Dragons, Monsters, and Men: Episode 3 Review

Luke Rexing, Contributor

The third episode of Dragons, Monsters, and Men is titled: Be the Prince, and You’ll Find the Princess. This episode is filled with answers to problems regarding young and old relationships, adulthood, and the spirit of parenthood. As a college student, many of these ideas seem somewhat beyond reach as of right now, but as I was watching, it became clear that there are developmental lessons that many my age simply overlook. 

Starting at a young age, say early 20’s, people are constantly looking for relationship experience. We are told that these will be the best years of our lives, so we might as well be young and stupid. There are societal expectations of hookup culture, fueled by dating sites. These dating sites are a catalyst for finding excitement for one night, followed by regret the next. Peterson says “You will only know the shallowest version of a person in the most intimate way possible”. You may even forget their name. This culture has led to issues regarding parenthood, and a population decline that is hidden by mainstream media.

“With hookup culture it is hard to find real trust”

— Jake Johnson

Our current population is literally linked to every living being that has ever existed on this planet. Every single one of your ancestors has reproduced in order for you to live your life. This begs a few questions – Do you want to discontinue your lineage on the basis of your selfish desires? Do you really want a polygamous relationship that lacks commitment on the most basic level? Do you really not want any relationship at all? I certainly want to offer my best and receive the same in return. I want someone to confront the dragons with me. Someone who I can be vulnerable with. This does not mean being weak. Being vulnerable and honest with someone is at the core of genuine intimacy. It plants a seed rooted in bedrock, and empowers the growth and expansion of a connection. 

He claims that there are roughly three main aspects of a person’s life: Getting married, having kids, and having a career. Many people are so strongly focused on their career, but that only fills up 33% of a full life according to these standards (standards that will shift marginally from individual to individual). Maybe you could fill it with partying, drinking, and one night stands. This seems like a pretty exciting way to live, right? Maybe until you’re 30. Do you want to be the oldest person at a frat party? I’m only a sophomore, and the parties are already seeming to lose their luster. It is clear that there is meaning beyond instant gratification. Do not become an overgrown child. Have your career, and do it well. But where will you allocate your time outside of work?

Peterson says to get married. But it’s only a dumb sheet of paper! A piece of paper, along with a grand ceremony. The gathering of all of the people who are closest to you. A lifelong commitment to (hopefully) the only person on the planet who loves you in the same way that you love them. A beautiful celebration that binds a family together. I remember my uncles’ weddings. Relatives gathered and the melodies of each family intertwined to create harmony. The adults drank wine. We laughed with one another, danced with one another, and cried with one another. An unforgettable experience that must be understood at the deepest level. Marriage is more than a piece of paper. 

Now, several years down the line, they have children. My first cousins, all over 15 years younger than me. The idea of children was a common thread throughout the episode. Jordan claims that most people will want kids, regardless of if they know it or not. Unfortunately, many see children as a burden. Screaming, uncontrollable, and unbelievably difficult. They have the last part right. But the most difficult things are often the most rewarding. When I see my cousins, I see nothing but pure potential. They are constantly laughing, entertaining, sometimes briefly crying, but nothing that a piggyback ride or a push on the swings couldn’t fix. They are constantly asking questions, perpetually curious about the world around them. They need someone there to provide guidance. Someone to show them how to orient themselves, and build their character. 

Peterson says that there are multiple ways to grow up and mature, but the main way that most people grow up is by having kids. They teach you that there is someone much more important than yourself. They are magical beings that you would die for. Or rather, you would live for. I lost my uncle Carlo to cardiac arrest in August of 2020. His kids were younger than four years old. They probably won’t remember him. When my cousins lost their dad, my brother and I became somewhat of a father figure for those kids. I’m not a parent, but I got a glimpse of what it is like to take care of someone so physically vulnerable, yet requiring the opportunity to put themselves out into the world. There must be a balance of those two aspects of a child. This is where the maternal and paternal spirit come into play.

In general, according to Peterson, the maternal and paternal spirit is what guides a child through their development. The child requires action from both sides. The maternal spirit is welcoming, nurturing, and loves you for who you are. It is the spirit that shelters, protects, and forgives. This is necessary. A child needs warmth and comfort, as the world can be cold, and they cannot shelter themselves. However, the world is cold, and yet it needs to be explored. No parent wants an overgrown child. This is where that paternal spirit comes in. This is the spirit that tells you that you are not everything that you could be. It encourages and fosters independence. It causes conflict in the short term to alleviate the compounding negative effects of a lack of discipline. It asks “is that the best you have to offer”? Both are crucial to development. The balance is found by honest and open communication. 

As a student, I am aware that these are not my primary concerns. Yet, I never seem to find something that Peterson says that I disagree with. I want to keep the tools that he provides in my belt for when the time comes to use them. I do my best to share these tools through this medium. There is real value in connection. There is real value in communication. There is something to be said about having a career focused life, but what will you do when you reach your grave, with nobody left to provide your hard work for? There is meaning to be found in all aspects of life, but what is meaning if you have nobody to share it with?