Jordan Peterson’s Spiritual Awakening


Jordan Peterson’s Spiritual Awakening

And I also started to understand that there was more to life than the intellect, much more because I smoked too much, and I drank too much, and I weighed like 130 pounds.

I wasn’t in good physical shape and, like I had a lot of things to do when I went to graduate school to put myself together and at the same time, I was trying to understand why things had gone so crazily wrong with the world its encapsulation in The Cold War and what role I might be playing in that, if any or what role any of us were playing in that um.

At the same time, I was working at a prison only a little bit. I worked with this crazy psychologist, um. He used to put jokes on his multiple choice tests.

He was a really eccentric guy, but I really liked his courses he and he taught a course on creativity, and he was also a prison psychologist, and he was an eccentric guy and he for some reason liked me – and maybe because I was eccentric too, and He invited me to go out to the edmonton maximum security prison with him a couple of times which I did, and that was a very interesting experience because I was trying to figure out what role each individual’s behavior bore to the pathology of the group. It was something like that, and I went out there, and I met a little guy smaller than me.

I was a little bigger by then, and he was a pretty innocuous guy and uh. What had happened was I was out in this gymnasium? It looks like a high school, a prison which is really quite telling in my estimation, but there were all these like monsters in their weightlifting and like they were monsters.

I remember one guy was tattooed everywhere, and he had liked a huge scar running down the middle of his chest. It looked like somebody had to hit him with an axe, and you know, and – and I was in there – and I had this weird cape – that I used to wear that I bought in Portugal and some boots that went along with it and yeah. It was like a 1890s Sherlock Holmes, cape, and it was really like it was from the 1890s because this little village was up on a hill.

It was a walled city on a hill, and they sold these things and I don’t think they’d changed the style since 1890, and so I thought they were really cool. And so, I was wearing that, which wasn’t perhaps the most conservative garb to dawn.

If you’re going to wear, if you’re going to go to a maximum security prison so anyways, I was in the gymnasium and the psychiat, the psychologist left and god only knows I mean that’s what he was like and all these guys came. All these guys came around me, you know, and they were offering to trade, their prison clothes for my cape, and it was like I was being made an offer.

I couldn’t refuse, you know, and so I didn’t. I didn’t really know what to do, and then this little guy said something like that. The psychologist sent me to come and take you away or something like that, and so I thought well, better this little guy than all these monsters.

So, we went outside the gym through some doors, like school doors, went outside the gym into the exercise yard. I guess, and we were wandering along, and he was talking to me, and he seemed like a kind of innocuous guy and then the psychologist showed up at the door and motioned us back, okay and so which was kind of a relief.

And so, I went into his office and he said you know that guy that you walked out in the yard with, and I said, yeah, he said he uh. He took two cops one night, and he had them kneel down and while they were begging for their lives. He shot them both in the back of the head, and i thought, that’s seen the thing that was so interesting was that he was so innocuous right because.

What you’d hope is that someone like that would be very much unlike you, let’s say, and certainly wouldn’t be like someone innocuous that you’d met. What you’d want is that the guy would be like you know, half werewolf and half vampire, so you could just tell right away that he was a cold-blooded killer, but no, he was this sort of ineffectual, little guy, who was certainly not ineffectual. If you gave him a revolver in the upper hand, and so that made me think, that made me think a lot about the relationship between being innocuous and being dangerous. And then another thing happened.

I met another guy out there and then a week or two later, I heard that he and a friend of his had held another guy down and pulverized his left leg, with a lead pipe like just pulverized it, and the reason for that was that they thought That he was a snitch, and maybe he was and that that time I did something different instead of being shocked and horrified by that, although I certainly was, I thought how in the world could you do that because I didn’t think I could do that eh?

I didn’t think that I thought that there was a qualitative distinction between me and those people, and so I spent about two weeks trying to see if I could figure out under what conditions. I could do that like what kind of psychological transformation I would have to undergo to be able to do that, and so that was a meditative exercise.

Let’s say – and it only took about 10 days for me to realize that not only could I do that – that it would be a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be, and that’s sort of where that wall between me and what jung described As the shadow started to fall apart and that also was very useful because I started to wreck, I started to treat myself as somewhat different entity because I hadn’t been aware up to that point.

You know because I thought I was a good guy and there’s no reason for me to think that because you’re not a good guy, unless you’ve really made a bloody effort to be a good guy you’re. Just not, it’s not easy and so you’re probably a moderately bad guy and that’s a long ways from being an absolutely horrible guy.

But it’s also a long ways from being a good guy. And so, but I had a little more respect for myself after that because I also understood that there was a monstrous element to the human psyche that you needed to respect, and that was part of you that you should regard yourself in some sense.

As a loaded weapon, it’s very useful around children to regard yourself as a loaded weapon because around children, you are a loaded weapon and the terrible experiences that many children have with their parents are testament to that. Anyways about the same time, and – and I don’t exactly know how these things were causally related – I guess it was because I was trying to figure out who I was and how that could be fixed. Something like that.

I started to pay very careful attention to what I was saying. I don’t know if that happened voluntarily or involuntarily, but I could feel a sort of split developing in my psyche and the split, and I’ve actually had students tell me the same thing has happened to them after they’ve listened to some of the material that I’ve been describing to all of you, but I split into two let’s say, and one part was the let’s say the old me: that was talking a lot and that liked to argue and that liked ideas – and there was another part that was watching.

That part, like just with its eyes, open and neutrally judging and the part that was neutrally judging was watching the part that was talking and going. That isn’t your idea. You don’t really believe that you don’t really know what you’re talking about that.

Isn’t true – and I thought hmm – that’s really interesting, so now I’ve and that was happening to like 95 percent of what I was saying and so then I didn’t really know what to do. I thought okay, this is strange, so maybe I’ve fragmented and that’s just not a good thing at all. I mean, it wasn’t like. I was hearing voices or anything like that. I mean, it wasn’t like that it was.

It was, well, people have multiple parts. So then I had this weird conundrum, is like well which of these two things are me. Is it the part? That’s listening and saying? No, that’s rubbish.

That’s a lie. That you are, doing that to impress people you’re just trying to win. The argument you know was that me, or was the part that was going about my normal verbal business me and I didn’t know, but I decided I would go with the critic and then what I’d tried to do? What I learned to do, I think, was to stop saying things that made me weak and now that I mean I’m still trying to do that because I’m always feeling.

When I talk whether or not the words that I’m saying are either making me align or making Me come apart, and I think the alignment, I really do think the alignment is. I think alignment is the right way of conceptualizing it because I think if you say things that are as true as you can say them, let’s say, then they come up.

They come out of the depths inside of you because we don’t know where thoughts come from. We don’t know how far down into your substructure the thoughts emerge. We don’t know what processes of physiological alignment are necessary for you to speak from the core of your being.

We don’t understand any of that. We don’t even conceptualize that, but I believe that you can feel that – and I learned some of that from reading Carl rogers by the way who’s a great clinician because he talked about mental health in part as a coherence between the spiritual or the abstract and the physical that the two things were aligned and there’s a lot of idea of alignment in psychoanalytic and clinical thinking.

But anyways. I decided that I would start practicing not saying things that would make me weak and what happened was that I had to stop saying almost everything that I was saying I would say, 95 of it as a hell of a shock to wake up, and I mean This was over a few months.

But it’s a hell of a shock to wake up and realize that you’re mostly dead wood. It’s a shock, you know, and you might think well do you really want all of that to burn off. It’s like well, there’s nothing left, but a little husk, five percent of you it’s like. Well.

If that five percent is solid, then maybe that’s exactly what you want to have happened.

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