It’s not a shock to discover that Quillette — the house organ of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web — has given Jordan Peterson’s Beyond Order, his sequel to his bafflingly popular 12 Rules: An Antidote to Chaos, a rave review.
And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the review is as muddled and rambling as Peterson’s own prose. I just wish the 2400-word appreciation had been a little shorter. Life itself is short, and I’ve already wasted more that enough time contemplating the big blob of prickly nothingness that is Jordan Peterson.
So how much does Quillette’s reviewer — London journalist Hannah Gal — love Peterson? Enough to call his book “an astonishingly illuminating look at the human condition” that “could positively impact society as a whole.” In other words, it’s much better than CATS; she’s going to read it again and again.
All this despite the fact that Peterson’s alleged insights into the human condition have always been a mixture of “tough love” cliches and muddled pronouncements about the profound insights supposedly contained in certain Disney movies.Gal praises one of his insights as being wonderously “mind-boggling” but, judging from the extended exegesis of his arguments she provides in her rambling review-manifesto, every point iillustrated with a quote or three from the man himself, Peterson is at least as boggled as he is boggling.
As is Gal’s review, which bounces from topic to topic with a kind of manic energy that disguises her and Peterson’s fundamental incoherence.
As expected, Beyond Order draws on literature, poetry, mythology, classic fairy tales, Nietzsche, Freud, and the New and Old Testaments—the 10 commandments are listed in full. There are moving references to Peterson’s family members, including his wife, his father-in-law, and his little granddaughter.
None of whom, I should mention, are ever mentioned again in the piece.
His many eclectic references and eccentric observations awaken the mind, inviting the reader on a path of contemplation and discovery, at the end of which awaits deeper understanding of the human condition. Elsewhere in the book, he explains why Thomas the Tank Engine has a face and a smile … .
She never bothers to explain what exactly Peterson’s point is with regard to Tank Engine Thomas, so I can only imagine that the reason he has a smiling face is that TRAINS ARE ALIVE and probably biding their time until they rise up and overturn human civilization.
Though the title of Peterson’s book is “Beyond Order,” and though there is very little order in Gal’s review, the main lesson she draws from her reading of Peterson is that rules are good.
His conclusions point to an urgent need for individuals and society to adopt traditional values—constructive discipline, responsibility, competence, hard work, apprenticeship, competition, acceptance of hierarchy, and respect for the past and basic order.
Then why, again, is the book called Beyond Order?
I guess I’ll never know, because based on her review I have less than zero inclination to actually read the book.
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