29+ quotes from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Quotes from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan B. Peterson ·  448 pages

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“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Intolerance of others’ views (no matter how ignorant or incoherent they may be) is not simply wrong; in a world where there is no right or wrong, it is worse: it is a sign you are embarrassingly unsophisticated or, possibly, dangerous.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you're going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being—and fair enough. But every person is deeply flawed. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. If that stark fact meant, however, that we had no responsibility to care, for ourselves as much as others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time. That would not be good. That would make the shortcomings of the world, which can make everyone who thinks honestly question the very propriety of the world, worse in every way. That simply cannot be the proper path forward.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“RULE 4 COMPARE YOURSELF TO WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY, NOT TO WHO SOMEONE ELSE IS TODAY”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth—or, perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives—they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don’t believe that they deserve any better—so they don’t go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don’t want the trouble of better. Freud called this a “repetition compulsion.” He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past—sometimes, perhaps, to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery and sometimes, perhaps, because no alternatives beckon. People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it. It’s partly fate. It’s partly inability. It’s partly … unwillingness to learn? Refusal to learn? Motivated refusal to learn?”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“No tree can grow to Heaven,” adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities. Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. As the great nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche so brilliantly noted, “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Human female choosiness is also why we are very different from the common ancestor we shared with our chimpanzee cousins, while the latter are very much the same. Women’s proclivity to say no, more than any other force, has shaped our evolution into the creative, industrious, upright, large-brained (competitive, aggressive, domineering) creatures that we are.42 It is Nature as Woman who says, “Well, bucko, you’re good enough for a friend, but my experience of you so far has not indicated the suitability of your genetic material for continued propagation.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world. We must each tell the truth and repair what is in disrepair and break down and recreate what is old and outdated. It is in this manner that we can and must reduce the suffering that poisons the world. It’s asking a lot. It’s asking for everything.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Order is the Shire of Tolkien’s hobbits: peaceful, productive and safely inhabitable, even by the naive. Chaos is the underground kingdom of the dwarves, usurped by Smaug, the treasure-hoarding serpent. Chaos is the deep ocean bottom to which Pinocchio voyaged to rescue his father from Monstro, whale and fire-breathing dragon. That journey into darkness and rescue is the most difficult thing a puppet must do, if he wants to be real; if he wants to extract himself from the temptations of deceit and acting and victimization and impulsive pleasure and totalitarian subjugation; if he wants to take his place as a genuine Being in the world.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“When my now-adult daughter was a child, another child once hit her on the head with a metal toy truck. I watched that same child, one year later, viciously push his younger sister backwards over a fragile glass-surfaced coffee table. His mother picked him up, immediately afterward (but not her frightened daughter), and told him in hushed tones not to do such things, while she patted him comfortingly in a manner clearly indicative of approval. She was out to produce a little God-Emperor of the Universe. That’s the unstated goal of many a mother, including many who consider themselves advocates for full gender equality. Such women will object vociferously to any command uttered by an adult male, but will trot off in seconds to make their progeny a peanut-butter sandwich if he demands it while immersed self-importantly in a video game. The future mates of such boys have every reason to hate their mothers-in-law. Respect for women? That’s for other boys, other men—not for their dear sons.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Don’t ever underestimate the destructive power of sins of omission.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better. Sometimes such deaths virtually destroy us.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“A naively formulated goal transmutes, with time, into the sinister form of the life-lie. One forty-something client told me his vision, formulated by his younger self: “I see myself retired, sitting on a tropical beach, drinking margaritas in the sunshine.” That’s not a plan. That’s a travel poster. After eight margaritas, you’re fit only to await the hangover. After three weeks of margarita-filled days, if you have any sense, you’re bored stiff and self-disgusted. In a year, or less, you’re pathetic. It’s just not a sustainable approach to later life. This kind of oversimplification and falsification is particularly typical of ideologues. They adopt a single axiom: government is bad, immigration is bad, capitalism is bad, patriarchy is bad. Then they filter and screen their experiences and insist ever more narrowly that everything can be explained by that axiom. They believe, narcissistically, underneath all that bad theory, that the world could be put right, if only they held the controls.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse).”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“We require routine and tradition. That’s order. Order can become excessive, and that’s not good, but chaos can swamp us, so we drown— and that is also not good. We need to stay on the straight and narrow path.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“loving your neighbour as yourself.” The first lesson was that neither of these statements has anything to do with being nice. The second was that both are equations, rather than injunctions. If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that?”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Sometimes it seems the only people willing to give advice in a relativistic society are those with the least to offer.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great documenter of the slave-labour-camp horrors of the latter, once wrote that the “pitiful ideology” holding that “human beings are created for happiness” was an ideology “done in by the first blow of the work assigner’s cudgel.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“Lobsters have more in common with you than you might think (particularly when you are feeling crabby—ha ha).”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“When the aristocracy catches a cold, as it is said, the working class dies of pneumonia.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


“If someone is badly hurt at some point in life—traumatized—the dominance counter can transform in a manner that makes additional hurt more rather than less likely. This often happens in the case of people, now adults, who were viciously bullied during childhood or adolescence. They become anxious and easily upset. They shield themselves with a defensive crouch, and avoid the direct eye contact interpretable as a dominance challenge.
This means that the damage caused by the bullying (the lowering of status and confidence) can continue, even after the bullying has ended.25 In the simplest of cases, the formerly lowly persons have matured and moved to new and more successful places in their lives. But they don’t fully notice. Their now-counterproductive physiological adaptations to earlier reality remain, and they are more stressed and uncertain than is necessary. In more complex cases, a habitual assumption of subordination renders the person more stressed and uncertain than necessary, and their habitually submissive posturing continues to attract genuine negative attention from one or more of the fewer and generally less successful bullies still extant in the adult world. In such situations, the psychological consequence of the previous bullying increases the likelihood of continued bullying in the present (even though, strictly speaking, it wouldn’t have to, because of maturation, or geographical relocation, or continued education, or improvement in objective status).”
― Jordan B. Peterson, quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


About the author

Jordan B. Peterson
Born place: in Fairview, Alberta, Canada
Born date June 12, 1962
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