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Ideas have no power

I wanted to look more into the relationship between Jordan and capitalism. As I said in the last blog, I disagree with his dismissal of capitalism. His view is that there are many factors to inequality - not just capitalism, but he doesn't see the extent of the power and influence the 1% exerts - in my opinion. This needs examining.

Firstly, what is his job? Academia. Academics with their intellectual egos believe that ideas have power; he indicated this when he said that he could predict social trends based on what universities teach. He himself is enjoying fame at the moment - a talk at the Apollo and a tour about his 12 rules. But this fame in my view needs to be put in context. Some of his ideas have been appropriated by the alt-right even though he dismisses that; I would not be writing about him if he was just alt-right.

However he is anti-PC-authoritarianism, and the 1% are promoting division in the 99%. Their rhetoric describes an authoritarian liberal takeover, they call this the left agenda, and create divisions because these liberals are self-serving. Quite rightly the PC-brigade are being criticised for their authoritarian approaches - this criticism must continue. I welcomed PC language to begin with as a prelude to genuine education on race gender etc., but the education never happened and use of language became a repression. I understand why Jordan stood up to those people even though I would have had no issue with the particular required language - only that it was required.

But as an academic his world is ideas, and academics believe ideas are powerful. They are not, the powerful create conditions where these ideas are taken up if it suits their needs. At the present moment the 1% are on a big roll. Under neocolonialism they have been on a roll since the Second World War, but they have been able to move people to the right through racism espoused by Trump-puppet and Brexit, and behind the scenes are removing all kinds of regulations that limit environmental exploitation and profits. Appropriating Jordan Peterson legitimises that right tendency. But whilst I am writing about Peterson, be clear there is in Peterson stuff I don't support.

Ideas have no power they are appropriated in the interests of profit. Jordan's ideas increase the divides in the 99%, and 1%-accumulation wants this. He is being used by the forces that create the individual problems his studies have worked on.

But he is quite right to say that it is not just the 1%-system. He focusses exclusively on the individual, and it is this exclusivity that is a weakness. Because of my path, almost accidentally I developed individual strength and conviction when young - starting at 23. Whilst I have developed and hopefully matured throughout life, when confronted by problems in the system it was mostly not the lack of individual development that was the problem - it was the system. In other words there are two factors in this scenario - the lack of personal development and the restrictions the system places on the individual; what you might call immaturity and tyranny. For genuine freedom we need to become mature and at the same time society needs to remove tyranny; quite rightly Jordan points out that liberals only point at tyranny - and they do this with authoritarian tyranny. As a genuine socialist my criticism of liberals is their ineffectiveness at removing tyranny, and as Jordan rightly points out they themselves add to this tyranny with PC-authoritarianism.

However Jordan's focus on the individual has limitations. In the 1%-system tyranny cannot be overcome through individual development alone. This is the same criticism I have of non-engaged Buddhists. Through paticcasamuppada the non-engaged work on themselves to cope with life - similarly ending the suffering as discussed in the 4 Noble Truths. But the non-engaged do not examine the system as being part of the issue - there is just suffering (1st Noble Truth). But the system contributes to the suffering. Jordan, the system contributes to the trauma you see in the individuals you work with.

When we examine inequality, in effect we are examining similar categories that we consider for conditioning. I discussed the importance of conditioning in the Treatise - conditioning that creates addiction. There is conditioning that comes from upbringing - nature provides instinct for this. Within our cultures we are conditioned, and within the system we are conditioned to accept war and wage-slavery. Whilst these categories are not distinct they provide a useful overview for understanding conditioning. To overcome this conditioning the mature move beyond:-

What we have with inequality is similar. We are not born equal, nature has different roles for each of us - an unknowable aspect of nature that is part of karma. Through our culture we develop as people, and this development brings with it inequality, different people are more popular, accepted etc - this cultural aspect is more social and concerned with personal interactions, and there is much difference (not equal) in the way we do this. But the third part of conditioning develops inequality in a sinister way. It advocates wealth as a measure of the human creating inequality by conditioning us into accepting wealth as a good measure, when that wealth is based on war, destruction of the planet and exploitation of fellow humans. By focussing only on the individual Jordan accepts and works well with the natural and cultural conditioning but ignores the systemic conditioning that is so damaging.

So why do I think Jordan is worth considering, and the issue is maturity. Through maturity we move beyond conditioning, and this maturity is individual. I do not support the "blame" culture that criticises but does nothing - that is beaten. It is necessary to be active but not just politically, we must be active in overcoming our conditioning. This is how Russell quite rightly found Unity with Jordan through understanding of his addiction. Conditioning creates addiction, and we need to mature ourselves to go beyond the conditioning that creates the addiction, and from what I have seen so far Jordan's 12 rules can help with this.

If we cannot work and use Jordan's understanding of the individual then as socialists, what are we advocating? We need to mature, and not spend our lives just blaming the system for failure. Whilst Jordan's ego limits himself by not recognising the power and influence of the 1%-system, I believe there is much he has to offer on the individual level. It is his own conditioning that he does not recognise how the 1% manipulate the egos of the "driven man" - and perhaps less so the "driven woman".

Caveat - whilst this is a useful modus operandi for working with Jordan, as yet I have not examined his views on gender - these might well be a problem. But I have no wish to dismiss them but try to understand them - later.

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