Great Books

A Categorized Book List

  • Nigel Warner

    No love for the Gulag Archipelago?

  • Maria Urbel

    I would also recommend reading and adding “C.G. Jung and Nikolai Berdyaev: Individuation and the Person: A Critical Comparison” by Georg Nicolaus.

  • Dominic Romani

    Guy gets a few views on YouTube and starts putting his own books on lists of great books. Without irony or self reflection

    • Mark Meyers

      “It’s mental masturbation, but at least it’s sex with someone I love.” Woody Allen

  • Shams Rumi

    How come also that such an ordinary propagandist ,as Noam Chomsky called him,such as Bernard Lewis came to be regarded as a kind of “authority ” regarding Islam….Amazing.

  • Shams Rumi

    I don’t get it that either Freud,Adler or Nietzsche are still relevant today,and how come that existentialism can be incorporated as a “fact of life”….Very strange mix.Too subjective to “my taste”.Another strange thing is that the materialist take on the mind is also added as some sort of ’empirical fact”….
    I’ll have to take a closer look at that cherry-pick cocktail the nature of which i won’t be able to swallow,i guess….

  • Richard Elliott II

    Hello Dr. Most English literature depts. seem to think they have a monopoly on teaching the art of reading: how to read different kind of books and such. Why?

  • Vinnie Santini

    Dr Peterson

    I’m just curious what your thoughts are on the work of Rene Girard and Michel Henry?

  • Zac

    Hi Dr. Peterson, your ideas on religion have been transformative for me. Bravo YouTube and the gang of rebels you run with there.

    Anyway, I hope some of the bright people here might be able to point me to some books, authors that share dr peterson’s insight, because I would like to explore them in more depth.

    For example,Religion as a set of ‘truths’ about what it means to be human and live in a human community ensconced in the great unknown. These play at multiple levels, but the one I am most curious about is the transhistorical. For example, I have not heard JP say this, but perhaps its implied that the concept of Apocalypse is one that may well have emerged from the propensity of communities to destroy themselves – for human nature to run amok. I can imagine this would have been a big problem. Christianity, then, manifestly gave communities ways to bypass their own self destructive tendencies prosper and rebuild. This explains how successful the Christian civilization has been, up to now. This, I think would be consistent with how JP explains sacrifice and the middle way between chaos and order, and so on.

    I hope you alll see the aspect I am getting at and can suggest more sources consistent with JP thinking.

    (Note to JP, please publish a collection of your lectures on religion!)

  • Alan

    Hi to Dr. Peterson or anyone else with some suggestions on here, I was wondering if there are any books you would recommend to someone who is lacking a background in psychology.

    I’m working my way through your reading list and have really enjoyed it so far, saying it has been eye opening would be an understatement. I have read that many of these books are not meant for the layman necessarily, even though I would say for the most part everything is explained well when needed. I would consider myself a relatively smart person, but I’m wondering if there’s even more I could get from the reading.

    So my question would be if there’s any reading that could done beforehand to get the most out of the books in your lists.

  • Rondo

    Under religion you should read Mark Durie’s book “The Third Choice” fascinating read regarding Islam using primary sources.

  • Jon

    Nietzsche reading list:

    Beyond Good & Evil
    The Antichrist
    Twilight of The Idols
    Human, All Too Human
    The Gay Science
    Thus Spake Zarathustra
    Beyond Good & Evil
    The Antichrist
    Twilight of The Idols
    Thus Spake Zarathustra

  • John Smith

    Jesus Christ, this guy is about to make 20k a month on patreon. Isn’t he back to teaching?

  • Eric Huff

    Hello Dr. Peterson, I’d like to add a few titles of important books about post-modernism and political correctness at universities:

    Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A. Silverglate:”The Shadow University:The Betrayal of Liberty on American Campuses” (1998)The authors
    discuss the results of “Political Correctness” in the 1990s including a chapter about the father of PC Herbert Marcuse.

    “Higher Superstition” is written by rwo Scienitists Paul R.Gross (a biologist) and Norman Levitt (a mathematician).(1998)They assess the utter nonsense that the New-Left in the humanities has produced about science.

    Keith Windschuttle: “The Killing of History” (1997).analyzes the infiltration of postmodernism and critical theory (i.e.neo-marxism) into

    What is truly terrifying is that these books are about twenty years old so this trend about speech codes is nothing new

    Eric Huff.

  • Dave

    Hi Dr. Peterson, are there any books you would recommend for young children, to help lay the ground work for living a emotionally and psychologically healthy life?
    I am starting to talk to my children about facing your problems and learning to overcome them and would love to have a few good books to help reinforce these ideas. They are still very young, but my oldest is 4 and is very capable of comprehending these messages and I don’t want to miss out on a chance to get them started in life on the right foot.
    Conversley if there are any books you recommend for a young parent to read to improve their knowledge and skills that would be more than welcome as well.
    Thank you for your work, you are a doing a genuinely invaluable service by sharing your knowledge and you have had a profound impact on my life in the few short months I’ve known about you.

    • Rob Caswell

      Dr Peterson used the children’s book ‘There’s no Such Thing as Dragons’ by Jack Kent as the basis of a wonderful talk: (the talk is also available as episode 6 in the podcasts)

  • Robert Taul

    Greetings from Estonia!

    Can you also make a list for Movies and Documentaries?

    So far I have noticed Pinocchio, Lion King and Harry Potter.


    • Austin

      This would be awesome!

    • Jon

      Those are all children’s cartoons. If you want a list of good movies you should look elsewhere.

      • Robert Taul


  • Austin

    Hi Dr. Peterson, I’ve been listening to your lectures consistently for the past few months and I’m starting to understand your views better; however I do have a question.

    I’ll probably butcher this summary of what you said, but you say that Jesus is a “meta hero” and have described him as a sort of blueprint for how to conquer an infinite set of dominance hierarchies. My question is how do you come to this conclusion when you read what he said about “the first will be last and the last will be first”. He seemed to live his life contrary to dominance hierarchies and seemed to want his followers to abandon seeking their personal gain in all the dominance hierarchies that society creates.

    I hope you see this, and if you do, thank you for your time responding and thank you for all that you’ve done to promote free speech and encouraging people to seek truth.

    • Pavel Bondarenko

      Hello Austin, I also have been listening to Jordan Peterson for a while now, and just as you I am also thankful for his ongoing service in promoting free speech and encouraging all people to seek truth.
      I read your comment and the question you addressed to Jordan Peterson. I have been trying to thoughtfully and honestly think about what you are asking here and wanted to ask you if it would be willing to have a discussion about your question?

    • tazy11

      The problem is you can get whatever you like from much of philosophy and religious dogma, because so much of it is just pure nonsense, written by people that didn’t have a clue to how the world actually works. I think Dr. Peterson is a very smart guy, and I agree with much of what he says, but when he goes off into symbology or trying to interpret ancient philosophy as truth, he begins to sound like any religious zealot convinced they are the only one that know what the Bible really means. I really hope he lays off this kind of stuff, because it can only take away from serious consideration of his more down practical message .

    • That’s a very thoughtful question and at first it can seem confusing… I think I have a loose understanding that may answer your question… Jesus is the “meta hero” of the “meta dominance hierarchy”.. not of a particular dominance hierarchy… so Jesus is playing the “meta game” as opposed to just the game … and that means he has to play very differently…

      so in any particular hierarchy someone may rule ruthlessly but ultimately because of their ruthless rule they will be displaced as those under them have become disenchanted with how ruthless the ruler is at the top… Jesus on the other hand rules by being the servant (see Luke 22:25-28)… You can think of this approach as a long term approach to ruling at the top of the hierarchy…

      It’s even documented that one of the major factors employees look for in the workplace is managers that will put others’ needs before their own… this creates better employee loyalty, decreasing employee turnover costs, and possibly increasing productivity and commitment to company objectives… this type of corporate environment can’t be created by treating your employees like shit to try to get them to work harder.

      You could also say that you can cheat to win a particular game… but cheating isn’t sustainable… the next time you do it you might be caught out and even stripped of your past achievements (think of athletes on steroids). So maybe it’s more accurate to think of Jesus’ blueprint as something that enables you to sustain your ability to conquer an infinite set of dominance hierarchies.

      You have to remember that although Jesus came as a servant, he is also a king. I think many modern depictions of Jesus have lost touch with his role as a king and that has led to an ill-balanced understanding of the bible. After all, the core message of Jesus was not about getting to heaven after you die or abandoning the hierarchies of society in favor of some magical life after death, rather, his core message was about the influence and impact of the Kingdom of God (a spiritual kingdom) in the world, on earth, in the present. If you read through the gospels you’ll see that almost every parable is about the Kingdom of God and it’s influence in the world. So the Kingdom of God is like a meta-hierarchy if you will… that is not necessarily opposed to the dominance hierarchies that society creates… rather it has influence over them via the principles and teachings set out by Jesus and throughout the bible.

      That’s my understanding of it anyway. If this was helpful in anyway I’d be happy to know. Have a good day.

      • Manu_ela_roy

        I appreciate your thoughts on this Jared Chan. I do have a small correction to one of the points.
        Jesus’ main goal and entire life mission had everything to do with the afterlife, and the little that had to do with the earthly, present life was itself with the goal of helping others be restored in relationship with God, so that they can be united in the afterlife. According to the bible his Kingship or Kingdom started when he send the Holy Spirit to give them access to God through spiritual life (new birth), indwell them (making them ambassadors for the Kingdom), and make Jesus their loved King for the rest of earthly life (with the goal of increasing his Kingdom) and in the afterlife (fully restored and united with him in his Kingdom).

        • I’m not necessarily saying that there is or isn’t an afterlife… nor am I saying that the bible doesn’t talk about an afterlife… but what I am saying is that Jesus’ CORE MESSAGE, in my opinion, is about the Kingdom of God and it’s influence on earth according to the GOSPELS.

          I know that this idea is contrary to the mainstream understanding within modern Christianity… but if you read the gospels plainly without going to church and allowing them to teach you some doctrine to view the bible through… you’ll see that Jesus’ core message was about the Kingdom of God and not even about his death and resurrection (they are just means to an end that fit into the larger context of the kingdom).

          Jesus even says in his own words what his CORE MESSAGE was and he states his mission (why he was sent) in Luke 4:42-43:

          [At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place, and the crowds were looking for Him. They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving. But Jesus told them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well, because that is why I was sent.”]

          Then when Jesus sends his disciples out he says in Matthew 10:7:

          [As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’]

          Then when he teaches his disciples to pray he says in Luke 11:1-2:

          [Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

          So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

          Our Father in heaven,
          Hallowed be Your name.
          Your kingdom come.
          Your will be done
          On earth as it is in heaven.]

          You see it’s about God’s will being done on earth… not about going to heaven but more about bringing heaven to earth.

          Also Jesus’ teaching in the beatitudes demonstrates that principle in Matthew 5:5:

          [Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.]

          Jesus also teaches in Matthew 5:13-14:

          [“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

          “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.]

          Luke 17:21:

          [nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”]

          So that’s just a sample… but there are many many more examples of Jesus’ core message being the Kingdom of God influencing the world.

          I don’t wish to argue further but I wanted to show my point of view so others didn’t think your view was all that stood. Peace.

          • Austin

            Thanks for the thoughtful responses here. I think I personally would lean more towards what Manu_ela_roy is saying: that the focus of Jesus’ teachings was on how to live life on earth BECAUSE of the eternal implications for our actions. His intention clearly wasn’t to teach people how to climb a dominance heirarchy. His purpose was to save souls.

          • Manu_ela_roy

            Jared, I thought we were talking about his life goal not message. His primary message was the Kingdom because he came in order to prepare and send his Kingdom; His purpose in life was to fulfill the mission he was born to fulfill – to become the Messiah, the savior of all choose him. He had to die for our sin penalty to become the Messiah. Since the penalty for sin was death, especially eternal separation from the Holy God, and God decided to give us grace instead of justice, God himself decided to pay our death sentence, by sending Jesus to die for humanity. The whole point the prophesied Messiah came and fulfilled over 300 prophecies through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, and physical re-appearance

          • Chris

            I also appreciate this conversation. I wonder if it really changes anything, from a pragmatic approach, when asking the question of how to live your life according to his message. Whether your preparing for heaven, or bringing heaven to earth – It seems like those two are one in the same, in action.

          • Manu_ela_roy

            Chris, from mainstream religions’ perspective it does not make any difference because they claim that heaven/eternal life with God comes as a result of either child baptism and/or good works. From the bible’s perspective (on which the various religions are supposed to base their beliefs on) ”salvation” is NOT gained by works – on the contrary, works without the true requirement are declared ”dead” and ”worthless rags’ – but according to the bible it’s by belief in Jesus as the Christ (everything that is tied to being the Christ), repentance, becoming supernaturally born of the Spirit, and then living according to God’s will (part of the Kingdom, and doing the will of the King). God’s message through Jesus was about a Kingdom formed from those indwelled by a Holy Spirit, not so much a set of rules to live by. That Kingdom is also eternal and earthly life is not eternal.

            Heaven on earth will never happen regardless of religious and scientific beliefs and increase of knowledge. We are deeply flawed beings – our natural unmodified state of human nature most often tends toward destructive, selfish pursuits. No wonder we have to play attention, keep ourselves in check in so many ways, and do other things Peterson argues for – they take incredible effort because they are unnatural to us.
            The bible’s view is that, indeed, our human, ”sinful” (sin = (from archery) missing the target/mark) nature. It claims we are aware of many moral rules before being taught what is right or wrong because we were created in God’s image, to reflect that original god-like nature before sin, but that unless we are ”re-born” into that God-like nature we can not naturally manifest what we intuitively still long for.

          • That is an excellent question Chris. I have thought about this over many years and would like to offer my thoughts around the difference between preparing for heaven and bringing heaven to earth in regards to how each approach impacts our lives from a pragmatic perspective.

            Preparing for heaven isn’t very pragmatic at all:

            One of the major criticisms of mainstream Christianity throughout history has been the church’s over-emphasis on the afterlife, with a neglect towards the present human condition. Jordan Peterson mentioned in one of his videos that this is why philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche saw Christianity as immoral (roughly speaking). Even in modern mainstream Christianity there is a strong emphasis on the abandonment of this world in favor of going to heaven after you die. They are waiting to either die, or waiting for Jesus to come back to fix their lives. As Austin’s reply reveals, the primary focus, from the perspective of the church (not necessarily the bible), is to save souls – which implies the damnation of everything else in this life besides souls. What happens in action is that churches focus solely on “getting people saved” by trying to convert people into believing in their doctrine so that those new converts can do the same thing and can go to heaven when they die. Meanwhile, the actual world is left abandoned, seen as evil, and seen as nothing to do with spirituality or God. This is the Christianity that Austin and Manu_ela_roy subscribe to, powerless in this world, and all powerful in the next. Of course, they’ll object to this, but it’s clearly exposed in what they have already written. I oppose this kind of Christianity, as I believe it is blinded in one eye, and has strayed from the original intent of the bible.

            The original intent expressed throughout the bible is to bring heaven to earth – a very pragmatic idea:

            God’s kingdom rules in the hearts of men (Luke 17:21), as men rule on earth (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 115:16, Matthew 18:18-20), in accordance to God’s will and purpose (Matthew 6:10, Proverbs 19:21). True Christianity is meant to influence the world (Matthew 5:13-15, Matthew 13:32-33) and disciple nations (Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 2:2-3), not just “get people saved” (Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 23:13-15), and that’s why there should be an emphasis on the Kingdom and not just salvation. Even salvation or being born again is a means to an end (John 3:5)… it’s a means to get into the kingdom! When you focus on living out the principles of the Kingdom and you actively engage the world and the places of influence you create an environment conducive of the salvation of souls… but that isn’t the end in itself… God’s purpose for us is to steward what he gives us in this life (Matthew 25:14-29), to be a ruler, a manager, over the purposes and resources he has given each one of us according to our ability and in accordance with his character (Luke 16:1-13).

            Religion prepares man to leave earth, the Kingdom empowers man to dominate earth. Religion focuses on Heaven, the Kingdom focuses on earth. Religion is reaching up to God, the Kingdom is God coming down to man. Religion wants to escape earth, the Kingdom impacts, influences, and changes the earth. So I’d say there is a big difference to how you live your life and that they are completely different in action and in their impact on the world.

            Also Austin is wrong, we don’t follow Jesus’ teachings ‘because’ of the eternal implications of our actions… that would be like only deciding not to cheat on your wife because you feel like you’d go to hell. You don’t cheat on your wife because you love your wife! You also obey God, not because of the punishment He may lay upon you, but because you love God. Also, you fundamentally misunderstand the bible as a whole, as you forget the original purpose God had for mankind before they sinned… to rule the earth under God’s authority. You have too much of an emphasis on salvation as the end goal, and missed the fact that before man sinned God had a purpose for man, and that salvation is a means to reinstate man back to his original assignment. You have to ask yourself the question, what if man never sinned? What was God’s original purpose in creating man? Surely it wasn’t for man to sin just so God could save them… Rather, after man was given dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26), they sinned and lost their dominion to the devil (Luke 4:5-7), so Jesus had to come to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), take back dominion over the earth (Matthew 28:18), and reinstate humanity back to their original purpose (Matthew 25:34) as ruling as a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:5-6, Revelation 1:5-6), and Jesus had to give man back the dominion and Kingdom they lost in the beginning (Daniel 7:26). Most Christian’s only know half the story, so they emphasis Heaven, forget earth, and only know about salvation… but have no clue as to what Jesus was even really talking about with the Kingdom of God. Christian’s also overlook when the old testament is teaching about the Kingdom of God.

            I’ve probably got more to say but I think I’ve shared enough… not trying to be mean… just open and honest… enjoy 🙂

          • Austin

            If it isn’t ultimately about the afterlife, then why did many of the disciples and early church members such as Stephen willingly die for what they believed? Paul said “to live is Christ, to die is gain”.

            “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” To take this verse as anything other than face value requires some real mental gymnastics. This was Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth. Instructions for how to live on Earth and eternal salvation are not mutually exclusive in the Bible, in fact they are entirely interconnected.

          • I never said the afterlife was not something important throughout the bible…. only that Churches have an over emphasis on the afterlife… and missed the message Jesus preached himself, the Kingdom of God. Churches preach about Jesus’ life, they don’t preach the same message Jesus actually preached – there is a difference.

            Stephen and Paul were willing to die for what they believed so people on earth would gain from that testimony.

            I never said that how to live on earth and eternal salvation are mutually exclusive… but that Christians have adopted an attitude where they abandon the earth only to wait so they can live in heaven. It’s Christians that see the two worlds as disconnected – not me.

            Furthermore, everything I said here and in my previous comments do not contradict the scripture “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” … I have the feeling you didn’t even read what I said in my previous reply, let alone read all the scriptures I painstakingly referenced. If you had, you’d realize that what I am talking about not only includes Jesus’ sacrifice for us, but it extends far beyond that.

            I’ll state it again: salvation is the means to reinstate man back to his original assignment. So of course Jesus’ purpose was to provide redemption, but that’s only half the story, the full story is understood by asking, ‘what are we being redeemed to do?’ We are redeemed so people can continue to fulfill God’s law and rule and reign with the authority and power of the Kingdom.

            It’s pretty convenient that you skipped over 22+ scriptures that I referenced… and you didn’t address any of them… I showed you a scripture that actually shows Jesus himself, in his own words, stating why he was sent, and you didn’t bat an eye (Luke 4:42-43: At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place, and the crowds were looking for Him. They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving. But Jesus told them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well, because that is why I was sent.”) Instead, you tried to push your agenda on why you thought Jesus was sent. That tells me you are possessed by an ideology and that you are inflexible in assimilating new knowledge.

            You’re obsessing over a small part of the puzzle, while I’m holding the box that the puzzle came in with the full picture on the lid – showing you what it’s meant to look like. Peace.

          • Austin

            I don’t have the time to address all the verses you cited, but what it boils down to is the interpretation of the kingdom of God, whether it’s present future or some combination. Historically it’s been interpreted different ways since the Bible doesn’t really define it. This is a good outline of some of the different interpretations: . Many of the verses you cited are talked about here.

            “Christians have adopted an attitude where they abandon the earth only to wait so they can live in heaven. It’s Christians that see the two worlds as disconnected”. This is a gross mischaracterization of Christians. If they do want to “abandon the earth”, that’s a problem, but with the exception of a few christian cult leaders giving their followers kool-aid, this is not an accurate characterization. Most sermons you would find from Christian pastors would focus on how to act according to what Jesus preached. And like you said, this doesn’t take away from the afterlife emphasis that the Bible has. I still think you’re treating these two things as mutually exclusive.

            Christians preach for salvation and to live a holy life just like Jesus preached. You can say there’s no emphasis on the second part, but I would completely disagree with you there from my experience in multiple denominations of Christian churches. Transforming our minds, our actions, and our attitude to be more like Jesus is something Paul preached extensively about in his Epistles, and it is not rejected at all by modern Christians like you say.

          • Judging by your reply, I think you’ve misunderstood what I meant by Christians abandoning the earth and about what I was saying about the Kingdom of God. We might be talking past each other a little bit because I understand where you are coming from but I don’t think we are talking about the same thing. But that’s okay, I think this is the end of the discussion… so we’ll leave it at that…. but I’d like to thank you for the dialog and I hope you have a great day. I enjoyed it and hope you did also. Peace.

          • Austin

            I know you’re not talking about them literally abandoning the earth, I was just exaggerating that point. I’ve enjoyed it too, and thank you for your perspective on this.

          • Ruth Antoski

            The question is: what is the good news? That the 10 commandments were right all along so now we can go back to ruling the world but this time, keep the commandments?
            More questions: what purpose would god have in giving us free will if our purpose was merely to rule earth? Animals would have done just fine without us.

          • Chris

            No by all means, I love honesty more than anything so I really don’t mind. I’m not really Christian, but in a weird way I am. In so far as I have found truth in it, but that these truths can be found in many other places, but that Christianity does a good job in bringing them all together in a easy to remember story (at-least at this point because it’s such a huge cultural reference.)

            Because of that, I don’t want to get too dogmatic in the interpretation of the Bible, because first I think it’s important for the Bible to be interpreting the world correctly.

            I wanted to bring in some outside sources from pre-Christ Greek.
            “The man who can most truly be accounted as brave is he who best knows the meaning of what is sweet in life and of what is terrible, and then goes out undeterred to meet what is to come.” (Pericles’ Funeral Oration; 470 – 400 BC) This seems to be saying the same fundamental thing as Christianity in a different way. That a meaningful life is worth fighting for and dying for as a terrible existence is worse than death. In so far as that a soul that is prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven is willing to die for that dream, because it’s a worthy dream. Not that it’s necessarily attainable or real, but it’s much better than an alternative. To an Athenian, Athens was heaven. It was an idea worth dying for. “This, then, is the kind of city for which these men, who could not bear the thought of losing her, nobly fought and nobly died.” (Pericles’ Funeral Oration; 470 – 400 BC)

            Or as Nietzsche would say ‘Those who have a why, can bear any how’ or as a patriot would say ‘give me liberty, or give me death.’

            Your right. In a pragmatic way, this mindset is required to protect any liberal society worth fighting for. If men aren’t willing to die for something, then that something will not exist for long. The Athenians knew this, the American Revolutionaries knew this, and everyone in between knew this.

            I don’t think this necessarily requires an imagination of an afterlife, it just takes a bit of mental imagination to understand a mode of being that is worse than death and that to get there all it takes is for people to put life before liberty. It’s conceptually easier for people to imagine a higher good or rainbow to chase – with the same result. That’s what I mean when I say that they may not be pragmatically different.

            Whether or not an afterlife is true, I think there is a lot of wisdom in Christianity – learned wisdom over many of generations. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven and hell literally, but I think in a sense they do both exist on earth and the teachings of Christianity can help you get to this ‘heaven’ and avoid this ‘hell’ – which is to say achieving a meaningful life. So yes I do agree that if people become so focused on the afterlife that they forget to live a meaningful life – I think they are seriously mistaken.

            This isn’t really a complete thought and I’m more putting forth arguments and agreements than trying to position an ideological position. I think this conversation of religion (and everything else) boils down to a) how to have a meaningful life and b) how to keep it going. There is obviously a lot of conversation about this topic by people much smarter than me, but I do find it to be of utmost importance. It’s allusiveness does seem to be a reason to take a ‘leap of faith’ so to speak – or to say a principled approach to life that put the why before the what; the virtue before the desire.

          • Jose

            I would suggest you take a look at writings of st. Josemaria Escriva. He was talking about the world very much. You can also read his sermon “Passionately loving the world”

      • Matej Gartner

        I thought I would add my perspective to this dominance hierarchy conundrum. From my experience, being humble and working to elevate other people is a valid tactic for climbing the hierarchy. Because if you act in such a gracious way honestly, people will place you in a position of higher dominance themselves. I haven’t read the Bible thoroughly so I’m not sure if Christ represents anything like that, but thought it might be an interesting point of view (and it’s how I interpret what embodying the meta hero is like).

    • Chris

      If there is a society which promotes those upward in the dominance hierarchy those who are – courageous, truthful, humble, just, compassionate, graceful, etc – then does this sentiment of “the first will be last and the last will be first” still apply?

      It seems obvious that this would not necessarily be the case, leading me to believe that this sentiment is predicate on situational circumstances, and is not a universal principle.

      Other sentiments such as ‘turn the other cheek’ seem to be also heavily predicate on situational circumstances.

      Taking these sentiments without context and applying them in a universal way seems a sure fire way to actually be highly immoral and lose the overall message. Such as the person who is a bystander of a serious crime, and does nothing in the name of pacifism (as an extreme example.)

    • TotalOlympian

      The way I interpreted this part of the lectures is when Prof. Peterson talked about Jesus being a figurehead of transcendence. Rather than identifying yourself as player in a single dominance hierarchy, you have to identify with the process of transformation. This also relates to Nietzsche’s ‘Overman’ which is the concept of constantly improving yourself and your skill set.

      Paying attention to yourself and your environment, you can then make (hopefully) informed decisions about what to focus on in your life. You have to be constantly updating your model of how to act in the world. Taking this approach will help you in multiple situations (i.e. multiple hierarchies; family, work, community etc.). It’s not easy and it requires sacrifice and struggle which is another characteristic of the ‘meta hero’. However, once you practice the skill of being attentive and learning the discipline of improving yourself constantly, it will result in the best possible version of you. This will allow you to navigate and hopefully ascend multiple hierarchies.

    • ben

      It’s meta because there’s a higher value than what is seen. By playing according to the highest principles, you point others in the lesser hierarchies to a better path. Even if you die doing it, it still is the right path. Your cause maintains it’s moral integrity. There is power to a clear conscience and telling the truth in love. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

    • Jon

      As Nietzsche points out, sacrificing Christ was the genius of Christianity. It created a theoretical “dominance hierarchy” in some imaginary afterlife and posited that that was more important than corrupt/bad reality. Furthermore, the opposite of the types that succeeded in reality were to succeed in this theoretical afterlife! This is why Nietzsche called Christianity left-denying and slandering. The long play out of Christianity is what put “slave morality” on the pedestal and left us in the modern age of nihilism.

  • Richard Elliott II

    Good Lord! I ‘ve actually read some of these books. I just wish I could remember which ones. (?) Maybe you could put one or two up for just a little comedy relief.