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112-Peterson: We are not good the way we are!

I always tell young people that they are not good the way they are. So I'm not a particularly typical psychologist. Because a typical psychologist strokes a person's head and says: "They are good as they are."

A while ago I spoke to Bishop Robert Barron (American Catholic clergyman, professor, and author, editor's note.) and he told me that the Catholic priests were trained in the 1960s to practice humanistic acceptance. Just this "You are good the way you are".

This is total rubbish! Not only are we not good the way we are - we don't think anyone else is good the way they are. You don't believe that your children are good the way they are. Of course you love them, but we don't want them to stay three years old for the rest of their lives. We want them to grow, develop and become who they are.

So I'm not telling young people that they are good for what they are. And that's terrible news for them when they're desperate. Let's say that 10 percent of my audience is young, male, and in bad shape (to use a cliché). Nothing joyful happens in their life, they drink too much and watch porn all the time. You go through life without a goal or structure. They are just doing terribly bad. And misery drives them to evil. Because absolute misery does it with a person.

And then you should arrive and tell them they are good as they are? That's the last thing they can use. They should be told much more to pull themselves together because they have a whole bunch of harder things ahead of them. Here the echo of the Christian message can also be heard, which is: Carry the weight of your suffering voluntarily and go uphill with it.

This not only gives us the meaning we need in life and keeps us from degenerating in dangerous ways. It also makes everything better. That thought is just part of it. I believe in human ingenuity and that we can solve the problems that afflict us. But there must be more to it than simply increasing material prosperity, as it is now. That is not enough.

This is an excerpt from a talk given by Jordan B. Peterson. Click here for the excerpt and here for the entire lecture.

Photo: jordanbpeterson.com

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