Wonder, Creativity, and the Personality of Political Correctness with Jordan Peterson

July 11, 2016

Today we have Dr. Jordan Peterson on the podcast. Dr. Peterson has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and business people, consulted for the UN Secretary General, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an adviser to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe. With his students and colleagues at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Dr. Peterson has published over a hundred scientific papers. Dr. Peterson is also author of two books: Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which is a #1 bestseller.

In this wide-ranging conversation we discuss the following topics:

– Why “learned irrelevance” is incredibly important

– Why creativity requires keeping a childlike wonder

– How hallucinogens clear the “doors of perception”

– The “shared vulnerability” model of the creativity-mental illness connection

– The neuroscience of openness to experience

– The personality of personal correctness

– The practical implications of gender differences

– The function of the state in helping to make sure there is equality of individual expression

– How agreeableness and conscientiousness orient us differently in the social world

– The difference between pathological altruism and genuine compassion

– The link between pathological altruism and vulnerable narcissism

– The difference between responsibility and culpability

– How to help people take responsibility and make their lives better


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson- Future Authoring Program

Jordan Peterson- What the State is For

The Personality of Political Correctness

Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals

Creativity and Psychopathology: A Shared Vulnerability Model

Openness to Experience and Intellect Differentially Predict Creative Achievement in the Arts and Science

Openness/Intellect: The Core of the Creative Personality

The Evolutionary Genetics of the Creativity-Psychosis Connection

Must One Risk Madness to Achieve Genius? 

The Real Neuroscience of Creativity

Personality and Complex Brain Networks: The Role of Openness to Experience in Default Network Efficiency

Default and Executive Network Coupling Supports Creative Idea Production

Gender Differences in Personality Across the Ten Aspects of the Big Five

Pathological Altruism

Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism

7 Responses to “Wonder, Creativity, and the Personality of Political Correctness with Jordan Peterson”

  1. This is probably one of the most exciting and stimulating podcast interviews I’ve ever heard, especially when Scott and Jordan started excitedly comparing notes about research and personality differentials to openness early in the interview. I have already backed up certain sections and listened to them repeatedly with all kinds of “eureka!” moments, including the information about how species are “predisposed to revert to neonatality” as they age. I had to go look up the word “neonatality” to be sure I understood it, but it set off all kinds of thoughts about how geniuses throughout history have been described as “childlike,” which means they retained that creative, open thinking along with the mature mode of critical thinking and shifting between perspectives. I was fascinated non-stop by this, and plan to go look up everything I can about the research cited, which Scott has made available already! Kudos! I’m donating more money to this podcast to be sure it never stops being available – thank you a million times over, Scott!

  2. Jeffrey Stephaniuk says:

    The discussion on industriousness in men helps explain a healthy “man against nature” approach to climate change which is absent in those who insist nature is benign and who want to punish human activity through carbon tax. My other comment is about compensatory fantasies that the elites of the world indulge in, and how threatened they become, for example, when it is mentioned to them that there was a childhood trauma in their lives, usually loss of innocence through sexual abuse: Heal the trauma and be liberated from an obsession with abortion rights or transgender politics. But man is there ever push back at the realization that their fantasy has outlived its usefulness as a coping mechanism and needs to be replaced with a healthier coping mechanism.

  3. John Danzer says:

    You probably won’t print this because like most invitations to join the discussion this is just a polite formality.

    The thing I dislike about Jordan Peterson’s perspective is that he speaks on one hand about the significance of “dominance hierarchies” but he promotes the Big Five (FFM) which is glaringly lacking in a clear stand alone dominance trait.

    Dominance has been recognized in Chimps as a Sixth Factor. This is brushed aside because we don’t want to to be classed along with Chimps. But think about the bullying, that is all too common in the work place whether it’s int the board room or professional organization including the APA. We are more similar to Monkeys than Lobsters.

    There are personality tests that have Dominance as an important trait.

    It’s interesting that the Realistic occupational dimension (John Holland) doesn’t correlate very well with any of the Big Five. These are the tough minded tradesmen that would identify with dominance. These are the occupations that don’t attract the college educated, but they do support authoritarian candidates for political office.

    If you’re going to get excited about masculinity you ought to have a dominance trait on your personality instrument.

  4. Halley Hu says:

    Dr. Peterson’s comment about gender differences in the interest in things versus people was interesting. He suggested that this difference in men and women explains why engineering is dominated by men. This made me wonder what the gender divide is in disciplines such as psychology, or even social sciences more broadly, where I would expect people who are interested in people to gravitate towards. If Dr. Peterson’s theory about engineering and gender difference is correct, then should we expect to see more women in disciplines such as psychology or other social sciences? Is that actually the case?

    What about how these gender differences have evolved over time? Is it true that men have always been one standard deviation more interested in things than people when compared to women? Do we know if this difference is more nature than nurture?

    Fascinating episode as always. Thank you Dr. Kaufman for providing such thought-provoking and illuminating conversations and food for thought!

    P.S. the extra links are very much appreciated as well!

  5. Terri says:

    I’m rather interested in seeing data across the board on this as well, however, I’m not convinced that it is not social /socio-cultural. What Peterson proposes is “if we let it sort itself out” – we are effectively going to do that within the patriarchal model, so of course situations of control are going to be wrested by men (that’s what they’re taught they’re supposed to do) and caring and nurturing is delegated to females, which is what they are taught they are supposed to do. I became interested in psychology in part because I personally deviate from the idea of “biological gender” and discovered this around age 4. This caused a problem for me in the 70s and 80s growing up, but today I see a very different world, one I’m more happy to live in – and culturally, when it comes to “gender” roles, much more equal. And I’m pretty sure that in my lifetime, the percentage of female engineers has risen. I think that when we level the playing field, Peterson would be quite surprised at what women can, and want to do. I think “equality of outcome” is problematic, perhaps ideal, but speaking of engineering, a very difficult thing to achieve. However, experiments, like the one in Dauphin Manitoba in the 70s on UBI or GMI or whatever acronym you want to put on it, did not show what Peterson predicts, that the lazy drug user just had more money for oxy – it showed a rise in every measure of quality of life across the board. In a world where robots are doing our jobs, without it, Capitalism is going to collapse. No jobs, no buyers for the things the robot makes. If not UBI, then a very serious look at population control.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I’d love to see more data, especially current data, on those subjects to see if the tightening of the gender gap has made a significant difference, because I think that point would suggest the social / cultural nature of it, rather than anything “natural” –

  6. Dennis says:

    Wow! JP said “if you give poor people money, they will just spend it on drugs”. The guy is full of it! These men obsessed with a “studies show” approach, could have a look at the multiple studies (outlined in Rutger Bregman’s book, for example) that show exactly the opposite. When people are given real means, with no strings attached, they will often use this freely given money to improve their lives, and the lives of those of others around them.

    The tired stuff about “women don’t want to be engineers” – it’s exhausting to hear a grown adult talking this way. It makes me think of sexist Victorian essentialism around whether women should be medical professionals, or politicians, or academics, or or or or…… Here are some interesting stats from the Women’s Engineering Society which contradict JP : https://www.wes.org.uk/content/wesstatistics .

  7. Geraud says:

    Very interesting conversation.

    I would have liked you to be able to continue on DMN and sub-systems, Pederson questioning was very good, it’s sad he switched to something else.

    I have noticed that aphantasia, Sdam, lack of familiarity and autistic traits is a general syndrome. It is found among highly intellectual oriented people. I wonder if the lack of episodic memory, imagination and natural theory of Mind isn’t linked to a DMN being always off.

    At the same Time, Nirvana description sounds like have DMN off for ever … and an advantage is like you are task focus 100% of your time. It would be interesting to study that … (Pixar, Firefox founders fall into this category)

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