Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Pageau, Pastoral Commentary on the First Hour
Author: Paul VanderKlay's Podcast
Full Title: Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Pageau, Pastoral Commentary on the First Hour
Speaker 0: markers. Is he moving or isn't he? And I would say right off the bat. Don't listen to his words. Watch his actions and you say, Well, I can't watch his actions because I'm not watching him and that's exactly right. And that's the way it is with almost everyone. And this is something you learn very quickly as a pastor. Words are important. Actions speak louder than words. If you want to know what someone truly believes, Jordan Peterson says, watch their actions and and this entire conversation is haunted by this question of of Will he act? Can he act? But it's also haunted by haunted by the fact that Jordan is in many ways continues to be disabled because of the Benzo
Speaker 0: haunted by this question of of Will he act? Can he act? But it's also haunted by haunted by the fact that Jordan is in many ways continues to be disabled because of the Benzo withdrawal and all of the medical stuff that has gone through there. So, yeah, it's it's one heck of a story. So the big impression I have is repeated, haunting question of Peterson asked about Why hasn't the church manifest? This vision of Theos is sufficiently that or even to turn it from the church, which is out there second person to him to first person. What if I go further in this? Where does this lead
Speaker 0: What if I go further in this? Where does this lead me? And that's where we're sort of with Tolkien's Tolkien and the hobbits. If Gandalf comes knocking and dwarfs, fill your house and that's pretty much what's already happened to Jordan's life, the the dwarves via YouTube have filled his living room and and both given him, you know, given him gold but also are inviting him out of the door. That's you don't know where it will take you, and that's that's talking. I think Jonathan Pageau is right that some version of theosis is at the heart of Christian eschatology.
Speaker 0: at the heart of Christian eschatology, this is where it goes now. Right away. Other traditions, including my own, will pause and say, and that is the theologians life to stop and say, Well, what exactly do you mean by theosis, what exactly do you mean by God? And you'll find it in Paul, being in Christ. And this is why certain forms of, uh, certain forms of Christianity that reduce it to going to heaven. Uh, it doesn't. That's that's there. But it's very low definition because then you have to ask, Well, what is heaven? And it goes on and on and on and on from
Speaker 0: at the heart of Christian eschatology, this is where it goes now. Right away. Other traditions, including my own, will pause and say, and that is the theologians life to stop and say, Well, what exactly do you mean by Theo? Sis, What exactly do you mean by God? And you'll find it in Paul being in Christ. And And this is why certain forms of, uh, certain forms of Christianity that reduce it to going to heaven. Uh, it doesn't. That's that's there. But it's very low definition because then you have to ask, Well, what is heaven? And it goes on and on and on and on from
Speaker 0: on our behalf. This, this is this is basic Christianity, but the folk versions tend to prevail, which is sort of natural. And I think Joe is right when he talks about hierarchies in this sense that yeah, the stuff gets so complicated, so fast. And Pedro is also right in that outside the body of the church. See the church as a as a larger body as a whole. Quran, a fulcrum as a as a Voltaren allows the different members of the body. This is what the Apostle Paul says in first Corinthians allows the different members of the body to participate in the body. And so, you know, I thought
Speaker 0: I've got a deep frustration and disappointment with the vessel It's as some Christian writers talk about the problem of wine skins with the vessel of the church in terms of how it facilitates the movement of Christ through the world. That's really the church's job to facilitate the movement of Christ through the world to be his witness. Now the church does this badly and has always done it badly. Now, a little bit later, Esther had a comment. Um, on one hand, I get Peterson's frustration. On the other hand, it's hard not
Speaker 0: frustration with the church. But as as Esther says, you haven't seen much of it Jordan and what you see via the media. Well, if you look at how you're treated in the media, think of how the church is treated. Okay, the media is not some unbiased canal through which the world comes to us. It can't be by virtue of the pay Joey in attention principle, okay, and so the only way to see the churches to be in the church. But then you have the problem of the only way to see the church is to be in a church. And actually, Lewis talks about this because you you have to then
Speaker 0: continual movement of re formation within the history of the church. Christ initiates that and launches it. You can find it in the Hebrew prophets. Gerard Rene Girard notices this to this continual capacity to self critique without being destroyed. In some ways, it's the burning bush. It's the consuming fire. It's the It's the altar outside the Tabernacle, to which Erin's sons attempt to bring alien fire and they are destroyed for it. It's It's that process of continual renewal and perfection. That, and this is where Jordan goes when he's talking about the better. We we sort of always look for the better. And that's right. And this is this is
Speaker 0: disappointment and frustration with the church. That might seem strange because I am, of course, deeply inside of it. But I've got 1000 stories of its shortcomings, Um, to the few that he has yet I can't won't give her up. I won't give up the bride of Christ. I'm part of her, and being part of her is how I'm united with Christ. It sounds odd for a Protestant to say, but that that was really the beating heart of the Protestant Reformation. It's this discouragement that and it's in this way that Jordan is deeply Protestant because he looks at the church and says this and Christ says, She's my bride. She's a mess.
Speaker 0: of Ezekiel. It's always been this way, and and that's why the Joes emphasis on C again if I used the oh Sis II trigger people in other traditions. But it's the path towards Christ. It's moving into Christ. It's becoming like Christ. The different traditions say it in different ways. Perhaps it's analogous to the young person who avoids marriage because they watched the failure of their parents' marriage. Avoiding marriage doesn't actually solve much. It just means you miss out on the potential a covenant union affords. And then that's the appeal. The appeal I hear from Jonathan throughout. I'm
Speaker 0: you know, we we project onto the world, and Peterson talked about this a lot with his Roger Scruton conversation, which I thought was an excellent conversation. It's one of its one of his best, where where we see, as Peterson said, sort of these low resolution cartoons, and that's the projection that we're doing? And so now, Now many. OK, why hasn't why hasn't Utopia emerged? Well, it's because of the enemy. Well, who is the enemy and the enemy? Maybe people on the right or the enemy? Maybe people on the left. But you have to You you create characters in your narrative and that's that's how we participate. That's how we become personally involved,
Speaker 2: treat you that way. And
Speaker 2: I think that I think that the role that you've you played is a is a kind of a transition role, and that transition manifests itself to you as a as a trying to have your feet on two sides of rifting of an I two islands that are floating away from each other.
Speaker 0: Now again, if you listen to pay Joe, talk to rationality, rules and others were always using these spatial metaphors. And I think again, I think Joe, he's an artist. He deals in physicality more than I do as a pastor. You know, I'm a
Speaker 0: of the of the Let's see a oh, my channel. Hi, this is Paul. Yeah, on on this on the video that I made on the tweet. You know, I think it is very important. I wouldn't be spending all this time doing it. I wouldn't have devoted so much of my time to it if I didn't believe that what's happening with Jordan and Jonathan and others is in fact, the cutting edge of one area of evolution in the culture and the church. Right now, I I think I
Speaker 0: you know, Sunday is not a good day necessarily to meet with me because I've got Sunday. Sunday is a big day for a pastor, you know, we only work one day a week, after all, anyway, should stop distracting myself. Peterson. What did he write about it? Maps of meaning. You have to locate yourself. The whole point of doing what is meaningful and not what's expedience is that you have to locate yourself right there on the border of order and chaos. That's the optimal place. And so Peterson for decades has been trying to locate himself at the optimal place, and now he's there, and it's costing him everything. That is the story of Christ. Okay?
Speaker 1: Well, I don't know how. I don't know how to. I don't know how to
Speaker 0: well, and this is where he's lacking. You know. He's Pajot. Pentecostals and Jonathan Piaggio both use this language of covering, which is very interesting, because again, he George is sort of out there in a boat on his own, and he doesn't have the buffer of a church around him. I mean, for me instinctively to to have a meet up group to, you know connect myself quite deeply with bridges of meaning, discord server and that community and an estuary I know from the practice of the church you need a harbour and that harbor that harbor is made up by people around you and part of
Speaker 0: it in the wake of George Floyd, and they're going to do it on the steps of the Capitol because it's it's busted out of the church, and and and part of that is because the church hasn't done well. The church hasn't done as it as it's supposed to. And so Peterson is, is sort of, you know, this this lone wolf out there doing it on his own and okay, embracing, embracing Christ as the ideal man and trying to embody him without the church. Now that is deeply. I don't know if it's Canadian or not. It certainly is American.
Speaker 1: and that finds its embodiment. And I took these ideas in large part from Young and Eric Nyman. That Christ is a represent Christ is at least a representation of the ideal man, whatever that is. And we all, interestingly enough, we all seem to have an ideal, and we and that or that ideal has us right. And that's where it's very interesting.
Speaker 0: And, yes, the ideal has us. The ideal is it's kind of like enforced monogamy, and this is where you get into the conscience to that it does have us. We have it, and it has us are the membranes of us and our context are are very porous
Speaker 1: to consider the role of
Speaker 0: Part of how social media is so corrosive to our consciences is because in some ways it permits us to construct a false conscience, which is an echo chamber, which sort of diminishes our consciences. Okay, how do I get at that? Well, think about what a consciousness is. Now again, I'm pushing back against Cartesian dualist substances. Um, all right. Cartesian dualist substances, um, imagines we have to conceptualize spirituality as substance rather than let's say spirituality as the thing that makes the chair out of stumps and bean bags. All right, because I was gonna talk about
Speaker 0: It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. After the rise of modern psychology, that conscience is formed by parents, by churches, by peers by culture. Conscience is part of that first draft. It's and it's a sense. I mean, Jiminy Cricket Pinocchio. You know Jiminy Cricket J C. Get it is the is the identification of Of of that whole thing, All right, so we can think about it in
Speaker 0: to the Book of Genesis, where he comments on never actually read it on the channel. A couple of years ago, he comments on Jacob Fighting with God. And how God sort of with one hand, he fights him with the other hand. He supports Jacob because Jacob's could not fight with God unless God was giving Jacob the strength to fight with him. This, you know, this stuff gets really weird for us and our individualistic, materialistic world, where we just sort of imagine our boundaries are our skin. All right, I just sent that out into the
Speaker 0: that are beating up poor Brett in the clubhouse are in some ways in their attacking. Yeah, bearing witness to the fact that there is a morality that bread is smuggling in because that morality is not found in evolution. And so, in a sense, they're saying you're a eugenicist. Well, why would Bret Weinstein be a eugenicist? Well, because he is colonizing, this is what eugenics is. You colonize the tools of evolutionary biology in order to achieve an outcome that you believe is good, boy. I'm not going to get anywhere near done this
Speaker 0: divides here, where we've got a separation between wind and spirit, where we've got a separation between the story and the the matter, verse and the story verse. And and so there's tension between them and again. One of the deep underlying elements of this conversation that Peterson will get into will be well, what if they're actually connected? Well, we know they're connected via human ideation, but what if they're connected? What if our connection via human ideation is actually a revelation or a sacrament or a portal to a much deeper connection beneath them. And I think this is
Speaker 1: I'm amazed at my own belief, and I don't understand it like because I've seen yeah, sometimes the objective world and the narrative world touch. You know, that's the union synchronicity, and I've seen that many times in my own life. And so in some sense, I believe it's undeniable. You know, we have a narrative sense of the world for me that's been the world of morality. That's the world that tells us how to act. It's real like we treat it like it's real. It's not the objective world
Speaker 2: If you believed in the story of Christ. If you believe that history and and let's say the narrative make meat
Speaker 1: both, I think I think you because when you believe that you buy both those stories, you believe that the narrative and the objective can actually touch not
Speaker 0: only touch but one is governing the other. Isn't that what's behind the Jedi? Isn't that what's behind Harry Potter? Isn't that what's behind? Magic and technology technology is basically are figuring out how to colonize the physical verse, the physical universe, the matter, verse from the story verse. That's what we're doing.
Speaker 1: We saw
Speaker 2: It has an indefinite amount of ways that you could describe it, that you could angle that by which you could analyze it. And so nonetheless, the world appears to us through these hierarchies of meaning, right? I always kind of use the example of a cup or a chair like a chair is just a multitude of things. It's a multitude of parts. How is it that we can say that? It's one thing there's a there's a capacity we have to attend? This capacity we have to attend is something like a co creation of the world, and so the world actually exists.
Speaker 1: Share is a good example because, you know you can try to define it objectively, but you end up with beanbags and stumps, and they don't have anything in common while they're both made of matter, you know, for whatever that's worth, It's pretty,
Speaker 0: you know, revert to the mean Yeah,
Speaker 1: he didn't. This is something that this this intermingling of value, in fact, was something that I never thought I never thought it made much traction with. With Harris with Sam Harris, he didn't seem to me to be willing to admit how saturated the world of fact is inevitably with value, and I actually think he's denying the science at that point because for everything I know about perceptual psychology, there's a great book called, uh, vision as a oh God now I can't remember the name of books. That's memory trouble. I'll remember
Speaker 2: it. The idea is that
Speaker 1: book called, uh, vision as a oh God now I can't remember the name of books. That's memory trouble. I'll remember
Speaker 2: it. The idea is that if that is true, then there are certain things which come out of that. There are certain necessary, uh, things down the road from that that insight, which is that attention plays a part in the way the world lays itself out. Um, and that one of them and one of them is that the stuff that the world is made of is partly something like attention, something like consciousness and that has a pattern. And that pattern is the same pattern as stories. It just it just it doesn't lay itself out exactly
Speaker 0: now. Now this is where
Speaker 0: narrative elements. And if you if you sort and we are, um, we exist as human beings before we're narratively equipped and there are conscious beings, dogs and cats, rats that don't appear to be narrative based but yet are conscious. And so I think it's it's sort of the the the anxiety that narrative as a ride on, and Jonathan and Jordan, perhaps, are pushing narrative too far. That's that's sort of where you get, I think, John Ver. Vicky's
Speaker 0: as a ride on, and Jonathan and Jordan, perhaps, are pushing narrative too far. That's that's sort of where you get, I think, John Ver. Vicky's anxiety about the narrative language,
Speaker 2: something like attention, something like consciousness and that has a pattern. And that pattern is the same pattern as stories. It just it just it doesn't lay itself out exactly the same. But things exist with a pattern, which is similar to stories. They have identities, they have centers, they have margins. They have exceptions. And that's how stories lay themselves out. So a story happens in time. How an identity, Let's say, uh, is
Speaker 2: is a way for us to perceive the identity of things.
Speaker 0: That's a really interesting point, because right now in the modern, in the in the popular context, identity is everything, and Peugeot quite rightly notes that identity is a function of the agent arena context. Identity is a function of how you present in the story. I have an identity as father within the family. I have identity of pasture within the church. I have identity of citizen within the nation I have identity of If I'm playing basketball because I'm tall, maybe center within the team. This is this is how identity works and the
Speaker 2: made of
Speaker 0: this right there, Okay, you've got the two islands. When Jonathan says a sentence like that, he has jumped all the way on to the next island or perhaps the Old Island, because we are dealing with Barfield Ian participation here because almost everyone listening to this will have a moment of internal pause. What do you mean? The world is made up of story. They're gonna say no. The world is made up of matter and then pay. Joe will come back and say, Is a chair matter? A chair isn't matter. It might have. It might be made up of stumps and bean bags and sticks and twigs and matter. But the chair is not in the matter verse, you mean
Speaker 0: and say, Is a chair matter? A chair isn't matter. It might have. It might be made up of stumps and bean bags and sticks and twigs and matter. But the chair is not in the matter verse, you mean Well, no human constructed it. Well, you might find stumps that no human being actually cut the tree down in the tree fell of its own accord. But it becomes a chair by virtue of a human being. It's an agent arena relationship, and and what Joe is saying is, that's the world. And so you can see you know he's Jonathan is fairly far along the path of phenomenology. Now what's what's interesting
Speaker 0: to try to figure out Page will often ask where you are, and in this case, maybe the better question is, when are you Jonathan? Because what? So what's so interesting about Jonathan is he is ancient modern now. I first got acquainted with ancient modern when we were looking at liturgy in the late nineties early Aughts as the secret church movement was receding into the emergent church movement. And it's sort of where phenomenology and church fathers meet.
Speaker 0: early Aughts as the secret church movement was receding into the emergent church movement. And it's sort of where phenomenology and church fathers meet. And and this is why it could be that, whereas in modernity, modernity looks at the Middle Ages and calls them the Dark Ages, it could very well be that 500 years from now they look back at the modern period and call it the Dark Ages. Why, If you look at Jonathan's Brothers book matter is dark, it's it's a chair cannot be found in nature.
Speaker 0: one of the thing that John Walton brings out are the ancient gods. What are the ancient gods? They're functional now. We tend to again think of them in terms of ontology, ontological, and I don't think we modernists can even use that word ontological without first being so deeply immersed in materiality. And and so that's where the card is interesting because there's sort of this substance is, um, that well, that they have spiritual substance, not material substance and I think again in the pictures. In our mind, in our imagination, we just imagine something out of Ghostbusters, like ectoplasm. And then the
Speaker 2: itself out, and it lays itself out in modes of being. And one of the things that comes out of it is not only that, but, like you said, it's not only that you have ideas, but it's that ideas have you. Or that it's not only that you
Speaker 0: ideas, have you. Okay, What does that mean? That there's there's something above us and beyond us, that just like we make a chair out of a stump. Now, this is gonna hang on to your put on your wu helmet. The ideas have us just like we just like I have a chair.
Speaker 2: Mm.
Speaker 2: Engage in modes of being. Is that modes of being have you? And that recognition means that the first level of
Speaker 0: and listen to some of the people who participated in the capital riot and stormed the capital what do they say? I was sort of swept away. What was doing the sweeping. I wasn't in control of myself. People who fall in love. Cupid shot his arrow. Aphrodite put me under her spell all the same thing.
Speaker 2: The
Speaker 0: lives among us. And at the age of 30 begins a public ministry. Then just I just read the Gospels. Is he popular? Yeah. Is he killed by people that well, they should be on the same side of the opposition against Roman oppression. Yeah, they had a hand in it, and the Romans had a hand in it. In other words, built into the story of Jesus is the assertion that if you actually live according to the truth, this world is going to kill you.
Speaker 0: It isn't as productive. And so this is why it's done in community and not just all by yourself.
Speaker 2: You can call them something like lower gods, let's say, or angels or whatever you wanna call them, like these lower aims, they have value, but they're all fragmented. But for this to stack up, we need to be able to look towards the same image. We need to look towards the same aim and that will bind us together. And so we don't we don't also, then we don't also end up being just kind of individuals who have the weight of the world on our shoulders. But we're a communion of saints, were communion of people who are submitted to aiming towards worshiping the same
Speaker 1: point, and I believe that that's
Speaker 2: and it's also because it actually is the way that everything works, you know, it's like the chair Aiming to be a chair is is a constitutive of parts which are joined together towards a same goal and therefore hold together as a being and manifest the chair nous of the chair. And that's the same with you. You have all these thoughts, right? You have all these feelings, all these contradicting things inside you and you need by aiming up towards, you know, the I mean, I believe that the that the image of Christ. Let's say by aiming towards the image of Christ, you constitute, you're being into that being that's able to attend to sacrifice to love. And then that scales
Speaker 1: up with people. You're agreeable together. You are. I mean, this