Jordan B. Peterson Quotations

“I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“What is your friend: the things you know, or the things you don’t know. First of all, there’s a lot more things you don’t know. And second, the things you don’t know is the birthplace of all your new knowledge! So if you make the things you don’t know your friend, rather than the things you know, well then you’re always on a quest in a sense. You’re always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with you will tell you something you couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“If you can’t understand why someone is doing something, look at the consequences of their actions, whatever they might be, and then infer the motivations from their consequences.
For example if someone is making everyone around them miserable and you’d like to know why, their motive may simply be to make everyone around them miserable including themselves.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“Women select men. That makes them nature, because nature is what selects. And you can say “Well it’s only symbolic that women are nature”, it’s like no, it’s not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can’t get more like nature than that, in fact it’s the very definition of nature.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.”
― Jordan Peterson

“Life is suffering
Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated
Truth is the handmaiden of love
Dialogue is the pathway to truth
Humility is recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn
To learn is to die voluntarily and be born again, in great ways and small
So speech must be untrammeled
So that dialogue can take place
So that we can all humbly learn
So that truth can serve love
So that suffering can be ameliorated
So that we can all stumble forward to the Kingdom of God”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“If you don’t say what you think then you kill your unborn self.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“Intolerance of others’ views (no matter how ignorant or incoherent they may be) is not simply wrong; in a world where there is no right or wrong, it is worse: it is a sign you are embarrassingly unsophisticated or, possibly, dangerous.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you aare always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“If you have a comprehensive explanation for everything then it decreases uncertainty and anxiety and reduces your cognitive load. And if you can use that simplifying algorithm to put yourself on the side of moral virtue then you’re constantly a good person with a minimum of effort.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“No tree can grow to Heaven,” adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“Of course, my socialist colleagues and I weren’t out to hurt anyone – quite the reverse. We were out to improve things – but we were going to start with other people. I came to see the temptation in this logic, the obvious flaw, the danger – but could also see that it did not exclusively characterize socialism. Anyone who was out to change the world by changing others was to be regarded with suspicion. The temptations of such a position were too great to be resisted.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

“RULE 4 COMPARE YOURSELF TO WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY, NOT TO WHO SOMEONE ELSE IS TODAY”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being—and fair enough. But every person is deeply flawed. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. If that stark fact meant, however, that we had no responsibility to care, for ourselves as much as others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time. That would not be good. That would make the shortcomings of the world, which can make everyone who thinks honestly question the very propriety of the world, worse in every way. That simply cannot be the proper path forward.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities. Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. As the great nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche so brilliantly noted, “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“There’s a class of things to be afraid of: it’s “those things that you should be afraid of”. Those are the things that go bump in the night, right? You’re always exposed to them when you go to horror movies, especially if they’re not the gore type of horror movie. They’re always hinting at something that’s going on outside of your perceptual sphere, and they frighten you because you don’t know what’s out there. For that the Blair Witch Project was a really good example, because nothing ever happens in that movie but it’s frightenting and not gory. It plays on the fact tht you do have a category of Those Things Of Which You Should Be Afraid. So it’s a category, frightening things. And only things capable of abstraction can come up with something like the caregory of frightenting things.

And so Kali is like an embodied representation of the category of frightening things. And then you might ask yourself, well once you come up with the concept of the category of frightening things, maybe you can come up with the concept of what to do in the face of frightening things. Which is not the same as “what do you do when you encounter a lion”, or “what do you do when you encounter someone angry”. It’s a meta question, right?

But then you could say, at a philosophical level: “You will encounter elements of the category of all those things which can frighten and undermine you during your life. Is there something that you can do *as a category* that would help you deal with that.” And the answer is yeah, there is in fact. And that’s what a lot of religious stories and symbolic stories are trying to propose to you, is the solution to that. One is, approach it voluntarily. Carefully, but voluntarily. Don’t freeze and run away. Explore, instead. You expose yourself to risk but you gain knowledge.

And you wouldn’t have a cortex which, you know, is ridiculously disproportionate, if as a species we hadn’t decided that exploration trumps escape or freezing. We explore. That can make you the master of a situation, so you can be the master of something like fire without being terrified of it.

One of the things that the Hindus do in relationship to Kali, is offer sacrifices. So you can say, well why would you offer sacrifices to something you’re afraid of. And it’s because that is what you do, that’s always what you do. You offer up sacrifices to the unknown in the hope that good things will happen to you.

One example is that you’re worried about your future. Maybe you’re worried about your job, or who you’re going to marry, or your family, there’s a whole category of things to be worried about, so you’re worried about your future. SO what’re you doing in university? And the answer is you’re sacrificing your free time in the present, to the cosmos so to speak, in the hope that if you offer up that sacrifice properly, the future will smile upon you. And that’s one of the fundamental discoveries of the human race. And it’s a big deal, that discovery: by changing what you cling to in the present, you can alter the future.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“You don’t get to choose not to pay a price, you only get to choose which price you pay”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“Rejection of the unknown is tantamount to “identification with the devil,” the mythological counterpart and eternal adversary of the world-creating exploratory hero. Such rejection and identification is a consequence of Luciferian pride, which states: all that I know is all that is necessary to know. This pride is totalitarian assumption of omniscience – is adoption of “God’s place” by “reason” – is something that inevitably generates a state of personal and social being indistinguishable from hell. This hell develops because creative exploration – impossible, without (humble) acknowledgment of the unknown – constitutes the process that constructs and maintains the protective adaptive structure that gives life much of its acceptable meaning”
― Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

“Don’t use language instrumentally”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth—or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives—they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don’t believe that they deserve any better—so they don’t go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don’t want the trouble of better. Freud called this a “repetition compulsion.” He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past—sometimes, perhaps, to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery and sometimes, perhaps, because no alternatives beckon. People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It’s partly fate. It’s partly inability. It’s partly … unwillingness to learn? Refusal to learn? Motivated refusal to learn?”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“The things that pose the greatest threats to your survival are the most real things.”
― Jordan B. Peterson

“Consciousness is a mystery that faces the mystery of potential and transforms it into actuality. We do that with every choice we make. Our choices determine the destiny of the world. By making a choice, you alter the structure of reality.”
― Jordan B. Peterson