I realize that the name and image of Jordan Peterson upsets some people who object to me ever mentioning it here. However, if you believe that this post is about Jordan Peterson, you are missing the point. If you think that this post is about politics or even ideology, you are missing the point. This post is not about Jordan Peterson and it isn’t about politics or ideology. It is about REBT pure and simple, and represents one of the most dramatic and obvious illustrations I have seen of the basic principle that events (people, places and things “out there”) do not upset us. We primarily (although not exclusively) upset ourselves by our irrational beliefs and distorted interpretations of reality; our distorted interpretation of those events.
Furthermore, if you believe that it is my primary intention to criticize the protestors appearing in the video, (skip to the video), you are again missing the point. While the obnoxious actions of the protestors are certainly fodder for criticism, these young people are clearly and obviously victims to their own irrational thinking, pawns to the “psychodrama” they are creating and replaying in their own awareness and consciousness.
The point is not about Peterson, the protestors, politics or ideology. The point is that you and I are doing exactly the same things to ourselves on a regular basis as the protestors are doing to themselves in the video. Thankfully, most of the time, our indoctrination and commitment to the irrational beliefs that trigger our anger, for whatever reasons, is much less intense than it is for the protestors and produces less destructive, anti-social behavior. However, make no mistake, the process and the dynamics involved are the same as for the protestors who protesting so obnoxiously.
If this seems offensive to you, good! It is one thing to read about REBT and how our absolutist, moralistic demands cause us to anger, enrage, and embitter ourselves, and then nod our heads sagely. “Yeah, yeah, yeah” we say knowingly “Demands cause anger . . . I got it!” It is quite another, however, to witness this process in action, in the real world, right before our eyes. We want to witness it “hot” and “wet” as in the video. We want the reality of how this process works and how unhealthy and destructive it is to impact us, impact us big time, and hopefully persuade us to change our philosophy and worldview. Initially, it is, of curse, easier to identify it happening in other people such as our protestors are proving so vividly for us. In that sense, they are providing us with an invaluable service for which we can be grateful. However, the real point is to courageously begin identifying it happening in ourselves, “hot” and “wet” in real time in the real world. Are you courageous enough to do that?
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- “Thank Goodness I’m Alive” by Daniel Dennett - Sun 9 Aug 20