“You need to have something to set against the sufferings of life!” Jordan Peterson
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why do meaningful things well first of all what is meaning but then why do meaningful things and the answer is well because life is suffering and malevolence is in eradicable at its core that will take you out make no mistake about it you need something too you need to be armed with virtue in order to for that not to turn into hell really you really need that and it isn't just your hell that's bad enough that can be really bad especially when you're contributing to it right because then not only are you suffering but you know you're the agent that's producing the suffering and then maybe that's not just for you it's like you're taking out your family if you're really good at it you're taking out large swaths of your community that's hell it's like and that's real and no one with any sense and any experience has any doubt that that's real and then they all couldn't easily think of how even though it's already bad you could make it way worse everyone knows that it's what's the bulwark against them nobility of purpose that's it you have that then you have something to set against the suffering and the malevolence and you need it isn't optional that's not optional you cannot live without it it's an instinct meaning it's the instinct of life my life is meaningless the Spirit has gone out of you it's like well meat but and you know the modern people it's part of this process of criticism we've criticized the idea of meaning so much that we don't really believe in it anymore it's like well that's fine you cannot believe it but try living without it so far you get with that so in the case that I've been making to people which they find entirely credible it's partly the Heil case that I just laid out it's like okay you need a reason to get out of bed on a terrible day okay what's that reason gonna be well let's think it through you know people who can get out of bed on a terrible day do you admire them yes what are those people like are they taking responsibility for themselves definitely do they have excess capacity so they're taking responsibility for other people yeah are they doing difficult things yes obviously the more you respect them the more you also see that they're doing difficult things and doing them well so what does that mean do some difficult things do them well and you justify your miserable existence and people you could lay that argument out to an audience of 3,000 people a lot of them are there because they're trying to set their houses in order philosophically and and religiously and practically all at the same time it's what they want say you lay out that argument people they go yep right so pick up your burden and and walk up the hill accept the burdensome condition of suffering voluntarily and you transcendent people are built for a struggle and they're built for a weight and you want to take on a heavy burden voluntarily see if you can put yourself together see what you can do out in the world while you're waiting to die it's an all-in game it better be worth while and so there's a tight relationship between responsibility and aspiration and hierarchy and when you criticize those things you get rid of the aspiration in some sense it's it's an it's an eternal battle I mean the story of Cain and Abel is a story about that it's about responsible proper living and the jealousy that might be engendered while observing that so it's a very very old problem think about discussion of the 1% it's like well those evil 1% do you know how much money you have to make in order to be in the top 1% in worldwide terms two thousand thirty two thousand dollars a year top one persist so it's like well where why do you draw the boundaries so that the top 1% are people that aren't you if it's not envy if you're doing okay I mean you're doing okay with a with a say a an average working class salary you're doing okay I'm not saying you're doing great you're not starving you've got heat you've got air conditioning you've got access to electronic technology you've got some ability to move forward into the future so you're doing all right and by historical standards you're doing fine so why all of a sudden is the 1% that you're envious of only those people who are richer than you when you're also part of the 1% worldwide if that's not envy so I know how who the rich is the rich is always someone who has more money than me that's who the rich is I don't put myself in that category you know especially if I'm pursuing this victim mentality and then the other part of the victim mentality as well you know let's say you can have a meaningful life by adopting responsibility but it's a heavy load you got to be awake and alert and on your feet and moving towards something difficult you have to have some self-control and you have to sacrifice in the present so that the future is better it's complex you have to integrate a lot and when you take on some responsibility your life has meaning you think I want a meaningful life it's like maybe you do if you're willing to take on the responsibility what's the alternative well to garner a lot of unearned sympathy for your victimization position and to at the same time take down the people who are willing to take more responsibility than you it's a nasty game we have enough food for everyone we produced cultures we produced structures hierarchies that certainly have a oppressive element because hierarchies do but every human society is a hierarchy and most hierarchies produce nothing but misery rir keys produce a certain amount of misery and a bunch of wealth it's like that's something unless you're a fan of starvation and misery and so my sense is let's temper the criticism with a little bit of of open-eyed gratitude I mean Jesus things are pretty good even though things are still terrible there are way better than they were and not only that and this is one of the things that's so amazing and remarkable and that we really haven't woken up to not only are they way better than they were they're getting better around the world for everyone at a rate that's nothing short of miraculous it's absolutely beyond belief I see this like everyone does this unbelievably rapid process of technological transformation approaching us I think well we better be wise enough to handle it because we can't predict it right so to the degree that we have character flaws that could be rectified the consequences those are going to be magnified by our increased technological power so I'm hoping that everybody can try to get their act together a little bit more carefully and that's that's also been extraordinarily fun in this like the the lecture so I've been in 85 cities since March it's very heartening because all these every night I talk to about 2,000 people not every night but like four nights out of four nights and a week as far as I can tell they're all primarily coming there because they want to put their house together from a psychological perspective they're interested in developing a vision and taking on responsibility and I have dozens of people every night who who have told me that over the last couple of years their lives have been transformed they've gone from a bad place you know where they were really lost in the nihilistic they've decided that they were gonna do something with their life you know I had I tweeted out something today that some kid kid wrote me he said two years ago he didn't have any friends he didn't he didn't have an intimate relationship he didn't know where he was going in his life he didn't have a job like he was just you know nothing was going for him and he's doing a philosophy degrees in the second year he has a good job he's got a girlfriend he's got friends that care forms like he's put his life for a mother and so I hear this sort of story from people all the time people stopped me on the street and tell me this which is lovely right to go to a city you've never been to this happens to me all the time I'll be walking down the street someone will come up and say I'm sorry that I'm bothering you and they're not because people are very polite they've been very polite to me say you know I wasn't in such a good place year ago two years ago I've been trying to put my life together I've been listening to your lectures and here's a bunch of things that are way better for me like right OAuth man the more about the better and I think that's the right way forward you know this which is why I don't really regard myself as a political person I have political interests but mostly I must I operate I try to operate at the level of psychology it's like better for people to put their lives together it's important and I think each person is crucially important I think that's a predicate of of the democratic state right we wouldn't let people vote people wouldn't have the responsibility to vote to determine the outcome of the state if there wasn't a deep belief in our culture that each person was vital and I do believe that I believe that the world is constructed so that each person plays a vital role and so every time that someone gets their act together it's like great great that's gonna have way more positive effect than you think and stave off an awful lot of trouble because someone who goes bad can do an unbelievable amount of damage like you know you always want to look at what the consequence of a technological transformation is this is a big transformation you know there used to be flagship media sources that were basically attempting to give a balanced picture and I think they did a pretty good job thirty years ago Time magazine even the mainstream news programs they had a professionalism that was associated with their journalism that had some degree of objectivity and that's fragmented and and it's fragmenting because there's all these media sources like innumerable media sources and so it's it's driving people who are trying to get attention to desperation and they exaggerate the polarity