“Tell the truth” says the philosopher and author Jordan Peterson when asked about the most important rule for living a meaningful life. It is uncomfortable to be told to get in touch with your inner psychopath, that life is a catastrophe and that the aim of living is not to be happy. This is hardly the staple of most self-help books. And yet, superficially at least, a self-help book containing these messages is what the Canadian psychologist Jordan B Peterson has written.
His book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is an ambitious, some would say hubristic, attempt to explain how an individual should live their life, ethically rather than in the service of self. It is informed by the Bible, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung and Dostoevsky – again, uncommon sources for the genre. Peterson, 55, is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who shot into the headlines in 2016 after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns at the university which new legislation, Bill C-16, compelled him legally to. Following this he was either hailed as a free-speech martyr or castigated as a transphobe. Demonstrations broke out on campus, and he has been the subject of a campaign of protest by trans activists. More controversy followed when he publicly defended James Damore, the sacked Google employee who suggested there were innate gender differences, as being no more than the scientific consensus. Tim Lott - The Guardian.