Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 12 Rules for Life: Rule 7

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Welcome back to my review of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's "12 Rules for Life: An

Antidote to Chaos." We're going to be continuing on here after my little

hiatus, on to Rule or Chapter 7 which is "Pursue What Is Meaningful, Not What Is

Expedient." As I usually do for these chapters, I'm gonna start with how Jordan

starts out. So, this first part is just gonna be Jordan's text here. "Get while

the getting's good. Life is suffering and that's clear.

There's no more basic, irrefutable truth. It's basically what God tells Adam and

Eve immediately before he kicks them out of paradise. 'Unto the woman,' he said, 'I

will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow, thou shalt bring

forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.'

And unto Adam he said, 'Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife and

hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat

of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the

days of thy life. Thorns, also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee

and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat

your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken. For dust

you are and to dust you will return.' (Genesis 3:1619)" which I'm

assuming is the King James

Version of the Bible. So that's from Genesis. We'll continue on here. "So what

in the world should be done about that? Well, the simplest, most obvious and most

direct answer is to pursue pleasure, to follow your impulses and live for the moment, to

do what's expedient. Lie, cheat, steal, deceive, manipulatebut don't get caught.

In an ultimately meaningless universe what possible difference could it make?

And this is by no means a new idea. The fact of life's tragedy and the suffering

that's part of it has been used to justify the

pursuit of immediate, selfish gratification for a very long time. 'Short and sorrowful

is our life and there is no remedy when a man comes to his end and no one has

been known to return from Hades. Because we were born by mere chance and

hereafter we shall be as though we had never been, because the breath in our

nostrils is smoke and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts.

When it is extinguished the body will turn to ashes and the spirit will

dissolve like empty air. Our names will be forgotten in time and no one will

remember our works. Our lives will pass away like the traces of a cloud and

be scattered like mist that is chased by the rays of the Sun and overcome by its

heat. For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow and there is no

return from our death because it is sealed up and no one comes back.

Therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist and make use of the creation

to the fullest as in youth. Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes and

let no flower of spring pass us by. Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before

they wither. Let none of us fail to share in all revelry. Everywhere let us

leave signs of our enjoyment because this is our portion and this is our lot.

Let us oppress the righteous poor man, let us not spare the widow nor regard

the gray hairs of the aged but let our might be our law of right for what is

weak proves itself to be useless.'" (Wisdom 111, RSV). I'm not sure what

this source is. It may be from a portion of the Bible. I'm not very

familiar with the book to be honest. I'm gonna do some checking into that and

I'll include it in the video here (seems to be the Revised Standard Version of Solomon's "Book of Wisdom"). "The pleasure of expediency may be fleeting

but it's pleasure, nonetheless, and that's something to stack up against the terror

and pain of existence. Every man for himselfand the Devil take the hindmost,

as the old proverb states. Why not simply take everything you can

whenever the opportunity arises. Why not determine to live in that manner. Or

is there an alternative, a more powerful and more compelling way to live?" So, this

is how Jordan starts Rule Seven

and he goes throughout the rest of the chapter laying out what he thinks is the

antidote to that, to nihilism, to this nihilistic viewpoint and it's a large

chapter and it's a heavy chapter and I feel like I hear myself

saying that a lot about the chapters in this book. I always seem to say that like

it's my running theme in these reviews. It's a long chapter and it's

a heavy chapter but in it he talks about the Bible here and then he goes on to

lay out his case for meaning, for how meaning is the antidote to this nihilistic

sense of life, that meaning, finding purpose and

meaning in your life, is the antidote to a meaningless life, to thinking and

viewing your life as having no meaning or purpose at all. It's a chapter that

goes against procrastination, a chapter that goes against wasting time and

lounging around all day being lazy not getting things done, it's a chapter that

lays out the case for picking up responsibility, for

shouldering your cross in life. Jordan talks a lot about this stuff in

his videos and interviews and of course in his chapter in particular and

throughout this book of his deep, very strong belief, his conviction that

picking up responsibility in your life is what helps you live a meaningful life.

He believes that responsibility is the pathway to living a meaningful life,

what's meaningful to YOU, and that it's a way to combat this nihilistic viewpoint

that people can take of their lives. I'm gonna skip to the end here and it's going to take me a little while because

like I said it's a pretty

long chapter. Here we go. Now, obviously, I'm going to the last few paragraphs of the

chapter because, like I said, I pretty much gave you a very brief,

quick summary of what he talks about in the chapter, about pushing back against

nihilism and this view of life of having no meaning and no purpose and how

he counters the idea that all you should do in your life is pursue

pleasure and be hedonistic and all of these things. So, this chapter is

an answer to that, it's refuting the argument with

his belief, his conviction that picking up responsibility is the best way to

bolster yourself against that viewpoint.

That nihilism is always there, it's

always right there, it's always pressuring us, it's always at the

back of our minds, but responsibility and meaning combat and push those

nihilistic thoughts, those beliefs, away. So, I'll skip to the end of the

chapter here.

"Meaning is what manifests itself when the many

levels of Being arrange themselves into a perfectly functioning harmony from

atomic microcosm to cell to organ to individual to society to nature to

cosmos so that action at each level beautifully and perfectly facilitates

action at all, such that past, present, and future are all at once redeemed and

reconciled. Meaning is what emerges beautifully and profoundly like a newly

formed rosebud opening itself out of nothingness into the light of the Sun and

God. Meaning is the lotus striving upward through the dark lake depths

through the ever-clearing waters blooming forth on the very surface and revealing

within itself the Golden Buddha, himself perfectly integrated such that the

revelation of the Divine can make itself manifest in his every word and

gesture. Meaning is when everything that there is comes together in an ecstatic

dance of single purpose, the glorification of reality so that no

matter how good it has suddenly become it can get better and better and better,

more and more deeply, forever into the future. Meaning happens when that dance

has become so intense that all of the horrors of the past, all of the terrible

struggle engaged by all of life and all of humanity to that moment becomes a

necessary and worthwhile part of the increasingly successful attempt to build

something truly mighty and good. Meaning is the ultimate balance between, on the

one hand, the chaos of transformation and possibility, and on the other, the

discipline of pristine order whose purpose is to produce out of the

attendant chaos a new order that will be even more immaculate and capable of

bringing forth a still more balanced and productive chaos and order. Meaning is

the way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you're guided by

love and speaking the truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want

takes any precedence over precisely that. Do what is meaningful, not what is

expedient.

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