The Specific Inflammation of Jordan Petersonitis

Can The Hero Moves from Individual to Member?

In today's video I comment on a video posted recently by @WisdomRebel which had a commentary between @fullydavid and @Jonathan_Rowson on the @jordanbpeterson phenomenon

@Jonathan_Rowson coined the term "Jordan Petersonitis" to label both the obsessive fascination with him that @fullydavid, myself, and many others had with him 4 years ago while others were repulsed by him out of hand. Now with some distance it's good to do some assessment.

In January 2018 @nytdavidbrooks reported a friend calling him the most influential public intellectual right then. A quote attributed a bit ironically to "The New York Times" on the cover of his new book.

@Jonathan_Rowson I think correctly complains about the lack of academic curiosity about the phenomenon. The response to @jordanbpeterson 's videos alone warranted serious inquiry as did his ideas but many simply dismissed it as a malicious inflammation.

In medical terms it would be like demanding an amputation for a swollen limb instead of pursuing an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the swelling. While @jordanbpeterson critiqued that cultural moment broadly he reserved his sharpest criticism for the state of academia.

.@fullydavid wrote an article in May of 2017 asking "Could this man save Western Civilization?" putting his chips on both sides of Petersonitis launching his @WisdomRebel channel.

Rowson and Fuller had their lists of critiques and appreciations of Peterson in their @WisdomRebel video

but here I'll share some of my take-aways from their conversation.

Part of why the academy simply dismissed the inflammation is the old division among us of people who work with physical tools and those whose tools are primarily words and abstractions. In our culture these are increasingly the overclass and the underclass.

While the overclass loves to posture themselves as skeptical they don't act that way when it comes to their supremacy. Because they use words they alone have answers and answers come in words.

This manifests itself in a love for guidelines. At the end of the conversation Rowson uses the illustration of the desire for a one-handed economist because academia drones an about "on the other hand..." avoiding the definitive pose.

Gone was that character on display in his Maps of Meaning Youtube lectures who was able to exhibit the concrete definitive AND the nuanced academic that many of us found so captivating.

Few of his cultural critics knew THIS @jordanbpeterson

Those who have stuck with him are often those for whom nuanced guidelines seem weak and insufficient to address the chaos in their personal lives. He offers RULES for life, concrete advice in a world too filled with chaos and pain.

I see these two worlds because while I'm a trained member of the overclass in an ecclesiastical tradition and a guild that values words and ideas, I have spent my life working in communities in chaos.

I've often seen my own inability to help many who live more in our underworld. I think of one man who I eventually brought to faith who had a history of violence in the gang world.

While he always trusted me and considered me "his pastor" he attended the kinds of gritty churches where pastors who had themselves done time dish out bright lines and clear rules for living. The academic overclass loves to deconstruct these rules, highlighting their theoretical insufficiencies and limitations they too often fail to recognize their utility for people struggling with chaos.

However, ANY functional lighthouse is more useful in a storm than a thousand better lighthouses debated in the academy.

@jordanbpeterson knows this as a clinical psychologist. While he is an academic what really makes his heart sing is saving individuals from their own personal catastrophes.

Peterson's understanding of what I call "grime lines" are deep in his character and were on full display in his telling of his daughter's suffering in 12 Rules for Life.

Heroic heroes are at the center of @jordanbpeterson 's salvific vision which he takes from Christianity. What's often missing is what he hasn't taken from Christianity which is seeing heroes not as individuals but as members of the body of The Archetypal Hero.

I think some of the best critique that @fullydavid and @Jonathan_Rowson offer in this conversation focus on the limitations of individualism and Peterson's stuckness in it. These issues were some of the most powerful points of engagement between @PageauJonathan and @jordanbpeterson in their conversation.

I'm planning another commentary video on @andrewklavan 's too brief talk with @jordanbpeterson

where I think Klavan nicely reveals both the closeness and the limits of JBP's ironically theoretical stance on religious faith.

Peterson can see the need for rules, hard lines and grime lines when it comes to confronting the sufferings of Being in this world but shrinks back from these when it comes to communal application.

All human heroes including Biblical heroes fail but are redeemed as mere members of The Archetypal Hero by being "in Christ". In the body each hero is relieved of not having to shoulder the full weight of being as it is shared by the body that transcends time and space.

Theoretical participation always pales compared to actual participation. The optimistic engagement with Being must find communal manifestation in a body larger than simply his fans.

The head of the body of "fans" is the knight and the knight is always susceptible to the mooks that make up that body.

The body of Christ does not work that way. There is freedom from mooks and members while there is also accountability and community which all heroes need.

You don't need to tell a pastor just how imperfect participation in Christ's body IS in this world. I've got more stories than you have time to listen to. Yet there can be no other way, theoretically and practically.

Inflammations are strange combinations of the body healing itself and harming itself. I hope Jordan Petersonitis continues because I think while painful it has been profitable. Maybe we'll do better now in JBP Wave #2.