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Friday, 23 February 2018

Jordan Peterson's '12 Rules for Life: A compass for the lost

Jared Sichel
Daily Wire

When I read Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson's new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, last fall, it read like a bestseller-to-be.

Well-written, insightful, and best of all, practical. Since its release in January, it has sat atop the Amazon bestseller chart. And thank God.

Peterson's book occupied my mind for weeks after I finished it. His points, or "rules," of personal conduct - surround yourself with people who want the best for you; pursue meaning, not expedience; speak precisely and deliberately - are universally invaluable.

It re-entered my consciousness following the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students, teachers, coaches - murdered. Fourteen others wounded - a word that insufficiently captures the horror of a bullet fired out of a rifle pulverizing whatever tissue or bone or organ it strikes.

All because of one loser who this publication will, appropriately, not name. One 19-year-old nothing who, in seven minutes, destroyed 17 worlds and permanently damaged countless more.

He, like every one of America's other young, school shooters since Columbine, is male. And like many, he grew up without a father present, is not socialized, is a loner, is not religious, sees himself as a victim, is angry and depressed, wants to get even, is attracted to violence, and meticulously planned his final, redemptive, act of chaos.

Peterson shows how the prototypical school shooter's contempt of existence itself - and thus, logically, of humans - is illustrated well by Cain. The firstborn man was so angry at God for not accepting his sacrifice, so resentful toward Abel for receiving God's favor, that he murdered his own brother and sneered at God: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Parkland killer, just like the one at Columbine and Newtown and Virginia Tech, and Cain, is not a coward. A villain, yes. Evil, certainly. But not a coward.

"He was a powerful, consistent, fearless actor," Peterson writes of Carl Panzram, an early 20th century serial killer and rapist who was institutionalized and brutalized as a delinquent juvenile. "He had the courage of his convictions. How could someone like him be expected to forgive and forget, given what had happened to him?"

Peterson recounts how author Leo Tolstoy, at the apex of his career, questioned "the value of human existence."
In Tolstoy's mind, life was too painful to justify rationally. And faith, which can justify suffering, denied reason.

"The people in this category know that death is better than life," Tolstoy said, discussing suicide. "Only unusually strong and logically consistent people act in this manner." But, of course, if death is better than life, murder, mass murder, is even better than suicide. In the mass killer's world, bad is good.

"Everyone says, 'We don't understand,'" Peterson writes. "How can we still pretend that? Tolstoy understood, more than a century ago. The ancient authors of the biblical story of Cain and Abel understood, as well, more than twenty centuries ago ... murder done consciously to spite the creator of the universe. Today's killers tell us the same thing, in their own words."

Of course we understand why the Parkland killer did it. Man's heart is filled with evil. And this man didn't have a conscience standing in evil's way.  

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