What Jordan Peterson (and His Fans and Foes) Can Learn from Integral Theory

Jeff Salzman Free, Integral Live, Perspectives, Politics, The Daily Evolver, Video, World Affairs 7 Comments

Public intellectuals don’t get any hotter than Jordan Peterson. Virtually unknown 18 months ago, he has today amassed over a million subscribers to his YouTube channels and countless millions of views. His new book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is an international bestseller, nearing the million copy milestone.

Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, sparked his fame by posting a lecture announcing his refusal to abide by a new civil rights code in Canada that appeared to legally require people to use gender-neutral pronouns with people who prefer them.

Through subsequent postings critical of “leftist radicals,” he has become a hero for advocates of free speech, and a idol to people who are opposed to the postmodern promulgation of multiculturalism and gender fluidity.

So where does Jordan Peterson fit in the integral schema? In these two episodes of the Daily Evolver Jeff examines Peterson’s message as expressed through his book and his most popular lectures and interviews.

In Part One Jeff makes the case that Peterson is tantalizingly close to integral thinking, and making a great contribution to a large population of primarily (but by no means exclusively) young men who are inspired by his transmission of traditional values, starting with his exhortation to “stand up straight with your shoulders back.”

In Part Two Jeff points how Peterson misses the integral mark by seeing postmodernity as a poisonous political ideology rather than a fully fleshed out stage in human evolutionary development, which, like all stages has its gifts and baggage. This misreading kicks off a cascade of conflict and consternation that, while stoking the culture wars, does not provide an authentic evolutionary path forward.

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Jeff Salzman

About Jeff Salzman

Jeff Salzman worked with Ken Wilber for several years in building the Integral Institute. He is a co-founder of Boulder Integral (now The Integral Center), the first bricks-and-mortar venue dedicated to the development of integral consciousness. These days Jeff provides integrally-inspired commentary on politics and culture on Integral Life and The Daily Evolver.