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Lecture 2 | Historical & Mythological Context by Jordan Peterson

Myths are abstraction

Myths and stories are the foundation of our society that we take for granted each day.

Even if you don't understand the foundation.

For example, the idea of giving each person to let live even if that person has done something terribly wrong is based on the idea that,

There is this metaphysical idea that the individual has transcendent (beyond or above the range of normal or physical human experience) worth or implicit value. And if you do that same to me, then we both set up a body of law that recognizes this. That's foundational for the Bill of Rights.

Myths are abstraction to living an ideal life.

Myths are usually something or lessons that have been retold and retold multiple times and reduced into their jest many many times.

And this is why we don't have any problem with the Harry Potter story because it's a myth. We love it. Even though it's not rational. It's not rational to go voluntary (better bet) towards danger (snake) underground.

Facing danger is attractive to other people. And when you face danger, you learn something. And you may not be happy about it but it's necessary.

In all Myths, something terrible is happening or is on its way to happening. In Mahabharat too.

And then circle starts, first, we have before chaos time, the actual chaos, you learn stuff and you develop your character and then you overcame it. Then you are on your way to another chaos.

It's a great mindset to adopt to keep assuming that something chaotic is on its way. The peace that you currently living in is just the time before the hurricane comes.

Hence always be training. Improving yourself so that you can better equip yourself to face it.

Learning is dying

During your battle in life or when you lose, you learn stuff.

The day you learn something important or significant in your life, that's not the happiest day in your life. Not any close in a far stretch of the imagination. It's a rough day.

To kill an addiction means to kill a part of yourself.

Personally, I had pornography addiction and considering how deep it was embedded in my life. The day I decided to go cold turkey, that day sucked. From stopping to expect endless pleasure when I am alone to doing something good even though nobody was having any watch on me.

So I had to kill that part of myself. And had to do something. Something that would do the same to my life as what pornography did to me. So this was in part how I get started reading books.

That's a discipline needed and discipline is a precursor to freedom (Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willik).

Develop deep self-respect by comforting your dark side

To have self-respect, know that you are capable of doing harm.

Carl Jung tells this is Shadow Work. You do it by recognizing your dark side that you don't want to acknowledge

And to do that, start reading history and put yourself in the place of guards (that are having supreme authority over people).

"You can't have proper respect for yourself until you know that you're a monster. Because you won't act carefully enough."

Aim at something

We are aiming creatures and without any aim, we fall into disarray. And doing nothing in life does not guarantee a lack of suffering. You still have to suffer, hence it's better to do something and aim for something that could help you lessen the effect of life's raw suffering. "Because life is difficult, you have to do something truly worthwhile in order to justify."


Some direct quotes from the lecture

Art is vast interconnected webwork, fabricated tradition. Overconcentration on one thing is distortion. - Camille Paglia

Dreams are the birthplace of thoughts. Fantasy is the birthplace of ideas. - Carl Jung

"Ocean represents your mind and fishing represents thinking. When we think, we give our brain a question. And wait."

"We play games to socialize. Sophisticated games with rules and all."

"There is a deep unconscious reason why you admire someone and contempt other. Who you like and who you hate is a hint about your intrinsic value structure. What you like and what you don't."

Table of Contents for other lectures.


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