Antidote to chaos
An antidote to chaos
”The most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” That is how the New York Times describes Peterson. I’ve quite enjoyed watching his public psychology lectures at the university of Toronto as well as many debates and interviews he has appeared on. Most of these can be found on YouTube and it’s a wonderful that such an outlet of almost endless information exists. The real university can be found not in the lecture rooms but in the inspiration and thirst of knowledge that is in all of us, it’s just up to ourselves if we strive to quench that thirst or not.
In his book 12 rules for life Peterson speaks quite openly about his personal and professional life, sometimes mixing the two. Divided into 12 chapters, each entailing a teaching of sorts, the book gives it’s reader a remarkable set of tools for improving the quality of their life – and the lives of everyone around them.
In my essae I want to focus on two rules that I find perhaps the most problematic for a person like myself. ”Be precise in your speech.” and ”Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” Easier said than done but seems like worth giving a shot.
Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Start stopping today.
Peterson begins this chapter by describing some stories of famous writers, mass murderers and patients of his. The one thing connecting all these stories is suffering which Peterson says to be an universal truth for humanity. Life is tragic and there is no escape from suffering – it is the norm. However that is not to say that you can not do anything to limit the amount of your suffering or the suffering you’re bringing onto others.
Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world means that you should yourself begin to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem if you want to see anything change for the better. It’s likely that you have every reason to be bitter, resentful, angry or even hateful because of what has or has not happened to you. That doesn’t mean you should. None of those things are going to make your suffering any less noticeable – quite the contrary. ” Start small. Have you taken full advantage of the opportunites offered to you?” (Peterson, 157) ”Do you have habits that are destroying your health and well-being? Are you truly shouldering your responsibilities?” (Peterson, 157)
Clean up your life. Cleaning up your room or your house is a good start before moving forward to habits that make your life and the lives of your loved ones less desirable. ”Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?” (Peterson, 158)
The smaller you can start the easier it will be to drive a change that will be sustainable.
Be precise in your speech
Say what you mean, so that you can find out what you mean. Act out what you say, so you can find out what happens.
Avoiding conflict does not make conflict go away. It only pushes it forward into the future until it has grown to the point where it can no longer be ignored. The issues you willingly ignored have grown in to the size of a dragon and you’re no knight. ”Courageous and truthful words will render your reality simple, pristine, well-defined and habitable.” (Peterson, 281) What is it you’re unhappy about? What would you like to change? You need to be precise in defining your own existance or else the things that bother will forever be ”something”or ”anything” and that could be everything and everything is too much to handle. If you can not precisely describe where you are in life, you could be anywhere and anywhere is too many places to be.
Our words give shape to our existance. We use words to describe our intentions, dreams, feelings and for the most part these words are formed in the inside rather than given from the outside. When you speak you’re always revealing something about who you are, even to yourself, and that makes it all the more important to be precise in what you say and that is truthful.
It takes courage to articulate things you suspect will get a rise out of people, especially if you know those things to be true. ”To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into Being.” (Peterson, 230)