A brief critique of Jordan Peterson’s use of “Jungian” sources

The following thoughts on Jordan Peterson’s use of Jungian material was made at AVfM in response to a comment from Bora Bosna saying, “The cult of Peterson continues to grow.” While I generally appreciate Peterson’s thinking, and wish him well with his work and growing audience, I take issue with some of the intellectual source material he uses to build his arguments. – PW

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“The cult of Peterson continues to grow.”

Surprising seeings he approaches his material via Classical Jungianism which is basically Jung and his immediate followers’ theories, much of which is formulaic, theoretically lame and debunked – though some of it good too. Unfortunately Peterson champions some of the lame stuff – eg. the writings of Erich Neumann, whose theories and writings (The Great Mother, and Origins and History of Consciousness,) have been thoroughly demolished by later, more rigorous Jungian thinkers.

There are two other schools of Jungianism that arose out of the classical school – the ‘Developmental School’ which blends psychoanalysis with Jungianism, and the ‘Archetypal School’ started by James Hillman who was the first Director of the first Jung Institute in Zurich. Hillman dreamed the movement forward, applying Occam’s razor to all the crap of the classical school and taking the really good stuff to another philosophical level.

Following the classical school is Peterson’s Achillies heel…. some of his presentations will not be taken seriously by the most brilliant in the Jungian field, even if students are starry-eyed. For example Peterson buys Neumann’s incredibly gynocentric thesis The Great Mother in which he posits that mothers and women are an overarching archetype subsuming all the other archetypes, and in that book he takes every scrap of mythological material he finds and interprets it as mother – the Great Mother.

Then there’s the one Peterson refers to The Origins and History of Consciousness – in which Neumann states bald faced that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, an outrageous put-on that was nicely debunked by Archetypal Psychologist Wolfgang Giegerich’s essay entitled Ontogeny = Phylogeny? A Fundamental Critique of Erich Neumann’s Analytical Psychology.

There are other conceptual issues in classical Jungianism, such as the restatement of traditional gender-roles that accumulated under Jung’s descriptions of Animus and Amima which divides an enormous amount of psychological phenomena into strictly masculine and feminine boxes, and applies those boxes to real men and women. Add to that what classical Jungian’s call “the Feminine” – a big basket of bloated gynocentric concepts (eg. that Eros and all the other treasured psychological phenomena are feminine, and all the oppressive, violent and cold intellectual stuff is ‘the Masculine’) – all of which leaves us with a bunch of false stereotypes instead of what we might call phenomenological archetypes.

Then we have the classical concept of archetype, which utterly falls the test of logic with its reference to a noumenal archetype per se vs. the phenomenally presented archetype. The fact is we can only refer to the phenomenal archetype, that which manifests itself in images. The “noumenal” archetype per se cannot by definition be presented so that nothing whatsoever can be posited of it. In fact whatever one does say about the archetype per se is a conjecture already governed by an archetypal image. This means that the archetypal image precedes and determines the metaphysical hypothesis of a noumenal archetype. So, let us apply Occam’s razor to Kant’s noumenon. By stripping away this unnecessary theoretical encumbrance to Jung’s notion of archetype we restore full value to the archetypal image.’ (Hillman 1971).

Listen to Peterson try and define what an archetype is here, and note his nervous leg and difficulty in describing what it is – eventually conceding it is a “fuzzy word”: https://youtu.be/NOzjfqO6-K8?t=1h49m27s

One of the things that makes the notion of archetype fuzzy is the classical Jungian claim that some things are archetypal whilst other things are not archetypal – which is a cause of great confusion. A better way to conceptualize archetype is that any and all images can be considered archetypal, which does away with the artificial dividing of those images which are, and those which are not archetypal. The following from James Hillman captures this approach:

Any image can be considered archetypal. The word “archetypal” … rather than pointing at something archetypal, points to something, and that is value. By archetypal psychology we mean a psychology of value… Archetypal here refers to a move one makes rather than a thing that is.

Emphasizing the valuative function of the adjective “archetypal” restores to images their primordial place as that which gives psychic value to the world. Any image termed “archetypal” is immediately valued as universal, transhistorical, basically profound, generative, highly intentional, and necessary. [Archetypal Psychology]

If we use the more precise definition of archetype as a valuative approach toward all images then it is not fuzzy at all.

All of that said, I still highly value Jung (I have his collected works and read many times) and post-jungian writers, but Occam’s razor is needed so as not to lead people with flawed conceptual maps – especially by Peterson who uses classical Jungian frameworks to reach a big audience. He would do well to brush up on more rigorous Jungian thinkers like those from the so-called Archetypal Psychology school.

I could go on critiquing classical Jungian concepts – which informs Peterson’s views of history, psychology, gender relations and religion – but I’ll leave it there. I actually like a lot of what Peterson is saying and doing, including his hypomanic style of presentation which is really engaging, so I’m a fan…. but not a fan in the style of his younger students who seem to be worshiping him as a modern day Jung…… which is not far off the mark. I guess people need someone to look up to, and they could do a lot worse than Jordan Peterson.

Peterson is doing some valuable work in reviving the importance of imagination, religious frameworks, and unpacking postmodernism and the huge problems it has unleashed on human cultures. For that we can be thankful.

27 thoughts on “A brief critique of Jordan Peterson’s use of “Jungian” sources

  1. gynocentrism Post author

    Peterson approaches his material via Classical Jungianism which is basically Jung and his immediate followers’ theories, much of which is formulaic, theoretically lame and debunked – though some of it good too. Unfortunately Peterson champions some of the lame stuff – eg. the writings of Erich Neumann, whose theories and writings (The Great Mother, and Origins and History of Consciousness,) have been thoroughly demolished by later, more rigorous Jungian thinkers.

    There are two other schools of Jungianism that arose out of the classical material – the ‘Developmental School’ which blends psychoanalysis with Jungianism, and the ‘Archetypal School’ started by Hillman. Hillman, who was the first Director of the first Jung Institute in Zurich dreamed the movement forward to another level, applying Occam’s razor to all the crap of the classical school and taking the really good stuff to another philosophical level.

    Following the classical school is Peterson’s Achillies heel…. some of his presentations will not be taken seriously by the most brilliant in the Jungian field, even if students are starry-eyed. For example Peterson buys Neumann’s incredibly gynocentric thesis The Great Mother in which he posits that mothers and women are an overarching archetype subsuming all the other archetypes, and in that book he takes every scrap of mythological material he finds and interprets it as mother – the Great Mother.

    Then there’s the one Peterson refers to The Origins and History of Consciousness – in which Neumann states bald faced that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, an outrageous put-on that was nicely debunked by Archetypal Psychologist Wolfgang Giegerich’s essay entitled Ontogeny = Phylogeny? A Fundamental Critique of Erich Neumann’s Analytical Psychology.

    There are other conceptual issues in classical Jungianism, such as the restatement of traditional gender-roles that accumulated under Jung’s descriptions of Animus and Amima which divides an enormous amount of psychological phenomena into strictly masculine and feminine boxes, and applies those boxes to real men and women. Add to that what classical Jungian’s call “the Feminine” – a big basket of bloated gynocentric concepts (eg. that Eros and all the other treasured psychological phenomena are feminine, and all the oppressive, violent and cold intellectual stuff is ‘the Masculine’) – all of which leaves us with a bunch of false stereotypes instead of what we might call phenomenological archetypes.

    Then we have the classical concept of archetype, which utterly falls the test of logic with its reference to a noumenal archetype per se vs. the phenomenally presented archetype. The fact is we can only refer to the phenomenal archetype, that which manifests itself in images. The “noumenal” archetype per se cannot by definition be presented so that nothing whatsoever can be posited of it. In fact whatever one does say about the archetype per se is a conjecture already governed by an archetypal image. This means that the archetypal image precedes and determines the metaphysical hypothesis of a noumenal archetype. So, let us apply Occam’s razor to Kant’s noumenon. By stripping away this unnecessary theoretical encumbrance to Jung’s notion of archetype we restore full value to the archetypal image.’ (Hillman 1971).

    Listen to Peterson try and define what an archetype is here, and note his nervous leg and difficulty in describing what it is – eventually conceding it is a “fuzzy word”: https://youtu.be/NOzjfqO6-K8?t=1h49m27s

    One of the things that makes the notion of archetype fuzzy is the classical Jungian claim that some things are archetypal whilst other things are not archetypal – which is a cause of great confusion. A better way to conceptualize archetype is that any and all images can be considered archetypal, which does away with the artificial dividing of those images which are, and those which are not archetypal. The following from James Hillman captures this approach:

    Any image can be considered archetypal. The word “archetypal” … rather than pointing at something archetypal, points to something, and that is value. By archetypal psychology we mean a psychology of value… Archetypal here refers to a move one makes rather than a thing that is.

    Emphasizing the valuative function of the adjective “archetypal” restores to images their primordial place as that which gives psychic value to the world. Any image termed “archetypal” is immediately valued as universal, transhistorical, basically profound, generative, highly intentional, and necessary. [Archetypal Psychology]

    If we use the more precise definition of archetype as a valuative approach toward all images then it is not fuzzy at all.

    All of that said, I still highly value Jung (I have his collected works and read many times) and post-jungian writers, but Occam’s razor is needed so as not to lead people with flawed conceptual maps – especially by Peterson who uses classical Jungian frameworks to reach a big audience. He would do well to brush up on more rigorous Jungian thinkers like those from the so-called Archetypal Psychology school.

    I could go on critiquing classical Jungian concepts – which informs Peterson’s views of history, psychology, gender relations and religion – but I’ll leave it there. I actually like a lot of what Peterson is saying and doing, including his hypomanic style of presentation which is really engaging, so I’m a fan…. but not a fan in the style of his younger students who seem to be worshiping him as a modern day Jung…… which is not far off the mark. I guess people need someone to look up to, and they could do a lot worse than Jordan Peterson.

    Peterson is doing some valuable work in reviving the importance of imagination, religious frameworks, and unpacking postmodernism and the huge problems it has unleashed on human cultures. For that we can be thankful.

    Reply
  2. borabosna

    When I said “the cult of Peterson continues to grow” I meant some of the scary things I observed in his audience.

    Many memes have sprung up which are repeated almost like chants among his audience, like “clean your room”, “sort”, “rescue your father”, “slay dragons”, “bucko” and so on. His comment section is almost unnavigatable from hundreds of such comments. One pregnant woman was asking him if she is pregnant with an “archetypal baby.”

    His audience elevated him to godlike status, with many comments like “he is a genius”, “this man will save western civilization”, “he is a prophet for our times”, “Peterson is a GOD! I worship him”, even many other channels sprung about by people who are directly putting his “teachings” to daily use while recording it and reporting the results. That’s a cult of personality.

    His audience has an extremely strong, visceral hatred of MGTOW. They go to other channels’ comment sections and leave comments like “MGTOW are pieces of shit” under videos that have no related content to MGTOW.

    His audience cannot handle ANY criticism whatsoever. Any criticism is instantly met with insults, calling you a “faggot” and so on, but most importantly, lots of arguments from authority instead of responding to the criticism; such as “Peterson is a genius, he spent his life studying this and that, who the fuck do you think you are” type of cult-of-personality, worship-style answers.

    The latest development was commenters explicitly trying to hunt down “who pressed the dislike button” in the comments, actively assaulting and insulting them, pushing them out. I happened to press the dislike button and they came down on me so hard, it’s as if they were Muslims who saw a caricature of Muhammad.

    His audience is swallowing whole anything and everything he says with absolutely no critical filter whatsoever; it is so cult like and creepy, to the point that apparently there are multiple subreddits by atheists who have been “converted” by Peterson to Christianity.

    What is even more disturbing to me is that Peterson was actually asked about this cult-like following he gathered in an extremely short time, and he brushed it aside. Peterson is the kind of person who is aware of his power over people, but continues to exploit it with his conscience telling him to do so, because “it’s for the greater good.”

    To exemplify what I mean, consider the Jungian ideas of “living a life in service of the soul” and “presenting the best version of yourself to the world” and “being aware of your own shadow.” All these concepts combined leads to many Jungians using them as an excuse to abandon their families and start a whole new path in life “to follow their calling” etc. One such Jungian author, whom I met in person, is James Hollis from Houston, who in his 40s divorced his wife and left his children, quit his humanities professor job, went to Zurich to get trained as a Jungian analyst, and then remarried to someone else, all in the name of “serving the psyche, not the ego.” And Jungians justify this to themselves because “they are aware of their own shadow.” Even Jung himself PROUDLY mentioned in his writings his sexual relations with some of his patients, and polygamous tendencies he had for a while.

    My opinion of Peterson is that he is consciously selling Christianity, traditional conservatism, and especially HARDLINE MALE SACRIFICE AND GYNOCENTRISM to a very young, cult like, impressionable, easily manipulated audience (and at the same time accusing older MGTOW of having undue negative influence on younger MGTOW, what a hypocrite). He does this while pretending to fall under “scientific atheism” (just because he does research) so as not to offend the sensitivities of those who do not believe in a God, which is most young people. Whenever he is caught off guard about theism/atheism, he goes on full attack, shame and ridicule mode, insulting atheist youth, comparing them to Soviet nihilism, constantly pulling his audiences back to him with “read Gulag Archipelago” and turning them against any atheists among his followers, as if Gulags are equal to, or the inevitable consequence of, a young atheist living in the US or Canada.

    His true colors are very thinly veiled; he advised people to practice Mandalas (a Tibetan religious practice which amounts to little more than fortune telling), he talked about prayer in his conversation with Stefan Molyneux, and the moment he got enough of a following, he ceased his “personality lectures” and switched to SERMON MODE with his lectures on Christianity, all the while pretending “I don’t know if there is a God, but I act like there is one.” The latest lecture was his upholding of male sacrifice and male disposability in the story of the Binding of Isaac. The lecture was ended by a marriage proposal in the audience, further insulating his audience from the “evil feminists and MGTOW”, and continuing to push male servitude.

    He is charismatic and he moves his audiences with emotion. He speaks like a prophet, and even about the things he is wrong about, he speaks with so much certainty and confidence that his audience believes him.

    Here you can see Peterson having religious cries about male sacrifice and responsibility. He is so extremely deeply moved by male sacrifice, and his audience deliriously applauds him. This is very similar to religious/spiritual “sham sessions”:

    Here you can see Peterson’s explicitly misandric, gynocentric views. He believes that women are forced into responsibility, while men MUST BE FORCED into responsibility, because men are pleasure seeking, unproductive, lazy assholes by default (he is joined and fully agreed by Mark Regnerus, the author of the infamous same-sex parenting research and the author of “Cheap Sex”, a gynocentric book that shames male sexuality and holds only men responsible):

    Peterson constantly talks about how women are such fragile creatures and have such hard lives, and are forced into responsibility by biology, and how young men’s “eyes light up” when he tells them to pick up responsibility. “Pick up the HEAVIEST THING you can find, and carry it as far as you can”, in his exact words. My concern is that he has a very large following (350.000), more than 90% of which are male by Peterson’s own admission. Peterson is sending all these young men down the destructive path of marriage and divorce. I am concerned some of these men will end up killing themselves.

    Reply
    1. gynocentrism Post author

      A lot of points I want to respond to here BB, but getting ready for work so will have to wait till later. As a short response I wanted to ask, as you are from an Islamic region, if you’ve read the works of Islamic scholar Henry Corbin? Many of the later Jungians rely on Corbin as a ‘father’ of archetypal psychology. One of his online works on the notion of the Mundus Imaginalis can be read here – http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/mundus_imaginalis.pdf

      Corbin deals with what he calls esoteric Islam as contrasted with exoteric Islam. He was a noted philosopher and his books are profound reads. Mentioning him as he’s a big influence in the feild of later, more serious post-Jungian scholarship.

      More later….

      Reply
      1. borabosna

        I am not familiar with Henry Corbin, but I was a devout muslim until age 16, then on and off until 22. I am somewhat familiar with Turkish esoteric and mysticist Islam, like Sufism, and then Said Nursi. At age 11 I was in the Gulen movement.

    2. Chris Thomas

      You keep talking about “his audience,” but your impression of his audience is a straw man. I’m an admin of the JBP discord; little of what you attribute to “his audience” can be found among the people who use the server. Your impression of “his following” seems to almost entirely be based on the comments section of YouTube. You do realize how low the level of discourse is on the comments section of any video, right?

      Use softer language; his audience is anything but an echo chamber, and plenty of “his audience” is critical of his ideas.

      Reply
      1. gynocentrism Post author

        “I’m an admin of the JBP discord”

        Thanks for the heads up Chris – I didn’t know about your group. Also a good point that there is diversity and critique among his audience.

        Edit: I had a search for the discord group and couldn’t find it. Do you have a link?

      2. borabosna

        I have ALWAYS been talking about his Youtube audience as I kept saying “he has 350.000 followers”. Let’s face it: that’s his real audience. Discord is MUCH SMALLER. Youtube is where Peterson first exploded onto the scene.

        You are making excuses. And no, I’m not going to “use softer language.” Take your tone policing elsewhere. It’s amazing that “free speech advocates” are doing all this tone policing. That’s exactly what I am talking about. His followers cannot take any criticism and silence everyone.

      3. borabosna

        Show me a SINGLE PERSON from your Discord who criticized Peterson’s MISANDRIC views here:

        Show me a SINGLE PERSON from your Discord who criticized Peterson’s ideas of male sacrifice and gynocentrism.

      4. gynocentrism Post author

        Bora Bosna wrote: And no, I’m not going to “use softer language.” and “Show me a SINGLE PERSON from your Discord who criticized Peterson’s ideas of male sacrifice and gynocentrism.”

        Both points crossed my mind as I read CTs post, particularly the tone policing. Also noted that he said zilch about any one of the numerous points raised… perhaps nothing to say but only tone policing, which underlines the blind agreement you’ve been talking about by Peterson’s audience.

        I noticed on the Reddit thread that someone dismissed all criticisms of Peterson because she said Peterson’s ideas stopped her committing suicide, thus cancelling the former out. So we are far indeed from critical thinking and free-speech. https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/6vaf02/a_brief_critique_of_jordan_petersons_use_of/

    3. Lou Weeze

      Concern troll.

      Peterson is inviting young men to engage with life and take some responsibility. Sorely needed considering at this time, cis white males are so disenfranchised.

      Reply
  3. gynocentrism Post author

    I am not familiar with Henry Corbin, but I was a devout muslim until age 16, then on and off until 22. I am somewhat familiar with Turkish esoteric and mysticist Islam, like Sufism, and then Said Nursi. At age 11 I was in the Gulen movement.

    He sounds like a perfect fit for your background. He was an Islamic “Jung” but was much more rigorous than Jung in terms of philosophy. Both men (Jung and Corbin) championed the importance of imagination in human life, and both were at pains to describe human imaginal faculties as situated between physical reality and abstract spiritual practices. Corbin showed that the Islamic mystics prefigured Jung’s ideas by centuries.

    The following written by James Hillman is an attempt to situate Corbin in the Jungian tradition:

    “The second immediate father of archetypal psychology [after C.G. Jung] is Henry Corbin (1903-1978), the French scholar, philosopher and mystic, principally known for his interpretation of Islamic thought. From Corbin comes the idea that the mundus archetypalis (‘alam al-mithal) is also the mundus imaginalis. It is a distinct field of imaginal realities requiring methods and perceptual faculties different from the spiritual world beyond it or the empirical world of usual sense perception and naïve formulation. The mundus imaginalis offers an ontological mode of locating the archetypes of the psyche, as the fundamental structures of the imagination or as fundamentally imaginative phenomena that are transcendent of the world of sense in their value if not in their appearance.

    But more important than the ontological placing of archetypal realities is the double move of Corbin: (a) that the fundamental nature of the archetype is accessible to the imagination first and first presents itself as image, so that (b) the entire procedure of archetypal psychology as a method is imaginative. Its exposition must be rhetorical and poetic, its reasoning not logical, and its therapeutic aim neither social adaptation nor personalistic individualizing but rather a work in service of restoration of the patient to imaginal realities. The aim of therapy is the development of a sense of soul, the middle ground of psychic realities, and the method of therapy is the cultivation of imagination. (p. 15)

    Corbin attributes [the recognition of the reality and independence of images] to the awakened heart as the locus of imagining, a locus also familiar in the Western tradition from Michaelangelo’s immagine del cuor. This interdependence of heart and image intimately ties the very basis of archetypal psychology with the phenomena of love (eros). Corbin’s theory of creative imagination of the heart further implies for psychology that, when it bases itself on the image, it must at the same time recognize that imagination is not merely a human faculty but is an activity of the soul to which the human imagination bears witness. It is not we who imagine but we who are imagined.” (p. 19)

    [From: James Hillman, Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account. The best introduction to Hillman’s work remains Re-Visioning Psychology].

    Going back up to your earlier critique of Peterson’s fans, that sounds typical of one-eyed followers of anyone. From the exposure I’ve had to Peterson I’ll wager he would encourage them to take more notice of critics and to not be so dismissive…… just like Peterson himself who packpeddled a little about MGTOW after being criticized….. even going so far as to say gynocentrism was a valid danger (if I remember right). Not that he caved in altogether – he still remains anti MGTOW but showed he is willing to reassess something, even if under pressure. [I know he has a LONG way to go on understanding MGTOW]

    To exemplify what I mean, consider the Jungian ideas of “living a life in service of the soul” and “presenting the best version of yourself to the world” and “being aware of your own shadow.” All these concepts combined leads to many Jungians using them as an excuse to abandon their families and start a whole new path in life “to follow their calling” etc.

    That selfishness appears to be a Western sickness arising from the marriage of capitalism and Freud’s pleasure principle – ‘me and my selfish wants first.’ If Jung’s prescriptions about soul and shadow were adopted by people of other cultures (cultures not based on the pleasure principle) I doubt they would abandon wife and family and friends for fleeting pleasures.

    My opinion of Peterson is that he is consciously selling Christianity, traditional conservatism, and especially HARDLINE MALE SACRIFICE AND GYNOCENTRISM to a very young, cult like, impressionable, easily manipulated audience (and at the same time accusing older MGTOW of having undue negative influence on younger MGTOW, what a hypocrite). He does this while pretending to fall under “scientific atheism” (just because he does research) so as not to offend the sensitivities of those who do not believe in a God, which is most young people. Whenever he is caught off guard about theism/atheism, he goes on full attack, shame and ridicule mode, insulting atheist youth, comparing them to Soviet nihilism, constantly pulling his audiences back to him with “read Gulag Archipelago” and turning them against any atheists among his followers, as if Gulags are equal to, or the inevitable consequence of, a young atheist living in the US or Canada.

    There is good and bad here in my reading. The bad is his promotion of narrow gender roles (man as sacrificial warrior and women as giver of birth/nurturer/mother) – or as you said it traditional conservatism, with hardline male sacrifice and gynocentrism. But he does question the narrowness of those readings as they appear in traditional Jungian thought….. so he’s not completely closed on the matter. Nevertheless he remains too invested in those traditionalist gender stereotypes for my liking – and as you say to an impressionable young audience.

    The ‘good’ is that he’s right that a lack of imaginal orientation and the moral frameworks that stem from them (which was traditionally packaged by formal religions as analects, commandments, dharma etc.) – leading to an existential impoverishment, nihilism, violence, anarchy etc. I totally buy that proposition. But that leads to the question of which imaginal schema you will follow – Christianity? Islam? Paganism? Buddhism? Scientism?

    His targeting of postmodernism and deconstructionism as a danger to the vessels that oriented humans and societies, and gave us a moral compass, is convincing – at least to me. So is his recommendation that we re-find a suitable imaginal orientation, ie. a religion. Secular beliefs might also fill the gap but they don’t seem to be as rich in psychological value. This whole issue reminds of a passage from the Italian philosopher Vattimo who put the problem like this:

    “The post-modern paradox of imagination – mythic, aethetic or social – is the following: To know that one is dreaming, and yet to continue dreaming.

    There is no ‘out’ from imaginal perception. No exit from the Mundus Imaginalis. There is only a swapping of one imaginal reality for another – hopefully not a more impoverished imaginal reality such as nihilism, chaos, anarchy, narcissism… We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

    I’ll come back to the second half of your post later….

    Reply
    1. gynocentrism Post author

      His true colors are very thinly veiled; he advised people to practice Mandalas (a Tibetan religious practice which amounts to little more than fortune telling)

      Mandala making can be found in every culture on earth. In terms of psych theory it’s seen as a neurotic defense against disintegration and madness – ie. the creation of a mandala ‘gets it all together’ in a neat little circle with all things ordered within. As some psychologists say, it’s far better to get in touch with our fragmentation and destructiveness – even breaking mandalas, or not making them in the first place – if we want to understand our shadow better.

      he talked about prayer in his conversation with Stefan Molyneux, and the moment he got enough of a following, he ceased his “personality lectures” and switched to SERMON MODE with his lectures on Christianity, all the while pretending “I don’t know if there is a God, but I act like there is one.”

      That ‘but I act like there is one’ comes out of a newish trend in continental European philosophy which holds to a simple proposition “The God who may be” – ie. the question is deliberately never settled in the positive as God is, or isn’t. A philosopher named Richard Kearney has been forefront of that movement…. see his book The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion, and his latest book is Anatheism – Returning to God After God.

      I think you’ll find that’s where Peterson is getting his lead with this approach of “I don’t know if there is a God, but I act like there is one.”.

      None of that is a problem…. it’s fine for have an imaginal orientation and moral guidance from same. What’s more problematic is his focusing too singularly on Christianity… is he saying that Christianity is superior? The one true religion? I await to see if he extends the same grace to other religions as guides of souls…… or whether he’s a dogmatic Christianist? Not sure where he’s coming from on that score, but it’s an important question you bring up.

      Here you can see Peterson having religious cries about male sacrifice and responsibility. He is so extremely deeply moved by male sacrifice, and his audience deliriously applauds him. This is very similar to religious/spiritual “sham sessions”:

      Here you can see Peterson’s explicitly misandric, gynocentric views. He believes that women are forced into responsibility, while men MUST BE FORCED into responsibility, because men are pleasure seeking, unproductive, lazy assholes by default (he is joined and fully agreed by Mark Regnerus, the author of the infamous same-sex parenting research and the author of “Cheap Sex”, a gynocentric book that shames male sexuality and holds only men responsible):

      Peterson constantly talks about how women are such fragile creatures and have such hard lives, and are forced into responsibility by biology, and how young men’s “eyes light up” when he tells them to pick up responsibility. “Pick up the HEAVIEST THING you can find, and carry it as far as you can”, in his exact words. My concern is that he has a very large following (350.000), more than 90% of which are male by Peterson’s own admission. Peterson is sending all these young men down the destructive path of marriage and divorce. I am concerned some of these men will end up killing themselves.

      I hadn’t been exposed to those particular talks before…. retrograde views of men and women, and gynocentric as you say. Aside from the goal of reviving imaginal orientations, which I applaud, this is where the main problem lies with his talks – especially from an MRA/MGTOW perspective. Seems to me he could divest himself of traditionalist notions about men and women, especially those coming out of the classical Jungian school of thought, and educate himself properly about the rampant gynocentrism that arose from European chivalry and courtly love if he wanted to better educate people about imaginal schemas.

      Reply
      1. borabosna

        OK, I will try to go in order.

        “Corbin showed that the Islamic mystics prefigured Jung’s ideas by centuries.”

        I think Jung did not hide the fact that he traveled around the world and “appropriated” non-Western religious ideas. If he claimed to be the original source of those ideas, then he is a liar and a fraud.

        About the role of imagination. I think that Jungians are elitist and are removed from the lives of ordinary people. Vast majority of ordinary people tend to take imagination LITERALLY. Not this high-falutin philosophical ontological stuff. As such human imagination is extremely dangerous.

        Different parts of the human brain evolved at different times and were inherited from different ancestors; the heavily image driven lizard brain was necessary for survival, but if you add the later parts of the human brain on top, consider the vast repertoire of human cognitive biases, and add psychotropic plants into the mix, you end up with a machine that spews out crazy images and ideas all over the place, like human sacrifice, genital mutilation, angels, demons, hell, heaven and so on. Once again, Jungians like to revel in their rich imagination and feel good about it, but vast majority of ordinary people TAKE THESE LITERALLY.

        I think human history can be seen as humans both falling victim and prey to their crazy imagination, and triumphing and creating amazing things because of it. I would argue that the bad is far greater than the good. Someone surely could have built beautiful cathedrals and mosques without millions of people killing each other for imaginary entities.

        I also do not agree that cultivation of imagination is therapy. People do not lack in imagination or suffer from it. Great artists come up with great imaginary works all the time without ever having thought of archetypal imagination or Jungian therapy their whole lives. Even uneducated, non-artists create folklore. I think that the idea of “death of imagination” comes from these intellectuals who PERSONALLY felt that way (because they are too smart to “naively” believe, remember Tolstoy praised “simple folks” in Russian villages for their “superior ability to naively believe religion and derive strength from it”, and admitted being envious of their stupidity and simplicity), and projected their ideas onto the general population. This is a common problem not limited to Jungians. Once “paradise (of belief and imagination) is lost” to the intellect, and you become an atheist, you have to make so much more effort to “return to nature”, or “go back into the jungle”. There is a great book on how atheists gave their lives meaning:

        Imagination is important and there is no escape from it, but it must be restrained by a reality check and rational thought. I have a PhD in mathematics, and that’s how mathematical imagination works. But mathematicians get accused of being “soulless”, “cold” and “unimaginative” all the time. You must deductively PROVE everything you imagine. If you don’t, you go crazy like Georg Cantor (who believed God was communicating with him through numbers), Kurt Gödel (who tried to give a mathematical proof of God’s existence, then starved to death in an institution thinking everyone was trying to poison him) among others. Such unfree imagination is actually more meaningful and fulfilling. It is so much more difficult. It is not self indulgent like Jungian active imagination. Jung’s “The Red Book” amounts to not much more than practically imaginative masturbation. It’s unconstrained phantasmagoria. There is a reason it was locked somewhere in Zurich. Jung probably thought he would not be taken seriously if the Red Book was published. A long enough time had to pass, so that he became legendary, and now the Red Book goes with much less scrutiny.

        As for Peterson, he simply seems to be angry and bitter that archetypal imagination poured into video games, cartoons and comic book movies, and that youth go to these things instead of church. Because those are childish and unimportant, but religion is adult and important. (I cannot find the video where Peterson expressed this right now, but I’ll look for it.)

        Peterson made his views on archetypes and imagination clear on The Rubin Report (I don’t have the exact timestamp). He believes:
        1) Archetypes are deeply embedded somewhere in our brains through millions of years of evolution (I do not see any evidence of this)
        2) Almost all of our religious ideas came from the concoction of these archetypal images and psychotropic plants,
        3) As such we do not understand why we have these images and ideas, but they must be there for a reason (again I do not see any evidence), therefore we should follow them,
        4) Religion is a mechanism that allows the male dominance hierarchy to function properly,
        5) “Truth tellers” like Jesus are the most alpha males because “truth telling” is the most alpha activity, religion allows them to shoot to the top of the male dominance hierarchy, so all males should strive to do the same as Jesus, and
        6) He is completely OK with female hypergamy, that is, females taking the “top off” the hierarchy and mating with them, discarding the rest of males.

        “he still remains anti MGTOW but showed he is willing to reassess something, even if under pressure”

        I completely disagree. He assessed MGTOW by himself without anyone nudging him. People kept giving him the benefit of the doubt, saying “he didn’t research MGTOW in depth” but that’s not true, as Peterson used very specific MGTOW terminology like gynocentrism and cohabitation and common law marriage. Other tradcons never use such specific terminology, proving that Peterson did in fact research MGTOW properly.

        He showed his real emotions in that video where he called MGTOW pathetic weasels. You can see how angry and pissed off at men he was. Later he backpedaled, saying “they have a point”, and he tried to hide behind some lame excuse like “I have a dark sense of humor”. That was no dark sense of humor. He was visibly pissed. He was not making a joke. It wasn’t funny. Nobody laughed. He also DID NOT APOLOGIZE. He said “I regret calling them pathetic weasels” because “I forget that hundreds of thousands are watching what I say.” As you can see, he is being dishonest. He thought he was in private company. He had a “Freudian slip of the tongue” but he caught off guard on camera. Those words were his true feelings.

        And despite numerous criticisms, such as Karen Straughan’s video on his comments, that received 225.000 views, he still openly advocates for one way male sacrifice. I don’t consider that “reassessment.” He even admitted having a male patient who was going through divorce, so Peterson knew the true extent of the anti-male nature of the courts, how judges, lawyers, social workers and pretty much everyone else gangs up on fathers. He still insists “some women will do that to some men some of the time.” Instead of reassessing, he is burying his head into the ground because he doesn’t want to hear the statistics that would hurt his tradcon imaginary world.

        Stardusk has a great video on why this is: Peterson is out of touch with the current generation, and he believes in the image of the world in his mind “as it should be”, not as it is. He is willfully ignorant of the true nature of today’s women, drunk sluts and whores who cheat, sleep with hundreds of men, false rape accusers, seeing abortion as a “right”, epidemic of women who rape men and boys, who commit DV, divorce rape, parental alienation, and so on. Peterson is “too nice” for that side of the world.

        Peterson has an extremely naive view of women, he repeatedly said women are forced into responsibility by biology whereas men need to be forced, women are such fragile creatures who have such hard lives, and instead of criticizing it, female hypergamy should simply be tolerated by men, and men should strive to become whatever women prefer. Peterson even mentioned women’s porn searches, romance and erotic novels, and advised men to “become beasts and let themselves get tamed by a woman.”

        He is hopelessly gynocentric, female worshiper. And again, that’s because he believes the world is “as it should be” in his mind. Such is the problem with highly imaginative Jungians: they fall so much in love with their imagination, they get obsessed with making the world fit their perfect imagination and remain removed from reality. In that respect, Peterson is not too different than the millenials whom he criticized for wanting to change the world to their own imagination.

        “But that leads to the question of which imaginal schema you will follow – Christianity? Islam? Paganism? Buddhism? Scientism? ”

        Why follow any of these? I’m an ex-Muslim and an ex-Buddhist. People are CREATING thier own new imaginal schemes all the time every day. Authors like Tolkien, Lovecraft, and their followers for example. This is one reason comic book movies and video games piss off Peterson too much. Because new creations are competition to his precious Christianity. Not to mention all the “new age” people, hippies and so on in California, among other places. People keep creating new imaginal schemes, new “religions” if you will, new “spiritual practices.” Doesn’t this prove a failure of Christianity? Recently a commenter of Peterson admitted this in a sobering moment: he said it’s too late to “revive” Christianity, there is no energy and soul left in it. Even traditional Islam was discarded by Rumi, and molded in his own, new imagining of it; and as such there are sects that are vehemently opposed to Rumi’s mysticist version of Islam (it removed 5 times a day worship, invented new types of worship like the whirling dervishes etc).

        “That ‘but I act like there is one’ comes out of a newish trend in continental European philosophy”

        I see, but it’s dishonest. It’s like Pascal’s Wager reinvented. Also why do they act as if the Christian God exists, and not some other? Is it “Spinoza’s God” or “Einstein’s God” instead? There is a wonderful book called “God is not One”, disproving the idea that all religions lead to the same thing:

        “is he saying that Christianity is superior? The one true religion?”
        Peterson, in typical Jungian fashion, will mention ideas from Taoism, Buddhism etc. as all valuable, but only in appropriating them as “these ideas are already all present in Christianity.” His views on the superiority and truth of Christianity are from the Joe Rogan podcast (again I don’t have exact timestamps, it was somewhere near the end, where he describes himself as a religious person):

        This one has timestamps by the top commenter:

        “I hadn’t been exposed to those particular talks before…. appallingly retrograde views of men and women, and gynocentric as you say.”

        This is what scares me. 350.000 men are willfully ignorant of these crucial truths about Peterson, except MGTOW.

        “and he needs to educate himself about gynocentrism.”

        As I said, he already did. He is fully aware of gynocentrism as can be seen in his “apology” video. He STILL INSISTS that men should man up. He is just a typical Christian tradcon, very much like Dennis Prager, Brad Wilcox and so on. What angers me is the reputation he gets for “being so much more superior.” He just found a very clever way of selling it: first standing up to tranny SJW bullies, then using his professorship as a cover so he doesn’t come off like a typical Christian tradcon, then selling Christianity under the guise of psychology, while convincing his audience not with evidence of Christianity but with a scare tactic by pointing at atheists/nihilists/gulags/SJWs as “what will happen if you don’t follow” instead. As such, he is far more successful in selling Christian tradconism than say, Brad Wilcox.

  4. gynocentrism Post author

    An interesting post and a lot of ideas and links to chew on there BB. I’ll digest it for a while.

    I agree imagination will be going on regardless of whether we adopt traditional religious forms, however I have seen examples of how imagination becomes narrowed when given over to simplistic focus absent of a more complex imaginative worldview. Perhaps that claim is being labored too hard by Peterson in his call to Christianity – and that’s the point worth considering.

    To be fair Peterson’s talks are a darn sight more complex than Dennis Prager and Brad Willcox, but they appear to share retrograde and frankly misandric views of men.

    Reply
      1. gynocentrism Post author

        Ok one by one, taking up some of your points.

        Vast majority of ordinary people tend to take imagination LITERALLY.

        People learn the difference between real and “make believe” when they are small children, and the distinction remains throughout life – such as when we daydream – and everyone but a psychotic knows the difference between a daydream, a fantasy, and reality. But most people also have blind spots where they don’t see imagining as imagining – they see it as “fact” or “truth” and that’s the part that gets dangerous as you mentioned above.

        About the role of imagination. I think that Jungians are elitist and are removed from the lives of ordinary people.

        Jungians are sometimes elitist when they become bogged down in jargon, structural formulae and dogmas about how imagination works, but there are many who prefer to do to what they call a phenomenology of imagination – they observe imagination and report on precisely the way it displays itself. The post Jungian school or Archetypal Psychology is more devoted to the phenomenological approach and you can also find a brilliant examples of that approach in the works of Islamic scholar Henry Corbin, American philosopher Edward Casey, and French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. Their motto is “stick to the image” – ie. they choose to not ramble off into elitist doctrine and jargon.

        Once again, Jungians like to revel in their rich imagination and feel good about it, but vast majority of ordinary people TAKE THESE LITERALLY.

        The weird part is that most people have clarity on the difference between real and imaginary much of the time, but then get totally stuck in literalisms of one kind or another. They know there is such a think as make-believe, as fantasy, but they haven’t yet learned to apply that knowledge in a more skillful way to all of their beliefs. Maddening to watch.

        I also do not agree that cultivation of imagination is therapy. People do not lack in imagination or suffer from it.

        Who are you “not agreeing with”? I haven’t heard anyone suggest that people need to cultivate more imagination, and Jungians and post-Jungians certainly don’t do that. What they do is either a). teach interprative structures for understanding the images that are already happening, or b). teach how to “stick to the image” – ie. to take the phenomenological approach and become more familiar with the images that are already happening.

        There is a traditional Jungian practice called active imagining which requires a relaxing of the mind to allow the natural flow of images to be observed, but that’s a little different from the idea of cultivating images that were never there.

        Imagination is going on all the time. There is no out. Not even while doing mathematics. The most dangerous fantasy is that of ‘detached intellectual observation’…. every bit an imaginal construct we enact while believing we are not enacting a fantasy at all…. so easy to fool ourselves. But I digress…. you know all of that already, based on your wide-ranging studies mentioned above.

        Great artists come up with great imaginary works all the time without ever having thought of archetypal imagination or Jungian therapy their whole lives. Even uneducated, non-artists create folklore. I think that the idea of “death of imagination” comes from these intellectuals who PERSONALLY felt that way (because they are too smart to “naively” believe, remember Tolstoy praised “simple folks” in Russian villages for their “superior ability to naively believe religion and derive strength from it”, and admitted being envious of their stupidity and simplicity), and projected their ideas onto the general population.

        Well said. I wouldn’t make that into a hard dichotomy though (you are probably not) between naive imagining vs. dead imagining (from too much intellectualizing). There’s an inbetween position of taking imagination seriously, observing it phenomenologically, and thereby becoming far more aware of imaginal material. This is what many of the great writers did – they schooled themselves in being observers of imagination, in real life and in literature. That observing is hard work as Gaston Bachelard discussed, but it pays off by affording a kind of astuteness in working with imaginal stuff in religion, psychology, politics, human behavior or whatever…… I even use that approach to go down into the history of gynocentrism, to pinpoint imagery of chivalry and courtly love….. while trying to arrange the material and republish it in a way that captures our imagination. If people better schooled themselves in imagination they would see for instance that feminism is a vast mythology little aligning with facts.

        This is a common problem not limited to Jungians. Once “paradise (of belief and imagination) is lost” to the intellect, and you become an atheist, you have to make so much more effort to “return to nature”, or “go back into the jungle”. There is a great book on how atheists gave their lives meaning:

        True. What you are describing there, at its very worst manifestation, is called depersonalization. When people get too blocked from the natural flow of imagination, when they cut it off through the defense of intellectualizing, they come to feel like life is emptied-out…. they come to see the world as a flat land, with no resonance, as if it’s all behind a pane of glass. Imagination, and the variety of emotions that are birthed by imagination, is the thing that gives life its texture and colour.

        The book you recommended there is not showing. But I’m aware that atheists mostly have a florid imagination about a godless world or physics. This is a rich fantasy construct….. and nothing wrong with it because it aligns with non-imaginal facts of science to-boot.

        Imagination is important and there is no escape from it, but it must be restrained by a reality check and rational thought. I have a PhD in mathematics, and that’s how mathematical imagination works. But mathematicians get accused of being “soulless”, “cold” and “unimaginative” all the time.

        Little do people understand how much imagination is required for math – both spontaneous and controlled versions of imagining. My daughter is almost finished studying Pure Mathematics at Uni, has always loved it. She has an almost savant way of processing numbers – sees them as characters – like people…. so 5 is a certain person (always the same) and 7 is a person always the same… some numbers are people she hates, and some are friendly, and some have other traits. Weird I know but it allows her to calculate fast… she looks at an equation, sees are crowd of ‘people’ and sums up their relationship rapidly. Is this a girl-brain at work? Don’t know, as it’s not my field.

        I purchased a book for her when she first started studying which gives the etymological and representational roots of numbers and other mathematical concepts/symbols…. each one going back to an image of some kind…… she loves that stuff. I’m getting sidetracked here…..

        Agree imagination must be restrained by a reality check.

        Jung’s “The Red Book” amounts to not much more than practically imaginative masturbation. It’s unconstrained phantasmagoria. There is a reason it was locked somewhere in Zurich. Jung probably thought he would not be taken seriously if the Red Book was published. A long enough time had to pass, so that he became legendary, and now the Red Book goes with much less scrutiny.

        It’s a bit more complicated than that. I’ve read the book and did find the fantasies extremely boring. But if you have read Jung’s collected works you will see immediately (as I did) that a lot of the fantasy themes that came through in those visions contained all of the themes that he later elaborated in the collected works in more scientific language (I could go into elaborate detail of the connections here, unmistakably clear, but will spare you and I both).

        The lesson of The Red Book is to demonstrate that imagination precedes, guides and in some ways determines follow-on intellectual and physical pursuits. The intro to TRB by Sonu Shamdasani is a profound work in itself, far more interesting than Jung’s accompanying fantasies in the same book, detailing the relevance of Jung’s fantasies to his life, his theories, and to disciplines of imagination generally.

        Jung always wanted TRB published but thought it was better to present the themes of the Red Book as scientific presentations as he did in his collected works, as he knew people would write him of as a loon if he revealed that the basic themes all came out of his florid fantasies….. so he asked for the ‘source of it all’ (TRB) to wait till after his death to be published. Something like that – and it makes perfect sense considering he was already under attack from Freudians as being a traitor to Freud and a “silly mystic.”

        You can say it’s unconstrained masturbation but that would make you and I and everyone else in the world equal participants in unconstrained masturbation in terms of the fact we all fantasize prior to, and while engaged in more serious intellectual and physical enterprises. I assume you didn’t read The Red Book and the intro by Shamdasani? I’m not getting that you understand where it fits into Jung’s life and theories.

        As for Peterson, he simply seems to be angry and bitter that archetypal imagination poured into video games, cartoons and comic book movies, and that youth go to these things instead of church. Because those are childish and unimportant, but religion is adult and important. (I cannot find the video where Peterson expressed this right now, but I’ll look for it.)

        Fair assessment, the archetypal imagination very much does appear in video games, comic book movies etc. This 16 yr old kid wrote about exactly that: http://honeybadgerbrigade.com/2016/06/22/video-games-as-mythology/ A simple piece but he nails the same issue – that the archetypal imagination is not isolated to traditional religion.

        I have two caveats to that. Traditional mythologies or religious narratives (or whatever we call them) are told and re-told and written and re-written for often thousands of years. I’m going to wager this means they are a more refined product, honed to cater more precisely to the needs and desires of the human psyche. Are video games still adequate containers for the needs of human imagination? yes. Do modern video games have the same level of refinement as traditional myths? Perhaps not.

        The big question is whether modern-day mythologies (movies, books, games) have yet built up an ethical and moral structure around the material – as did the traditional religions over millennia with their eight-fold paths, Ten Commandments, Dharma, Honour, parables, Analects and so on….. that ethical overlay takes time.

        I don’t actually know the answer but I’m wondering if this gives Peterson a reasonable case for promoting the (ethical structures) of more traditional religion?

        Whatever the case those traditional moral guidelines need to be wiped clean of the male-servitude and gynocentrism that you’ve rightly detected throughout the mix. If we got rid of all that would there remain an ethical structure? I think so….. “do unto others” as an example.

        Peterson made his views on archetypes and imagination clear on The Rubin Report (I don’t have the exact timestamp). He believes:
        1) Archetypes are deeply embedded somewhere in our brains through millions of years of evolution (I do not see any evidence of this)
        2) Almost all of our religious ideas came from the concoction of these archetypal images and psychotropic plants,
        3) As such we do not understand why we have these images and ideas, but they must be there for a reason (again I do not see any evidence), therefore we should follow them,
        4) Religion is a mechanism that allows the male dominance hierarchy to function properly,
        5) “Truth tellers” like Jesus are the most alpha males because “truth telling” is the most alpha activity, religion allows them to shoot to the top of the male dominance hierarchy, so all males should strive to do the same as Jesus, and
        6) He is completely OK with female hypergamy, that is, females taking the “top off” the hierarchy and mating with them, discarding the rest of males.

        I havent listened to the video so I’ll take your assessment on face value until I can watch it.

        1). I think there’s an argument that can be made for this. For example the recognition of a child’s facial features trigger a neurological state called the ‘parental brain’. Is there an archetypal image of a child imprinted on the human nervous system? I would say yes. This is an area that gets extremely complex due to the human ability to create diverse imagery often inspired by early environmental imprint, rather than lock-in-key imagery that drives the reflexive behavior of other animals. But I think there’s enough evidence to say that human imagination has some kind of structural mechanism in our biology.

        2) psychotropic plants?? That aint Jungian… obviously I need to go and listen to his theory but on face value it sounds ‘out there.’

        4) Male dominance hierarchy…. don’t know what to think to that.

        5) Alpha – did he use that word? Lost me there if so. Other than that I’ll have to listen to the theory of truth telling to see if it sounds valid….. too short on time to listen right now but I’ll get to it.

        6. If he’s OK with hypergamy he needs to factor in the Zeta male, or MGTOW….. every good deed deserves another!

        Also why do they act as if the Christian God exists, and not some other? Is it “Spinoza’s God” or “Einstein’s God” instead? There is a wonderful book called “God is not One”, disproving the idea that all religions lead to the same thing:

        Exactly. The book sounds good – that someone understands different religious narratives have different aims – Dharma for Hindus, Agape for Christians, Compassion for Buddhists, Honor for Celtic religions, balance for the Taoists, Spinoza and Einstein’s ideas and so on….. all presenting a very different picture and striving for different goals.

        From a psychological vantage point I find a lot of value from the old polytheistic myths/religions of the Mediterranean…. they are more intricately interwoven, and the main characters (archetypal styles) are portrayed in fascinating detail that captures human behavior. The saying rings true that “Modern psychology (with its ‘case stories’) is mythology in modern dress, and mythology is psychology in ancient dress.” Both capture human behavior.

        Ok I really have to stop here this is becoming an epic.

    1. borabosna

      “Who are you “not agreeing with”? I haven’t heard anyone suggest that people need to cultivate more imagination”
      That came from one of the Corbin quotes you had. Or was it Hillman? He said that cultivation of imagination is therapy.

      Reply
    2. borabosna

      “Is there an archetypal image of a child imprinted on the human nervous system? I would say yes. ”

      Peterson believes much further than that. He believes, like many Jungians (as I had attended “Jung Haus”, a local Jung community in Central Ohio), that pretty much all archetypes (heroes, angels, devils, mythological beasts, heaven, hell, everything) is imprinted in the brain through evolution, that they serve survival and reproductive value through stories. Peterson’s justification seems to be that the heavily image driven lizard brain “recorded” lots of images from nature millions of years ago, and then the rest of the human brain, along with the help of “teacher plants” as shamans used to call them, concocted them to overblown proportions.

      Reply
      1. gynocentrism Post author

        “He believes, like many Jungians (as I had attended “Jung Haus”, a local Jung community in Central Ohio), that pretty much all archetypes (heroes, angels, devils, mythological beasts, heaven, hell, everything) is imprinted in the brain through evolution, that they serve survival and reproductive value through stories. Peterson’s justification seems to be that the heavily image driven lizard brain “recorded” lots of images from nature millions of years ago, and then the rest of the human brain, along with the help of “teacher plants” as shamans used to call them, concocted them to overblown proportions.”

        I pity anyone who has been involved in any of the Jung Haus chapters around the world. Jung himself was famed to say “Thank God I’m Jung and not a Jungian!” The core reason I can’t stand them (aside from the laughable formulae they subject imaginative phenomena to) is the rampant gynocentrism. The talk of “the Feminine” dominates their whole thinking, their conversations….. feminism by any other name. They even insist the great mammal impulse Eros is part of “the Feminine” – when in fact he was always portrayed as male in Graeco-Roman mythology, without exception. Not that human impulses like Eros (desire & connection) need to be gendered – they don’t because the relevant motifs appear in men’s and women’s imaginations both. But this business of dividing up archetypes into good=the feminine, and bad=the masculine is the same old sickening gynocentrism that plagues every ideology and institution today. There are even occasional mentions of ‘the feminine’ in the school of Archetypal Psychology, though it mercifully is mostly free of such rubbish.

        It’s too complicated to go into here but I think there’s an argument to be made, with evidence, re archetypal images being at least partly patterned within the human nervous system (child, mother, father, hero, and even desired vs. feared locations). The complexity then comes with the fact we humans flesh out those patters in creative ways – utilizing internalized childhood images, images offered by the culture we live in, including religious culture, as representations. Joseph Campbell gave a plausible explanation of how all this might work in his Masks of God: Primitive Mythology – Chapter 1. ‘The Enigma of the Inherited Image’….. which is online here: https://circulosemiotico.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/themasksofgodprimitivemythologycampbell.pdf

        Of course the devil is in the detail with such theories…. some are more plausible than others, and many of the Jungians hold false or unconvincing explanations. Not sure how convincing Peterson’s explanation is as I haven’t heard it. His theory that archetypes developed with the help of “teacher plants” as shamans used to call them sounds batshit on the face of it.

        I tend to steer away from trying to locate archetypes in the brain, and the use of evolutionary psychology explain same, in preference for the phenomenological approach (the Archetypal Psychology school of thought) which puts the whole study of imagination on surer footing. For the latter school archetypes are not genes to be located in the human DNA but rather an attitude one takes toward images:

        Any image can be considered archetypal. The word “archetypal” … rather than pointing at something archetypal, points to something, and that is value. By archetypal psychology we mean a psychology of value… Archetypal here refers to a move one makes (valuing) rather than a thing that is.

        Emphasizing the valuative function of the adjective “archetypal” restores to images their primordial place as that which gives psychic value to the world. Any image termed “archetypal” is immediately valued as universal, transhistorical, basically profound, generative, highly intentional, and necessary. [Archetypal Psychology]

        Despite Peterson’s failures – the out-there theories, the gynocentrism, the Christianism, he does have a point that we humans need a good (ie rich/complex) imaginal orientation, along with personal discipline – both of which tend to fall by the wayside in the modern context. Nihilism is a good word for it – when our imaginal schemas no longer cater to the complexity of our lives and potential. Not saying he has the answers but I think he has nailed a problem in the postmodern, deconstructive, overly intellectual, capitalist, SJW, nihilist imagination that leaves many depersonalized or at least impoverished in their self and worldview. Having named the problem I’m not sure that he has the antidote – probably not….. but a valid pitch to at least search for an alternative.

      2. borabosna

        “I pity anyone who has been involved in any of the Jung Haus chapters around the world.”

        They are made up of old people all well above 55, and I was the only young one there. Their main thing was spirituality, and “finding meaning in second half of life.” I didn’t like Jung, I liked classical psychoanalysis and Karen Horney’s analysis of neurosis and her idea of “self-analysis”, but this James Hollis guy I mentioned before was the only Jungian who wrote a book about men’s issues, so I wanted to “infiltrate” these Jungians. His book is called “Under Saturn’s Shadow” and talks about male wounding, and so on. (Problem is that Hollis defends circumcision as necessary to “quicken consciousness” though we may foolishly see it as “barbaric.)
        http://www.amazon.com/Under-Saturns-Shadow-Wounding-Psychology/dp/0919123643

        “The destruction of the feminine” was a very strong, main theme that ran throughout their organization. They had many Jungian lecturers give paid workshops about it. They believe in Marija Gimbutas’ bullshit anthropological theory of “we used to all live as peaceful matriarchies following matriarchal religions and goddesses, feminine earth worship, but then evil men came and destroyed it all”. You can actually see these ideas in the recent Hollywood movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” which was supervised by Eve Ensler. These are the supposed anthropological roots of Patriarchy Theory. Gloria Steinem repeated this many times.

        “It’s too complicated to go into here but I think there’s an argument to be made, with evidence, re archetypal images being at least partly patterned within the human nervous system”

        First, I’m really not gonna believe it until I see the evidence. Second, why are there such different archetypes in different cultures then? Geographical differences causing differences in evolution? Third, even if I were to agree that some of the “most basic” archetypes that are “biological” in nature are imprinted into the nervous system, surely it would be limited just to those archetypes, and would not extend to the vast majority of other, especially religious archetypes. I reject that something like Medusa, or Avalokiteshvara, is imprinted into the nervous system.

        Peterson didn’t exactly say “teacher plants”, he said something like hallucinogenic plants or psychotropic plants or something like that. So it’s my fault. It’s in that Rubin Report video.

        “Any image can be considered archetypal.”

        See this is where I start to have problems with archetypers. At that point, the concept of “archetype” stops pointing to something that exists, or is partly innate, that is, can be at least partly evidence based; but starts to be made up as however they please. It’s no longer different than any other “symbolic systems” that humans came up with for thousands and thousands of years. Humans do not understand reality, so they invent models of it in their minds. As long as it “symbolically makes sense” humans are willing to accept it (like how people believed the “spontaneous generation” model of disease, which was later disproved by Pasteur, or many other superstitions). Problem is, the human mind is capable of “symbolically making sense” of way too many things (this is an unfortunately double edged adaptation). A non-theistic symbolic system makes perfect sense to Asians, but Middle Easterners and Westerners would find the idea incomprehensible. Try explaining to monotheists that prostration to a Buddha statue is not idolatrous worship.

        “Emphasizing the valuative function of the adjective “archetypal” restores to images their primordial place”

        What valuative function? They need to prove that function exists. In psychology it is possible to empirically prove that certain “mental functions” exist, but archetypers give no evidence. They assume the evidence must be out there because it makes sense. For example Jung had his “transcendent function” which he claimed to arise out of “tension of the opposites.” These are just conceptual ideas, with no scientific evidence. They SOUND plausible and they “make sense”, but so do ideas in every other religion.

        What primordial place? Where is this place? How do they prove it exists, rather than assume it exists and then follow wherever their imagination leads? WHOSE place is it? Is it Mecca, or Jerusalem, or the Bodhi tree? Is it the Shaolin Temple?

        “he does have a point that we humans need a good (ie rich/complex) imaginal orientation, along with personal discipline”

        How does Peterson know that people do NOT have good imaginal orientation? How can anyone claim that SJWs do not have a good imaginal orientation? Obviously SJWs believe that they are fighting for good. I think the main problem is 1) morality and 2) lack of checks against reality. Humans moralize everything, way too much. Peterson simply wants us to choose Christian morality over others, because reasons. Since I grew up Muslim and heard EXACTLY the same arguments from Islam, why should I believe this? SJWs’ problem is not lack of good imaginal orientation. They moralize things way too much, act emotionally instead of logically, and they do not check their beliefs against reality (otherwise they would not be Marxists/Communists). No different than any other group in history that behaved that way, but Peterson would have us believe that this is extremely uniquely awful, because “muh gulag archipelago.”

        We can say the exact same thing about Islamic terrorists. Once something gets moralized, you can make humans do anything while making them believe that it’s for a good cause. Do we believe for a second that Islamic terrorists lack imaginal orientation? They feel elevated to do God’s bidding. (Remember that the word “assassin” comes from “hashashin” where recruited Muslim men were given hashis to induce dreams of heaven in exchange for killing Crusaders.) They shout Allahu Akbar (moral act) while detonating themselves, probably imagining what heaven looks like (lack of reality check). That’s a “good imaginal orientation.” It feels good and moral. The problem is with the “good” part (morality) and with “imagination” (lack of checks against reality).

        Hence I stand by my view from previous posts: imagination is extremely dangerous if it’s moralized and not checked against reality, which most of the time it is not.

        And don’t get me started about personal discipline. Peterson simply ASSUMES that young men do not have personal discipline, just because young men are unconsciously rejecting gynocentrism and marriage; where the real reason is that young men are living in a society that does not reward anything they do, but punishes them instead. Peterson keeps talking about how “their eyes light up” when he talks about male responsibility and sacrifice, but as I said before, this is because these young men grew up fatherless, living in a man hating society, emasculated, and they jump at the first “father figure” they see, and Peterson is exploiting that.

        It’s like a cult: these young men CONVINCE themselves that they are irresponsible and undisciplined, even though they are not (this is very similar to how Christians feel guilt because of the “original sin”, so it’s not a coincidence that Peterson is pushing Christianity). The comment sections of his videos are filled with “confessions”, not because these young men lack responsibility and discipline, but because they perceive the lack of a “higher calling/purpose” (which is caused by man hating society and its punishment of masculinity) as lack of responsibility and discipline. Peterson is not stupid enough to miss that. He is exploiting it.

        Not to mention Peterson NEVER EVER EVER talks about female responsibility, lack of female personal discipline, or lack of female good imaginal orientation. Keep watching his videos: he says numerous times that women already have extremely difficult lives and they are responsible and disciplined JUST BY EXISTING because they are forced into it, whereas the exact opposite is true: Safe Haven laws, no fault divorce, child support, alimony, quotas, studying bullshit subjects, then demanding money because “discrimination”, etc.

        Sorry about the long post. Thanks for putting up with me.

      3. gynocentrism Post author

        First, I’m really not gonna believe it until I see the evidence. Second, why are there such different archetypes in different cultures then? Geographical differences causing differences in evolution? Third, even if I were to agree that some of the “most basic” archetypes that are “biological” in nature are imprinted into the nervous system, surely it would be limited just to those archetypes, and would not extend to the vast majority of other, especially religious archetypes. I reject that something like Medusa, or Avalokiteshvara, is imprinted into the nervous system.

        Evidence-based is fine. That’s why I don’t spend time trying to locate archetypes in the brain etc…. all conjecture. However, theoretically the cultural differences in so-called archetypal imagery do not debunk the idea. Take for example the child archetype…. a child can be represented in a thousand different ways in religious symbolism – different clothing, different races (Chinese, African) or even different animals (juvenile chimpanzee, puppy, kitten), and yet retain a core set of features that allow it to display a biologically patterned set of features that trigger the parental brain state (neurologically proven). That set of features will include large eyes in relation to the face, rounded as opposed to angular features of adult faces, large rounded forehead, and smallish nose and mouth. The representations differ dramatically in certain details, which we might call ethnic ideas as opposed to archetypal ideas (using classical Jungian framework). Have they found a gene for this? No…. but only an idiot would miss the obvious explanation that we are triggered by juvenile features by patternings in our nervous system.

        Its plausible that the notion of a good and a bad mother referred to by psychoanalysts and Object Relations psychologists works on a similar basis – the image appearing in a psyche of the bad mother can be Kali, Medusa or whatever, but like the child archetype there must be something in common to the varied images – a threat to integrity of some kind.

        Or what about the fact we can find images of people from vastly different races, in different clothing, with different features desirable? Are we to say that eros is not archetypal because we haven’t located a ‘desire’ gene? You can dismiss the hypothesis all you like but your dismissals are ignoring some pretty compelling evidence. That said, my preference is to stay away from all the gene-hunting and “stick with the image” instead.

        See this is where I start to have problems with archetypers. At that point, the concept of “archetype” stops pointing to something that exists, or is partly innate, that is, can be at least partly evidence based; but starts to be made up as however they please.

        Its not that simple. The idea of approaching images as blank-slates, rather than as archetypes manifest and frozen for all time in imagery, is that “we see by means of images” – ie. whatever image is in our minds, spontaneously, as we observe images and natural phenomena, determines the quality of the thing seen….. at least in our minds. It’s extremely subjective as you point out.

        What valuative function?

        But it’s a FACT that we project apriori values onto the things we see, and on that account it makes perfect sense to define archetypal as a valuative way of seeing (how the school of Archetypal Psychology approaches it ). For example, a man holding his baby/child and looking at his sexy young wife can be seen in a few different ways depending on the archetype governing your “way of seeing”. He can be “seen” as an image of the father archetype, he can be “seen” as an example of the Eros archetype….. the image that guides apriori your ‘way of seeing’ will determine the value you detect….. hence the definition of archetype as a valuative move. Philosophically there is no way to decontaminate our apriori ‘way of seeing’ to grant us pure objective assessment.

        What primordial place? Where is this place?

        It’s an imaginal place, not a literal one.

        How does Peterson know that people do NOT have good imaginal orientation? How can anyone claim that SJWs do not have a good imaginal orientation?

        I’ll let Peterson answer for himself. From my end I have lost count of the number of people whose imaginal orientation is what I would call impoverished – impoverished in the sense that it is an erroneous map of the world in which we live and navigate, and it restricts human awareness and potential. These are people to whom we apply the saying “If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then you’ll treat everything as if it were a nail. For example the person who reduces thier whole worldview to postmodern deconstructionism will take everything he hears, sees, imagines as something to be dismantled, after which he moves onto the next thing to dismantle. The result is overall psychological impoverishment that can result in depression, depersonalization, derealization, nihilism, violence and perhaps suicide. The impoverishment is also demonstrated be the Neti Neti approach of some in the manosphere, men who can say they refuse all reality and can exist with video games, food and sex dolls and nothing more….. then joining forums and asking the resultant question “does anyone experience meaninglessness, or loneliness?” – I’ve seen that question asked 100’s of times.

        Obviously SJWs believe that they are fighting for good. I think the main problem is 1) morality and 2) lack of checks against reality.

        Yep, agree.

        Peterson simply wants us to choose Christian morality over others, because reasons. Since I grew up Muslim and heard EXACTLY the same arguments from Islam, why should I believe this? SJWs’ problem is not lack of good imaginal orientation. They moralize things way too much, act emotionally instead of logically, and they do not check their beliefs against reality (otherwise they would not be Marxists/Communists). No different than any other group in history that behaved that way, but Peterson would have us believe that this is extremely uniquely awful, because “muh gulag archipelago.”

        This gets into complicated territory because most humans have instinctual morality (we have mirror-neurons and so empathy for others); shared morality (which allows a culture to function where the people have some joint understanding / agreement), along with individualistic morality. It would take an essay to unravel and unpack all of that and then look at it in relation to what Peterson is prescribing and how it is relevant to SJWs etc.

        We don’t need Christian morals or Muslim morals specifically, but without some sense of shared moral compass there are a multitude of groups each with their conflicting morality that leads to violent conflict. What’s the answer to that? I guess it’s may the best man win….. it’s playing out before our eyes in the Western world….. WW3.

        Peterson NEVER EVER EVER talks about female responsibility, lack of female personal discipline, or lack of female good imaginal orientation. Keep watching his videos: he says numerous times that women already have extremely difficult lives and they are responsible and disciplined JUST BY EXISTING because they are forced into it, whereas the exact opposite is true: Safe Haven laws, no fault divorce, child support, alimony, quotas, studying bullshit subjects, then demanding money because “discrimination”, etc.

        Yep you’ve convinced me that there is a problem with his view of men and women.

  5. Joel Hartmans

    People are waking up through the hard and thorough work of Jordan Peterson, if there is a vast amount of ignorance for them to overcome then so be it. People follow passion and if that doesn’t make sense to you then I don’t know what else to tell you. They are eventually going to come into their own or digress. More than likely they will develop and make future choices from this starting point and it will be a better outcome for them. Mocking them as a cult is shallow, for most this is a liberating self discovery which has little to do with the messenger or an adherence to a set of requirements. You could make something evil of this but I think he covered that.
    You’re referring to schools of thought and I believe it comes down to faith and reason. It seems to me that Peterson could make a convincing argument to the contrary. He has chosen a reasoned path and it seems to resonate.

    Reply
    1. borabosna

      You say people are “waking up”, but the 90% of the 350.000 followers he has are men, and they are “waking up” to Peterson’s misandric views, promotion of male sacrifice as the ultimate virtue, and to getting married as a “good idea.” How many of these men are going to be divorce raped, and then commit suicide? Statistically, 90%*350.000*50% = 157.500 men getting divorce raped, and some percentage of that committing suicide. That’s not a sacrifice worth making for the sake of “waking people up thoroughly and hard.” That’s exactly what I talked about in my above comments, people like you and Peterson, who don’t care about men, care about “the greater good.” Why doesn’t Peterson wake people up to family courts and male suicide? He is supposed to be a clinical psychologist, no?

      And yes, they are cult like. Read my posts above. They literally worship him and built a cult of personality around him. They call him a god, the savior of western civilization, and so on.

      Reply
    2. borabosna

      His path “resonates” with people because most of thee young men grew up fatherless, raised by single mothers, grew up in a man hating feminist world, do not have the balls to stand up and defend themselves, they never thought through post modernism, they weren’t exposed to nice mythological stories, their imaginations were hungry for it; and Peterson was the first person to stand up against SJWs, so they all took cover behind him, and they swallowed the very first model of manhood that Peterson threw at them unquestioningly.

      Reply

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