12 Rules of Strife (An Antidote to Jordan Peterson)

12 rules of strife

A case for anarchy and disorder

An antidote to Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules of Life, an antidote to chaos.

I know Jordan Peterson likes order and precision. I get it. It makes him feel good. Everything is in its place. He doesn’t lose anything. He knows where everything is and can pull out what he needs when he needs it. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good. But, I don’t know, you can take it too far – maybe Jordan suffers from OCD?

And does he really go around with his back straight and shoulders back? It might be good for lobsters that win fights. But is it good for humans? I don’t think so. Ten minutes of keeping my back straight and shoulders back led me to an emergency call-out from a physiotherapist. It was painful! Fact is, you might detest the nasty habits of teenagers, but they know more than adults about posture; they know that slouching keeps muscle pain at bay.

And then there’s treating yourself like you’d treat someone you are responsible for helping. Well, I don’t know about Jordan, but if I find myself responsible for helping somebody, I usually try and get them on next train out of town.

But I have to be honest, making friends with people who want the best for you is a good rule. It makes a lot of sense. Only problem is where do you find such people? Do they even exist?

And then we are advised to compare ourselves with who we were yesterday, not with who someone else is today. Sort of confusing. But I will persevere. So yes, I think I’ve got it now. It makes sense not to compare ourselves to others as we might well be disappointed and end up with very little self-esteem, especially if we compare ourselves to a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg. We might not like him, and certainly wouldn’t want to look like him (as most of us might like to be in a position to lose our virginity), but we would like his money.

But I don’t know, comparing ourselves to who we were yesterday sounds pretty depressing too. I was a loser yesterday, and still am today, and very likely will be tomorrow. So I’m not sure I want to think about that. It might work for Jordan. But I’m gonna pass on that one.

Jordan also gets into parental advice, saying do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. Well I can see the sense of that one. Problem is, does anybody like children? Do even parents like children? I’ve never met any that do myself. Maybe it’s just me…

And then we have setting your home in perfect order before you criticize the world. Thing about this is, my home is in very imperfect order. There’s old rusting car wrecks in my front yard. My kitchen sink has washing up in it from a decade ago (which would need a government hazard team to deal with). And my dinner table has a motorbike in bits on it that I’ve been working on since 1998. But that’s all fine by me. Sure, it’s not perfect. But who is? Is Jordan Peterson? I guess he must be. But we’d need to go round his place to be certain. And would he invite us in? Has he got something to hide? Something terrible like a house so cluttered even bugs don’t bother trying to get inside (I’ve got my suspicions)?

But what Jordan is trying to say is that we should get ourselves together first before we go criticizing the world. Thing is, some of us don’t care. We like to criticize the world anyway. It’s fun. And it let’s off steam.

Jordan also says we should pursue what’s meaningful in our lives, rather than what is expedient. I don’t know. Isn’t that a recipe for being a starving artist in a garret that nobody cares about until you’re dead…only then do you get the rewards of fame, and that means no money, no booze (maybe paint stripper), no drugs, and no groupies while you’re alive. It’s fine if there really is life after death. But you get the feeling that God might put the dampers on groupies and drinking yourself stupid. So taking Jordan’s advice is a big risk all ways round.

Of course, Jordan’s advice of telling the truth, or at least not lying, is very good advice. Though there are times when a white lie, or even a big black lie, is necessary – especially when you’ve inserted your penis in a woman other than your wife, and she confronts you with it. Or when the police come round asking where you were at 1:43AM, Tuesday. It’s unwise to tell them that you were unloading a container of cocaine off a boat on the coast. This is where taking Jordan’s advice is likely to land you in trouble. It might work for Jordan. But then he’s a clinical psychologist and not a drug trafficker.

Another gem from Jordan is to assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t. That would be fine if I actually listened to anyone. I normally just like to hear the sound of my own voice, and interrupt people when they pause for breath – even if it’s just for a nano-second.

And then Jordan recommends we be precise in our speech. Well I do try. But I’m not very good at it, particularly when I’m half-way through a bottle of Jim Beam and ranting at the namby-pamby liberal musings of Jeremy Corbyn on the TV. That said, I do like to think I get my point across. I mean, what’s this with the homeless? Jezzer says it’s terrible for them. But go back ten thousand years and who had a home? We were all perfectly happy in caves or in little lean-tos made from branches.

But there is one rule we do need to go with. And that is not to bother children when they are skateboarding. That one makes a lot of sense. After all, if we bother them, kids on skateboards are likely to shout “paedo!!!” and the next thing you know you’ll be in the slammer for life – that is if you’re not killed first by other inmates.

But the real kicker from Jordan is him encouraging us to pet a cat when we encounter one on the street. Now I like cats a lot. But petting a strange cat on the street can lead to having your hand scratched to pieces – and this is only because the cat can’t scream “Paedo!!!” It will try, but nobody will understand it. And people will just think it’s yowling because you’re an animal abuser, and again, you might find yourself in prison or doing community service.

So considering Jordan has sold a lot of books, it’s safe to say that most of his readers are likely to be in jail.This could prove a little awkward for a follow-up to the 12 Rules of Life, as his target audience won’t be in a position to buy it. In which case, Jordan might be advised to “see the light” and go gender fluid and make the follow-up 12 Rules of Being a Tranny

He’s not in favor of the many terms for gender nowadays, but beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to book sales. And personally I’ve got no problem with all the different genders that are around. It makes me feel a lot better because there must be thousands of people out there wondering whether they are male or female, or one of the growing numbers of states in between. This is not because I’m trying to figure out whether I’m male or female. No, it’s just that the more chaos and disorder in the world, the better I feel. After all, as my life is in chaos and disorder, and it’s increasingly reflected in the world around me, well I’ve got nothing to worry about, what with my backyard full of junkers and house in disarray. And the fact is, you can be too precise, and the world just isn’t like that. Jordan might wish it was. But it just isn’t…

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Jimmy Lee Shreeve View All →

Author and journalist

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