12 Rules for Life
Jordan Peterson
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Context

Dr. Jordan Bernt Peterson is a Canadian Clinical Psychologist who serves as a Psychology Professor at the University of Toronto. Peterson's main areas of study include personality, abnormal and social Psychology. However, Peterson also has a strong interest in ideological belief and the psychology of religion. Peterson has made a significant contribution to the enhancement of performance and the improvement of personality. In 1999, Peterson immersed himself into the elite category of Canadian psychologists with the release of his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book borrowed from a wide spectrum of academic fields to describe the concepts of beliefs and myths and their impactful relationship on human emotion.  Despite a lapse in time,  Peterson delivered another monumental book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, in January of 2018.

Primarily, the life of any human being is inherently transient and ephemeral because of the different phase any individual finds himself or herself passing through. The essence of humanity generally forces an individual to experience a wide range of emotions, events, and stages. There are times when individuals experience the best moments of their lives, and there are times where they feel as if the world is crumbling. While few individuals have challenges in handling positive experiences, there remains a significant amount of people who are not equipped with the skills to cope with the more negative aspects of humanity. In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson explains these negative experiences as moments of chaos. During these times, the virtue of hope is often erased by hopelessness as well as the virtue of vision being erased by blindness. The world as we know it is often involved in a plethora of conflicts, intermingled with many hidden interests, ill-intentions, and surprises across powerful corporations, politicians, or executives, for instance. Individuals who are not able to execute proper coping skills during these conflicts are typically swept away by the vicious waves of chaos in the society.

Rules are the fulcrum upon which human life is anchored. The absence of the element of control, created by rules, results in anarchy. Human life is governed by rules, and when people deviate from the standards, they usually place themselves in undesirable situations. Ideologies, Peterson warns, are the substitutions of true knowledge. All people need to be wary of ideologies, regardless of whoever is peddling it, as they can distort or stray away from scientific evidence and proven knowledge, or knowledge that verifiable through repetition. In the book, Peterson has relied on established, verifiable truth in his discussion of human psychology. While the advancement of technology has proven to be beneficial ways, it has also exposed many, especially Millennials, to extremely misleading pieces of information. If universities and colleges base their teaching methods on such information, learners can be misled with inaccurate information. This can be extremely problematic as  modern students are now relying on a reckless system that conforms to modern trends.

Borrowing from history, religion, science and philosophical thought, Peterson provides a robust analysis of some of the features that humans need to survive in a time of danger. In a deliberate attempt to identify the psychological needs of the modern generation, Peterson addresses “practical wisdom” as a missing feature among millennials.  It is concerning that this generation assumes they have received the best education, but there are glaring intellectual and moral gaps in this group.  In the modern education systems, the word ‘virtue' is unheard of because some professionals believe it is abstract, less significant and inconsistent with modernity. The importance of this work, therefore, is that it exposes the flaws of the modern education systems and the catastrophic ramifications it has on the personality and psychological development of the students. Reading his work fills the voids that are created by the contemporary education systems, and in the process for holistic development of society.

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