Rules For Life

Vox Day just published an appendix of his own set of life rules to go along with his book Jordanetics, which is a critique of the popular writings/speakings of pyschology professor Jordan Peterson. As a caveat, I haven’t maintained sufficient interest in Peterson to purchase his book of 12 rules to live by, but they appear to be a compilation of too-basic ideas (stand up straight) and too specific (pet a cat/don’t bother children when they’re skateboarding). Granted, I’m sure he wrote lengthy chapters that detail what these rules actually mean…but that’s Peterson’s problem. People remember basic lists, but they don’t remember nuanced descriptions. Furthermore, people tend to — if you’re lucky — remember the last two or three points in a list of instructions. If you’ve ever been in management, you’ve probably learned this the hard way. Jordan’s last two instructions are the specific yet irrelevant head-scratchers I already mentioned: don’t bother children when they’re skateboarding; pet a cat. If I walked away from his book with those pieces of advice stuck in my head, my life wouldn’t demonstrably change much. I already give wide berth to skateboarders when I’m walking, and I’m not likely to take up a new hobby of petting stray cats. I already coo at babies and wave at puppies, but violating a cat’s personal space just isn’t who I am. His advice which comes third to last (I had to look it up because I couldn’t remember) is to be precise in your language. But if my goal were to emulate Peterson’s success, I would do the opposite. Have you ever heard Peterson ramble on his videos?

Now I’ll move on to Vox Day’s rules. He has five available at the link above. The rest you will find in Jordanetics, also linked above. Caveat: I haven’t read VD’s book either because I already have a backlog of books on my Kindle. However, he’s a known quantity. By that, I mean that he is actually precise in his language. He’s not likely to get cute in his rules and advise you to pet a random cat when what he means is that you should get in touch with the beauty of nature/fleas. And I’ve never thought to myself, gosh, Vox is a regular Thoreau; i.e. I doubt he would advise getting in touch with nature. [My insertion: Why would you have to? You’d have to construct a rigid an artificial life to avoid going outside, in which case, you’d need more than a list of rules.] Vox’s rules are, rather, principles that you should know instinctively by the time you reach adulthood, and that you should only need to be reminded of by a person you respect — the right words at the right time to get your life back on course. If each one requires a lengthy diatribe to understand it, chances are the list isn’t going to be helpful.

I’m writing about this because at one time, I did find Peterson interesting. However, after listening to him for hours and reading his life rules and maxims, I have nothing to hang my hat on with him. Of course, his audience is primarily composed of young males, so perhaps I don’t get it. I also have a personality quirk in which I prefer people to speak directly. Maybe some people need a softer, more roundabout approach just to get them to the point where they can stand up straight. But — I protest — pumping iron (Vox’s first rule) fixes the inability at the foundation of the problem. Actually, my favorite point “Envision perfection and pursue excellence” (number 4) is even more foundational because it touches on every other life rule. For that, it’s the most motivating and simultaneously frustrating rule there is. And that’s what I’m looking for always: a foundation. A core. What is Peterson’s? I still don’t know.



      1. I think so. I never got past the chapter about lobsters tho. That’s the one thing I learned from him and that is that I’m more fun at a party if I prime my serotonin level for at least two days prior.

  1. As a middle-aged male, I found Peterson’s 12 Rules an easy, two-night read. Fascinating at times, insightful at others, and frequently with a boring and droning tone. But worth the cost of admission.

    Take the good, ignore the bad, and move on. Beale, on the other hand, is a grandstanding ankle-biter who gets annoyed when anyone gets more attention than him. The amount of time he’s spent attacking Peterson is amusing.

  2. I was a moderate fan of Peterson until I read 12 Rules. I dug how he seemed to stand up to the progressive bullies and SJW wackos while preaching positive masculinity, and he was at least respecful of Christianity, which I appreciated.

    But in writing, the guy comes off as a meandering loon. The rules would have a title, and the chapter would be a long digression that served to obfuscate the rule’s ostensible point. And his take on the story of Genesis was . . . unique.

    So I sort of fell out of like (I hesitate to say “love”) right as Vox started his criticisms of Peterson. And having read 12 Rules, I went back and reread and realized Vox articulated the misgivings I had but couldn’t quite verbalize. I recommend you read Jordanetics. It’s quite damning and at the least shows that Peterson is a proven, public liar and con man.

    Bonus: Someone please tell me what the hell “Falsehoods have consequences. That’s what makes them false.” means.

  3. I’m not a body language genius sleuth, but the first dew JP videos I saw, I could kinda tell there was something really off with him. That’s not necessarily bad, since “off” people can really be genuine personalities who are adjusting to a terrible social system. But in his case the “off” is something really undesireable.

    Similarly, I never get that impression with Vox whenever I see him on camera.

    1. Vox gives me no warning bells, either, not his voice or manners. I’m not so sure about JP because I usually listened to his videos without watching them. I know he rambles and obfuscates, but I never got anything from his voice but a kind of understatedness…like he’s not saying everything.

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