Thanks everyone. It's 2:00 pm Eastern, so I'm signing off.

I'm Dr Jordan B Peterson. I've spent 25 years as a clinical psychologist, professor and research scientist, first at Harvard and then at the University of Toronto. I have posted several hundred lectures on psychological, religious and (less willingly) political matters on YouTube, where they have attracted hundreds of millions of views and no little controversy. Finally, I am the author of 12 Rules for Life (, which has been the best-selling book in the English-language world for the last four months, and Maps of Meaning (1999), which is coming out in audio form on June 12 (

I'm currently embarked on a 12 Rules for Life lecture tour in multiple cities in the US, Canada and Europe (with many more cities to be announced soon in Europe):

Finally, I am the creator (with my partners) of two online programs

the first of which helps people map and interpret their personalities and the second of which is a series of guided writing exercises designed to help people cope with their past, understand where they are in the present and develop a vision and a strategy for the future.


Comments: 17617 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

karmassacre1480 karma

You speak a lot about inequality and how it is 1) natural and necessary but that 2) it must be kept in check to maintain society. Have you given any thought to articulating some methods for fighting inequality that you agree with?

drjordanbpeterson2657 karma

Yes. But it's a complex problem, and not one that we seem to be able easily to address. Investment in universally accessible infrastructure seems like a good thing. Good transportation systems, data systems, and educational systems seem to make everyone richer without some of the complications of income redistribution, per se.

But, more importantly, I think concentration on the development of the character of the individual is the best solution. It's also the one that is perhaps least like to cause harm.

Raktak_Takrak958 karma

Dr. Peterson,

I am probably what you call a "left leaning" individual, but I immensely enjoy listening to your lectures on YouTube. Even though I do not often agree with you, I think the opinions you present are genuine, well thought out, and constitute a constructive contribution to public discourse on controversial issues of the day.

That being said, the cadre of fan boys that have congregated around your online presence, due to no fault of your own, is tiring. People reprocess your lectures into clickbait like "Peterson DESTROYS liberal idiot" or something of the like which, apart from mischaracterizing the video itself, adds a combativeness to a lot of your work. Similarly, you'll find individuals who will doggedly defend you in any online forum, sometimes in a way that diminishes the credibility of all involved. To be clear, I attribute none of this internet nonsense to you, but I am curious what your thoughts are on this behavior? Are you worried that you could lose control of your online "persona" so to speak when people are so readily expropriating your lectures and content?

drjordanbpeterson1676 karma

There's no stopping people who lack sufficient imagination from being sensationalistic. I don't think these are "fanboys," either (although perhaps they sometimes are). I think they are people who are willing to use underhanded means to gain attention. Such people will use any content that is popular to gain an edge on views (since what they are interested in is gaining an edge on views, and not the content).

Perhaps it is, as well, some fault of my own. It's not like I'm certain that I am handling all this in the best possible manner. I am trying to learn as I go how to keep everything as reasonable and moderate as possible. I hope I'm aiming for peace rather than victory.

When I meet the people who are watching my lectures, they are invariably polite and careful and positive and thankful. Without exception. So I am hoping that's indicative of the fundamental underlying trend.

We'll see.

I spend a lot of time at each public lecture outlining the necessity for a reasonable political right AND left, calling attention to the existence, for example, of inequality and the fact that the negative consequences of that must be addressed. I am asking people to clean up their own lives, and leave others alone (at least until they have taken responsibility for their own errors). I don't know how to be more peaceful than that (while at the same time objecting to the dominance of the radical left within current campus discourse).

Zlavoj_Sizek905 karma

First of all, thank you for you doing this.

I have a question concering your claim on Joe Rogan's podcast how Marxists do not want to debate you. Douglas Lain from Zero Books, who hosts a podcast on Youtube, had scheduled an interview / debate with you. However, it was cancelled and you afterwards, as stated before, claimed on Joe Rogan's podcast that Marxist do not want or ask you to do it. I'm assuming that you maybe had no idea that this interview / debate was scheduled and you didn't deliberately lie and violate #8 of your own 12 rules for life - so what I'm asking is are you actually going to appear on his podcast for an interview / debate?

drjordanbpeterson1262 karma

I am receiving literally hundreds of requests a week for appearances and debates, most of which are handled summarily by my ever-expanding staff. I don't know anything about Douglas Lain, or Zero Books, and I haven't personally been involved in any "cancellation" of a scheduled interview/debate with him. I am also under no obligation whatsoever to appear on anyone's podcast just because they have asked me to, and the fact that I haven't or won't is no indication of anything at all apart from the brute fact of a full schedule of 16 hour days now booked months in advance.

RadComradeCompanero793 karma

Can you please give a definite answer to what you actually think postmodernism and Marxism are? You repeatedly change your answers despite having never actually seeming to have involved yourself with either body of work or theory, so it'd be nice for you to actually give a concrete answer. Also, when is the Žižek debate happening?

drjordanbpeterson1066 karma

Postmodernism is essentially the claim that (1) since there are an innumerable number of ways in which the world can be interpreted and perceived (and those are tightly associated) then (2) no canonical manner of interpretation can be reliably derived.

That's the fundamental claim. An immediate secondary claim (and this is where the Marxism emerges) is something like "since no canonical manner of interpretation can be reliably derived, all interpretation variants are best interpreted as the struggle for different forms of power."

There is no excuse whatsoever for the secondary claim (except that it allows the resentful pathology of Marxism to proceed in a new guise).

The first claim is true, but incomplete. The fact that there are an unspecifiable number of interpretations does not mean (or even imply) that there are an unspecifiable number of VALID interpretations.

What does valid mean? That's where an intelligent pragmatism comes into it. Valid at least means: "when the proposition or interpretation is acted out in the world, the desired outcome within the specific timeframe ensues." That's a pragmatic definition of truth (from within the confines of the American pragmatism of William James and C.S. Pierce).

Validity is constrained by the necessity for iteration (among other fators). Your interpretations have to keep you, at minimum, alive and not suffering too badly today, tomorrow, next week, next month and next year in a context defined by you, your family, your community and the broader systems you are part of. That makes for very tight constraints on your perception/interpretations/actions. Games have to be iterable, playable and, perhaps, desirable to the players-- as Jean Piaget took pains to point out, in his work on equilibration.

Dragon_Potato608 karma

Would you consider doing an interview or YouTube conversation with Stephen Fry?

drjordanbpeterson1248 karma

We're in discussions about exactly that. It was a pleasure appearing with him.

CuriousAlexander520 karma

Why do you think 40% of trans people attempt to commit suicide at some point in their lives?

drjordanbpeterson2234 karma

Because life is tragic and tainted by malevolence and people get sick and hurt and hopeless and excluded and misunderstood and lonesome and exhausted and angry and self-disgusted and vengeful and bitter.

Because all of that is exaggerated if you don't easily fit in.

overtotheedge468 karma

What are your thoughts about the Munk debate? Did it go accordingly to your expectations?

drjordanbpeterson1773 karma

I had no expectations. I had a plan: to be reasonable and careful and to be seen as reasonable and careful. I kept the level of combativeness as low as I could manage. Given the press coverage over the last few weeks, not losing was a sufficient victory (and by not losing I primarily mean being careful). I think my opponents did what they could to discredit themselves.

Dayhiker42448 karma

I'm trying to improve my life. I cleaned my room, left toxic places and people behind, and am trying to stand up straight and speak the truth. The process has left my life incredibly empty since it seems nothing is coming forth to replace the toxic things. I have no friends, no relationship and no potential for one and my mind has turned in on itself with self torment of times in my life when I wasn't so dreadfully lonely, despite not being healthy. What is the next step in my development that I can't seem to find? I can't find a therapist who wants to do anything but shove meds at me. I consider myself despondent, not depressed, since my reaction to life seems perfectly reasonable.

drjordanbpeterson476 karma

Have you tried the future authoring program? (I can't do better than that in a short post because I would have to know the particular details of your despondency. You obviously need some friends and some things to do and a plan for obtaining exactly that. But without specific knowledge of your situation I can only say that it might be helpful to develop a sustaining plan).

logaritym288 karma

Dear Dr. Peterson,

Thank you for joining us on Reddit. Many people, including various attorneys, claim that you have misrepresented the implications of bill c-16 and that there are no legal consequences for people who "misgender" others. Do you think it is possible that you have, willingly or unwillingly, exaggerated the dangers of this bill?

Best, Artur

drjordanbpeterson571 karma

No. Did you see what happened to Lindsay Shepherd at Wilfred Laurier University? It was the biggest scandal that ever hit a Canadian university, and it was precisely the sort of thing I predicted. The university apologized to her, as did the professors and the administrator involved (hired, by the way, for exactly such purposes). Wilfred Laurier set up a free speech commission to revisit their policies in the aftermath of this scandal, but the free speech supporters resigned recently, seeing no movement in the underlying ideology that currently possesses the institution (despite the scandal). That fight is not yet over, and Wilfred Laurier could see some additional damage to their already poor reputation accrue in the not too distant future.

The fact that my own university, Toronto, also sent me two cease-and-desist letters, essentially, after I made my videos critiquing C16 indicated as nothing else could have that they also believed I may well have been breaking that law (or similar legislation at the provincial level) merely by making my public case. So their lawyers agree with me, practically speaking. And although there have been some lawyers from the radical left (most notable Brenda Cossman, who debated me) claiming that I misunderstood the law, there have been plenty of others (including Bruce Pardy of Queen's University) stating that I was accurate in my reading (

It's hard to say how it will play out in practice. Perhaps people will be reasonable. But the Ontario Human Rights Commission is certainly not reasonable, and there's every reason to assume that they would already be involved in seeking out the limits of C16, if the publicity hadn't encouraged them to back off.

Finally: The truly pathological elements of C16 weren't in the bill itself, but in the surrounding policies of, for example, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (which were referred to directly by the federal government as the guidelines within which the bill would be interpreted, before they removed the link). I don't think this juxtaposition of apparently innocuous legal phrasing at the legislative level (although even that included hate speech criminalization) and exceptionally punitive surrounding interpretive policies was in any way accidental.

rumlyne271 karma

Dr. Peterson, you have elaborated often on both the danger of ideological possession and the/your idea that meaning is real in a psychological (an therefore necessarily physical) sense and described it as a feeling of deep engagement in sth. or being heavily gripped by sth., pouring your whole being into an activity or pursuit, followed by (I guess) a sense of maybe gratitude and pride towards oneself. To describe it you used phrases like "That was great! That really was worth it!". To me however this looks very similar to the state some PM/NM protestors or black block antifa people are in when doing their thing! How can I as an individual (or as a member of a social circle or even society at large) distinguish between a deeply meaningful pursuit and possession of an idea/ideology?

drjordanbpeterson636 karma

That's a great question. It's partly why, in Maps of Meaning, I stressed alignment with the truth. If you can't trust yourself, you can't tell if your sense of meaning is guiding or deluding you. If you have filled your head with lies, the automatized mechanisms that orient you will become pathologized. So -- act out the truth, and speak the truth -- and then you will be able to trust your intuitions.

If you really understand this idea (that you corrupt your instincts when you engage in deception) then that will scare you straight.

Murrello263 karma

During the Munk debate you responded to overt racism with more calm and control than I certainly would have.

How do you make the decision on how much of your anger to showcase when confronted with such behaviour? Do you believe there is a possibility you will let the full force of your righteous fury out and what would it take for that to happen?

drjordanbpeterson634 karma

The best doctrine: minimum necessary force. It applies without exception, as far as I can tell (even or perhaps particularly when engaging in self-defence). A bit of detachment helps too. Just because I am losing the battle that minute (being subject, say, to unwarranted personal attack) does not mean I am losing the war (so to speak).

And that war is not against the radical left. It's a war against a narrative of tribalism and the terrible dangers that such a narrative produces if it dominates.

dejaentendu606259 karma

What were your parents like and what influence did they have on your pursuits?

drjordanbpeterson684 karma

My parents are reliable and honest and have always been fundamentally on my side (or, more accurately, on the side of the best in me). I am very fortunate in that regard, and certainly believe that anyone who hasn't had that experience has been deprived of something of fundamental importance). I trust them deeply. Thank God for that. I can say the same about my wife and children and a close circle of friends.

feeling_the_aster240 karma

Why do you think so many of your interviewers latch on to the fact that a substantial portion of your audience is men?

drjordanbpeterson802 karma

I think it fits their a priori narrative. They fail to grapple with the fact that the overwhelming majority of YouTube viewers are, at baseline, men. They fail to consider that at least a third of the people who come to my live lectures are female.

If I appeal to angry young white men (whose concerns are apparently of little importance) then what I am doing can be viewed through the identity politics lens (as all things must) and then be written off. The fact that what I am primarily doing is helping thousands of people, men and women, straighten up their lives (by their own testimony) has no place in such a story, even in principle, and must therefore be ignored.

Trosso191 karma

how does your wife deal with you being in the news so often? does she find it surprising how popular you are? does it bother her how much you are mis-characterised?

drjordanbpeterson384 karma

(1) With great forebearance and patience and some genuine appreciation for the opportunities it also brings forth. (2) In some ways, yes, although she knew that what I was teaching for the last twenty five years was in some sense revolutionary. (3) Yes, but she thinks it's ok if the journalists who choose to act in that manner reveal their hand through their writing (even though it's a painful thing to live through).

forgotusername123163 karma

You've recently completed the audio version of Maps of Meaning. After all these years since having written it, do you feel there are any major corrections or additions needed to the book?

drjordanbpeterson360 karma

Addition, yes. But I've added some of those to 12 Rules (particularly the sections on sacrifice). But I think it's standing up well otherwise.

It's possibly that if I rewrote it for a new edition I'd try to shorten it by 15% or so. But I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge, intellectually.

Spatchco161 karma

You often talk about rescuing your father from the belly of the whale. Have you ever rescued your own father from the belly of the whale?

drjordanbpeterson402 karma

Yes. Metaphorically and practically. And my kids have done the same for me.

STOTTYC146155 karma

Hi Dr Peterson, do you believe that anti-depressants are being over prescribed? Obviously some people have genuine chemical imbalances and no apparent catalyst in their lifestyle for depression, but do you think there is an implicit tenancy in medicine to diagnose all sufferers in this way, and not look deeper into the cause? What can be said for, instead, encouraging and assisting the individual to address the pitfalls in their life which are likely to be exacerbating their condition - such as poor diet and lack of exercise, disdain for their job, and so on?

P.s - I know that you are unlikely to, but please don't let the negativity and continued criticism, by close minded people, dissuade you from continuing with your work. You're doing a fantastic job and you are genuinely making a positive impact on thousands of people's lives.

drjordanbpeterson306 karma

I have met no one in my life who jumped at the opportunity to take anti-depressants. So, if they're over-prescribed, which is possible, it's not because people want them. Sometimes they help, a lot. Rarely, they do some serious harm. Generally people know within a month if they are going to be of aid.

Getting at the underlying problem is of course better, assuming such a problem exists. But it's very time-consuming, effortful, and difficult (and, quite often, impossible).

Dragon_Potato151 karma

How do you deal with being so wildly mischaracterised by the media? You seem to be extremely resilient but does it ever get you down? (As a huge fan of your work, I know it gets me down).

drjordanbpeterson223 karma

Well, I might first point out that I haven't exactly been wildly mischaracterized by "the media" (and this is not to say that I don't appreciate the question or that I don't understand where it is coming from). I have been mischaracterized by a minority of journalists, most operating out of ignorance or firmly under the sway of the ideology that I have been objecting to (and describing as post-modern/neomarxism). Many journalists in Canada and elsewhere (and certainly some of the best in my country) have been firmly in support, and a consortium of 200 newspapers here have come out publicly in favor of my stand on free speech.

So it's some journalists, not all, and that's an important distinction.

When I am mischaracterized, how do I deal with it? Often, first, I get angry, and want to break something. That's a private response. Mostly my family sees that, and has to put up with it. Then I usually calm down, and think "let those who consider themselves my enemies reveal their hands." What I have seen, so far (and I'm not counting on this to necessarily continue) is that if I'm patient those who mischaracterize me end up reaping what they have sown.

So I try to detach myself, and watch, and not jump too quickly to negative conclusions.


Deformat118 karma

Hi dr. Peterson. I am a former client of prostitutes, and currently sorting myself out.

What is your advice with regards to former prostitute clients? When I'll get in a relationship, should I tell my special one about my past?

drjordanbpeterson448 karma

Everyone has a right to privacy. To tell the truth (or, at least, not to lie) is not to say everything about everything all the time, like someone with no self control, or no necessary persona.

I think you need to develop an explanation you can live with if the issue ever comes up. You probably need an explanation for yourself, as well.

youthoughtit107 karma

Can you please comment more on the school shooter / disenfranchised man phenomenon? I'm sure you had a much more nuanced argument in your conversation with Nellie Bowles -- could you relay that here?

TheM4trix87 karma

Hi Dr. Peterson, have you seriously considered Dyson's invitation to a black baptist church?

drjordanbpeterson495 karma

I have no idea whether it was a serious invitation. It seemed to me to be primarily a rhetorical device. It's not like I have no familiarity with poverty or with cultures of, let's say, the dispossessed. He assumed much about me with no knowledge of me.