Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

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Mikeallison
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Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:48 pm

I mentioned this on one of the Jordan Peterson threads, but I think it is an interesting topic for here too. I'm sure some of you are probably tired of this guy, but I found the points he makes in this video interesting. He describes some "hyper" intellectual people as one dimensional, and under developed (Midget with a big mouth), as well as impotent, bitter, and incapable (The comic book guy from the simpsons).

https://youtu.be/C3fy0RYpU8Q


What do you guys think? Is there such a thing as someone being excessively intellectual?

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:25 pm

He's answering a question in that clip about what to do when people you know aren't intellectually stimulating enough to you. Which is a perfectly reasonable question, except the guy asking it sounded kind of douchey. Peterson's response is a very even handed, fatherly admonition against being condescending to people you think are less intelligent than yourself. Which is double useful since humans tend to assume anyone who disagrees with them is just dumber.

Also, the intellect may not be all it's cracked up to be.
https://youtu.be/uogEbb0WOJE

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:13 pm

ThisDinosaur,
Ya I got the general context of it. I just thought his specific points on why he believed leaning on the intellect too much could get you into trouble were interesting.

Thanks for sharing that clip by the way. I've never heard of him, but I like him already. Bit off topic but do you think what he says is true about institutions being able to moderate confirmation bias by diversity of perspective? I can see it in the STEM fields, where people are dealing with the physical universe, but in the liberal arts/social "sciences" it would seem the opposite would happen. Even his experiment in the class shows a disproportionate amount of people on the left. It seems to me like that would just lead to an echo chamber that feeds into confirmation bias.
Last edited by Mikeallison on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BRUTE
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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by BRUTE » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:18 pm

ThisDinosaur wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:25 pm
fatherly
isn't it interesting how today's young humans are getting their fatherly advice from the internet?

interesting times.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:41 pm

It makes sense to me, alot of young men are the product of single mothers, or have fathers that are no better than children. If you can Google how to beat the newest Zelda game, why not "how to be a man"?

It is a positive thing that people are looking for moral guidance no? I think I prefer it over the self destructive nihilism that they used to look to in the form of 4chan or whatever. If Peterson starts wearing a white robe and growing out his hair then maybe we can start to worry...

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Freedom_2018 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:30 pm

Can't be too rich, beautiful or thin.

Can be too intellectual.

Fun world we live in.

Speaking of Jordan Peterson, I haven't read his 12 rules book but a much earlier book of his - maps of meaning, is a very enjoyable read. Some folks though said it gave them a big headache.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by jacob » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:12 am

tl;dl ... (too long; didn't listen) but have opinion anyway. In Ray Dalio's Principles, he suggests quickly figuring out who knows how much---I've grumbled about something similar in the posting ethics thread---and dividing people into teachers, students, and peers. Teachers should teach. Students should learn. Peers should be debated.

If people quickly figure out who is who, quick progress is possible. Unfortunately, much maneuvering is typically required before people sort themselves out. The Dunning-Kruger effect applies heavily. Part of my frustration in the ethics link was in having to waste time reestablishing the teacher role repeatedly in the face of students who don't know enough to realize how little they know and therefore automatically presume they're peers.

Intellectuals are by definition people who apply critical thinking and reasoning instead of e.g. beliefs ("what they've heard") or experience ("how they've always done it").

Intellectuals believe strongly that critical thinking and reasoning are the best ways of obtaining knowledge (this is often true, but not always --- hence one-dimensional insofar it's assumed to always hold). Intellectuals, therefore, typically presume they can take on the teacher's mantle. Taking on the role (without the dealing with the Dunning Kruger stuff first) will be perceived as arrogant. And once the role is taken, it can be extremely hard not to be perceived as condescending because the gap in knowledge is often much larger than both the teacher and the student realize. For example, when discussing physics with a random person, you can not be sure whether they know what a proton is. To some, it's insulting to presume they don't know. To others, it's insulting to presume they do know. The intellectual, therefore, can not win.

Much of this can be solved if teachers were better teachers but also and maybe more importantly if students were better students, not thinking themselves expert-debaters. There's a certain arrogance to believing that one knows as much about something as anyone else or that all beliefs are equally valid. In other words, there's an attitude that everybody is peers and therefore everything should be debated. I think this contributes to some of the perceived teacher-condescension.

From an intellectual perspective, this gets extremely tiresome. I can see why some intellectuals don't wish to debate people who are not running at their speed. Same as athletes not wanting to train with people who are out of shape. Unfortunately, once you get good at something, peers become harder to find. That's just the nature of the distribution (Bell curve). This can be a lonely situation.

It's also a kind of trap. You can leave it by becoming less intellectual, but you probably don't want to. You can find more running partners by slacking off and getting in worse shape, so you're matched with the speed of more people, but you probably don't want to. You can relate better to people's financial struggles by giving away your money and making some bad decisions, but you probably don't want to.

Rather than being frustrated about one's circle not measuring up on some aspect, it's wiser to seek out other people depending on whether one wants to be a peer (seek other peers), a teacher (seek students), or a student (seek teachers). It's almost futile to try to press people into roles they don't want, typically peers->student.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by RFS » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:18 am

Mikeallison wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:41 pm
It makes sense to me, alot of young men are the product of single mothers, or have fathers that are no better than children. If you can Google how to beat the newest Zelda game, why not "how to be a man"?
I teach high school, and it is appalling how many kids either a) were abandoned by their father b) have no fatherly presence in their life whatsoever or c) their father works too much to see the kid. Several don't see either of their parents that much. As early as elementary school, they're in school from 6:30-2 pm. Then stay at day care until 6-7 pm, where they will be picked up by a highly leveraged BMW-driving mother. Since they all have smartphones, their father figures end up being dumbass videos on Youtube or Snapchat.

@Freedom_2018- I don't think he said that people can be too intellectual. I think he said that people can be too intellectually arrogant to their own detriment. He says: "I think if your character is developed, and you're intelligent, you can have your siloed creative community. But you develop enough wisdom so that you can see all the things that people can do that are of ethical utility, that are outside the intellectual domain."

We all know someone who sits on an intellectual pedestal and sneers at everyone outside his intellectual domain. They're usually the most unbearable and pretentious assholes we know.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:49 am

Mikeallison,
Sorry, I didn't mean to explain the clip to you. I just think it's cool how he managed to not be condescending while telling the questioner to stop being an ass. That aspect is lost when you can't hear the question.

In context, I think that speech is a call for more humility and not less intellectualism. Yes, you can get a sense from people if they are above or below you in IQ. But that sense can be unreliable, or the posting ethics problem Jacob is talking about wouldn't occur. You could be on the wrong side of Dunning Kruger if you're not careful.

I've come to think that the smugness of the left has contributed to the politicization of some things that shouldn't be political (Climate change, teaching evolution).

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:23 am

jacob wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:12 am
Ray Dalio's Principles
for what it's worth, brute thought Dalio's Principles were shit.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:19 pm

jacob wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:12 am
The Dunning-Kruger effect applies heavily.
What do you think contributes to this? It's anecdotal, but I've personally encountered it in both my professors and fellow students when I was in school. I'm sure we're all guilty of it at some point. So If I had to guess, it is some other personality trait besides intelligence. Insecurity?

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:06 pm

ThisDinosaur,

Ya, I only heard his response in the video, and not the question. I really like the guy, so it makes it difficult for me to be critical of him. I thought tossing it up on here might give me another perspective. I didn't think his statement, that striving for humility was ideal, was controversial, but I felt there was an implication in there that someone could be too rational, and I thought that is a debatable point.

"I've come to think that the smugness of the left has contributed to the politicization of some things that shouldn't be political (Climate change, teaching evolution)."

You got that right, it sounds more like policy making than science half the time. "Just the facts, ma'am".

RFS

I really wanted to try teaching history, but I honestly don't know If I can deal with the crazy kids. How do you handle it?

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:46 pm

Excellent video. Thanks for sharing. I agree with RFS's interpretation that Peterson is rightfully pointing out that people can be too intellectually arrogant to their own detriment.

@Mikeallison -- One personal theory is that the Dunning-Kruger effect often originates from an internal competitive cost-benefit analysis. People tend to choose the minimum amount of effort required to impress someone else with their superior knowledge. The drive to explore a topic with the depth required to achieve mastery is purely internal and is a lot more rare than the desire to just sound smarter than the next guy at the dinner table. The risk of you running into a true teacher in the field you're bluffing in is usually quite low, so people tend to present themselves as a peer or even a teacher until proven otherwise.

Now why some people double and triple down at that point is where it gets interesting. There's definitely a real blind spot involved where individuals really don't know what they don't know and violently reject any introduction of the forbidden knowledge. I'm sure there's a deep-seeded psychological explanation for how the ego protects the movie it is always filming with you as the star.

I also think that modern career specialization has perhaps contributed to the problem. One can be a true world-class expert in a particular field but be incapable of the most mundane tasks in another area, and sometimes people can't turn off the self-serving illusion that they're always sitting at the top of the intellectual mountain looking down on everyone else. Think of the college professor who speaks smugly of the uneducated but knows nothing outside of his field of expertise, can't boil his own pasta, and makes way less money than the guy he hires to fix his toilet.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:09 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:46 pm
Think of the college professor who speaks smugly of the uneducated but knows nothing outside of his field of expertise, can't boil his own pasta, and makes way less money than the guy he hires to fix his toilet.
You had that guy for a class too huh?

So we fall into this particular trap in order to protect the ego or in order to serve it?

The uneducated and less gifted are more likely to do it in order to protect themselves from information that would damage a part of their self image or confuse them. (I don't need to understand the theory of evolution, it contradicts the bible, and therefore it is wrong).

The educated and more gifted to serve it. (I don't like your point of view, and I've always been smarter than most, so I'm probably smarter than you, therefore I don't need to bother listening to you.)

Am I missing anything?

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:56 pm

Mikeallison wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:09 pm
So we fall into this particular trap in order to protect the ego or in order to serve it?
I guess I don't see a distinction. No matter how educated you are, it's human nature to overrate your own knowledge in order to feel good about yourself.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:46 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:56 pm
I guess I don't see a distinction.
Well if true, they are both telling themselves the same lie for different reasons, one is insecure, the other arrogant. Those are two very different motivations, so I guess that might be a helpful distinction if you wanted to work on the problem. If that isn't right though, and everyone is just acting out of arrogance, then you are right, there isn't one.

Keeping with the theme, I'm in the student role here, intuition, personal experience, but no background in psychology. I've read a bit of Freud, and less of Jung (unless you count Joespeh Campbell lol) but that's it.

Off topic, but since I'm talking to you I wanted to say thank you for that website of yours. It has been really helpful in trying to figure out what I want to do with my savings.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:51 am

Mikeallison wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:46 pm

Well if true, they are both telling themselves the same lie for different reasons, one is insecure, the other arrogant. Those are two very different motivations ...
I'm not sure that they are all that different, or at least they often come as an intertwined pair. In other words, arrogance (outward arrogance, anyway) often seems to be a compensation for insecurity, not entirely different from the way bullying (both physical and emotional) and insecurity often coexist.

I didn't follow the OP link, but to riff on some of the ideas of the discussion: in my experience the best teachers combine humility and competence. Arrogance is about jostling for a position in the perceived pecking order. Hyper-intellectualism I suppose could work well in some niche communities, but most humans are wired with a pretty deep vein of emotion. I'm not convinced that pretending it doesn't exist, or that it is an inherently inferior aspect to our makeup, is the universally superior approach.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Mikeallison » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:56 am

IlliniDave wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:51 am
I'm not sure that they are all that different, or at least they often come as an intertwined pair. In other words, arrogance (outward arrogance, anyway) often seems to be a compensation for insecurity
Another video he made mentioned that humans were not good at perceiving reality because our brains aren't wired to give us a realistic view of the world around us, they are designed to give us a functional one. We evolved to survive, and if a particular myth or story got us through then it didn't matter how accurate that viewpoint was, only that it worked from a survival standpoint.

I seem to be hearing here that the main reason we indulge in overestimating our intelligence is simple insecurity. Maybe because we have found a functional myth/understanding that works for us, and the ego rejects throwing that away? It must seem like a bad trade off, to exchange cold hard facts for mental stability and peace of mind.

But to me ignorance is making a god out of the unknown, and arrogance is making a god out of yourself. Maybe there is no difference in terms of results (limiting personal growth and understanding), but I can't help but think that is a big difference in the functional myth you've created, and it has to have some difference in the way you operate.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by Campitor » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:56 pm

jacob wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:12 am

...dividing people into teachers, students, and peers. Teachers should teach. Students should learn. Peers should be debated.

If people quickly figure out who is who, quick progress is possible. Unfortunately, much maneuvering is typically required before people sort themselves out. The Dunning-Kruger effect applies heavily. Part of my frustration in the ethics link was in having to waste time reestablishing the teacher role repeatedly in the face of students who don't know enough to realize how little they know and therefore automatically presume they're peers.
The problem with this paradigm, in my opinion, is that it doesn't foster critical thinking. I was taught via the socratic method. We were expected to arrive at conclusions via independent research, critical arguments with our peers, and asking our teachers probing questions or even challenging them (encouraged) if we thought our premise or methodology was valid. Typically the argument/question phase lasted 1 to 2 days and then the answers to the theorem was given and the gaps in our knowledge/reasoning filled. This method was employed in all our classes including math and physics.

When I arrived at university, I was surprised to see the teaching method involved a professor standing in front of class reciting facts in a staccato fashion faster than Eminem's "Rap God" or droning on in such an extreme monotonous fashion that it almost sounded like a cow making one long "moo". Coincidentally, especially since this is a thread about the clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, it was the psychology professors who used the socratic teaching method. I quickly learned that questions weren't welcome in most classes and it was shut up and listen time all the time. This style is great for the teachers trying to vomit knowledge unto their students but extremely lousy for creating critical thinkers who can arrive at conclusions independently or use the scientific method in an intelligent or intuitive manner.

Teachers should teach - I agree. But it's their method of teaching that seems to be incongruent to the goal of educating the masses and creating critical thinkers. If it sounds like I'm putting the onus on teachers, it's because I am. Great students will rarely produce a great teacher but a great teacher will produce great students regularly.

And peers sticking to peers or only arguing with their peers doesn't raise the level of discourse or stretch the mind. You don't get to be a world class champion by only challenging players at your level. Students should learn but first they must be taught how to learn.

So I agree with Jordan Peterson that many intellectuals suffer from the arrogance of hyper intellectualism. They are so full of ego that they perceive any question or challenge as a personal affront instead of an opportunity to instruct someone on how to think. Teaching, if you want to develop critical thinkers, must allow for challenges - a student must be allowed to drown in the pond of misconception and error so they embrace the fresh air of true learning.

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Re: Peterson on "hyper" Intellectualism.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:45 pm

I am only a bit more than half through the "12 Rules", but it seems pretty clear to me that Peterson, although basically a good Dom, is a wee bit err on the side of arrogant himself. For instance:

"Does that mean that what we see is dependent on our religious beliefs? Yes! And what we don't see as well! You might object, "But I'm an atheist." No, you're not"

He also writes:

"It is that declaration of faith that keeps hatred of Being, with all its attendant evils, at bay. And, as for such faith: it is not at all the will to believe things that you perfectly well know to be false. Faith is not the childish belief in magic. That is ignorance or even willful blindness. It is instead the realization that the tragic irrationalities of life must be counterbalanced with an equally irrational commitment to the goodness of Being."

and

"Here's a productive symbolic idea: the future is a judgmental father."

I am finding that I like him best when he offers some interesting suggestions in the realm of behavioral psychology. I don't find his application, or intermingling, of science, anthropology and morality to be particularly well-balanced or consistent. For instance, he writes a good deal about the positive aspects of dominance, but very little about the positive aspects of submission, except perhaps as applicable to the training of children. He very clearly indicates that the Way is the path that forms the boundary between chaos and order, but only very briefly touches on the positive aspects of chaos. So, I might be tempted to parry with something along the lines of:

"Here's a productive symbolic idea: the future is a cheerful round-heeled woman "

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