Sunday, September 12, 2021


[This was originally published in 2020]

The first thing to be said is that Peterson uses Nihilistic language with the insinuated promise of offering a solution, or having found a way out of a tragic dilemma. (Never mind the fact that much of contemporary despair is generated by religious thought in response to its own collapse). Religion wagers ideology against life, and when ideology loses, religion viciously strikes out at life in a desperate attempt to retain its authority in the world.

Proof that Peterson is fond of Nihilistic language:

"The idea that life is suffering is a tenet, in one form or another, of every major religious doctrine, as we have already discussed. Buddhists state it directly. Christians illustrate it with the cross. Jews commemorate the suffering endured over centuries. Such reasoning universally characterizes the great creeds, because human beings are intrinsically fragile. We can be damaged, even broken, emotionally and physically, and we are all subject to the depredations of aging and loss. This is a dismal set of facts, and it is reasonable to wonder how we can expect to thrive and be happy (or even to want to exist, sometimes) under such conditions."
Peterson, 12 Rules for Life, from RULE12, Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

It's not that Peterson is wrong, the facts of life are dismal, but he is ignorant on at least two fronts: 1) The role that religion plays in poisoning life and 2) that the solution is simply a greater conformity to conservative categories and values. In reality this is an admission that one doesn't actually know what to do and so they retreat to the idyllic past, but here the image of the past is itself distorted, projected as a kind of utopia from which mankind has departed. Such a response, to the increase of cultural sophistication, which is a response of fear, makes one out to be a reactionary.

"In political science, a reactionary or reactionist is a person or entity holding political views that favour a return to a previous political state of society that they believe possessed positive characteristics that are absent in contemporary society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore a past status quo."

Further, when Peterson posits that life is dismal, he very likely means something more by it than the fact that 'we have made it dismal.' For Peterson, there is a God behind the world, and mankind is in a fallen state, this means humans are, in one sense or another, predestined to the production of negativity. This is a false metaphysics that religion has assaulted mankind with for thousands of years. It has also been a vital point of justification for tyranny and violence, that is, man must be "controlled" as opposed to nurtured.

What I find most disturbing in Peterson's thought (and this should be enough for any serious thinker to walk away from Peterson forever) is that he actually denigrates thought:

"But is there any coherent alternative, given the self-evident horrors of existence? Can Being itself, with its malarial mosquitoes, child soldiers and degenerative neurological diseases, truly be justified?... I... don’t think it is possible to answer the question by thinking. Thinking leads inexorably to the abyss."
Ibid. RULE12

And yet the answer he goes on to give, which is simply an affirmation of mindfulness, was itself generated by thought.  
"When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself. In such situations—in the depths—it’s noticing, not thinking, that does the trick." Ibid. RULE12

It is perhaps instructive to note that Peterson actually equivocated in attempting to give an answer. He begins by speaking of reality generally and then goes on to talk about one's mental state. These are two separate things, though they are interconnected.

The reader needs to be clear, Peterson is a Nihilist, which simply means he accepts the false presumption that value must be rooted in some kind of Eternal, Absolute Idealism in order for value to exist at all. This means Peterson's entire approach to the world is dictated by the substrate of a false, negative idealism. When he says "thinking leads to the abyss," he has resigned himself to the unspoken premise that life must submit itself to mindlessness and delusion if it wants to partake of quality, hence his clinging to Christianity. His admonitions to conform are motivated by his deep fear of reality. In Peterson one simply gets a Nihilist void of intellectual resistance. This is the very opposite of what it means to be a thinker.

Consider a cultural pundit like Peterson contrasted with a master thinker like Adorno. Adorno is the exact opposite of Peterson; he knows that only by thinking through things, by facing the "abyss," can one ever hope to overcome it. It is not by looking away that one masters life, as Peterson confidently prescribes, but by pressing through the negative:

"There is an American saying that there are no atheists in the trenches; the old German proverb that danger teaches us to pray points in the same direction [. . .] This argument is illogical because the situations in which people are forced to think 'positively' simply in order to survive are themselves situations of compulsion, which force people back on pure self-preservation, and on thinking only what they need to in order to survive in such a situation, to a point where the truth content of what they think is hopelessly undermined and utterly destroyed. It is possible that, had Beckett been in a concentration camp, he would not have written The Unnamable or Endgame; but I do not think it possible that this would have made what he wrote better or truer. The idea you will come across again and again in this context, that one has to give people something, has to give them courage—all these things are conditions which restrict the thinking of truth, but which may well bring down on someone who thinks the truth the odium of inhumanity [ . . .] But I also think that this mode of thinking, this demand placed on thought, does an injustice to the people in whose honour it is ostensibly made. Although this demand is seemingly made out of a charitable concern for the victims, in fact it reduces them to the objects of a thinking which manipulates and calculates them, and assumes in advance that it is giving them what they need and want. By the evaluation manifested in such ostentatiously noble injunctions, the people they pretend to serve are in reality debased. They are treated by metaphysics in fundamentally the same way as by the culture industry. And I would say that the criterion to be applied to any metaphysical question today is whether it possesses or does not possess this character of connivance with the culture industry. [ . . . .] If there is any way out of this hellish circle—and I would not wish to exaggerate that possibility, being well aware of the weakness and susceptibility of such consciousness—it is probably the ability of mind to assimilate, to think the last extreme of horror and, in face of this spiritual experience, to gain mastery over it. That is little enough. For, obviously, such an imagination, such an ability to think extreme negativity, is not comparable to what one undergoes if one is oneself caught up in such situations. Nevertheless, I would think that in the ability not to feel manipulated, but to feel that one has gone relentlessly to the furthest extreme, there lies the only respect which is fitting: a respect for the possibility of the mind, despite everything, to raise itself however slightly above that which is. And I think that it really gives more courage (if I can use that formulation) if one is not given courage, and does not feel bamboozled, but has the feeling that even the worst is something which can be thought and, because it falls within reflection, does not confront me as something absolutely alien and different. I imagine that such a thought is probably more comforting than any solace, whereas solace itself is desolate, since it is always attended by its own untruth."
Adorno, Theodor W. Metaphysics: Concept and Problems [lecture series, 1965], edited by Rolf Tiedemann, translated by Edmund Jephcott (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 124-5



"Well, we don’t know what’s happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, but we know that God’s got wind of it, and that that’s not good. We know that sin means to miss the mark, and so we know that whatever’s happened in Sodom and Gomorrah means that something about the natural, ethical order of things has been seriously violated. There’s a strong intimation in the Old Testament— which I think, by the way, is completely correct—that, if the proper order of being is violated, and that’s something like the balance of chaos of order, then all hell will break loose. One of the things I can tell you from reading a very comprehensive set of myths from around the world is that that’s a conclusion that human beings have come to everywhere: stay on the goddamn path, and be careful, because if you start to mess around, and you deviate—especially if you know that you’re deviating—things are not going to go well for you. That idea is everywhere. I think the idea is right because there aren’t that many ways of doing things right, and there’s a lot of ways of doing things wrong. If you do things wrong, the consequences of doing them wrong can be truly catastrophic." Jordan Peterson's Bible Lectures, May 17, 2018, XI Sodom and Gomorrah.

There is no such thing as a "natural ethical order," this is pure fiction; it is Peterson's attempt to ascribe attributes to the universe that the universe does not contain in an attempt to comfort himself against the hard reality of the universe's indifference. He is much sheltered, as are we all, by the soft conditions of earth.

Peterson speaks of "the proper order": enter here the roots of fascism! Notice the silent fear hidden behind this exposition: what will one do; what must be done in order to maintain "the proper order?" We need to hear more about this "proper order!" If one transcends cultural values (The Proper Order) then one must face the horror of chaos, disorder will ensue? Is this accurate?

At one time it was "The Proper Order" that women should not participate in democracy, those who were not born white were considered slaves, but low and behold, we broke "The Proper Order." Down with the conformists and their ignorant attempt to condemn the world to primitive values! And what happened when we liberated the oppressed from false values, did the world collapse into chaos? Did the sun unhinge itself from the reaches of space, did we tumble through oblivion? All these fears are unfounded, they are an overreaction, a desperate attempt to hold onto what is familiar, and therefore, comfortable. As evidenced from what has been cited, Peterson is motivated and driven by his psychological fear, how then can he be a liberator of those who are afraid?

'Stay on the path, do not deviate, things will not go well for if you do... fear! fear! fear! the consequences of everything I say: run back to conformity and you will be safe.'

"If you do things wrong" ? Moral language, behold the language of the Gods! But why not just use the word intelligence? 'Do not act foolishly, my son, be wise, navigate the world with intelligence.' This seems more fitting, one has no need of the moral language of the Gods. 

Peterson is his own myth. His mythology is comprised of absolute ignorance regarding class structures and systems, it is an ignorance that extends to the quality of the individual, what it seeks to create is not a liberated specimen or species, but a serf, both content and oblivious to his chains.

The message of the thinker (in contrast to the conformist) is to learn how to resist tyranny, is to study and comprehend, to learn how to overcome unintelligent systems. Not only does our own quality hinge on this activity, but also the quality of our children. How human society is organized and valued plays the largest role in the quality of human life.

What lies buried beneath Peterson's exposition is the false claim that the reality into which we are born is a standard for life's quality. To depart from this, thinks Peterson, is to destroy the world. Dialectical awareness comprehends that this naivety is a kind of false consciousness, one that the specimen is fond of imposing on himself and others. Where are the thinkers!? Are we so dull that we are but the mere replicants of culture, only to mindlessly advocate the same? To properly contextualize Nietzsche, this is not the way of "The Higher Man," he is not a mere replicant, but his thought is fiercely and courageously bent in the direction of intelligence. If one cannot see through the mindless Nihilism of a reactionary such as Peterson, how can one hope to move in the direction of a higher species-awareness, how can one possibly be the Creator of Higher Values?

Peterson is not so intellectually large, my young friends, the problem is that he is too small! Thought-power has always resided with the non-conformists, and though their ideas are rejected in every epoch, it is the form of history that they often become the guarantors of a better future. Seek out the non-conformists, seek out the thinkers, do not run to men like Peterson to quell your fear. Learn to face it and overcome it by the power of thought, as so many quality thinkers have done before you. 

[1] “My advice: don't waste any time on Jordan Peterson, whether as criticism or not. Better off digging a ditch and filling it back up.”

This is indeed the proper and initial response, but there is a serious problem here. The attitude you embody, though it truly does come from a place of higher critical intelligence, fails to see that Peterson is doing damage in culture. Whether one likes it or not, he has become relevant, people are influenced by him, they look up to him and see him as the very thing he is not, an intellectual example. When intellectuals withdraw from the advancing public discourse, the narrative is lost to people like Peterson, it regresses. What is required is an intellectual fight! Those who actually read literature across the domain of the social sciences know that Peterson is a charlatan; the problem is that we expect other people to know it as well, but they cannot connect the dots. In the shadow of religion's collapse many have become Nihilistic, they feel the weight of reality without the crutch of God. Peterson comes along and says, “Don’t worry, I feel the same Nihilism that you do, but I have real answers, I know the way forward." Tragically, his answers are entirely reactionary, conformity to authority, "go back to the old slave masters and you will feel safe again." People are so intellectually bankrupt and frightened that they will take anything they can get, hence the strong man doctrine, hence a return to authority, the mindless affirmation of delusion on the basis of pragmatism: religion, because it helps us cope with our Nihilistic feelings of terror.


[2] Does Peterson believe man can arrive at meaning absent the premise of supernaturalism? The answer is no. So entrenched is he in this idealism that he has even fallaciously tried to attribute it to Nietzsche, claiming that Nietzsche knew morality/values could not be bolstered without some kind of supernatural foundation(???). This is Nihilism! This is also a distortion and woefully incompetent mischaracterization of Nietzsche's position [see Peterson's exchange with Susan Blackmore]. (This proves that he is exactly the kind of Nihilist Nietzsche warned about.)


[3] "[Nietzsche] knew that, when we knocked the slats out of the base of Western civilization by destroying this representation, this God ideal, we would destabilize and move back and forth violently between nihilism and the extremes of ideology." Jordan Peterson's Bible Lectures, May 17, 2018, I Introduction to the Idea of God.

This is not what Nietzsche knew, this is Peterson's mischaracterization of Nietzsche. What Nietzsche knew is that Christian ideals had been so entrenched into western culture that people would (as Christianity engineered) fall into Nihilism. The Nihilism was not the result of an inability to handle reality or construct more intelligent values (we have been doing this for hundreds of years), this Nihilism was the direct result, pre-programmed, cult reaction to having the error of Christianity ripped out of the brain. Peterson tries to make it sound like Nietzsche believed man needed the ideal of God! This is false. The culprit is not reality, but the negative indoctrination that Christianity has done to culture.


[4] “I think you may be a little unclear about the word 'nihilism' and what it represents.”

Nihilism is the denial of existential positivity; it is the militant affirmation of the negative. Those who preach the happiness of another life are always in the business of condemning this one. The question still stands, and indeed has already been answered, Peterson, like so many religionists, teaches that value cannot exist in the absence of supernaturalism. And to make matters worse, maybe he wants to follow Lewis and admit that this supernaturalism is really just a game of delusional comfort? The outcome is simply more Nihilism. (Here reality is projected as being so negative that one must turn to delusion, one must swallow this delusion as though it were reality, merely to cope with what is projected).

If you affirm existential value then you are not a Nihilist. However, if you only affirm value, via the premise of supernaturalism, then you are a Nihilist because you deny existential value. No formality can save you from this.


[5] “He's basically managed to sell milquetoast conservatism to millenial white gamer dudes through an aesthetic of personal transformation.”

This is exactly it, and tragically these young people don't have the resources to place him in context as an intellectual. There is nothing there. Even in the domain of psychology this guy is a joke. The amount of revolutionary research and progress in psychology, in the last 20 years alone, is breathtaking. Peterson exemplifies and embodies none of it. He is still trying to preach the moth-eaten narrative that will power is the agent of human psychological salvation. We know this is nonsense, many other factors are at work. Like I accurately said, he's a conformist and a reactionary. But what is most tragic is that he's not turning out thinkers, he's creating more like himself, those who mindlessly validate the status quo. It should be noted, this is the direct opposite of what it means to be a thinker.


[6] “If so, please give the direct quote for this.”

It would seem to me that this is not necessary; Peterson's position evidently presupposes this. This is not my mere invention. Allow me to connect the dots, if man can indeed achieve positivity apart from the supernatural, then there is simply no reason to run to God, or in Peterson's case, argue he is necessary! Such an act would be a violation of the premise of positivity. When Peterson makes the claim that God is necessary for value, he presupposes all kinds of unspoken things. One of these things is that man cannot produce the positive without God. (As I already demonstrated, he is such a fanatic in this sense that he tried to attribute his own error to Nietzsche). And let's be frank, Peterson is a Christian, Christianity contains the idea of original sin, it asserts that mankind is fallen and must be born again. When you imply that Peterson must directly assert this line for line in order to prove that he believes it, this is false. All one needs to do is calculate backward from his conclusions. One merely has to presuppose something in their position in order to be charged with it. In fact, this is how most high level philosophical thinking proceeds.


[7] “I think most of what he says is fairly common sense and likely to produce the good results he claims it will.”

This is indeed the dilemma: how does one convince culturated slaves of the evil of slavery? Along comes a man and tells them to adhere to their masters, deep down they have always felt this to be true, when they heed the advice they notice the world makes more sense, their existential angst vanishes, they feel a stronger sense of purpose and they can detect order in the world. All of these things are the products of conformity, they are the result of validating the false truth of what is administered, but this cannot be the way of thinkers. Little does the one who obeys comprehend that his existence is predetermined by a process of production, of the which, he is merely a cog in the wheel. If he never stops to question the system he finds no discontent with it. Let us then praise the preachers of conformity! Let us adhere to their pious ways! After all, there is nothing wrong with the system, the problem cannot be systemic; the fault lies with the individual's inability to reframe his discontent. "Stand up straight, put on a suite, go out and face the world with confidence, for all is equal and fair, opportunity waits, banish every negative thought."

But what we really have here are lies, we have a kind of regression posited as a form of progression. What we really have here is a system of oppression and power, which through conformity, escapes detection. If it is wrong to question power then it is wrong to live, there is no way around it. The great conspiracy is not conformity, but invincible stupidity, repeatedly presented as intelligence.

If one is born a slave, is raised as a slave, it is no surprise that one should come to believe in the invincible virtue of slavery. But the slave has nothing to fear, because he knows, that if there was anything wrong with slavery, he would certainly be able to detect it! And the fact that he only perceives slavery to be a virtue is proof that it is a common good. Let us then praise the preachers of conformity! Let us adhere to their pious ways!


[8] “I will say, your response can be directly applied to how people respond to philosophical pessimism. In other words, when the pessimist casts aspersions on being born and life itself, pointing out the structural deficiencies and negative aspects of that structure, people will turn it around on the questioner. It must be a deficiency in the person seeing the deficiency, but never the system itself. You can call it existential gaslighting.”

So very true. The reason is because humans cannot handle psychological pain, and reality is painful, it is frightening, hence, humans cannot handle reality. Most thinkers simply bury their heads in the sand... no, this is not true, that would be easier to deal with, most thinkers construct a delusional narrative to counter a negative reality. In Peterson's case it's simply conformity, validating the false truth of the administered world as though it comprised totality. This mindless approach to the world was ripped apart by the Frankfurt School, precisely because 1) it's false and 2) it sets the social stage for genocide and totalitarianism. Of course, those who are merely conforming do not perceive any of this, their approach to the world is not critical but intuitive, and this means their intuition blinds them to the negative development of reality. There is something very wrong with any thinker who is telling us to forsake thought in exchange for comfort. This is not resistance but resignation; it is functional Nihilism, even if it doesn't adopt the name. Thinkers are better than this, thought is a greater power!


[9] “Sounds like an ideology, and a rather extreme one at that, like Libertarianism. Societies depend on collective cooperation, so that needs to be respected as well, right?”

Everything that makes up an individual is determined by the system into which he is born. The last fifty years or more have seen the social sciences verify this premise over and over and over again, and it is not in danger of being refuting because no human could survive without society, it is a physical and psychological impossibility. So what we get in Peterson is exactly that, "ideology," the myth of the self-made-individual. There is no such thing! Peterson is pushing a delusion, the very idealism that leads to totalitarianism, rugged individualism. All one has to do is follow his premises to their logical political conclusions. One ends up distorting the ontology of the individual as well as the ontology of society; one ends by resorting to violence as a way to deal with contradiction. This is what happens when thought is removed from the equation, and this is exactly what Peterson has done. However, what he doesn't realize is that this is not actually a way to rid the world of tension, it is merely the act of burying one's head in the sand, or worse, erecting a dogmatic delusion, immortality system (see Becker, Denial of Death) in order to cope with the tension. When this system is threatened, because thought has been removed from the equation, the only recourse is that of violence, the delusion must be defended against those who seek to refute it! What's at stake, in Peterson's delusional, reactionary world, civilization itself! Such an apocalyptic narrative is a precursor to the justification of violence.


[10] “Not only is this a mischaracterization, this is pretty much the literal exact opposite of Nietzsche's actual position.”

What's most interesting is that Peterson has a history of distorting intellectual's positions. He did the exact same thing with Jung... now, I don't know all the details about this one, but my friend, who is exceedingly well versed in the field of psychology, watched one of Peterson's lectures on Jung, where he tried to defend Jung from Nazism, my friend went into detail about how Peterson totally distorted the facts in order to make Jung look better. My only question is how many times is an intellectual allowed to do this, without correcting themselves, before they lose credibility?


[11] Peterson is not bringing young people into the modern world with all its advances in the social sciences, he is regressing them to primitive values! Contrary to Peterson’s distortion, this is directly against Nietzsche's position. I just want young people to know, I want the people who are being duped by this man to see that we have better answers to Nihilism, that moral conservatism is not a path to enlightenment, it is just the opposite. Conformity is not a way to go forward but a way to go backward. I long to see young people, and people in general, liberated to the power of thought, not my thought, not Peterson's thought, but what their own minds can do with thought.


[12] “But that is trivial. People like easy answers and comfortable answers better than true answers and no answers. They like to be empowered even if it is a fantasy of power.”

Hear hear, friend! Exactly the case, and because of this we all, as thinkers, if we are serious, must examine ourselves for bias as much as we possibly can. None of us are immune to it.

It would indeed be comical to see the Peterites attempt the argument that this is why intellectuals are rejecting Peterson, because "what he's saying is just too uncomfortable." And yet comfort is the entire direction of his belief structure. It's one of the high benefits of conformity.


[13] I have never said, and would never say, that everything Peterson says is wrong or that the man is just pure evil. I would only note that the truths he does confess are shallow platitudes. Our world is full of so many tremendous thinkers and researchers at this time, Peterson is not one of them.


[14] “What issues is he palliating in his target demographic?”

Conformity, submission as opposed to thought's resistance.

Here we have a serious thinker without species consciousness?
Here we have a serious thinker without class consciousness?
Here we have a serious thinker without a dialectical awareness of political systems?
Here we have a serious thinker that manifest zero knowledge of the advances that have been made in Psychology and so many surrounding fields, Sociology, Neurobiology, Neuroscience, Linguistics, Education, Social work practice, Law, Economics etc.?


[15] “It's congruent with the inability of the privileged to see their own privilege, needing instead to have it pointed out. In contrast Peterson reinforces and justifies privilege for his readers.”

This is an important point, because if we were to engage with such a person, they would, as they always seem to do, simply argue that their experience is a normative standard, all the while ignoring the social benefits that account for their quality. This is indeed a serious problem.


[16] "The body of law is something that you act out; that’s why it’s a body of law. That’s why, if you’re a good citizen, you act out the body of law." Jordan Peterson's Bible Lectures, May 17, 2018, I Introduction to the Idea of God.

Fundamentalist conformity.


[17] "One of the debates, we might say, between early Christianity and the late Roman Empire was whether or not an emperor could be God, literally to be deified and put into a temple. You can see why that might happen because that’s someone at the pinnacle of a very steep hierarchy who has a tremendous amount of power and influence. The Christian response to that was, never confuse the specific sovereign with the principle of sovereignty itself." Jordan Peterson's Bible Lectures, May 17, 2018, I Introduction to the Idea of God.

Once again, another distortion and false presentation from Peterson. The Christian response was not philosophical! It was, "the emperor cannot be God because our God is the only true God!" This was in fact, and still is, the Christian response. Here Peterson is trying to make Christianity sound general and philosophical, socially intelligent.

"It’s brilliant. You can see how difficult it is to come up with an idea like that, so that even the person who has the power is actually subordinate to a divine principle..." Ibid.

Another false presentation. Christianity did not come up with this idea; its idea was that the Christian God was the supreme ruler of the universe, a celestial dictatorship, therefore it naturally follows, not due to any brilliance, that the emperor could not be God. Christianity simply demanded that every other idea was explained in terms of itself. This is not brilliance. Further, there is a negative side to what Peterson is saying here, because Christianity did not respond as Peterson falsely characterizes, but actually responded in terms of brute fundamentalism and authority, when Christianity did come into political power, it shattered both the neutral idea of law as well as the practice of social freedom. Theocracy is synonymous with totalitarianism.


[18] “I'm asking you how do we, as a society, fix the inequality/unfairness/oppression of these issues? You say you want to target all forms of oppression. Tell me how we fix this.”

That depends on the nature of the oppression, and before we can know how to fix it we must do what Peterson is telling us not to do, we must look into it, we must follow its fragmentation and trace it back to its source and then use intelligence to obliterate it. I'm pretty sure that's what an advanced species would do.

If you are more specific about the problem, but then again how you could you be, Peterson told you not to be specific, then I can do my best, using my intelligence, to tell you what I think we need to do to fix it.


[19] “Peterson doesn't use this language himself. It's already psychologizing Peterson to say he "fears reality".

I am not merely psychologizing the man, and even if that's all it was, just so long as it was accurate, the fact that I was doing it, would neither be a refutation or prohibition, it would merely be a statement of fact premised in the negative. One does not need to come out and say they are a Nihilist in order to be charged with Nihilism, one merely needs to condemn the positivity of existence, either through radical skepticism or some kind of imaginary Other that gives them the leverage to overcome positivity. One does not need to use a specific language to be guilty of specific content; one merely needs to affirm it at the level of presuppositions. 


[20] “At best, we can only construct an apologetic for Peterson's conservative apologetics; which maybe interesting to explore why such an apologetic of an apologetic is unsatisfactory.”

Peterson doesn't have some comprehensive program; he’s a conformist and back-seat Christian. His entire polemic is founded on the idea that myth resides at the base of all human psychology. He is so impressed with this premise, because he feels like it provides the philosophical grounds of justification for all his conservative views that he has gone out into the world to preach it. It's the kind of thing people hear and think, "Wow, that's amazing, I've never heard anything like this before, yeah I feel like that makes a lot of sense." The listener affirms the premise and never gives it a second thought. Now they credit Peterson with enlightenment.

Tragically, Peterson isn't even a believer in his own ideology, it didn't work for him, his life fell into shambles and his will power failed. I saw him complaining, traveling around the world to find doctors that would tell him what he wanted to hear so he didn't have to face the truth. Most addicts don't have the luxury of doing this, they have to detox in abject poverty crushed by guilt and shame. His myth beliefs have not delivered him from the hard bite of being (a hardness which results from the unnecessary tyranny of a backward system). He knows this, he is still searching, and that is why he can neither be an example or a guide. I see nothing more than a frightened man clinging to a shallow notion of God. Contained within his confession of myth, behind it is the ultimate negation of reality, the very Nihilism of which Nietzsche spoke, is the false presupposition that humans need delusion in order to survive and thrive. For Peterson unconscious myth is the foundation of order, when in reality, this virtue belongs to intelligence.


[21] "I find Peterson’s fixation on political correctness and other targets as the extreme outgrowth of ‘cultural Marxism’ (a bloc which, in its ‘postmodern neo-Marxist’ form, comprises the Frankfurt School, the ‘French’ poststructuralist deconstructionism, identity politics, gender and queer theories, etc.) to have numerous problems. He seems to imply this ‘postmodern neo-Marxism’ is the result of a deliberate shift in Marxist (or communist) strategy: after communism lost the economic battle with liberal capitalism (waiting in vain for the revolution to arrive in the developed Western world), its leaders, we are told, decided to move to the domain of cultural struggles (sexuality, feminism, racism, religion, etc), systematically undermining the cultural foundations and values of our freedoms. In the last decades, this new approach proved unexpectedly efficient: today, our societies are caught in a self-destructive circle of guilt, unable to defend their positive legacy. I see no necessary link between this line of thought and liberalism. The notion of ‘postmodern neo-Marxism’ (or its more insidious form, ‘cultural Marxism’), manipulated by some secret communist centre and aiming to destroy Western freedoms, is a pure alt-right conspiracy theory (and the fact that it can be mobilized as part of a ‘liberal’ defence of our freedoms says something about the immanent weaknesses of the liberal project)." Slavoj Zizek, Jordan Peterson as a Symptom... of What?, contained in "Myth and Mayhem: A Leftist Critique of Jordan Peterson, Zero Books 2020

The criticism here is twofold: 1) Peterson is propagating a conspiracy theory and 2) the liberal project is in an impoverished state if such conspiracy theories can pass themselves off as knowledge or critique.