It is long past due for Jordan Peterson to speak with a philosopher and thinker of Zizek’s caliber and influence. And, as we will see, their differences are dwarfed by what they hold in common.
Compelled by the separation of Christian experiential knowledge and knowledge of the world, the Church appears to be moving in a direction where just or good relationships with others is what it means to love and know God, and to the extent that any theological claim becomes a barrier to loving thy neighbor, theology is seen as senseless. The question of the meaning of the concept of God has been tabled, as a result, and the conditions of theological truth are deferred to, and held hostage by, the drive to relate to others in a non-conflictual (vis-à-vis nonconceptual) way. What good is truth, after all, if by our pursuit or attainment of it the world should burn?
The disparities between Ida and Wanda are highly stylized in their clothing and language, in their habits of action, mannerisms, and attentiveness to momentary existence. The interplay between form and content make this movie memorable on a level deeper than mere descriptions can do. Watching Ida, with its understated musical score, sparse dialogue, quiet backgrounds, and suggestive imagery is an experience of deep and forceful subjectivity and awe, an experience not easily forgotten as the people on the screen disappear.
The strange thing about Dillahunty’s reflections is that he’s actually much closer to Peterson than it appears in Pangburn’s video. As I have written, Peterson thinks religion has evolved by Darwinian mechanisms, religious myths provide for us the grammar of stories, and, because they rely on competence hierarchies, these stories set the background evolutionary setting to which we’ve adapted as a species, and the conceptual grounds from which our concepts of the individual derived. There is nothing supernaturalist about this position and, in fact, it’s a denial of special revelation, miracles, and divine inspiration altogether, at least, if these concepts are employed at all, they’re stripped of their traditional content. I would like to see Dillahunty and Peterson discuss these issues more fully, and I think for this to happen we have to get beyond, as I’ve said, the full stop question as to the existence of God. With or without God, how does religion affect our modern landscape? With or without God, what does the language of myth provide that, say, pure-hard logic can’t (if anything at all)? I’m hopeful the conversation might turn more interesting on these points, given that it appears both Dillahunty and Peterson had a good faith dialogue last time. Next time we might be in for something special.
I recently listened to the Matt Dillahunty and Jordan Peterson’s Pangburn Philosophy sponsored discussion and was extremely disappointed by it. The discussion represented something that has become commonplace in the secular movement when prominent thinkers attempt to discuss religion: there is a full stop at the question of the existence of God. This is unbelievably stifling and, frankly, uninteresting for (at least a few) reasons I will outline below.
Fahrenheit 451 is not a novel to encourage a pretentious bibliophilia. Indeed, when Montag finally meets outcast professors and readers in the final scenes, books are not seen as objects of beauty in and of themselves, as specialized, commodified, functional products created by a division of labor, but as spaces for acts of remembering: reflecting a theme persistent throughout the novel. “The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are.”
As a thinker, he sits firmly within the philosophical traditions spurred by Nietzsche, William James, and Jung. And as an influence, he’s a cultural force that we will not soon forget. Why tell the truth in our age of group-think and Twitter epigrams? Well, it’s our only hope for survival, and the only way for the hero, who speaks a freeing word that organizes chaos into novel order, to emerge.