Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life | Jordan B. Peterson
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The companion volume to 12 Rules for Life offers further guidance on the perilous path of modern life.
In 12 Rules for Life, clinical psychologist and celebrated professor at Harvard and the University of Toronto Dr. Jordan B. Peterson helped millions of readers impose order on the chaos of their lives. Now, in this bold sequel, Peterson delivers twelve more lifesaving principles for resisting the exhausting toll that our desire to order the world inevitably takes.
In a time when the human will increasingly imposes itself over every sphere of life—from our social structures to our emotional states—Peterson warns that too much security is dangerous. What’s more, he offers strategies for overcoming the cultural, scientific, and psychological forces causing us to tend toward tyranny, and teaches us how to rely instead on our instinct to find meaning and purpose, even—and especially—when we find ourselves powerless.
While chaos, in excess, threatens us with instability and anxiety, unchecked order can petrify us into submission. Beyond Order provides a call to balance these two fundamental principles of reality itself, and guides us along the straight and narrow path that divides them.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
If you are at work, and called upon to do what makes you contemptuous of yourself—weak and ashamed, likely to lash out at those you love, unwilling to perform productively, and sick of your life—it is possible that it is time to meditate, consider, strategize, and place yourself in a position where you are capable of saying no. Perhaps you will garner additional respect from the people you are opposing on moral grounds, even though you may still pay a high price for your actions. Perhaps they will even come to rethink their stance—if not now, with time (as their own consciences might be plaguing them in that same still small manner).
Perhaps you should also be positioning yourself for a lateral move— into another job, for example, noting as you may, “This occupation is deadening my soul, and that is truly not for me. It is time to take the painstaking steps necessary to organize my CV, and to engage in the difficult, demanding, and often unrewarding search for a new job” (but you have to be successful only once). Maybe you can find something that pays better and is more interesting, and where you are working with people who not only fail to kill your spirit, but positively rejuvenate it. Maybe following the dictates of conscience is in fact the best possible plan that you have—at minimum, otherwise you have to live with your sense of self-betrayal and the knowledge that you put up with what you truly could not tolerate. Nothing about that is good.
I might get fired. Well, prepare now to seek out and ready yourself for another job, hopefully better (or prepare yourself to go over your manager’s head with a well-prepared and articulate argument). And do not begin by presuming that leaving your job, even involuntarily, is necessarily for the worst.
I am afraid to move. Well, of course you are, but afraid compared to what? Afraid in comparison to continuing in a job where the center of your being is at stake; where you become weaker, more contemptible, more bitter, and more prone to pressure and tyranny over the years? There are few choices in life where there is no risk on either side, and it is often necessary to contemplate the risks of staying as thoroughly as the risks of moving. I have seen many people move, sometimes after several years of strategizing, and end up in better shape, psychologically and pragmatically, after their time in the desert.
Perhaps no one else would want me. Well, the rejection rate for new job applications is extraordinarily high. I tell my clients to assume 50:1, so their expectations are set properly. You are going to be passed over, in many cases, for many positions for which you are qualified. But that is rarely personal. It is, instead, a condition of existence, an inevitable consequence of somewhat arbitrary subjection to the ambivalent conditions of worth characterizing society. It is the consequence of the fact that CVs are easy to disseminate and difficult to process; that many jobs have unannounced internal candidates (and so are just going through the motions); and that some companies keep a rolling stock of applicants, in case they need to hire quickly. That is an actuarial problem, a statistical problem, a baseline problem—and not necessarily an indication that there is something specifically flawed about you. You must incorporate all that sustainingly pessimistic realism into your expectations, so that you do not become unreasonably downhearted. One hundred and fifty applications, carefully chosen; three to five interviews thereby acquired. That could be a mission of a year or more. That is much less than a lifetime of misery and downward trajectory. But it is not nothing. You need to fortify yourself for it, plan, and garner support from people who understand what you are up to and are realistically appraised of the difficulty and the options.
Now it may also be that you are lagging in the development of your skills and could improve your performance at work so that your chances of being hired elsewhere are heightened. But there is no loss in that. You cannot effectively pronounce “no” in the presence of corrupt power when your options to move are nonexistent. In consequence, you have a moral obligation to place yourself in a position of comparative strength, and to do then what is necessary to capitalize on that strength. You may also have to think through worst-case situations and to discuss them with those who will be affected by your decisions. But it is once again worth realizing that staying where you should not be may be the true worst-case situation: one that drags you out and kills you slowly over decades. That is not a good death, even though it is slow, and there is very little in it that does not speak of the hopeless- ness that makes people age quickly and long for the cessation of career and, worse, life. That is no improvement. As the old and cruel cliché goes: If you must cut off a cat’s tail, do not do it half an inch at a time. You may well be in for a few painful years of belated recognition of insufficiency, and required to send out four or five or ten job applications a week, knowing full well that the majority will be rejected with less than a second look. But you need to win the lottery only once, and a few years of difficulty with hope beat an entire dejected lifetime of a degenerating and oppressed career.
And let us be clear: It is not a simple matter of hating your job be- cause it requires you to wake up too early in the morning, or to drag yourself to work when it is too hot or cold or windy or dry or when you are feeling low and want to curl up in bed. It is not a matter of frustration generated when you are called on to do things that are menial or necessary such as emptying garbage cans, sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms, or in any other manner taking your lowly but well- deserved place at the bottom of the hierarchy of competence—even of seniority. Resentment generated by such necessary work is most often merely ingratitude, inability to accept a lowly place at the beginning, unwillingness to adopt the position of the fool, or arrogance and lack of discipline. Refusal of the call of conscience is by no means the same thing as irritation about undesirably low status.
That rejection—that betrayal of soul—is truly the requirement to perform demonstrably counterproductive, absurd, or pointless work; to treat others unjustly and to lie about it; to engage in deceit, to betray your future self; to put up with unnecessary torture and abuse (and to silently watch others suffer the same treatment). That rejection is the turning of a blind eye, and the agreement to say and do things that betray your deepest values and make you a cheat at your own game. And there is no doubt that the road to hell, personally and socially, is paved not so much with good intentions as with the adoption of attitudes and undertaking of actions that inescapably disturb your con- science.
Do not do what you hate.
 Perhaps not just once, because that makes your reaction too impulsive; perhaps not just twice, because that still may not constitute sufficient evidence to risk undertaking what might be a genuine war; but definitively three times, when a pattern has been clearly established. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
PRAISE FOR JORDAN PETERSON
"We live in a time when so many young (and not so young) people feel lost . . . Mr. Peterson talks about the attitudes that will help find the path. It is not a politically correct or officially approved path, but it is an intensely practical and yet heightened one: This life you're living has meaning."
--PEGGY NOONAN, Wall Street Journal
"Jordan Peterson is universally revered--and feared--for his incredible intellect and emotional insight."
--DAVE RUBIN, host of The Rubin Report and author of Don't Burn This Book
"The Peterson way is a harsh way, but it is an idealistic way--and for millions of young men, it turns out to be the perfect antidote to the cocktail of coddling and accusation in which they are raised."
--DAVID BROOKS, New York Times
"The world needs Jordan Peterson."
--DOUGLAS MURRAY, author of The Madness of Crowds --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Dr. Jordan B Peterson is the bestselling author of 12 Rules for Life, which has sold more than five million copies worldwide. After working for decades as a clinical psychologist and a professor at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Peterson has become one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals. His YouTube videos and podcasts have gathered a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions, and his global book tour reached more than 250,000 people in major cities across the globe. With his students and colleagues, he has published more than one hundred scientific papers, and his 1999 book Maps of Meaning revolutionized the psychology of religion. He lives in Toronto, Ontario with his family. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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