Jordan Peterson

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Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:39 am

BRUTE wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:54 am
Without the sense of agency or purpose, or drama as you call it, I find getting out of bed to be difficult.

Maybe the feeling of agency is an illusion. But I have find that if one is convinced of the supremacy of randomness and luck and believe your outcome is predetermined, I become pretty defeated and am not good for much, or to myself. Even if randomness and luck account for 99% of the equation, the 1% you can change might make the difference.

Whether the feeling of being defeated is the source of the belief in determinism, or vice-versa, is another matter. I just know that when everyone feels there is nothing to be done, because “nothing can be done/it’s all been done/what’s the point” then rest assured nothing will get done.

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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by jacob » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:08 am

@MI - When Dr. Fisker finished grad school, he wanted to pursue the higher goal of an academic career. Dr. Fisker had two job offers: one from the US and one from Germany. He picked the former because the German boss was close to retirement. The plan was to work there 3 years, gain some experience, and then move on. However, in the US he met DW and they got married two years later. Around the same time, the good doctor had applied for a position in Canada because research contracts+visas are limited to 3 years. He did not hear anything back for several months and figured that it would be wise to apply for a green card since otherwise the family would be moving to Denmark once the visa expired after 3 years. One month later, the Canadians called with a job offer. The reason I'm currently here(*) and not in Canada or somewhere else is a 4 week difference in timing courtesy of Canadian bureaucracy. Maybe some admin was on vacation.

I don't see any great narrative on the individual level. I see the uncertainty of the academic job market and a bunch of residence/contract deadlines. If there's a collective narrative, it's probably an emergent quality. But basically, this was serendipity due to the limited (as far as I knew) number of options available to someone who is in a deeply specialized market. There was literally only ~5 different universities in the world where I could work.

(*) And moving on, it gets even more complicated.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:24 am

This level of debate of randomness vs. agency becomes increasingly irrelevant due to recent research in neuroscience (as opposed to the decades old research in other fields Jordan Peterson discusses. Skinner, come on now, really???)
Lastly and most controversially, Craig has suggested that gut feelings and emotions, rationality and even self-consciousness itself should be seen as more advanced tools that emerged over the course of evolution to help us regulate our body.

As evolution progressed, body and brain entwined in an ever more intimate embrace. The brain sent out fibers to touch every tissue in the body, asserting control over heart, lungs, gut, arteries and glands, colling us when hot, warming us when cold; and the body in turn pumped message after message back into the brain, telling of its wants and needs, and making suggestions as to how the brain should behave. In this manner, feedback between body and brain became more complex and extensive, not less so. We did not grow a larger brain just to fit it inside a withering body of the kind seen in sci-fi movies. The brain grew in order to control a more sophisticated body- a body than can handle a sword like Alexander, play the piano like Glenn Gould, control a tennis racket like John McEnroe, or perform open-brain surgery like Wilder Penfield...

Scientists who believe the brain evolved primarily to control movement-Wolpert calls himself and his colleagues "motor chauvinists"- argue that thought itself is best understood as planning; even higher forms of thought, such as philosophy, the epitome of disembodied speculation, proceed, they argue, by hijacking algorithms originally developed to help us plan movements. Our mental life, they argue, is inescapably embodied. Andy Clark, a philosopher from Edinburgh, has put this point nicely when he states that we have inherited "a mind on the hoof." - "The Hour Between Dog and Wolf : Risk Taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust" - John Coates
IOW, if you are unhappily contemplating whether or not you have agency, you probably aren't moving your body enough. Seems like a very cheerful pro-ERE revelation to me, because skillz are where it's at.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:29 am

@Dr. Fisker

Mr. Imperceptible’s peasant immigrant great-grandparents came from various corners of Europe, huddled in boats and came to America for opportunity between the two World Wars. They worked in factories, served in the military, and finally, Mister Imperceptible represented the family’s intellectual possibilities by going to college.

I am not here to wave flags, and talk about the merits of apple pie and baseball (though I do enjoy those things). I am suggesting that it is likely not a coincidence that so many of the best end up in the US as a result of serendipity. Mr. Imperceptible is extremely pleased that Dr. Fisker is here, and hopes he can stay indefinitely :D

I do think America is to Europe what Rome was to Greece. The intellectual inheritors and perpetuators of culture and civilization.

I think the current residence issues are dreadful. We have a president in office that is being draconian and anti-intellectual, and I do think that he is in office because as Dr. Peterson contends, the universities have encouraged identity politics that have divided the nation. (I know you’ve disagreed that identity politics are why Trump got elected, but we elected Obama twice. The country didn’t go from being racist, to not racist, to racist again.) That these horrible political extremes are gaining power and influence is a negative development, and a symptom of decline.

Did the residency concerns exist for you before Trump? I in no way want to minimize that. American exceptionalism can only be restored by ensuring the influx of the best new blood.

@7w5

Thanks, I should expect some such agreement from you, seeing that you espouse a “philosophy of the body.” :D

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BRUTE
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by BRUTE » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:45 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:IOW, if you are unhappily contemplating whether or not you have agency, you probably aren't moving your body enough.
o_O that doesn't seem "IOW" to brute at all. the quoted paragraph merely describes that the brain has evolved alongside the body, and mentions nothing about agency or perception thereof?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:28 am

@BRUTE:

I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with MI or you.

Let me try to think of a couple better examples from the book. A lizard can't regulate it's own body temperature internally. A human can. Therefore, a human has more agency over temperature. It's irrelevant at what junction this internal mechanism gives way to mechanism that may or may not cause you to have conscious thought that it might be best to get out of the sun. You possess agency at all possible junctures, because there is no dualism. IOW, you are as much in your gut and your skin and your muscles and your nerve endings as your brain. That is why you are most happy when you are in flow.

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BRUTE
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by BRUTE » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:26 pm

that last sentence doesn't seem to follow from all the previous sentences.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:52 am

@BRUTE:

I am doing a very poor job of summarizing the book. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone on this forum.
If, however, you view your brain and body and behavior with a robust appreciation of the fact that you are built to move, and if you let that simple fact sink in, then I am willing to bet you will never see yourself in quite the same way again. You will come to understand why you feel so many of the things you do, why your reactions are often so fast as to leave conscious thought behind, why you rely on your gut feelings, why it is that during the most powerful moments of your life- satisfying moments of flow, of insight, of love, of risk taking, and traumatic moments of fear, anger and stress- you lose any awareness of a split between mind and body, and they merge as one. Seeing yourself as an inseparable unity of body and brain may involve a shift in your self-understanding, but it is, I believe, a truly liberating one.-"The Hour Between Dog and Wolf" - John Coates
By happenstance, I went to a super-budget matinee and saw "Alpha" on the big screen on the same day I read this book, and they kind of clicked together for me. It was pretty trite in parts, but the cinematography was awesome, and I think MI and Jordan Peterson would like the scenes where the Paleo youth interacts with his Warrior father, and you would like the scenes where fresh kill is roasted on an open fire and then devoured by the youth and his wolf companion, and many members of this forum would like the primitive tool making and hunting scenes.

RealPerson
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by RealPerson » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:16 am

jacob wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:08 am
There was literally only ~5 different universities in the world where I could work.
No wonder you emphasize the renaissance man concept so much. Only 5 places to work is the definition of fragility. Unless you get tenured of course.

CS
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by CS » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:20 pm

@Jacob

I don't understand the only five different Universities thing. Have things changed so much in the last 30 years? It seems that it used to be the Universities would be relatively open to whatever research interest the interviewee was working on, within some general guidelines (must be astronomy, or physics with some biology, etc). I know a gravity wave researcher who was at a small but prestigious liberal arts college in the midwest. He traveled for collaboration, involved his undergrads as he could (since that was what was at the college) - and a picked up a grad student or two through the local University. It might not have been ideal, but he managed to take sabbaticals for more intensive research stints and got tenure with all of it.

My understanding is through the (old, probably) lens of an American based student. I have no idea how the other Universities in the world work - except I've heard the UK is stricter about age requirements, ala don't doddle or you'll age out.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:24 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:24 am
The brain grew in order to control a more sophisticated body.
One of the reasons chimps are so much stronger than humans is that chimps have far fewer small motor units. That is, nerves that only control a small number of muscle fibers. Large motor units (one nerve to many myofibrils) are for high force/heavy weights. Small motor units allow for fine motor skills like writing and precisely placing small objects. We require a larger mass of brain than apes to control the same amount of muscle, but we control it better.

Anecdotally, I agree that focusing intensely on a task feels meaningful. Philosophizing about meaning makes me feel nihilistic.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:28 am

ThisDinosaur wrote:Anecdotally, I agree that focusing intensely on a task feels meaningful. Philosophizing about meaning makes me feel nihilistic.
Right, because you are literally feeling nothing or very little when you just sit and think. That's why exercise, novel sights/experiences, and engaging in handicrafts are all simple remedies for low-level depression. Of course, if you start writing or talking about the meaning of life, then you are also moving small muscles and socially engaging. "I think, therefore I am" can't exist absent "I move, therefore I am."

Another interesting note from the book is that there is a sea creature that starts out its life as a moving animal with a brain, and then literally plants itself and digests its own brain, because no longer needed.

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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:40 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:28 am
Another interesting note from the book is that there is a sea creature that starts out its life as a moving animal with a brain, and then literally plants itself and digests its own brain, because no longer needed.
Sounds like you're talking about tunicates. We share a common ancestor with them aprox 550 million years ago. Sponges have a similar lifecycle; a swimming larva with sensory, neural, and motor cells that ditches those tissues in the adult stage. The planula hypothesis suggests we evolved from them by developing sexual maturity before maturing into the non mobile stage.

In the simplest larva, the sense organs connect directly to the muscle cells or cilia, so they can swim toward the smell of food, or away from light, for example. More complex behavior requires more logic gates (interneurons) between the input sensors and output responses.

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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by Smashter » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:25 am

@TD and 7, maybe we should start a separate thread about the mind-body connection, but since we're here I feel like you would both really enjoy Surfing Uncertainty by Andy Clark.

If I read it right, he believes that movement and proprioception are the lenses through which we should be looking at brain function. Still, he sees the benefits of mind wandering.
"Such wanderings themselves might be mandated by implicit hyperpriors that depict the world itself as changing and unstable, hence as not suitable for systems that would rest on their cognitive laurels. Instead, we would be driven continuously to explore the edges of our own knowledge spaces, subtly altering our predictions and expectations from moment to moment even in the absence of new information or experiences."

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:39 am

@ThisDinosaur:

Interesting. The main takeaway from the "The Hour Between Wolf and Dog" would be that when you mix hormones and other chemical mediators in with the sensors and the logic gates, things get very complex very quickly, because sensor triggers hormone release, and now you are thinking and behaving differently OR behaving and thinking differently.

So, for instance, when Jordan Peterson talks about studies that show that men and women have different interests, I agree. But, since I also personally know several women and men who have dosed themselves with testosterone, and experienced similar results, I am not quite sure why we are still making use of phrases like "the chaos of the feminine" or invoking "warrior spirit" in 2018. Perhaps, I will be judged as a bit mechanistic, but the reason why I will allow a man with whom I want to have sex to take the lead is I know that is a behavior that boosts testosterone levels. Sometimes I might describe it as "relaxing in my feminine energy" but that's just a bit of lacy window-dressing.

@Smashter:

Added it to my list. Clearly, some time spent inactive is absolutely necessary for function or we wouldn't have to sleep. The ability to plan is also very beneficial, but I think maybe trying to get at the meat of "meaning" through "planning" doesn't work.

trfie
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by trfie » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:50 pm

What is up with his all beef diet? For someone who is apparently data-driven, it makes me question some of his other work if he would jump into something like that without strong evidence. I doubt it is going to last.

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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by Campitor » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:30 am

trfie wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:50 pm
What is up with his all beef diet? For someone who is apparently data-driven, it makes me question some of his other work if he would jump into something like that without strong evidence. I doubt it is going to last.
He suffers from food allergies which express as autoimmune disorders: severe psoriasis and arthritis. The carnivore diet alleviated all his autoimmune systems as well as his ever present bouts of anxiety and depression.

He arrived at this diet by observing the food experiments carried out by his daughter who was afflicted by the same autoimmune diseases but to a greater degree; she found relief by eating beef only.

Smashter
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by Smashter » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:25 pm

Yeah, the meat diet is odd. I liked this part from an article the Atlantic wrote about his daughter (though on the whole the piece was unnecessarily aggressive in tone and one-sided.)

It's from when he was on Joe Rogan's podcast, and it shows how prone to hyperbole he can be.
He gives the example of having had some apple cider and subsequently being incapacitated for a month by what he believes was an inflammatory response.

“You were done for a month?”

“Oh yeah, it took me out for a month. It was awful ...”

“Apple cider? What was it doing to you?”

“It produced an overwhelming sense of impending doom. I seriously mean overwhelming. There’s no way I could’ve lived like that. But see, Mikhaila knew by then that it would probably only last a month.”

“A month? From fucking cider?”

“I didn’t sleep that month for 25 days. I didn’t sleep at all for 25 days.”

“What? How is that possible?”

“I’ll tell you how it’s possible: You lay in bed frozen in something approximating terror for eight hours. And then you get up.”

The longest recorded stretch of sleeplessness in a human is 11 days, witnessed by a Stanford research team.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:14 pm

No wonder he's in favor of monogamy. His wife must be a saint.

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BRUTE
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Re: Jordan Peterson

Post by BRUTE » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:20 pm

that diet is called "zero-carb", though it's not really about the carbs, but about consuming only meat. most of the humans doing it seem in it for strong allergies/immune reactions to other foods. it's basically a pretty strict mono diet, and most advocates eventually stick to beef instead of other meets. maybe the protein/fat ratio is more optimal for humans than leaner meats, or something about cattle being ruminants.

while a "meat only diet" sounds very manly, brute was surprised to learn that at least 50% of adherents are women, from what he's seen. maybe they suffer from immune reactions more.

brute has tried it for about a month, but found it VERY bland and boring compared to his usual ~90% meat diet, and he eventually started getting headaches too. unsure if micronutrients from plants, salt.. but he went back to 90% very quickly.

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