Books, Life, Toronto

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson: The ‘Misunderstood’


Over the past few months I’ve noticed how often Dr. Peterson has come up in my social media feeds.  Articles upon articles were being written about Dr. Peterson, either praising or condemning his ideas.

Dr. Peterson had first hit my radar when news stories sprang up, about a University of Toronto professor that refuses to be forced to use designated pronouns for people depending upon their self-sexual identification.

[ *Now I hope I’m saying this correct. I confess, I struggle to keep up with what’s considered politically acceptable vernacular for trans-gendered community and so on. After more self-identifications were added onto ‘LGBT’ I couldn’t keep up. I’ve resigned myself to idea that as long as I treat everyone with respect and consideration, I should be okay and may possibly err from time to time.*]

When I heard of this professor refusing to use people’s desired pronouns, I’m ashamed to admit, I lazily blew him off, assuming he was just some bigot with an ‘axe to grind’ against the LGBT community.

Dr. Peterson hit my radar again when I heard about the Lindsay Shepherd debacle at Wilfred Laurier University.  After reading about the situation and seeing how it all played out; the University should be ashamed for how they treated Ms. Shepherd … but now, I became interested in learning more about Dr. Peterson.


After seeing Ms. Shepherd in interviews and hearing her side of the story, she appeared to me, to be an intelligent, courageous and principled person. How could showing a video clip of one of Dr. Peterson’s lectures cause such a kerfuffle?  I had to know.

Alluding back to the title of the article … actually the misunderstanding laid with me. I watched his lectures, his vlogs, his interviews on Joe Rogan’s podcast, his infamous Channel 4 News debate with news anchor Cathy Newman regarding the gender “pay gap” and then, I read his book… 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos. 

Jordan Peterson 12 Rules For Life Book Cover

It appeared to me, that it was everyone else, myself included, that misunderstood Dr. Peterson.  He understands himself just fine and he understands how the world works and human nature.  He understands us, perhaps better than we understand ourselves. I may not agree with everything he says but he makes sense a hell of a lot more often than he does not.

There are still a lot of articles appearing online each week that either praise or condemn Dr. Peterson.  What I have found disturbing is that most of the pieces that condemn him seem to be written by people determined to paint Dr. Peterson as an “alt-right” advocate/intellectual/champion (whatever).  It seems to me, they simply have an agenda to discredit him, all the while making it obvious they have not taken the time to learn anything about the man or his ideas and theories.  Let’s take a look at the Table of Contents which lays out the 12 Rules Dr. Peterson discusses in the book.

Jordan Peterson 12 Rules For Life Table of Contents

Just at face-value, without going into depth, what is there to disagree with as far as these “rules” are concerned??  Do these rules sound like something an alt-right “misogynistic ideologue” would advocate??

There is so much practical and applicable life advice in this book, I believe it would benefit many people, both men and women.  After having read this book, I feel I am a far more effective and conscientious person.  We all hear and see cliched feckless picture platitudes about how to conduct your life on social media hourly.  You know those word vomit pictures … such as…


When I see shit stuff like this, I retch in my mouth, just a little. I understand the sentiment, which is true, we should not compare ourselves to others. But when Dr. Peterson explains why in his book, it made sense for me for the first time. I understood better why we are prone to compare ourselves and why it makes no sense to do so.

Just an example of some of the other life lessons that finally made sense after reading this book…  ….walk with confidence … you must know what you are aiming for … sacrifice is essential to achieving goals … keep your room clean … always tell the truth … rejection is unavoidable, it’s a part of life.  These are all reasonable truths, but when explained and discussed by Dr. Peterson, I felt they finally made sense. These ideas finally took root in mind and the ‘why’ was much clearer.

Yin-Yang Structure-Chaos
The Yin-Yang of structure and chaos.

The world and our lives is in a constant push and pull, moving back and forth between yin-yang of order/structure and chaos/anarchy.  Extreme ideologues on the far right and far left want the world plunged into too much of one or the other.  Dr. Peterson argues that the best place to be, where you will truly live life and likely find meaning is to operate on the edge between the two, chaos and order.  We are all working on writing our own life stories, unfortunately many of us are attempting to write that story in the dark.  Dr. Peterson’s book is the pen-light you need to write that story properly.

pen light


(BTW, I’m not religious and Dr. Peterson made the Bible sound way more interesting in this book.)


3 thoughts on “Dr. Jordan B. Peterson: The ‘Misunderstood’”

  1. Without context and at face value, some of the things Peterson says make him look strange. Like the whole crab thing. If you were to read a headline that a psychologist is comparing humans to crabs, you’d think he was a quack. Peterson’s ideas are only as good as he is at explaining them.


      1. Agreed, just at face value some of the things he’s says may seem odd and likely politically incorrect … people have to dig a lil deeper

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