I am both enthralled and engrossed in Jordan Peterson’s global blockbuster 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Lefty journalists are pitching their normal, ridiculous tantrums and chucking toys hither and yon in the hopes that someone will listen, but Peterson’s book sales are unaffected. If anything, the shrieking hysterics over Nazis and alt-right white supremacists are driving more people to read this amazing man’s thoughts, so good work, chumps.
Will they ever learn?
I know that Peterson’s words are directly specifically towards young men, and I don’t begrudge him a nanosecond of those efforts, but his chapter on making friends with people who want the best for you has such a glaring omission, it kind of startles me! I’m going to quote sections at length, to provide a maximum context.
Peterson begins the chapter discussing his adolescence and his experience with friends who were not on the same life path, or any path at all, really. He moves on to discuss how young men are sometimes drawn to other young men who aren’t all that good for them – stoners, losers, dreary, lost boys trapped in apathy and despair, and then he begins the important work of discussing why that happens.
Under the subheading Rescuing the Damned, he talks about the need to rescue, deeply ingrained in the male psyche.
“People choose friends who aren’t good for them for other reasons, too. Sometimes it’s because they want to rescue someone. This is more typical of young people, although the impetus still exists among older folks [emphasis mine] who are too agreeable or have remained naïve or who are willfully blind. Someone might object ‘It is only right to see the best in people. The highest virtue is the desire to help.’ But not everyone who is failing is a victim, and not everyone at the bottom wishes to rise, although many do, and many manage it. Nonetheless, people will often accept or even amplify their own suffering, as well as that of others, if they can brandish it as evidence of the world’s injustice. There is no shortage of oppressors among the downtrodden, even if, given their lowly positions, many of them are only tyrannical wannabes. It’s the easiest path to choose, moment to moment, although it’s nothing but hell in the long run.
The person who tries and fails, and is forgiven, and then tries and fails again, and is forgiven again, is also too often the person who wants everyone to believe in the authenticity of all that trying.”
Peterson writes this as gender neutral, but really, isn’t this typical for men and women? It’s not a person who wants to rescue, and not a person who wants to exploit, but a man who rescues and a woman who exploits.
Peterson even uses the word exploit:
“Imagine someone not doing well. He needs help. He might even want it. But it is not easy to distinguish between someone truly wanting and needing help and someone who is merely exploiting a willing helper”.
Let me add gender to this:
Imagine a woman not doing well. She needs help. She might even want it. But it is not easy to distinguish between a woman truly wanting and needing help and a woman who is merely exploiting a willing man.
Peterson goes on to discuss the ethical implications of what amounts to empathy, and how empathy can be used to disguise self-truth and strip another human of all agency and choice. He proposes that instead of empathy, a sense of needing to help or rescue, men prioritize a reciprocal arrangement. I’m going to add gender to his commentary, although Peterson does not.
“Here’s something to consider: If you have a woman whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your mother or your daughter, why would you have such a woman for yourself? You might say: out of loyalty. Well, loyalty is not identical to stupidity. Loyalty must be negotiated, fairly and honestly. A relationship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. Quite the opposite. You should choose a woman who wants things to be better, not worse. It’s a good thing, not a selfish thing, to choose a woman who is good for you. It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with women whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve”.
Women who are jealous of you, and your success, who diminish you and make the world and the people around them misery – why do you want these women? These women will drag you down. And then blame you.
Peterson wants men to surround themselves with admirable companions who will lift one another up, and celebrate each other’s triumphs, and punish each other’s stupidity, all towards a goal of making the world, no matter how small the slice, a better place.
Maybe it’s just my feminine arrogance here, but isn’t the woman you choose absolutely central to this? I know and spend time with men who have chosen poorly. They have damsels, alright. Useless, unkind, selfish, mean women who will steal their last dime, abort their children, insult and diminish every accomplishment, no matter how great or small, and act like the wounded party the whole time. It’s utterly preposterous that women can behave like this, but spend any time, even on this blog, and you will quickly realize it’s endemic.
The most important decision a young man will make is what woman he places his faith and trust in – young men should take Peterson’s advice: choose a woman who wants the best for you. A bitter, self-pitying, angry woman who offer ‘pointless and worsening suffering’ will inevitably be a shitty wife and a horrible companion.
Choose a better woman.
It’s not a matter of deserving better – it’s yours for the taking.
So take it.
And never apologize to the bitter, angry discarded women. They can be feminists.
Lots of love,