Who Dares Say He Believes in God


Welcome to season. Two episode fifteen of the Jordan be Peterson podcast. I'm Michaela Peterson Dr Peterson's daughter manager favorite child and heir to the Peterson. Empire believe me, it's an empire mostly filled with ideas. Crazy ideas, interesting, ideas, some that you'll even here in this episode, I'm kidding. I'm not as favorite child. Here's another one Willis trouble than I am. But also, not as cute. Anyway. Back to reality. Healing slow from my mom. We're still stressed beyond belief. I never knew that you could be stressed into feelings that are similar to actual depression. I didn't fly Matori depression, which is hell and I've completely managed with diet. Right. Didn't know that you could actually get stressed into something similar to that. Not as bad, but, like different. Well, I knew you could be stressed. What else PTSD right? But I didn't really know if you know what I mean. So that's a fun conclusion. I've come to recently, situational depression is very real, not as bad as what my food depression was, but. Pleasant unless fortunately working out seems to help a lot. So here's to taking a bad situation in finally growing Budi, right? This week's episode is the first of a series of two I said three last week, but we switched it to about dad's belief in God and belief in God in general, this week's episode is titled who dares say he believes in God is taken from one of dad's twelve rules for life tour talks, which was delivered in Sydney on February twenty six twenty nineteen at the international convention center. Hope you enjoy it when we return dad's lecture from Sydney titled who dare say he believes in God. I'm gonna tell you guys about Birch gold. It's an interesting company that allows you to buy into precious metals to help diversify your savings in two thousand eight the US national debt was ten trillion by the end of twenty eight teen. 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Blade for close shave rich, lathering shave gel, that will leave you smelling great and a travel blade cover to keep your razor, dry and easy on the go listeners of the Jordan. Be Peterson podcast can redeem their trial sat at harrys dot com slash Jordan. And if you prefer to shop in store, Harry's razors are also available at WalMart and target. Welcome. My father, Dr Jordan Peterson. Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to be here in this massive hall. I can't believe that all of you decided that coming to talk about the topics, we're going to talk about tonight with the top priority in your life. But, but let's see if we can justify that, that might be a good head might be a good aim. See if we could make it worthwhile. So to make your decision correct? So you may know or not that I was on a television show last night. QNA. Currently, you know that several view anyways, I can't say, I enjoyed it really, really. It's funny. Like I think as, as I've got farther along in doing whatever it is that I happen to be doing. I find those events more and more stressful. I don't know exactly what it is. I think it's the proclivity of everything. Everything has to be mangled in some sense into precept format. You know, on the fundamental format really is that everything has to be political, and everything isn't political. So that's not helpful. When you're trying to discuss things that aren't political and I mean, I'm not complaining about it. Well, I suppose I am. It's just surprising to me how how. How much how much takes out of me say compared to doing an event like this, which I really enjoy doing, like I spent a lot of time preparing, and there's a lot of you and I really want it to go well, and all that. But this is this is much less. Dreadful. I guess that's right. And, you know, and then there's the strange. Constraints on formats, you know, people ask very complex questions. And, and then you have a minute to answer. And you know, there's something something downright sinful about answering a really complicated question in a minute, because it sort of suggests that complex questions have answers that take one minute and they don't they have answers. The take God. Sometimes they take decades. Sometimes they take thousands of years. Of course, I can't expect a television show to allow for thousands of years. But, but the format itself works against the kind of thought that's necessary to actually have discussions that are necessary. And so anyways, having said all that it went it Landau. It went all right? I would say there were no nasty surprises, and particularly, and it was a civil discussion, whether it was. A productive discussion or not is a different matter. But it wasn't an unproductive discussion. And so that's something but there was one question that came up, and I thought I would actually start talking about that question tonight, because I've never been happy being asked this question a lot, and I've never been happy with the answer that I've given to it, and I've never really been able to exactly get my. I've never been able to figure out exactly why I haven't been happy with the question. And so I'm going to try to answer it properly tonight. And then I'm going to talk more generally boat twelve rules about the book now. It's fine. This question is directly relevant to the book. And so it should make for a good lead in. But Lynn able to talk about something that I think is really very much worth talking about, and I hope I can formulate, the problem properly, and then formulate the proper answer, at least more coherently that I've managed it's I have this. I follow this rule for very long time, which I actually found was a Socratic rule. I didn't know this until really quite recently until I wrote twelve rules for life Sochi's said that he had a Damon by which he meant an internal voice and. He said that he always listen to it, and that was what made him different from other people that always listen to this voice, and the voice didn't tell them what to do it told them what not to do. And when the delphic oracle proclaimed that Socrates was the wisest man in Greece in Athens, and Greece. One of the reasons Socrates attributed her decision to deem him. The wisest man was because. Well, she said he knew he knew nothing but he knew in part that hit new nothing at least in part because he was always listening to the voice of his Damon, his internal conscience. And then I just found out the other day that democracy comes from the same root, which is really interesting, like I had no idea that that was the case because what it suggests. It's so fascinating looking at how words are related to one another historically because you find strange connections between ideas that you would never imagine it. Sometimes they're unbelievably profound. And so the basic what happened historically is that. Well, so there is a concept of this. Oh, crowded Damon. Now, it was the Damon, that Socrates listen to when he decided that he was not going to run when the thespians decided that they were going to put him to death. The Indian aristocrats because they thought that he was corrupting, the youth by talking to them and telling them the truth. And I suppose, that's certainly grounds for chasing someone out of your town anyways. They gave him plenty of notice because they didn't really want to kill them. They just want to get the old goat, the hell out to some other city where he could cause trouble there, and he his friends were making plans to, to scurry away from Athens anywhere out, consulted, his Damon and told him not to leave, and that was a big shock to Socrates, because, of course, he didn't wanna die. And but yet he had decided that he was always going to follow the dictates of the Damon. And he. So he did something that only philosopher would do was reversed his assumptions. He thought, oh well, I was afraid of dying and my Damon said, stick around and so I must be wrong. It must be worse to be to risk not following that internal voice than to risk this form of death. Question you have to really wrestle with and one is one is friends. Weren't very happy about, but in any case he didn't run. And we have two good court like documents, attesting to that one written by someone named Xenophon, and the other by Plato, they're very interesting documents. I would highly recommend reading they're very short. And the reason one of the reasons I would recommend reading them apart from the fact that they're fascinating and short is that you also get the sense from. From what Socrates wrote that because he had lived his life fully, you know, no-holds-barred in some sense that he could let it go when the time came, and that's an interesting thing, because, well, it's a question, I think we all wrestle with, we should is, like, well is the repurpose to our life, and that's a hard question. And then if there is a purpose. Well, how is it expressed? And then if there is a purpose in our lives are truncated, as they are, by death then how can that purpose have significance and those are hard questions, but Socrates experienced seemed to be that he had lived enough in his life so that when push came to shove, which it certainly did. He was able to gracefully let it go. And that's. And, you know, he attested to that with his death, and, and that's fairly convincing. That's a fairly convincing argument. And it's one that I find what's hard to tell if I find it exactly credible. But I don't find it incredible. I mean, certainly have noticed as I've got older and have done things various. What would you say? Accomplished, isn't exactly the right word, I participated in many things that I'm pleased to have participated in them, but wouldn't necessarily go back and participate in the McGinn, it sort of as if when you do something, and you finish it. It's as if it's done. You don't have to do it again. Maybe it's possible who knows that if you finish your life. Whatever that might mean if you exhaust your life, then then that's enough life, you know, that you've had enough and I mean, that doesn't mean that I try not to keep myself healthy, and that I wanna die tomorrow. It doesn't mean any of that. I'm trying to stick around long as I can. But but, but there's still that, that curiosity about the relationship between life and mortality, and, and the possibility that a life well lived exhausts itself in some. Fundamental sense, so that you can be satisfied. Let's say with, with what you with what you were, there is some psychological evidence that bears on this. If you ask people what they regret. Especially as they get older, what they generally port is things not done. So they don't regret so much mistakes. They've made of course. People obviously regret mistakes, they've made as well so they don't exactly regret. Sins of commission. Right. Errors that they've actively made they miss. They torment themselves for opportunities that had presented themselves that they did not, let's say exploited or engaging. And I think that's where thinking about too, because one thing that I have become convinced about with regards to human consciousness, which I think, is equivalent to the spark of divinity in some sense that are fundamental. Stories insist has been placed within us is that human consciousness is that faculty that can. Fronts potential itself. I think there's good neurological evidence for this, by the way, for those of you who are scientifically minded because. We build circuits within us for habitual action that we've practiced many times that seem to run in a very deterministic fashion. And we are strange combination of deterministic and non deterministic as far as I can tell what our consciousness seems to be four is to encounter those things that we have not yet encountered. And those is that we have not yet encountered seem to me to be those things that have not yet been brought into being. And so you could say what our consciousness is for is for the encounter with potential, you know that our consciousness is for the it's not for the past. It's not even for the present it's to transform the future into the present, and really that. That's what our consciousness, does when you wake up in the morning, you have a new day ahead of you and the day could take you in very, many directions and the weeks and the years, all of that can take you in very many direct. And you have some apprehension about what those directions might be you have some apprehension about what role your choices might make in transforming that potential into one form of actuality or another. You certainly know that there are dreadful mistakes that you might be very tempted to make that would produce all manner of hail around you and still be tempted to do it. It seems like it sitting there right in front of you as a possibility. You also know that you could haul yourself up out of bed in the ten to your duties and do the sorts of things that you're supposed to set a few things. Right. That day and that week. And that likely things would at least not be worse. And they would probably be better. And I believe that I do believe that I don't understand how this can be the case. I don't understand how it is that consciousness consciousness can function in that way. Because I think to understand that. We would have to understand what it means for the future to be only potential rather than actually, and who the hell understands that I mean, no one, and then we'd have to understand how it is that our conscious choices in our conscious ethical choices, transform that potentialities into actuality into reality into the present and the past, and we certainly we certainly act as if we believe that, that's what we do. We upgrade ourselves, for example, when we do a bad job of it. We're upset with our children. And those, we love if we don't believe that they're living up to their potential. We're guilty and ashamed, when we make choices that we feel are inappropriate. We understand to some degree that the manner in which time lays itself out has something to do with the ethics of our choice. And again, I would say, that's a very deep idea. I think it's I think it's I think it's the most. True idea. I know it's very emphasized that idea emphasized in ancient religious stories, such as those outlined in Genesis in Genesis with strange insistence that, you know, God, is that which brings order out of chaos formless potential generates the world out of formless potential, and that we're somehow made in that image, which, which seems to me to be the case, and that the proper way by the way to go about acting in that image is to act in relationship to the potential that confronts, you with truth, and with courage with careful articulation that's the logos. And that if you do that, then what you bring forth is, is good. So anyways, those are all background ideas that are associated with twelve rules for life. And they have a bearing on this question that I want to answer tonight. And so I'm gonna sit I have some notes, which I don't usually use about I'm going to use them tonight, because I haven't got everything about this particular notion memorized in some sense, yet because I'm still working it out. But that should work out. Okay. So we'll see. We'll see what happens. So. Yeah, well good. So windows worked. That's always good. See, I've seen it not work. Sometimes when Bill Gates demonstrates it. And that's that's got to be very, very embarrassing, although I would say all things considered he seems to have done quite well. All right. So here's. Here's the question that came up last night. And this is a strange question. For what is essentially a political show near the end gentleman on videotape came up and he discussed the topic of human dignity. Not it's not a topic you hear a lot about there's a lot of topics that are sort of related to human beings that you don't hear a lot about anymore. You don't hear a lot about nobility. You don't hear a lot about endurance. Let's say stalwart nece courage dignity. Those are values that we discuss much responsibility being another one, which is one, I'm quite thrilled about all things considered because I think it's the pathway demeaning itself, but so hit his was the topic of human dignity. And he asked us. Question, do you believe in God? And then he said as a Catholic, I don't see any other way that we can have a universe with dignity. And so I'm not so concerned about the second part of his commentary. Although I might get to that. But the first part, do you believe in? God is a question that's being leveled at me many times. And I'm going to risk mother people on the panel, and I'm going to just review what they said briefly, and then I'm going to talk about what I said, and then I'm going to fix what I said. I hope so that it's better. At least that's the plan. So Terry Butler who was. The labor is a labor frontbencher said, I'm agnostic people are inherently valuable because they are people and. No. That doesn't work out. It's, it's one of those one minute answers, except it's actually only ten seconds, because you can, you can make the opposite argument, and people do all the time, you know, like the club of Rome, for example. Which was an organization in Rome logically enough formed in the sixties. It was very much concerned about that terribly detrimental effect that human beings are having on the planet, and I believe it was one of the club of Rome members who coined the idea. And if it wasn't it was someone who was thinking exactly the same way so works out either way that human beings were something approximating, a cancer on the planet, you know, because of all the terrible things we were doing ecologically and so forth, that was back when people believed we were going to overpopulate, the planet to such a degree by the year two thousand that there would be widespread privation and starvation, which, by the way, if you haven't noticed there isn't. And, and you know, if you look at the terrible things that people do apart from the despoiling of the natural environment. Let's say there's all the malevolence this associated with human interactions, and also human social systems, and it isn't so obvious as a consequence of that, that you can make a straightforward case that human beings are inherently valuable merely because they're human beings, because you can eat me can equally logical case from first principles that they're inherently destructive or that they should be perhaps, limited in their ability to procreate, or that they are a catastrophe for the planet, as a whole or that our entire history is nothing but sequence of what would you call unrequited malevolence, and that people generally can't be trusted. So I don't find that answer. Particularly satisfying. I think it's a. It's. It's just self referential people are inherently valuable because are people it's like, well, you don't really get anywhere with an answer like that. So, so she's agnostic. And then, but then she has this idea, despite her agnostic that you can make the case Abe priority with nothing buttressing, it, that people are somehow inherently valuable and seems to me that, that requires a little more depth and a little more explanation for to actually be convincing. You know, it's like it's not obvious to me that people themselves think that their valuable all the time often they don't think that at all certainly don't think that often when they're depressed. They certainly don't think that when they're suicidal, they don't really think that when they're ashamed or guiltier frustrated disappointed or angry or waking up at three in the morning and tormenting themselves with their consciences. They don't necessarily think that when they're fighting with their family, or when they're upset at work, or you know, when things go wrong. In life. And so it's not so bloody obvious that people are inherently valuable and, and then you might also notice that it's kinda easy to think that some people are more valuable than others sort of like an animal farm, you know where animals were all equal, except that some animals were more equal than others. But it's very easy for human beings to think about other human beings because no matter where you look in human societies. There are rank orders value right in, in any hierarchy that we produce associated with some ability, we find that some people are so much better at whatever it is that they're doing that. It's an absolute miracle, and most people are absolutely dreadful out it. And so if you were thinking about inherent value, as something associated with, with an approximation of skill or competence, then it wouldn't be obvious from the structure of the world that people were inherently valuable in that manner, either, because there's such a rank order difference in our ability to do things. You know, when you might say, well, that kind of averages out across things, but I don't think that's a very strong argument either, so, so it's not it's bloody well, not RBIs. I'll tell you. It's not obvious where this idea that people are inherently valuable came from, that's tough one. One. And in, in Arras, too crowded states or, or too radical states. It's certainly not obvious at all that there's any acceptance of the notion that people are inherently valuable, it's like there's no necessary presumption of innocence, for example, and you don't have any sovereign right to your own destiny. Like you're not granted the rights, not granted because that's the wrong way of thinking about it. Your rights as a sovereign individual who has the responsibility. And the capability to determine the destiny of the state itself, don't exist, that doesn't exist is a concept. And so I don't see that there's anything there that speaks of inherent value, either. So it's by no means an obvious concept. In fact, I think it's one of the least obvious concepts that human beings have ever come up with that each of us in some strange manner, is, is is to be attributed. Fid some divine spark. Let's say that makes us equal in some fundamental way before God before the reality of the universe itself, even in relationship to our own laws. I mean, if you want a miracle for an idea, that's, that's I can't think of one that's, that's more unlikely than that. So I've been puzzling over that for a very long time because I cannot understand why in the world that idea ever came to be or how in the world we ever agreed to act as if it was true. It's really something we should let that go with. We let that idea go to our great peril. It's a fundamental remarkable fundamental idea. And what's so interesting about it too, is that once you have that idea weird as it is an improbable as it is. And you start to organize your social relationships in accordance with it. Well, then they work, you know. So my rule to is treat yourself if you're someone responsible for helping, and it sort of predicated on the idea that regardless of your inadequacies and your malevolence, which no, I'm. Sure, you have many inadequacies and no shortage of malevolence, just like everyone else, regardless of that, you have a moral obligations that would be a responsibility to assume that despite all evidence that there's actually something of intrinsic worth about you. And that as a consequence, you're duty bound to treat yourself like that is true. And then it turns out that if you do that. Well, then your life gets better and I don't mean happier. Exactly. I would say it gets happier. I mean it gets richer and more meaningful and deeper and, and more worthwhile. And you become more educated and you become wiser and, and, and you treat yourself with more respect in your better model for other people in your better father, or better sister, better, mother, whatever it happens to be. It's and you're less ridden by that guilt. That nausea? That you and shame. That's there otherwise, saying, you're not what you could be. You're not what you could be. That's a hell of a voice to get rid of, and it certainly not one that's easy to ignore. So that's a pretty good that, that idea that there's something divine. Let's say that resides within you of all time it worth. Even as philosophical statement or a psychological statement, rather than a metaphysical statement, it seems to be a precondition for establishing properly harmonious relationships with yourself. And that's, that's man that's worth thinking about a lot, you know that you have because you think you could think that in some sense you just own yourself, you know, because people do kind of make that claim especially when they're trying to justify for example, their right to suicide that your life. It's your body, your yours to do what you will with. And if that was true, then it would seem to me that life would be a lot more straightforward, because you would just tell yourself things that you would instantly obey and believe. So first of all, you tell yourself all the things that you were going to do, and then you just run off and do them, which you don't obviously because it's much more difficult at that. And then you'd also say, well enough of the guilt, and the shame and the negative emotion and the disillusionment and. Vengefulness and all those things that make life hard, the self recrimination. It's like what the hell do we need that for? And if we're are masters of our destiny and owners of our own fate. Then why can't we just command to ourselves that, that be dispensed with, and like that doesn't work? I've never seen anybody able to do that. So I mean you can fool yourself for very brief periods of time into thinking that, that might work, but. But it doesn't work and that's strange, and this is one of the reasons I love the psychoanalysts because they were reading the people apart from the religious types figured out that whatever you are. You're not a unitary spirit. That's under your own dominion, in your something like a loose unity of a multiplicity of spirits, many of which are doing their own thing, which you're striving to bring into some form of unity, but even that unity isn't something that's under your control in any real sense. It's, it's a unity that has its own nature that you have to exist in relationship to, and I would also say that, that's one of the things that keeps people people's feet firmly on the ground because otherwise, it's easy to become egotistical and narcissistic. Now, if you if you think that you're the center of your own being in some fundamental sense, then you're only what you're only behold to yourself. You're sort of a self created. Creature perhaps, you could think about it that way. But it doesn't work like that. It's like the ideal that constitutes the unity that you might become then sort of manifest itself as something that you could strive toward. But aren't and it also serves as a judge. It's the thing that keeps you up at night, saying, you know, there's some things you just not attending to, and you should get at it because life is short. And there's no shortage of trouble that you might end up in a wise person would attend to the dictates of his conscience, and, and lay out his actions in the world, according to what he knows to be true, and correct. And that is how people think, and it isn't obvious that we want, we think that way that this is part of the reason that it seems to me, so obvious that we have a religious instinct, because I can't think of what else you would poss-. Ably call that other than a religious instinct. You know, need it when he proclaimed the death of God, which, which, by the way was new triumphant prog mation because he also mentioned that we would never find enough water to wash away the blood, which was his, what would you call it prononce decay shin for the twentieth, century and very accurate one at that he believed that we would in some sense have to become as gods. In, in our selves, in order to replace what we had lost. He thought that, that the collapse of the Judeo Christian structure, would be absolutely catastrophic for the west, and I believe that he was correct. And if the way out of that would be that we'd have to create our own values we'd have to take the place of what was once let's say externalised and divine onto ourselves and, you know, it's a hell of a theory. And, and it's not an each is not an easy person to criticize because. You, you have to do a lot of reading before you find someone who's one tenth as smart as Nietzsche. He has this funny line about is books. It's really quite comical. He said. Takes most writers a whole book to write what I can write a sentence. Then he said, no, they can't even manage it in a book. And that's actually true. I mean, if you read in each Bjorn, good Nevil, for example, you see that. His his thought is so powerful that it's really it's really a kind of miracle what, what the cycle analysts realize, though, this was particularly Young's contribution. I would say Carl Young's contribution. He was a great student of Nietzsche, real admire of nature and really someone who is trying to solve the problem that needs she had put forward, which was well, our underlying metaphysics our religious structure had collapsed, and that was the story upon which our entire culture was based for better worse. It had collapsed, and we needed to do something about that. We were doing various things. We were turning to fascism. Let's say or we were turning to communism both. Ideological replacements. For more fundamental religious beliefs. But that Nietzsche's suggestion that we turn to ourselves to extract out our own values to create our own values. Let me let me be more accurate about that happened to be untrue, because we weren't the sort of creatures who are actually capable of doing that. And that's such. What's one of the reasons I love you and his biological take in some sense towards human beings. Because you firmly believed and I think all of the evidence supports him believe that human beings, actually had a nature, you know, that, that we that we weren't nearly social constructions, which we certainly aren't despite what the social construction insist upon. Forcing us to think increasingly through legislative means and that we had to wrestle with what it was that we were even though we're at world creatures in some sense. We also have to wrestle with our intrinsic nature. And we know about we know about the nature part of that more and more mean we know more about our neuro circuitry, for example, we know that there's a circuit for rage, and there's a circuit for fear, and there's a, there's a biological system for jealousy. And there's a system for altruism and as a circuit for play and there's another one for pleasure. There's a complex circuit for negative emotion pain, anxiety, and frustration disappointment. Guilt, and shame. And we know that human beings, share that motivational structure, not only with all other human beings. But with certainly with all mammals and almost all animals and so that biol- biological. Component of us is unbelievably deep fried, it's. It's mill tens of millions hundreds of millions and even. And even billions of years old. I read an interesting paper, just the other day, I tend to talk about lobsters more than the average person. And one of the points I made into of rules for life. Was that our neuro chemistry? At least some of it is so similar. It's been conserved so completely throughout the immense, duration of evolution hundreds of millions of years that lobsters like human beings appeared to become the lobster equivalent of depressed if they suffer a hierarchy defeat, and that if you give them chemicals that are roughly analogous to human antidepressants. It perks them right back up their posture improves, and they'll go off and fight. And when I first discovered that it just well, it just it just blew me away. I never recovered from it. I thought my God really the continent is three hundred and fifty million years of continuity, in, in the structure of those systems. You know, we know the serotonin system, which is the system. I'm talking about does. Govern your observation of where you sit in a social hierarchy like it does for many, many animal species. And as one consequence of that regulates your motion, so that if it sees that you're a relatively high status creature in your local environment than it tends to allow you to feel more positive emotion, and less negative emotion. And if it sees you as a low status, creature in your local comparative environment that it does the opposite overwhelms you with negative emotion, and suppresses positive emotion. And so, you know, and that's really bad. No one likes that it's, it's fundamentally, there's really nothing worse that can happen to you than that, to have those emotions re re. Adjusted in that manner, so that the incentive reward and the motivation and the positive emotion vanishes from your life. So there's nothing to be enthusiastic, or excited about and all of the negative, emotions pain disappointment, frustration grief, all of those terrible negative emotions are tremendously magnified. No one wants that. It's the it's the last thing you want, perhaps. It's the last thing you want. And that's partly why people are very, let's call it. What would you say? They're tightly. They're willing to fight for their position in their status hierarchy, and even the existence of the hierarchies themselves. So anyways, it is the case that human beings have nature and we have to contend with that nature. And so we can't just create our own values and what, what you, especially you Freud started. But especially believe that well, in some sense. What had happened was that we had lost the externalised religious narrative that had been projected buyer imagination out onto the world. You know. Think about the constellations and the names of the constellations, and the idea that the skies were populated by God's. That was an extra analyze ation of our imagination. Right. Projected out into the world. We were seeing the world through our imagination, and which is exactly how we do. See the world and as we proceed, we're better able to distinguish. Let's say what's imagination from what's objective world? But that doesn't mean the imagination disappears or that its without value because the imagination is part of what helps us, let's say confront the future, because we do that with our imagination and to compose things in, in possibility before we realize them in actuality. So for young the world of God's just collapsed within back into the imagination, and it was into the imagination that we had to go again, to discover what we had lost to discover these, these lost values. And that's a Ken in some sense, I suppose to rescuing your father from the. Belly of the whale, very brilliant? Brilliant tour of intellectual tour de force to, to manage that supposition especially back when back when he did it. And I think I see no evidence whatsoever that he was wrong, given as I said, are radical inability to command ourselves, as, if we are our own in some fundamental way. We seem subject to now we seem subject to intractable moral laws, and I'm not trying to make a case for the accuracy of those laws necessarily or further metaphysical origin. But I am trying to make a case for their psychological phenomena, logical reality, you definitely experienced them insofar as you suffer let's say the from from the from the pricks and arrows of your own conscience. And I doubt if there's a single person in this room who doesn't raid early suffer in that. Manner and some of you suffered like that virtually all the time, when you know, which can also be a problem in any case, it's, it's interesting to note that we're not exactly masters in our own houses. And that that's, that's such interesting thing to note because you think well if we're not masters in our own houses. What, what is it is it just is it just a chaotic internal structure is nearly the voice of nature and nature's various instinctual subsystems that doesn't seem to be correct, because we do integrate them into something approximating unity. There's more than just the basics of nature. We have language we have communication. We have culture we build up above nature, something that's more the nature, but we're still behold into it. The question is, well, what are we behold into what is this, that we're beholden to and socially, politically and individually that we cannot escape from well, so. So that's part of the question, do you believe in God, while this part of the answer, actually, and what's bleak answer? But the first thing I'm trying to say is. Try controlling yourself Triax as, if you're the fundamental source of your own values independent of any what would you call a transcendent ethical structure to see if you can do that with try it for a week? Try it for a month. I've never met anybody could do it. Not, not even for a moment. I don't know how many of you have read Dustiev skis crime and punishment. But I would highly recommend that, if you're interested in this sort of thing because it's the definitive study of this idea because in crime and punishment the protagonist commits the perfect murder, and he has his reasons for it and, and many reasons because Dostoevsky didn't mess around when he wanted to give someone reasons he gave them reasons. And restall Nicole of main character had reasons for murder and then he commences murder and he gets away with it. But things don't go well for Skolnikov because one of the things he finds out is that the restall niqab that you were before you committed the murder is not the same as the recording the call as you are after you've committed the murder, and there's a dividing line there that you don't it's like the red pill. I guess. Right. It's like that's the matrix. Correct. The red pill. And once this. Certain actions. Once you take them, there's no going back. And so that's what crime and punishment is about recording. The call of tortures himself to death, well, not literally but meta physically psychologically, because he cannot tolerate breaking the great moral code. And so it's a great book. It's truly a great book, and it's also extraordinarily like it's a it's a murder mystery thriller, as well as being a deep philosophical book. So if you're in the mood for a murder mystery thriller. That's also a deep philosophical book, then that's the one for you. So now, one of the other speakers on the panel, then bad ham who, who, who described was described, not by me, as a writer, activist and Twitter, Queen. Which is I think like being the red Queen in Ellison wonderland, something like that. I went on Twitter site today to find out how many followers she has. But apparently I'm not one of them because I'm blocked. And kind of. Surprises me. Because I didn't know that I'd ever tried to follow her, but anyways, she said, and this was interesting. She said, I'm a Christian and a Marxist. And I thought. No. You can only be a Christian and a Marxist if you. Well, there's a couple of ways one is one is that you just want to be all things that are good at once regardless of their internal contradictions, and so that would be one reason. And another reason would be that you don't know anything about Christianity, or Marxism, and, and, and then the next would be that you're just compartmentalized, you know, like there's this idea that people can't hold two contradictory thoughts in their mind at the same time. Well, that idea was formulated by someone who who's never met a human being because you can hold like fifty contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time, as you know, whenever you argue with someone that you love because you love them. And maybe you even like them, but you also hate them. And you wish that you could just crush them right there. And then, and so that's a lot of contradictory ideas. And that's probably. Only like half the contradictory ideas that are running through your mind at the moment. So man, you're so full of contradictions. It's just beyond belief and the only time I might not know this because I read undergraduate essays and what's what's interesting about undergraduate essays is, it's so interesting because the undergraduate will make a claim in paragraph one, and then in paragraph seven will make the opposite claim and they won't notice that they're intellectually incommensurate and you know that might happen thirty times in the essay and the reason that, that, that works is because they haven't been cold on the paradoxes, but also because they haven't had to live the paradoxes through because you really only straighten out your thought. When you have like impulse an impulse be and they conflict at the same time. Right. And you can either do one or the other, but not. But both, you know if it's aid today and tomorrow, well, then you can be you can hold those ideas similar Taneomi. But if it's a or b right now, then you have to decide is a more important or as be more important you have to put them in a hierarchy, and then you have to act them out and you have to see what happens. And so then you find out if your full of contradictions and part of the way that you iron out your contradictions which is very, very hard to do is that you go out and you do a whole bunch of things in the world. Like Socrates did you go? You have your adventure in the world and you put your ideas to the test, and those that work out in a paradoxical, or counter productive manner you dispense with or put lower on the priority list, or something like that. And that's how you discover that you can't hold incommensurate views symbol taniwha sleep Carl Jung said that. Something like paradoxical views that are not made conscious will be played out in the world as fate, and that's really worth thinking about too. So if you have your let's call it your typical negative experience with this thing that just keeps seems to just keep happening to you about luck. Let's call it. It's highly probable that there's a set of ideas that are occupying, you preoccupying you, possessing you that are driving you in this direction continually, and that you, you can't or won't work out the contradiction, and as a consequence, you know, maybe you think every woman is your mother and you have noticed that you think that, that, that ended is something that people think because women are mothers are women, and it's not a bad initial template. But you know you got to you. Gotta modify it to some degree. And, you know, if that's an unconscious idea that you have, and you continue to play it out. You may run into your continual habit. You'll negative experience with women and you wonder what the hell is wrong with women, but it isn't the women that has the problem. It's you. And and you know if you run into problems with women all the time. Then it's highly probable that the problem is you so not always, but generally, so let's go into this Marxist and Christian idea here, just for a minute. So we'll start with start with some of the ideas of Marx. Well, Marx believed that people were basically, socially constructed, so that we were blank slates, and that, whatever our nature was was given to us essentially by our surroundings, but even more importantly, by our social class, right? Because Marx was a theorist of social class and believed that the primary. Dispute. Let's say the primary motivator of human history. The primary driver of human history was something like the rich versus poor urge was versus the proletariat and not was it consequence of your social upbringing, and that your group identity was paramount. Okay. So there's nothing about that. It's vaguely Christian. That's not how the Christian worldview works know how the Judeo Christian worldview works because in that world, you're fundamentally, and individual, your nature is fundamentally attributable to you by God. You're fundamentally responsible to God and your and history. It self is something like the playing out of your relationship to the transcendent. So those things aren't even those aren't the same. They're not commensurate. You can't believe both of them at the same time. Marxism is a materialistic philosophy. It's predicated on the idea that essentially idea that criticized in great depth. Was that, if you just made people rich enough, let's say, if you deprive them of their privation, if you equalize their economic status. Let's say that the u topa would come to light upon earth, and, you know, I have a certain amount of sympathy for view point like that. Because you know who likes starvation and and misery. There's nothing positive to be said about that. But I think it was right to his criticism of Marxism, although he wasn't directly aiming this at Mark's in notes from underground where he noted that, you know, if you gave people what they wanted in terms of, let's say bread and circuses. They had as he said, nothing to do, but eat cakes and busy themselves with the continuation of the species, which is kind of a nice phrase. Is that the first thing they would do is take a hammer and smash things just so that something improbable in strange would happen, just so that we could have our way. And it's kind of a recapitulation of the idea of original sin endorsed ski subtle manner. Is that we're the sorts of creatures that? You know what he say? We're on grateful. That's the thing that primarily distinguishes us from animals is we're ungrateful, and that we can curse that was what he thought made us different than animals. And if even if we got what we wanted material that wouldn't satisfy us because we're not the sorts of creatures that can be satisfied with material possessions. Let's material comfort because it isn't even obvious that we're after comfort. I mean, what do you want, you want want to just lay in featherbed, and eat peeled, grapes, all day? I mean maybe for an hour or so that might not be a bad idea. But you know you're gonna get dull pretty quick. You're going to go out looking for trouble and it's certainly possible that the more material resources and the easier they were to get that you have at your disposal. The more creative ways, you're going to find to cause yourself trouble when you go out and look for trouble. And so, and that's a testament to the human spirit, Dostoevsky, new, this is like, well, whatever were here. For it isn't the you told of equal material distribution. That's not we're not we're not we're not looking to be fed end asleep. You know, I don't know what it is that we're looking for God only knows maybe what we're looking for is to continually. Keep looking something like that. I mean, that's the sorts of creatures that we are. But, but, but the materialist philosophy is that, well if you just provided for people economically problem over and no wrong. I mean, most of you are as given that you're going to be ill in one way or another, in that you're still subject to mortality, and all of the terrible natural limitations that human beings are characterized by your mode, as well off as you're gonna get, you know, the economic data already show that once you have enough money so that Bill, collectors aren't. Chasing you which basically puts, you say, at the kind of in the upper reaches of the working class, or maybe the lower end of the middle class, something like that, that additional money has absolutely no effect whatsoever on your self reported wellbeing, which is something like a combination of positive emotion and absence of negative emotion. So you might like to think that if you're rich your life would be better, and maybe it would be somewhat better. But wouldn't be as much better as you might hope, and that's because you'd still have most of the problems that people have, you know, you still maybe wouldn't get along with your sister, and you'd still get divorced. Maybe you'd even be more likely to there's still be onus. That would be set you be able to deal with them, perhaps with some degree of more urgency. But. And you still have the problem with what the hell your life is for and what you're doing on the planet and how to conduct yourself in the proper way. So, so we don't want to be too naive about materialism, even though we don't wanna be ungrateful for its advantages marks also believed, while I said this already that history was basically, characterized by the war of socio economic groups that's been transferred. More recently into the war of identity groups, which is the same damn thing. Let's the same old wolf in new sheep's, clothing, as far as I'm concerned that in the best way to conceptualize human beings is wide whatever your damn identity is. Maybe it's sex for you. It's ethnishity for you and it's gender for you. And God only knows what it is for you. And, you know, and that's who you identify with and all their is in the world. And this is the post modernist view is hierarchies of people in these identity groups struggling for dominion in. That's a quasi, Marxist view. Point. It's just a variant of the Berge was Iverson proletariate theory of history, which is a foolish theory, as far as I'm concerned, and certainly not one that we need to take forward into the twenty first century. Although we seem, you know. Destined to insist that we do. So he believed that the revolutionary overthrow of the oppressor class was necessary and morally demanded, and that turns out to be a little bloodier than I would say the typical Christian Judeo-Christian ethic might require because it doesn't require you to take up arms against your evil overlords, and well, put them in gulags and kill them by the millions, for example. And that to me seems to be an important difference. There's, there's no in the Judeo Christian tradition. There's no guilt. There's no group guilt. Right. You're guilty. You're guilty of different things presume and that's your problem. But maybe you're also innocent who knows. But whatever it's on you. It's not a consequence of your racial heritage of your ethnicity or your gender any of those things. It's, it's betw-. Clean you and God, let's say between you and the state even. But at least it's between you and the state or God. It's not like well, you know, your father was. Factory owner. Let's say your grandfather, and so it was perfectly reasonable during the Russian revolution. And the red terror to vacuum, you up, along with your whole family and do away with you, because you'd be irredeemably tainted by your Berge was passed. So that's another place where Marxism and Judeo Christianity are, then they're not just different like their opposite. You know it's not just very one in variant to these are, like, seriously different ideas. And so, here's another reason you can't be a Marxist in Christian. And then there's the idea that. Marx had that religion was the opiate of the masses, which doesn't exactly sound like I've always thought religion was the opiate of the masses. But communism Marxism was the. Methamphetamine of the of the masses. Let's say, yeah, the math of the masses we, we had no idea with regards to, so here's what Marx has to say about religion, the abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness to call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions interesting to me, because it's not like the Judeo Christian story was really a happy one as far as I can tell. I mean, there was heaven. But chances you were going to get in man, that was low and, and, and mostly it was fair bit of original sin, and a fair bit of you wrestling with all of your inadequacies and your proclivity towards malevolence to pick up your cross to bear, your suffering to understand that there was a war in your. Between the forces of good and evil. It's like how that's an opiate is beyond me. I mean, if I was going to design an opiate that made people feel better. I'd certainly dispense with a fair bit of that. It's like whatever you do is okay. We could start with that. There's certainly no hell. That's something we're going to get rid of right away. Little less guilt, and shame would be like a hippie, the nineteen sixties with them more marijuana and some free sex, something, something like that. So I don't really understand the illusion idea there is marks criticism. I suppose of the belief of the great, the great father in the sky, who, who, who still doesn't seem to me to be that like. Be sort of still kind of a nightmarish creature all things considered since at least in principle is keeping track of everything you do even more than you are. And that's not such a good thing. But whatever. So it's foolish criticism as far as I can tell, but doesn't matter. He's still criticized it. The criticism of religion is therefore, an embryo, the criticism of that Vale of tears of which religion is the halo criticism. Meaning his has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain, not an order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation. But so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. That's something that plenty of marxists. Did I can tell you the criticism of religion disillusions, man, so that he will think act and fashion, his reality like a man who is discarded his allusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as old true son as u n? Yeah. Well, that's that's Merck's is in a nutshell. All right. I mean, that's, that's the fundamental definition of pathological narcissism so that he will move around himself as his own true, son. Right. Religion is only the losers son, which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself. And, you know, generally, we don't use that as an insult. He only revolves around himself. Isn't that an insult and the reason for that don't we assume that there's something that you should be revolving around that isn't just yourself? It's could be many things. It could be well someone you love. That would be a start could be a child could be your, your partner in life could be could be your your family in extension. Could be your community. It could be some noble ideal that you're trying to serve to be something other than you as the primary center of the universe around, which, well, you and presumably everything else, revolves. So I don't really see that as particularly wise. What would you call it philosophy? And as it manifested itself in the world. You know, I would say, Stalin probably revolved around himself quite nicely since don't you think I mean, if you had to pick someone who was revolving around himself, it would be a pretty decent competition between Maui and Stalin. And, and, and that didn't seem to be that didn't seem to be for the best. So, so that's something to consider as well. The marxists believe that religion hindered human development and the Soviets in the Maoists instituted state, atheism apart from the worship of their leaders, of course, and then I'm going to read you a poem by Marx. This is a good one. I phoned this awhile back. God, it's a rough poem. And you wanna you wanna let your imagination sort of, I would say, let your imagination loose with this poem, which is what you should do with. And imagine the sort of state of mind that you have to be into right of home like this. And then also imagine as you should that poetry, like dreams are the birth birthplace of thought with my undergraduates often, especially ones that are really obsessed with ideas. They'll often put really bad poetry in their essays. And, and I'm not saying that in a cynical way because bad poetry can have good ideas in it hard to write good poetry. But the thing is often an idea. That's extraordinarily emotional in content will manifest itself as a poem before it is able to articulate itself out into fully expressed philosophy. And so I see this with my undergraduate still really be obsessed with something that's bothering them than the rights some poem often about a personal experience. And then as I help them shape, the essay, they kind of unfold the poll into an articulated statement, about the structure of reality, and so you could say, well, you know, we're all embedded in the dream, we know that you go to sleep every night and you dream, you're in bedded in your imagination, if if you're if you're forbidden to dream if you're deprived of your dreams you will lose your mind that's been experimentally demonstrated quite nicely on animals, but also on human beings. You have to dream, you have to enter that, that realm of incoherent, imagination, and possibility in order to maintain your sanity, which is extraordinarily. Interesting very strange, and I would say poetry eggs. Cysts on the border between the dream and the fully articulate wakefulness. It's, it's, it's the place where the image of the dream meets the meets the meets the meets the articulated speech of full consciousness. And so you can think about that with regards to this poem. Invocation of one in despair. So a God has snatched for me all my all in the curse in rack of destiny. All his worlds are going beyond recall nothing, but revenge is left to me. On myself revenge proudly reek. On that, being that enthroned Lord make my strength. Patchwork of what's week leave my better self without reward. I shall build my throne high overhead cold. Tremendous Shelat summit be for its bulwark. Superstitious dread for its Marshall. Blackest Agassi, who looks upon it with a healthy, I shall turn back struck deathly pale and dumb. Clutched by blind and chill. Mortality may his happiness prepared to. And the Oneida lightning shell rebound from that massive iron giant. If he brings my walls, and towers down eternity show, raise them up defiant. Well, I would say that's the sort of poem, that would be written by someone who revolved around himself as his own true son, and I would also say that given what we know about what happened as a consequence of the instead of Marxist doctrine that this is truly horrifying piece of literature to contemplate written, by the way, when marks was rather young. So then the question came to me, do I believe in God? And I don't like that question. And people have complained at me a lot. And I'm sure they have the reasons because they don't like my answers, I have two answers. They've kind of become stock, which is not a good thing. But, but they're the best approx. I can't figure out why don't like the question. Exactly. I've got three. I had three sort of burgeoning hypotheses one was it's none of your damn business. That's the first one. So it was like a privacy issue like it seemed to me to be question. That was to private to be answered properly, and so and, you know, you could consider that a cop out, maybe it is. And then another one was. Well, what do you mean by believe, like do mean the words, do you mean to say the words, I believe, in God, does that indicate that you believe in God, like, I don't know what you mean by believes exactly because that's got me in trouble, too, because, you know, people think that attempting to clarify the meaning of words, an attempt to escape from the question when it's actually an attempt to specify the question is what you believe what you say or what you act out now. Why would say to some degree? It's both. But if push comes to shove, as far as I'm concerned, what you believe is what you act out, not what you say. And if you're an integrated person than what you act out in what you say are the same thing, and then you're a person who's word can be trusted, right? Because what you say and what you do are Morphing. They're the same thing, but belief is instead, cheated and actions. So I have also suggested that I act. As if I believe, in God, or to the best of my ability, and people aren't very happy with that, either. But then the third is afraid that he might exist, which I think, is the most Carmichael of the three answers, and perhaps the most accurate one. But then, but then I was thinking about this today when I was thinking about what I might talk to you guys about it. I thought, well, let's go into this a little bit more. Let's say you say you do believe in God, I believe in God. It's like okay. Well, that's hypothetically, pretty impressive. I would say it's like you believe that there's a divine power that oversees everything that is fundamentally ethical. That's watching everything you do. And, and you believe that in so what effect does that have on your behavior? If you believe it, does that mean that you're. Well, are you are you all in on your beliefs? Are you sacrificing everything to this transcendent entity that you proclaim belief in? Have you cleansed yourself of all your sin? Let's say are you making all the sacrifices that you need to make like have you taken the mode of your, I know or are you in the same situation? Let's say that the Catholic church seems to be in right now just out of curiosity time to bring that up since the pope seems to be concerned with what's been happening with the Catholic church, given the endless pedophilia scandals. Let's save see rather serious in my estimation might have been something that was cleaned up, perhaps. One hundred thousand years ago, and it's being taken seriously perhaps now and perhaps not because it's not so easy to determine exactly what it would mean to take that seriously. And you might say, well, all the people who are committing these highness actions, and then covering them up if you ask them. Well, do you believe in God, what are they going to say? You'd think the answer would be. Yes, given that they're like. Priests and an yet. And yet, what's the evidence evidence isn't exactly clear that the mere statement. Let's say the MIR acting out of the ritual, let's say, and I'm not trying to denigrate the statement or the ritual. But I'm pointing out the that's no indication of your right to say that you believe because you got I think this is why it's bothered me. Answer this question. It's like what right, do I have to say that to make that claim I believe in God, what's the claim is that the claim that I'm a good person somehow because you'd think that if you believed in God, actually, like, seriously, the, you'd be a good person like right now because. For obvious reasons, I would think, and so if that hasn't happened in some sort of miraculous sense, so that you're the best person, you could possibly imagine being on an ongoing basis and terrified of, of deviating from that path in a serious manner. Then I don't see why you have the right to say that you believe in God, you know, one of the things Nietzsche said about Christianity was a great critic of Christianity. Also great friend in a very peculiar way in. Sometimes your best friend is the one who points out your weakest. Properties. Let's say he said, as far as he was concerned. There is only one Christian and he died on the cross. And that's that's you know, perhaps extreme statement but one worth giving some consideration to it's like, well then you look at what he what are you cold upon? Let's say if you're going to proclaim yourself as a believer, and I thought about this a lot as I've gone through the Old Testament, I did a bunch of lectures last year. So what do you call the pawn? Well, you're called upon initially too. Act out the spark of divinity within you by confronting potential with the logos that's within you which means to take the opportunities that are in front of you the potential future, and to transform it into the present in the best possible way using truth, and courage, and careful articulation as your as your as your as your as your guide. So that's the first thing you're called on to do that. That's a major deal there. That's a tough one. And then the second is to make the proper sacrifices. That's the Cain and Abel story is like you want something you genuinely wanted you want to set the world straight than you let go of what's necessary. And you pursue you let go of what isn't necessary. No matter what it is, no matter what it is. And then you pursue. What's necessary? And then maybe you sacrifice your children to God that, that was the story. That's one of the next stories that comes up, of course, and you think, well, that's pretty damn barbaric. And the way the stories laid out, of course, it is. But. That isn't exactly what it means. It means that what you try to do, when you raise children that you try to do everything you can to impress upon them by imitation and by instruction and by love and by encouragement that they are crucial beings in the world, whose ethical decisions play an important role in shaping the structure of reality itself, and that they have the moral responsibility to do that. And you get your arc in order. That's your family. Let's say so that when the storms come you can stay above water for the forty days of flooding, and you're capable of leading your people through the desert when the desert makes it self manifest. And you can escape from tyranny properly, because you're wise enough to see it and you take the full burden of being on yourself all the suffering. That's, that's part and parcel of that you accept that voluntarily, let's say, and you do everything you can to confront the malevolence, that's part of you. And that's part of the state, and it's part of the world and you, you, you make a garden around you. That's the paradise of walled garden. It's wall, well watered place, so the forces of nature and society exist together in harmony, and you place, your family in that so that they can live properly, and you treat your enemy, as if he's yourself and the same with your brother. And then you can say. Then maybe you can say maybe then you have the right to say that you believe in God. Otherwise, maybe you should think twice about it because. You know, there's a line in the New Testament, that Christ himself says to them, I should read them too, because there are very relevant to this. I guess I paraphrase paraphrase them. A rich man comes up to Christ and says, and, and says, good, good leader. Good Lord asthma question about how it is that he should be a good person. Christ says, don't call me good. There's no one. That's good. But God and. That's worth thinking about. The one person. That in principle in our ancient stories had the right to make some direct connection between himself and the divine was unwilling to do it when challenged. And so it might be reasonable to assume that each of us could be much more cautious about making that sort of statement. Bluntly when we're asked. And then the other line is. Not all those who say Lord Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven got that about right. Which means something approximating, just because you make a claim. Two more virtue. Let's say your belief in God, which I can't see how you can make a higher claim to moral virtue than that. You know, I mean egg NAS tick atheistic, I don't really care, the purpose. The point is something like this. Imagine something of ultimate transcendent value. I don't care whether you believe in it or not. But imagine that something like that exists. And then you swear allegiance to it, which is to say I believe in this. I mean, there's a heavy moral burden that comes along with that just to allow yourself to other the words without feeling that you should be immediately struck down appropriately by lightening. And so. Well in. So I think that's why that question makes me uncomfortable. It's that I don't think I have. I don't think I have a right to make that proclamation. There's another thing too, that I learned when I was going through these biblical lectures. It was a fascinating thing to do. Was the story of Jacob who became Israel. Jacob was a real trickster. You know, he was a morally ambiguous figure to, to put it mildly. He tricked his older brother out of his birthright and he was full of tricks and the end. A lot of tricks played on him to maybe learned something a consequence anyways after running away from his brother who had murderous thoughts and for good reasons for about twenty years. Maybe it was only fourteen but doesn't matter. It was a long time. He decided that he would go back and try to make peace. And he came to this river. He sent his family across the river, along with his belongings, and partly as an offering to his brother a peace, offering, and he had a dream dream visionary, experience hallucination. God who knows what it was, and he dreamt that he wrestled with an angel all night. And that the angel was God and God, he won. Which is very strange because. Well, first of all, he was a trickster figure, you know, like. Wasn't your most upstanding moral creature? He wasn't. No, for example, and second was God. You know it's like if you're going to wrestle with someone and lose. There's an opponent, that's likely to take you out, and he did damages hip, so. It's not that impressive accomplishment on God's part in my estimation. But. But that is very interesting story because what it does indicate what's so cool about it. You see Jacob's name is changed at that point to Israel, and Israel means those who wrestle with God, and that's that blew me. That's one of the things I love about studying stories is now. And then you come across a piece of one and you and you see in into it, you know, you see down into the depths that characterizes, it's very difficult. But happens sometimes. And it just flattens, you to think that if Israel is that is the that if Israel is the chosen people of God, that's the hypothesis. And what Israel means is those who wrestle with God think that, that gives it seems to me to be such a hopeful idea because, well, everyone does that to some degree. I mean do that in your life because. Well, you don't know what's fundamental transcendent worth. You know who the hell are you? And what do you know you're, you're struggling all the time with well, I would say it with good and evil. When you're struggling with yourself you struggling with the world to, to portray that as wrestling with God, that's perfectly reasonable from a metaphor perspective. And the idea that that's what characterizes the true people of God is that willingness to wrestle, that's really something because it. Kinda indicates that you're here as a contender. You know, you're not here to be happy. You're not here to be complacent. You're not here to be materially satisfied. Not that, that would be possible anyways, but that you're here to contend with the structure of reality. Right. And that's what will satisfy you because there's something to you. You know, we can nothing there's something to you Sunday, something malevolent and terrible. I mean, you know that you look at how people behave you look at the blood and catastrophe of our history. You can certainly see though the absolute the absolute hellish depths of the human soul. But there's, there's something that takes root in that in grows up out of that, that's absolutely magnificent beyond belief, and that's looking for for to contend. I've often thought that I've been fortunate in my marriage because you think, well, you got you get married and you live happily ever after. It's like. That's not it. You don't want that put you on. We want your partner to just all. She's going to do is sprinkle rose pedals in front of you, right. Pat, you on the back of the head and tell you how wonderful you are constantly day after day man you'd be so sick of that after two well maybe take a month. But, but let's say two weeks it'd be you'd be because, you know, she should be more on the side of who you could be then on the side of who you are. And if she's diluted enough for terrified enough to worship you and your current form then, well, that doesn't say much for her, and it certainly isn't very helpful for you. You want someone that's going to get in the way now and then, you know, and, and to contend with, and I've been fortunate my marriage, because I have someone to contend with, you know, we, we have our discussions, and they're not easy, partly because we have hard problems to Saul. Because life is full of hard problems. I want someone who stand up, you know, and have her say, even if it's not what I would say, maybe I'm even willing at times because she's quite intuitive, and good dreamer, and I'm more facile verbally, and so we have to be careful in our relationship because if I'm in a particularly ornery mood, and she has something to say, I can usually slice up, her arguments verbally, you know, man, then, that's, that's fine as far as I'm concerned because I get to win, but it's stoop. Well, it's stupid. It's first of all, that doesn't mean I'm right. It just means I can formulate verbal arguments slightly faster than she can. But her intuitions her dreams are often extraordinarily accurate. And so we've learned to, to some degree to buttress each other's arguments just on off saw off chance that the person that you were foolish enough to marriage. Mary might know something you don't now and then about something important, you know. So what do you want you want someone to contend with then it's an adventure. You know, and then you have someone that you love and that you respect, and that's not a bad combination for longevity of relationship. And then maybe if you have someone that you love and respect, and that you can communicate within your children. Also, love and respect her or him. And then that's pretty good for them because they've got some parents that they could love and respect. That's good. Combination. No solidifies their life. And so you want to contend with them. You want job challenging, I would say that pushes you beyond what you already are and God. Only knows how much how hard you need to be pushed in order to go beyond where you are. But, you know, to some degree if you have a choice, you know, it's not that uncommon that what we'll do is choose to be pushed to the limit, especially. When we're at our best we think, well, where's the limit here? Maybe I can manage that. I'm going to push myself right to the damn limit. Then I'm going to push myself a little bit over just to see if it's possible. And if that happens, then, you know, you emerged with the sense of triumph. I'm now more than I was. Right. And maybe that's what you're here to be is to be more than you were trying to push those limits and to do that. You contend with the world you wrestled with God, you don't casually say, I believe, because who knows no-one no-one knows right? We're separated from the infinite by death. Ignorance we don't know. We contend we wrestle, and no one in that maybe we'd find our destiny least we find our purpose. Find something that's that that justifies us to some degree, you know, if I'm awake at night wondering and I thank God. You know, like I pushed myself as far as I could. In this effort. Whatever the effort that I'm considering happens to be pushed myself. I don't have a weight on my conscience, because I let something go or I failed to accomplish something. I mean, I do often have those sorts of weights. I'm talking about the rare times when I don't is like, well, there's something that, that that's where there's some atonement and some peace as far as I'm concerned, where that contending, and that wrestling has been successful. And I would say that insofar as you're deeply involved in out like completely involved in that thoroughly involved in out, then you have the right to say that you believe in God and since I'm not like that one hundred percent of the time or even approximating the percent of the time that I would like to be like that, you know, despite my best efforts, then when people ask me, I'm not going to say something virtuous like, I'm a believer because. There's plenty wrong with me that needs to be fixed before would dare utter words like that. Thank you. Well, so that's bad around ser- to that question. So thank you very much. We're walking through with me. Let's say now you have all nor all many of you have asked questions tonight using this nifty, little device called Slidell, which I really like. And so now what I'm going to do is spend twenty minutes or so looking through the questions that you asked, and seeing if I have anything that isn't completely incomprehensible and embarrassing to say about them. So let's try that. Well, this is a strange one. I don't know about you people from Sydney. So it's from Cathy Newman. Which strikes me as somewhat unlikely and it's got one hundred sixty four up votes. So which is quite a few votes. It hurt when you destroyed me on ABC. Now, I don't know if that's referring to last night, or so many months ago. But I have enrolled in university to get my facts, right? Yeah. Well, that probably will work. Thank you for enlightening my soul. The burns are still healing. Yeah. Well, that's not exactly a question. It's, it's four sentences that are quite the strange combination, I would say something about the burns are still healing. You know, I mean, Nietzsche said that you could tell much about a man's character by how much truth he could tolerate, which is very interesting. There's an idea in the great western tradition that the truth is the way in the path of life. And, and that no one comes to the father except through the truth. And, and I believe that to be the case because I don't think that you can manifest who are without the troops. And so, I think it's, it's, it's literally a metaphor cly true that the pathway to who you could be if you were completely who you were is through the truth, and I would say, and so the truth does set you free. But the. The problem is that it destroys everything that isn't worthy in you, as it sets you free. And that's that's a process of burning and, and, and it's, it's painful because you cling to what you shouldn't be party out of pride in party out of ignorance and partly out of laziness. And, and so then you encounter something true. And you all know this you all know this perfectly well, because. When was the last time that you learned something important that wasn't a, a blow of some sort, you know? It's often you look back at your life and you think oh, God. I really learned. Something there. I wouldn't wanna do that again. But it really changed my life. I mean, sometimes it can really destroy, you know, an encounter with the truth, and you never really recover. But now and then something comes along and straightens you out. And a lot of you has to go a lot has to burn away. And, and I suppose in some sense, the ideas that everything about you, that isn't worthy is to be put into the flames, and that's. That's another reason to be not so casual about claiming what you believe because it isn't something that you undertake with. Outdo caution. I learned when I was kid about twenty five or so little older than kid that almost everything that I said, was one form of lie or another. And I wasn't any worse, I would say that the people that I was associated with or any better. And, and the lies were manifold they were attempts to win arguments for the sake of winning the argument that might be one attempts to indicate my intellectual prowess, when there were competitions of that sort, maybe just the, the sheer pleasure of engaging in an intellectual argument and winning. My inability to distinguish between ideas that I had read and, and incorporated because I had read, but had realized that I had yet earned the right to use all of that. And you know I had this experience that lasted a long time. I would say it's really never gone away that and I think this was the awakening of my conscience, essentially. And I didn't realize this until much later when I was reading Socrates apology, this voice for lack of a better word made itself, manifest inside me. And it said, every time I said something that wasn't true. And that's usually what it said. That's true. You don't believe that. Or or there was a sensation that was associated with I don't think this is that uncommon. You know, I asked my psychology classes for many years in row, if they had an experience this experience that they had a voice in their head. Let's say it's a metaphor or a feeling that communicated to them win. They were about to do something wrong. And it was universally the case that people agreed with one of those statements, or another and the other thing I would ask is well, do you always listen to it? And of course, the answered that was. Definitely. No. But that's also very interesting. You know that you can have this faculty, this conscience seems to me to be very tightly associated with the idea of free will is that you can have this internal voice Damon the root word for democracy. Oh, yes. I didn't finish that story. So the yes. Well, it's important. Well, so soccer Damon told him it was his moral guide, and democracy appears to be predicated on the idea that the polity will function if people attend to their consciences. That's the that's the that's the overlap of those conceptualization 's. And that's that's well, first of all, I think that's the case. Makes model logical sense. I mean, if we assume that the political state is something like the emergent consequence of the decision of all its citizens. We would assume that the wiser the decisions of the citizens, the more upright and functional the state. I can't see how it could be any other way. And perhaps those who are the most upright listened to their conscious. Consciences more carefully even play a disproportionately powerful role. It's certainly possible. So anyways. Back to truth. Well, I learned that. So much of what I was doing was false. And I think I learned this, there was a reason that this came to me. So clearly I was trying to understand. Why people did terrible things and I was really concentrating on the terrible terrible things that people do. I was interested in. Our Schmitz, for example, and not in not as a political phenomenon, but as a as a psychological phenomenon I was curious about how you could be off guard, and I wasn't really curious about how you could be one because you could be, what course I was more curious about how I could be one being such a good person as I thought I was. And but I also knew that people many people did many terrible things during the twentieth, century. And the idea that I was somehow better than them or that I should assume a priority that I was better than them. And that I wouldn't have made the same choices or worse had I been in the same situation was very, very, very dangerous supposition. And in fact, sufficiently dangerous supposition to bring about the very danger that I assumed was worth voiding. I had this idea that what had happened, especially in Nazi Germany, but also in the. Soviet Union shouldn't happen again, that what we needed to do because of what happened in the twentieth century, especially because we also managed to create hydrogen bombs that it was an and that we have become so technologically, powerful that there wasn't time for that anymore that time for that was over and that we really needed to understand why it happened. And that perhaps, we could go deep enough in that understanding, which is, I think what happens when you go deep and understanding so that you could stop it. Because if you if you understand per maybe you can solve it. You know and, and. At least in part, I came to believe that the problem was as soldier and it's and said that the problem is that the line between good and evil runs down every human heart, and I'd read it was reading you at the same time, you know, and he believed that the human soul was a tree whose roots grew all the way to hell. And believed also that in the full investigation of the shadow, which was the dark side of the human psyche. Was it was bottomless essentially that it was like an experience of hell and that also struck me as true? And that the way to stop those sorts of things from happening was to stop yourself from being the sort of person who would do it, who would even start to do it because the other thing you learn when you learn about atrocities of that sort you could read ordinary men, by the way, which is an unbelievably great study of exactly this sort of nominates on my book. List on my website. It's about a group of German policemen who were turned into brutal murderers over a period of months when they went behind when they went into Poland after the Germans marched and they were just ordinary middle class men, and they weren't forced into this, by their leadership, by the way, either, which is one of the things that makes the book, so interesting. So. For me. It was a matter of understanding that if we want this sort of thing to not happen anymore, then we have to start to become the sort of people who wouldn't do it seems rather self evident all things considered unless you believe that we're the pawns of social forces, for example, like the marxists do. And I don't believe that because we're also the creator of social forces, and we're also capable of standing up to social forces, because I would say the individual is more powerful than the social force all things considered. Interestingly enough that the way to stop such things to from happening, the way to remember, properly is to understand that. That you could do it. That you could do those terrible things because the people who did them were like you. And the way out of that is to stop being like that. And the way you stop being like that is well, at least in part by stock by ceasing to tell yourself lies that you don't believe in, and that, you know, you shouldn't act out and that's made a huge difference in my life for better for worse. I mean it was very uncanny experience. I would say because it's very dis- -combobulate thing too. Experience yourself as. Fragmented enough. So that much of what you do in say is actually false. It's a lot of work to clean that up a lot. But the consequences are in principle. Worthwhile. And so that was part of. Understanding that was part of what drove me towards clinical psychology, say, in a way from political science and law from politics in general, because I started to believe that, and I think this is the great western idea. Which people were quite irritated about by the way on QNA last night, as well that the proper forward for the redemption of the individual and for mankind as a whole is, as a consequence of the redemption of each individual, and I truly believe that and I believe that that occurs as a consequence of. Adherence to the truth and courage in the face of being that's rule one, right? Stand up straight with your shoulders back is to take on the onslaught and to enter the contentious ring and to do your to do and to do more than your best because your best isn't enough because your best isn't as good as you could be have to push yourself past that. And that's as far as I can tell where you find what you need in life. You find the meaning that sustains you in life. And you find the patterns of action that redeem the world, both at the same time life is very difficult business. It's fatal and it's full of suffering. And it's and it's full of betrayal, and malevolence. There's nothing about it. That's trivial. It's all profound. And in order to find your way through all of that. That, that capacity for hellish experience. Let's say you need to develop a relationship with something that's profound, and you can have that capacity. And what could be more profound than the truth? And what would you rather have on your side, and you might say, well, that's obvious. And of course, everyone should do that. And then you need to know why you don't answer is well, sort of encapsulated in this first amusing question, don't. Thank you for in lightning, my soul. The burns are still healing. It's like, well Newell, there's no shortage of deadwood burn off and. And there's no shortage of pain when the dead wood burns off. And that's what makes people afraid of the truth. You know. Maybe that's why Moses encountered God in burning Bush, who the hell knows. But there's something about that idea that seems to me to be the case. And so. What's the decision that you make? No, you decide to believe, you know, it's a risk an existential risk to active faith. You believe that the truth can set you free. You believe that people have an intrinsic divinity about, those soul, you decide that you're going to live in that manner, and that you're going to let everything about yourself that isn't worthy of that goal die. And that might be almost everything that you are. And that's a terrible thing to contemplate. The only thing that's worse. I would say is the alternative because the alternative is. This sorts of hell's that we managed to produce around, and that we produced with particular expertise during the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. And it would be a good thing if we decided collectively and individually not go back there again. Thank you. If you found this conversation meaningful, you might think about baking dad's books maps of meaning the architecture, belief or is newer bestseller, while rules for life, an antidote to chaos. Both of these works del much deeper into the topics. Covered in the George V Peterson podcast. See Jordan Peterson dot com for audio book, and text links pick up the books at your favorite bookseller. I really hope you enjoyed this podcast if you did, please leave a rating at apple podcasts. Comment review share this episode with a friend. If you didn't don't leave any ratings next podcast is going to be a continuation of this commentary on dad's believe in God and discussion with Dennis Prager. You also on God hope you enjoy it hope you learned something hope you have a wonderful week. Follow me on my YouTube channel Jordan Peterson on Twitter at Jordan Peterson on Facebook at Dr Jordan Peterson and Instagram Jordan dog be Peterson details on this show access to my blog information about tour dates and other events. And my list of recommended books can be found on my website, Jordan Peterson dot com. My online writing programs designed to help people straighten out their pasts understand themselves in the present, and develop a sophisticated vision and strategy for the future can be found itself, offering dot com that self authoring dot com. Westwood One podcast network.

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