Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson

Boneless babes are meat for dogs
in Sparta, boys suck
dust-spunking cock. They face their foes headfirst,
pour faith in a wall of shields

and slave-oiled muscle. Take meat for Thebes
and those who face the truth with pills
for boys. Take cancer
for war.

When you make a game of truth,
bundle antiquity into a heavy axe,
you sail your ship through clashing rocks
without a dove. Your Grecian hero,

gay and naked, will bleed dust
not even before the walls of Troy
but on a field for playing games
with copper discs.

Caution had not dammed enough
his common nonsense blinding.
To keep his ruse, he went cold turkey
against a fire-breathing dragon

and got burned. No flower will rise where his ashes are spread,
where his bones are ground to dust. A storm is blowing from Paradise:
the Ganga he rebuked
shall spit him out.

I am not a fan of topical, didactic, poems, especially where the central argument references an article wherein the conclusion does not emerge from the facts of the case, despite, the valiant (and futile) attempt of the writer at making it do so:

"If Peterson’s sad story has a moral, it’s that a drug problem is neither a dragon to be slain nor a sin to be ashamed of. It’s a mundane health problem that should be treated scientifically, without heroics."
Why is it not a dragon to be slain? Why is it 'mundane'? Why should one not be ashamed of taking meth and copulating with strangers behind a Nando's?

Coming to the poem,
1) The opening strophe is fine. Thereafter, the rush to conclude that the subject of the poem took 'cancer for war' is the first instance of the poet intruding. "Cancer is war", or a similar third party POV can make the point without the overt hectoring.
2) Similarly, strophe 3. I like 'bundle antiquity into a heavy axe', but thereafter, it's all a feminist tirade in The Guardian.
3) Didn't get the Ganga connection

Trump 2020! KAG!!!
On addiction: not a dragon to be slain because it's a disease to be treated. Even cancer isn't a dragon to be slain because often times it ends up coming back -- the dragon part has less to do with heroics than it does with how it devastates all. If anything, it's a spectre, but metaphors aside, the point is the effective (ie, both not-dangerous and no-relapse) cure for it isn't so much big gestures as getting weaned slowly off the drug, which goes against the message typically peddled by Peterson, or at least it's the opposite of what is conjectured to be the case (he tried getting off the drug cold turkey) or what is said by his family to be the case ("experimental drug treatment"). Perhaps it's not mundane, but it sure as heck ain't myth.

I'll hold off on responses to more direct feedback for later.

I don't know if Jordan Peterson is a worthy subject and I find it difficult to separate out when the poem refers to him or to addiction. Of course from another point of view when the person is "in" their addiction, the addictive personality becomes paramount. A lot of this seems merely a framework on which to hang historical allusions that seem in many instances contextually misplaced. After reading up on Jordan Peterson (which seemed hardly worth the effort), I still failed to see the connection in most of the historical allusions. 

S2 seems satirical as it seems to juxtapose his wife's cancer to his self-inflicted problem, as though he could not stand to not be the center of attention. 

S2-3 Seem a bit metaphor heavy and goes along way around to make a point. 

"Caution had not dammed enough
his common nonsense blinding."

A nice turn of phrase, although the sentence is very difficult to parse.

"the Ganga he rebuked
shall spit him out."

Do you mean "Ganges", which would make sense? Or did you mean "marijuana," which would makes no sense?

Ganges makes sense in reference to the spiritual component of recovery (which is probably why he failed in a regular treatment program as he could probably not conceive of a "power greater than himself"), the Ganges would stand-in well for a spiritual rebirth. So, if it is "The Ganges," it works very well and simply needs a type correction.


How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
I found the poem somewhat opaque in relation to its title (without the spoiler), but with very effective imagery.

My two coppers on Peterson:  he is apparently a sensitive person (in the dictionary sense, not the modern code for a male homosexual); that probably helped him in his career as a psychologist.  He writes well (and spoke well), and called them as he saw them with respect to what actually makes a man (or just a human being) happy and satisfied with life.  Those who disagreed with his conclusions did their best to make his life hell and - given his sensitive nature - succeeded.  A thick skin he had not.

His critics piled on further after he developed an addiction* to prescription drugs since one basis (if not the whole basis) of his doctrine is the importance of self-control.  They take this as both hypocrisy, and a refutation of his doctrine since his self-control was inadequate to overcome the stress they, in part and intentionally, created.  The story can be seen as a tragedy, complete with hubris and nemesis, or an instance of bullying and a fatal flaw.

Personally, I don't see his doctrine as having been refuted by his biography:  at what many or most should try to achieve for their best happiness, some will fail.

*Addiction, in my view, is an ideation or ideology rather than a disease.  The "addict" accepts and clings to the excuse of his addiction to do what he wants to do even though he knows it's wrong and self-destructive.  Few drug addicts, if any, would actually die of withdrawal effects, but convince themselves that those effects are the worst thing in the world and justify any action (including the familiar doctor shopping, recourse to illegal sources, crime to obtain funds, etc.) to stave them off another day.  It's an old meme, and - in some sense - a useful one.

My own experience:  After surgery, I was taking hydrocodone at minimum allowed intervals, i.e. as frequently as permitted, because the severe pain was on the basis of "take the drug half an hour before the pain starts."  A relative (who's a doctor) learned of the situation and advised that I should taper off.  I did, experimentally, and found that the pain wasn't coming back at all:  I'd been medicating myself into a numb gray cloud for no reason.  I'd call this purely psychological addiction since the withdrawal pains were real but not connected with the drug.  That's my basis for understanding addiction, along with a certain amount of reading on the subject.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
It's hinted at in the poem, but there are two very facts there that I think really need to be checked.

First, Jordan Peterson did not get addicted because of the "hostility" against him. No one, not eve his family, has claimed that. He has inspired just as much hostility against his critics as some of his less acute critics have dealt him. A different source:

A severe autoimmune reaction to food, coupled with his wife's terminal illness.

Second, addiction is most definitely *not* an "ideation or ideology rather than a disease". Its physiological effects are just too well-established. Alcohol and opiate withdrawal can very much be fatal if not done carefully -- delirium tremens, for instance, has been acknowledged since before modern medicine.

Being a psychological issue, treatment is more complicated than the mere "take other drugs" of many other diseases, but it's not something to be simply willed away. Your example even hints at this, since you started getting weaned off the drug only with the help of a medical professional.


I do hate how some things have a tendency to stick with me even though they so obviously aren't worth it. Either it's a part of me or it's something I've yet to grow out of. In general, I agree with dale's sentiments -- I suppose this was more an opportunity to vent, impersonal meat served on a flaming dish. As a psychologist, I hear the man's alright; as a philosopher, I prefer Eagleton, Benjamin, or the adjacent literary theorists Joseph Campbell and Harold Bloom, largely because these men actually understand the limits of their thought.

Ganga's the personification of the Ganges, but now that you point out how it echoes Mary Jane, I don't quite know what to make of it.

Thanks for the feedback.
I've did extreme work in each of the sensemaking six and seven yogas and astrally projected into Sam Kinison's I mean Sam Harris's I mean Pinocchio's I mean Father Tell's I mean Rch Hard Buuroushs', I mean JordN peTersons brain.

But to be consistent with my currentedt or ent or est or recentest post someones at my door, and ill come back to this. , ' [ . . .
(03-16-2020, 12:22 AM)RiverNotch Wrote:  ...

Second, addiction is most definitely *not* an "ideation or ideology rather than a disease". Its physiological effects are just too well-established. Alcohol and opiate withdrawal can very much be fatal if not done carefully -- delirium tremens, for instance, has been acknowledged since before modern medicine.

Being a psychological issue, treatment is more complicated than the mere "take other drugs" of many other diseases, but it's not something to be simply willed away. Your example even hints at this, since you started getting weaned off the drug only with the help of a medical professional.



Thanks for the feedback.

There are many ways to understand/explain human behavior - from psychology (with some scientific aspects including a degree of repeatability) to angels and demons (with religious aspects but likewise surprisingly repeatable and accurately predictive).  Until the objective nature of disease was understood, it was plausible to blame the sufferer for smallpox or typhus; now it is not, assuming the infection was involuntary.  However, the mind is not so well understood:  it is possible to blame those displaying irrational, self-defeating behavior.  It is also possible to medicalize this behavior by treating it as analogous to actual medical conditions such as tertiary syphilis or senile dementia, but this is not a better way to understand the behavior as the germ system is a better way to understand disease.  "Mental" does not go with "disease" unless we remember it's an analogy - that is, literary - rather than an objective identity.  It's true that some irrational behavior can be suppressed with drugs, but the hypothesis that an absence of those drugs caused the behavior does not follow.

In short, those who object to moral norms because they constrain human freedom mistake Jordan's significance:  he's not saying some behavior is immoral and wrong, only that behaving in a way defined by morality and belief in standards of right and wrong is a more satisfying and successful way to live, consequently to be recommended.  The world as it is rewards pursuit of certain norms and moral principles; those who object to them, regardless of any scientific gloss, are objecting to reality.

We can also argue the nature of addiction; it is what it is, an attitude of the addict more, less, or not enforced by his drug of addiction within the context of what his contemporaries support or disparage.  It is not a generally successful life choice and we should acknowledge the harm of treating it as if it was.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
I don't understand how quitting cold turkey and trying to actually do something about an addiction picked up from prescription drugs on the one hand, and robbing strangers or fornicating in tin sheds from taking recreational drugs, could be seen as equivalent. Maybe it does to the modernist liberal feminist mind, which also thinks that the climate is going to kill us all next year.
Busker, that's a false dichotomy. Both are established as ineffective means of curing addiction; one is likely to leave one dead, comatose, or relapsing, while the other isn't an attempt at curing it at all. It's not so much a "modern liberal feminist mind" that treats addiction as a disease -- perhaps a modern mind, but there's nothing particularly "liberal" or "feminist" at looking at objective fact, and treating people with greater empathy.

The point is by attacking an addiction through heroics, one seeks a sense of "glory" without actually seeking to cure the addiction, *especially* if one should already know better. Addiction and the treatment thereof is a life choice, but to consider that some life choices do not end up crippling someone, or that there are no such things as compulsions or bad faith, is to ignore one of the most fundamental things about morality, and one which the compassionate mind allows for, not in the sense of thinking mistakes are correct but in treating them in a more delicate and objective manner: human frailty.

It's true: germ theory is not much better at understanding disease than humoralism. As someone currently studying the occult, I should know. On the other hand, there comes a time when "better understanding" must give way to "better application". That's why science has evolved with modifications to germ theory, and constantly evolves as such. That's why addiction is now treated as a disease. That's why we have antibiotics and vaccines and, for example, child mortality in the developed or even developing world has decreased dramatically.
Addiction is not always a disease. In rare cases, it is. In many cases, it's just a result of poor choices. Otherwise most of Hollywood and all rock singers are diseased in more ways than one.
Calling it a disease, and then equating it with cholera, for instance, as a result, makes no sense.

As to the statement 'germ theory is not much better at understanding diseases than humoralism' - I mean, we understand the mechanisms by which viruses latch on to specific cells in the animal or human body, so unless you give me an example of where the theory of humoralism has similar explaining power, that assertion makes no sense either.
I think we are being very misleading in saying addiction is *either* a disease or a matter of choice. As a whole, it's deeply complicated, and in general it's both -- a disorder of choice, one material i'm reading puts it, and that's perhaps the best way to put it. It's a series of choices that are often forced upon someone due to circumstances that are often beyond their control, such as with the overprescription of oxycodone the past couple of decades or the poverty endemic among a lot of urban communities here in the Philippines; often, it is intertwined with disorders that are unequivocally disorders, like anxiety or depression. Saying it's a matter of choice has as much stock to it as calling it a disease, although I think it's important that the current medical consensus is that it's a disease.

Of course, I never once implied that addiction as a disease takes away any agency from the addict. Another thing from the article: responsibility without blame. The disease model I think works best treating addiction at large, while individuals perhaps recover better thinking about it as an issue of agency. Either way, it's something to be treated by changes in lifestyle and a lot of help from other people: going cold turkey is one of the worst ways to get "cured".

As for "humoralism", it was not a response to your point, lol. My response was to both you and duke's responses. But where humoralism has stock is in its general assertion that diseases must be treated with as wide an approach as possible, not just in terms of germs and antibiotics but also in terms of individual psychology (like the most basic behavior to be reinforced of washing one's hands regularly) to the larger issues at play (such as a broken medical system). As above, so below.
As the article states, Marc Lewis and Gene Heyman have argued that addiction is not a disease. This belies the claim that there is current medical consensus (not that medicine is a proper science anyway).
But coming back to JP's case, he has argued in 12 Rules for Life that addiction is a result of positive feedback, and it is up to the individual to break that feedback loop. In which case, his going to a rehab clinic is exactly practising what he preaches, which the muddle headed 'award winning' journalist (who gives out these mickey mouse awards?) blithely ignores in her nothingburger article.
On a positive note, I bought Marc Lewis's book on bookdepository to educate myself more on the subject. Although I probably won't read it. I buy books compulsively and never read them. I'm an addict.
Lay down your arms
the stubborn heroine will never surrender
(03-17-2020, 02:02 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  Lay down your arms
the stubborn heroine will never surrender

I don't see it that way. It's a discussion forum, and we're exchanging our points of view. None of us will convince the other, in the end.
"Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life." -American Psychiatric Association

Addiction has two componets: physical and mental. From a physiological point of view with addiction/alcoholism, there are chemicals in the brain (tetrahydroisoquinoline or detrahydroisoquinoline to name two) , which occur only in addicts, that cause immense cravings in a person. This causes them to drink/use to excess (binge) despite all good intentions not to once they have ingested the substance. Psychiatric /Psychologically speaking there is denial in the persons mind composed of many defense mechanisms that convinces the addict that he in fact does not have a problem with the chemical, but instead it is extraneous forces that are the cause of the problem. The chemical use is so ardently defended because using the chemical is the only thing that makes life tolerable. These two aspects are and have been broadly accepted in the medical and Psychiatric fields.

Only the occasional outlier disagrees with these accepted facts, usually those who have either little knowledge of the research that has gone into the study of addiction over the past seventy or so years or one who has an ax to grind to see that the addict is held to task and not given a free out (usually arising from being hurt by an addict).

Additional information. I worked for twenty-plus years in the field of addiction as an addictions counselor. I have completed thousand of psy/social evaluation on addicts and have been called many times as an expert witness. I have also created treatment programs for both in-patient and out-patient treatment centers.


How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.

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