Responsibility, meaning, truth, and Jordan Peterson

Dr Jordan Peterson is providing a positive father figure for a lot of men right now, me included. His material is very dense, and I think it’s worth unpacking some of the key topics he covers in a respectful way. Responsibility, meaning, and truth are the axes his work seems to spin around. I came across this interview he did with Dr Oz some time ago, and it seems to be among the best in terms of respect and tone. These are sensitive issues, and he has strong opinions. I’m going to list headings that will be links to points in the video that I think are important so that you can quickly jump around to see what I mean. The interview is almost three hours long, and it is overwhelming because of the subject matter. It took me days to complete. To be honest, I’m doing this for myself. I want a place to refer to his key points so that I can reflect, and come to my own conclusions. So, right there you must see that I don’t agree with everything he says, but his opinions have provided me a sort of “high water mark” to aim for. If you make it through the video, you’ll see that he would likely agree that’s what they are, that he falls short too, and that the dialogue in the middle is what is most important. Even the conflict.

Self Esteem and Happiness?

No. This is not about that. Life is suffering. This is about meaning, and responsibility. The adoption of responsibility. There is profound relationship between responsibility and meaning, and Jordan Peterson explains it perfectly.

The next hour of this video is fantastic, and highly recommended. I’m going to get to the good stuff later on in the video, because I think it’s easy to miss and by far the best part of what he has to say for me personally.


There is an aspect of consciousness that is universal, and an aspect that is singular. In a way, it also behaves as a field because we are all interconnected in a very real way.

Fair Play

It has been proven that fair play is an instinct, and not a learned behavior. This matters to how we treat each other, meaning ethics and morality are instinctual on some level.

Hierarchy and Politics

Now he’s warming up! The border between order and chaos. Why don’t we get along as a society? Hierarchies are older than trees, so it’s better to work with them than to shout at windmills.

Individual over Group

God is dead (Nietzsche), BECAUSE religion respected the individual. We must accept the responsibility this implies. The strong must protect the weak.

Make Things Better

Your ethical responsibilities grow in proportion to the resources that you have at your control. Want more success, then take on more responsibility.


What is success within hierarchy? It’s musical. You have to succeed on ALL levels with EVERYONE ELSE. Open your eyes. It’s all around you.


Why do we have so many divorces? Multiple reasons. Neuroticism. Communication. Purpose. Goals. Meaning. Compromise. Negotiation. Conflict. Yeah, it’s a problem.


What do you want? Make it up. Figure it out as you go. But talk about it. A lot. Write it down. Review it.


How do we get equality in the work place? You take it. Simple as that. You have to negotiate on your own behalf.

Men & Women

What’s the difference? It’s all in traits agreeableness and neuroticism. The real key to finding a good fit seems to be these two traits. If the partners are off by more than a standard deviation it seems to be a problem. Think about it like this: If one partner is highly disagreeable and the other is very agreeable, the agreeable partner isn’t going to get what they need very often, if ever. You must negotiate on your own behalf, and that’s really hard.


Should you follow your bliss? No. Meaning, and what makes you good. This works for me a lot better than seeking happiness which seems to be largely out of my control.

Political Correctness

Isn’t it just being polite? Yes, unless it’s compelled. There is NOTHING polite about compelled speech. The listener loses the Truth, and the speaker loses the right to speak. It’s just all around bad for everyone. If you think about it at all, you’ll see it’s a form of narcissism. I will reserve the right to be impolite when necessary, thank you.


Don’t let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. Use few rules, and minimal enforcement. Parenting is Enculturation. You must teach your children how to get along with responsible adults so that other adults will like them. This is rule 5 from the 12 rules. Highly recommended.

Tragedy vs Hell

The goal for a man is to be the most helpful and supportive man at your father’s funeral. He doesn’t mention that one in this interview, but he does in the book and that works for me. This interview presents the idea in more universal terms. This life is a gift and a responsibility.

I hope you have a new sense of why so many people see Jordan Peterson as a sort of guide, or father figure. He’s got wicked good advice that resonates deeply with men. It’s not sugar coated. It’s not even pleasant. It’s about responsibility, meaning, and truth. More often than not he upsets me, but I need that. It’s a sort of call to adventure tempered with purpose and responsibility that is so profoundly lacking in our world that values status and celebrity above all else. Maybe it is a sort of antidote to the chaos.

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