The totality of the world, which includes the significance of experienced things, as well as the things themselves, is composed of what has been explored and rendered familiar; what has yet to be encountered, and is therefore unpredictable; and the process that mediates between the two.
The primordial theriomorphic serpent god is endless potential; is whatever being is prior to the emergence of the capacity for experience. This potential has been represented as the self devouring dragon (most commonly) because this image aptly symbolizes the union of incommensurate opposites. Th ouroboros is simultaneously representative of two antithetical primordial elements. As a snake, the ouroboros is a creature of the ground, of matter; as a bird (a winged animal), it is a creature of the air, the sky, spirit. The ouroborus symbolizes the union of the known (associated with spirit) and unknown (associated with matter), explored and unexplored; symbolizes the juxtaposition of the “masculine” principles of security, tyranny and order with the “feminine” principles of darkness, dissolution, creativity and chaos.
Furthermore, as a snake, the ouroboros has the capacity to shed its skin – to be “reborn.” Thus, it also represents the possibility of transformation, and stands for the knower, who can transform chaos into order, and order into chaos. The Ouroboros stands for, or comprises, everything that is as of yet unencountered, prior to its differentiation as a consequence of active exploration and classification. It is a source of all information that makes up the determinant world of experience and is, simultaneously, the birthplace of the experiencing subject.
The ouroboros is one thing, as everything that has not yet been explored is one thing; it exists everywhere, and at all times. It is completely self-contained, completely self-referential: it feeds, fertilizes and engulfs itself. It unites the beginning and the end, being and becoming, in the endless circle of its existence. It serves as a symbol for the ground of reality itself. It is the “set of all things that not yet things,” the primal origin and ultimate point of return for every discriminable object and every independent subject. It serves as progenitor of all we know, all that we don’t know, and of the spirit that constitutes our capacity to know and not know. It is the mystery that constantly emerges when solutions to old problems cause new problems; is the sea of chaos surrounding man’s island of knowledge – and the source of that knowledge, as well. It is all new experience generated by time, which incessantly works to transform the temporarily predictable once again into the unknown. It has served mankind as the most ubiquitous and potent primordial gods.Jordan Peterson
…mythic stories or fantasies that guide our adaptation, in general, appear to describe or portray or embody three permanent constituent elements of human experience: the unknown, or unexplored territory; the known, or explored territory; and the process – the knower – that mediates between them. These three elements constitute the cosmos – that is, the world of experience – from the narrative or mythological perspective.
No matter where an individual lives – and no matter when – he faces the same set of problems or, perhaps, the same set of metaproblems, since the details differ in endlessly. He is a cultural creature, and must come to terms with the existence of that culture. He must master the domain of the known – explored territory – which is the set of interpretations and behavioral schemas he shares with his societal compatriots. He must understand his role within that culture – a role defined by the necessity of preservation, maintenance and transmission of tradition, as well as by capacity for the revolution and radical update of that tradition, when such update becomes necessary. He must also be able to tolerate and even benefit from the existence of the transcendental unknown – unexplored territory – which is the aspect of experience that cannot be addressed with mere application of memorized and habitual procedures. Finally, he must adapt to the presence of himself – must face the endlessly tragic problem of the knower, the exploratory process, the limited mortal subject; must serve as eternal mediator between the creative and destructive “underworld” of the unknown and the secure, oppressive patriarchal kingdom of human culture.
We cannot see the unknown, because we are protected from it by everything familiar and unquestioned. We are in addition habituated to what is familiar and known – by definition – and are therefore often unable to apprehend its structure (often even unable to perceive that is there). Finally, we remain ignorant of our own true nature, because of its intrinsic complexity, and because we act towards others and ourselves in a socialized manner, which is to say a predictable manner – and thereby shield ourselves from our own mystery. The figures of myth, however, embody the world – “visible” and “invisible.” Through the analysis of such figures, we can come to see just what meaning means, and how it reveals itself, in relationship to our actions. It is through such analysis that we can come to realize the potential breadth and depth of our own emotions, and the nature of our true being; to understand our capacity for great acts of evil – and great acts of good – and our motivations for participating in them.Jordan Peterson
It is where the unpredictable emerges that the possibility for all new and useful information exists. It is during the process of exploration of the unpredictable or unexpected that all knowledge and wisdom is generated, all boundaries of adaptive competence extended, all foreign territory explored, mapped and mastered. The eternally extant domain of the unknown therefore constitutes the matrix from which all conditional knowledge emerges. Everything presently known to each, everything rendered predictable, was at one time unknown to all, and had to be rendered predictable – beneficial at best, irrelevant at worst – as a consequence of active of exploration driven adaptation. The Matrix is of indeterminable breath: despite our great storehouse of culture, despite the wisdom bequeathed to us by ancestors, we are still fundamentally ignorant, and will remain so, no matter how much we learn. The domain of the unknown surrounds us like an ocean surrounds an island. We can increase the area of the island, but we never take away much from the sea.Jordan Peterson
I feel this is a very accurate description of what’s going on with our world culture currently. More specifically with politics and social justice.
The world can be validly construed as a forum for action, as well as a place of things. We describe the world as a place of things, using the formal methods of science. The techniques of narrative, however – myth, literature and drama – portray the world as a forum for action.
The world as forum for action is composed, essentially, of three constituent elements, which tends to manifest themselves in typical patterns of metaphoric representation. First is unexplored territory – the Great Mother, nature, creative and destructive, source and final resting place of all determinant things. Second is explored territory – the Great Father, culture, protective and tyrannical, cumulative ancestral wisdom. Third is the process that mediates between unexplored and explored territory – the Divine Son, the archetypal individual, creative exploratory Word and vengeful adversary. We are adapted to this world of divine characters, much as to the objective world. The fact of this adaptation implies that the environment is in reality a forum for action, as well as a place of things.
Unprotected exposure to unexplored territory produces fear. The individual is protected from such fear as a consequence of ritual imitation of the Great Father- as a consequence of the adoption of group identity, which restricts the meaning of things, and confers predictability on social interactions. When identification with the group is made absolute, however – when everything has to be controlled, when the unknown is no longer allowed to exist – the creative exploratory process that updates the group can no longer manifest itself. The Restriction of adaptive capacity dramatically increases the probability of social aggression.Jordan Peterson
As Jung has stated, group identity eliminates individuality to the detriment of the individual.
I plan to start a writing project, this book is a necessary piece of research for this project. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this book.
Though he famously dismisses Christianity as a slave morality, his bigger questions are: What are values as such? How do we come by them? How do they show up in our behavior, and our science, our art, and in the way we do philosophy itself. Which values might we get beyond and no longer believe in, and what might we replace them with?
Such questions have been asked by many philosopher’s, but Nietzshe takes things a lot further: Is suffering really bad? Is compassion really good? Is self-denial a form of seeking power? Is seeking power bad? Is truth good? Are truths always a kind of error?
The book is also about human possibility and potential. When we go beyond morality and modernity, where does that leave the individual? We’ll find out why why Nietzsche’s philosophy of the ‘will to power’ might fuel success, yet also be dangerous if in the wrong hands.Christopher Janaway
I know Jordan Peterson’s philosophy has been highly influenced by Carl Jung and that this isn’t an exclusive Peterson thought. This Jung quote just reminded me of what Peterson regularly expounds, that, “having one foot in chaos and one foot in order” is necessary to living a healthy and constructive life.
It has become abundantly clear to me that life can flow forward only along the path of the gradient. But there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites; hence it is necessary to discover the opposite to the attitude of the conscious mind. It is interesting to see how this compensation by opposites also plays its part in the historical theories of neurosis: Freud’s theory espoused Eros, Adler’s the will to power. Logically, the opposite of love is hate, and of Eros, Phobos (fear); but psychologically it is the will to power. Where love reins, there is no will To power, and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other…
Seen from the one-sided point of view of the conscious attitude, the shadow is an inferior component of the personality and is consequently repressed through intensive resistance. But the repressed content must be made conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement is possible. The conscious mind is on top, the shadow underneath, and just as high always longs for low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite, lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only of the spark of opposites.
…every process is a phenomenon of energy, and that all energy can proceed only from the tension of opposites.Carl Jung
This is a bit long and I really just wanted to share the last few points but I had to quote everything leading up to them so there would be a better understanding. If you know Peterson you know how he expands on things to an almost painful extent. This was taken from a lecture I’ll link to below.
Part of the reason we have political discussion, or, discussion at all is to separate the wheat from the chaff. The reason that free speech is so important, as far as I’m concerned, well I don’t even really think about it as free speech, I think about it, as what; respect for the manifestation of the Logos or something like that. Thats the proper way of conceptualizing it, is that it keeps the balance between those two tendencies (tendencies between the – Left, pathological chaos – and the – Right, pathological order).
You need the questioning and you need the order. And so you think, well how much of each? And the answer is: the recipe changes day to day. And so you think, if it changes day today then how do we keep up? And the answer is: by keeping up, here we are, we’re alive, we can keep up – but we do that by thinking, and we think by talking, and we think and talk by disagreeing. We better disagree, conceptually, because then we don’t have to act out stupid ideas that would kill us.
The abstract territory of conceptual dispute is a substitute for war and death. And it can be a brutal substitute because conceptual disagreement can be very intense, but compared to war and death it’s hardly intense at all. So you keep the landscape open for serious dispute, including dispute that’s offensive, obviously, because if you’re ever going to talk about anything that’s difficult – and why talk otherwise – then you’re going to talk about things that are offensive to people and you’re going do it badly.
You’re going to stumble around when you’re formulating your thoughts, and that’s horrible, it makes people anxious, it alienates them, but it’s better than pain and death, and that’s the alternative.Jordan Peterson
Using the Tarot is a way of communicating with the unconscious. The more one learns about the psyche and unconscious, the better tuned his/her intuition will be, and will have a more complete understanding / interpretation of the Tarot.
The main reason I am reading this book is for the second essay “The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious”. This essay is about the danger of what Jung calls ego inflation. This at times is a consequence after someone has a revelatory experience. “Ego inflation” is to erase the relationship / the boundary between the specific consciousness of the ego and the more generalized consciousness as such, which is a dangerous thing to do, something I feel I currently need help with. So this is a document that tells you how to avoid that if one is playing in these realms.
Everything this man says is quotable. To me he is one of the most empowering speakers. With this quote he is speaking in relation to universities but obviously you do not need a university to attain what he’s talking about. This is the reason why I have made a decision to dedicate just about all my “free/idle time” to doing something constructive and it has created a positive feedback loop that empowers me daily.
“Read great books.” Libraries are “full of the writings of people that are intelligent and articulate beyond comprehension.”
He asks why do you go to university to learn all this? He replies with “you learn it to get a job, or you learn it to get good grades, or you learn it to get a degree, and that’s all nonsense! It’s all nonsense!” “The reason you come to university to be educated is because there is nothing more powerful than someone who is articulate and who can think and speak. It’s power! And I mean power of the best sort! Its authority and influence and respectability and competence. So you come to university to craft your highest skill, your highest skill is found in articulated speech. If you’re a master in formulating your arguments you win everything! And better than that when you win everything everyone around you wins too. Consider your transformation to something approximating the Logos, it means you shine a light on the whole world!.”
“Be who you could be, and with the highest faculty of the human being is articulated speech, it’s the divine faculty and there is nothing more powerful than that! There’s nothing even in the same league.”