Losing Our Religion • 2 April 2018

Been watching my worlds in paradigm shift.

Since October I’ve been journaling on gender and sex. There’s techtonic movement in every social world I inhabit: yoga, academia, art friends, professor friends, Montana/family/church, the internet. Reality is breaking open, or breaking down, for a lot of people.

It’s ok. Reality had it coming.

Most of what I’ve written is unsafe for the internet. Unsafe. Not because I care what you think about me. The part that cares about that has to die for writing to happen—part of why writing is heaven). Not that being liked matters either, but I feel insulated by this paradox: the more dangerous I am with my voice, the more genuine friendship deepens in my life. It’s mysterious. I voice the scary things, and by accident the kindred spirits show up. So: not being liked isn’t what’s scary in writing about gender. What’s scary is that my view could make someone counter-react in a regressive way. There is bolt of hatred running through the world-mind right now. If I put anyone on the defensive, that’s contributing to it. That does scare me.

But we’re nearly all in flux right now around sex and gender. Expansively, or reactively. For me it’s showing up as a heightened sensitivity to suffering around identity, role, and vicitimization. I value freedom – including freedom from history (by knowing it inside and out), and freedom from futures shoehorned into tight roles. So I’m interpreting the current gender trouble through those values even as my world view has been moving to accommodate the moment. I have always been hypersensitive to the gender hatreds: misogyny, misandry, transphobia, homophobia and so on. I can make analytical arguments to “prove” a hidden violence is in play, but mine is not an analytical experience. It’s nausea.

Paradigm shifts happen in culture and carry people away with them, but what really interests me is the internally chosen shifts. We’ve been talking about this here for a year – those luminous moments and people who decide to recondition their minds. Some of you have shared amazing personal histories and hacks for self-creation, and I been thinking a lot about what you’ve said. What is that like, to be a person who has deliberately changed a received belief system that felt too small?

And, have you done it more than once? Stopped and responsively, deliberately remade some part of your mind? I think that the first time that happens, it’s tempting to take the new worldview as The Real Truth. Like the mystical-religious kids who morph into either market fundamentalists or Marxists (check). Like the vinyasa students reborn as ashtangis (check). Revolutions are often domain specific – a rebirth in the conscious aspects of the belief system around gender, for example, does not mean reorganization of the personality.

Here’s an insight many have found. If a person makes more than one big, coherent paradigms shift in their life, they realize: a paradigm is skin, not spine. You must have skin to function. It doesn’t work to take it off. But, if you’re exfoliating properly, it’s going to replace itself every seven years. (Otherwise you get crusty.) If you mature you worldview BUT stay friends with the past selves, then you learn to flex your metaphysics. Beneath the worldview are a person’s real values and character, which I suspect are pretty stable. (The kindest tender-loving kid from first grade is doing tough guy now, but I’ll always trust the soul in there.)

The thing about staying friends with the past selves (even delusional or toxic selves) is that it lets you remember how that corner of consciousness operates. Minds are not so private. Your old paradigm is still live in lots of other people, so the more you hold, the greater the range of your empathy. For me, flexing my metaphysics was Lesson One in meeting people where they’re at.

It becomes safer and safer to set aside an absolutist belief. Gently. There’s an underlying dynamic here. The subject of the current phase becomes the object (of the subject) of the next phase. You look at the past self from outside its skin (1)(2).

It’s hard to even know what your world-view is when your whole mind’s inside it. One of the discovery methods is to follow the emotional hotspots. So, in this situation, what experiences around gender and sex are supercharged…? Ok, great that there’s passion. One might open those doors, slowly and safely. The heat is there for a reason.

But I think it is the cold spots are the key for growth in consciousness. Anything that elicits “I won’t go there,” or “I won’t hear that,” or the dismissive and anti-curious “you’re making something out of nothing.” Those are the hidden doors currently getting blown open. Some believe systems have lots of triggers, but what about those that push almost everything out?

A lot of my perception this year hinges on being ¾ off social media. I have loved the internet for 20 years. Early social media was an underground full of weird creatives, not this thing you had to participate in to be socially viable. Now I’m more grateful than ever to have this blog space, eleven years going, as a portal for connection and change. There have never been ads here and I don’t keep stats; nothing to game. Seth Godin and Jason Kottke have written recently about the importance of blogs – of course Google discontinued the Reader years back because they want these outposts to die, but for MANY of us still using the internet as a quiet signal, and RSS is still going strong. That’s my feed once again. Meantime I think my ability to take a full, fairly nonreactive view of the present moment is predicated on not reading corporate-curated feeds.

The magical little girl in me knows that we all experience social media in either a childish or a highly evolved sort of magic-mind. Memes are spells. Mantras don’t start now with an inhalation: they start with a hash tag.

Be careful in there, my friends. The Christian magicians, at least, do more spellcasting for protection than they do for communication with spirits (don’t ask me how I know this). If you’re just wandering around the dungeon without at least a shield, you’re getting hit with a lot of dark art. I wonder if that makes us much more vulnerable to absorbing reactive, regressive, pre-scripted worldviews.


Question. If you had an afternoon, could you go back and write the arc of your unfolding belief-value systems from age 10 to now? I began doing this periodically at 22, when my commitment to post-truth postmodernism (which I’d thought was the end of the road) gave way to a stripped-down pragmatism that enabled me to do actual research. Mapping past worldviews makes history conscious! It opens up the horizon. AND I think this process helps safeguard against regressive worldviews, especially when there are so many charismatic haters now, trying to turn us into intellectual children.

Yoga is the cultivation of discernment. We don’t GET to hang out in defensive belief systems (3). Yoga is the play, and sometimes-resolution, of apparent opposites. We don’t get to linger too long in a reactive stance.

Here’s one short version with apologies if my taste in books is too strange. My first religion was a mystical Jesus obsession when I was 3, and some part of me still can go there. Not ashamed of having been 3. Then there was the superstitious kid, who didn’t understand physics but saw that one event follows another, and started trying to hack causality. If this cow lets me touch the whorl on his forehead when I climb up the fence, then the boy I love at school loves me. Everything was magic. Maybe Piaget has a name for that consciousness; for me there’s just a remnant interiority. A few worldviews later there were a libertarian phase, age 16 and learning to read the newspaper through the biases of the people I considered strong. But at 19 I moved to Costa Rica, learned about the CIA’s parallel state, and doubled back in those politics, developing a whole center of gravity to hold my new critique in place. All of that, I still sympathize with now. It’s not that I was delusional; I was right about limited, biased experience. Not stupid; just not as free.

The process got really tight in my 20s, while I read the chronological history of western philosophy from Democritus to Rorty. Men talking to each other. It was a setup. Identify with each view one so well that a little piece of you moves outside it – and when you step forward into that another little piece of you. Plato to Aristotle. Locke to Kant. Russell to Wittgenstein. De Saussure to Derrida.

This is how it works. Identify with the idol; heat-seek for inner contradiction; transcend/include. Study the self to forget the self (4). Get used to the rhythm. It’s not supposed to end. If you are on the active edge of human consciousness, the wave will keep you moving unless you give up and dig in to the sand and decide to be old.

The thing is, we are always always changing (5). We have no choice about this. Every cell, every thought, every experience is dying every second and what comes out of that is something new. The only place we have choice is around the tone and nature of this process of living. Commitment to expansion and growth is a meta-belief that changes change. Without it, entropy and regression are just as likely. Maybe more.


So. The most insane symbolic thing that could happen, happened. Talking about The Terrible Obvious can facilitate the next internal shift, and help it be responsive rather than defensive.

That insane symbolic thing pulled a base Jenga block out of the western mind’s cognitive structure of normalcy. It was the block called Meritocracy. We sort of knew that there was a lot of invisible rigging to the power tower. But on some level most of us could believe that the most important forms of power (I’m talking the traditional powers of government: monopoly of violence and wealth (6)) accrued by hard work, inborn intelligence, and talent.

Then the Seed of Chucky assumed the symbolic Seat of world power. Regressed. Incompetent. Unqualified. Unwanting. Genuinely racist. Whole-heartedly misogynist. It’s beside the point if previous people in the Seat were just as incompetent or unqualified. They didn’t use their non-merit as part of an overtly traumatizing, symbolic domination style (if you’re not traumatized, I would ask you to resonate with anyone whose symbolic identities do not overlap with the Seed of Chucky: an immigrant, a person of color, a female person, a homosexual person, a trans person). What I feel everyone adapting to is this: someone of no merit, someone who has literally achieved nothing in life, someone who didn’t even try… got The Codes. Meritocracy is broken. Symbolic power (just one kind of power) is embodied in a scornful, bullying, rich, white, misogynist, genuinely fascistic man who lacks curiosity, discipline, concentration, or thinking skills.

If meritocracy was our god, that god is dead.

Ouch. Ok. Good. What is the next generative move? (7) What is the big life-loving, freedom-expanding, move?

Or: extremely not good. In that case, what’s the next easy, available, regressive move? How do I re-establish a self in spite of this, without acknowledging it affects me?

Those are the questions I think my overlapping worlds are all living in. Here are a few random new ideas from out of that churn.

I. We’re all up on toxic masculinity. A lot of it is so sad, because it locks a man in having to know everything (especially being an expert on how others are stupid), having to do everything, having to kick ass to be loved, not getting to know your feelings, never experiencing sympathy and help, and tragic cuddle deprivation. I think toxic feminity is also pretty obvious in my worlds now. It hinges on the outward force of toxic masculinity (and vice-versa), which is the gaze that objectifies and conquers everyone and everything. A feminine mind that has internalized the gaze is always self-objectifying, which is incredibly neurotic and alienating and sad, yet a somewhat personal suffering. It goes toxic when that feminine mind needs everyone, not just her erotic mates, to look at her wantingly.

Relentless, overpowering domination of others’ attention is a major, and toxic, drive in our times. I think it is a power dynamic that grows out of biological truths expanded and twisted around a new kind of hyper-ego. And, I think we all kind of know this.

But what I see now is a particular, capitalist expression of this toxicity in the form of arguments that patriarchy is not a problem as long as “I get mine.” Hey I can work this system to my own advantage, so that’s feminism. Yes. This is a form of feminism. It’s also narcissistic and disconnected. If your idea of freedom is so limited that you’re happy with a violent society so long as you get yours; if you can smell misandry and misogyny on your own breath and are fine so long as you get the spoils of whatever game you’re playing… maybe time for the next turning of the wheel.

The best generative move I know from toxic masc-fem is mystic intersubjectivity. Martin Buber marks the way, and it’s a very sexy one (8).

II. Back to the regressive playbook. In perfect response to an Identity Politician running America, identity politics has hardened into two extreme poles (9). I think this includes a mass denial of the present moment. The right wing of identity politics looks backwards to a way we never were (the good old days when a man was a man and a woman was a woman (10). The left wing looks forward to the way we’ll never be –some utopian world in which Group X gets to have The Power, instead of addressing the unfreedom of our system of Imperial rule (11).

There’s a right wing identity politics? Yes, that’s what’s holding left wing itentitarianism in place, and understandably many in my world are swinging that direction. It’s Milo and Jordan Peterson. They’re enraged, condescending, and driven by a sense of victimhood even as they deny the victimhood of others. JDP exists as the world’s breathless (literally, he doesn’t breathe) defender of meritocracy – he tells you CEOs just work harder, are smarter, are more conscientious; and women get exactly what they want – they choose their subordination, choose older mates, have better things to do than direct society, and can’t be reasoned with because hitting them is frowned on. Also birth control led to a battle of the sexes and liberal divorce laws are a problem; boys should only take seriously girls who want to have children because those who don’t are alienated from their purpose in life – even though he concedes population numbers are just about to fall off a cliff because there are too many humans. Exhale.

Again, the head honcho of the free world is a nightmare clown. On some level I think most of us want to believe again in meritocracy. That’s not a problem, it’s just good hard reality. What breaks my heart most is the hidden ways that right wing identity politics hates men. I’m so sorry. What man wants to have his choices and roles narrowed down into pure suffering? What man wants to be disposable, the same way patriarchy has made you disposable all along as soldiers and workers? The intellectual and emotional challenge, and lack of compassionate support, for young men trying to find their way rips my heart out. You don’t have to be a condescending angry crustacean to survive the challenges ahead. Maybe for six months. But the thing is, crustaceans literally have no brains. A human has a whole mind and a great big fluffy consciousness to float forward on.

III. We go along now with the angry strongmen because we long for a good, strong dad. I do, at least. So deeply. I know because I have one; and I do everything in my power to give him space to be even stronger and more caring every day. But is an angry man with no feminine force within and beside him a good man?

To turn a mindset into an object, we need to be able to name and describe it objectively. THIS is why there is so much fight now around the P word. Patriarchy is not bad, and matriarchy is not bad. These are analytical objects. But if you aren’t allowed to talk about either of them, because supposedly they are not real, then you will remain forever trapped inside them. The strongmen will rage until the end against their form of power being named. That is the beginning of their end. Real men don’t suffer when we name that situation. Just the figureheads.

Once we are allowed to talk about leadership structures objectively, so much opens up. So much. The first previously hidden thing I see is how harmful male rule is for men. Unless you’re the isolated one on top, your very masculinity makes you subordinate. The women next to you, even, are potentially the quarry of the big man. In strongman and guru cultures without a healthy and equal feminine wisdom-decision source, I think what happens is that men’s ability to rise up to corrupt power gets crushed more than anything else. I’m not the first one to see this. But power corrupts, and as those in power become more audacious, the self-esteem of those who can’t stand up to it erodes. There’s little room now for women to speak to men of the pain of man-only rule. What I want to know is how much it hurts men to always be subordinate to a lopsided power that becomes increasingly corrupt. (Healing around what psychoanalysts call the mother wound feels like one very generative next move in this space.)

IV. If you know me, you know I’m my dad’s girl. He’s a conservative Christian preacher, and the last in a long line of first sons, a line that ended the moment I was born. I don’t think that was easy for him. And then suddenly, it was. At the same time, all this went in my mind from being fraught and shameful to being simultaneously adorable, hilarious,and deep well of meaning and archetypical power. A week ago he caught me reading Buddhism after Patriarchy when I visited home. Two if not three of those words would have put him on the defensive pre-2016. But this time he and my mom were just curious. What does Buddhism have to do with you? I took the route of describing it as just another paradigm, like Christianity or Yoga. Huh. And partriarchy? Well in Buddhism there was this weird idea that women couldn’t be wise and couldn’t lead. And then for the most part that idea went away, and this book is about how they’re still adjusting. Huh. Just curiosity in them, whereas two years ago I’d have been ashamed to share.

My dad is the magic guy in their world, and their house is one big altar of sacred and ritual objects. I hated that when I stopped being magical-mystical and went full rational-intellectual for a decade or so. There’s trumpet he fashioned from a cow’s horn that he only blows at three meaning-moments, including a call to prayer, and what he terms the crowing of a new king. This is the first time in his life he hasn’t believed in America’s king. But last weekend, he sounded the horn. I don’t know, but it made me want to try to pray.

V. Gaze as domination-of-all is problematic. But it’s just one of many ways of gazing, while looking on beauty is one of many doors to oneness. Radiance is real. The body in physical and visual experiences is also real, and so good. There is so much in my experience of beauty that falls in the biologically or energetically “feminine” fields. For example: my emotional body (how my feelings shift to mirror what’s happening in my environment) and my hypersensitivity to tiny peripheral-visual cues about others’ states of consciousness makes me a very good kind of being for serving as a connector. People-to-people. Or information-to-people. There’s something in there about leadership that has nothing to do with competition, objectification or domination.

In the meantime, in these present most ugly and painful times I’ve lived through, keeping my eyes wide open I perceive more beauty than anything else. All the time. I think this has to do with seeing chaos as literally and physically beautiful, as long as it contains a spark of commitment to growth. I can’t step out and see or name the paradigm I am in now, but when I seek the strong emotions in it, that one is blazing.

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1. I take this from Phenomenology of Sprit by GWF Hegel. Last part of the book is golden.

2. Same idea, different riff.

3. Anything on the abuse triad of victim/aggressor/savior is a defensive belief system.

4. That’s Dogen 🙂

5. That’s Octavia Butler.

6. Max Weber defines the State as a monopoly of violence. In other words the ultimate means of control and discipline are centralized. Weber is amazing, but I feel like Michael Mann’s Sources of Social Power is more and more relevant for an understanding of the current breakdown of the international system.

7. What is the next generative move? That’s from Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Marie Brown.

8. Best for this is his I And Thou. Could be called, How To Get Any One You Want.

9. Angela Nagle is so good on this. Her new book is short and kind of essential for people who use the internet to learn about politics.

10-11. A man was never a man and a woman was never a woman. Studying history, it’s clear that regnant system is one that involves marginalization of transpeople who have always been with us, and homosexuality that has always been in is. There’s a transperson in the Tarot. The Greek geniuses were gay. In America, colonial law erased the multiple genders in found in the native Americans, cut these people’s hair, pathologized their beautiful forms of self adornment, made their language illegal, and forced them into Catholic schools. I don’t know what genderways were lost here along with so much else, but the way we were is not Little House on the Prairie.


  • Maria Long
    Posted 8 April 2018 at 7:59 pm | #

    The seed of Chucky- I love you

    Need 2 more re-reads

    • (OvO)
      Posted 8 April 2018 at 10:25 pm | #

      XO. Yeah it’s pretty dense 🙂

  • Posted 9 April 2018 at 5:24 pm | #

    Wow, will also need some rereads. Thank you for bringing forth so openly. Hope to cross paths in person some day. A deep bow of gratitude.

    • (OvO)
      Posted 10 April 2018 at 1:47 pm | #

      Thanks 🙂

  • Michelle Ryan
    Posted 10 April 2018 at 12:32 am | #

    Thanks for this. Just shared it with my son, whom I really hope reads it and ponders.

    • (OvO)
      Posted 10 April 2018 at 1:47 pm | #


  • Posted 10 April 2018 at 8:12 pm | #

    Really? Martin Buber moonlighting as a JDate.com zunoifirer (matchmaker)? Ummm, nope. Though maybe this extreme extension of what it means to be a “tree hugger” (TH ISO another TH?) works for some folks. Not my usual Buber, that’s for sure.

    • (OvO)
      Posted 10 April 2018 at 9:24 pm | #

      Haha! No, I’m implying that what everyone secretly wants is intimacy. And if they go looking for yet another self-help or how-to-play-the-game book here, they’ll find what they really want in this sense. XO

  • FLorian
    Posted 11 April 2018 at 10:37 am | #

    Dear OvO,

    what do you want to express with this? Whom do you mean with “charismatic haters”?

    “AND I think this process helps safeguard against regressive worldviews, especially when there are so many charismatic haters now, trying to turn us into intellectual children.”

    Within on of the following parts of your article you’re adressing some critics on Jordan B. Peterson. Have you read his books or listened to his lectures at University of Toronto (Maps of Meaning & Personality)?

    Peterson is following a path along evolution itself, metastories of mankind, psychology and the functioning of our brain. He is following a similar way as you maybe did when reading the philosophical and psychological literature of western civilisation, but choses to adopt a more scientific theories for his journey.

    What makes him somehow unbearable for you is his focus in brutality withhin mankind, but in special on the brutality of fascism, lenism/stalinism/maoism which unfolded in the last century and left a mount everest of murdered corpses.

    Peterson is also a fan of some great literature that is describing the path toward and the path through the murde camps of 20th century.

    Peterson has within that brutality found his emphaty for mankind and states clear – as all the big “religions” have done – that human being is to a big degree suffering. That is buddism, that is PatanjaliYoga, that is Christianity.

    But the soul of every single individuum matters for Peterson, I want to contradict. He does not care about gender-differences of man and woman as individuals. But he makes clear that man and woman are different to some degrees as a result of 3,5 Mio years of evolution. Maybe this is your (OvO) toxic point of perception, that you wouldn’t try to understand Petersons personal approach?

    And everery individual (not as a woman or a man or between, Petersondoes not care about that) has a duty, to reach for reduction of suffering within it’s personal life and the lifes of its surrounding nature. Following Peterson you have to aim for some meaning in life, you have to sharpen your perception, stay away from dogma, become a better person, become enlightenend. Thats his antidode against tyranny, against totalirism.

    That has very much of Ashtanga Yoga, from my humble opinion,

    I recommend every Ashtangi to read Petersons ’12 rules’. It fits very well into the Yama/Niyama part of the Yoga Sutra and gives a lot of insight on how to sharpen your mind on a single topic (of how to think about one sentence in depth).

    Kind regards

    • (OvO)
      Posted 11 April 2018 at 2:43 pm | #

      Thanks for your comment, Florian.

      It sounds like possibly I’ve listened to this guy’s work more that you have. The reason for this is that I have some students who asked me to do so. I liked him at first, and was confused when a friend told me he had a serious problem with civil rights issues. Then I kept listening. Then I started to realize what is really going on with him in terms of his discriminatory message, and the lack of intellectual basis for his most extreme claims – with lie outside his limited expertise.

      All of the misogynistic claims I mention above come directly from his mouth in lectures.

      He has an extremely devoted following. I think this is a phase many people are going through at this time.

      The devotion and defense of him is a direct result of his charisma.

      This does not apply to you comment. But his most extreme followers (there are a lot of hateful ones on twitter and in the right wing identity politics world that Angela Nagle studies) have a tendency to think they are better informed than other people. Again, not that your comment is hateful or that this generalization applies to your very reasonable and respectful comment. However, the extreme certainty (including when factually wrong), bitterness, resentment, and anger in his tone have the effect of creating a very strong superiority + victimhood complex in his most passionate devotees.

      Maybe listen more if you don’t believe me, from the perspective of a woman, or a transperson. You might be really surprised. Maybe even shocked. I was. This is hard core misogyny. Make no mistake.

      • Florian
        Posted 11 April 2018 at 9:47 pm | #

        Dear OvO,

        thank you as well, the Internet is a great place to connect and discuss. I came here some month ago following a link of grimmly2007. I read some of your articles, this one I found strange to follow which motivated me to talk with you about the Arguments and thinking of JBP. Thanks for making this possible!

        Where do we start from here, there is so much to say that can’t be written down in just a few minutes?

        1) We could start with quoting a part your answer:

        “I liked him at first, and was confused when a friend told me he had a serious problem with civil rights issues.”

        I don’t know J.B.Peterson very well and just for some weeks, neither do you, but I’m kind of interested in his lectures that are very refreshing. I also read his newest book in these days of April. I’m reading a lot of other stuff , so I’m not a Fanboy of the holy JBP :-). As I’m very much interested in the history of European (or better said modern) Totalitarian Systems of the last century it’s easy to follow JBP thinking in some aspects, so his thoughts catch me.

        What is evident that JBP does not have problems with civil right issues, I recommend to listen to him sitting right in front of a Chamber of the Canadian Senate and giving a lot of proper cause shapenend arguments for free speach. As he himself explains he does not want to be forced to use Special pronouns by law. He also claims that such regulatons will somehow not help minorities like transpersons (in Germany for example there was a third gender judgement by the highest law some month ago that will set a lot of future transgender-children under immense social pressure where they once where able to hide, just by good will you cannot force the good to come into the life of minorities, maybe they have to suffer more then before (just my two Cents)).

        Where does JBPs arguments come from, should be a reasonable question? I started to describe JBP in my former post as some emphatic Intellectual who is very much interested in the malicious 20.th century as he himself was as a Young man scared by a third (atomic) world war.. But going behind that he is interested how mankind can be secured from more of this people-eating Monster of brutality that is part of our human nature (such Monster that becomes very hungry in utopian and religious-dogmatic societies). He is interested in how to bring seemingly opposed ideas of reality into harmony (f.e. Rosseau and Popper).

        JBP comes to conclusion that the kind of freedom (material and mind-oriented), that is given to us inhabitants of the richer nations of the 21.century, is not free to have. it is not a civil right that stands eternally for it’s own. You (General speaking) as an individual have to act propper to let freedom grow. You as an individual have to act propper to reduce suffering around you. You have to stand up against tyranny.

        But as he very often mentions: it is just one Interpretation, as there are many aspects of reality that he cannot know as no single human can know everything.

        2) Therefore we could also start from another point of view, the similarities between the believe System of Patanjali and the one of JBP. Both are willing to free the Individuum from suffering, from paining others. Both are willing to enlighten the indiidual. Both are willing to bring Meditation to life. Both force you to act that out, to work at yourself and your perception every single day. Both dig deep at your existential border. both afford propper reading and understanding of the philosophical/mystical/ancient Texts.

        Maybe this comparison lacks, maybe not.

        3) We could also start discussing his Picture of women. I know that this is a poor Argument, but do you know how badly women are suppressed in islamic countries? how women suffer from genital Mutilation in some parts of Africa. how women where seen in agraric cultures ..

        As mentioned before: what JBP teaches has the aim to strenghten the individual. That includes women to 100%. He adores his wife and loves his daughter .

        But of course, and that makes you angry about him, he is an Evolutionist and biologist to some degree that worked with a lot of mentally ill People and has studied many years on behaviour of animals and humans. JBPs insight is that women and men differ in some aspects of life, which has evolutionary reasons but also cultural reasons. This is science, this is also Democracy where you are allowed to think about such Things.

        One aspect is that women are capable of getting children as men are not (everyone of us has a mother, but not everyone can become a mother). I would say: no surprise, that is hard to handle for those who have children and also for those that decide not to have children or have other reasons by nature (trans, gay,…). all three sides include suffering and joy, JBP does only want to adress the Topic of how men and women of the first category often act like. fair enough. he is just bringing the bad News which does not fit into some Dogma.

        But maybe there is something right about your critics under this Point 3), I don’t know. Just got into this discussion with you. But shouldn’t God or Reality or Nature be blamed then. Why blame them, I think? Make the best of it instead.


        I think you shouldn’t blame JBP for some Folks who are writing things under his Name, Many of the Videos on YouTube quoting him have silly titles to make tons of clicks more propable for these guys sending the Videos under their names. same is Happening with People of the left that act in similar ways on Twitter and elsewhere (at universities as well where men are called toxic and Whites are called privileged).

        And here is the core of JBPs thinking: he is resentful and hateful only then when People want humans to be categorized as WHITE, as BLACK, as JEWS, as KULAKS, as VOLKSFEIND. This kind of Categorization brings us to the killing fields, the concentration camps, the Archpel GULAG, to the places where humanity is at it’s worst ground. And the next round of this game won’T be less disgusting.

        The devotion and defense of him is therefore NOT a direct result of his Charisma, it is a direct result of his Argumentation and propper thinking (of Course just in that Frames where he is good at: clynical Psychlogy, religious thinking Totalitarian Systems, bringing different Frames together). What he has to say about asian believe systems f.e. seems to be poor.

        Have a nice evening, I enjoy mine and hope you could find some of my Arguments reasonable and interesting. if I insulted you, I’m sorry

        Om shanti

        PS: the last word could be from JBP himself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5RCmu-HuTg

        • (OvO)
          Posted 11 April 2018 at 9:58 pm | #

          Dear Florian, Thank you so much for this considered response. I’m working every day without a break for a couple of weeks, so don’t have the bandwidth your considered thoughts deserve. But so as not to ignore this, a quick comment…

          It might help toto watch his videos on “western women” (the claims there about “what women go for” are junk science, speaking as a social scientist myself), and his interview with Camille Paglia, where he says women can’t be reasoned with because you can’t hit them.

          See also: this, this, and this.

          And the search results for “Jordan Peterson misogyny.”

          I think for a lot of us, because he’s so clear in his misogyny, and also so unoriginal (some of the woman-hating things he says, for example the attack on liberal divorce laws or the claim that birth control is bad for the male-female dynamic, are well established woman-hating tactics), this is a great way to learn about systematic hatred of women in western culture. (There is also systematic hatred of men in western culture, and this is also a problem. Just a different topic.) This kind of rhetoric has a history in modern though, as Mishra’s piece above notes. There’s nothing original here – it’s just so clear that it’s an opportunity for good critical reflection and learning.

          It is similar with his hatred of transpeople. This is the civil rights issue I originally didn’t understand him to be using in such a bigoted way. His entire argument hinges on a convenient misunderstanding of the case he supposedly argues against. It is self-promoting sophistry.

          I don’t blame the guy for anything.

          He’s just forthrightly a misogynist, which I didn’t realize at first but becomes clear to anyone upon examination of his basic arguments and use of language.

  • Florian
    Posted 12 April 2018 at 7:13 pm | #

    Dear OvO,

    that point goes to you – maybe he is a mysogonist. Nothing to be proud of and which could be adressed in some QA directly to JBP. On the other hand he is definitely not hateful against transpeople, how do you come to such a misinterpretation? I have seen him argumenting on that Topic and

    On JBP (a last time, as I said: I’m not a fanboy, just interested in his Topics ‘development’, ‘responsibility’, ‘totalitarism’ and so on): I like his Argumentation, as well as I can understand when you and others say that some of his Arguments are one-dimensional (for example when he explains how Fascism in Germany evolved).

    But what I really like about that guy is how he get’s me at my existential Problems of life, which my mind is wandering around even while doing the Primary. And he gives advise how to fix them to some degree, how to handle und to reduce suffering (f.e. how to reduce resentment). He also Forces me to think about some human faiths more in detail, to “meditate” on aspects of suffering. As I said before, he comes very Close to the ideas of the first two limbs of AshtangaYoga, where it is all about ‘bringing your house in perfect order’ (non literally speaking).

    Warm regards


    The article of the author named Brent Cooper: he starts with sentences like These:

    “I am calling Peterson a detractor — ‘a person who disparages someone or something’ — as he is well known for his cutting critiques of postmodernism and marxism.”

    “However, he is a detractor in the aforementioned sense; criticizing mere caricatures and straw-persons of complex ideological frameworks and legitimate academic approaches, throwing the baby out with the bath water, missing the forest through the trees, as it were.”

    Is he joking? Did Brent ever read anything about the destroyed millions and millions of “trees” within the Soviet Union and huge parts of Eastern Europe and parts of Asia (starting right in 1918 and lasting more or less 40 years until Stalins dead). Is he denying this? I don’t think so but he misses the emphaty of JBP regarding the lost forests, the emphaty that makes JBPs ideas so interesting.

    “simplifications of the concepts — postmodernism and marxism — vital aspects get ignored or glossed over, and he ends up presenting a harsher position than is necessary or appropriate.”

    Those vital aspects are murderous aspects that laugh cynically about humanity at it’s core. That is George Lucas very famous “2nd ethics”. Later the authors ideas become transparent:

    “Considering this, as much as we ask ‘why did postmodernism fail?’ we should ask ‘how was the rebellion crushed?’ And crushed by conservatism, to be specific.”

    We should ask why people not want to end up in deconstruction of their lifes and families in concentration camps. But as Brent states People are just to dumb to follow the ideas of postmodernism and now metamodernism as they won’t understand the differences between ‘POMO’ and Marxism. In case someone is using marxian ideas as a big part of his believe System (I think), there should be fear and disgust. Brent does not understand that fear is not exactly related to dumbness.

    “This is, in short, why he’s galvanizing so much right-wing interest, because they never ‘got’ abstract postmodernism or marxism in the first place. ”

    Sorry, I Don’t get it as well, but I know that the French fathers of postmodernism (like Satre) ignored the gruelities of real existing Marxism and where Salon-Communists (in the real existing Marxism they would have lost their lifes and their hole world unintentionelly as well sooner or later. But that is on the other hand why the hole left-right-story is watering the whole discussion in general. That is what made me answer your post, I think you are demonizing JBP to easily. Maybe he is demonizing your believe system, fair enough. There are a lot of true diamonds in his thinking that can be found. Even if your readers cannot find any good about his ideas, they can find Solchenizyn, the can find Nietzsche, they can find Jung. Good education, I’d say.

    Last at all: this sentence of Bret is stupid: “Peterson should criticize the Right just as much if not more, for creating the systemic conditions so hostile and oppressive to Leftism that they’ve radicalized or been neutered.”

    Here in Europe there are huge problems with radicalized islamic migrants that don’t want to or cannot or are not allowed by their believe system and peer groups to integrate themselves into society/culture. Is this the European Systems fault or the fault of their believe system? What does ‘radicalized’ mean? What would an radicalized Ashtangi do? What an radicalized Buddhist? They would CARE about people and their souls, not reject and kill them.

    • (OvO)
      Posted 12 April 2018 at 7:37 pm | #


      1. Why argue with the easiest points of detraction? Isn’t it more fun and interesting to look at the really good points there, and consider them in a real way for the sake of understanding?

      2. Sincerely, I was not aware that practicing primary series was a method for working out one’s existential situation. My impression was that the formal time on the mat was devoted to feeling the body and concentrating on the breath, as a way of sharpening the tool of the discerning mind. Is it the time to be thinking about meta-physical questions of existence? Or… is it rather a method for being with the mind-body in a concentrated way? 🙂

      3. Transpeople regard JDP’s crusade against their right to exist (on a linguistic level) as trans-phobic. I believe them. Do you?

      4. When I have time later I’ll come back to the matter of treatment of women in Muslim countries, which you mention in one of your original comments. I wonder if, going back to read what you wrote there, you might agree it is a bit threatening?

  • Florian
    Posted 12 April 2018 at 8:04 pm | #

    PS: the rest of the article of Brent Cooper is very interesting. thanks

    • (OvO)
      Posted 12 April 2018 at 8:15 pm | #

      🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Florian
    Posted 12 April 2018 at 9:26 pm | #

    1.) I will do my very best. can you recommend something like a ‘must read’?

    2.) I will do my very best (as Kind of novice I still am), but the mind is squizzy and wandering around yet

    3.) of Course I believe them, but it’s not the point. Just an example regarding islamic or (oldschool)christian Dogma:

    when following your Argumentation that trans-People are hurt by words (who is not time by time hurt by something..), you could rectify very easily the murdering of french caricaturists by islamic radicals. they where Insulted, how hard to understand by someone outstanding. the Insult was pointing directrly on their concept and Authority of god.

    So on the one Hand there is authority, on the other Hand there is freedom of speech and thoughts (how disgusting These might look or Sound like). Which right has to be priorized in front of the law or our General ethics?

    I’m not claiming that trans-People are acting the way religious fanatics with poor concepts are acting sometimes. But you should not force someone else to believe, to Change your language, and so on. Things have to evolve. that is what JPB was up to,

    4.) ok

    Good night from somewhere in Europe!

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