Public Intellectuals

Gagi

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Alright, some of you may know them. Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro, Slavoj Zizek...name your own.


I was actually following Jordan Peterson, and watching some of his lectures, various appearances, debates and so on. Even read his book (12 Rules for Life), and found it quite full of advice "that I already kinda knew but didn't know I knew it (if it makes sense)". It seemed like sound advice that was actually helpful for me, but of course it was littered with pseudoscience (lobsters etc) and ADD writing - it was all over the place at times.

I really followed him for a while (ever since that Cathy Newman Channel 4 interview), but then I thought I'll read some of his critics. Now, I discarded most of the accusations (right-winger etc), and went for something that criticises his methods, his actual content rather than imply something that isn't there while being clearly pissed off at him. And I really agreed with some of that as well.

A couple of his scientific claims (like the lobsters) serve as analogies, but aren't based on actual research. Which makes me question the other stuff he claims. Also, he just goes everywhere and appears like he knows a lot about everything. And some of his statements (like "carbs are poison") really do seem like he has watched a questionable podcast rather than spend hours researching that. Ok, carbs for him may be poison, but he didn't specify that.

His writing and lectures are a bit all over the place. And sometimes it seems it's overly complex for the sake of the reader feeling smart, when it's just a clear over-analysis and looking for something that isn't there.

And then there's the followers, which are often right-wingers, and that implies that his message is suitable for them. That's nothing to be looked over. His daughter is annoying as hell too, going into the podcast world to interview everyone with an opinion.


Counter those with really usable advice and interesting theories, and now I don't know if I should really read his new book or not. Is there a point after reading advice is just unnecessary and a waste of time? Is the sequel book going to be as good, given that he was seriously ill for the past year and a half, when he was writing it? Is he just chasing cash and work? I really don't know.


Out of the mentioned, Shapiro seems annoying like a mosquito and I can't listen to him for more than 60 seconds per day - he's also traditional, which I get but not entirely, Zizek is incomprehensible with his heavy accent and speech, and Sam Harris really feels like the best of the bunch because he's so calm and composed, even though I haven't listened to him a lot (besides his meditation app, which is amazing).


So I thought I'd ask your opinions of such people. Who do you follow, find useful and whatnot? Who would you criticize and what for?
 

dmgtz96

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I've had "12 Rules for Life" sitting on a shelf for a while. I think it was one of the top books in 2018, but I haven't read it yet.
The thing with guys like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro is that whatever good advice they provide is likely going to have their own bias embedded. Ben Shapiro has also had a few hiccups (the Andrew Neil incident, the dry vagina meme) that make me wonder if he's a true intellectual or just a troll.
Both have very good academic credentials. Jordan Peterson has a PhD in psychology, and Shapiro graduated cum laude (~top 30%) from Harvard Law. In any case, I have not yet read or seen enough of their work to have an un-biased viewpoint about them.
I have not heard about the others you mentioned.
 
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Gagi

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The book is good and bad in a lot of ways. I mean, it actually helped me "put my life in order", because it's quite dark, and I enjoy that kind of stuff anyways. When I was reading one of the rules, my heartbeat was up constantly - I felt it! It's no light/motivational reading. It all seems sensible, but then again, the credibility of some claims is questionable, even if the advice, which is more important, seems reasonable. And yes, there's bias. That's why we have a lot of them, debates and such.

The book is aimed at a demographic, so I don't think, say, my dad would enjoy it. It's aimed at people who seem a bit lost, who didn't have values instilled in them from young age, or those who don't believe in them anymore. One thing I thought while I was reading it is, this is exactly what my parents would say. It's Judeo-Christian wisdom, with some interpretations from The Bible (which I believe you would enjoy - I did even though I'm not religious - Cain & Abel first and foremost).

As for the bias... JP thinks he knows how people and the society work, and he presents the advice in that light. His other book, Maps of Meaning, which I didn't read, is more about the actual philosophy etc. You can't do a lot of research on that because it is way bigger than just psychology. It's his understanding of the world, with which you can agree or not. That said, he's got some great ideas in the book regardless, and the advice is sound. It's not a waste of your time, anyways.

So I'm kinda torn. There's the good and the bad. But I think you'd be able to read it and form an opinion, because you're educated and I think you're able to think constructively. If anything, this book has really made me think more.

Shapiro graduated law, but is out there speaking about other stuff. JP has a PhD in psychology, but this isn't a strict psychology book. There's some, but there's also philosophy and what have you. Maybe they are just highly intelligent beings who can just learn new stuff faster than the rest of us mortals. But then again, maybe there's someone more qualified to write about what they are.
 
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jetflag

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And then there's the followers, which are often right-wingers,
I come across this claim a lot, and never, ever seen any real evidence for it. I have friends who vote GroenLinks (green-left) and PVDD (animals wellfare) of all political parties available to them who have 12 rules for life hardcopies on the book shelve whereas I only have the pdf version.

I can think of a reason why it exists though, its because the far left absolutely despise him, and therefor continue to paint him with the stigma of their enemy, namely the right. Jordan has adressed this several times infact.

now if by "right winger" everyday normal people who aren't all that on board with the communist manifesto are meant, then yes. But personally if think a far more accurate description would be:

"most of his followers aren't radically left (or right) wing" who he continuously keeps calling out and criticizing.
 

jetflag

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As for public intellectuals.
fully agree on Sam, despite disagreeing with him on several points.
Steven Pinker is another one I follow.
Franscico Ayala another.
Eric Weinstein and his brother are.
I used to follow Matt Dillahunty on the rational/atheist side a lot, but i've stopped since, like Dawkins, he's beating a dead horse IMVO. There is simply more to reality and the human condition then logic and reason/ science, which is where they both seem to be stuck. Which is fine. its just not all that interesting to me anymore.
 

Gagi

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I know JP isn't, but I've heard he often attracts such people. Or anyways, it's not exactly rational people all the time. If anything, it's usually people who aren't very well off, lost their beliefs or just feel lost and are open to anything.

The other part of your last post is quite interesting, they kinda are, and JP fills that void quite easily with his theories. Even though I'm not religious, I'm sort of inclined to believe what he's saying. Anyways, maybe I don't even care anymore as well. The world is more practical than that.
 
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dmgtz96

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I know JP isn't, but I've heard he often attracts such people. Or anyways, it's not exactly rational people all the time. If anything, it's usually people who aren't very well off, lost their beliefs or just feel lost and are open to anything.

The other part of your last post is quite interesting, they kinda are, and JP fills that void quite easily with his theories. Even though I'm not religious, I'm sort of inclined to believe what he's saying. Anyways, maybe I don't even care anymore as well. The world is more practical than that.
I'm just starting to read 12 Rules, but according to this WSJ article Jordan Peterson holds pretty strong beliefs about hierarchical structures in society. That rhetoric would most likely turn off liberals who believe in social equality/identity politics and attract conservative-minded people.
I was very impressed at his "self authoring-suite," btw. I'm still understanding what he specifically did, but it had good results with underrepresented minorities at McGill (Canada) and Eramus (Netherlands) universities.
 
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Gagi

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I'm just starting to read 12 Rules, but according to this WSJ article Jordan Peterson holds pretty strong beliefs about hierarchical structures in society. That rhetoric would most likely turn off liberals who believe in social equality/identity politics and attract conservative-minded people.
I was very impressed at his "self authoring-suite," btw. I'm still understanding what he specifically did, but it had good results with underrepresented minorities at McGill (Canada) and Eramus (Netherlands) universities.

I haven't read the article, but he does. He doesn't put it in terms of hierarchy by race, gender or whatever (which is often badly interpreted and serves as a criticism against him), but hierarchy of competence, which seems logical to me.

I've never tried the Self-authoring suite because I can't be bothered to pay that much, even if it's not really that expensive, I always have some more necessary things to buy with the money. Anyways, I don't think I need it now that much anymore. But it seems quite useful, and according to the feedback, people seem to get really depressed (especially after completing the past-authoring), but get better quickly after.
 
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dmgtz96

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so...
r/jordanpeterson has a huge overlap with center and right-leaning subreddits: see here

sample subs: r/walkaway ("people leaving The Left in droves")

Normally that would be fine, but I am concerned for the other subreddit overlaps:

r/kotakuinaction, Gamergate sub that is a cesspool of racism and sexism
r/mgtow, self-explanatory but basically misogyny
r/mensrights, again more misogyny
r/pussypassdenied, more incels and MGTOW types
r/asktrp, one of the few red pill subs still alive on reddit

Jordan Peterson followers and sympathizers, what do you think about the overlap between users of r/JordanPeterson and users of those other nasty, toxic subs? @jetflag @Gagi
Personally, I would be uncomfortable sharing IRL that I read Jordan Peterson or listen to his podcasts. I feel like I would have to be hush-hush and would not want to be associated with his "fan base," even if he makes a few good points.

edit: to make it clear, I don't think that reading Jordan Peterson or agreeing with his ideas means you're inherently racist/misogynist/incel, but a lot of people who do are all those things. That's why I would not want to be associated with his content. We're in a safe space here on trancefix, fortunately.
 

Gagi

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This is really not news.

His followers don't describe him per se, but they also tell something about him. I don't think he's right-leaning, but I also think he could do a better job devoting some time to pinpointing the fallacies of the right-leaning thinking, besides telling that "Hitler was bad too" or denying he's right-leaning.

That said, he knows his demographic, on YouTube and generally on the internet, he became a sensation thanks to it and has to pander to it to keep up his success. As a public intellectual, a sensation or whatever you want to call him, he has a responsibility for how he wants his message to be received. So part of it is on him, he has to find that balance between success and great responsibility.

It's not like the media is blameless as well - right from the outset he was labeled as right-leaning, and it probably drove a lot of right-leaning people to him, and deterred the left-leaning people away. The public opinion was forcefully formed.

I personally do not lean either side and I'm not really wishing to box myself in anywhere. Before you 'join' any group, virtually, physically or just in your mind, you need to be really careful. In groups, your opinions sort of generalize and there's less place for individual and critical thinking. Reddit of all places should not be taken seriously.

I would like to clarify one thing though - I haven't been a follower of his for quite some time. I've only read his book (and it was sort of life-changing for me), liked its core message, and watched some of his interviews (and liked some of them too). But ever since his health got bad and he disappeared, I've lost track and interest, read some of the criticism (and some of it is valid) and generally moved on. I'm definitely in a better place since I found his work, and I'm grateful, but I'm far from a follower or a sympathizer these days. That said, I wouldn't mind talking about his book with coworkers, parents or friends. But I live in a culture that's a couple of years behind the West.
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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This is really not news.

His followers don't describe him per se, but they also tell something about him. I don't think he's right-leaning, but I also think he could do a better job devoting some time to pinpointing the fallacies of the right-leaning thinking, besides telling that "Hitler was bad too" or denying he's right-leaning.

That said, he knows his demographic, on YouTube and generally on the internet, he became a sensation thanks to it and has to pander to it to keep up his success. As a public intellectual, a sensation or whatever you want to call him, he has a responsibility for how he wants his message to be received. So part of it is on him, he has to find that balance between success and great responsibility.

It's not like the media is blameless as well - right from the outset he was labeled as right-leaning, and it probably drove a lot of right-leaning people to him, and deterred the left-leaning people away. The public opinion was forcefully formed.

I personally do not lean either side and I'm not really wishing to box myself in anywhere. Before you 'join' any group, virtually, physically or just in your mind, you need to be really careful. In groups, your opinions sort of generalize and there's less place for individual and critical thinking. Reddit of all places should not be taken seriously.

I would like to clarify one thing though - I haven't been a follower of his for quite some time. I've only read his book (and it was sort of life-changing for me), liked its core message, and watched some of his interviews (and liked some of them too). But ever since his health got bad and he disappeared, I've lost track and interest, read some of the criticism (and some of it is valid) and generally moved on. I'm definitely in a better place since I found his work, and I'm grateful, but I'm far from a follower or a sympathizer these days. That said, I wouldn't mind talking about his book with coworkers, parents or friends. But I live in a culture that's a couple of years behind the West.
What right wing fallacy are you speaking of?
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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I'm not pinpointing anything in particular.
If you think there is a mistaken belief and someone should address, then say it. I am not going to get into a political fight, we can discuss things openly. I am American and was never political until recently. I do know a lot of people get offended over this type of chat. I do not. I do very well with statistics and data. I like to use facts. However, if it does make you uncomfortable, I got no issue :)
 

dmgtz96

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If you think there is a mistaken belief and someone should address, then say it. I am not going to get into a political fight, we can discuss things openly. I am American and was never political until recently. I do know a lot of people get offended over this type of chat. I do not. I do very well with statistics and data. I like to use facts. However, if it does make you uncomfortable, I got no issue :)
tbf your question is similar to "what liberal fallacy are you speaking of?"
Although there are many things @Gagi could talk about, it's such a broad question that a specific answer is almost impossible to give.
Personally, I think, Jordan Peterson can and should address the alt-right infiltration of things like the gaming and men's rights communities.
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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tbf your question is similar to "what liberal fallacy are you speaking of?"
Although there are many things @Gagi could talk about, it's such a broad question that a specific answer is almost impossible to give.
Personally, I think, Jordan Peterson can and should address the alt-right infiltration of things like the gaming and men's rights communities.
What are the alt right doing to mens rights and gaming?
 
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dmgtz96

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What are the alt right doing to mens rights and gaming?
Okay, first of all check the subreddits that overlap with r/JordanPeterson. You'll see subreddits related to gaming, men's rights, and seduction. None of this is a coincidence.
Next, the alt-right has been recruiting new members in online games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and COD for years. Here's an article from The Sun, a UK newspaper with a right-leaning bias, that summarizes the reddit AMA by Christian Picciolini, a former Neo-Nazi. This story was then shared by Fox News, which is literally the core of US conservative media.
Anyways, based on the Sun article and Picciolini AMA, alt-right recruiters compare races in-game, saying one is better than the other, and then draw parallels to real life. They drop subtle hints and then ramp up once the other gamer is hooked.
Your question about the connection between the alt right and gaming is more complex. I couldn't dig up simple articles about it outside of left-leaning media, but here's an academic article from the University of Chicago titled "Misogynistic Men Online: How the Red Pill Helped Elect Trump." Many would disagree, but I think a 20-something page publication from a highly prestigious university like U of C holds serious intellectual weight.

edit: direct quote from the article.
The alt-right positions itself as (white) men’s salvation, promising to help men reclaim their natural manhood and usurp women’s social, political, and economic power... In essence, the alt-right offers men’s rights activists, or individuals who make this pro-male attitude central to their identity politics, a solution to the “woman problem”: organized misogyny.
 
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Br8k L3gnd

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Okay, first of all check the subreddits that overlap with r/JordanPeterson. You'll see subreddits related to gaming, men's rights, and seduction. None of this is a coincidence.
Next, the alt-right has been recruiting new members in online games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and COD for years. Here's an article from The Sun, a UK newspaper with a right-leaning bias, that summarizes the reddit AMA by Christian Picciolini, a former Neo-Nazi. This story was then shared by Fox News, which is literally the core of US conservative media.
Anyways, based on the Sun article and Picciolini AMA, alt-right recruiters compare races in-game, saying one is better than the other, and then draw parallels to real life. They drop subtle hints and then ramp up once the other gamer is hooked.
Your question about the connection between the alt right and gaming is more complex. I couldn't dig up simple articles about it outside of left-leaning media, but here's an academic article from the University of Chicago titled "Misogynistic Men Online: How the Red Pill Helped Elect Trump." Many would disagree, but I think a 20-something page publication from a highly prestigious university like U of C holds serious intellectual weight.

edit: direct quote from the article.

People in online games are brutal. They say terrible things.

I am guessing the U.K. right must be different that the U.S. because I have played fortnite since it began and never myself came across this. I do not use reddit at all. It seem like a place a ton of misinformation can spread.

I will search for some sources into the misogyny claim. I do know this for a fact though. Men in the U.S.A have been discriminated against in many court cases involving women.

I have a wife and daughter if that keeps my opinion in perspective.

In America a women can claim rape and ruin a mans life even when proven false. Nothing happens to the women, but the man is ruined. Moreover, when it comes to custody battles over children, women are almost always favored over the man. Utahdivorce claims that 65% of the time women win custody. Same with marriage, it literally doesn't favor the man at all. We have no fault states. This means if your wife cheats, wants a divorce, she get half no matter what. This is why the MGTOW has gotten so popular.

Thank you for the info, and I will look into this more.
 
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dmgtz96

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People in online games are brutal. They say terrible things.

I am guessing the U.K. right must be different that the U.S. because I have played fortnite since it began and never myself came across this. I do not use reddit at all. It seem like a place a ton of misinformation can spread.

I will search for some sources into the misogyny claim. I do know this for a fact though. Men in the U.S.A have been discriminated against in many court cases involving women.

I have a wife and daughter if that keeps my opinion in perspective.

In America a women can claim rape and ruin a mans life even when proven false. Nothing happens to the women, but the man is ruined. Moreover, when it comes to custody battles over children, women are almost always favored over the man. Utahdivorce claims that 65% of the time women win custody. Same with marriage, it literally doesn't favor the man at all. We have no fault states. This means if your wife cheats, wants a divorce, she get half no matter what. This is why the MGTOW has gotten so popular.

Thank you for the info, and I will look into this more.
Oh, don't get me wrong. Men today face legit problems in society, but that doesn't mean you should become a misogynist, racist white-supremacist.
The fact that you have a wife and daughter means you're in a better position than literally all of these guys.
Be careful about the narrative on false rape accusations. They're not common, but the Internet would have you think that they happen daily. That's not true.
 
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