Jordan Peterson: Severe Constraints on Functional Interpretations of Reality

* Jordan Peterson: Postmodern NeoMarxism: Diagnosis and Cure.

Postmodern NeoMarxism: Diagnosis and Cure

Jordan Peterson, 09 July 2017


Jordan Peterson: Postmodern NeoMarxism: Diagnosis and Cure (33:19)



So although there are a very large number of interpretations of the world; there are unbelievably severe constraints; on the number of functional interpretations there are in the world. – Jordan Peterson: Postmodern NeoMarxism: Diagnosis and Cure.

The postmodernists were actually wrestling with quite a difficult problem. The founders of postmodernism were by no means unintelligent and the actually put their finger on quite an important problem. The important problem that the put their finger on was the fact that any set of phenomena has a near infinite number of potential interpretations. That actually happens to be the case. That fact, lets say, was discovered simultaneously in a number of different disciplines … One of the disciplines was artificial intelligence … It was much more difficult to make a machine that could perceive the world, than it had originally been supposed. .. Part of the reason for the lack of artificial intelligence robots back in the 60’s was that the  artificial intelligence researchers, when they were starting to instantiate perception into their machines, learned that charting your course in the world might be a trivial problem, in comparison to determining how to perceive the world, and the reason for that is that there is a very large number of ways to perceive the world. The postmodernists actually cottoned on to this, and the claims they made was that there is a near infinite number of ways to interpret any given text; and that actually also happens to be the case. Then they said, well if there is a near infinite number of ways to interpret any text, how do you know if any given interpretation should take precedence over any other interpretation, which is also a perfectly reasonable issue. …. They went off the rails shortly after coming to that realization, and thats probably why they kept their alliance with Marxism fundamentally is that if you agree to the proposition, that all interpretations of all phenomena are of equal value or lack of value, then you can’t act in the world and the problem with that, is that if you are a human being you have to act in the world; cause otherwise you suffer miserably and then you die; and that seems to be an unacceptable outcome for most people. . . . The error in postmodernism is the failure to recognize that there are a finite number of credible interpretations of phenomena; and also a refusal to engage with the intellectual problem to determine to engage to find out what the finite number may actually consist of. I will give you a brief overview of how we happened to solve this problem as human beings. We do it partly biologically because we inhabit a biological framework that’s been developed over the course of about 3.5 million years; that severally constrains the manner in which we interpret the world. It constrains it such that we only tend to spontaneously manifest interpretations of the world that don’t result in undue suffering and our demise. There is plenty of ways to be stupid enough to perish and there are plenty of ways to be stupid enough to suffer without meaning; but there aren’t very many ways to live properly and carefully for a long period of time; in a manner that doesn’t also simultaneously do harm to other people. So that is the second set of constraints. You have biological constraints on your perception and they are built in, as a consequence of the Darwinian process; and the second part is that you are forced to interact with yourself now in this week, next week, and the month after. So you have to conduct yourself in a way that doesn’t interfere with your future life as you are living now. And simultaneously you have to conduct yourself in a way that makes all the people around you want to cooperate with you and compete with you; and maintain the relationship with you and do that today, and next week and next month. So although there are a very large number of interpretations of the world; there are unbelievably severe constraints; on the number of functional interpretations there are in the world. And one of the things that the humanities was supposed to be educating the people with regards towards understanding was: what the universe of those finite functional interpretations might be; and that has been more or less abandoned by the universities; under the values of postmodernism.

The fact that the postmodernists dare to be Marxist, is something that I find not so much intellectually reprehensible as morally repugnant. One of the things that the Marxist postmodernists continually claim is that they have compassion for the downtrodden, and I would say that anybody with more than a cursory knowledge of 20th century history who dares to claim simultaneously that they have compassion for the downtrodden and that they are Marxist, are revealing either their ignorance of history that is so astounding its a miracle, or a kind of malevolence that’s almost unspeakable.  We already ran the equity experiment over the 20th century and we already know what the Marxist doctrines have done for oppressed people around the world, and the answer to that mostly was imprison them, enslave them, work them to death or execute them. As far as I can tell that’s not exactly commensurate with any message of compassion. So I don’t think the postmodern Neo-Marxist have a leg to stand on ethically or intellectually or emotionally. I think they should be gone after as hard as possible, from an intellectual perspective. This is fundamentally a war of ideas and that’s the level of analysis that it should be fought upon. Not only is it a war of ideas, I think its a war that could be won, because I think the French intellectual postmodernists are a pack of uhm, what would you call them. Start with charlatans, or pseudo-intellectual would be a good one. I would also consider them highly deceptive in their intellectual strategies because almost all of them were Marxists student intellectuals, and they knew by the time the Gulag Archipelago came out, and even before that, that the nightmares of the Soviet Union and Maoist were of such magnitude that they had completely invalidated any ethical claim to justification that the fundamental Marxist manifestation had managed to manifest. So its a no go zone, as far as I am concerned.  Intellectually the games over, we’ve already figured out that there are finite constraints on interpretations, and we also understand how and why those exist and evolved. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever in the 21st century to put forth Marxist doctrines as if.they are the balm that is administered by the compassionate to the downtrodden. Sorry, tried that, didn’t work. We’ve got a hundred million corpses to prove it. That’s plenty for me, and if its not enough for you; well then you should do some serious thinking; either about your historical knowledge or about your moral character.

So the next thing is what to do about it, apart from just talking about it. ……….. [Cut university funding to Women’s studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, etc] cause the public should not have to fund a fifth column whose fundamental aim is to disrupt the structure of western civilization. ….  [the postmodernists should be starved at their source]…..freshman and second year university students coming into university from high school need to be educated about the post modern cult and they need to be encouraged  to not take the courses .. humanities enrollments have been declining since the 60’s and a big part of that is why in the world would you go as a half confused into university and get whatever shreds of culture that you should cling to to keep your poor head above water; in the sea of chaos that threatens to surround you, taken away by your professor, so that you are stripped bare of everything, but some vague sense that maybe you are a horrible racist unconsciously in some manner that you cannot detect, and be left with nothing but that for your hundred thousand dollar investment, and your bloody student loan. So people have not been enrolling in that …. Postmodern Neo-Marxism is nothing but a cult .. except that its a cult that doesn’t have enough economic sense to run itself at a profit. So, not only is it a cult, its a failed cult. So, it is a cult that has to be subsidized by the public purse in order to exist at all.  Thats a pretty damn pathetic cult. Because if you are a decent cult leader you can at least figure out a way to pick the pockets of your victims in a manner that enriches you. They can’t even manage to get that right, which accounts for the anti-capitalist bias; because they haven’t been able to transform their ideological doctrine into some way of making themselves spontaneously rich.

One of the things I was quite curious about is the Neo-Marxists insistence that the only true human motivation is power. I think that was a sleight of hand, because the original Marxist doctrine was that western capitalist society is basically best conceptualized as a zero sum game fought to the death between the oppressors and the oppressed, who would be the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. … … and that’s where we got the transformation into identity politics; which is just the Marxist doctrine in a new guise. I just think its reprehensible for people to be conducting themselves intellectually that insists that the most important element of any student is, whatever racial, gender and sex identity happens to be flavour of the month. I think …. If you are 1/8th black, are you black or white, are you oppressor or oppressed, are you less oppressed than someone who is 1/4th black? …. Since we know the only thing they believe in is power… we can be absolutely sure they will have no hesitancy to use power in the seeking of their aims. I think the other reason the only thing postmodernists ever do is talk about power, is because they want to justify their use of power to get exactly what they want, when they want it. There is nothing but power. Alright if there is nothing but power, that means we are at war over power. If that is the claim you make, then you can justify the use of power cause there isn’t anything else to turn to, there is no logic, there is no dialogue there is no consensus, there is no discussion between well-meaning people. There is nothing but divisions between power groups and identity groups and a Hobbesian state of war between all of us. … Well then that is what I think they want, to divide us all by race and ethnicity and sexual identity and sexual preference, and sexual expression and gender identity; and all these multiplying forces of group identities; which seems to be nothing but an invitation to chaos. So I am going to set up a few websites for university students and high school students, to tell them that perhaps they don’t need to go to university to be indoctrinated to learn. And if they want to learn the difference between an educator, and someone whose mainly interested in indoctrination, and the production of the next generation of pathetic whining radicals, then they can use the website to distinguish between people who are credible and people who aren’t; and maybe we can drop the damn enrollment in those horrible courses by 75% in the next three years and just stop it in its tracks. .  .

What students need to know before they take the courses is to know what it is that these course are aiming at, so that needs to be explained. Then they need to know what language the people who teach these courses are using in order to fulfill those aims. Then they need to identify the courses and to know that its in their best interests spiritually and economically to avoid those courses and those disciplines like the plague. Then maybe we can get the disciplines that have become entirely corrupt and the one’s that started that way, to put themselves back together before they run themselves out of existence completely. … the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s plan – as stated on their website — is to re-organize the curriculum’s from kindergarten to grade eight, so that children are taught to be social justice warriors from the moment they step foot in the public education system. ….
– Jordan Peterson: Postmodern NeoMarxism: Diagnosis and Cure.