Beast, Big 5 and Biology: Peterson for Beginners

The following is a brief overview of the narrative argument of clinical psychologist Jordan B Peterson in form of short, complexity-reduced statements for easy acceess. (I hope I get those right, professor!)

1) Peterson argues, that the mayority of myths are groundet in biology and prehistoric events (for example the christian depicitions of Mother Mary lifting up Baby-Jesus while one of her foots ist crushing a snake or beast or dragon is a representation of the real prehistoric mother protecting the child of real danger or snakes)

2) The mayority of myths are representations of the confrontation of the chaos by the mythical hero, his fall, his rebirth and the rejuvenation and re-structuring of culture ... a thought derived from Jung and Campbell.

3) The duality of chaos and order/structure is still relevant in our life. What happens if our constructed order and sense of self crashes? We fall into a state of chaos. Think of a banker, who throws himself to death after the collaps of the financial system and his wordview. Our conceptions of world and self are structures of order, but we can fall into chaos at any time, when the snake enters our garden eden of daily lfe.

4) This duality of oder and chaos finds expression within personality research. Here are two factors to be found: 'Plasticity' and 'Stability', two inbuild tendencies, which motivates us to confront chaos (plasticity) and build new and maintain old structures (stability). These two basic tendencies or motivations within ourself are grounded in the genetic and social-culturally setup of the serontonin- (stablity) and dopamin-chemistry (plasticity)

5) These two main factors differentiate themselves into the Big 5: Plasticity (extraversion, openness) and Stability (conscientiousness, neurozisism, agreeableness); as well with further differentian into ten sub-traits (for example conscientiousness differentiates into Industriousness and orderliness)

6) This Big 5 Modell is based on factor analyses and not exclusivly self-report and is one of those modells with utility in performance predicition.

7) These two factors (stability/plasticity) define our political orientation, that is the of the liberals (plasticity) and the conservatives (stability). These are manifestations of temperament, which define or political opinions. Liberals want open borders (between people, states etc) and new experiences, conservatives want borders to maintain the old.

8) Both are right. Cultural dialogue means to find out when and where to open which borders or to close it.

9) Peterson critique of the postmodern condition is, that our western society has driftet steadily to the left, that not only an open dialog between the two temperaments is impossible, but that the leftist radicalisation increases dramatically. Witout conservative balancing, our culture is threatend to fall into chaos (plasticity). Controll of speech, identity-politics, Pc-police is an expression of a radicalisation of lefstist ideas, which have become authoritarian.

10) Gender - as personality -  is determined by biology in ways more profound than the radical left is ready to acknowledge. Its not all socially constructed. That does not mean that somebody wants to controll the transgender-people, but to have an open dialogue about the pro and cons of patriarchy. Not every structure the patricachy provides is bad.

11) To expand the own Big 5 Profil means to develop wisdom. Like the ying-yang symbol, which signifies the unity between chaos and order, it is up to us to learn a balance between the two inbuild tendencies ... which also means to grow beyond the traditional duality of liberalism and conservatism, between the modern and the post-modern. (because of that, and because Peterson integrates biology, myths, scientific facts and postmodern philosophical insights, he apears to me as a post-postmodern thinker)

Tom Amarque2 Comments