Stand Up! (For Yourself)
Today we are taking another deep dive into Jordan Peterson’s book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. We will be dissecting Chapter 1: Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back.
Price’s Law/Matthew Principle
“When the aristocracy catches a cold, as it is said, the working class dies of pneumonia.”
Peterson advocates that we are social creatures with a built-in desire for a societal hierarchy. Like Lobsters, the bottom seem to reap only misery while the top reap only rewards. The weak Lobster is akin to the poor, having little shelter, inadequate food and are in the constant state of stress for survival. The top lobster, or the rich, not only have basic necessities but never-ending opportunities. In essence, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is related to Price’s Law. As LearnRepeatAcademy.com states, “The intuition that a minority of the people are responsible for an outsized portion of the output.”
Stand Up! (For Yourself)
The neural network of Lobsters are a lot like ours. When life doesn’t go our way, instead of producing high levels of serotonin, the chemical for endurance and good posture, we instead have high levels of octopamine, the chemical for retreat and bad posture. “This is why, when we are defeated, we act very much like lobsters who have lost a fight. Our posture droops. We face the ground. We feel threatened, hurt, anxious and weak.”
So how do we combat our lowly posture, spirit, and societal level? We need to stand tall and be bold! As Jordan Peterson puts it, “You’re a spirit, so to speak-a psyche-as well. Standing up physically also implies and invokes and demands standing up metaphysically.”
When we allow ourselves to venture out into the world and make a place for ourselves in it, we realize our transformative ability. If you realize you’re a force to be reckoned with, no one will want to fight you and risk losing. "There is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrates, and strength of character.” Furthermore, “If you can bite, you generally don’t have to.” Growling would be enough. Standing up for oneself is to “voluntarily accepting the burden of Being.”
When we think we are meek, we will act meek, which confirms our belief that we are meek! You will start to “…assume that anything you run away from is dangerous. The proof of that is, of course, the fact you ran away.” And so you hid and prevent yourself from growing and developing character. This is a positive feedback loop. But there is hope. “Circumstances change, and so can you. Positive feedback loops, adding effect to effect, can spiral counterproductivity in a negative direction, but can also work to get you ahead.” The same process which makes us meek, can also make us strong.
This chapter is a reminder that we must be our own advocate and facilitator of change. Much of our life plays out as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The benefit of knowing this is that we know we can use it to make positive changes.
None of these ideas are revolutionary, but we as Christians are called to renew our mind. This involves transformation even to our foundation. As Mark Twain famously stated, “It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”