The Liminalist # 153.5: Jordan Peterson’s Scientistic Salvation Project (with Norman Young)

Part two of a conversation with Norman Young, on picking up your cross, the man C.S Lewis warned us about, appealing to pride, submission to God’s will, inverting the Tao, Pagan hero vs. Christian hero, Jordan Peterson’s world-saving mission, the benevolent father, JBP’s wounds, the mythology of JBP’s psyche, the Oedipal mother, masculine-feminine, the Petersonian man, the Aristocratic value, competence of the warrior, the strength of withholding, the doing of salvation, JBP’s heroism, all the young men, the dangers of fame, JBP’s Christian converts, false prophets, Alt-Right and cultural Christianity, a science-based religion, a Gnostic thought, preempting the leap of faith, Kierkegaard and surrendering to the absurdity of the infinite, an element of hubris, 12 Rules for Life & Maps of Meaning, JBP’s shadow-totalitarianism, the social pendulum, Lloyd de Mause, the privatization of morality, egalitarianism vs. the rock of Nature, Luciferian infant ego drives, transhumanism & the will to power, civilization’s emergence from a tribal format, the Messiah-as-State, the inevitability of the democratic project, the idea of Antichrist, the JBP opportunity, the Sam Harris debates, invading the dogmatic citadel.

Norman’s website:

Norman’s Essay on Peterson.

Answer to Jordan (13 Reasons to Watch Jordan Peterson Closely), # 2: JBP encourages active dialogue with the environment

Songs: “I’m Going Insane” & “15 Bistro 2” by Lee Maddeford; “I’d Like to Say” by the Blacks.

10 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 153.5: Jordan Peterson’s Scientistic Salvation Project (with Norman Young)”

  1. Great dialogue. I’m very excited for the Pageau conversation. Since Doug Lain is so fiercely against Peterson, I think he’d make a good guest too to have back on. Also, Paul Vanderklay would be an interesting person to interview; he’s an open-minded, philosophically-inclined pastor who follows Peterson very closely and does great work analyzing how Peterson’s work intersects/interacts with Christianity.

    • I’ll second Vanderklay. Also Lain for nostalgia reasons. Maybe Walt Heyer and Christina Hoff Sommers for more on the “damaged boys” angle..

  2. Without something beyond Darwin, we have to contend with this strangely beautiful quote from Nick Land:

    “All health, beauty, intelligence, and social grace has been teased from a vast butcher’s yard of unbounded carnage, requiring incalculable eons of massacre to draw forth even the subtlest of advantages.
    This is not only a matter of the bloody grinding mills of selection, either, but also of the innumerable mutational abominations thrown up by the madness of chance, as it pursues its directionless path to some negligible preservable trait, and then — still further — of the unavowable horrors that ‘fitness’ (or sheer survival) itself predominantly entails.
    We are a minuscule sample of agonized matter, comprising genetic survival monsters, fished from a cosmic ocean of vile mutants, by a pitiless killing machine of infinite appetite.”

    Not that I want Peterson to read Teilhard de Chardin, or Ken Wilber* for that matter.

    I suppose Peterson’s answer would be something like this (‘the greatest idea that ever was’)

    * Desilet –

  3. as to the antichrist thing at the end, I would say that an antichrist is anyone who uses the influence of the solar logos in an improper fashion.. but I don’t know what that means..

    really good chat. thank you.

  4. I liked the conversation even if I didn’t really agree with much of it. But I thought it was particularly funny that the guest twice referred to Peterson lacking “meekness,” when one of Peterson’s best moments (in my opinion) was when he showed that meek was a rather poor translation of what’s actually written in the Bible.

    I’m not sure Peterson’s interpretation is “perfect,” but he’s undoubtedly right that “meek” as we generally think of it is not really what the Bible says.

    In thinking about this, though, I thought – why would Jesus be talking about anyone inheriting the earth, if the earth is a fallen place, and earthly things are irrelevant in comparison to heavenly things? I’m no expert on the Bible, so perhaps my interpretation of the line is off, or maybe my second supposition there (that earthly things are not important) is off – just a thought I had.

    I think there was a bit much of the attacking Peterson for not being a perfect interpreter or spokesperson for Christianity. First, claiming that you have a better interpretation is a bit dubious. Christianity has surely changed throughout the ages, are we so sure we know the correct version of Christianity to be saying Peterson’s is seriously flawed? Second, it would seem to imply that anyone who’s saying anything other than the correct version of Christianity is harming the world. If so, is any art or philosophy that doesn’t serve the proper interpretation of Christianity harmful? Perhaps it is, but then it seems you must abandon any art or philosophy that’s not Christian, and further, it must then be the correct kind of Christianity.

    While you could argue back that it’s only because Peterson is using Christianity as part of his expressions that he therefore is obliged to get it right, lest he be harming Christianity (in some sense inverting the true religion to spreading satanistic lies), I don’t think that holds up. Peterson does not claim to be a Christian in an explicit way, he’s not saying he’s a representative of Christianity, or that he’s preaching the religion in his talks. He’s very upfront about why he’s examining the Biblical stories, and often his thinking on Jesus seems aligned with Jung’s views as opposed to some strict Biblical or religious view. And if we are to believe there’s something deeply truthful in Christianity, and that that deep truth is in danger if someone misrepresents it, then it seems you would indeed have to be against any art or philosophy that is not explicitly pro Christianity (and the correct version, remember!), as they would be as much a threat to the truth of Christianity.

    That said, I did find the arguments that Peterson is misrepresenting key parts of Christianity occasionally compelling, and certainly worth exploring as a line of criticism. I just found some of the criticism to be a little too “he’s not interpreting the bible correctly the way I do.” Perhaps a little more humility on all sides is needed.


    I also wanted to note a curious trend I’ve noticed. It seems more and more of the conspiracy community is becoming Christian. It’s not always in an explicitly religious way, and some interpretations could surely be seen as sacrilegious, but it’s… interesting. The suspicious side of me says it’s a psyop to some degree, but another part of me thinks it’s a backlash against New Atheism, or perhaps part of some religious resurgence.

    I don’t watch Alex Jones, but the clip of him interviewing that 30 y/o who wouldn’t move out of his parents house was going around the internet, and it was too funny for me not to watch a bit of. In it Jones professes to be a Christian(!). I haven’t delved into it, but I took it as him saying it in a sort of defiant, anti-authoritarian state kind of way.

    Then there’s Peterson, who’s not a conspiracy person, but he does appeal to the youtube watching crowd of people who would be interested in conspiracies. He also used to be, and maybe still is, an atheist to some degree. So him playing up Christianity could possibly be part of the psyop (I don’t think this is true, but it could be).

    There’s also Jan Irvin, who I’m a big fan of, who’s recently become a Christian(!) – I put that exclamation point because he, like Jones, has yelled it in a defiant, defensive sort of way. Irvin’s version of Christianity says the Bible is about truth and living in truth. He sees the Bible as a guide on how to set up a house-or family order, how to live in truth & natural law, and generally as a book to follow for the wisdom (as opposed to as a literally true, religiously true, divine book). He still opposes “deity worship” and thinks versions of Christianity that believe in a deity are intentionally misleading. As crazy as it all perhaps sounds (and there are a few crazier bits I’ve left out), I actually find myself most aligned with his view (as a non-Christian).

    Then there’s this guest who was on Irvin’s show who was promoting a book he wrote about the bible. He said he used to get on any alt-show before he talked about the Bible, but that he had been blacklisted since becoming Biblically centered. His argument was essentially that the Bible was about living in natural law as opposed to the legal system. He had some interesting arguments about how the Bible says not to take flattering titles (such as doctor), nor to make oaths (as is/was required while testifying in court for example). His book, called Strawman (or something like that), was 1000 pages, available for free as a pdf, and, to my eyes, total nonsense. I read about 70 pages, and most of it was him saying – you’re not gonna believe what you’re about to read. To cap it off, Irvin has now distanced himself from that guest and accused him of being “dirty” (read: a disinfo agent), though Irvin has since then still embraced the Bible (in his own way).

    Other youtube personalities like Stefan Molyneaux have flirted with Christianity, not saying it’s true, but that it has wisdom worth understanding, and that it had, and perhaps should still have, a positive role in guiding society.

    Now we have Jasun Horsely not quite taking up the mantle of Christianity, but, well, that certainly seems to be the way it’s going. I’m not accusing you of anything, I certainly see your tentative engagement with Christianity to be being done in a seemingly sensible and respectful manner, and the parts of the religion that seem to appeal to you make sense to me based on what else I’ve discovered about you (through your writing and other talks). But I don’t totally trust anyone I only know through the media (alt or otherwise), and I find this conspiracy community push towards Christianity curious (heck, even the alt-right type people are going on about Christianity, though, as the guest says, more as a way of saying look how great the West is, and also to promote socially conservative ideas).

    I hope this won’t come off the wrong way, I’m actually quite curious to hear more about your ideas as they relate to Christianity, as, based on what I’ve heard so far, they’re sensible, interesting, and more directly and deeply “religious” (in the giving in to God kind of way) than the other interpretations I’ve mentioned. Maybe the Bible is just the type of book that anyone can project their thoughts on to, and the more interesting the speaker, the more interesting the projections.

    But if that liberal pervert Miles Mathis comes out as a Christian, I’m gonna know something’s up…

    • My guess is it’s a sign of the times and a reaction to, or against, increased liminality, i.e., dissolving structures. This is also central to JBP’s appeal and also, maybe, to my distrust of him. I said it before & I will keep on saying it, JBP says No to the right things, but then says Yes to the wrong ones. In other words, he rejects what he sees as ideological tyranny because of the chaos that lurks behind it, while presenting as a counter-measure his own ideological solution that is equally condemned to end in tyranny, because it doesn’t really matter how the ego is configured, ideologically, when it’s the same collective id/shadow that’s driving it.

      This is also why I suspect I may not actually take the plunge all the way into Christian self-identification, because I doubt I will ever be sure that I am not clutching at old structures in a panic response to the collapsing of current ones.

      My move towards trad. metaphysics and orthodox Christianity is inseparable from all the discoveries I have made and mapped about the pernicious nature of occultism, new age-ism, and liberalism. Once you see how real, and how nasty, the devil is, it’s a natural reaction to want to run to God. I always used to say that the devil is just God externalized, i.e., that any God which we encounter outside of us in the world, seen through the filter of our ego, will always turn out to be a devil. I tend to suspect the same about joining a religion; it seems almost as tho it requires an apostasy from God, a denial that God is in all things equally. If so, then the only true place to meet Him is in the closest place there is to home, our own hearts.

      I suspect that Irvin and the others (Jay Dyer’s another, I hope to talk to him soon) are taking to Christianity as a psychological aid and compass through the end-times darkness, and I think they’re probably wise to do so. But the compass is not the journey, and anyway the journey is of zero distance. Finding God isn’t done by assembling and following a meaningful map; but only by letting go of our every last method of self-orientation besides the one that comes from our souls.

      With any luck this also addresses your opening points, viz a viz Christian spirit vs arts & letters. I am not against non-Christian art or non-Christian anything else, only that which represents itself as something it’s not, counterfeit solutions or cures that almost work. & even there, “against” might be putting it too strongly. I am more like a health inspector, looking for rat turds in the kitchen.

    • Lol that was funny, especially the Dyson parody. I wish the Peterson part would’ve been a similarly in depth caricature of his views. Here let me try:

      So ya know eh that the current instantiation of politically correct ideology crouches at your door like a sexually aroused predatory cat and I learned this in part from reading Carl Jung that the roots of the human soul reach all the way down into the depths of hell and so what the Marxists really mean to say when they say it wasn’t real communism is that if they would’ve been in charge theeey would’ve ushered in the bloody utopia and it’s like think again sunshine right cuz you can tickle a baby rat and get it to giggle by massaging it with the head of an erasure and so that’s something to really think abote because ya know eh it’s like giving serotonin to defeated lobsters- they’ll like really perk right back up and so you can see that our neurocircuitry is like unfathomably old and it’s like yeah ok so we know that we aren’t all that we could be but the bloody postmodernists are in part correct because ya know you gotta give the devil his due because yes ok there are an infinite number of ways to interpret the world but only a finite number of viable interpretations and so it’s like just orient yourself towards the good and try to reduce suffering by picking the heaviest load you can manage and then bear it and I tell this to young men and you can like see their eyes light up and it’s like yes, yesss, that’s exactly right, and so ok well I guess that’s that.

  5. I know thatyou are dressing down Peterson for fun, or for the sake of the show, but why, once again, get so hung up on the person instead of allowing the flow of information to flow by?
    What I mean is; if we are only to except information that comes from self aware or truthful people,or people who walk the talk, then we are fucked.
    I think it is a little untruthful to pretend to be that way.
    In practice no one is hardly ever that way.
    I think the reality is that we are swayed by anything anyone says.
    That being the case; the important point of emphasis is on the self being truthful and strong, and walking our talk. It is on us to decipher information, regardless who brings it forth.
    We react appropriately to the person and the context, of course, but any information they are bringing consciously or not must be able to pass freely through our own discernment as to if it has value to our narrative.
    To use the old analogy, “do not blame the messenger for the message”
    I know I have learned more from unbalanced people how not to be just by observing them, then I have from “balanced” people saying how too be.

    Thanks for the thought provoking!


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