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  • Sometimes there's a glitch in the matrix where the limitations of the old operating system are laid bare and something new pokes through

  • They've been dozens of responses to the jordan peterson channel for interview already. What makes this one different?

  • Well, I have a pretty unique perspective in

  • October last year I went to Toronto to interview Jordan Peterson at his home you came in from where I came in from London

  • last night, I turned the interview into the first full-length documentary about Jordan Peterson's ideas I

  • Was pretty sure he'd soon become a lot more famous and be recognized as one of the most significant public thinkers

  • but I couldn't possibly have predicted how he'd break through to a mass audience a

  • few weeks later Peterson did an interview with journalist Kathy Newman on Channel four News in the UK a

  • Program I worked on as a reporter and producer for ten years

  • It was a sensation

  • Millions watched it online

  • Tens of thousands commented an overwhelming majority felt Peterson had been unfairly represented

  • And in the week since it hasn't stopped

  • Peterson has been asked about it constantly on the most high-profile online shows

  • 12 rules for life so without reading this

  • So what you're saying is

  • There's only 12 things you need to do in life right, that's it well yeah this

  • This interview that you just did with this woman Kathy Newman shit was that in the UK

  • it was Channel 4 UK so what does this glitch say about the state of mainstream media and

  • the culture at large

  • By diagnosis of what's actually happening is that people are moving further and further away from?

  • what is what thinking actually is I'm at or more into merely running a script and

  • What does Jordan Peterson actually think that's so controversial you are?

  • misrepresented more than anyone

  • I know in a weird way. You are villainized in a weird way where I can't believe that these people are honestly

  • looking at your opinions and

  • Coming up with these conclusions. I believe this encounter struck such a nerve because it's a cultural watershed moment

  • But seen properly as Peterson would say it's archetypal in that it contains layers and layers of meaning

  • That go right to the heart of the biggest rift. We're seeing playing out in the culture

  • Over the next 50 minutes. I'm gonna do my best to unpack it

  • From the clash between new and old media. There's also why YouTube is gonna kill TV

  • Because television by its nature all of these narrow

  • broadcast

  • technologies they rely on forcing the story all the way down to the mythological an

  • Archetypal level I thought of ideologies as fragmentary mythologies

  • That's where they get their archetypal and psychological power, but in the postmodern world and this seems to be something that's increasingly

  • Seeping out into the culture at large you have nothing but the tyrannical father nothing

  • But the destructive force of masculine consciousness and nothing, but the benevolent

  • Benevolent great mother and it's a it's an appalling ideology, and it seems to me that it's sucking the vitality

  • Which is exactly what you'd expect symbolically

  • It's sucking the vitality of her culture and to ask how do we move forward constructively rather than just adding to the polarization?

  • I've been a journalist for 16 years in the newsrooms of the BBC in channel 4 and then making documentaries I

  • moved away from the frontline of news some time ago and started learning psychology

  • Which is what first drew me to Jordan Peterson?

  • from a distance I've started to see the blind spots of the establishment media much more clearly I

  • Spent some of the best years of my working life at Channel 4 News and have a huge amount of respect

  • And gratitude to the program

  • But I'm making this film because I feel so strongly that if we can't have open conversations about the kind of topics Peterson is raising

  • We're in serious trouble

  • My book went up to number two and on amazon.com in the US the next day right it's number one in Canada

  • it's number three in the UK all on Amazon I

  • Couldn't have asked for more publicity right and so I could also be sitting back and saying well. You know she tried to

  • My a person who regarded herself as my ideological opponent

  • Tried to go after my philosophy and my reputation on national TV

  • Failed brutally and has been taken apart for it. It's like

  • This is a good day, but I don't regard it as a good day. I don't think it's a good day

  • I

  • think that it's evidence of the

  • Instability of the times that we're in it would have been much better

  • For me and for everyone else if what we would have had was a real conversation

  • You said that it's actually a sign of the times where things could go really wrong for all of us really soon

  • Yeah, we're playing with fire. Yeah, what do you mean by this? Can you can you elaborate?

  • Well things go wrong in cultures all the time right you get you get the polarization

  • Increases until people start to act it out

  • Peterson is one of a new breed of thinkers made famous almost completely by the internet not the broadcast media

  • Part of a powerful new informal network being called the intellectual dark web

  • The mainstream media is based on an old dying model that is being replaced by new media

  • And new technology so quickly that its faults are becoming glaringly obvious

  • Fortunately, thanks to YouTube podcasting and however else you get shows like this one the mainstream media's stranglehold on information

  • Which really is a stranglehold on your ability to think clearly about the issues of the day is crumbling at an incredible rate?

  • Now the question is who and what will replace it a few months ago one of my favorite people to sit across this table from

  • Eric Weinstein came up with the phrase

  • Intellectual dark web to describe this eclectic mix of people from Sam Harris to Ben Shapiro to his brother Brett

  • Weinstein to jordan Peterson all of whom are figuring out ways to have the important and often dangerous

  • Conversations that are completely ignored by the mainstream

  • It's why I would argue that this collection of people are actually more

  • influential at this point than whatever collection of cable news pundits you can come up with

  • If you think I'm being hyperbolic about the growing influence of this group just check the traction that these people get on Twitter or Facebook

  • Compared to our mainstream competitors twitter may not be real life as I say in my Twitter bio

  • But it is some barometer of what the zeitgeist is right now

  • what unites this group of thinkers is a sense that the set of ideas that have run Western culture for years are breaking down and

  • That the chaos of the moment is the attempt to find new ones

  • It's nearly all happening online part of the problem that we have right now in our culture is

  • Trying to diagnose the level at which the discussion should be taking place

  • And I think the reason that this is a tumultuous time is because it actually is a time for discussion of first principles

  • and it's that first principles are

  • Virtually at the level of theology because the first principles are the things that you assume and then move forwards like well

  • What should we assume well the dignity of the human soul let's start with that you can't treat yourself properly without assuming that you

  • Have a relationship with another person you can't stabilize your family

  • You can't have a functional society, so what does it mean for this human soul to have dignity?

  • well

  • The part of the idea is that you're participating in

  • Creation itself and you do that with your actions in your language

  • And you get to decide whether you're tilting the world a bit more towards heaven or a bit more towards hell

  • And that's actually what you're doing so that's a place where the literal and the metaphorical truth comes together and people are very

  • They're terrified of that idea as they should be because it's a massive responsibility

  • They also argue that the central problem is polarization

  • boosted by social media

  • Peterson's work looks at how people are hard-wired to see the world differently a lot of what determines your political

  • orientation is

  • Biological temperament far more than people realize so for example

  • left-leaning people

  • liberals, let's say although that's kind of MIS misnomer, but

  • We'll keep with the terminology liberals are high in a trait called openness, which is one of the big five personality traits

  • And it's associated with interest in abstraction and interest in aesthetics

  • it's the best predictor of liberal political leaning and they're low in trait conscientiousness, which is dutifulness and and

  • Orderliness in particular whereas the Conservatives are the opposite?

  • They're high in conscientiousness

  • They're dutiful and orderly and they're low in openness and that makes them really good managers and administers ministers and often businessman

  • But not very good entrepreneurs

  • Because the entrepreneurs are almost all drawn from the liberal types and so

  • These are really fundamental

  • fundamentally biologically predicated differences, and they're you might think about them as different sets of

  • Opportunities and limitations, and and certainly different ways of screening the world and

  • Each of those different temperamental types needs the other type

  • Let's call this a diversity issue if you start understanding that the person that you're talking to who doesn't share your political views

  • isn't

  • Stupid that's the first thing necessarily. They might be but so might you be no stupid. He isn't the

  • Differences in intelligence are not the prime determinant of differences in political belief

  • All right

  • so you might be talking to someone who's

  • More conscientious and less creative than you if you're if you happen to be a liberal

  • But that doesn't mean that that person's perspective is not valid

  • And it doesn't mean that they wouldn't outperform you in some domains because they would so one thing to remember is

  • People actually do see the world differently. It's not merely that they that they're possessed of love

  • ilie informed opinions

  • the whole point of the dava democracy is to

  • Continue the dialogue between people of different

  • Temperamental types so that we don't move so far to the right that everything

  • becomes

  • encapsulated and stone and doesn't move or so far to the left and everything dissolves in a kind of

  • Mealy-mouthed chaos and the only way that you can you can navigate between those two

  • Shoals is by is through discussion, which is why free speech is such an important value

  • It's the thing that keeps the temperamental types from being at each other's throats in

  • The aftermath of the Trump election that came as such a shock to most of the media

  • One of the most widely shared analysis pieces was from deep code

  • It describes how the establishment mainstream media perspective based around liberal values of openness and inclusivity

  • He calls the blue church is being challenged by a new web-based

  • insurgency a red religion based on the values of tribalism

  • The culture were the the 20th century was a decisive

  • success for blue any

  • effectively a route for red

  • So what we see first is that red was forced to move into a deeply exploratory phase

  • Second that it did this in a context

  • Where as it turns out?

  • things were changing meaningfully quite significantly in fact it from my perspective in a world historical level the emergence of

  • entirely new forms of

  • communication and therefore entirely new sense-making and coherence

  • He concludes that the blue church is in the process of collapse as its dominant ideology

  • Can't adapt to changing reality

  • But that a combination of the two sets of values of blue and red is essential

  • we are conscious and

  • Effective in the world in groups, not as individuals and the ingredients of those groups

  • Include aspects that are currently showing up as both red and blue I

  • Propose somewhat strongly that

  • Neither red nor blue as pure

  • Elements contain the ingredients necessary to actually be adaptive to reality

  • This is a disaster in fact

  • It's a little bit like

  • Separating the hand and the eye

  • Now you're the eye can see if the eye takes itself as being the essence of virtue it separates itself from the ability to do

  • The same thing with the hand for most of human history these groups have actually always commingled

  • They're necessary that they actually relate to each other in a deeply healthy and direct fashion

  • their separations into armed camps is

  • Extinction area actually you know the values of red that you think blue needs to integrate you also may also reintegrate. Oh well

  • That's actually pretty easy

  • Responsibility I mean we've actually even seen it

  • The ability to

  • Make a commitment and keep it

  • Which which by the way ideologically shows up is either duty or loyalty, but those are both ideologies the the deeper sense is that ability

  • Responsibility both of the individual in the group level the ability to actually really make a

  • Personal sacrifice on the part of the group that's actually a deeply

  • read value

  • and I don't mean that by the way as

  • Politically ideological certainly there are people who?

  • Are currently part of blue who feel that deeply what I'm saying is that that shows up much much more intensely in

  • Read and when you're feeling it in blue. You're actually feeling a red value, and that's good mixing is crucial

  • Because that's very Jordan Peterson esque -

  • How would you how do you define Jordan Peterson?

  • Or do you think the fact the issue is that he is is not definable within one of those two camps

  • Yeah, I think that's the point

  • I think that he grasps directly the fact that human beings can only actually make sense of the world by virtue of

  • communication with other human beings and this is all about the notion of admixture that one must have a mixture of of

  • What I mean he uses the mythopoetic to make sense the order order and chaos

  • The way right the taoist way is the alchemical admixture of order and chaos

  • And that's it like that's how you do it, and so if you bias towards orderliness

  • You find yourself in a rigid non adaptive

  • non creative non exploratory framework

  • Which will die because the world changes if you bias towards chaos

  • You you eat your young and evaporate

  • Which also ties for obvious reasons?

  • And the key is to actually enable these things to be in

  • relationship with each other and vital healthy relationship with each other, and I think that's in some sense the essence of what he's

  • Focusing on and instead of the core what he's asking about Peterson is hard for the broadcast media to get a handle on

  • Because the depth of his thought means he doesn't fit easily into any of their categories

  • The clash with Kathy Newman was his breakthrough a moment where the new world met the old

  • To give the context from Kathy Newman side she has to do dozens of interviews each month

  • Peterson is hard to get a grip on and he sure as hell looks controversial

  • She's also focused on getting sound bites for a five minute cut down of the interview for TV. Not a long conversation for online

  • The interview was ridiculous. It was a ridiculous interviewing. I listen to it or watched it several times

  • I was like this is so strange

  • It's like her determination to turn into a conflict - it's one of the issues that I have with

  • Television shows yeah, because they have a very limited amount of time, and they're trying to make things as salacious as possible

  • They wouldn't have these sound bites these clickbait sound bites

  • And she just went into it incredibly confrontational not trying to find your actual perspective

  • But trying to force you to defend a non non realistic perspective. Yes well

  • I was that I was the hypothetical villain of her imagination essentially. No this is also. Why YouTube is gonna kill TV

  • Because television by its nature all of these narrow

  • broadcast

  • technologies they rely on

  • forcing the story right because

  • It has to happen now

  • It has to happen in like often in five minutes because they only broadcast five minutes of that in interview

  • They did put the whole thing up on YouTube to their credit

  • It it it hasn't ceased to amaze me yet. I think that they thought that the interview went fine

  • after the interview Channel four News found themselves at the center of an online storm

  • Which included some nasty personal and misogynistic attacks?

  • It's understandable that they just wanted it to go away

  • But online is forever

  • and as the center of gravity continues to shift away from traditional media this interview is I would argue a

  • slow-motion and

  • Continuing car crash for Channel 4's credibility, so why did it happen?

  • Partly the limitations of the medium of TV, but also because of the institutional political blindness of the mainstream media

  • I've always considered myself of the liberal left, but especially since the election of Trump

  • I've been trying to understand what happened and I'm convinced that the polarization

  • We're seeing is mainly driven by the shadow side of liberalism in particular where supposedly

  • Inclusive social justice liberalism stops being inclusive and secretly judges and despises people that don't think the same way