If you surround yourself with people who support your upward aim, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. They will instead encourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not. This will help you bolster your resolve to do what you should do, in the most appropriate and careful manner. People who are not aiming up will do the opposite. They will become jealous when you succeed or do something pristine. They will withdraw their presence or support, or actively punish you for it. They will override your accomplishment with a past action, real or imaginary, of their own. Maybe they are trying to test you, to see if your resolve is real, to see if you are genuine. But mostly they are dragging you down because your new improvements cast their faults in an even dimmer light–Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Sure, there are eleven other rules. And some of them are exceptionally worthy and have been summed up as follows:
- “Stand up straight with your shoulders straight.” Crimenutely. I think he was channeling my great granny here. (Remembering the occasional whack between my shoulder blades, and much the same admonition.)
- “Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.”
- “Tell the truth. Or at the least, don’t lie.” (Hello?)
- “Assume the person you are listening to you knows something you don’t.”
- “Be precise in your speech.” (I love that he admires this characteristic, and isn’t one who denigrates it as something accessible only to the over-educated elite. Some of the most “precise” and “unequivocal” language I’ve ever heard has come from those I know who’ve had little formal education, but whose experience in the school of hard knocks is unparalleled and unarguable.)
- “Pet a cat when you encounter one in the street.”
Ah, yes. The importance of the “little opportunities” and the “redemptive elements of being.” Even when you are where you’d rather not be.” (Rather not) Been There. (Rather not) Done That. And: “It’s OK–morally–to choose people who are helping you try to be better…you are not morally obliged to go down with someone else’s ship.”
Here’s the clip dealing with the quote of the day:
“You go with people who are trying to elevate you.”
And you do not, as a virtue signal, or for any other reason, need to go down with someone else’s ship. Propping up the perpetually aggrieved, or sycophantically sucking up to those who have no real lives or who’ve put themselves in situations they can’t move on from, really isn’t helping them.
They need to be set free from their obsessions. And–frankly–if you’re not on board with doing that, then–according to Jordan Peterson–you’re dragging them down.
Feeding their obsessions, no matter how much you pretend to love them, is the worst thing you could possibly do.
“Make friends with people who want the best for you.” Not those for whom their current exhibition of misery, mental illness, and self-destruction, buttresses and supports your own sense of inadequacy and fears in a “misery loves company” dynamic.
It’s really simple.
Jordan Peterson gets it.
I am afraid that most of the preternaturally dumb and willfully ignorant (and there are millions of them), do not.
Elon Musk may be able to fix a great many things in the current social media dynamic. But he couldn’t fix Kanye West.
And I doubt he can fix this. As the old saying goes, “you can’t fix stupid.”
Even when “stupid” appeals to you because it is the only thing that you believe (falsely) stands between you and oblivion.