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Jordan Peterson – Dealing With a Difficult Past and Feeling Lost

Jordan Peterson – Dealing With a Difficult Past and Feeling Lost


Alright, so what does The Frame look like? Well, I think it looks something like this – and this is,
as far as I can tell, this is the barebones… This is the barebones of a variety of things. It’s a barebone story.
It’s a barebone conceptual framework. It’s a barebone “Dasein”,
to speak in Heideggerian terms. It’s like, it’s the barebones World, that you live in. You’re always in one of these worlds,
there’s no getting out of them. You can move from one to another,
but you’re always in a world like this. And so, this is the world that you’re in. You’re somewhere, cause you have to be somewhere. Now, you might not know, where that is. Which means, that to [be] somewhere that you are, is chaotic. In which case, you need to go over your past,
in great detail, and figure out where you are. It’s like you’re lost, right? You- you’re lost, and the problem with being lost is:
when you’re lost, you don’t know where to go, and the problem with not knowing where to go, is:
there’s a million places, that you could go, and a million places, is too many places for you to go, without dying. So, being lost is not good.
So you need to know where you are. One of the things that we built online, my partners and I,
is this program called “Past Authoring”, that helps people lay out, the-
the narrative of their past. To identify… to break their life down into six stages – “epochs”, we call them, and then to identify the… emotionally significant moments in each epoch, and to write them out:
what happened negatively, what happened positively. What the consequences were,
what you derived from it, perhaps what you could have done differently,
perhaps what you learned from it, all of that. So that you could narrow in, zero in, on determining
precisely, where it is that you are right now. And people are often loathed to do that,
cause they actually don’t wanna know. Cause they’d rather be spread out,
in a sort of half-blind manner, in the fog, hoping, that the place that they’re at, is better than it really is, and deluding themselves by remaining vague, than to figure out: “I’m right here, right now, with these specific problems”. But it’s actually better to do that! Because if you have a set of specific problems,
and you’ve really narrowed them down, and really specified them – then you can probably start fixing them. And you can start fixing them in microwaves, bit by bit. But, there’s no way you can do that without
knowing where you are, it’s impossible. And you can kinda tell, if you don’t know where you are.
It’s quite straightforward: [inhale] If you are haunted by reveries of the past, for events, that are older than approximately 18 months, if they continue to come up in your mind, over and over,
in your dreams, over and over, you haven’t extracted the world
out from your past experiences. The potential is still trapped in the past. And to confront the potential,
means to confront the Dragon of the Past, and of course, that’s terrifying.
And it can seriously be terrifying. So for example, maybe you’re vague,
and ill-informed, and ill-defined, because you were abused very badly, when you
were a child. 4 years old, something like that. And maybe you were abused by a family member
– cause that’s generally who does the abusing! And so, that just makes it worse. And then, what that means, is that…
[sniff] you’ve got a implicit… You’ve had an implicit encounter with malevolent evil, that- No, you’ve had a direct encounter with malevolent evil, but you have an implicit hypothesis of malevolent evil that’s plaguing you. It’s still there – it’s trapped in the memories, right? It’s- it’s trapped in the representational structure. And as an adult, you’re now faced with
the necessity of articulating that fully, before you have any chance whatsoever of freeing yourself from it. And so, that’s no joke. Lots of times people have to
go into the past, that’s what the psychoanalysts do. And say “look, here, something came along,
just bloody well knocked me over, and it isn’t even that I repressed it”.
Which- which I think, was… Well, we won’t talk about Freud’s errors, because Freud
was a genius, so we’ll just leave him alone. But… But sometimes it’s not repression. It’s just, that terrible things happen to people at such a young age, that there isn’t a bloody chance in hell, that they can figure out why they happened, or what to do with them. Or what they mean. And then you can carry that with you.
And you carry with you… It’s like, your, your… Your body encounters the world in stages,
and it happens very rapidly. Well, it can extend over years, but
the initial stages happen very rapidly. So for example, [inhale] if you’re walking down the road, and you hear
a large noise be- a loud noise behind you, you’ll go like this! That’s a predator defence response,
by the way. You crouch down. And that’s to stop something from jumping on
your back, and getting at your neck too easily. That’s like, few me- few hundred miliseconds.
(snaps fingers) It’s really fast, or even faster than that. And it better be, because – something like a snake, let’s say, can nail you just right now, so you better be fast. But it’s low resolution, it’s like… danger snakes, something like that, or danger predatory cat, it’s that fast. And then, you can unravel that,
and categorize it, but that takes time. You do that with emotion, and then you do it with cognition, and you can do that with long-term thinking, you know? Because, maybe you’ve encountered someone
specifically malevolent and predatory at work. It happens to people a lot, who’s operating as a… as a destructive bully. And who seems to have no positive function whatsoever, and is only living that out. And then you,
you know, you don’t know what to do about it. So you- you’re in prey mode, and I don’t mean this
[pray] kind of mode, although that would help too, But, I mean, you’re acting like a prey animal. And then you have this terribly complex thing to decompose, which is: “What the hell is up with this person? Why are they making my life miserable? What is it about me, that allows them to make my life miserable?” That’s a nasty little road to walk down. And you’re stuck with having to-
you’re stuck with having to decompose it. Maybe you can’t! Maybe, formulating an explicit philosophy of good and evil, to deal with something malevolent in your environment,
actually just happens to be beyond you! And that could easily be.
It’s certainly the case for people who are young. And it’s the case for plenty of adults as well,
it’s no simple thing to ma- to manage. It’s something too, that often soldiers, who have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have do to, because they’ve encountered terrible things.
They’ve either done them, or who ran into them. And they need to update their moral model of the world,
or they end up in something, close enough… closely approximating Hell. [a sip of water] [closes bottle] Anyways, so you need to know where you are. That’s what this is: “Where are you?” So you’re navigating! You’re a navigator,
you’re a sailor on an ocean, man. That’s what- that’s what you are! You are a mobile
creature, you go from point A to point B all the time. You’re not sitting there glued to a rock,
like some brainless, you know, sea creature. There’s a funny little creature called a ‘hydra’, very simple little creature. In its juvenile stage it has a brain, cause it swims around, but then, when it turns into an adult, it latches
itself to a rock, and promptly digests its brain. Cause if you’re just sitting on a rock, and you’re not moving, you don’t need a brain! So… but that’s not our issue, right?
We’re- we’re zipping around in the world. And so, we’re navigating agents, and so:
to navigate, there’s two things you need to know. The first is: where the hell are you – exactly, precisely. Right? Razor-sharp. What’s good about you and what’s bad about you. By your own… by your own reckoning. You don’t have to… You can ask other people, but this is a game you play yourself. It’s like, as far as I’m concerned… I’m taking stock. What is it that’s okay about me,
and what needs some work? And you gotta watch to not be too self-critical when you’re doing that too, cause that can just be another kind of flaw.

Comments (1)

  1. Link for Past-Authring Program: http://bit.ly/selfAuth (Bite-sized Philosophy affiliate link)

    I think the power of writing excels in dealing with past experiences. There are also ways to do it without the program, but to me it was a tremendous help and it pushed me out of my comfort zone writing and thinking about those experiences, which also makes this (in my opinion) the most difficult program to do, but also the most rewarding. It took me several sittings to complete, but you can save at any point and it has a step-by-step progression.

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