Aristotle teaches us that those who are enslaved to passions, who never rise above their animal natures by practicing the virtues, do not have the most worthwhile opinions. Anger clouds good judgement. Those who exercise reason and attain practical wisdom on how to best live their own lives, order their household, and finally, when sufficiently wise and mature, should ideally venture opinions on how to best order the political community.
Jordan Peterson is a Canadian psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. Peterson echos both Aristotle and the same sentiment that I wrote about in my post A Revolution Inside. He argues that unless we both understand and have control of our own negative qualities (or shadow self) we will project our worst impulses into the political arena while wearing a "mask of virtue." We need to work on ourselves first if we want to be an effective force for good and not end up doing more harm. If we want to see the world change, we must first concern ourselves with healing our own lives.
Some other highlights from the video interview include:
- Our lives are our own responsibility.
- We can work to better ourselves by becoming more organised and self-disciplined.
- Life can be unfair and tragic. We should accept this.
- Assume that you are a force for mayhem and trouble unless you have worked to become very disciplined and self aware.
- There is no perfect political system because such systems are extensions of us (humans) and we have many flaws.
- The right level of focus is the individual doing what they can, not necessarliy the political level.
- Start working to improve yourself little by little.
One way to do the important work of bettering yourself is to use Peterson's Self Authoring Suite. I'm currently using it and I actually began working on it before I knew who Peterson was (beyond his being an academic psychologist). The Suite has 3 parts: past, present and future. The Present Authoring suite includes analysis of your specific faults and virtues. The Future Authoring Suite involves working on overcoming your faults and achieving other life goals.
Here is a third party review of Peterson's Self Authoring Suite from the Freedom and Fullfillment blog if you are interested in learning more about it. I may write a reivew here once I am finished the suite. Enjoy the video and please leave me a comment here if you are so inclined!