Jordan Peterson – Sort Yourself Out And Make It Manifest In The World

“Life is suffering”. Right. Indisputable. What do you do about that? You… you voluntarily accept it, and then strive to overcome the suffering, that’s a consequence of that. And… you do that for you, and you do that in a way, that makes it better for other people. And then – that works. And, one question might be: “Well, how well does it work?” And the answer is: you- The only way that you can find out, is by trying it.

That’s it, that’s the existential element of it. The proof is to be derived, by the incarnation of the attitude in your own life. No one can tell you, how it’ll work for you. It’s the thing – that your destiny is to discover that. And, you have to make… you have to make the decisions to begin with. It’s like… Because you can’t do this without commitment. You have to commit to it first, that’s the act of faith, that Kierkegaard was so insistent upon. You have to say: “I’m going to act, as if being is good”. “I’m going to act, as if truth is the pathway to enlightenment”. “I’m going to act, as if I should pursue the deepest meaning possible in my life”. And there’s- there’s reasons to do none of those. They’re real reasons. So it’s really a decision. But – you can’t find out what the consequence of the decision is, unless you make the decision.

I think the same thing happens, when you get married by the way, it’s that… If you think you might leave, you’re not married. And then, you think: “Well, the marriage didn’t succeed”. It’s like, “Well, maybe you were never married”. Because, the rule is: You don’t get to leave. And there’s a reason for that rule. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t situations, where there should be exceptions made for that. That’s not the point. The point is, that there’s some games you don’t get to play, unless you’re all in. And y- the other thing, that’s so interesting about being alive, is that you’re all in No matter what you do – you’re all in, this is gonna kill you. So, I think you might as well play the most magnificent game you can, while you’re waiting. Because – do you have anything better to do? Really? Why not pick the best thing possible, that you could do? Why not do that? Maybe you could justify your wretched existence to yourself that way.

I think you could! That’s what it looks like. You know, people find such meaning in the responsibilities they adopt, it stops making them ask questions about what life is for. If you have a newborn child, for example, (like, unless you’re really in a bad way – – psychotically depressed, or maybe your personality really needs some retooling), you stop thinking about… anything but ensuring, that that baby is doing well. And, if someone comes along, and asks you an existential question about your commitment to that, the right response is: “Why are you asking me such stupid questions, [stutter] when this this is manifesting itself, right in front of your eyes?” It’s like, how blind can you be? That isn’t a time for- for questions about the meaning of life. The answer is right in front of you. And if you can’t see it, it’s not because life has no meaning, it’s because you’re blind! I mean, that’s what the image of the virgin mother and the child is all about. It’s like, “what’s the answer to the meaning of life?” Here’s an answer.

It’s like, “well, I’m going to criticize that”. Well, go right ahead! You know, it’s like, it’s like… what- what- you’re like a, you’re like a… What do you call that. Termite gnawing on a temple. There’s no- there’s no utility in that sort of criticism. You’re- It’s blindness. And it’s the same thing with regards to the path of the hero. It’s like, it glistens in front of you – and you can criticize it. It’s like… Fine, put the cart before the horse, and- and see how far you get. So, I thought – to bring full closure to the class – I was trying to solve this terrible puzzle, that confronted me for- and many other people, about how it was, that human beings got themselves in such a tangle, about what they believed? Such a tangle, that we were pointing the ultimate weapons of destruction at one another.

Which by the way, we are still doing. I thought “Okay well, I understand that. We need our belief systems, they orient us”. And, that means there will be conflict between belief systems, and that can be a catastrophe; and that’s being played out everywhere – again, in very many ways. What’s the solution to that? Well, one possibility is [that] there’s no solution. It’s just… mayhem all the way around. [It] could be the case. But it seemed to me, as I delved into it, that the proper solution to that was to live properly. As an individual. Because you’re more powerful than you think. Way more powerful than you think. I mean, God only knows what you are, in the final analysis. You’re blind to your own weaknesses, but you’re also blind to your own strengths. And so, then I think: Well, if you’ve got your act together, it’d be better for you, and instantly, it would be better for your family – assuming they wanted you to get your act together.

And not everyone does, but… And then, it would be better for the community. It’s like, how far could you take that? If you stopped wasting time, and if you stopped lying, and if you oriented yourself to… to the highest possible good, that you could conceive of, and you committed to that. How much good could you do? Well, I would say “Why don’t you find out?” So, that’s what I think you should do. You should find out. You don’t have anything better to do. And there’s nothing in it, as far as I’ve been able to tell, there’s nothing in it, but good. So… Maybe you could… sort yourself out, so that you wanted nothing but the good. And… and then maybe you could help make that manifest in the world.

And… maybe we wouldn’t have all these terrible problems then. At least we’d have fewer of them, and that would be a start. So… [stutter] The answer to the problem of humanity, is that- is the… is the integrity of the individual. That’s the answer. So. And states, that are predicated on that realization, are healthy. So… and states that aren’t, are doomed to stagnation, and catastrophic collapse. And… Personalities, that are predicated on… self-tyranny and the tyranny of others, are doomed, and… doomed to collapse. So… And then, you think: “Well, what’s the barrier?” And the barrier is: “Are you willing to accept the responsibility?” And part of the answer to that is: reduce the damn responsibility, until it’s tolerable.

You don’t have to fix everything at once. You could just start by fixing the things, that you could fix. Y- or you could even do it more… You can do it with even less self-sacrifice. You can start by fixing only the things that you wanna fix. God you can get a massive way that way. So… do it! See what happens. That’s what you should have been taught in university, right from the beginning. It’s like, aim at the highest good! Tool yourself into something, that can attain it. And go out there, and manifest it in the world. And everything, that- everything, that comes your way will be…

Everything, that comes your way, will be a blessing. And so… All you have to do, is give up your resentment and your hatred. I know that’s a hard thing to give up, because you have plenty of reason for it. That’s probably a good place to stop. So… it’s been a pleasure. [applause].

As found on Youtube