Another WW2 vet passes

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Jordan B. Peterson / 12 Rules for Life

I don’t normally pick up psychology / self help books, but I did grab 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B. Peterson. (link to Amazon page)

The author ended up on my radar after his Channel 4 interview recently went viral. He debates the gender pay gap and more with liberal reporter Cathy Newman, who repeatedly fails to put words in his mouth. The calm professionalism and pure reasoning he uses to pick apart her baiting is awesome. If you haven’t watched it, please do.

I’m only on the second chapter, but I’m quoting a condensed passage here. It’s preaching to the choir here, but I found it so well written I reread that chapter several times.


Sometimes people are bullied because they can’t fight back. This can happen to people who are weaker, physically, than their opponents. This is one of the most common reasons for the bullying experienced by children…

But just as often, people are bullied because they won’t fight back. This happens not infrequently to people who are by temperament compassionate and self-sacrificing….. It also happens to people who have decided, for one reason or another, that all forms of aggression, including feelings of anger, are morally wrong. I have seen people with a particularly acute sensitivity to petty tyranny and over-aggressive competitiveness restrict within themselves all the emotions that might give rise to such things….

With their capacity for aggression strait-jacketed within a too-narrow morality, those who are only or merely compassionate and self-sacrificing (and naive and exploitable) cannot call forth the genuinely righteous and appropriately self-protective anger necessary to defend themselves. If you can bite, you generally don’t have to. When skillfully integrated, the ability to respond with aggression and violence decreases rather than increases the probability that actual aggression will become necessary….

Naive, harmless people usually guide their perceptions and actions with a few simple axioms: people are basically good; no one really wants to hurt anyone else; the threat (and certainly, the use) of force, physical or otherwise, is wrong. These axioms collapse, or worse, in the presence of individuals who are genuinely malevolent….

I have had clients who were terrified into literally years of daily hysterical convulsions by the sheer look of malevolence on their attackers’ faces. Such individuals typically come from hyper-sheltered families, where nothing terrible is allowed to exist, and everything is fairyland wonderful (or else)…

When the wakening occurs–when once-naive people recognize in themselves the seeds of evil and monstrosity, and see themselves as dangerous (at least potentially) their fear decreases. They develop more self-respect…They see they can and must stand up… There is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character. This is one of the most difficult lessons of life.

From the hardcover, pages 23-25.


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