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    395. Difficult Conversation as the Precondition to Progress | Adam Smith

    Understanding the persistence of discrimination and actively listening to diverse experiences promotes a more inclusive environment and helps in overcoming challenges to achieve true equality.

    enNovember 09, 2023

    About this Episode

    Dr. Jordan B Peterson sits down with lawyer, state representative, and author Adam Smith. They discuss his new book “Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety.” From this they explore the differences between cognitive and behavioral therapy, the dogmatization of nuance, the rise of “harm reduction” in the current era of identity politics, and the ideal goal of argument: it’s much more than just scoring points.

     

    Congressman Adam Smith is an American lawyer and politician, having served in the Washington state senate from 1991 to 97. His new book, “Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety,”  has just recently been released.

     

    - Links -

     

    For Adam Smith:

     

    On X https://twitter.com/electadamsmith?lang=en

     

    Lost and Broken (Book) https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Broken-Journey-Chronic-Crippling-ebook/dp/B0B3YC7KLJ 

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Engaging in genuine conversations with those who hold different views is crucial for effective representation and political success. It promotes understanding, bridges societal divisions, and strengthens personal ideas through challenges.
    • Engaging with opposing ideas and challenging our own beliefs leads to personal growth and a better understanding of others. True growth occurs when we step outside our comfort zones and engage in constructive dialogue.
    • Challenging our beliefs and engaging in difficult conversations can lead to personal growth, mental health, and a broader understanding of the world.
    • Prioritize solving problems and promoting fairness over personal victories in order to create a peaceful environment and improve relationships.
    • While individuals have the right to define themselves subjectively, it is important to prioritize mental well-being and harmonious relationships in order to address issues without compromising stability and negotiation of identities.
    • Building a better society requires recognizing the limitations of both extreme ideologies and working towards a compassionate and balanced approach to address societal issues.
    • Balancing individual choice and accountability with support and alternatives is crucial when addressing societal issues like homelessness, drug abuse, crime, and affordable housing.
    • Recognizing individual agency and providing support can create a more balanced approach to addressing societal issues, avoiding extreme measures that ignore personal choice or abolish the criminal justice system.
    • Engaging in calm conversations, taking responsibility, and offering constructive feedback allows for personal development and strengthens relationships, while avoiding accountability perpetuates mistakes and hinders growth.
    • Adam Smith emphasizes practical problem-solving to address historical discrimination, while Jordan Peterson sees progress against bias and racism as a remarkable feat, thanks to traditions promoting interracial harmony and freedom.
    • Understanding the persistence of discrimination and actively listening to diverse experiences promotes a more inclusive environment and helps in overcoming challenges to achieve true equality.
    • Prioritizing practical problem-solving and focusing on the actual issues at hand, rather than engaging in debates over language or personal biases, is crucial for achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Strive for intentional action, diversify outreach efforts, and work towards equity and equality while acknowledging historical factors to maintain balance and avoid constant conflict.
    • Engaging with complexity brings joy and fulfillment, and developing the capacity to navigate it leads to personal and societal transformation.
    • Processing stress and complexity is crucial for mental health, and can be achieved by training our brains to handle challenges, expanding our capacity, and embracing ongoing development and learning.
    • Your value as a person is not determined by your accomplishments. Let go of constant stress and focus on achieving tasks without overwhelming yourself.
    • Our self-worth is not defined by our mistakes or achievements; instead, it lies in understanding our own history, resolving past issues, and recognizing our intrinsic value as human beings.
    • Embracing self-love and understanding the inherent value in everyone leads to personal growth and a happier, healthier society.
    • Regardless of background or intelligence, everyone has the potential to succeed. Society should acknowledge the contributions of all individuals and strive for equality and progress.
    • Engaging in debates showcases leadership qualities such as listening, negotiating, and presenting ideas confidently. It is essential for leaders to be willing to tackle challenges voluntarily and not solely be judged based on articulation skills.
    • Charisma and debate performance may not accurately reflect a leader's abilities; longer, unscripted formats like podcasts can reveal a candidate's true intentions and foster bipartisan discussions.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Fostering Unity through Open Political Dialogue

    Genuine and open political dialogue is crucial for progress and understanding in a divided society. Congressman Adam Smith believes that engaging in conversations with people who hold different views is essential to represent his constituents effectively and be a successful politician. He emphasizes the importance of listening to and learning from those he disagrees with, rather than trying to force agreement. By being open-minded and willing to engage with different perspectives, he believes that it is possible to bridge the gap and foster a more united society. Furthermore, he highlights the value of challenging one's own ideas through discussion, as it helps to strengthen and test them.

    Overcoming Communication Barriers and Embracing Discomfort for Personal Growth and Understanding

    Communication barriers have arisen due to fear and discomfort. The reluctance to engage in productive conversations across differing viewpoints stems from the fear of being cancelled or ostracized by others. However, the key lies in overcoming this fear and embracing discomfort. Engaging with opposing ideas can lead to personal growth and a better understanding of others. It is essential to challenge our own beliefs and be open to the possibility of being wrong. While it may be easier to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, true growth occurs when we step outside our comfort zones and engage in constructive dialogue. By doing so, we can bridge the divide and foster understanding among people with diverse perspectives.

    Embracing Discomfort for Personal Growth

    Challenging our beliefs and engaging in difficult conversations is crucial for personal growth and resilience. Jordan Peterson highlights the importance of testing our ideas and being open to the possibility of being proven wrong. He emphasizes that avoiding conflict or uncomfortable conversations only leads to anxiety and hopelessness, as our beliefs shape our orientation in life. Peterson argues that voluntarily encountering what we fear or disagree with is beneficial for personal development and mental health. Similarly, Adam Smith suggests that balance is key, and teaching resilience is essential in our education system and daily lives. Ultimately, facing our fears and engaging in challenging conversations can lead to personal growth and a stronger understanding of the world around us.

    Using conflict to improve and promote fairness in relationships and problem-solving.

    Conflict should be used as a means to help people improve, rather than simply attacking others or scoring points. Adam Smith emphasizes the importance of balance, especially in parenting, where we should focus on making our children better rather than trying to win arguments. Jordan Peterson also highlights two different approaches to problem-solving – negotiating for a fair result or seeking comparative status. While attaining status can temporarily alleviate negative emotions, it is not as effective as reaching a negotiated peace. Smith further emphasizes the need to prioritize a peaceful environment by caring about what others want and think. Ultimately, the key lesson is to focus on solving problems and promoting fairness, rather than striving for personal victories.

    The Dangers of Subjective Self-Identification and Identity Politics

    The concept of subjective self-identification, particularly in terms of sexual or ethnic identity, can lead to dangerous consequences. While individuals have the right to define themselves subjectively, this approach can be counterproductive and detrimental to mental health. Mental well-being is not solely based on internal factors but is heavily influenced by harmonious relationships within the broader community. The political landscape surrounding this issue has created a culture war, with conflicting views on identity politics. It is important to recognize that racism, bigotry, and discrimination have been problems in American society, but it is equally crucial to find a balanced approach that addresses these issues without compromising the stability and negotiation of identities within relationships. The goal should be to achieve understanding and harmony rather than enforcing rigid subjective definitions.

    Finding a Balanced Approach to Combat Racism and Discrimination

    There is a need for a reasonable alternative to combat racism, bigotry, and discrimination. The conservative movement often fails to offer a solution, dismissing these issues as not problematic. However, the far left takes an extreme approach by emphasizing identity and focusing solely on these problems. Building a better society requires finding a balance between these two extremes. Jordan Peterson highlights that boundaries need to be drawn to prevent bad actors, such as psychopaths, from causing trouble. Moreover, the left struggles with drawing boundaries due to their belief in the free flow of information. It is important for both sides to recognize excesses within their own ranks and work towards a more compassionate and balanced approach to address societal issues.

    The importance of open debate and practical approaches to address societal issues while recognizing individual responsibility.

    Both the left and the right can engage in twisting the world to fit their ideologies and are capable of violence. The importance of open debate and freedom of information is highlighted, as it allows for a better understanding and finding the right answers. However, when it comes to addressing specific issues like homelessness, drug abuse, crime, and affordable housing, it is crucial to take a practical approach. While looking at broader societal causes is important, solely focusing on those and neglecting individual responsibility can lead to problems. The balance lies in recognizing the role of individual choice and holding people accountable for their actions, while also providing alternatives and support for rehabilitation and treatment.

    Balancing Individual Agency and Support in Addressing Societal Issues.

    There needs to be a better balance in addressing societal issues. Adam Smith emphasizes the importance of individual agency and personal responsibility, while also acknowledging the need for support and assistance. Smith argues against extreme approaches that either ignore personal choice or completely abolish the criminal justice system. He believes in meeting people where they are but also actively working to help them improve their circumstances. Jordan Peterson adds that removing individual agency can destroy hope and meaning in people's lives. He warns against excessive abstraction and the dangers of assigning blame without considering personal responsibility. Both speakers advocate for a more balanced approach that recognizes individual agency while providing support and guidance.

    Effective communication, accountability, and understanding complexities are essential in nurturing relationships and personal growth.

    Effective communication and responsible accountability are key in navigating relationships and fostering personal growth. Instead of resorting to blame and criticism, it is important to have calm conversations where one can calmly explain the problem, the choices made, and the consequences. This approach helps individuals understand their wrongdoings without demeaning their self-worth. Additionally, it is crucial to strike a balance between constructive feedback and the potential conflict that may arise in assigning responsibility. Complexity and conflicts are inevitable, especially when negotiating between different perspectives. However, by embracing dialogue, understanding complexities, and navigating through conflicts, it is possible to foster growth and strengthen relationships. Avoiding accountability leads to perpetuating mistakes or resorting to oppressive behaviors, whereas open conversations and responsible feedback offer opportunities for personal development.

    Perspectives on Bias, Racism, and Building a Better Society

    Both Adam Smith and Jordan Peterson acknowledge the human tendency to view one's own group as superior and to define those outside the group as less human. However, they have differing views on systemic bias and racism in societies like the United States. Peterson believes that the proclivity for bias and racism is deeply rooted in the human soul, and it is a remarkable feat that progress has been made against it. He sees the UK and American traditions of valuing all human souls regardless of group identity as countervailing tendencies that have promoted interracial harmony and freedom. On the other hand, Smith recognizes the historical discrimination in the US and emphasizes the need for practical problem-solving approaches to build a better society. While they both criticize the extreme approaches of the left and right, they have different perspectives on addressing racism and discrimination in society.

    Acknowledging History and Embracing Inclusion

    Understanding and acknowledging the history of discrimination and white supremacy is crucial in order to make progress towards equality. Many people are unaware of the extent and duration of these issues, assuming that they were resolved after the Civil War. However, discrimination persisted well into the 20th century, with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the implementation of Jim Crow laws. Learning about this history allows for a better understanding of the challenges we face in achieving true equality. Additionally, taking the time to listen to the stories and experiences of individuals from different backgrounds fosters a more positive and inclusive environment. Rather than focusing on our differences, it is important to recognize our shared humanity and work together against discrimination and bigotry. While there may be disagreements about how to approach diversity, equity, and inclusion, simply dismissing the concept is not a productive solution.

    Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for a Better Society

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is important for practical problem-solving and improving society. The conversation between Adam Smith and Jordan Peterson highlights the need to move forward and focus on the actual issues at hand, rather than getting caught up in debates over language or personal biases. Smith emphasizes the significance of DEI by sharing his own experience of growing up in a predominantly white community and realizing the lack of diversity within his own workforce. By actively reaching out to community groups and intentionally seeking diverse candidates for job openings, Smith was able to increase representation and create a more inclusive environment. This example illustrates the value and benefits of embracing DEI principles in various contexts.

    The importance of intentionality and diversifying outreach efforts in achieving goals, while considering the complexities of equity and equality.

    Intentionality is crucial when trying to accomplish something. Adam Smith emphasizes the importance of being intentional and proactive rather than relying on chance or accident. Jordan Peterson adds that diversifying outreach efforts can lead to a broader pool of qualified candidates, potentially benefiting both the organization and the community it serves. However, Peterson raises concerns about the concept of equity, arguing that it may lead to equality of outcome, which could undermine individual ownership and create unrealistic expectations. Smith acknowledges that equity and equality can mean different things, but believes that working towards equity and equality, while recognizing historical factors, is necessary. Striking a balance between striving for justice and accepting imperfections is key to avoiding constant conflict.

    Embracing complexity for happiness and growth

    Embracing complexity and seeking meaningful engagement with challenging problems can lead to increased happiness and personal growth. Adam Smith and Jordan Peterson highlight the importance of avoiding simplistic or one-size-fits-all solutions, recognizing that there are multiple factors at play in any given situation. They emphasize the value of differentiation and diagnosis in order to address specific problems effectively. Despite the natural human inclination to shy away from complexity, engaging with it can actually bring joy and fulfillment. By developing the capacity to navigate complexity, whether through training the brain or adopting a mindset of voluntary play, individuals can better confront and understand the world around them, leading to personal and societal transformation.

    Embracing Complexity for Mental Well-being

    It's not the amount of stress or complexity in our lives that determines our mental well-being, but rather how we process it. This insight took Adam Smith several years and psychotherapy to fully grasp. The key is to train our brains to better handle complexity and not be overwhelmed by it. Instead of walling ourselves off and retreating from challenges, we should aim to stay on the edge of our competence and gradually expand our capacity to deal with complexity. By embracing optimized challenges, we can foster personal growth and social competence. This perspective contradicts the idea of limited resources and zero-sum mentality, emphasizing the importance of ongoing development and learning.

    Rethinking Stress and Self-Worth

    Adam Smith believed that stress and anxiety were necessary for success. He thought that if he wasn't stressed or worried, he wasn't doing something important. However, through therapy and self-reflection, he learned that there was a difference between striving for success and being constantly overwhelmed. He realized that he had tied his self-worth to his daily achievements, which led to a cycle of stress and anxiety. But the key insight he gained was that self-worth is not dependent on accomplishments. Everyone is deserving of love and has inherent self-worth, regardless of what they do. This realization allowed him to let go of constant stress and focus on achieving tasks without being physically and mentally stressed out.

    Overcoming Mistakes and Finding Intrinsic Worth

    Our mistakes and shortcomings do not define our self-worth as human beings. Adam Smith, through his personal experiences and therapy, learned that meeting our responsibilities and following rules is important, but it does not determine our fundamental value. He struggled to understand this concept and worked tirelessly to prove his worth. Additionally, he realized the significance of understanding one's own history and losses. Resolving past issues, whether traumatic or not, can significantly reduce anxiety and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy, although valuable, should not be the first approach if these foundational aspects are not addressed first. Ultimately, we need to recognize that every person has intrinsic worth, regardless of their mistakes or achievements.

    Recognizing our worth and promoting compassion for others.

    Recognizing and believing in our own intrinsic worth is crucial for both personal growth and societal well-being. Jordan Peterson emphasizes the importance of self-love and self-acceptance, as it enables us to extend that same compassion to others. This idea is further supported by Adam Smith, who highlights the significance of understanding that every individual, regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds, possesses inherent value. Both agree that the focus should not solely be on identifying mental health problems, but on actively working towards improvement. By taking small steps forward, even in the face of humility and challenges, we can experience exponential growth and a happier, healthier society. This message of self-improvement is key in addressing mental health issues and promoting overall well-being.

    Recognizing Potential and Promoting Equality for All

    Everyone is capable of doing better, regardless of their background or perceived intelligence. Adam Smith, despite not attending an Ivy League school and growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood, has seen his friends achieve impressive things in life. He believes that people's potential is often underestimated, and that society shouldn't solely focus on the top achievers. Smith urges both the right and the left to recognize that individuals who may not fit traditional measures of success still have valuable contributions to make. He also highlights the need to overcome racial stereotypes and provide a vision of equality and progress for all. By offering support, opportunities, and a positive mindset, individuals can surpass their initial starting point and achieve long-term success.

    The Importance of Open Dialogue and Debates in Leadership

    Leaders should model open dialogue and engage in debates to showcase their ability to listen, negotiate, and put forth their ideas. The decision by both Biden and Trump to forego the opportunity to debate is seen as a mistake and a form of instrumental behavior. Engaging in debates allows leaders to challenge themselves, demonstrate confidence, and present their ideas to the public, who deserve to hear them. It is important not to adopt a defensive stance, as it can lead to vulnerability and hinder progress. Being willing to engage in debate is a better measure of leadership and indicates a willingness to tackle challenges voluntarily. However, it is also important to question whether articulation skills should be the sole criterion for judging leadership, as there are other qualities that make an effective leader.

    The limitations of public debates in determining effective community leadership and the potential of alternative formats

    Public debates may not be the most effective way to determine who can best lead a community. While debates are often seen as a crucial part of the political process, they have their limitations. Congressman Adam Smith highlights that charisma and debate performance may not necessarily reflect a person's ability to effectively lead and address important issues. Furthermore, the format of debates can be challenging, with time restrictions and the potential for candidates to talk over each other. Instead, longer and more unscripted formats, such as podcasts, offer an opportunity for in-depth conversations that can reveal a candidate's true abilities and intentions. By embracing these alternative formats and fostering bipartisan discussions, we may be able to mitigate polarization and protect the integrity of our society.

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    442. BILL C-63 - Everything You Need to Know | Bruce Pardy & Konstantin Kisin

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down in-person with Canadian lawyer Bruce Pardy and podcaster Konstantin Kisin. They discuss Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Bill C-63 (aka The Online Harms Act), what powers it gives to the government, what rights it strips from citizens, and why even Americans should be concerned.


    Bruce Pardy is executive director of Rights Probe, a law and liberty thinktank, and professor of law at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is a lawyer, academic, columnist, and outspoken critic of the illiberal managerial state, fighting at the front lines of the culture war inside the law. Bruce writes for the National Post, Epoch Times, and the Brownstone Institute, among others, and serves as senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He has taught at law schools in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, practiced civil litigation in Toronto, and served as adjudicator and mediator on the Ontario Environmental Tribunal. The legal ground, Bruce has written, is shifting beneath our feet. The individual is losing to the collective. An ever-expanding bureaucracy regulates life from cradle to grave, including private behavior and speech, in the name of common good. The law has become discretionary, arbitrary, and unequal. The end of Western liberal civilization, as we have known it, is conceivable.
     

    Konstantin Kisin is a Russian-British satirist, social commentator, and co-host of the TRIGGERnometry Youtube show. He is also the author of “An Immigrant's Love Letter to the West,” a Sunday Times bestseller. He has written for several publications, including Quillette, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, and Standpoint, on issues relating to tech censorship, woke culture, comedy, and other topics, but he currently publishes articles on his popular Substack. Kisin made headlines in 2018 when he refused to sign a "safe space contract" to perform comedy at a British college and again in 2023 when he participated in an Oxford Union debate on the motion of "This House Believes Woke Culture Has Gone Too Far." His speech at the debate received viral attention and has been seen by over 100 million people around the world.

     


     

    - Links -

    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events   

    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  

     

    For Bruce Pardy:

    On X https://twitter.com/pardybruce?lang=en

    Rights Probe: https://www.rightsprobe.org/


    For Konstantin Kisin:

    TRIGGERnometry Podcast    / @triggerpod  

    Substack https://konstantinkisin.substack.com/

    Twitter https://twitter.com/KonstantinKisin?r...

    441. TBD | Tor Nørretranders

    441. TBD | Tor Nørretranders

    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson sits down with author and speaker Tor Nørretranders. They discuss the entropy of emotion, the nature of pointlessness, the over-civilization of societal structures, how relationships shape perception, and why play might be the antithesis to tyranny.

     

    Tor Nørretranders is an independent author, thinker and speaker based in Denmark, serving an international audience. He has published over 30 books on topics ranging from society to human consciousness.

     

     

    - Links -

     

    2024 tour details can be found here https://jordanbpeterson.com/events  

     

    Peterson Academy https://petersonacademy.com/  

     

     

    For Tor Nørretranders:

     

    The User Illusion:

    https://www.amazon.com/User-Illusion-Cutting-Consciousness-Penguin/dp/0140230122

     

    The Generous Man:

    https://www.amazon.com/Generous-Man-Helping-Others-Sexiest/dp/B005SNMU4I

     

    Wild food and agriculture:

    https://madfeed.co/video/from-wild-to-tame-and-back-again/

    https://madfeed.co/video/we-are-here-because-we-have-appetite/

    https://madfeed.co/video/whos-got-the-guts/

     

    Website https://www.tor.dk/

     

    Article “We Are Waking Up” : https://www.tor.dk/2019/05/06/we-are-waking-up/