Well…I promise I’m not trying to milk this for all it’s worth. But I realized that after “finishing” the review of 12 Rules for Life, I’d failed to answer my starting questions from Part 1:
- What is about [Jordan Peterson] or his message that generates commonality between such disparate groups?
- What kind of person, with such a prestigious CV, is so willing to go out on a limb [against political correctness]? Is he really courageous, or is there some other reason?
I think the answer to #1 is pretty simple. Peterson’s appeal lies in his embrace of core values, like honesty, hard work, integrity, and self-respect. Any belief systems that value the individual and accountability are going to gravitate towards his message, which puts a big emphasis on you, the individual, taking action – making your life better and making the world better. So that is what seems to make his following so diverse.
To the second question – my takeaway from reading 12 Rules is that Jordan Peterson is a religious person. Not necessarily a Christian or even a deist in the traditional sense, he nevertheless holds certain beliefs, and he adheres to them faithfully. Peterson is the greengrocer in Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless” who has chosen not to display state-mandated slogans in his shop window, because he has decided to “live within the truth.” That’s what drives his courage.
I was telling my mom about the book, and she recommended this interview which just came out last Thursday. Though nearly an hour, it goes by very quickly… I haven’t seen Peterson so emotional before, and it brings out a different side of him, less of the academic and more of the personal, even self-conscious. He does cover several of the main points of 12 Rules as well.
In January, Peterson announced he is working on a “better book,” a sequel called Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, scheduled for a January 2020 release. I’m looking forward to reading it, not only to compare with the first book but to see the progression of his ideas and how the past two years of publicity may have changed (or not) his messaging.