Letter To Jordan Peterson

Jordan,

I think your views of our world are spot on in the arena of personal development but severely lacking in the field of human motivation. Cultures outside the west have historically not been motivated to obtain massive amounts of wealth through force as western nations have. Most humans are not internally driven to acquire large and infinite sources of abundance for themselves, through violent force and at the expense of their fellow man. They only care to obtain what is adequate.

Unlimited access to cell phones, computers, cheap Nikes, and every unhealthy food source known to man are not signs of human advancement and progress, and until recently (60 years ago or so), nations not considered ‘western’ have not desired these things. Prosperity? Yes. Excess by any means necessary? No.

So why do intellectuals of the modern era tout these luxurious icons of western idealism as evidence of man’s greatness? Simply offering the products of an abusive capitalist system to humans in other countries does not make them better off– especially if we consider that these products were most likely created by the inhabitants of these countries. Plenty of people here in the U.S. have an abundance of “stuff”–shiny, new, and ultimately valueless items–yet we are still fundamentally a broken people, depressed and distraught in every way. As a professional psychotherapist, you can attest to the truth of this assertion, I am more than sure.

Perhaps you could explain to me why European culture has been the epitome of such barbarous behavior for millennia. We know humanity in general has a history of violence and oppression. We can say for certain however that at this point in our evolution, the narrative of success, by way of force and dominance, rests squarely in the hands of modern western economic imperialists. The idea that other cultures somehow lack a strong capacity for civilization and development is espoused by the proponents of the west-centric view. Yet, a great irony exists here. Is it not so that savage warfare and brutish colonization have been the hallmark of European society for ages? And what about the modern era? Has the ‘west-centric’ mind changed? No. To this day, the thinking and actions of global leaders are informed by a west-centric idea of dominance.

Historic examples include the conquests of Alexander the Great, the brutal escapades of the vikings and the conquistadors, the bloody violence of the Napoleonic wars, and the “unification” attempts of Otto Van Bismarck. These, and of course the 20th century world wars for “global peace”, all characterize what could be called the superiority complex of the European. It should stand with no contest that much of the world has been devastated by the European proclivity towards large-scale violence. In deed European culture has encouraged and touted the destruction of humanity (e.g. nuclear warfare) and has been the largest purveyor of death upon our planet. We’re talking about the literal free range exportation of violence across the globe for hundreds of years. And ironically, it has all been done in the name of “civilization” and “progress”. What say you to this?

The writings of Machiavelli in his letter to the prince chronicle how one may use the most brutally obscene tactics to gain political and military advantage over one’s opponents.  He lays out methods and reasoning on how and why one should murder one’s rival(s) if they become a threat to one’s own success. Machiavelli’s ideas are, to this day, implemented by the world’s most ruthless leaders who have no regard for global populations. Yet, Machiavelli is revered as a brilliant and influential tactician. Surely you can see that something is afoul with humanity if we relegate to the highest rungs of human social genius the proponents of such nefarious machinations.

So how is it that western civilization may be lauded as the shining beacon, the guiding light of humanity? How many foreign governments has the U.S. , in cahoots with other western nations, overthrown, destroyed, or attempted to, in order to gain control of that country? Venezuela, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Congo, Brazil, and Chile are all examples of Western backed and financed coups. In many cases, these countries already possessed democratically elected governments or at least stable governing structures.

For a civilization which ostentatiously prides itself on the rule of law and democratic principles, how can anyone who listens to you not have a great and jovial laugh at your frankly embarrassing pronouncements which audaciously promote western idealism as the apex and saving grace of humanity? We must come to terms with the notion that perhaps our current reality is not the best of all possible worlds; that maybe other cultures have lived better and have contributed vastly more advantageous ways of existing. I’m very much willing to explore this. Are you?

Breathe Better. Live Longer.