Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jordan Peterson explains the ancient hard wired human brain in a material world

In a lecture entitled, "Reality and the Sacred" - available at TVO Video - Psychology Professor Jordan B. Peterson breaks down the myths that 'create' the reality we exist in.

(Video embed from Youtube is at the bottom of this page)

He points out that the study of the humanities today is in an existential crisis. He chooses to tackle this disease though a unique understanding of modern brain science data, the quest by computer scientists to create artificial intelligence, primate and human behavior data, modern and ancient writings, ancient story telling ("the wisdom traditions"), and eastern Buddhist philosophies - combined in a convincing and original narrative.

Modern thought (I hope I correctly paraphrase), he says, is currently distorted by a myopic materialist thought process because it lacks the influence of a part of the brain where ideas like the 'sacred' are exercised. We are thus lead to a series of misreadings of our own culture, which makes it impossible for modern society to properly perceive the world, and thus create a viable future.

In my opinion, logic in all areas of study have become circular, and thus instead of leading to a point - with potential - much of our understanding of the world is slipping into a relativist trap where nothing has any real meaning - a moral, and just as importantly I think, an empirical dead end.

(Because the reason for going forward - the cultural context - is equally important as the "logical" path that technology perfected, or discovered presents to the empirical mind.)

To me Peterson's beautiful combination takes material dialectics, and brings into the matrix better than ever before, a human quality. A new and mature understanding of the human condition that has hither to been absent, or twisted to such an extent that the world view resulting is hopelessly distorted. I think a qualitatively new understanding of the world has begun to be unveiled by Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson in this talk. He adds to the progress forward in recent years, taken at the Philosophy Department at U of T, by Mark Kingwell and others.

This lecture made me smile and smile, and laugh over and over. The professor gets a couple of laughs from his young students; but older viewers will find themselves laughing in the isles. Especially, as the professor says, if you have pursued a true life path. I like to say, a balanced life, not too much evil left unconsidered - not too much denial; in other words, if you're lived a moral, honest, flexible and evolving life (if you're not a complete asshole) you'll be able to see the profound beauty and connectivity in Professor Jordan Peterson's captivating narrative.

Jordan Peterson: Reality and the Sacred

More of Jordan B. Peterson online: A 13-part series based on his book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, beginning with, "The Meaning of Music"; from

Jordan B. Peterson, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Toronto

Update Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Also posted at TVO is a talk by Professor Peterson concerning "the nature of evil and its distinction from tragedy" which takes a look at the subject matter in the video above, through a dissection of the Bible's Book of Genesis.


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