Friday, June 29, 2018

You're Horrible Just The Way You Are!

Last night, one of our sons and I went to hear Jordan Peterson talk on his 12 Rules for Life. It was good fun and very Jordan-Petersony. That is, it was erudite, informative, well-considered and nearly without organization. His talks have a semi-Brownian motion aspect to them and he can wander off into a sidebar for quite a while before getting back to his topic. His sidebars are as good as the intended content, so it's no loss when he does it.

The Professor made a ton of good points and we made superhuman efforts to remember them. I heard a lot of focus on goals and my son heard a lot of focus on responsibility. Here's one that really struck me.

You're not perfect the way you are. In fact, you're a hot mess.

If you were perfect the way you are, why not just die now? After all, things can't get any better, can they?

If you're not perfect, the follow-up is that you have so much potential. With effort, a few decades from now, you'll be a whole lot better than you are now.

What occurred to me was that's a message of hope whereas telling someone they're perfect is a message of hopeless nihilism. No one really thinks they're perfect. We all know our faults. In fact, a lot of us focus too much on those faults. If we thought that we were perfect the way we were, that we would couldn't improve from the sinful, frequently wrong creature we are now, we'd despair. If we think that there is a future ahead where things get better due to our efforts, we can have hope and joy for life.

There. Pretty deep stuff. Enjoy!

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