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Jordan B. Peterson on the importance of remembering your past

Jordan B. Peterson
Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA)

Why remember your past? You ask Jordan B. Peterson, the now world-renowned Canadian psychology professor, the answer has to do with future.

Jordan B. Peterson is a worldwide celebrity by now, with 1.4 million followers on Youtube and mentions in many of the world's major media. He has also been featured in major Swedish newspapers, for example Ivar Arpi's article in Svenska Dagbladet and interview on Youtube.

In one of Jordan's visits to Joe Rogan's show (can't remember which one) they get into why one's past matters and why it's important not to focus only on the future. Peterson explains:

Why do we remember the past? Perhaps they say it is to have an objective view of the past. But that has nothing to do with it. There is only one reason to remember the past, and that is to be prepared for the future. That's why you remember the past.

So what to do is to take the past and extract wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to avoid blindly falling into ditches. So then you can think, maybe there was a time in my past when I blindly fell into this horrible ditch and horrible things happened to me. Then you can pick it apart and think about how events conspired with your participation, consciously or unconsciously, so that these horrible consequences manifested themselves. You need to know why it happened and how you might react differently in that situation.

Jordan B. Peterson

It is about remembering your own life and the mistakes you have made in order to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. But in a broader perspective, we also have thousands of years of human history to extract wisdom from. We should do it more, extract wisdom. To avoid those terrible ditches that man falls into time and time again.

Another related concept that Jordan B. Peterson has talked a lot about in other lectures is that we all have a responsibility to save our father from the underworld. What the hell does that mean?

Well, it's about managing and seeking understanding of the cultural heritage and civilisation that previous generations have left us. Western civilisation. Our Swedish and Nordic culture. It's about breathe life in the dead culture of their ancestors - to instill his own the vitality of traditions but also of the concept of law and the moral compass inherited. It is simply a matter of making culture your own.

Failure to do so leaves the gods of chaos waiting patiently for the first chance to fill the void left by the old culture when it is left to die. As we saw in the bloody 20th century when totalitarian ideologies spread across the world.

By incorporating the dead culture, the accumulated wisdom of all previous generations, into one's own being, one restores the dead life - and gains a form of eternal life for oneself as one passes the culture on to one's descendants. By going back to one's original myths, one can find the folk wisdom and experience to which our ancestors contributed. Here's Peterson on the subject:

You are a historical being. You are a cultural being. You cannot live without your culture. You think you can, but you can't.

Jordan B. Peterson

A culture lives in and through people, and it survives only as long as people carry it within them and each generation makes it his own. You do that by building on it and finding your own meaning in it. Saving your father from the underworld is about know oneself, which happens to be the motto of the founder of the Nordic Museum and Skansen, Artur Hazelius, made to his.

I will devote an upcoming episode on Youtube to this concept of saving one's father, or rather our collective task of saving our Nordic father from the underworld. Subscribe to the channel not to miss it!

So let's head down into the underworld to Nifelheims dark domains, to the kingdom of cold north of Ginnungagap, where our Nordic and Western father awaits his rescue. It is possible that the only thing waiting for us there in the darkness is our own Ragnarökbut there is no reason to fear doom. After all, you have to go through Ragnarok to experience world renewal. Until that video arrives, here's another clip where Peterson talks more about the concept:

You are filled with the spirit of your father in the sense that you are a cultural construct, which of course the postmodern neo-Marxists are quite embarrassed about. To disrespect that is to undermine your essence, not all of what you are but a large part of what you are in the sense that you are a socialized, cultural being. If you tear away that foundation, what are you left with?

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1 thoughts on “Jordan B. Peterson om vikten av att minnas sitt förflutna

  1. Sibyl Vane says:

    Funny that Jordan Peterson thought of Noah 30 years ago: so did I. But I'm not as serious as he is, so I was mostly thinking that it's an incredibly funny description in the Swedish Bible, which goes on about "he saw his father's shame" at least 3 times!?! I think that's funny.

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