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I worry about Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is the most important public intellectual today. His only rival for pertinence and importance is Douglas Murray. By chance I was listening to Dr. Peterson’s podcast this afternoon in the car for quite a while and I had to turn him off. The ostensible subject was a Jungian interpretation of Disney’s the Lion King. But the tone of voice, the breathlessness, the apparent shouting (though he was not raising his voice): it was all wrong. It was all wrong for an enclosed space. It might have been effective in the presence of the large audience he was addressing, yet as a podcast, he entirely violated the basic rule of the radio: that you are talking into someone’s living room, that you are talking into someone’s ear.

My wife said he sounded extremely anxious. We spoke about his health problems. He seems to be a candle burning at both ends.

Just think about how Jeremy Irons would narrate a story.

Peterson, by contrast, is exhasuting to listen to.  He is like a man juggling chainsaws trying to recite the Iliad. All you hear is the ragged voice reciting the Iliad, and you cannot see him juggling the invisible chainsaws, but you can hear the effort. Jordan, please breathe deeply and do some enthogenic drugs and come to grips with your demons in a safe space. I wish you all the best and I do not want you to flame out. See Blade Runner for guidance.


Failure is normal; mistakes are necessary

You have to recognize failure and mistakes when you see them. The words failure and mistake connote a judgment about a situation. But if you are going to do anything, you must risk failure and error.

I recall one highly successful man tell me that ‘all his attempts to get income after his formal retirement had been “complete failures”‘. He almost said it with glee. He was ready to accept success because he knew what failure consisted of, and would name it as such. No sweat.

I have a very difficult piece of equipment that I take off and re-attach to my tractor every spring. It is a backhoe. It requires the following: the perfect placement of a set of bars protruding from the backhoe under the tractor, so that the cross bar catches the holding brackets of the tractor; the attachment of the hydraulics, which frequently are under a pressure that prevents them from attaching; manipulating the height of the attachment bar with the hydraulics, and by the time spring comes around one has forgotten the knack of moving the whole device just so; never forgetting to move the whole tractor less than a few inches so that the hydraulic tubes are not ripped out of their sources, before the backhoe is successfully attached; and probably a few other nested subproblems.

It used to take me about an hour of cursing and swearing because I used to think that this job should be easy. When I at last accepted that the job would take forty five minutes even if everything went smoothly, frustration disappeared. I have not cursed on that job for over five years. It takes the time it takes.

I have been watching a lot of Andrew Camarata videos on youtube, and the thing I notice os that he makes mistakes, owns them, and moves on to get around or remedy the situation. Failure is normal; mistakes are necessary. I have been so much less frustrated by this realization. I wish I had learned it ages ago.

Andrew Camarata videos are the best illustration of the American working spirit I have yet seen. Watch them and learn. I have.

Tricky tricky