JORDAN PETERSON: I want to recommend a book first to everyone here: It is called Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks. You need to understand postmodernism, because that's what you're up against. You're up against it far more than you know or think, and it's a much more well-developed and pervasive, pernicious, nihilistic, intellectually attractive doctrine than has yet come to public realization. It absolutely dominates the humanities and increasingly the social sciences in the universities.
Someone once said, I can't remember, it might be Friedrich Nietzsche, he said that everybody is the 'unconscious exponent of a dead philosopher,' and fortunately the postmodern philosophers, most of them are dead, so that's a good thing, but that doesn't mean that their words aren't continually being spoken by people who are following in their wake.
It's not like any given person is absolutely possessed by the spirit of postmodernism, because often they're not educated enough to know all the details about what it is that has them in their grip, but if you get 20 of them together and they're all 5% influenced by the postmodernist ethos, you basically have the spirit of the mob. It's a mouthpiece for that particular philosophical doctrine.
And if you understand the doctrine than you understand why things are progressing the way that they are progressing.
So I'm going to tell you little bit about doctrine, because it's not optional to understand this. This is crucial to understand this, you can't underestimate the power of ideas and also of words, of course, because ideas are expressed in words.
See the postmodernists completely reject the structure of Western civilization. And I mean completely, so I can give you an example, in one term -- Jacques Derrida. He is head trickster for the postmodernist movement, and he regarded Western culture -- let's call it the patriarchy -- as phallogocentric. Phallo comes from phallus, and so that's the insistence that what you see in Western culture is the consequence of the male-dominated oppressive self-serving society.
You might say societies do tend to be self-serving, and people in power do tend to act in their best interests, but a tendency is not an absolute. That is one of the things that these people need to consider continually. There are no shortage of flaws in the manner in which we have structured our society and compared to any hypothetical utopia, it is an absolutely dismal wreck. But compared to the rest of the world, and the plight of other societies throughout the history of mankind, we're doing pretty damn well, and we should be happy to be living in society we're living in.
So the first thing that you might want to know about Postmodernism is that it doesn't have a shred of gratitude -- and there's something pathologically wrong with a person that doesn't have any gratitude, especially when they live in what so far is the best of all possible worlds. So if you're not grateful, you're driven by resentment, and resentment is the worst emotion that you can possibly experience, apart from arrogance. Arrogance, resentment, and deceit. There is an evil triad for you.
And if you're bitter about everything that's happening around you, despite the fact that you're bathed in wealth, than there is something absolutely wrong with you.
The black community in the United States is the 18th wealthiest community -- the 18th wealthiest nation on the planet.
That doesn't mean there is no such a thing as relative poverty, which matters. It is an important political economic issue, and it is very difficult to deal with. But absolute wealth matters too.
Western societies have been absolutely remarkable in their ability to generate and distribute wealth. As you can tell by just looking around, taking a brief bit of consideration for the absolute miracle that even a building like this represents.
So you have to educate yourself about postmodernism.
So here's what the postmodernists believe: They don't believe in the individual. That's the logos. Remember, Western culture is Phallogocentric. Logo is logos. That's partly the Christian word, but is also partly the root word of logic.