Last week I did my first interview with Jordan Peterson since October last year, which I then turned into the documentary ‘Truth in the Time of Chaos’, for my new media channel Rebel Wisdom.
I’d had a LOT of time to think about what questions to ask him this time out, though I knew I only had thirty minutes to ask them. In the end that turned into about 6 questions.
The most interesting answers were about his relationship to the left, points I’d never heard him make before.
This interview inspired us at Rebel Wisdom to produce a whole series of films about the left’s response to Jordan Peterson, and what his success says about this cultural moment — titled ‘What can the left learn from Jordan Peterson’.
As Peterson himself says: “You have to go after what you don’t know. You have to talk to people you don’t agree with. You have to talk to your enemies. But people don’t like that, they just talk to people who think the same way. And then they stay stupid.”
So here are the films we are launching today.
‘Jordan Peterson, censorship and the left’, with novelist, and journalist Tim Lott.
Tim wrote the first mainstream profile about Jordan Peterson for the Spectator magazine, and has published ten novels. A self-described “old lefty”, he describes his concern at the growing ideological censorship of literature and the arts.
‘What can the left learn from Jordan Peterson’, with Matthew Segall and Jesse Estrin from the California Institute of Integral Studies. We were put in touch with them after they put out their own podcast asking what the left could learn from the Jordan Peterson phenomena.
Both would describe themselves as very much of the left/progressive culture — particularly Jesse, who has worked in social justice for much of his life, but are willing to ask the questions — 1. why is the left so reactive to Jordan Peterson? and 2. how does the left go about owning its own shadow?
I’ve seen a few people on the left starting to ask the question — what can the left learn from the Jordan Peterson phenomena — often an act of bravery in progressive circles where he is persona non grata.
Ronan Harrington of the media channel Alter Ego put out a film comparing and contrasting Peterson and Russell Brand, getting some negative comments from some on the left for suggesting Peterson’s views might have some value. He explains how this is symptomatic of a political landscape where nuance is discouraged and we are all expected to make up our minds on one side of a binary choice.
Occasionally in our Rebel Wisdom films and articles we’ve referred to the Integral Theory of Ken Wilber, as a map of different levels of development, and how much of the current culture conflict can be mapped onto different value systems from these developmental levels. He also sketches out a new level of consciousness that is emerging in our culture — called ‘Integral’.
Jeff Salzman of the Integral Daily Evolver podcast put out a really interesting examination of Jordan Peterson’s ideas through an integral lens a few weeks ago. We did an interview with him where we ask the question directly, is Jordan Peterson Integral?
Lene Andersen is also a developmental theorist, as is Ken Wilber, and a big fan of Jordan Peterson’s mythopoetic framework. But given that he has been described as the “Custodian of the Patriarchy” by the New York Times, what does she make of that aspect of his thought?
We’ve also published an essay from Andrew Sweeny, “Jordan Peterson, Saviour of the left”.