Life is Suffering

“God, there’s reasons to be resentful about your existence. Everyone you know is going to die — you, too, and there’s going to be a fair bit of pain along the way. Lots of it’s going to be unfair. No wonder you’re resentful — but you act it out and make everything you’re complaining about infinitely worse.There’s this idea that Hell is a bottomless pit. That’s because no matter how bad it is, some stupid SOB like you can find a way to make it worse. Life is suffering. What do you do in the face of that suffering? Try to reduce it. Start with yourself. What good are you? Get yourself together. You know how to do that. You know what’s wrong with you. Don’t be a damn ‘victim’.”

A few months back I discovered a channel on youtube that does various remixes, including bits from Jordan Peterson‘s lectures and speeches. The more I listen and read Peterson the more invigorating I find him — he’s a welcome repast from the a culture that encourages us to be perpetual toddlers. There’s obvious links between some of his thinking and the ideas of both Stoicism and Buddhism.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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7 Responses to Life is Suffering

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I like Paul Gauguin’s comment (which I thought came from Sartre): Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge…… [lol]

    I kinda ‘liked’ Peterson for a while there – at least he was more interesting than most – but I’ve seriously gone off him lately.

    • Why recently? I noticed he did two interviews back to back, one with Michael Shermer (Skeptic Magazine) and the other with Robert Barron (aux. archbishop of LA). I love finding people who can wrestle with different ideas like that..

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Having FAR too much time on my hands lately (despite presently reading 2 books a week) I’m spending too much time down the YouTube rabbit hole. Some of the vids I’ve been watching are from Peterson critics who have, I think, made some very valid criticisms of his work. Plus some of the things Peterson has said – like not only do Atheists not exist but that they *cannot* exist. Good to see that he know’s my mind better than I do [lol]. Apart from his often staggering arrogance (something that used to honestly amuse me) he can be very disingenuous at times. I also think he hides stuff too – including his own religious beliefs. For example (possibly a bad one) he keeps repeating that western values and western civilisation are built on Judaeo-Christian foundations seemingly ‘forgetting’ that those values did not suddenly appear from nowhere but themselves had antecedents in Ancient Greece, Rome and points further East. It’s FAR more accurate to say that western values are built on Greco-Roman foundations. I get the real feeling these days that he’s actually nothing more – or at least not much more – than a Christian ‘Trojan horse’ which I actually find objectionable on multiple levels….. You DID ask…. [grin]

      • I haven’t listened to much of Peterson’s lectures based on the stories of Genesis, just the one — and he used it to feed and illustrate his core message.

        While it’s perfectly true that our culture is partially in the Greco-Roman classical world, to ignore centuries of Christian foundation is sheer folly. What Roman influence would have persisted passed the fall of that state had its legacy not be incorporated in and built upon through Christendom? IMHO, discounting the heritage of the ‘middle ages’ and the unique stamp of Christian history is something that began with the Victorians, who were just as malignantly ignorant of the past as they were proud of their accomplishments.

  2. Marian says:

    This reminds me, I need to get back to Beyond Order. šŸ˜€ I haven’t been reading much outside of my book club reading, and it’s waiting for me.

    @Cyberkitten – Comparing what he wrote in his first book versus his recent interviews, I feel he’s changed a lot in the last several years, as far as his religious belief. I didn’t get the sense back then that he was a Christian (Trojan or otherwise ;)), because the way he wrote about the Bible was really strange and downright offensive in some parts. Now when he speaks of Jesus (and I’ve only seen a handful of recent clips, so I could be off-base here)… I sense more of an actual reverence. He might be going through a genuine conversion. He could even be torn about it since it may alienate some of his non-Christian listeners. I’m just speculating, but that’s the gist I’m getting. šŸ™‚

    • I’m looking forward to that title once I have exercised more disicpline and cleared more of my Mount of Doom. We’ve talked about this a little bit on goodreads, the idea of Peterson drawing closer to Belief during his most recent personal trials.

  3. Cyberkitten says:

    I didn’t (mean to) imply that we should simply ignore 2K years of Christian history. How could we! Just that the foundations go a LOT deeper than that. Christianity was the lens/filter through which older cultural tropes went through to produce what we see today. Without it we’d still have a recognisable civilisation though. What would have endured post the fall of the Western empire without the Church? Erm…. Politics/Statecraft, Philosophy, Engineering, Architecture, Military Science, Urban development and Road building, Literature, Art, Stagecraft, Language, History…. I mean, what have the Roman’s ever given us, right?

    As to the ‘heritage of the Middle Ages’ – wasn’t that essentially Plato, a bit of Aristotle and lots of commentaries on both of them? Plus of course lots of Greek, Roman and other texts preserved, extended and commented upon held in the Eastern empire and surrounding areas… Obviously the world we live in today would’ve been quite different without the Christian influence but I don’t think it was particularly vital to the re-emergence of civilisation post-Fall and towards the present. We’d have done it – differently obviously – without the Church.

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