Jordan Peterson’s Lectures: Like Taking Psychedelic Drugs Without the Drugs?

From Harvard to Toronto to the World at Large

Shelley Carson, who now teaches at Harvard and writes about creativity, recalled that Peterson had “something akin to a cult following” in his Harvard days. “Taking a course from him was like taking psychedelic drugs without the drugs,” Carson says. “I remember students crying on the last day of class because they wouldn’t get to hear him anymore.” __

That was back in Peterson’s 1990s Harvard days, before he moved to the University of Toronto. He has been similarly embraced by Toronto students in his Psychology classes.

… he’s become a popular professor at the university [U. of Toronto]. Typical comments on include “life-changing” and “he blew my mind” and “he is my spirit animal.” He ran a private clinical-psychology practice, consulted for law firms, and developed his self-authoring website, which is based on ideas from psychologists like James Pennebaker and Gary Latham on the benefits of goal-setting and the therapeutic value of writing about emotion. He also offered occasional commentary on public television in Ontario… __ Chronicle

While he was teaching and working as a clinical psychologist, he was also immersing himself into the deepest foundations of published thoughts on human existence and the human enterprise in preparation for an encyclopedic work on the foundations of human thought, “Maps of Meaning.”

But this relatively quiet and modest world of the Canadian psychology professor was soon to be radically disrupted — permanently.

And Then Notoriety Set In

Back in 2016, Peterson publicly objected to a proposed Canadian law that would effectively mandate the use of artificial words to placate a vocal group of radical left activists — under penalty of a hefty fine and the potential for prison if the fine was not paid. And that is when all hell broke loose, as the Canadian left pulled out all the stops in an effort to have Peterson fired from his job and permanently disgraced.

But their Efforts Backfired

Professor Peterson stood up to all the pressure from the Canadian government, from the University of Toronto, and from rabid gangs of leftist radicals who attempted to shut him up and prevent him from speaking his views publicly.

These efforts to shut him up backfired. Suddenly Peterson was being invited onto popular YouTube shows, boosting Peterson’s popularity and the viewership of his hosts simultaneously. Over the next year Peterson continued his work as a clinical psychologist and as a mild-mannered professor of mind-bending psychological and philosophical thought. But he was also becoming well known as an independent voice speaking for the forgotten middle of western thought, and for the many targets of the radical left postmodernist agenda on campus and off.

And With the Notoriety Came New Prosperity

Last spring he started an account on Patreon, which allows users to donate money to support a person, often a musician, cartoonist, or other artist, though it’s become a fund-raising vehicle for activists, too. The first month he received $600, which was enough to help purchase better equipment to film his lectures. But the amount kept growing and, at last count, topped $60,000 per month (Peterson now keeps the amount he’s raising private). Those who give $50 or more get to ask questions in a monthly online Q&A session. Those who give $200 per month get a one-time personal Skype chat with Peterson for 45 minutes. The income from Patreon, along with the new demands on his time, caused him to put his clinical practice on hold indefinitely. __ Chronicle

Both his university lectures and his clinical work have been put on hold while Peterson does two important things: Work through his newfound prosperity/notoriety, and travel the world promoting his newest book, “12 Rules for Life.” His newest book distills much of the wisdom from the much larger book “Maps of Meaning” into a more readable and compact set of profound principles that can be applied to modern lives.

It was during his tour of the UK that his famous dust-up with UK Channel Four journalist Cathy Newman was filmed. That single Youtube video has racked up roughly 7 million views so far. The video adds to all the many other Youtube videos that have helped propel sales of “12 Rules for Life” to the top of book sales for weeks running now.

Watching the Peterson – Newman interview reveals much about Peterson which has allowed him to ride a magnificent wave which might well have drowned many other persons so rapidly propelled into the limelight. But it is by watching Peterson’s various series of university lectures freely available on Youtube, and by reading “Maps of Meaning,” that one better begins to understand how the sword has been tempered in the flames.

Peterson is a Massive Inconvenience to Leftist Elites

It is not only leftists in academia who have been embarassed by Peterson’s critiques. The vastly corrupt postmodern enterprise which extends its poisoned tentacles into every aspect of media, government, foundations, education, the judiciary, popular entertainment, and the corporate world, is vulnerable to a clear exposure to the light — something that Peterson is trying to help achieve.

Fortunately, Peterson is not alone in this dog fight. Fellow academics such as Jonathan Haidt of Heterodox Academy, Camille Paglia of the University of the Arts, Stephen Hicks — a philosophy professor at Rockford University, Gad Saad of Concordia University, and other less well known admirers in the academy, help to propagate a more broad-minded approach to education within the “hallowed halls.” Outside of academia, Peterson has a much larger and more committed following — which seems to be swelling by the day.

One Peterson Project That Desperately Needs to Be Followed Up

One of Peterson’s more promising proposals was a website meant to expose particular university courses which promoted postmodernist indoctrination and Marxist language twisting. Eventually he wanted to start his own online university meant to help build strong and competent individual thinkers — as opposed to current universities which promote groupthink indoctrination at every turn and in virtually every department.

Peterson did recently back down after proposing a website that would use an algorithm to determine which university course descriptions contained postmodern and Marxist language. His plan, which he announced on a television news show, was to create a list of those courses so that students could avoid them. He reiterated his claim that the humanities and the social sciences have become ruined by postmodernism, and he hoped that this list would help bring down those departments. He saw this as a first step toward starting his own online university founded with the mission of developing character, though the plans for such a grand enterprise remain sketchy. The reaction to his website proposal was not positive. Peterson, after talking with a number of friends who told him that it was a bad idea, decided to scrap the website, at least for now. “The question was, ‘Would it do more harm than good?’ ” he says. “I thought it might add to the polarization.” __

Consider the project on hold. Certainly if Professor Peterson does not wish to take up that particular sword at this time, I suspect that a growing cadre of fellow travelers will begin to take a closer look at the project.

Jordan Peterson’s Upcoming Australia Tour Sold Out

Peterson was a big hit in the UK, and continues to be popular with the Canadian and American publics. Next month he is taking the tour down under. And his tickets were snatched up as if he were a rock star.

The Australian tour of Canadian clinical psychologist and University of Toronto Professor Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has now sold out. In January a three city Australian tour was announced by the newly created True Arrow Events Group. Tickets for the Sydney and Melbourne shows were put on sale first and sold out within a week.

However it was the Brisbane show where tickets were snapped up in a frenzy. They went on sale at 10am on Tuesday 6th of Feburary and sold out five minutes later. Some of his most devoted fans in the Brisbane area took to social media to express their dismay that they had missed out on tickets in the blink of eye. Such a fast sell out of tickets is normally reserved for rockstars, not university professors. __

And So It Goes

Peterson must now come to terms with the fact that every interviewer that he does not personally know is probably trying to catch him in a mistake so as to take him down — much like Cathy Newman of Channel 4 attempted in the UK. But he is not a man to back down from a difficult task that needs doing. And so he steps out on a journey that grows longer and larger, despite whatever he originally intended.

Jordan Peterson’s Lecture Series on Youtube:

Maps of Meaning
Biblical Series
Personality and its Transformations
Psychology and Religion

See What’s So Dangerous About Jordan Peterson? for some interesting historical background on Peterson’s path to notoriety.

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2 Responses to Jordan Peterson’s Lectures: Like Taking Psychedelic Drugs Without the Drugs?

  1. Pepin the Short says:

    Jonathon Haight is anoher person to take a look at. Similar to Peterson in a lot of ways: academic, author, soft-spoken, and a highly rational, thoughtful approach. Like Peterson and his “12 Rules” Haight has written a similarly-themed book called “The Happiness Hypothesis”. I saw a Youtube video of Haight where he idenfiied as a liberal, but he neverthless has spoken out often about the extermism on the left. His lecture on Youtube on the victimhood culture is the best explanation for the emergence of the “snowflake” liberal that I know of. For extra delightful viewing pleasure – there is even a Youtube video of Haight interviewing Peterson!

    • alfin2101 says:

      Thanks for the comment. You may want to check your spelling. Peterson’s dialogue with Haidt is good, as are his dialogues with a number of other academics who work for a more open-minded academy.

      As mentioned in the article above, Jonathan Haidt of NYU runs Heterodox Academy — an indispensable site for promoting a diversity of viewpoints on campus. Also mentioned and linked in the text of the above article are Camille Paglia, Stephen Hicks, and Gad Saad, academics who work to promote viewpoint diversity..

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