Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
eight bits

Peterson and Harris (June 2018)

36 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

eight bits

Earlier this month, the official videos of the four recent moderated discussions between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris were released. There's just over eight hours of material here, lightly edited (it seems) from the live encounters in Vancouver, Dublin and London.

The moderators were chosen for their ability to contribute to the discussion, not merely to serve as "referees." The moderator in Vancouver (two episodes) was Bret Weinstein

https://bretweinstein.net/

The moderator in Dublin and London was Douglas Murray

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/author/Douglas+Murray

Although the moderators' contributions aren't trivial, the focus is mainly on the back-and-forth between Peterson and Harris.

Although other summaries are possible, there seem to me to have been three main themes. Two of them are points of substantial agreement between Peterson and Harris:

- The supreme value of free speech and free inquiry to human well-being
- The need for a moral framework grounded in ... something

The third theme is the chief point of disagreement, what that "something" could be. Harris famously favors a morality built up from what he takes to be factual observations (roughly: misery is bad for conscious beings, moving away from a hypothetical hellish state of crushing misery for all conscious beings is good). Peterson sees the ground as the experience of the species having become codified in stories whose current main vehicles are sacred texts, especially the Judeo-Christian canonical scriptures.

Along the way, many things come up, such as the antipathy of the far political left against enlightenment notions of freedom of expression (all four participants have run afoul of political correctness), and of course, immigration, especially from the Muslim Middle East to post-Christian Europe. One of the interesting moderator contributions was Murray's speculation that the Enlightnement didn't take hold very deeply or durably in the Western world, nor anywhere else, contrary to all the lip service in the modern West to that era being the turning point in human history.

You might want to take the series in one-hour chunks; it can be very dense. On the other hand, on all four occasions, the majority of the audience chose to forego their scheduled Q&A so that the onstage discussion could continue. This is engaging stuff.

I'll embed the first one, but these vids are not visual feasts. I'll just give links to the other three if the Editor God, the holy WYSIkindaWYG, allows.

Vancouver 1

 

Vancouver 2    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEf6X-FueMo

Dublin   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZI-FwSQRn8

London   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aALsFhZKg-Q

 

Edited by eight bits
Pretty close
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Piney
54 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Enlightnement didn't take hold very deeply or durably in the Western world, nor anywhere else, contrary to all the lip service in the modern West to that era being the turning point in human history.

I resigned from teaching Native and Japanese spiritual traditions at the local Friends (Quaker) First Day School because a SJW professor of history at Rowan University felt that she knew it better than I did even though she was raised Baptist in the Southwest U.S and doesn't speak anything but English.

American SJW arrogance at it's finest. :yes:

@third_eye  This is one of the many cases of Gaijin "stupid" that I have grown tired of......:wacko:

Edited by Piney
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
third_eye
3 hours ago, Piney said:

This is one of the many cases of Gaijin "stupid" that I have grown tired of......:wacko:

The same kind of stupid is everywhere and in everyone else caught in similar circumstances :yes:

~

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Habitat

It doesn't look as if those two are going to form one of those rare religious collaborations, 8 bits !

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Piney
1 hour ago, third_eye said:

The same kind of stupid is everywhere and in everyone else caught in similar circumstances :yes:

I've noticed some "nudging" in the East. Especially when it comes to the environment. But then, in Burma, a "Possible Projection" became a "Prophecy" and Rohingya children die. 

I'm losing faith in humanity. I thought they had gotten the message of "grow up".......but now everything is going backwards. .....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
XenoFish
1 hour ago, Piney said:

I'm losing faith in humanity.

I've lost faith in humanity. When tv, video, games, and the internet are fast food for the mind. You can only expect things to go to hell. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
third_eye
3 hours ago, Piney said:

.......but now everything is going backwards. ...

In some ways , yes, I do agree ... but in many other, things are actually getting increasingly better ...

~

From US Marine to Zen Monk [Documentary] 米海兵隊から禅僧へ [ドキュメンタリー] TheUwagaPies • 294K views Live 9:18 Playlist ( ) Mix (50+)

~

 

[00.09:17]

" we are everything and nothing at the same time, "
~

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Piney
4 minutes ago, third_eye said:

From US Marine to Zen Monk [Documentary] 米海兵隊から禅僧へ [ドキュメンタリー] TheUwagaPies • 294K views Live 9:18 Playlist ( ) Mix (50+)

Well, Uncle Jimmy was teaching more than Shorin Ryu on the Big Rock. :yes:

Several Marines had adopted the Sohei Code. Not quite a "Keeper". But it's a start.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
third_eye
2 minutes ago, Piney said:

But it's a start.

Exactly ... then it is no longer an 'end'

:yes:

~

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Piney
1 minute ago, third_eye said:

Exactly ... then it is no longer an 'end'

:yes:

*bows while looking down*   Domo! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
third_eye
1 minute ago, Piney said:

*bows while looking down*   Domo! 

*returns the bow*

do ita shimashite.

~

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eight bits
On 9/28/2018 at 10:03 AM, Habitat said:

It doesn't look as if those two are going to form one of those rare religious collaborations, 8 bits !

Dunno. Coincidentally, @Still Waters posted a thread about stoicism today

Stoicism, like Sam Harris' philosophy, seeks to derive a way of living (something that subsumes ethics and morality) founded on knowing the natural universe and seeking to behave in accord with nature to promote human happiness as much as possible. As both Peterson and Harris realize, they largely agree on just how rude a host the universe is to the human species. You have to put up with a lot to live here - and putting up with your lot is stoicism in a nutshell.

As SW's article points out, the version of stoicism that reaches us today is the relatively late and refined classical Roman variety, with champions like Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Stoic roots run much deeper, back to the common Indo-European font of ideas, from which Buddhism also arises and from that, more recently, the Zen inflection of Buddhism which flourishes in Japan. Marcus Aurelius would grok every word of @third_eye's video, starting from the military background of the main subject, through to that guy now having a warm family life (as Marcus did in his childhood, but not in the household he headed as an adult), and all his journey in between.

Roman stoicism was, I think, elitist and daunting for the masses. It lost out to bacon cheeseburger Christianity for the hearts and minds of the Empire, but never went away. A fair amount of it ended up as part of Christianity. Not that Christianity ever co-opted its competition, lol.

The point of these Harris-Peterson meetings was to explore their common ground, and they found a lot of it. If they ever did join in common cause, then the outcome probably wouldn't be called a "religion," but it'd sure as hell be something @Piney could teach at his Friends School. And with Peterson involved, Piney could be damned sure there'd be no shannanigans from any SJW.

Edited by eight bits
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Piney
2 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Piney could be damned sure there'd be no shannanigans from any SJW.

They were just itching to call me a racist but they can't because I'm tri-racial and come from a multi-ethnic family.

As for teaching, even though the Friends "Granny Squad" trust me fully with their grandchildren and I watch them when they have their meetings and luncheons they brought the "convict" aspect into play so I'm done. 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Habitat
5 hours ago, eight bits said:

Dunno. Coincidentally, @Still Waters posted a thread about stoicism today

Stoicism, like Sam Harris' philosophy, seeks to derive a way of living (something that subsumes ethics and morality) founded on knowing the natural universe and seeking to behave in accord with nature to promote human happiness as much as possible. As both Peterson and Harris realize, they largely agree on just how rude a host the universe is to the human species. You have to put up with a lot to live here - and putting up with your lot is stoicism in a nutshell.

As SW's article points out, the version of stoicism that reaches us today is the relatively late and refined classical Roman variety, with champions like Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Stoic roots run much deeper, back to the common Indo-European font of ideas, from which Buddhism also arises and from that, more recently, the Zen inflection of Buddhism which flourishes in Japan. Marcus Aurelius would grok every word of @third_eye's video, starting from the military background of the main subject, through to that guy now having a warm family life (as Marcus did in his childhood, but not in the household he headed as an adult), and all his journey in between.

Roman stoicism was, I think, elitist and daunting for the masses. It lost out to bacon cheeseburger Christianity for the hearts and minds of the Empire, but never went away. A fair amount of it ended up as part of Christianity. Not that Christianity ever co-opted its competition, lol.

The point of these Harris-Peterson meetings was to explore their common ground, and they found a lot of it. If they ever did join in common cause, then the outcome probably wouldn't be called a "religion," but it'd sure as hell be something @Piney could teach at his Friends School. And with Peterson involved, Piney could be damned sure there'd be no shannanigans from any SJW.

In my opinion, what might be considered non-religious philosophy, like Stoicism, has more in common with the "real" religious sentiment, than retail religion, which entrenches psychological immaturity, with its mindless rituals and promised short-cuts to salvation. If a philosophy, or religion, is not acting in the cause of movement toward greater psychological growth and maturity, it is nothing more than a salve to the ego.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eight bits
8 hours ago, Habitat said:

If a philosophy, or religion, is not acting in the cause of movement toward greater psychological growth and maturity, it is nothing more than a salve to the ego.

I think the mass-market religions (including the mass-market portions of religions that also offer intensely personal and private experiences) are outright ego defenses. Hence their popularity.

There is a truth that is very hard to hold onto for any length of time, whether you're Marcus Aurelius, or the Buddha in the Deer Park, or somebody fixed to a cross, suffocating slowly under your own weight: Life is suffering. Like watching a Mel Gibson movie, it's easier to look away, to think about something else, especially the other truth, that life is not all suffering (look at @third_eye's video, and the spring in the guy's step as he takes his little daughter to the park - man, something cosmic is going on, right there).

A good mass market religion gives you plenty to look at besides the only too obvious suffering, and for the suffering you can't dodge, provides some neatly packaged "meaning for our struggles" memes to take the edge off of the suffering.

Among the "New Atheists," Harris seems to appreciate most how helpful a real secular alternative irreligion can be for people (I think Hitch saw it, too). Peterson has his Jungian perspective, where balancing opposites is a major theme (life is both suffering and bliss, occasionally simultaneously even).

All Peterson and Harris have to do is get past who's right, and they'll have it made :) .

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
third_eye
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

All Peterson and Harris have to do is get past who's right, and they'll have it made :) .

An intransigent Cosmic Realignment you mean ?

~

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Habitat
14 hours ago, eight bits said:

All Peterson and Harris have to do is get past who's right, and they'll have it made

There really is no opposition between religion and "irreligion", so long as they stick to their own turf. It is in trying to rationalize the irrational, or to mystify the logical, that all the tensions arise. Science and Reason deal with investigating causal connections in the phenomenal world, "true" religion deals with satisfying curiosities about how there is a "reality" at all. That most people scoff at the latter idea, is simply a case of their being firmly lodged in the House of Reason, and refusing to believe there is any other way. Too bad that so far, a logical punch hasn't been landed on the "riddle of existence". To think it ever will, is a misunderstanding of how science works, and how that logical way of thinking operates. What "real" religion says, is that going deep within oneself,  is the only way to answer that riddle, and that it is necessary to temporarily suspend the faculty of reason and discrimination, in so doing. Like an AM/FM radio, you can't be on both wavelengths at the same time, but throwing the switch, when we are thoroughly habituated to one mode, is a difficult thing to do. Little wonder that organized religion, which is a hodge-podge that tries to rationalize the irrational, fails. The only place that an amicable truce can happen, is in the mind of the individual, who understands both must be afforded their full due.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eight bits
7 hours ago, Habitat said:

There really is no opposition between religion and "irreligion", so long as they stick to their own turf.

Steven Jay Gould (evolutionary biologist; agnostic on the Question of God, a person of secular inclinations) proposed the idea of "non-overlapping magisteria," NOMA for short. The reception for his idea was that many people saw the virtue in religion "sticking to its own turf."

However, it wasn't obvious why secular scholarship (science, philosophy, history, archeology, anthropology, ...) ought not to be interested in, and could not contribute to the understanding of subjects arising within religion (origins of life, ethics and metaphysics, was there a historical Exodus?, ...).

Both Peterson and Harris are secular scholars, and both are interested in how brain states relate to "religious" phenomena, e.g. altered states of cosciousness. They are also interested in finding a good way for people to live and deal with one another. They are already past the point of "sticking to their own turf," or to put it better, who is to say that there are any phenomena which aren't on their turf?

"Opposition," then, is always possible. It takes two to tangle, however. Some "religious" thinkers already look to Nature for insight into how to live properly, like the Stoics, for instance. Why wouldn't those "religious" welcome both Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, scholars of Nature, onto their religious "turf?"

Edited by eight bits
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Habitat
35 minutes ago, eight bits said:

who is to say that there are any phenomena which aren't on their turf?

 The truly religious accept science, the truly scientific do not assume, at all, that religion is void, as a valid mode of perception. The opposition is only between those who are neither truly religious, nor truly scientific, but identify with one or the other, erroneously, but without being either, and sometimes switch "sides" within the supposed opposition. And there is certainly an array of persuaders ready to cater to either pre-disposition. The opposition really does not exist, in truth.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Liquid Gardens
On 9/28/2018 at 5:27 AM, eight bits said:

Two of them are points of substantial agreement between Peterson and Harris:

- The supreme value of free speech and free inquiry to human well-being

A pity that Jerkish Peterhead doesn't seem to consider it a supreme value in his actions:  

https://www.thecut.com/2018/09/jordan-peterson-threatened-to-sue-feminist-critic-kate-manne.html

(I'm sure he doesn't mind the name 'Jerkish Peterhead' since he's an intellectual and all, these are apparently the rules we should go by given the logic of his own statement, "I don't recognize another person's right to determine what pronouns I use to address them")

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eight bits

@Habitat

Antony Flew's No true Scotsman example comes to mind. I have less confidence than you seem to have that there is some typical "truly" religious or "truly" scientific person. They're both big sets of people, and I can't sort out the "truly" this way or that way from the ... what? ... this way but not truly so?

@Liquid Gardens

Without being deaf to the sparkling ring of irony, I think it is unreasonable to hold a Canadian speaker to the United States' understanding of liability for libel, or of the possible place of remedial retraction or apology within a system of defined free speech rights and responsibilities.

ETA: I was aware of the actually filed Canadian case, involving statements made during a disciplinary proceeding agianst a teacher for showing television coverage of Peterson. In the other "sternly worded letter" case discussed, I am unclear from the report how the prospective defendant(s) would be subject to Canadian jurisdcition. Could be, but I can't figure it out from the report.

Edited by eight bits
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Liquid Gardens
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

Without being deaf to the sparkling ring of irony, I think it is unreasonable to hold a Canadian speaker to the United States' understanding of liability for libel, or of the possible place of remedial retraction or apology within a system of defined free speech rights and responsibilities.

FWIW I don't find that even remotely unreasonable, it sounds a bit like the idea that it's unreasonable to criticize a Saudi 'intellectual' who says he finds women's rights supreme but that those should be limited at allowing some women to drive cars sometimes. 

I'd agree that there's no reasonable inconsistency in a free speech advocate supporting laws against defamation.  The letter from his attorney is at the bottom of the link which includes the statements he objects to and I'm not seeing any of those that would be considered defamatory to a knowledgeable person who actually finds free speech to be supreme, where 'free speech' is defined more from a philosophical approach than a litigious one/nationality-dependent one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eight bits
19 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

it sounds a bit like the idea that it's unreasonable to criticize a Saudi 'intellectual' who says he finds women's rights supreme but that those should be limited at allowing some women to drive cars sometimes. 

Yeah, but

Saudi : Women's rights  :: Canada : Free speech ? Not in this reality, I don't think.

Libertarians (like Peterson, like me) often have no principled answer to where the line is to be drawn when rights conflict.

Quote

I'd agree that there's no reasonable inconsistency in a free speech advocate supporting laws against defamation. 

Libel is a place where rights conflict, The United States draws the line in one place (especially unsympathetically for public figures like Peterson), and Canada draws the line somewhere else. I'd still rather be a boat-rocking social critic in Canada than a woman in Saudi.

Quote

The letter from his attorney is at the bottom of the link which includes the statements he objects to and I'm not seeing any of those that would be considered defamatory to a knowledgeable person who actually finds free speech to be supreme, where 'free speech' is defined more from a philosophical approach than a litigious one/nationality-dependent one.

 

That's part of a USA orientation on where the limits of free speech lie. You (almost) can't libel somebody in the USA, especially not a public figure, by stating your opinion about them, for example by stating what cannot be mistaken by a reasonable person as anything but an opinion (Peterson is a misogynist), or by overt opinion tagging (I believe that Peterson <whatever>).

Other climes, other lines. Speech in Canada is fairly described as free compared with much of the rest of the world. In the United States, too. But the precise limits and balance between rights to speak versus rights not to be defamed are different in the two neighbors. Also, I'm still working on how speech by an American to an American news site that apparently occurred in the United States is actionable in a Canadian courtroom.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Habitat
4 hours ago, eight bits said:

Antony Flew's No true Scotsman example comes to mind. I have less confidence than you seem to have that there is some typical "truly" religious or "truly" scientific person. They're both big sets of people, and I can't sort out the "truly" this way or that way from the ... what? ... this way but not truly so?

Well, perhaps it is time to wheel out the term "quasi". The quasi-scientific, who laud science, but scoff at religion, as being devoid of substance, I have every reason to believe, are both non-scientific, and wrong. The quasi-religious who mouth trite words in hero-worshipping cults, and take antiquated tales of creation as literally true, certainly are not cognisant of what the advances of science have revealed, but neither are they apprised of what underlay the rise from obscurity, of their religious idol. The typical person, is neither "truly" scientific nor religious, and ideally, should be both, in recognizing these are different, but complementary modalities of perception. As I mentioned elsewhere, it is the birthright of everyone, to avail themselves of the full suite of perceptive instruments, and any education that insists that it is only from without, that knowledge can come, is badly misinformed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sherapy
On 9/30/2018 at 3:17 AM, eight bits said:

I think the mass-market religions (including the mass-market portions of religions that also offer intensely personal and private experiences) are outright ego defenses. Hence their popularity.

There is a truth that is very hard to hold onto for any length of time, whether you're Marcus Aurelius, or the Buddha in the Deer Park, or somebody fixed to a cross, suffocating slowly under your own weight: Life is suffering. Like watching a Mel Gibson movie, it's easier to look away, to think about something else, especially the other truth, that life is not all suffering (look at @third_eye's video, and the spring in the guy's step as he takes his little daughter to the park - man, something cosmic is going on, right there).

A good mass market religion gives you plenty to look at besides the only too obvious suffering, and for the suffering you can't dodge, provides some neatly packaged "meaning for our struggles" memes to take the edge off of the suffering.

Among the "New Atheists," Harris seems to appreciate most how helpful a real secular alternative irreligion can be for people (I think Hitch saw it, too). Peterson has his Jungian perspective, where balancing opposites is a major theme (life is both suffering and bliss, occasionally simultaneously even).

All Peterson and Harris have to do is get past who's right, and they'll have it made :) .

Incredible post Paul, well said.

You defined Zen too, life sucks at times it just does, and then there are the times it doesn't, it is actually fun and tolerable, maybe even happy.  

Many many likes for your post. 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.