Jordan Peterson’s “12 rules for life: an antidote to chaos” – excrept no. 7

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6098-6106 | Added on Thursday, 15 February 2018 02:36:11

My wife and I learned that if you ask yourself such a question, and you genuinely desire the answer (no matter how disgraceful and terrible and shameful), then a memory of something you did that was stupid and wrong at some point in the generally not-distant-enough past will arise from the depths of your mind. Then you can go back to your partner and reveal why you’re an idiot, and apologize (sincerely) and that person can do the same for you, and then apologize (sincerely), and then you two idiots will be able to talk again. Perhaps that is true prayer: the question, “What have I done wrong, and what can I do now to set things at least a little bit more right?” But your heart must be open to the terrible truth. You must be receptive to that which you do not want to hear. When you decide to learn about your faults, so that they can be rectified, you open a line of communication with the source of all revelatory thought. Maybe that’s the same thing as consulting your conscience. Maybe that’s the same thing, in some manner, as a discussion with God.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6114-6115 | Added on Thursday, 15 February 2018 02:37:27

So, I asked the appropriate question—and, almost immediately, an answer revealed itself: Write down the words you want inscribed on your soul. I wrote that down.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6117-6120 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:16:02

Here was the first: What shall I do tomorrow? The answer came: The most good possible in the shortest period of time. That was satisfying, as well—conjoining an ambitious aim with the demands of maximal efficiency. A worthy challenge. The second question was in the same vein: What shall I do next year? Try to ensure that the good I do then will be exceeded only by the good I do the year after that.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6122-6123 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:16:09

The next question ended the first set: What shall I do with my life? Aim for Paradise, and concentrate on today.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6128-6136 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:17:43

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:28-6:33). What does all that mean? Orient yourself properly. Then—and only then—concentrate on the day. Set your sights at the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, and then focus pointedly and carefully on the concerns of each moment. Aim continually at Heaven while you work diligently on Earth. Attend fully to the future, in that manner, while attending fully to the present. Then you have the best chance of perfecting both.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6152-6156 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:18:39

To act to justify the suffering of your parents is to remember all the sacrifices that all the others who lived before you (not least your parents) have made for you in all the course of the terrible past, to be grateful for all the progress that has been thereby made, and then to act in accordance with that remembrance and gratitude. People sacrificed immensely to bring about what we have now. In many cases, they literally died for it—and we should act with some respect for that fact.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6169-6173 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:21:10

What shall I do with a torn nation? Stitch it back together with careful words of truth. The importance of this injunction has, if anything, become clearer over the past few years: we are dividing, and polarizing, and drifting toward chaos. It is necessary, under such conditions, if we are to avoid catastrophe, for each of us to bring forward the truth, as we see it: not the arguments that justify our ideologies, not the machinations that further our ambitions, but the stark pure facts of our existence, revealed for others to see and contemplate, so that we can find common ground and proceed together.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6237-6238 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:28:55

…the story of Socrates’ trial and death—which might be summarized, as follows: A life lived thoroughly justifies its own limitations.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6263-6267 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:31:54

It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself, as we discussed in Rule 6. Anything else is presumptuous. Anything else risks harm, stemming from your ignorance and lack of skill. But that’s OK. There’s plenty to do, right where you are. After all, your specific personal faults detrimentally affect the world. Your conscious, voluntary sins (because no other word really works) makes things worse than they have to be. Your inaction, inertia and cynicism removes from the world

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 6267-6276 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 03:33:39

…that part of you that could learn to quell suffering and make peace. That’s not good. There are endless reasons to despair of the world, and to become angry and resentful and to seek revenge. Failure to make the proper sacrifices, failure to reveal yourself, failure to live and tell the truth—all that weakens you. In that weakened state, you will be unable to thrive in the world, and you will be of no benefit to yourself or to others. You will fail and suffer, stupidly. That will corrupt your soul. How could it be otherwise? Life is hard enough when it is going well. But when it’s going badly? And I have learned through painful experience that nothing is going so badly that it can’t be made worse. This is why Hell is a bottomless pit. This is why Hell is associated with that aforementioned sin. In the most awful of cases, the terrible suffering of unfortunate souls becomes attributable, by their own judgment, to mistakes they made knowingly in the past: acts of betrayal, deception, cruelty, carelessness, cowardice and, most commonly of all, willful blindness. To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell. And once in Hell it is very easy to curse Being itself. And no wonder. But it’s not justifiable. And that’s why the King of the Damned is a poor judge of Being.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 593-602 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:02:25

That same brutal principle of unequal distribution applies outside the financial domain—indeed, anywhere that creative production is required. The majority of scientific papers are published by a very small group of scientists. A tiny proportion of musicians produces almost all the recorded commercial music. Just a handful of authors sell all the books. A million and a half separately titled books (!) sell each year in the US. However, only five hundred of these sell more than a hundred thousand copies.12 Similarly, just four classical composers (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky) wrote almost all the music played by modern orchestras. Bach, for his part, composed so prolifically that it would take decades of work merely to hand-copy his scores, yet only a small fraction of this prodigious output is commonly performed. The same thing applies to the output of the other three members of this group of hyper-dominant composers: only a small fraction of their work is still widely played. Thus, a small fraction of the music composed by a small fraction of all the classical composers who have ever composed makes up almost all the classical music that the world knows and loves. This principle is sometimes known as Price’s law, after Derek J. de Solla Price,

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 603-610 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:03:41

application in science in 1963. It can be modelled using an approximately L-shaped graph, with number of people on the vertical axis, and productivity or resources on the horizontal. The basic principle had been discovered much earlier. Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), an Italian polymath, noticed its applicability to wealth distribution in the early twentieth century, and it appears true for every society ever studied, regardless of governmental form. It also applies to the population of cities (a very small number have almost all the people), the mass of heavenly bodies (a very small number hoard all the matter), and the frequency of words in a language (90 percent of communication occurs using just 500 words), among many other things. Sometimes it is known as the Matthew Principle (Matthew 25:29), derived from what might be the harshest statement ever attributed to Christ: “to those who have everything, more will be given; from those who have nothing, everything will be taken.”

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 713-716 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:05:59

Low serotonin means less happiness, more pain and anxiety, more illness, and a shorter lifespan—among humans, just as among crustaceans. Higher spots in the dominance hierarchy, and the higher serotonin levels typical of those who inhabit them, are characterized by less illness, misery and death, even when factors such as absolute income—or number of decaying food scraps—are held constant. The importance of this can hardly be overstated.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 763-772 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:08:23

If the answer is no, fixing that is the first thing I recommend. It doesn’t matter so much if they go to bed at the same time each evening, but waking up at a consistent hour is a necessity. Anxiety and depression cannot be easily treated if the sufferer has unpredictable daily routines. The systems that mediate negative emotion are tightly tied to the properly cyclical circadian rhythms. The next thing I ask about is breakfast. I counsel my clients to eat a fat and protein-heavy breakfast as soon as possible after they awaken (no simple carbohydrates, no sugars, as they are digested too rapidly, and produce a blood-sugar spike and rapid dip). This is because anxious and depressed people are already stressed, particularly if their lives have not been under control for a good while. Their bodies are therefore primed to hypersecrete insulin, if they engage in any complex or demanding activity. If they do so after fasting all night and before eating, the excess insulin in their bloodstream will mop up all their blood sugar. Then they become hypoglycemic and psycho-physiologically unstable.22 All day. Their systems cannot be reset until after more sleep. I have had many clients whose anxiety was reduced to subclinical levels merely because they started to sleep on a predictable

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 772-773 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:08:37

schedule and eat breakfast. Other bad habits can also interfere

 

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 845-848 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:09:53

But just as often, people are bullied because they won’t fight back. This happens not infrequently to people who are by temperament compassionate and self-sacrificing—particularly if they are also high in negative emotion, and make a lot of gratifying noises of suffering when someone sadistic confronts them (children who cry more easily, for example, are more frequently bullied).

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 907-910 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:11:53

You might object: the bottom is real. Being at the bottom is equally real. A mere transformation of posture is insufficient to change anything that fixed. If you’re in number ten position, then standing up straight and appearing dominant might only attract the attention of those who want, once again, to put you down. And fair enough. But standing up straight with your shoulders back is not something that is only physical, because you’re not only a body.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 919-928 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:13:00

To stand up straight with your shoulders back means building the ark that protects the world from the flood, guiding your people through the desert after they have escaped tyranny, making your way away from comfortable home and country, and speaking the prophetic word to those who ignore the widows and children. It means shouldering the cross that marks the X, the place where you and Being intersect so terribly. It means casting dead, rigid and too tyrannical order back into the chaos in which it was generated; it means withstanding the ensuing uncertainty, and establishing, in consequence, a better, more meaningful and more productive order. So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence. People, including yourself, will start to assume that you are competent and able (or at least they will not immediately conclude the reverse). Emboldened by the positive responses you are now receiving, you will begin to be less anxious.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson)

– Your Highlight at location 936-937 | Added on Friday, 16 February 2018 18:13:09

Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster, with its 350 million years of practical wisdom. Stand up straight, with your shoulders back.

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All  rights belong to Jordan B. Peterson & his publisher, Random House Canada. Ⓒ

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