“The end of the world IS at hand. And it will come and when it comes you will be judged. Your world will collapse. You will find out where your unaddressed weaknesses lie.”– Jordan Peterson, Psychology of the Flood
Navigating COVID-19 represents a direct encounter with chaos.
Jordan Peterson discusses how to understand and prepare for encounters with chaos in his Psychology of the Flood lecture on YouTube. It’s worth watching, especially as we deal with coronavirus. I’m including my TL;DW notes for this lecture below. I’ve boiled the 2+hour lecture down to 6 points and 2 quotes.
TL;DW Lecture Notes
- Title: Bible Series VI: The Psychology of the Flood
- Series: The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories
- Topic: Noah and the Ark: how encounters with the unknown should be understood psychologically
- By: Dr. Jordan Peterson
- Time: 2 hours and 36 minutes
1. Your body and brain are connected and have been shaped through time to have a certain outlook on the world. You live inside a story. Those stories help de-isolate you. For example, when a doctor diagnoses you, it is comforting knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing something. The last thing you want to hear from a doctor is, “you know, I’ve never seen a case like yours before.” If you can be put in a box, then the doctor can know what to do with you.
2. The world is very complex. Ultimately, people’s lives become so complicated that they die. The fundamental problem with life is that things are complex. Underneath all of our lives is an irreducible complexity. The dragon is a symbol of chaos. A flood is a symbol of chaos.
3. Are floods consequence of things falling apart or because of people’s mistakes? Things go wrong all by themselves. They also go wrong because we aren’t prepared. Hurricane Katrina was an example of both things going wrong and human error. If you got flooded, it means you weren’t prepared. Fairness is not the point.
4. You can’t ignore problems. You need to identify problems that arise immediately before they kill you. You can’t ignore a letter from the IRS or else it will become a bigger problem. Every solution to chaos carries problems that have to be dealt with.
5. You need to identify where you are in life. What’s good about you? What’s bad about you? Where are you going? Who’s story are you living? Yours or someone else’s? Life is too complex to plan 20 years ahead, but you should plan for 3-5 years ahead. On the macro cosmic scale…the earth has to die, then be reborn and newly created. On an individual scale, this is represented every New Year. You reflect on things you need to change and make a resolutions for a new life.
6. The flood is coming. The flood is always coming. This is a fact. Don’t fool yourself. You’re going to develop a serious illness. And, it’s likely to be chronic. And, if it’s not you it will be someone you love. And so is death and pain. And what sort of person are you going to be when that shows up. The question isn’t how are you going to be happy in your life. It’s a stupid ambition. It’s too shallow. Happiness comes and goes. If you’re happy, great enjoy it. When the flood comes you want to be the person who built an ark.
“Speak the truth, and pay attention. Then maybe the tragedy that’s part of life wouldn’t have to deteriorate into the unbearable hell that doesn’t have to be part of life. Then maybe we could rise above the tragedy.” – Jordan Peterson
“If you say ‘to hell with it,’ there’s a chance you may end up in hell. It’s no simple matter to get the hell out of hell. It might matter that things get addressed. It might matter that you do what you can to walk with God. It might be that that this is how you build an ark and are protected from the flood even if the damn thing comes. And the thing is it will.” – Jordan Peterson
Coronavirus and The Flood
Viruses are coming to kill us. They’re always coming. We need to be ready for them. The solution we come up with in dealing with viruses will have problems that need to be addressed. If we don’t develop solutions and ways to deal with the new problems they create, we will die.
Coronavirus has exposed where our weaknesses lie. Those weaknesses need to be dealt with. If we pay attention, we can rise above this seemingly unbearable hell.
One small way to prepare is knowing who are you, where you are, and where you want to go. A great tool that Peterson has developed for individuals to do this is called Self Authoring. I completed his authoring suite two years ago. It took me a few days to complete it. But, it was worth every minute. My life has been improved dramatically because of his program. You can learn more about it here: https://www.selfauthoring.com/
Concerning Student Loan Debt
During the Q & A, Peterson discusses the chaos surrounding student loans and his advice to college students.