REVIEW: Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In my email and (not to mention) my snail mail I get requests all the time that I must engage the latest hufflebunny to come out of the sinking holes of professional science. But one name rises above all others in its virility, and that is Jordan Bernt Peterson.Peterson is an expert Canadian who specializes in clinical psychology and delivers not one but many reflections on Carl Jung and the Bible. Don’t believe me? Then click yourself onto this link. In my opinion Peterson’s first book was Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. This book is about the human brain and was written in 1999. Sadly, this means that Peterson was unable to take advantage of the revolution in Brain Studies that began in this journal in circa ten years after that. To my chagrin Peterson has ignored not only the original work aforelinked, but also the many followups: try these two (1 here, and 2 here) on for size. Maps of Meaning is at least 560 pages, so I can imagine that Peterson is none too happy about being out of date so long ago.

This post is not about Maps of Meaning, but I need to get just one edgewise word about it before moving on. Peterson says:

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything––anything––to defend ourselves against that return.

First number one, it is obvious is it not that we can see culture with our eyes, especially in its “intrapsychic or internal manifestation.” Peterson’s book was written before Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which lays bare the culture in exactly this way. Second, chaos does not give rise to culture: chaos is culture! I evidence for you this video:

Plus, Peterson acts like chaos could take over once culture gets going. But this is impossible, as technology, the paragon of order, is irreducibly complex. No matter how much smaller technology gets, it cannot be destroyed or reversed. Hence: never chaos. This is my “Chaos Theory.”

But to the main course we go! Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life consists of 12 rules that will help the young man keep the chaos at bay while the mum is away. We will explore the rules here with ample time for commentaries by me (and you in your brain).

Rule #1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back

While this is extremely terrible and dangerous boding for humans and others with spinal “cord” injuries, Peterson doesn’t mean in his recently beefy heart that everyone should do this. Rather, only some of everyone should do this. But everyone should “conduct his or her life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike.” This is very doubtful advice, in all of my opinions, since my desires are neither natural nor perverse––and I know that I am not alone, even as you read this. So, what would Peterson tell humans like you and me, and we know who you and me are? Should we, instead, sit down crooked with our elbows forward?

Rule #2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

This advice is very offensive to me personally because it suggests that I am responsible for helping someone other than myself in the first place. I am but who is Peterson to say so?

Rule #3: Make friends with people who want the best for you

Here Peterson directly contradicts Rule #1. The people who want the best for me are the people who will support my unnatural and unperverse desires. Since Peterson doesn’t like those desires one itsy bitsy, would he consider these people my friends?

Rule #4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today

This is the first of Peterson’s rules that I can get behind in a really way. When I compare myself to who people like Brian Greene and Steven Pinker are today, I grow unattractively arrogant. After and once in for all, I decimated the theories of Brian Greene not once, but twice. How I pime for the days of my prine!

Rule #5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Well…I admire Peterson’s warm intentions, but this rule is a little too late. Alois and Klara died over 100 years ago!!! So what’s the point of this rule? Those who come after history are doomed to inherit it.

Rule #6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world

As someone without a house who criticizes the world all day every day (and I’m not sorry), I resent very much this rule of Mr. Peterson’s. Maybe he would like to give me a house in Canada that I can perfect, before he criticizes my world? Works both ways much?

Rule #7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Here Peterson shows his ignorance of basic maths, which maybe is a consequence of universal education in Canada. When Syphilis was pushing the rock up the hill for eternity, his action was anything but expedient yet also everything but meaningful. Do the math, Pete! What is expedient is often the most meaningful, because you can actually get it done.

Rule #8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie

If Peterson is such a big fan of the truth, then why does he advance such retrograde theories of the human brain? As I already explained for the umpteenth time in this journal, the brain ain’t in the head.

Rule #9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

This is a very strange rule. If someone knows something that I don’t, then why am I listening to them? This seems backwards and I honestly do not get it. Hopefully some of you can explain in the comments!

Rule #10: Be precise in your speech

Lord knows honest to Betsy that I try to be precise here at Oxford’s Science & Math Defeated. Some of my greatest hits are hits precisely because they literally assassinate ambiguous language. For example, think of my work on infinity. Or on the old linguistic canard that 0.9999….=1. (By the way, curious about what happens when a gaggling bevy of raunchy Redditrolls try to refutate me? Try here for size.)

Rule #11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding

First, maybe tell that to dentists who tell these very same children to floss. Skaters get teeth problems all the time like they fall out. But more important than that even, Peterson here ironically makes the skaterphobic assumption that his readers are not themselves skaters. It’s skaters who have every reason to bother other skaters, the bad ones. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then you’re not a skater. Every skater knows that you must beware the infamous Skate Nazi. This is the skater who, according to the journal Urban Dictionary, “blows off work, school and girlfriends to skate. [The term] [“]Skate Nazi[“] is also commonly used to [refer to] an aggressive territorial skateboarder” (emphases mine own).

Rule #12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Let be said by me here that Peterson is correct that there are many myths that people believe that are negative about stray cats. Many of them are covered here. And these myths always contain a subtle whiffing of antisemitism since there are many stray cats in Jerusalem. So good job to Peterson for denying a theory likely to be beloved on the alt-Right! However, and this is as BIG a caveat as they come––remember that YouTube video above where Peterson talks about developing your “inner psychopath”? Let’s just say that this isn’t Peterson’s first rodeo with YouTube videos about psychopaths. See here. Hmm. How can I put this delicately? Maybe I’ll just give you a headline from a source no less prestigious than Discover Magazine (yes, as in, “Discover scientific facts”):

So, basically, a Canadian man with a proclivity for thinking about human psychopaths is telling you that you should go out of your way to caress non-human psychopaths. Not much I have to say about that!

This concludes my review of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Canadian and clinical psychologist Jordan Bernt Peterson. Please leave feedback in comments below!

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The Science and Math of Mayweather vs. MacGregor

By now you have all seen the greatest MMA fight of all time, Floid Mayweather vs. Conor MacGregor. Mayweather is the pound-for-pound ninjutsu specialist in the western hemisphere, but is competent in all arts. Hence the interest in him fighting the Irish/Scottish street fighter MacGregor – a matchup so crazy, it just might have worked!

Sports scientist Jack Slack (no, not that one!) asked “four questions” leading into this fight. In this study I will demonstrate answers to Jack’s (if I may… see what I did there?) questions.

But first, a preliminary round of answer. Jack Slack is, as you may know (yep), a pseudoname. See here for details. But he has major league tipped his hands in his “four questions,” showing that he is likely Jewish. Matzoh, anyone? This narrows things down to probably Wolf Blitzer. Anyway, onward to Slack’s four questions.

(1) What are “MMA angles” and “MMA distance”?

Jack’s first question is about some technical terminology. Everyone who is anyone knows that soccer is different from football is different from foosball, and fighting is no different. You might think of an “angle” as being the direction in which a fighter punches his (OR HER) strikes, but this is only in European fighting, which is more historical. In Modern Martial Arts (MMA), which is primarily American-influenced, the angles can be the directions of literally anything – kicks, pile drivers, headlocks, or fork lifts. Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about:

Notice that McGregor uses the angle of the air to fork lift his opponent, rather than his hand per se. In European-style this is actually not permitted (for obvious reasons).

Now, MMA distance is a whole another ball game (pardon the metaphor). In the older arts, which Mayweather practitions as noted above, fighters mainly wrestle each other on the ground. Here is perhaps the greatest predecessor to Mayweather (Roy Grazie) showing traditional, European distance:

This is called a leggy jolt. Notice how Gracie jolts in and breaks his opponents knees with his hands, then executes a standard horizontal gyration up to the head.

But MMA rules disallows this kind of maneuver, because there have been too many injuries (see the recent studies of brain injuries in soccer, for appetizers). For more on the science of acceleration, distance, and gravity, see my work here.

(2) How much gas will there be in McGregor’s [sic] tank?

Now, this question is a bit trickier to answer scientifically, because we do not know what MacGregor was eating before the fight or even during the breaks between rounds – since the camera often panned away.

But basically, what we know is that when a fighter doesn’t have any food, they tend not to have much in the way of gas. Gas is produced by food. When a fighter does have food, they are capable of gas. But of what quality? It looks like MacGregor, out of arrogance, did not eat very well during the fight. As many commentators have speculated, he came out aggressively in the beginning of the fight, which means that he had a lot of food to keep his initial gaseous state. But by the second trimester of the fight, you can see him getting very tired. For example,

I wasn’t the only one thinking he looked a wee bit wobbly at this point in the pàrléz-vous. Even Maverick Mac said of himself, “…wobbly…”.

For more on food and how to build your life around it, see my work here.

(3) How will the clinch be contested and, more importantly, refereed?

If I may be Franky Alvarez, the clinch wasn’t refereed. The referee for this match allowed Mayweather and MacGregor to clinch tens, possibly hundred of times (I lost count even in the first trimester). The clinch has been a serious problem in traditional fighting and MMA. It is basically fighting’s version of soccer players falling down and crying.

They clinch when they are too scared to fight anymore. Here is probably the most famous clinch of the 21st century:

Notice how all of a sudden these two otherwise excellent boxers are able to absorb a gaggle of gut punches. Coincidence? No Sir, Bob. Remember that “distance” we were chatting about earlier? The clinch is known to reduce, that is to say, diminish, it. And what happens when you reduce distance? You reduce force. Boxing may as well be like

The sad thing is, fighters think they are protecting their brains when they clinch. For why this is pure hufflebunny, see my work here and here. (To make a short story: your brain is everywhere, folks.)

(4) Who will actually buy this fight?

One of the biggest markets seems to have been the racism-abuse-nbd crowd (explained). Or as Kelefa Sanneh explains, the same. This is unfortunate because, as studies have shown ages after age, it is bad to be racist.

Coincidentally, it is also bad to be a misogyny!

For some of my work on sexism, see here. This concludes the applications of my theories to the fight of the centuries as questioned by Jack Slack.

P-Values: P is for Pseudoscience!

Someone called “The American Statistician” has performed an experiment that proves that the scientific community [sic] and graduate students [sic] have been taught [sic] the wrong thing virtually for eternity. As reported by sorceress Christie Aschwanden on Vox, “Deborah Mayo is a professor [and] … teaches at Virginia Tech, not the University of Pennsylvania.” This is just one of many corrections of errors caused by the P-Value dogma blinding the sciences to my views. Is it possible that without the P-Value dogmatics, my well-established Trans-Brain Theory (studies listed) would have been excepted by now? Only time travel will tell.

Recall that my own use of a P-Value is in the context of refuting another dogmatics – the dogmatics of infinity that wanders us into the darkness of life.

number-line
How might the debunking of mainstream P-Values vindicate the theory of the brain that I have established? Well, remember my argument that the brain is distributed throughout the body, as evidenced by the location of pain sensations. It is likely that scientists reject my theory because pain sensations are not experienced in 0.05, or half, of a tenth of the human body. This is how much brain-of-body would be required by P-Value dogmatics:

brainbody

This is as you can see not plausible – not even by remote. My theory establishes that a number much larger than half of a ten percent of the brain be the body. I will now close with the correct model, which should now be accepted with the elimination of P-Values.

brainbodycorrect

 

Homo sapiens: the only people with brains?

Apparently NOT. In a study published from the Mandarin in Science News, Northwestern corporeality [<—the body] expert Helen Thompson shows that even people with “itty-bitty legs” have brains coursing throughout their “520-million-year-old creepy-crawly” bodies. Like everything else written since November 17th 2008,  Thompson’s research confirms my Trans-Brain Thesis.

Thompson’s other studies on corporeality include “Ingenuous Subjection Compliance and Power in the Eighteenth-Century Domestic Novel” (Kind of how I’m treated by the science community 2b honest!!!)

The embodied mind

It is clear from this new research that my trans-brain thesis is gaining increasingly entropic momentum, even among philosophers. It irks me beyond many measures how many people tend to rename it, however.

For the hundreds of new readers I get every day who may not have heard, my trans-brain thesis has been developed at various places in this journal. For example:

Where is your brain? Everywhere! (Nov. 17th, 2008)

Lessons from 17th century optics (Sep. 9th, 2010)

Colin Allen and Robert Lurz confirm my trans-brain hypothesis (Feb. 21st, 2012)

You can find the rest under the brain studies category.

(You can click on the bluish words, if your wish commands it.)

Kevin Kelly endorses my trans-brain thesis

I’ve had a lot to say about my own trans-brain hypothesis. According to which is the following true: rather than be located primarily in the skull, the human brain (and probably animal brains) are located throughout the body. Notice that this is a moderate thesis – e.i. there are theses less moderate than mine. I’ll give you an example. The “Extended Mind” thesis.

Okay, I’ve said a lot. But what do other people say? In particular, what does famed scientists Kevin Kelly say? To get impossibly more specific, what does Kevin Kelly say to Joe Flower, on this website? I’m posting the answer here for the first time. I’ve put the part that most confirms my theory in bold.

Over the past few decades, people have worked very hard to build robots with artificial intelligence. One of the surprising discoveries that came out of that intense experience is that trying to make a central brain run things does not work. If you try to make a robot that walks, and you give it a brain that has some sort of eyes to see with, and give that brain the job of notifying the legs when to move, it will never fail to flop over. Using a centralized brain for the task of trying to anticipate the future and deal with change with just doesn’t work.

Some researchers found they made more headway when they started from the bottom up, instead of working from the top down. They decided to build intelligent robot that was only as smart as an ant. They had observed that ants walk really well. The little tiny ant’s brain did that job a lot better than any robot. So the researchers wondered how they were doing it. And they discovered something very interesting: when it comes to walking, most of the ant’s thinking and decision-making is not in its brain at all. It’s distributed. It’s in its legs.

Okay – so what you have to ask yourself is, why isn’t Kevin citing me? Perhaps it would hurt his credibility too much. But you know what, I care far more about the truth than about due credit. And I’m glad to see Kevin join the chorus of people who correctly endorse my trans-brain theory.

But what do small animals like ants have to do with humans, you wonder? That’s fairly easy. Like ants (and particularly ugly rats), humans are social creatures. Obviously the main vehicle of sociality – the mechanism, if I will – is the brain. Try to imagine brains without sociality? Didn’t think so. So by the transitive property of sociobiology, defended most recently by the alien researcher M.L. Henneman, it is safe – nay, invincible – to assume that the discovery extends to us.

(HT: Jason Rosenhouse, Chad Orzel, and E.O. Wilson)

Colin Allen and Robert Lurz confirm my trans-brain hypothesis

Indiana University cognitive scientist Colin Allen and CUNY consultant Robert Lurz have conducted several studies on how animals perceive the minds of others.

In the autobiographical essay, Allen notes what in Animal Studies has been called the “logical problem”: brain reading is logically equivalent to body reading. This is a mystery for “scientists,” who are theologically devoted to a brain/body distinction (=dualism). At their Brooklyn College Neuroscience lab, Allen and Lurz have desperately attempted to construct experiments to separate the two, but Allen concedes in the article, first, that the experiments are so complex that it is “not possible” for humans to fully comprehend them; and second, that even if humans could fully comprehend them, the experiments wouldn’t “eliminate… every alternative [body] reading hypothesis.”

I am the first to say: No kidding! But of course, as I’ve been saying for literally years (click on the “brains studies tag, below), your brain is everywhere, e.i. it is your body. Recall the diagram in my original post.

In light of the recent failure of fringe research, however, I’ll diagram how this is supposed to work, then diagram my explanatorily superior model.

Exhibit A: Medieval mind/body dualist view of animal perception (Allen, Lurz, Laura Sanders)

Exhibit B: Correct “Trans-brain” view of animal perception (CTBVoAP) (me, Godfrey-Smith, Reid, Loftus, New York Times)

As you can see, the second diagram posits the more elegant theory. For one thing, it follows Occam’s Razor in only positing one type of thing (what I call “singlism”). Second, and more importantly, it doesn’t posit mysterious, occult faculties by which perception can pass through certain parts of the body. Also, I’ve taken account of the fact that, in dogs at least, there is more than one perceptual mechanism – both eyes and nose, the latter of which seems curiously absent in Allen and Lurz’s work.