…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.
Thinking is indispensable to us. It is essential for belief formation, planning, explicit learning, moral reasoning, and many other capacities that make us human. Thinking is the basis of every social relationship and cultural institution we have. It is also the foundation of science. But our habitual identification with thought – that is, our failure to recognize thoughts as thoughts, as appearances in consciousness – is a primary source of human suffering. It also gives rise to the illusion that a separate self is living inside one’s head.
We spend our lives lost in thought. The question is, what should we make of this fact? In the West, the the answer has been “Not much.” In the East, especially in contemplative traditions like those of Buddhism, being distracted by thought is understood to be the very wellspring of human suffering.
From the contemplative point of view, being lost in thoughts of any kind, pleasant or unpleasant, is analogous to being asleep and dreaming. It’s a mode of not knowing what is actually happening in the present moment. It is essentially a form of psychosis. Thought itself is not a problem, but being identified with thought is. Taking oneself to be the thinker of one’s thoughts – that is, not recognizing the present thought to be a transitory appearance of consciousness – is a delusion that produces nearly every species of human conflict and unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if your mind is wandering over current problems in set theory or cancer research; if you are thinking without knowing you are thinking, you are confused about who and what you are.Sam Harris
This presentation is by the author of the book You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter. This video is a great little summary of the major aspects of his book. This video is deeply illuminating and a absolutely necessary watch.
Our well-being is a reflection of how we perceive the world. If we gain an understanding over how our emotions affect our biology, then we gain the ability to take back control over our health. … You are not a victim of your genetics or enviorment. You have the capacity to experience reality, and, transform itAfter Skool
Practicing and cultivating the skill of “mindfulness”, for me, has been one of the single most important, transcending, and life altering changes I’ve ever made. As Sam states – as well as any other practitioner of mindfulness will tell you – it is an absolutely necessary skill to develop for one to be able to navigate through life with less effort and more happiness.
It’l is always now. This might sound trite, but it is a truth. … The reality of your life is always now. And to realize this, we will see, is liberating. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand if you want to be happy in this world.
But we spend most of our lives forgetting this truth – overlooking it, fleeing it, repudiating it. And the horror is that we succeeded. We manage to avoid being happy while struggling to become happy, fulfilling one desire after the next, banishing our fears, grasping at pleasure, recoiling from pain – and thinking interminably, about how best to keep the whole works up and running. As a consequence, we spend our lives being far less content that we might otherwise be. We often fail to appreciate what we have until we lost it. We crave experiences, objects, relationships, only to grow bored with them. And yet the craving puts it. I speak from experience, of course.
…the literature on its psychological benefits is now substantial. There’s nothing spooky about mindfulness. It is simply a state of clear, non-judgmental, and undistracted attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Cultivating this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.Sam Harris
Nietzsche’s definition of “free spirit”. One I prefer over the currently accepted use of the term. He starts his definition with stating that he sees a new order of philosophers emerging – “philosophers of the future”.
…they will be free, VERY free spirits, these philosophers of the future – as certainly also they will not be merely free spirits, but something more, higher, greater, and fundamentally different, which does not wish to be misunderstood and mistaken?
Here he gives a precise definition of what most people consider to be a ‘free spirit’.
Briefly and regrettably, they belong to the LEVELLERS, these wrongly named ‘free spirits’, – as glib-tongued and scribe-fingered slaves of the democratic taste and it’s ‘modern ideas’ all of them men without solitude, without personal solitude, blunt honest fellows to whom neither courage nor honorable conduct ought to be denied, only, they are not free, and are ludicrously superficial, especially in their innate partiality for seeing the cause of almost all human misery and failure in the old forms in which society has hitherto existed – a notion which happily inverts the truth entirely!
What they would fain attain with all their strength, is the universal, green meadow happiness of the herd, together with security, safety, comfort, and alleviation of life for everyone, their two most frequently chanted songs and doctrines are called ‘Equality of Rights’ and ‘Sympathy with All Suffers – and suffering itself as looked upon by them as something which must be DONE AWAY WITH.
He then goes on to define what he sees as being ‘free spirited’.
We opposite ones, however, who have opened our eye and conscience to the question how and where the plant ‘man’ has hitherto grown most vigorously, believe that this has always taken place under the opposite conditions, that for this end the dangerousness of his situation had to be increased enormously, his inventive faculty and dissembling power (his ‘spirit’) had to develop into subtlety and daring under long oppression and compulsion, and his Will to Life had to be increased to the unconditioned Will to Power, we believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, stoicism, tempters art and devilry of every kind, that everything wicked, terrible, tyrannical, predatory, and serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the human species as its opposite, we do not even say enough when we only say this much, and in any case we find ourselves here, both with our speech and our silence, at the other extreme of all modern ideology and gregarious desirability, as their antipodes perhaps? What wonder that we free spirits are not exactly the most communicative spirits?
Having been at home, or at least guest, in many realms of the spirit, having escaped again and again from the gloomy, agreeable nooks in which preferences and prejudices, youth, origin, the accident of men and books, or even the weariness of travel seem to confine us, full of malice against the seductions of dependency which he concealed in honours, money, positions, or exaltation of the senses, grateful even for distress and the vicissitudes of illness, because they always free us from some rule, and ‘prejudice’, grateful to the God, devil, sheep, and worm in us, inquisitive to a fault, investigators to the point of cruelty, with unhesitating fingers for the intangible, with teeth and stomach for the most indigestible, ready for any business that requires sagacity and acute senses, ready for every adventure, owing to an excess of ‘free will’, with anterior and posterior souls, into the ultimate intentions of which it is difficult to pry, with foregrounds and backgrounds to the end of which no foot may run, hidden ones under the mantles of light, appropriators, although we resemble heirs and spendthrifts, arrangers & collectors from morning till night, misers of our wealth and full-crammed drawers, economical in learning and forgetting, inventive in scheming, sometimes proud of tables of categories, sometimes pedants, sometimes night owls of work even in full day, yeah, if necessary, even scarecrows – and it is necessary nowadays, that is to say, inasmuch as we are the born, sworn, jealous friends of SOLITUDE, of our own profoundest midnight and midday solitude – such kind of men are we, free spirits! And perhaps we are also something of the same kind, ye coming ones? Ye NEW philosophers?
THAT is being free spirited.
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
The mere extrapolation and expression of factoids is far from Truth.