That’s easy enough to do. We can divvy up into separate “camps” and talk shit and focus our attention there primarily. Plenty already do. Will lead us straight to hell as a society and a species if we keep this up, but we’re free to do so obviously. Or prove incapable of not doing so if we individually remain complacent in our present forms. Life requires growth and we’re psychological beings. No escaping that truth.

But how we figure out navigating in a manner that seems worth it is the existential question of our time.

It’s a fact that much of this can’t help but come down to our own selves, impactful as external influences can’t help but be. Hence why it’s important to opt for better influences, those which can promote positive expansion. The alternative is what? Let ourselves slide into the abyss? What is our love affair with the abyss? I think Dr. Jordan Peterson is right when he’s basically said staying down there comes with the benefit of evading personal responsibility. Strikes a chord inside, rings correct. Mea culpa too.

Nobody else can change these facts for us. Only we individually can make the decision and actively plod in that direction. Even a slave-driver can’t effectively force us if we collectively and actively resist like mules. That seems obvious enough. Might murder a bunch of us, but still can’t force us to put our hearts into something against our will. Might reduce many of us to a cowardly state, but that’s largely through our own compliance, if not entirely. We as individuals actually do possess a lot more power than we commonly publicly acknowledge and demonstrate appreciation for.

We’re spoiled on modern life and the ease at which we can hide out from one another and interact behind keyboards anonymously if desired. Modern technologies allow for an atomized form of existence never before known by our species. Easy to get drunk on it and all its comforts. I know. Welcome to modern life. It’s ALL a big mystery to each and every one of us. Learn as we go. Hopefully. Maybe.

Depends on how we choose to live. Nobody else can determine that for us. Short of killing us, and all that does it extinguish us — still doesn’t force our will to ACT. Definitely can impact us seriously though. And that’s no small matter. But this is where ancient Stoics did have the right idea. We can’t control all of the variables in life, quite obviously. Never could and never will. We can’t help but be vulnerable beings, as all lifeforms are. And we can’t completely control other people, try as we might. Can to whatever extents, but that’s it. There is a sovereignty to the individual that is untouchable by others, try as we undoubtedly will. Sadists probably know this all too well in the end. There’s a private sphere within each of us that will forever remain unexplorable by all others. Fact of life. We are individuals yet we are communal. Both are true, and neither is avoidable nor alterable (at least not without massive negative consequences). Not if any balance is to be achieved. And some sense of balance is necessary for satisfaction in life.

Can’t seem to escape these truths lately. Recurring. Thanks to my reading and viewing material, which I’ve learned a lot from over time. We are blessed to have this amazing internet. Anyone who doesn’t own a desktop computer or at minimum a laptop is being left in the dark ages (and no, “smartphones” aren’t solely sufficient for exploring this medium — way too limited/limiting). But I suppose people will have to work with what they’ve got if that’s necessarily the case. Still, the information available so freely to us nowadays is unprecedented, truly amazing. We are lucky in this regard and shouldn’t take it too much for granted. So many opportunities surround us currently.

I say this all to myself more than to others, though it’s to all of you too. We need to step up our game as individual persons in however many which ways that may unfold. For one’s own personal sake, if for no one else’s.

“2017 Maps of Meaning 9: Patterns of Symbolic Representation” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

Sitting with this lecture this morning:

“Mayhem while we’re freezing and starving: my talk at Western” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

Dr. Peterson on Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag (2017 Personality course lecture)

That interesting lecture was brought to us by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, esteemed professor at the University of Toronto. Some of the material he provided there from various authors, particularly that of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I am familiar with from listening to past lectures by Dr. Peterson; plus, plenty of us internet devotees were already aware of the “Hugh Mongous” fiasco whereby Zarna Joshi made an ass of herself (and the most-modern Feminist movement she belongs to) while trying to demean a man out in public because she felt so entitled to do so. So, having viewed all of that, I personally found the most interesting portion of this lecture to begin shortly after the 1:15:45 mark where Dr. Peterson goes into the biblical story of the flood and then the Tower of Babel, followed by his thoughts on nihilism/existentialism and individual responsibility.

The latter is a topic many of us revisit time and time again as we struggle to get our lives under better control. He’s absolutely correct that a sizeable portion of the suffering we experience in this life is due to our own choices and stubbornly not following our consciences. We know this, and yet we often don’t live as if we know this. “To know and not to do is not to know” — to repeat a quote that dates back across the centuries.

He’s right that each of our lives have a ripple effect on our communities and that one’s own pathology impacts the pathological nature of wider society. It can be no other way since society is composed of individual persons — it’s an aggregate of all of us. That’s all it is and all it ever was. Though it’s very easy for us to try to hide within it, to attempt to blend in so as not to be noticed too distinctly, to shirk responsibility because we’d rather avoid the headaches that go along with that. And somewhere in that equation is where the so-called root of all evil likely resides, at least in its primordial form.

I think we know this deep down, though we like to dismiss it as somehow less relevant than continuing to go along to get along. “Don’t make waves,” some like to say. “The raised nail gets hammered down” — another proverb used to admonish us to not draw attention to ourselves by stepping out of line from the rest. And so the herd mentality gets reinforced…

The biggest problem we humans face is our own humanity and the reckoning it requires of us at this point in our psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical development. It’s an internal struggle with external consequences, as we can clearly see.

So often we look to others to change so that we might be made happy. But that’s not how it works. Never has and never will.

That was an excellent talk by Dr. Peterson. Glad that I awoke tonight and stumbled back across his channel once again.

Another evening of existential reckoning (oh joy)

Was actually perusing a Sam Harris clip like I so very rarely ever care to do. Never been much of a fan of the guy. But found a segment where I agreed with him how people are factioning off into political tribes. Guess this is what Religions dying can morph into. Gotta put that energy toward something, somewhere. And now politics is the name of the game. The new beacon on which to direct our religious devotion.

Human beings are religious by our very natures. Have always been inclined toward religiosity and still are. Evolved this way. So even though we like to think we’re dropping all that and turning our attention toward the formation of a secular society, that inclination still resides within us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Expresses itself in various ways. Political tribalism to whatever degrees. New herds to lose ourselves within.

Lots of things to lose oneself in nowadays. So much freedom we barely know what to do with it.

Freedom to make all sorts of (good or bad) choices too. That’s one of those natural rights granted to us by Nature. Some call it Free Will, though it can’t help but come with limitations.

Still. Pretty darn free in the U.S. currently.

Free to buy an assortment of delicacies and enticements. Free to partake in a number of legal drugs, including alcohol (and marijuana in some states). Free to think whatever we want. Free to vote for whomever we want, assuming our nation’s voting apparatus is even trustworthy any longer, and assuming you’re not barred from doing so due to certain felony charges.

Free to read books. Tons of libraries around for folks who lack funds. Inexpensive entertainment as well as educational if we push ourselves to seek and explore. But that’s a choice. Comes back to exercising all this Freedom we’ve been blessed with.

Choices. Attention paid to where? Habits. Options. Alternatives. Decisions. Backed by actions.

Come to find out, it’s very easy to get lost in this 21st Century. lol  True story.

Values. What matters most?

What were the seven deadly sins again?

SLOTH

ENVY

LUST

GLUTTONY

GREED

PRIDE

WRATH

Good to keep in mind. As I sit here tonight as a sloth, once again, pondering while wandering around the internet. Satiating my legal vices. Ever look at that list and wind up having to check every box? Whether past or present, all the same we are afflicted by excesses that can prove destructive, and not only to our own selves. Obviously.

So then what? Wait for motivation to come and sweep us along on our way? Doesn’t work like that.

Some good books I’ve been contemplating on over the last several months are:

Thinking of canceling my Audible subscription for a spell so I can just refocus on these and other titles. Those books there are really informative and thought-provoking. Not needing to continue on in my studies until I get re-oriented with the aid of those books. They do help. But of course it ultimately comes down to one’s individual efforts. Application of lessons learned.