Dr. Jordan Peterson and Beyond Order in Minneapolis


Charlie Rapheal, Editor

As college students who are bridging the gap between childhood and fully fledged adulthood, our ability and effort to listen and learn from people who can teach us impactful things about the lives ahead of us should be held at a notably high standard. As we experience this growth, it seems that we are exposed to an increasing number of challenges, opinions, and perspectives just about everyday. In light of this, I believe that it is important for everyone to spend time focusing on nailing down what ideas and values are most important to them, and allow themselves to use these to help guide them through the next stages of their lives. 

This week, Dr. Jordan Peterson came to Minneapolis to lecture and discuss his recent book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life which is a sequel to his 2018 book 12 Rules for Life. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, author, and media commentator who also has a presence on Youtube and runs a well respected podcast. Throughout these, he discusses issues, debates, philosophies and world events through the lens of his background in psychology. His background of extensive education and research have allowed him to excel at helping people explore their own psychology and put meaning to their ideas and values.

Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned.

— Dr. Jordan Peterson

I went and saw him at the State Theatre in Minneapolis this week and I can honestly say, as a third year college student, that it was the most interesting and thought provoking lecture I’ve been a part of. He has a profound ability to use his education and experiences in combination with story to come to conclusions about life. He is able to discuss things that everyone can connect to from his unique perspective. Despite the fact that many of the things he discusses like issues, values and philosophies are quite serious, he is a surprisingly funny person. 

Throughout his lecture, there were two points that really stood out to me. Now, as I retell my recollection of these points, keep in mind that I am not claiming to have anywhere near Peterson’s ability to discuss or teach psychology clearly, but these are just things that he discussed that really stood out to me and might stand out to you too.

 The first of these points was told through the story of King Arthur’s Knights as they sat at the round table. They came to the conclusion that they would set out to find the Holy Grail, which Peterson later described can be thought of as the symbol of salvation itself. He also explained that the trope of salvation is common among stories, whether legend or truth, and can be thought of as an ultimate goal. He continued the story, and explained that the knights all set out in searching individually, and all started where they saw that the forest was darkest. The darkest parts of the forest, although different for each knight, are an analogy for the knights’ worst nightmares. He references the latin phrase “In sterquiliniis invenitur” which roughly translates to in filth it will be found. He goes on to explain that to find the things we most want, we must look in the places we most fear. 

What you need most is always to be found where you least wish to look. This is really a matter of definition. The more profound the error, the more difficult the revolution – the more fear and uncertaintly released as a consequence of restructuring. The things that are most informative are also frequently most painful. Under such circumstances, it is easy to run away. The act of running away, however, transforms the ambivalent unknown into that which is too terrifying to face.

— Dr. Jordan Peterson

The second point that really stuck with me was rooted in his 9th rule of Beyond Order. The rule is “If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely.” He discussed this idea in great detail, but for me the biggest takeaway was using this reflection on old memories that had unfavorable endings as a tool to prepare for the future. He described the idea of having a collection of values and beliefs in life as a map, and these upsetting memories are times when the map failed, and you fell into a metaphorical hole. He explained that there were two sides to this. The first would be that your reflection and dissecting of this memory would allow yourself to not fall into that same hole again. The issue is not making a poor decision, the issue is making that poor decision a second or third time. Additionally, he explained that this writing allows you to have a more complete ‘map’ for decisions in the future. The additional information not only helps with the same metaphorical hole, but also unforeseen challenges in the future as well. 

In the end, regardless of its source, I believe that it is important for everyone, especially college to find something or someone that helps them explore and find the things that they value and believe in life. These things keep us grounded, and allow us to live life the way we want.