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  • Hello.

  • So you lined up a very large number of questions today.

  • So a couple of things, First of all, I have a number of YouTube videos and part gas lined up one with Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now one with Warren Farrell, who wrote a very interesting book called The Boy Crisis and also a previous book called White Men Earn More, um, one with an animator named Nina Paley.

  • Yeah, one with a young guy named Charlie Kirk who has organized a large number of campus youth groups more on the conservative end of things and associated with free will.

  • So all those will be coming out in the next a month and 1/2 I would say, and so thank you for your continued support.

  • It makes all of this possible.

  • And, uh, I'm also going on tour.

  • I presume some of you know that if you go to Jordan, be Peterson dot com and you look up events.

  • You can see where it's about 40 cities listed so far.

  • Most of them are in us and a couple in Europe, Iceland, UK, Um, but we're announcing we're going to announce 10 Canadian cities here in the next week as well.

  • So that's all what's going to be happening with me in the next two months.

  • So I'll be on the road with my wife that whole time, sometimes in a plane, you know, just commercial travel, sometimes in a motorhome, depending on where we're going and how so.

  • I'm looking forward to seeing you if you come out to the events.

  • I've been enjoying them quite a bit.

  • It's good to be able to talk to so many people.

  • So 12 Rules for Life has sold about a 1,000,000 copies now.

  • So that's really quite something.

  • And I think we sold foreign rights in 43 countries, so it'll come out and not quite that many languages.

  • But just about over the next year and 1/2 something like that.

  • So all right, so you let's get at it here.

  • Hopefully, I can warm up and get my brain going and and answer some questions.

  • The 1st 1 343 people have voted this one up.

  • Um, could you please discuss free Will and Sam Harris is, and others ideas of its non existence?

  • Well, that's a good, complicated question to kick things off, so I want to tell you a little bit about how to conceptualize free will.

  • I think first, because it's obvious that we don't have infinite freewill are our choice.

  • Our choices are constrained in all sorts of ways.

  • And I think part of the reason that there's a a continual discussion about free will in the philosophical in the philosophical literature is because just conceptualizing the issue properly is extraordinarily difficult.

  • So I like to think about it at least in part, the way that you think about a game.

  • You know, if you're playing a game, obviously the game has rules, So if it's a chess game or a basketball game, then there are things that you can do and things that you can't do.

  • And but and so it's it's ah, it's a closed world in some sense.

  • But the fact that there are things you can't do when you play a game also seemed to open up a universe of possibilities for things that you can do.

  • So chess obviously constrains you to a board and to a certain number of men and to a certain pattern of rules.

  • But the strange thing is is that when you put in those rules is rules sound like limits?

  • They sound always like things you can't do.

  • But when you set up a constrained world like that and you Liotta system of rules, what you do is open up in infinity of a near infinity of possibilities.

  • Same with music.

  • Music has rules, obviously, and if you follow the rules, then you could make an infinite variety of music.

  • And so and so there's a There's a very interesting dynamic that's hard to understand between constraint and possibility.

  • And there's a deep idea that's associated with that that I read in some Jewish commentary on the biblical stories that I I read a long time ago talking about the relationship between God and man.

  • And the idea was that God imagine that, being with the classical attributes of God omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence all seeing all knowing and all powerful, what is it being like?

  • That lack and obviously the answer is nothing, right, because by definition, those three traits provide for absence of limitation.

  • But then that's exactly what's Locking is limitation, and there's some strange connection between limitation and and I was saying, say, limitation that it's rule governed as I mentioned before and the opening up of possibility.

  • So that isn't necessarily the case that now determined determinism and limitation aren't exactly the same thing, but they're analogous and they need to be discussed together.

  • Okay, so now.

  • So that's the first thing is that our, whatever our free choices, it isn't limited, it's or its limited.

  • It's deeply limited.

  • Now here's another thing.

  • If I take my arm and I go like this, see, I'll do that again.

  • Now you see, there's a movement like that, and then my hands stop just before my my other hand.

  • Now it takes a certain amount of time for the neural messages to go from my brain to my arm and back.

  • And the time it takes my hand to go like this and stop is actually shorter than the time it takes a message to get to my brain and back.

  • So what that means is that when I when I planned this movement, which is called a ballistic movement, it's called a ballistic movement because it's like a bullet.

  • Once you let it go, it's gone.

  • There's no calling back.

  • I've actually organized the neurological and muscular sequences that enable that action before it's implemented.

  • I set all that up, and then it's released and the whole thing cascades.

  • And so once the action has been released, let's say then I don't really have any free will because I can't stop it now.

  • So So you think about that?

  • It looks like there's a temporal Grady int with regards to free will Is that as you look out into the future, may perhaps the farther out you look into the future?

  • Um, the farther down the road, let's say the more free your choices are.

  • But the closer they get to implementation, the more they become deterministic, governed by standard cause of processes.

  • And there's some transition point where they change from being what we would describe.

  • This choice that we haven't got to free choice yet, but at least a choice for some transition point.

  • Between that and ballistic movement, here's another way of thinking about it.

  • Like we know, for example, that people who are expert at playing the piano look ahead of where they're playing and and they're doing the same thing.

  • They're watching the notes, they're seeing where they're going, but and then they're dis inhibiting the automated structures that enable them to play what they practiced so thoroughly.

  • They're dis inhibiting those structures, and then they go automatically.

  • And then what happens if you make a mistake is that consciousness notes the error and then unpacks the motor sequences that have been practiced, and then you re practice them and sequence them again until they become automatic and deterministic.

  • So there's choice in that you're reading ahead, but there's no choice in that.

  • Once you've read ahead and disinhibited the auctions, then they run ballistically, and then you can think about the same thing that's happening when you're driving in a car.

  • You don't look right in front of you when you're driving a car, because whatever is right in front of you if you're going 40 miles an hour, whatever you've already run over, you look 1/4 of a mile down the road, and that gives you the opportunity to see what's coming and to set up a sequence of increasingly automated movements that culminate in whatever it is that you're doing while you're driving.

  • And so there's a gradation from choice to determine is, um a temporal gradation, and and I I don't often see that addressed when people talk about free will.

  • Now.

  • Sam's issue with free will is that you get someone to do something like lift their finger, and you and you scanned their brains using a variety of techniques while they're doing that.

  • What you'll see is that there's an action potential that emmer and you ask them to voluntarily move their fingers.

  • So they're doing it.

  • Let's say, by free choice, there's an action potential that you can read that you can read off the brain that occurs before the person either moves their finger or, let's say, decides to move their finger.

  • And that occurs quite a bit before the feeling of volunteerism or that voluntary act.

  • And so that's being read by Benjamin Lim, who did the experiments as indication that even the feeling of voluntary choices determined.

  • But I don't think that that's a very useful way of addressing the issue, because the issue of when you lift your finger in up again is it requires pre programming to dis inhibit like you know how to do this right.

  • You don't have to learn to do that So you have a little automated circuit that does this sort of thing.

  • All these finger movements and everything you can see Baby's practicing them, and they develop automated circuitry that tends to be posterior left hemisphere in order to run those those automated processes out.

  • And what you're basically doing when you decide to do something that's a routine that you've already practiced or made out of subroutines that you've already practiced is dis inhibiting them.

  • And the degree to which you might regard that as free exactly is unclear, as are the temporal limitations.

  • So I don't think that Libertes experiments demonstrate conclusively that there's no such thing as free will, even though there are action potentials that indicate that there is brain activity signaling even the onset of a voluntary choice voluntary choice early.

  • Now, um, another thing that we might look at in relationship to that is, um, yeah, so we could look at it phenomenal logically, and we could also look at it in relationship to how people treat one another.

  • So phenomena logically, it seems clear that we have free choice, and it isn't obvious to me why we have consciousness if free choice isn't rial because consciousness looks to me like a mechanism that deals with potential before it's transformed into actuality.

  • Let's say and and I think consciousness is also the the faculty, so to speak, or a manifestation of the faculty that enables us to pre program deterministic actions.

  • So again, let's think about someone playing the piano there practicing, you know, after you repeat and you repeat your finger movements.

  • If you're playing the piano, any complex motor skills like that, you have to repeat it.

  • Repeat it, repeat it, repeat it, and you're using consciousness to program it, to sequence the motor movements and to pay attention to them.

  • That all seems voluntary, and it involves the activation of a tremendous amount of your brain, because if you're doing something new, a lot of your brain is activated, and then, as you practice it, the amount of brain that's activated decreases.

  • It shifts from right to left, and then it shifts from frontal too posterior and a smaller and smaller area.

  • So what's happening is that consciousness is creating little machines in the back of your head that do things in an automated manner, and the the the volunteer consciousness looks like consciousness appears and feels.

  • That would be the normal logical end, as if it's doing that voluntarily, and it is associated with a different pattern of brain activity.

  • And so, okay, so there's that.

  • There's this phenomenal logical reality of voluntary choice and effort is, well, cause conscious programming of that sort is also effortful.

  • It doesn't seem to run deterministic Li like a clock does.

  • And then finally, there's also and I don't know what you think about this with regards to evidence.

  • But what constitutes evidence is not always that easy to determine, even in the scientific domain.

  • So and think about how we think about ourselves and other people and how we treat ourselves and other people.

  • You could imagine that you're like a clock running down, and that's like a deterministic model.

  • But people aren't clocks were dissipated structures.

  • O'clock is something that runs downhill, but human beings, you could look up dissipated structure.

  • I think that was an idea that was first formulated by the physicist Schrodinger.

  • We work, we're not.

  • We're not clocks by any stretch of the imagination, and we take energy in and we disperse energy and and we were anti and tropic in a temporary sense that makes us and and so and life is as well.

  • Shorting a wrote about that in a book called What is Life?

  • And We Don't What we seem to Do.

  • This is how it looks to me.

  • We don't contend with the president and were not driven by the past.

  • Instead, what we see in front of us is a landscape of possibility and my wilder moments.

  • I think that's associated with the physical idea of multiple universes.

  • But that's in my wilder moments.

  • It's just a speculation.

  • And so what we see in front of us is an array of potential universes and those of the universes that we could bring about as a consequence of our actions and it and we make choices to the right or the left.

  • There's a lot of mythological speculation about that sort of idea to an unethical sense, because we decide what sort of reality that we want to bring into being, and so we encounter potential like God did at the beginning of time, when he made order out of chaos.

  • Chaos is this chaotic potential.

  • We confront chaotic potential with our consciousness, and we cast that into reality and that now then you think, well, is that really the case?

  • Well, that's hard to say because there are limits to our knowledge about consciousness and about reality.

  • But if you treat yourself like you're a free moral agent with choice and that you could determine the course of your life, then you seem to get along better with yourself and to be less anxious and to be more productive.

  • And if you treat other people like that that they're free agents that are making voluntary choices about how reality is going to come into being, and you reward them when they do it properly and you punish them or otherwise discipline them when they don't when they do it badly, then your relationships with them seem to work.

  • And then if we predicated our society on the presupposition that each individual human being is capable of doing just that, then we seem to have extremely functional societies.

  • And so and this is something that Salmon Harris has been taken to task for many times is if you dispense with the idea of free will, how is it you organize your relationship to yourself, your interactions with your family and your relationships with the broader social community.

  • It's a very complicated issue, so I believe strongly that we have free will, that we're responsible for our choices.

  • Those choices are constrained in many, many ways.

  • I think there's a Grady int of freewill from free out into the future to increasingly constrained as the present manifest itself to determine a stick in the moment when, in the moment of action, we and you might think that we entered the realm of deterministic cause ality at the moment of action something like that.

  • That's how it looks to me so well, so at this rate, we're gonna answer about five questions so that but that was a very, very hard won.

  • So anyways, I hope that's helpful.

  • Maelstrom, who is apparently chaos, given the name, asked me, Am I chaos or M I order Well, that's a good question.

  • I would say a lot of the time I'm chaos, but I do everything I can to put things in order.

  • Um, but I'm going to answer that in a deeper way, I would say, because first of all, everything and everyone is chaos and order at the same time.

  • And I don't mean that in a trait sense.

  • I mean it in a technical sense, which is order.

  • Technically speaking, in my way of viewing the world is order is that domain you inhabit when what you're doing produces the results that you want to have happen.

  • That's a pragmatic perspective.

  • From a philosophical perspective, it's derived, at least in part, or is analogous to the pragmatism of people like, Um, um, CS Purse and William James, the American earlier American pragmatists.

  • And there's a great book on all that.

  • If you're interested, called the Metaphysical Club, Um, so order is where you are when what you're doing is producing the results that you intended and that validates what you're doing.

  • By the way, that's that's a pragmatic form of truth.

  • Your theory is accurate when if you enact it, then the results that you intend emerge.

  • That's the definition of truth.

  • From a pragmatic perspective, It's a very powerful definition, and it's very much associated with the Darwinian notion of truth, so that's worth that's worth looking into Now.

  • Obviously, there are times when you implement a plan and a World conception that goes along with that plan and what you wanted didn't happen.

  • And so then the domain of chaos comes up the domain of the unpredictable and unexpected, and you have to contend with it.

  • And sometimes when you are acting, you do perverse things and things that surprise you.

  • And then things don't work out well for you, or or maybe you get a surprise.

  • And maybe sometimes that might even be positive.

  • And that's because the chaos within us manifested itself.

  • And you've done something that exceeds the bounds of your understanding.

  • And you know that can happen to people so badly that they develop post traumatic stress, post traumatic stress disorder.

  • Sometimes soldiers, especially naive young soldiers, will go on a battlefield and watch themselves do something they can't imagine they're capable of doing.

  • And then they have permanent post traumatic stress disorder.

  • So there's a chaos within that can manifest itself that can disrupt whatever order you are.

  • And you know that minor ways because everybody's always running around doing things that aren't good for them, that they know they shouldn't do and that they can't control.

  • And so there's a chaotic and an orderly aspect everything to the individual, to the family, to the social world, to the natural world.

  • It's chaos and order at every level of analysis simultaneously.

  • Which is why the Taoists think of the world is made out of yin and yang, which is essentially analogous to the idea of order and chaos.

  • And now, But then there's another element to sew your order and your chaos and the place that you live.

  • The environment is order and chaos as well.

  • But you're also the process that mediates between the two.

  • And what that means is you're the force that confronts chaos and casts it into order.

  • We talked about that in the free will discussion.

  • That's the basis for the dragon myth, or at least part of it the hero myth.

  • You're the force that confronts chaos and transforms it into habitable order.

  • And there's an idea that if you do that using truthful speech, it's probably the deepest idea in the Bible.

  • If you confront chaos and the unknown using truthful speech, then the order that you produce is good.

  • So that also means that your chaos and order and the process that inter mediates between them and that's really the basis of the hero myth.

  • So part of that is the hero story and the dragon myth.

  • Go out, confront the dragon, get the gold, bring it back.

  • Share it with the community On the dragon is a representation of that which dwells beyond the confines of the safe inhabitable space, right?

  • It's an image of a predator.

  • That's part of what it is, although it's way more complicated than that.

  • And you're also the force that confronts order when it becomes too tyrannical and restructures it back to chaos and then restructures the chaos back into more beneficial order, which is what you do.

  • For example, if you have an argument with someone that you settle right because the argument takes the orderly relation that you have with that person and then produces a chaotic interlude, which is all the pain that's associated with the argument.

  • And that's a dissolution into what Mircea Liatti called pre Cosma gonna chaos and out of that a new order can emerge.

  • And so the best way to construe yourself is not as chaos or as order, but as the process that mediates between them.

  • And that's the basis for the ethos of the West is that the human being is best represented as the individual, and the individual is that attentive and communicative entity that is continually capable of mediating properly between chaos and order.

  • Now, this is a deep idea.

  • You could read maps of meaning if you would like.

  • The audio version of that is coming out June 12th by the way, and I will make a video detaining the relationship between maps of meaning and 12 rules of life.

  • But you can construe yourself.

  • You should construe yourself as the process that mediates between chaos and order, and you should aim to be the process that does that properly using truthful communication.

  • Because that's how you keep the elements of existence property balanced.

  • And you might say, Yeah, but is that really well, If you read maps of meaning, there's a section on neuro psychology that's also buttressed by a book written by Ian Miguel Kris called the Master and his emissary that lays out the relationship between the right and left hemisphere.

  • Now it's quite strange that we have ah, right and left hemisphere.

  • It's almost a Ziff.

  • We have two consciousnesses dwelling in our in our in our in our being, and they're quite separable.

  • If you cut the corpus callosum that unites the two, then the two hemispheres will act independently.

  • To some degree, you can communicate with each of them somewhat independently.

  • They actually view the world quite differently, and that that hemisphere distinction is not only their human beings, but also in animals a long way down the file.

  • A genetic chain.