2017 Maps of Meaning 03: Marionettes and Individuals (Part 2)


OK, so the last time we were here we got maybe a third of the way through this story the story of Pinokio and the transformation of a marionette into something hypothetically real I’m gonna backtrack a few slides and it’ll get us into it again so you remember that the blue fairy, so I would say that the benevolent element of mother nature in the schemata that we are going to use to investigate mythology was more or less allowed her entrance because Gepetto was a good guy and he wished for the right thing and so in some sense… here’s a way of thinking about that… you know genetic / environmental studies on children’s temperament have revealed something quite interesting which is that the shared environment that children have within a family so that would be what’s the same about your environment and your brother’s environment, the same doesn’t have that much effect on your temperament or his temperament ’cause the presumption always was that within a family there is a shared environment, right? and something was common about the environment to every child within that environment but there isn’t much of a shared environmental effect on temperament so then you can say, well that makes it appear as though isn’t that relevant in relationship to the development of temperament but you could also suggest something else you could suggest that if parenting is occurring properly, the effect of the shared environment should be very close to zero and the reason for that is that you establish an individual relationship with each child and the environment is actually a microenvironment that’s composed of your observations of this child and that specific child’s interaction with you like to some degree, if there is a shared environment, that means that you’re forcing the same principles on every child so my suspicions are, although I don’t know this, and the research hasn’t been done that in bad families there’s a shared environmental effect, but in good families that minimizes so that lets the child’s biological predisposition, roughly, manifest itself with support and in some positive manner well, I don’t want to extend the analogy too far, but you can imagine that, and this is what this film proposes, if you aim properly in relationship to your child what you’re trying to do is to establish an individual relationship and to allow them to move towards whatever their particular expression of individuality happens to be and that’s… that would be the same as allowing nature to take its course in some sense at least nature in its positive guise, and that’s exactly what happens here the other thing that happens, of course, is that the cricket, for reasons that aren’t clear, precisely is knighted by the blue fairy and serves as Pinokio’s conscience although he isn’t very good at it, which is a very peculiar thing, and quite a marked point that the film is making that that conscience actually has something to learn, too and there’s actually a Freudian element to that, you know, because Freud thought of the superego as the internalization, roughly speaking, of the father, and it could be very severe, the superego, so like a really strict father, really tyrannical father inside your head although I think it’s better to think about the superego as the internalized representation of society at large mediated to some degree through your parents, ’cause it’s not as if your father, even assuming he’s tyrannical is the inventor of all those tyrannical rules, he’s the propagator of them but he’s actually a proxy voice, even if it’s just for the harsh side of society, he’s the proxy voice for society and because we’re social creatures, the utility of having an internal social voice to guide you although, again, you seem to be able to follow it or not follow it, which I also find spectacularly interesting because, obviously if it was an unerring guide, you could just follow it and if it was an unerring guide, you wouldn’t need free will either, because you could just act out the dictates of this internal representation that isn’t what you do so anyways, the proposition here is that the conscience exists, but it’s a relatively flawed entity it needs to be modified as well by nature which is quite interesting, ’cause the blue fairy knights him, ’cause you also might think of the conscience as only something that’s socially constructed right, which is the more typical viewpoint, but I don’t buy that for a second because I believe firmly, and I believe the Piagetian interpretation of child development more or less bears this out, is that there are parameters within which conscience has to operate and it’s sort of like this, it’s like, it’s the same parameters that govern fair play, we’ll say that and so you can say there’s fair play within a game, and there’s fair play across sets of games and the set of games is pretty much indistinguishable from the actual environment if you think all the things you do as nested games, at some point the spread of that is large enough so that it encompasses everything you do which includes the environment, and so I believe that you’re adapted to the set of all possible games, roughly speaking all possible playable games, something like that and that you know the rules for that, which is why, we talked about this a little bit, why you’re so good at identifying cheaters we have a module for that, according to the evolutionary psychologists and not only you identify them, but you remember them, it really sticks in your mind and there’s other evidence, too, one piece of evidence that I love, well, there’s a couple one I would derive from Frans de Waal, who’s a famous primatologis, and he studied the prototype morality that emerges in chimpanzees and it’s very much nested in their dominance structures you know, because you could think of morality in some sense as the understanding of the rules by which the dominance hierarchy operates, right and so you could say, well, the biggest, ugliest, meanest chimp… and the male dominance hierarchies in chimps seem to be the predominant ones, although the females also have a dominance hierarchy it’s not quite so clear in bonobos, which seem to be more female-dominated but in any case, the primary chimp dominance structure is male and you could think, well it’s like the caveman chimp who’s biggest and toughest who necessarily rules, and who rules longest but that isn’t what de Waal found; see, the problem with being… mean, lets say and not negotiating your social landscape, and not trading reciprocal favors is that no matter how powerful you are as an individual, two individuals three quarters your power could do you in and that happens with the chimps fairly regularly; if the guy on top is too tyrannical and doesn’t make social connections, then weaker chimps, males, make good social connections and when he’s not in such good shape, they take him down, and viciously too de Waal has documented some unbelievably horrendous acts of, let’s call it, regicide among the chimpanzee troupes that he studied, mostly in the Arnhem zoo the big troupe there, that’s been there a long time but he’s very interested in prototypical morality, and here’s some other examples of prototypical morality emerging among animals, there’s many of them, but one is you know, if two wolves have a dominance dispute, again that would be more likely among the male wolves but it doesn’t really matter, they basically display their size, and they growl ferociously and they puff up their hair so they look bigger, and you can see cats do that when they go into fight or flight not only do they puff up, including their tail, but they stand sideways and the reason they do that is because they look bigger right, ’cause they’re trying to put up the most intimidating possible front so anyways, if two wolves are going at it, what they’re really trying to do is to size each other up and they’re trying to scare each other into backing off, fundamentally because, see, the worst-case scenario is like, you’re wolf number one, and I’m wolf number two and we tear each other to shreds, but I win, but I’m so damaged after that wolf number three comes in and takes me out so, like, there’s a big cost to be paid even for victory in a dominance dispute, if it degenerates into violence and animals, and human beings, but animals in particular, have evolved very, very specific mechanisms to escalate dominance disputes towards violence step by step so that they don’t… so that the victor doesn’t risk incapacitating himself by winning so what happens with the wolves is that, you know, they growl at each other and posture display, and maybe they even snap at each other but the probability that they’re gonna get into a full-fledged fight is pretty low and what happens is, one of the wolves backs off, and flips over and shows his neck and that basically means: “all right, tear it out,” and the other wolf says: though of course he doesn’t, “well, you’re kind of an idiot, and you’re not that strong, but we might need you to take down a moose in the future and, you know, despite your patheticness, I won’t tear out your throat” and then they’ve established their dominance position, and then, from then on, at least for some substantial period of time the subordinate wolf gives way to the dominant wolf but at least the subordinate wolf is alive, and, you know, he might be dominant over other wolves and so, everyone in the whole hierarchy has sorted that out either through mock combat or through combat itself and, you know, the low-ranking members aren’t in the best possible position, but at least they’re not getting their heads torn off every second of their existence so there’s even some utility in the stability of the dominance hierarchy for the low-ranking members ’cause at least they’re not getting pounded, getting threatened, which is way better I mean it’s not good, but it’s way better than actual combat and then there’s the example of rats, which I love, this is Jaak Panksepp’s work and he wrote a book called affective neuroscience, which I highly, highly recommend I have a list of readings, recommended readings on my website it’s a brilliant book, and he’s a brilliant psychologist, really, one of the top psychologists as far as I’m concerned both theoretically and experimentally, a real genius, he’s the guy who discovered that rats laugh when you tickle them they laugh ultrasonically, so you can’t actually hear them, but if you record it and slow it down then you can hear them giggling away when you tickle them with an erase, which is sort of like their mother’s tongue it’s often what lab people use as a substitute for the licking of the little rat by the mother so, and he discovered the paly circuit in mammals, which is like a major deal, right he should get a Nobel prize for that, that’s a big deal to discover an entire motivational circuit whose existence no one had really predicted, you know, apart from the fact that obviously mammals play and even lizards maybe, some of them are social lizards, seem to play so, anyhow, what Panksepp observed, and I think this is a brilliant piece of science is that, first of all, juvenile male rats in particular like to rough and tubmle play like to wrestle, and they actually pin each other like little kids do, or like adult wrestlers do they pin their shoulders down, and that basically means you win, and so, OK, so that’s pretty cool but what’s even cooler, I think, well there’s three things, one is: the rats will work for an opportunity to get into an arena where they know that play might occur and so that’s one of the scientific ways of testing an animal’s motivation, right so imagine you have a starving rat and it knows that it’s got food down in the end of a corridoor you can put a little spring on its tail and measure how hard it pulls, and that gives you and idication of its motivational force now, imagine the starving rat that’s trying to get to some food, and you have a little spring on its tail, and you waft in some cat odor so now that rat is starving and wants to get out of there, he’s going to pull even farther towards the food so getting away plus getting forward are separate motivational systems, and if you can add them together it’s real potent and part of the reason why in the future authoring exercise that you guys are gonna do as the class progresses you’re asked to outline the place you’d like to end up, which is your desired future and also the place that you could end up if you let everything fall apart so that your anxiety chases you and your approach systems pull you forward you’re maximally motivated then, and it’s important, because otherwise you can be afraid of pursuing the things you wanna pursue right, and that’s very common, and so then the fear inhibits you as the promise pulls you forward but it makes you weak, because you’re afraid; you wanna get your fear behind you, pushing you and so what you wanna be is more afraid of not pursuing your goals than you are of pursuing them it’s very, very helpful; and lots of times in life, and this is something really worth knowing you know, and this is one of the advantages to being an autonomous adult you don’t get to pick the best thing, you get to pick your poison you have two bad choices, and you get to pick which one you’re willing to suffer through and every choice has a bit of that element in it, and so, if you know that it’s really freeing because otherwise you torture yourself by thinking: “well, maybe there’s a good solution to this, compared to the bad solution” it’s like, no, no, sometime’s there’s just risky solution 1, and risky solution 2 and sometimes both of them are really bad, but you at least get to pick which one you’re willing to suffer through and that’s… that actually makes quite a bit of difference, because you’re also facing it voluntarily then instead of it chasing you, and that is an entirely different psychophysiological response challenge vs threat, it’s not the same, even if the magnitude of the problem is the same and so putting yourself in a challenging, let’s call it, mindframe, you can’t just do that by magic putting yourself in a challenging mindframe is much easier on you psychophysiologically ’cause you don’t produce… you don’t go into the generalized stress response to the same degree and you’re activating your exploratory and seeking systems, which are dopaminergically mediated, and that involve positive emotion so if you can face something voluntarily, rather than having it chase you, it’s way better for you psychophysiologically so, that’s partly why, well, it’s worthwhile to go find the dragon in its lair instead of waiting for it to come and eat you so, and especially if you also add the idea that if you go find the dragon in its lair you might find it when it’s a baby, instead of a full-fledged bloody monster that is definitely gonna take you down and so that’s part of the reason why… well there’s a whole bunch of things that emerge out of that observation like: don’t avoid small problems that you know are there face them, because they’ll grow into big problems all by themselves and you can think about… imagine the tax department sends you a notification, you owe them, like, 300 dollars well it’s, you know, that’s annoying, maybe you don’t even wanna open the letter or maybe if you do, you just put it on the shelf, but that damn thing doesn’t just sit there like a piece of paper on the shelf right, you ignore that for 5 or 6 years, it’s gonna become attached to all sorts of horrible things and if you ignore it long enough… you get the idea, it’s gonna turn into something that’s completely unlike the little piece of paper that it’s written on and many, many problems in life are like that, you’ll see that they pop their ugly little head up, and you know and you might wanna turn away, you might not want to think about it which is the easiest way of turning away, right, you just don’t attend to it it’s not like you repress it or anything like that, you just fail to attend to it and that’s a… really, as a long-term strategy it’s dismal it’s also something, I think, that’s more characteristic of people who are high in neuroticism and high in agreeableness ’cause agreeable people don’t like conflict and people who are high in neuroticism, or high in negative emotion, are hit harder per unit of uncertainty or threat and so, you know, and that’s partly why in psychotherapy a lot of times the people you see need assertiveness training so that would be the opposite of agreeableness, or they need help to get their anxiety and emotional pain under control those are not the only reasons, there’s antisocial behavior, but you can’t fix that in therapy in all likelyhood there’s alcoholism, there’s lotsa, lotsa other reasons, but those are two major reasons so anyways, there is a… that was all to telly you that… oh yes, back to the rats so okay, the rats are pulling on… you can measure rat motivation by how hard they pull on the spring, let’s say and they’re more motivated if they’re running away and they’re running towards, but let’s go back to play so, you can take juvenile rats who haven’t been able to play for a while, maybe they’ve been isolated or maybe they just haven’t been able to engage in physical activity, like many schoolchildren that you might be thinking about neither allowed to play nor engage in physical activity, and there’s a reason I’m telling you that so anyways, you get one of these little rats, and you can measure how hard he’ll pull to go out and play or how many buttons he’ll push, you know, and that gives you an indication of his motivation so anyways, you can see that the play-deprived juvenile rat will fight harder to play than a non-play deprived juvenile rat and so you can infer that the rat wants to go play and, you know, you do that… you do the same measurement with everyone around you if they wanna do something, you’re gonna poke and prod at them to see what sort of things they’re willing to overcome in order to go and do that, you’ll object even if you don’t really object it’s like… it’s a measurement device, and if they’re willing to overcome a bunch of your objections then you think: “oh, well, maybe they really want to” and that’s another thing to really know: if there’s something you want, you need about five arguments about why you want it because the probability that the person who’s opposing you will have five arguments about why you should’t have it is very low they just won’t have thought it through enough; so the other thing that happens in the future authoring exercise is that you’re asked to articulate the reasons for all the goals that come out of your vision of the future so you’re asked like: “why would it be good for you? why would it be good for your family? why would it be good for broader society?” so that gives you three levels of argumentation right there and if you have it articulated down into detail, and it’s related to other important goals they you’re a hell of a thing to argue with, because people just aren’t that deep by which I mean that they just don’t have that many levels of explanation or objection and it’s also really useful in relationship to your own mind, because if you want to do something that’s difficult and that requires energy, a lot of different subsystems in your mind are gonna throw up objections it’s like, “well, maybe that isn’t what you should be doing right now, maybe you should be doing the dishes or vacuuming, or watching TV, or looking at YouTube” if you’re really sneaky, when you’re trying to do something hard, what your brain does is give you something else hard to do that ‘s not quite as hard, so that you can feel justified in not doing the thing you’re supposed to ’cause you’re doing somethig else useful, and if you give in to that temptation, which you often will then it wins, and because it wins, it gets a little dopamine kick, and it grows stronger anything you let win the internal argument, grows and anything you let be defeated, shrinks ’cause it’s punished, it doesn’t get to have its way so that’s another thing really to remember, don’t practice what you do not wanna become and because those are… they’re neurological circuits, you build those thing in there man, and they’re not going anywhere you can build another little machine to inhibit them, that’s the best you can do once they’re in there, you can’t get them out, so… and then the one’s you built to inhibit can be taken out by stress and the old habits will come back up, so you gotta be careful what you say and what you do because you build yourself that way; so anyways, back to the rats okay, so the little rat gets to go out there and play, now imagine one little rat is paired with another rat but the other little rat is 10% bigger, 10% in juvenile rats is enough to attain permanent dominance so the 10% bigger rat will win the first wrestling, and so that’s what happens and then… so the little rat gets pinned, and maybe they play a bit, and then they’re done with it and so you separate them, then you let them play again, and the next time what happens is that the subordinate rat does the invitation to play and that’s like, you know, like a dog does when he wants to play you can recognize that, it kind of splays its feet apart, and looks up and looks interested and then it sort of dances around; you can do it with any kid that has a clue, you know that hasn’t been destroyed by adults, if your little 3-year-old, or 4-year-olds are better for this if you go like this, like, they know exactly what’s gonna happen, you know, they’re ready to dart back and forth and they’ll usually smile, and kids love rough and tumble play, which is now basically illegal in all daycare seriously, it’s seriously is, kids need it so desperately, ’cause it teaches them the limits of their body and your body, and it teaches them what’s painful and what isn’t and it teaches them the dance of play, and without that they’re just little disembodied blobs like, they have no finesse, that’s what you’re checking out when you dance with someone, you know you’re seeing if they have that fluency and facility for mutual reciprocal action embodied in them; and if they’re kinda like this, you know, and don’t have any sense of rhythm and don’t pay any attention to you and all of that, you have reason to question whether they actually inhabit their body and whether they can engage in a mutual interaction, physical interaction that’s going to be reciprocal and mutually satisfying it’s really important to check out; and a lot of that rough and tubmle play, even interactions between a child and its mother if you have a happy mother and a happy infant, and you videotape them, and you speed up the video tape, you’ll see that they’re dancing so one responds, then the other responds, then the other responds, it might be just with eye gaze, and movement, and all of that but there’s a dynamic interplay, which you don’t see with depressed mothers and their infants so, okay, so back to play, so the little rat, who is the subordinate one, he has to do the invitation and then the big rat can agree to play, ’cause he’s in the dominant position but if you pair them repeatedly, and this is really worth thinking about because, you see, morality emerges out of repeated interactions because, you might say, if you only interact with someone once, you might as well just take advantage of them and run off that’s what a psychopath does, by the way, and there is room in the environmental niche for psychopaths but they have to keep moving around, ’cause otherwise people figure out who they are so they just move around, and they can take advantage of one person, you know, maybe five times, or ten times, or something and then the reputation spreads, and they gotta get the hell out of there but… so it’s not a good long-term strategy, unless you can’t think of a better one so anyways, if you repeatedly pair these rats, unless the big rat lets the little rat win at least 30% of the time the little rat will not ask the big rat to play and that is… it’s a staggering discovery, it’s a staggering discovery because you’ve got the emergence there of an implicit morality, essentially that’s even incarnated in rats, that emerges across multiple play sessions it’s like, yes, exaclty, that’s exactly what Piaget said about the emergence of morality it’s exactly the same idea, at the rat level, so it’s a massively… and the fact that there’s a circuit, a separate neurophysiological circuit that’s actually specialized for that sort of thing is also a big deal now the other thing Panksepp figured out is that if you deprive juvenile rats of the opportunity to engage in rough and tumble play their prefrontal cortexes don’t develop properly and they become impulsive and restless, and then you can fix them with methylphenidate or ritalin and those are the drugs that are used to fix hyperactive kids, most of who are male and that’s because, well, really, you’re gonna take your six-year-old, your five-year-old you’re gonna put them in a desk, you’re gonna get them to sit there for six hours, that’s your plan, right? that’s a stupid plan; and they’re denied the opportunity to engage in play and that means that their ability to become social is being impaired it may cause neurological impairment, that’s what the rat evidence suggests and then you suppress that with amphetamines, ’cause amphetamines actually activate the play circuit they activate a different circuit, which will suppress the play circuit so it’s very, very… it’s not very wise, and I’m not gonna go off on that tangent because I could tell you why the school systems were set up that way, which I probably will at some point because it’s quite and interesting story in and of itself, and it’s the reason all you guys are sitting in desks right now somebody laughingly referred to this once as grade 15, that was pretty funny, given the look of the bloody place, you know hideous… okay so, now, this is an interesting thig, so you got the emergence of morality in, say chimps you got the emergence of morality in wolves, you got the emergence of morality in rats and the morality governs sequential interactions or group interactions, they have to repeat because, because it’s an emerging property of social or repetitive interactions that’s why, you can’t just localize it in one instance, it’s repeated and there’s been computer simulations of this they help you figure out how you might attain victory across games, across time maybe you need a strategy, and there’s a very simple strategy, which, I believe is called “modified tit for tat” so if you’re nice to me, I’m nice back, and if you do something bad to me, I do something bad back but imagine you run that out in sequences of behavior, and see who does with what strategy across time or an alternative strategy… [?] here’s the best strategy: I trust you, you trust me, we start interacting you screw up, I whack you, and then I forgive you, and we start again that’s modified tit for tat, and so… it’s a very simple algorithm; no one has come up with a better algorithm in a computerized simulation of game space than that particular strategy so it’s like: trust but don’t be a pushover, if someone violates the rules, you gotta nail them but then you don’t hold a grudge, you open the door to further interactions so, pretty smart, pretty smart and, okay, so anyways… so what this means, ’cause rats can’t talk, and wolves can’t talk, and chimpanzees can’t talk and what that means, just as Piaget suggested, was that the morality, the development of the morality precedes the development of the linguistic ability to describe the rules for the morality he said exactly the same thing about kids, right, is that they learn to play games before they know what the rules are to the games and so, you see that when you’re playing peek-a-boo with a kid, they can pick that up really young they get that right away, and there’s… you can play with kids almost immediately after they’re born, if you play simple enough games so they’ve got that deep, and they’re unbelievably playful so, they’ve got that circuitry ready to go right off the bat, and it’s one of the things that makes kids so much fun because they just like to play all the time, and so if you… if the play circuit in you hasn’t died which is a bad thing, then you can use that a lot with your kids, and it’s one of the things that helps you love them so that’s a good thing, so, okay so, the point is that the damn morality emerges before the representation of the morality it’s a big deal to know that, and that it emerges as a consequence of repeated social interaction so it’s not a top-down thing, it’s a bottom-up thing now, Piaget says: well, it’s not just bottom-up, because what happens with human beings is that they learn to play the games… one of his experiments was: watch seven-year-olds, I think that’s the right age, play marbles and then he noticed that they can play with each other, and that they can follow the rules but that if you take the individual seven-year-old out of the game, and you say: what are the rules? they give incoherent and incomplete explanations of the rules so what that means is they don’t really represent the rules, but they can act them out and have a partial representation of what they’re acting out now, when they get older, the rule representation starts to fall into alignment with the actual rules of the game and you can imagine that’s why [?], because when they’re playing something like marbles, they’re gonna have discussions like: you’re cheating or: you’re not allowed to do that, ’cause they’re always gonna be pushing the envelope a little bit and then the group is gonna render a judgment on whether or not that’s appropriate and out of that the rules are going emerge, but they’re not rules to begin with, they’re patterns of behavior it’s not the same thing as a rule, a rule describes a pattern of behavior but a pattern of behavior is a pattern of behavior, it’s something that’s acted out so, there’s the individual within the group and then the interactions of the individuals within the group produce a hierarchical arrangement or multiple hierarchical arrangements, those are games, roughly speaking, or stories nested iside an overarching story, which is the fundamental culture right, and that’s nested within a whole bunch of competing cultures that have some commonalities or they would just be at war all the time, which, you know, to some degree they are so, okay, now, you see that… back to the movie, you see that happening in the movie I mean it’s very, very quick, but the blue fairy turns the bug into the conscience and then the bug tries to explain to Pinokio what the rules of morality are but the thing is the bug doesn’t know, because he’s just a bug, and you know, he’s just not omniscient, so the best he can do is to come up with, like, a propagandistic semantic, verbal representation that’s internally contradictory, and when he tells Pinokio, Pinokio has no idea what he’s talking about and neither does the bug, that’s the thing; and so… so what happens is this, the cricket says: well Pinok, maybe you and I had better have a little heart-to-heart talk and the puppet says: why?
and the cricket says: well, you wanna be a real boy, don’t you? alright, sit down son, now you see the world as full of temptations – temptations?
– yes, temptations, they’re the wrong things that seem right at the time but even though the right things may seem wrong sometimes, sometimes the wrong things may be right at the wrong time or vice versa, understand?
– no! no, and neither did the cricket, and that’s actually very nicely done in that piece of the movie because you just wanna slap him as soon as he starts talking like that because he gets up on his little matchbox and lectures, and he’s dull and tyrannical, both at the same time and so there’s nothing genuine about what he’s saying, he’s imitating something that isn’t him so he’s really acting like a puppet at that point, too, and it doesn’t work at all and so Pinokio says: I’m going to try to be a good boy; and the cricket says: well that’s the spirit, son and then away they go, so… alright, so then we’re at the next day, ’cause this all happens in one night we’re at the next day, and you know, it’s a nice day, and there’s these birds flying around that’s actually, that’s a bit of foreshadowing there, you know so, um, you have to remember, when you watch something like this movie not a single bit of it is random or accidental, none of it because, you know, they had to draw I don’t remember how many frames per second these things are thirty, maybe, if it’s high-quality animation; so someone had to paint thirty pictures to get a second of this you’re not doing that accidentally, it’s really expensive, and everyone has to agree on exactly what’s going to happen and you might say: well, do the people who are doing this consciously know what they’re doing? and the answer to that is: well, sort of, just like you do, it’s yes, they know, and no, they don’t and they know because they’re really smart and gifted, and all that, but they don’t know, because it’s not all articulated plus they’re working in a group, so they know and don’t know, just like you do when you’re watching it and so… and when you do anything else… now, they’re also guided by what you might call… they’re guided by their unconscious in the Freudian, and in the cognitive way, partly because your unconscious value structures determine the direction and content of your perceptions so it’s built right into the way you move your eyes, ’cause you tend to look at things you value right, or at things you’re afraid of, like you look at things with valence and part of the decision about what has value is dependent on the implicit structure of your moral system because morality is about what’s good, and what isn’t and that’s been partly a conscious construction of you, but it’s partly partly something you’ve been… you’ve picked up by interacting with people like mad since you were born you don’t know all the rules anymore than the damn cricked did you just don’t, and you can’t, ’cause you’re too complicated, but you act them out and then you also have representations of how people act, in your imagination that’s what a dream is, that’s what a fantasy is, that’s what that little movie that plays inside your head when you remember what you did is and you only remember the gist, you know, so even the imagistic representation of your behavior in your past, which is basically your episodic memory it’s already selecting, and molding, and turning it into a relatable story it can’t help but do that, it’s the only way you can represent it and so you don’t know how you do that or why you do that, but part of it’s governed by this implicit morality it’s part of your procedural memory, part of the way you act, part of the way you move your eyes, and listen to things, and focus on them that’s all been instantiated inside of you because of your biology, but also this immense social project that you’re continually engaged in and so, that informs what you remember, it informs what you imagine, it informs what we collectively imagine it informs what we can collectively understand and partly what you’re doing while you become conscious of yourself is to map the implicit structures that already constitute you from society into explicit representation that’s what self-understanding means; and you know, when you have that moment of insight about something you’ve done it’s like you’re watching this repetitive behavior that you’ve manifested, probably that got you in trouble you know, it’s your characteristic way of falling accidentally into chaos and you talk about it, your problems, you talk about them with your friends, you talk about them and maybe you have dreams about them, and you’re trying to relate them and you have memories about them that you can’t get rid of, ’cause they’re negatively toned so you talk about them, and then someone comes up with a little statement that links them together causally and you thing: aha! that’s what I’m doing; and then maybe you can stop doing it or at least maybe then you can thing of some strategies for not doing it anymore but it’s not like you know, it’s like you’re acting it out, you know it that way but until the representation matches that pattern, that click of insight doesn’t occur and that’s like a revelation, it’s a really good way of thinking about it because the knowledge is there in its implicit form, and all of a sudden, bang! it’s been made explicit as a fantasy maybe, or also as a set of semantic statements you know, maybe you have a crush on someone and you don’t notice it and maybe you find yourself having a fantasy about them, you think: oh! that means something! maybe you don’t want to know that that’s what you want, but the fantasy will tell you and one of the things Jung suggested, and this is sort of out of the freudian tradition of free association is: watch yourself, watch your fantasies, because they’re always happening, and they’ll tell you something and so, one of the things I do when I’m interacting with my clients is we’ll have a discussion, and then their eyes will drift a little bit and I’ll know that something’s flitted through their mind, you know and that means we’ve touched on something that has a multiplicity of elements and so I’ll stop and say: look, I noticed that you… maybe you teared up, that’s another thing to really watch or maybe you laughed, or you drifted at least, it’s like… it’s because some other thought has entered your field of consciousness and if you can get the person to grab those thoughts, to notice them then you can often figure out the avenues along which that particular conversation might unfold that’s a complex, that’s a Jungian complex or a psychoanalytic complex it’s like, there’s an emotional core that produces a whole range of associated ideas and that thing’s got a life, it’s like a micropersonality, and it might have resentment in it, might have anger it’s often negative emotion-tinged, because negative emotion-tinged episodes are still problems and they will emerge automatically, ’cause you’re threat detection systems force them onto your consciousness, essentially so you watch, and when you drift… you’ll drift, and the fantasy is partly a representation of of the problem space you know, that happens when you wake up at three in the morning and you’re worried about things right, ’cause actually what happens is you wake up during threat processing and if you’re depressed, actually that gets so intense, you can’t sleep, so then you just lay there all night, worrying not fun, and those are fantasies about the negative elements of your past, present and future and the fantasies can also breed solutions, and that’s partly why Freud regarded dreams as wish-fulfillments it’s partly… and he wasn’t… that was where he stopped; it’s not correct it’s partially correct, it’s like the fantasy will provide you with a problem and a potential solution but they’re more like problem-identification mechanisms, the fantasies, with the possibility of a solution built in and so, a way of thinking about that is that you can generate potential futures so they’re like each segregateable environments, according to the rules of your fantasy then you can generate little avatars of yourself that inhabit each of those little universes, and you can run them as simulations and then you can watch what happens in the simulation, and if it’s a catastrophy, then you don’t have to act it out and that’s exactly, not exactly, that’s akin to what you’re doing when you go watch a movie except that is much more coherent and well thought-through, than just a dream, which is often quite fragmentary that’s partly ’cause the dream is willing to sacrifice coherence to play with category structures you know, and that’s why in dreams things can change one thing into another really weirdly or scenes can change from one scene into another without a logic, the logic gets loosened so that the expanse of your thinking can widen and it’s dangerous to do that, and that’s partly why you do it while you’re asleep and paralyzed you know, you don’t run around and act out your pseudopodal fantasies, where you’re stretching yourself out into the world there’s no risk, exactly, although it can be bad enough so you’ll wake up in terror but that’s better than being in a crocodile’s mouth by a large margin anyways, back to these birds, these are used later in the movie as manifestations of the Holy Spirit, roughly speaking and of course that’s a standard Christian symbol, although, as I mentioned the dove often represents the Holy Spirit, and we’ll talk about that later but this movie has very strong pagan elements in it, as I mentioned before as opposed to strictly Christian symbolism but that’s foreshadowing, and what it foreshadows is that, well, a new day has dawned it’s the emergence of new consciousness, and everything last night went well, really well everything in the… let’s call it the unconscious, say, after time stops, that all went well, and so the new day is full of promise and so, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining, and, like, hurray this is the next scene, right, so it sets the tenor for that scene just like the introductory song does so anyways, then you see all these kids playing and enthusiastic, so they’re off to school which is presented in a positive light, and so that’s where you get socialized so Pinokio’s ready to go beyond the boundaries of the familial home and he’s ready because his father prepared him, and his mother prepared him and so he goes off, and he’s not going off alone, he’s going with his conscience you can think about it, again, as the internalized representation of nature and society and so he’s not going out there alone, even though he’s not very good at it he’s pretty excited about it, and so is Gepetto; see, Gepetto isn’t standing there paralyzed with terror and the kid isn’t phobic of the outside world, and so he’s treating it as an adventure even though, well, it’s an adventure, but adventures can be dangerous you can imagine a kid, especially one who’s, like, high in neuroticism, who hasn’t been encouraged sufficiently to overcome that, let’s say their primary idea might be: well, what if the other kids don’t like me that’s a big one; what if the teachers don’t like me, what if the other kids won’t play with me it’s like, yeah, what if, that’s rough, man, and if you’re not a playful kid, it could easily be the case so… but that’s not Pinokio, he’s like, spinning out, ready to go and so… good, good, he’s got… naive, but enthusiastic, ok, well at least that gets the ball rolling now, you’ve got these two evil creatures here, the fox and the cat I think this one’s based on one of the Marx brothers, actually, Harpo Marx, who, I believe, never said anything but, be that as it may, they’re these ne’er-do-well characters, the fox in particular now fox is standard trickster animal, right, it’s a… classic animal, maybe because it’s good at hiding, and it’s good at hunting I don’t know exactly why, but coyotes are like that, too they’re classic trickster animals, he’s kinda like Wile E. Coyote, in fact you know, the Warner Brothers character who’s genius at large, and whose arrogance continually gets him wallopped and this character has a lot of features like that, but he feigns being an English gentleman of the 1890s and pretends to be educated, and has a kinda high-blown way of talking, and he’s a fraud through and through and he’s got this sidekick who’s barely there at all, and he doesn’t treat him that well but he’s got someone to lord it over, so that keeps his dominance hierarchy thing going well and the fact that he’s like a second-rate companion, well, he never really notices that although he’ll treat him contemptuously whenever he gets a chance so anyways, they’re walking down the street, and the fox is bragging away about some crooked thing that he’s done how he pulled the wool over someone’s eyes, and he confuses that with wisdom and intelligence and one of the things that you see, this is worth knowing too, because if you’re preyed upon by a psychopath, which you will be to some degree at some point in your life the psychopath, who will be narcissistic, will presume that you’re stupid and that you deserve to be taken advantage of, because you’re naive and stupid, so it’s actually a good thing that he’s doing it and his proof… and I’m saying “he,” because there are more male psychopaths the proof that you’re stupid and naive is that he can take advantage of you and so, like, if you were wiser, you’d be a, you know, you’d know his tricks then it wouldn’t be morally necessary for him to show you just exactly who knows what about what and so, the psychopath will use his ability to fool you as proof of his own grandiose omnipotence, omniscience, and narcissism and the problem with that is that you can be fooled by a psychopath, and virtually anybody can so that Robert Hare, for example, who’s studied psychopaths for a long time and interviewed a lot of them, like hundreds of them, and videotaped many of the interviews he said when he was talking to the psychopath he always believed what they were saying and then he’s watch the video afterwards, and see where the conversation went off the rails but, you know, the proclivity to be polite in a conversation is very strong and if you’re polite, you don’t object to the way that the person unfolds their strategy, you know and psychopaths are pretty good at figuring out how to manipulate, obviously, how to manipulate people and the probability that you will be immune to that is extraordinarily low go watch Paul Bernardo being interviewed by policemen on the Youtube that’s bloody… that’s enlightening, man, Paul Bernardo, he’s like the CEO of a meeting in that video he gives the cops hell, he gives the lawyers hell, he protests his innocence, he basically tells them that they’re rude and untrustworthy because they don’t trust him, because he did a few little things seventeen years ago and he gets away with the few little things, right, I mean he killed a bunch of people, including the sister of his girlfriend at the time and you know, he was a repeat sexual offender, and murderer but he basically goes: you know, that’s a long time ago, it’s like, we’re past that, aren’t we? I mean, I’m having a discussion with you, I’m trying to help you solve some crimes, which, by the way, I committed, but we won’t bring that up you know, and you’re accusing me of being a liar, you’re not playing fair, what’s up with you? and then when they answer, he looks at his fingernails, which is, like, that’s a lovely little manipulative thing ’cause it basically means: whatever happens to be under my fingernail at the moment is much higher priority than your foolish story and you watch, you’ll see people do that to you, and then you get a little insight into what they’re up to he’s very good at that; or he looks outside, or he just looks at his hands, or he looks out the window immediately dismissive in his nonverbal behavior, it’s brilliant the courts were forced to release that, by the way, look it up, Paul Bernardo on Youtube wow, it’s jus mind-boggling, he’s so good at what he does and he’s good-looking, and he’s charismatic, and, you know, he can really pull it off and you can’t tell what’s happening with the cops and the lawyers, whether they’re just letting him play his routine to get some information from him or whether he’s actually setting them back on his heels, and I suspect it’s a bit of both but it’s a masterful performance; if you didn’t know who he was, and you were watching it without the audio you’d think he’s the CEO of some company giving his employees hell for not being up to scratch that’s all his body language, his eye contact, everything, just speaks that, it’s amazing so anyways, you got these two-bit hoods here, who think they’re really something and they also think they’re tough and dangerous, and they’re not, they’re just, you know, cowardly corner dwellers and they confuse their unwillingness to abide by reasonable rules with an indication of their heroic courage which is something else that low-rent hoods like to do, you know and it’s partly because lots of people who just attend to the law do do that because they’re cowardly which is a Nietzschean observation, are you good? or are you just afraid? let’s start with afraid first, before we proceed to good, and that the reason you follow the rules is that you’re afraid of getting caught yeah, well, you know those kids who… often university kids who are in a hockey riot and breaking windows, and stealing things, you know, they get nailed for it, and afterwards they’re really blown away by their own behavior it’s like, well, they’re in that camp, they think they are good people, but they’re not, they’re just never anywhere where you could be bad and as soon as you put them somewhere, where they could be bad, it’s like, out it comes, just like that and that’s really worth thinking about, ’cause most of you, many of you, but not all of you, I suspect have never really been somewhere that you could be really bad and get away with it and so you might think, well, you wouldn’t do it, but people do it, all the time so anyways, they’re talking about some exploits, and then they see that this character named Stomboli, he has a puppet show, right and he’s kind of a wheeler-dealer too remember, I showed you that mas that was glaring at Pinokio when he got his voice? it’s like, Stromboli is one of his manifestations, the fox here is another one of his manifestations all the negative characters throughout the movie are manifestations of the same thing it’s partly the adversarial individual, and it’s partly the tyrrannical aspect of society it’s the negative masculine, that’s one way of thinking about it so, and you know, when men go bad, they often go bad by being antisocial and tyrrannical there’s way more antisocial men than there antisocial women, which is why there’s twenty times as many men in jail as there are women so each gender, let’s say each sex has it’s own characteristic pathologies and there are some antisocial women, you know, and there are some high-neuroticism guys or some guys who are really agreeable as well, but they’re rare so anyways, he sees this poster advertising Stromboli’s puppet show so Stromboli’s a puppet master; now that’s really worth thinking about, because that’s an archetypal theme or it’s at least attached to an archetypal theme: something’s behind the scenes, pulling the strings and everyone always wonders what that is, what’s actually going on; what’s actually going on with Trump? who’s actually in control? is it Putin? I mean that’s the fantasies of the left, it’s Putin it’s like, well, the question always is, what’s going on behind the scene right, and the question is… that’s the case certainly on the political landscape, business landscape, interpersonal relations what are you really up to, everyone’s always wondering that, right, it’s why they’re watching you eyes ’cause your eyes point at things, and they can infer what you’re interested in, and what you’re up to by looking at what you look at and that’s why your eyes have whites, it’s so that we can see where you’re pointing them, ’cause gorillas don’t and so what that means, roughly speaking, is that all of your ancestors whose eyes couldn’t be reliably tracked were either killed or didn’t mate, it’s a big deal for us to see where people’s eyes are pointed and so we’re always watching each other’s eyes, constantly; what are you up to, what are you up to? what are you looking at? what do you want? I wanna know, because if I know what you want, I can predict how you’re gonna behave and that also means I can cooperate with you, or I can compete with you, or I can lie to you but all the information is in the eyes, surrounded by the facial display, right, ’cause that’s also an indication of motivation and emotion our eyes are so good at that, that for you guys sitting there in the back, I can tell if you’re looking at my eyes or at my chin and the deviation in your eyes is so tiny, that it’s a kind of miracle that we’re capable of making that perceptual observation it’s really important to us, so and we have really good eyes, so that’s another thing about us so anyways, what’s going on behind the scenes? well, if you look at Stromboli, you might be thinking: it’s not clear he’s someone you’d want to have pulling your strings there’s a little bit of, forced ethusiasm, let’s say, there, and he’s just not a very savory looking character so anyways, the fox knows him, and they start talking about Stromboli, that old joker how they could possibly involve him in some sort of scam, because he’s back in town and then they see the puppet, and the fox does his equivalent of thinking which is, you know, pretty sad and nasty, but that’s what he does and then they see this puppet with no strings, and they think: hey man a puppet master would pay a lot for something that is capable of semi-autonomous movement like that it would be kind of a miracle; and so they decide that they would take him to Stromboli and so they grab him, and, hah, he’s got an apple to take to the teacher, which, I think it’s the cat, promptly eats and the fox acts out this false enthusiasm about what Pinokio is up to, and pretends that he’s his friend which is of course what your typical pedophile will do, and so this is in the same kind of category and it truly is; one of the things that’s interesting to know about pedophiles is that they’re predatory, right and so they don’t go after kids that are assertive and likely to be noisy they watch, and they watch to see if they can find a kid who’s defeated, and… that’s good enough, who’s defeated, and who’s gonna need a friend, and who’s not going to object and so when they check out… these are the ones who do the stranger abductions, which are, by the way, extraordinarily rare they look for a victim type, they look for a kid who’s gonna be easy to take down and so, you know, that’s one thing you don’t want… so you might think, well… one of the things that was really big, it’s probably even worse now, when I was a parent of young children was to teach your kids how to be afraid of strangers, it’s like, uh, no, wrong, that is not what you teach them because all you do is teach them then to be timid and fearful, and the real predatory types, they’re pretty much thrilled about that ’cause you’ll also make them sheltered and naive you make your kids courageous, and you get their damn eyes open, and that’s the best thing you can do against people who are truly dangerous so, none of that terrifying… it’s not a good idea anyways, the fox befriends the puppet, and then they come up with this evil scheme to get him off to Stromboli, the puppet master and away they go, and they sing a little song about being an actor, “an actor’s life for me” this took me along time to figure out, I thought: they’re taking Pinokio away to be an actor now why in the world are actors getting such a rough time in this movie? it’s like, it’s a Hollywood movie, you know, it’s acting, obviously, the voiceovers and all of that are acting it’s… why is this thing about being an actor? and then I thought: oh, I get it, I see what’s going on they sing to Pinokio about the delights of unearned celebrity so he doesn’t have to go and get an education, he doesn’t have to take the difficult route he can take the easy way to dominance… to success, to dominance success he can circumvent all the hard work and go right to the top, you know, and when you think about phenomena like the Kardashian family and how popular they are, part of that is this desire that people have for unearned celebrity because you can ge to the top without any sacrifices and without any work, and if you’re really cynical you know, you think that the people at the top are just there by accident anyways, and it might as well be you of course, there’s a lot of naivety in that as well, and a fair bit of, you know… a fair lack of wisdom and all of that but the actor idea here is that you can pretend to be something you’re not and that that’s the proper route of anyone wise to success, it’s the ultimate in cynicism and it’s a nihilistic perspective as well, and that’s how they entrap him they say: look, why are you bothering to go to school? that’s gonna take 18 years with all of your talents you could just go on the stage, your name will be up in lights, you’ll be at the top in no time and what does the puppet know? plust he does have some talents, he is, after all, a semi-autonomous puppet now, he doesn’t exactly know how special that makes him, but the fox can obviously see something in him and he’s good at playing that naivety off, and then offering these false promises but, see, the thing is… one of the things that Carl Jung said, that I thought was really interesting when he was talking about the Edipal situation in families, I never forgot this so the Edipal situation, roughly speaking, is when – I’ll lay out the classic story – is when a child is seriously overprotected, usually a male child by his mother now, the reverse can be the case, and it can be a female child by the mother, and all of that but I’ll just talk about the classic case to begin with now, what Freud observed was that there were usually not very good boundaries in families like that and so, the relationship between the husband and the wife was either strained or nonexistent and the wife would often turn to the child to be what she isn’t getting from the husband and so, there’s a great South Park episode about this, a wonderful South Park episode where… I don’t remember that horrible little guy
[student: Cartman]
yeah, that’s him his mother brings in the dog whisperer to train him, and it’s a brilliant episode if you want to learn about the freudian edipal situation, you watch that, you’ve got it down cold because she brings in this expert, who then she wants to have an affair with, so that’s a boundary issue and he basically separates her son from him [sic], and imposes the same discipline on him, that he would impose on a bad dog although he also trains the dog’s owners all the time, because maybe it’s not the dog, maybe it’s the owner there’s a horse whisperer movie, too, about the original horse whisperer that does a beautiful job of laying that out, too ’cause he’s very good at fixing problem horses, and unbelivably good at diagnosing psychopathology on the part of the owner he’s got a gift for it, but… anyways, what happens in the South Park episode is that the dog whisperer gets Cartman straightened out and he starts, like, dressing properly, and doing his homework, and… and the mother is pursuing an affair with the dog whisperer, but he’s professional he keeps his distance, he keeps boundaries around him and then he leaves, and then the first thing that she does when he leaves is bribe Cartman, basically, out of doing his homework, so that he can accompany her to, I don’t know, a fast food restaurant or something like that and so, the reason she does that is ’cause she’s lonesome, and doesn’t have anybody else around and, you know, maybe she’s also deeply, deeply, deeply terrified that if she helps that boy grow up, he will leave and she’ll have nothing you know, and so, mothers who don’t have something, say, outside their infants not merely their children, are more likely to fall into that, and it’s no wonder you know, you gotta think that through; and lots of women, most women, really fall in love with their babies and so, even if they start growing into larger children that can be threatening because when the child… when the infant turns into a toddler, the infant is dead the toddler is there now; and you can radically interfere with that process, that happens all the time that’s the classic Freudian oedipal nightmare and that episode is brilliant, it’s bloody brilliant, it just nails it some of you’ve been in my personality class and watched “Crumb”, the documentary “Crumb” and that’s another staggering exposition of exactly that kind of pathology anyways, one of the things Jung pointed out… so I knew this guys once, who had a mother who basically was trying that trick and she was very smart, and had lots of tricks up her sleeves, and there was just no way he was gonna go for it he rebelled at every possible moment, and he basically became, I would say, somewhat hypermasculine in response which is an interesting lesson with regards to the hypermasculinity that boys often develop when they’re raised by single mothers ’cause they tend to go one of two ways and he just fought her at every step of the way, and it didn’t happen but one of the things Jung said, which I loved, and you can really see this in the “Crumb” documentary is that the oedipal mother basically entices the child, she says: look here’s the deal, you don’t have to do anything, but you don’t get to leave and if you don’t leave, and you don’t to these difficult things, then I’ll take care of you and the child has a choice, all the way along there, I mean, obviously he’s outclassed in some sense, but it’s not as obvious as you’d think little kids are tough, and they make decisions all the time and so Jung thought about it more as a conspiracy than as something imposed on the child by the mother and I really like that, it’s actually a conspiracy between mother, father, and child, actually and I think that’s a good way of looking at it, even though it’s really rough, ’cause well, should you hold the child responsible? well, yes, but judiciously, and not completely ’cause then if you deal with someone like that as an adult, and they’re trying to escape from it you have to go all the way back and figure out how the hell it happened they have to figure out where they opened the door, like inviting a vampire in ’cause they can’t come in unless you invite them in, so don’t invite them in ’cause once they’re in they’re really hard to get rid of, and they’ll take all your blood so that’s a cautionary tale so anyways, Pinokio doesn’t know any better, and he’s got the egotism of youth he’s offered the easy way to success, which is exactly what the fox tells him, and off they go to see Stromboli so this is this song, I’m not gonna read it all it’s great to be a celebrity, an actor’s life for me you sleep till after two
you promenade a big cigar
you tour the world in a private car you dine on chicken and caviar
an actor’s life for me! it’s all this idea of wealth and public exposure and zero attention whatsoever to anything regarding responsibility or discipline or learning and so it’s a dual attraction, right, you get everything you want, and you don’t have to do anything geez, what a deal; and so that’s what the actor represents, it’s a liar, fundamentally it’s someone who’s acting out a deception, they’re a persona in the Jungian sense so the persona is the mask you wear in public that you might even think you are. but you’re not it’s this mask, and that’s the actor, that’s the persona so the fox and the cat are inviting the puppet to only become a persona see, for Jung, you start as a persona, and then, when you start to investigate the parts of you that don’t really fit in that persona and that would be the shadow, then you start understanding who you really are and that’s shocking, because the persona contains everything, roughly speaking, that you think is good and maybe even that your immediate culture thinks is good and then the shadow contains everything’s that’s not part of that and some of that’s really bad, but some of it is good disguised as bad and you can’t break out of the persona and transcend it until you incorporate a lot of what’s in the shadow and so, for example, it you’re and extrordinarily compassionate person, let’s say 98th percentile you’re going to be sacrificing yourself to other people all the time and there are people who will find that extraordinarily endearing and it will be, under some circumstances, but the problem is that you will sacrifice yourself and that’s a really bad attitude to have, for example, towards adult males it’s a great thing for infants, but for adult males it is *the* wrong approach you will get taken advantage of continually by people who are looking for someone like you, until you grow some teeth and you’ll think: no, no, that’s the opposite of compassion, being able to bite hard is the opposite of compassion which it is; and so you’ll have that pushed into the predator category “I’m not doing that, I’m not getting angry, I don’t like conflict” until you bring that out of the depths and put it on, so you can use it, you’re gonna be in trouble and that’s kinda Nietzsche’s idea of the revaluation of good and evil you have a sense of what’s good, and a sense of what isn’t with your conscience, but it’s not very smart it’s got things in the wrong boxes, even nature itself a lot of the things that you accept as untrammeled goods, like compassion, let’s say have a very dark side, first of all, and second, are not enough to get you through life you need the opposite virtues, too, and so you have to develop them you get outside the persona to do that but anyways, Pinokio’s invited to be a false persona to take the gains of celebrity without having to do anything to be educated, he’s just gonna go right to the top from right where he is and you know, people are kinda fascinated by that idea, that’s why you watch America’s Got Talent or the X-Factor, which shows I actually love, by the way you never see narcissism in its purer forms than you see it when you watch people who display an absolute lack of talent and become homicidal when someone dares point it out accusatory and homicidal, instantly, it’s really something and then, now and then, you do see one of these people who’s so introverted, and so out of society and have this unbelievable gift, which is also something really remarkable to see and it’s no wonder these things are so popular, they’re psychologically extraordinarily interesting so that’s the actor, first of Pinokio’s temptations, and of course it’s the first one, because he’s entering the social world and the temptation in the social world is to be exactly what other people want you to be and the thing that’s cool about that is that is what you should be doing when you go out in your peers, you should be not subjugating your individuality to your peers, ’cause that’s not exactly right that’s kinda based on an inhibition model, you’ve got aggression, you’ve got bad habits, they have to be inhibited you learn that by interacting with your peers;
it’s not the right model, that’s a Freudian model Piaget was correct about that, he basically pointed out that what should happen is let’s say, with your aggression, and hopefully you have some, is that it gets socialized you learn how to play games, but you don’t drop your drive to win, you integrate that in the games you try to win, you try to play hard, but if you’re defeated or you hit something negative, you don’t respond negatively and you can keep that all bounded within being a good player, a fair player and that means what’s happened is you learned how to play a game or a set of games that also includes the darker parts of you, and they actually become part of your force of character it’s way better if you can pull that off, and that’s what you definitely wanna do as an adult all you people are gonna have to learn to negotiate on your own behalf, and that’s really hard it means that you have to know what you want, you have to be able to communicate it, and you have to be able to say “no” and to say “no” you have to be built on a solid foundation, you have to have options so you gotta remember that as you go through your life if you don’t have options, you can’t negotiate with someone, and if you’re not willing to use them, they win, period because if you’re asking your boss for more money, say, the answer is no because he doesn’t have any spare money lying around that he can just give to you, and lots of other people are asking so some of that zero-sum stuff, not all of it, because often you cooperate with people, and the whole pot can grow but some of it’s zero-sum, and so you better have a case made “here’s how much money I should have, here’s why, here’s the benefit to you if you do it here’s the consequences if you don’t, they’re actually real, they will cost you, and I will do them” then you can negotiate, and you don’t do that rudely, but those arguments, you better have them in order for example, if you’re gonna negotiate for a raise or a status shift you better have your resume at hand, all polished up, and know where else you’re gonna look for a job, and you better be able to get one ’cause otherwise you’re weak, and you will not win the negotiation and if you’re too agreeable, so your conflict-avoidant, you will make less money across time that’s already been well established, and that’s because you don’t have teeth, not enough and so, in the little micro-contest that you’re going to have every day you’re going to incrementally lose to people who are more aggressive who have bigger teeth, and that’s what happens, so don’t let that happen you place yourselves so you can negotiate, ’cause otherwise you’re just a facade and in a real battle a facade is just torn down right away well, the cricket, he’s supposed to be helping the puppet out, but he overslept that’s just another indication that he’s not everything he could be yet, and that’s really… that took me a long time to puzzle out with regards to interpreting this movie I could not figure out, I told you this, if the bug is the person who opens the hero narrative and who can guide the transformations of time and who has the same initials as Jesus Chris and is knighted by nature herself,
why is he such an idiot? it’s a very difficult thing to figure out, but the idea that the conscience isn’t omniscient even though it has that voice of, let’s say, common sense and that fits very nicely in with the Freudian idea of the superego, again, because the superego can be flawed it can be too harsh, it can not be properly developed you see that often with people who are orderly, so they’re high in conscientiousness, conscientiousness fragments into industriousness and orderliness orderly people like willpower, they’re very judgmental, and they like things to be exactly where they’re supposed to be but they’re also very self-punitive; conservatives are much more likely to be orderly, by the way it’s one of the best predictors of conservatism; low openness is the best predictor, but right after that is high orderliness and it’s associated with disgust sensitivity, which is really an amazing thing, we’ll talk about that later anyways, the cricket, he falls down his first day on the job he’s not as conscientious a conscience as he should be so he’s feeling pretty stupid, he’s got his little millionaire clothes on, but he’s really not living up to them he does catch up to the fox and the puppet, however, and tries to dissuade Pinokio from going down this road and of course, the cat, well, you can see what the cat’s doing there, he’s got a big hammer big mallet, and he’s… it also shows you just exactly how much of a clue he has he’s gonna wallop the bug who’s sitting on the fox’s hat, which I think he actually does then the fox can’t get out of his hat, and has to talk through his hat, which basically he’s doing all the time anyways so, this I really like, you see on the left here that the cricket is speaking inside this flower and like I said, there’s nothing accidental in these representations these are artists who were coming up with these compositions, and their fantasy has a structure so the cricket is speaking out of this flower that has, well, you could think about it as… it has a sexualized element so you could think about that as a phallic part, and that part of the feminine part of it, they are flowers, after all they are the sex organs of plants, and that’s very much the same over here, this is the yoni and lingam this is from Hindu culture, and you see there’s a snake wrapped around that, so that’s masculine and feminine with a snake wrapped around it, and that’s a holy representation, a sacred representation and it represents the deepst reality, that’s one way of thinking about it like chaos and order, surrounded by the snake, it’s exactly the same idea so the cricket speaks out of that; well we already know that, ’cause it is the conscience and he’s been awakened in part by Gepetto and the good father, and awakened in part by the good fairy and nature so he speaks with those voices, and he’s also a manifestation of the underlying chaos itself because nature and culture spring out of chaos I already showed you that schematic representation I’ll just end this scene, and then we’ll have a 15-minute break, okay? anyways, the cricket tires to make a case for why Pinokio shouldn’t go off to be a celebrity but, you know, it’s a hard case to make, because the fox is very manipulative, and Pinokio is naive and it sounds like a good offer, and also the fox is actually quite forceful, he basically takes him by the hand so the temptation is, and this is something else I like about the movie you can’t just say: “well, the puppet gets what he deserves” ’cause he’s little and naive, and what he’s facing is really malevolent, truly malevolent and physically overpowering, and so the movie does a nice job of not minimizing the threat that’s posed by this particular temptation and that’s part of what makes it art so we’ll stop there, we’ll have a break for 15 minutes, and then we’ll start with the stage alright, so here we are, at the big event, and Pinokio is off to be a celebrity and the cricket is watching, and Pinokio basically… well, he’s got some natural talent, because he’s a puppet, but he doesn’t have strings he goes on stage with strings, and then he drops his strings, and the whole crowd is amazed and the crowd should be amazed when that happens; you can imagine when a kid goes to school and shows some independence, that that’s actually gonna… people are gonna notice that his peers are gonna notice that, the teachers are gonna notice that maybe it’s too much independence even, but it’s still a… it is a remarkable thing, too it’s so interesting, you can see marked signs of independence in children, well, right from the time they’re born, basically because one of the things that’s really funny about the infants, is when they’re crying, you always think: “oh, the baby’s sad”, it’s like, no, a lot of the time that baby is angry and the way that we know that is because you can do facial expression coding on infants, just like on adults and you can tell what emotion they’re expressing, and very frequently… like when a kid starts to recognize his mom explicitly ’cause he or she knows the smell right away, pretty much, and the sound of the voice, but visually if someone comes in and it isn’t who the baby wants, so generally it isn’t mom the baby will start to cry, but it’s not ’cause the baby’s sad, generally, it’s because it’s angry that mom didn’t show up and that’s an early sign of will, it’s like this kid wants things and it’s perfectly willing to tell you about and of course a two-year-old who’s having a temper tantrum is in some sense doing the same thing it’s poorly integrated will and independence, obviously, but it certainly runs contrary to what you want you don’t want your two-year-old having a temper tantrum in the middle of the toy store it’s extraordinarily embarrassing for you and… well, for you, but it’s also embarrassing for the two-year-old this is one of the reasons I think that that sort of thing should be carefully socialized rapidly because it’s actually humiliating for the kid, ’cause other people don’t like that and they’re very judgmental about it, they won’t say anything, usually, but sometimes they will but they’re not happy about the fact that that’s happening, and they will judge the child negatively so you don’t want your child to be behaving in a way in public that makes other people think badly of them it’s really, really not good, and so part of your job as a parent is to not expose your child to that sort of experience especially not repeatedly, it’s really hard on them or they get narcissistic, which is also rally hard on them it just takes a lot longer to manifest itself so anyways, he’s off on stage and Stromboli introduces him and talks about how wonderful this is going to be and Pinokio comes out on stage with the strings on, and drops them and then he falls down the steps and puts his nose into a hole, makes a fool out of himself and that’s the first time Stromboli shows his true character, ’cause he just really yells and screams at him and he has his back to the audience, Stromboli, while he’s doing this, so he’s not noticing how the audience is reacting typical tyrannical parent, right, who’s not noticing that society is reacting a different way than him he’s not happy about it, and Pinokio of course is dazed and feels like a fool, and he is a fool so that’s appropriate; but then Stromboli hears the crowd laughing, and as soon as he turns around he’s all smiles again so that’s the first time you get insight into what sort of puppet master he is he’s there to please the crowd and that’s all, and he’s there to look good in public, but fundamentally he’s a tyrant and I guess that’s the problem with false celebrity, that the negative spirit of the crowd becomes your master because to be a celebrity, you have to be a crowd pleaser, and if you’re pleasing the kind of crowd who likes a celebrity like you which is… and there’s not much reason for that, then it’s not exactly like you’re appealing to the proper side of the crowd and you’ve become its puppet one way or another, and maybe it’s rewarding you with wealth, perhaps and with attention, but fundamentally it’s not something I would recommend if you want to stay reasonably psychologically healthy for any reasonable amount of time; you’re gonna sell yourself out and I don’t mean that in any casual way, you know all right, so anyways, Stromboli changes from the tyrant to the good father in half a second he gives Pinokio a pat on the head despite the fact that he’s made a mistake, looks all kind and the show continues; now, the cricket is not very happy about this he’s sitting in the stage, watching, he’s very angry and, let’s say, disgusted by what’s happening partly because Pinokio is making a fool of himself; now that’s an interesting thing human beings blush, in fact, if I remember correctly, the name Adam, you know, like Adam and Eve is related to the capacity to blush; now that comes from something I read a long time ago, and that might be wrong but Adam does manifest shame in the sight of God, so there is a relationship there but anyways, people do make foold of themselves for public display and you can tell you’ve done that in some sense, not always, if you blush because you’ve either said something you shoulnd’t’ve and you realize that which is more like you’ve tried to be funny and gone a little bit too far, and sometimes that can be really funny or you’ve said something you know to be false, manipulative, deceitful, beneath you any of those things, and you’ll have an automatic response to it, you’ll be ashamed and blush one theory about that is you can trust people who blush, because you know that their conscience will betray them and so that even if they are lying, they tell you; it’s an interesting theory because blush is definitely… like it’s a facial display, it’s right out there, where people can see it you know, maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t, but it’s kind of an interesting idea anyways, the cricket is not happy with what’s going on, he’s not happy about Stromboli and he’s not happy about the willingness of Pinokio to make a fool of himself to support this false celebrity I actually think that’s why celebrity types like that often get narcissistic and arrogant it’s because they aren’t paying attention really to what’s happening inside them, they drown it out because the glory and the money, and all that is so attractive and enticing they refuse to notice what price they’re paying for it and they magnify up their grandiosity and their arrogance to keep that stuff all under control and then of course they get surrounded by sycophants, which is a really bad thing they get surrounded by people who will tell them exactly what they wanna hear and that’s really bad if what you wanna hear from other people is not good for you to surround yourself with people who won’t offer you genuine criticism, or even genuine reward, it’s the same thing you want from me that I differentially reward and punish you in approximately the way that the good part of the crowd will that’s what you want from all your friends because then your interactions with them can generalize out to the broader community in a productive way and so a good friend… your friends tend to be on the supportive side, and perhaps that’s appropriate assuming there’s reciprocity; but a good friend will also tell you when one way or another when your behavior is starting to tilt in a direction that’s going to make you unpopular with them and likely unpopular with other people; and that’s the prime job of a parent, in my estimation like: “don’t do that, other people will hurt you if you do that by exclusion, by threat, by failure to offer you an opportunity, bad things will happen to you” so you can’t do that; and then you’re a representative of the social situation which is exactly what you should be, not a friend or at least not precisely a friend, that doesn’t make you an enemy, it makes you better than a friend so Pinokio’s on stage making a fool out of himself, and then he gets all tangled up in other puppets’ strings that’s what happens to him, and then it all ends rather badly with everything being a tangled mess on stage but it also turns out to be rather funny; it’s funny, ’cause he’s surrounded by angry Russians you could kind of view that as a potential lesson, that if you’re a puppet on a stage, and you mess around too much you just might get tangled up with a bunch of angry Russians, these are Cossacks, that’s exactly what happens of course, no, that’s not what’s happening here, but it’s still funny so Stromboli is not happy with the tangled mess, but then the crowd reacts very positively and that confuses the conscience, because he thinks: “well, look, this is horrible, this guy’s a tyrant, Pinokio’s making a fool of himself everything turns into a tangled mess, but the crowd goes crazy” being a fool, that can be entertaining, right? so it’s hard to tell when a crowd, especially at a spectacle, ’cause this crowd is at a spectacle you just don’t know exactly why it is that they’re responding positively, but you’ve definitely given them what they want you can see this look on Stromboli’s face, it’s like this false false kindness and generosity, public facing anyways, the conscience is very confused, and I really think this is an important thing ’cause I’ve often thought… I spent a lot of time thinking about Hitler, and I was thinking: how do you get into a state like that? and you think: he’s a dictator, and he led his people down a bad path that’s not right, that is not what happened; they had a conspiracy together, and went down a bad path think about it this way: if one person thinks something about you, it’s like whatever, right? but if 5 people tell you that, then to start not taking that seriously is kind of narcissistic and if it isn’t 5, let’s say it’s 15 people tell you the same thing or act the same way towards you it’s like probably you should clue in; well, what if you’re a politician and you’re trying out a bunch of different ideas, and you’re good at interacting with a crowd you’re charismatic, you watch the crowd, but you’re not necessarily all that articulate you don’t have your values all straightened out, but you’re kinda angry, too and maybe that’s ’cause you spent a bunch of time in World War I in the trenches, which was like no joke and all your friends got blown up; and then you were unemployed and then you tried to be an artist, and that didn’t work out, even though you were moderately talented and then maybe the economy fell apart completely on you, hyperinflation and then maybe there was a communist menace coming in from the east, and there genuinely was so you’re not the world’s happiest clam at that point, and you’re talking to people who aren’t that happy either ’cause they were also badly defeated in World War I, and they had a terrible treaty they had to sign, and they lost part of their territory and so the crowd’s not happy, and neither are you, and there’s reason for it; and so you start talking to them and you don’t know what you’re upset about, and neither does the crowd so you start to articulate some things about why you might be upset, and some of them fall flat but you’re paying attention to the crowd, so you stop saying those things and some of the things make the crowd really wake up and listen, and so you start saying more of those things it’s an unconscious dialectic between you and the crowd; it’s mediated by consciousness but it’s not like you’re sitting there, saying, although you might be: “I’m gonna tell this crowd more of what it wants to hear” it’s more sophisticated than that; and so you do that a thousand times, and you do that to ever-increasing crowds and the crowd really starts to go mad, and they basically tell you that you’re the savior of the nation how many bloody people have to tell you that before you start to believe it? I would say, with a typical person, a hundred would do it that’ll get you going, man, if a hundred people tell you specifically why you’re special, you’re gonna be thinkin’… even if you’re humble to begin with, you’re gonna be thinking: “geez, there’s gotta be something to this, man” but if it’s a million people, and they’re roaring their approval, well… and then when it’s a whole nation, good luck withstanding that there’s just not a chance, how are you going to withstand that? now, you could be like Ghandi, and you could’ve taken that into account beforehand, because he did he read Tolstoy, by the way, he was a student of Tolstoy, and that’s very interesting because Tolstoy developed the techniques of non-violence that Ghandi used; and Tolstoy was also a deeply religious writer apart from his novels, which are not, I wouldn’t say, really in the religious category, although they’re profound Tolstoy stressed humility with non-violence, he really stressed it, and that’s what Ghandi took to heart so he lived a very, very, very simple, bare-bones, ascetic life and that was to kinda see if he could keep his damn ego tapped down while the groundswell was building behind him you know, and he dressed really simply, and he didn’t own much, and he ate very simply and he just tried to stay away from the whole materialistic success element that would be an element of what would turn him into an actor, and also inflate his ego he seemed to do that pretty well, he certainly… well, he led a non-violent revolution that resulted in the independence of India it also produced a terrible civil war in the separation of the Muslim Indians from the Hindu Indians but I don’t think you can precisely lay that at the feet of Ghandi but what I’m saying is that you have to be an extraordinary person, you have to be extraordinarily wise and you have to take ridiculous precautions if you’re gonna put yourself in the public sphere like that and expose yourself to that kind of adulation without becoming a puppet of the crowd and that’s what happened to Hitler; I mean it’s not like he wasn’t also a conscious manipulator and surrounded himself by people who were propagandists, and all of that so there was a conscious element, but… you gotta think these things through, and see how that dialectic develops he learned how to appeal to the darkest fantasies of the crowd, he was really, really good at it and that was a dialectic process, right, the crowd told him what they wanted to hear… and the crowd’s a mob at that point, so I don’t have to take responsibility for the fact that I’m screaming my approval when I’m surrounded by a million people so I can scream my approval for whatever I want, for whatever dark, revengeful fantasy might be playing out in my imagination because I’m not gonna be held accountable for it anyways, the cricket’s confused, and it’s no wonder, it’s like the public has rendered its judgment and the judgment is positive; so when I wrote the book on which this course is based I was thinking: “how am I gonna judge success?” and I thought: “well, there’s sort of four… there’s a two by two matrix of success” you could say: it’s a great book, no one reads it; that happens, what do you do about that? Nietzsche sold virtually nothing in his life time, and you know that’s happened to lots of artists then: it’s a terrible book, and everyone loves it; that happens too and then: it’s a great book, and everyone loves it; and then: it’s a terrible book, and everyone hates it that’s probably a better category, actually, than “it’s a terrible book and everyone loves it” I mean, you wouldn’t pick “a terrible book that everyone hates” if you had a choice but at least the quality and the response match, at least it’s truthful, like: “great book, good response” but the problem with those four categories is you can’t really tell which category your production falls into because how do you know? I think you should assume “horrible book, bad response,” because that’s the most likely of all four of those categories, that’s the most likely to be true, purely on actuarial grounds, let’s say so, all right, so anyways, the cricket wanders away, because he obviously… not only was he late for work that day, but he turned out to be wrong about everything so he lets Pinokio go off on his adventure; and Stromboli puts him in this little touring wagon and away they go; and the cricket thinks: “well, the consciensce isn’t needed anymore on this journey towards unearned celebrity” well, meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say, the puppet is supposed to come home after school but he doesn’t, he doesn’t show up and the kitten, and the fish, and Gepetto are all waiting there for him, ready to eat but he doesn’t show up and so Gepetto goes out into the rain to look for him and he can’t find him; and then we see the inside of the traveling show cart and Stromboli is having a snack, and counting all the money that he’s made from tonight’s performance and hypothetically dividing it out with the puppet, so we’ve got this little stack of gold, and some of it’s false somebody paid with a… looks like a little washer, mechanical washer, and it’s bent and so he curses about that for a while, even though, it’s interesting, eh, because he’s made all this money he’s been really successful, but this one little error is enough to enrage him, which is very ungrateful and tyrannical look, you got a hundred gold pieces, someone’s slipped you a fake one you could’ve had 101, it’s still a pretty good day, all things considered you know, you gotta make a bit of allowance for error, which is something a tyrant does not do and that’s perfect, because if you don’t make allowance for error at all, then people are always guilty of something and if you’re a tyrant, that’s exactly what you want; and people *are* always guilty of something so the tyrant who is willing to exploit that is always on solid ground anyways, he doesn’t share with Pinokio and he puts him in a bird cage, a jail, and he also shows him this other puppet that has an axe through him that was the previous puppet, who didn’t precisely perform as he was supposed to so there’s a big threat there, it’s like: “you stay in that jail, you do exactly what I want or it’s off to the wood pile for you, to be burned” well, that’s just worth thinking about, ’cause that’s kind of what happens with tyrants and literally, not just metaphorically so the cricket is basically wondering what in the world he should do and then the cart rolls by, and he gets an inking or hears, I don’t quite remember this that Pinokio is in there, and might be in trouble, or he thinks that up, I’m sorry, I can’t remember that but he ends up inside the cart, he finds that traveling cart, and he goes inside and then he tries to pick the lock, ’cause he’s a bug, he can climb inside he tries to pick the lock, he tries to get Pinokio out of the jail that he sort of collaborated himself into it’s interesting, because if you read, for example, if you read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago which I would highly recommend, one of the things you find is that if you were arrested by the KGB the secret police in the Soviet Union, and you were hauled off to a… like a tribunal, before a judge they wanted you to admit that you were guilty, you had to, they’d torture you until you confessed or you could just confess, and I always found that so mysterious they kick down your door, they know perfectly well that they haven’t got anymore on you than they’ve got on anyone else and yet you have to go through the damn trial, and you have to admit that they’re right why do they even bother with that? why don’t they just throw your sorry ass into the camp? which is essentially what’s gonna happen anyway; why do they need your collaboration? you know, I never quite figured that out, I think it’s partly because they’re not willing to let you stand in opposition to the rules because the mere fact that you’ll do that means that you exist as something that is allowed to exist outside the rules and they’re not having any of that, so that’s part of it but there’s more to it, there’s more to it than that, it’s like the drama of collaboration one of the things I learned about societies like the Soviet Union, and this is true of all tyrannical societies is that the idea that that’s top-down, and that people are just following orders, they’re good people, but they’re just following orders you can forget about that, that’s a stupid theory when a society becomes tyrannical like that, the tyranny exists at every single level of the society you tyrannize your own conscience; so let’s say you’re a true believer in Marxist utopia, let’s say or a national socialist Third Reich, that’s gonna last a thousand years and be racially pure, and you really believe that and that’s supposed to be a perfect state, and that’s already been delivered to you so what that means is that insofar as you’re a true believer, your own suffering becomes heretical because to the degree that you’re suffering, you’re living proof of the fact that the system is not delivering what it promised to deliver and so you have to suppress that, you have to become your own tyrant, you can’t admit that anything’s gone wrong and of course you can’t talk about it to your family, because one out of three of them are government informers just like one out of three of everyone, and you’re certainly not going to mention it in the workplace because unless you’re a devout communist party member, you’re not going anywhere and if any of your ancestors were land owners or bourgeoisie, you’re done, you’re done class guilt, man, you’re not going anywhere and then every single level of the bureaucracy is exactly the same as that, and on the top there’s a tyrant but the tyrant is everywhere, everywhere from the peak to the soul it’s all tyranny, and everyone participates in that by lying about everything and that’s why you see what happens next in the movie Pinokio’s in jail, and he’s there because he was naive, and he allowed himself to be enticed and because he did something that would’ve run contrary to his conscience; but the movie does not put up straw men the poor damn puppet got tangled into this, his conscience wasn’t even around, so you have to have some sympathy for him but it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter because he ends up in jail and he can’t get out, and the fact that in some ways it wasn’t his fault doesn’t change the fact that he’s in jail, and he can’t get out and then his… I was watching Louis CK the other night, and he was talking about children lying he was talking about his 9-year-old daughter lying, and he said: “it’s no wonder children lie no wonder it’s impossible for you to stop them because you’re talking to someone whose head would scrape the roof, they weigh three times as much as you and they’re capable of force, and they’re intimidating; and they say to you something like: “did you take that last cookie after I told you not to?” and you’re thinking: “oh no, I took the cookie, what am I gonna do?” and then you get a genius idea in your head; smarter children learn to lie earlier children with high IQs learn to lie younger; and CK says: “well, it’s like you’ve just been handed a magic get out of jail free card you can just say: “no, I didn’t take that cookie”; and worse than that, it works in every single situation if you get away with it; and now you’re supposed to learn not to do that well, great, that’s the thing about comedians, they tell you the underlying truth, which is why people think they’re so funny like the jester at the king’s court, he’s the only one who’s allowed to tell the king the truth, ’cause he’s beneath contempt that’s what comedians do so what happens is Pinokio is not very happy about this, it’s really breaking him up and the blue fairy appears again from the star, same way so what this means is, and I think this is right, this is something Jung talked about, it’s also extraordinarily brilliant he said that it’s one thing to break a rule when you don’t really know the rule for whatever reason you seem to get a bit of a free pass for that but if then you know the rule, and then you break it anyway, you get hit a lot harder and I know that’s true, and I even think I figured out why it was true at one point, but I can’t remember at the moment but there’s something about… it’s like the severity of the moral error isn’t quite as massive if you’re genuinely ingorant and unconscious about the rule and maybe it’s because you’re not violating your own belief system as much when you engage in the misactivity it’s something like that so Pinokio is in there, and he’s partly at fault, at least because he’s naive and he’s very desperate about it; but it’s also because his conscience isn’t functioning very well so he has his reasons, and so whatever, the blue fairy shows up again, mother nature steps in to aid him; and that is true, I would say, it’s not like you get walloped or killed every time you make a mistake, which is kinda interesting and especially that’s the case with kids, we have more leeway for them whether nature does, that’s a different issue, but I would say yes, because kids are really cute and they’re appealing, and they’re naive, and they’re kind of helpless, they have those motions even that indicate helplessness, and that’s associated with a natural apprehension of cuteness cuteness is basically: big eyes, small nose, symmetrical features, baby-like features helpless movements; that elicits sympathy and compassion, and it does it cross-species and so does the cry; my roommate when I was in college had a niece who was quite young, about a year and a half old, I think and we had a cat, a wild cat, it was a really fighty cat, partly because of me, because I would always play with it and I let it fight with me quite a lot, so it was a fighty cat that little girl would come over, and you know, maybe she’d cry, and that cat was there right now, trying to figure out what was wrong the cat would use its claws on me, but it would never use its claws on the little kid and I thought, that’s an indication of that cross-species cuteness you’re all attracted to that, more or less, and the more maternal you are, the more you’re attracted to such things but you know, you see something on YouTube, and you go “aww”, and “that’s so cute” yeah, it is, it appeals to exactly this concomitation [sic][possibly meant combination] of infantile features and it brings out compassion unless you’re psychopathic, so it’s a good thing but it can be manipulated, that’s for sure, women actually manipulate it with makeup which is quite sneaky, and good of them anyways, the Blue Fairy shows up, so that’s nature, so what I’m saying is nature will cut kids a break if you think of nature in the guise of their mother, for example, but even the biology of other people ’cause we’re wired to accept behavior from children that we wouldn’t accept from other people so nature will forgive; so she shows up in her heavenly guise, and says: “what’s going on?” and Pinokio, again because he’s naive, but also because he’s not good he’s not evil either, he’s neither or both, depends on how you look at it he also has no idea how smart he is, and how smart he isn’t, or how smart the person he’s talking to is and instead of admitting what he’s done, he lies about it, and that’s interesting because it does suggest that he understands at some level that he set himself up for this because he could have just told the truth, “this horrible fox kidnapped me, and sold me to this slave holder” which is true, it’s a lot more true than the story he tells, he tells a story about some monster a fictional monster; he could have told even three quarters of the truth and had it work, but he doesn’t he just obscures the story entirely; and this is the part of the movie that people remember and I edited this out for years when I was talking about this movie, I forgot why it was so significant his nose grows, and it grows to ridiculous length and why is that? I think it was Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, who said: “one of the advantages to telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said” and that, God, that’s worth listening to, because… there’s a bunch of things that I learned as a clinician and one of them is… ’cause you’re often in really weird situations if you’re a clinician ’cause things happen that don’t happen normally, and you don’t know what to do so what I’ve learned is I just say what’s happening, whatever it is regardless of what it is, I’ll just try to describe it as accurately as I can and don’t worry in some sense about the consequences I’m not going to go out of my way to cause trouble, but if you’re in a really… and I’m telling you, this could save your life at times, especially if you’re dealing with someone’s who’s paranoid who’s really paranoid; you do not lie to someone who’s paranoid and violent because as soon as you lie you’re aligned with the forces that are persecuting him and they’re gonna be watching, because paranoia makes people hyper-vigilant, like they’re on amphetamines in fact, you can make people paranoid by giving them enough amphetamines and you can make paranoid people more paranoid by giving them amphetamines so they’re hyper-vigilant, because they feel that everything is predatory, and against them and so they’re watching you like you would not believe, way more than you’re watching them and if you flicker a lie while you’re talking to them, and they’re really on the edge you’re done; so it’s one thing to know if you’re ever in a really bad situation and you don’t know what to do: you tell the truth, minimally, don’t disclose too much, that’s just another lie you tell the truth minimally and carefully, and hopefully and you might get out of it, you might get out of it but if you falsify it, look the hell out so the truth is a real mechanism of protection in dangerous situations if someone’s trying to intimidate you, and you think they might be violent, and they ask you if you’re afraid then you tell them that you’re terrified and that you hope things will go okay or you say… I’ll give you an example one time I was in an airport, and we’re in this lineup to fly back to Canada that said “international flights” it’s a long lineup, like 50 people, I got about 3 [people] from the front, there’s still like 40 people behind me and the guy behind the counter decided that he was just gonna shut down the line and we could all go to this other line, which was like 300 people long, and I suggested that he not do that because we’d been standing there for half and hour, and that he could just deal with the 20 of us that were left and have a clue; and he called the sheriff, right away and this was down in Florida, and it wasn’t that long after 9/11 and so these guys came up, and they were armed, and they came, and looked at me because of course he told them that I was causing trouble, which I wasn’t, I was just trying to not… let, what would you say, an arrogant bureaucratic scumrat [sic] take advantage of me which is not the same as causing trouble; as soon as the cops came up, I said: “look I’m going to do exactly what you tell me to do right now, and I’m not gonna cause any trouble but I would like you to hear what actually happened,” that’s a good example of a situation like that if someone’s got you, no bravado, it’s a very bad idea and I was going to do exactly what they told me, because they didn’t know who I was and I didn’t know what they had been told anyhow, the problem with lying is that it’s a hydra, and kids find out this very early ’cause you tell one lie, and what happens is it has one of the consequences you’d expect, maybe you get away with it but it has 3 or 4 others that you don’t expect, and it’s like it grows some complexity and then you have to tack a lie on each of those little complexity outcrops, and then they grow three more complexities and soon this little lie turns into a great big ball of lies, and at some point it becomes painfully evident to everyone and by that time you’re in such… you see this with politicians, like that guy who was sexting Anthony Weiner, and perfect name for him, man, it’s so funny I shouldn’t make that comment ’cause it’s so obvious, but it’s still funny but that’s exactly what happened to him, it wasn’t even so much the event because people are stupid, they make mistakes, and actually the public is somewhat forgiving if you say: “yeah, geez, I’m a real moron, like really, seriously, how could I do that? but I did I’ll try not to do it again”; but what happens with politicians is… and I’m not speaking specifically of politicians they’ll make an error and it gets exposed, and then they’ll make three others, trying to cover it up it happened with Nixon, for example, and then the whole thing turns into a complete scandal and maybe they could’ve got out of it at the beginning by just telling the truth “yes, I’m an idiot, I’ll try not to do it again” that isn’t what happens in this case, and Pinokio grows this elaborate series of lies and the fairy is willing to be a little generous to him, because he’s little and cute, and he’s still a puppet and she tells him not to do that and that she’s gonna give him a pass this time, but that she isn’t gonna be able to intervene on his behalf again and that’s partly… one of the things that’s quite interesting about people who have Rousseauian ideas about children so: children are all good, and they get corrupted by society, which is half true because they’re also not good, and they get shaped and disciplined by society but the Rousseauian types often are very interesting when their kids hit teenage years or when they’re judging, say, criminal teenagers it’s like the child is perfect until they hit like 11, then they turn into a teenager, and the they’re like thugs so they go from good to thug in one move; and you often see that in families, too that have treated especially their daughters like a princess, and then they hit puberty and the parents who have princessed them to death have no idea what to do with them so then they become demonized, so the overly good child turn into the overly wicket teenager and sometimes they’ll act that out, too, one of the things I’ve seen with girls who are held in princess esteem when they’re little and their parents have to tight [sic] a grip on them, and too much of a demand for good behavior is they’ll find some nasty character associate with, who will tear them out of the family, bikers are really good for that sort of thing and especially if you have some vengeful thoughts towards your parents, a nice biker is your perfect solution to that problem okay, we’ll go through this scene, and then I think we’ll call it a day so now Pinokio’s gone free, he’s been reunited with his conscience, he’s learned a couple of lessons 1. don’t be an actor, 2. and don’t lie, and those things are quite similar and especially once you’re caught in your actor trap, don’t lie to get out, ’cause that will just make it worse so that’s the first of his trials, his moral trials on the road to becoming real now here we’re at a different place, we’re at this… I think it’s called the Red Lobster Inn and it’s a shadowy place, kind of cave-like, it’s an underground entrance to somewhere that’s not good and it’s a foggy night, and you can’t really see, so everything’s murky and gloomy there inside we see the coachman and the fox and the cat and the coachman’s a bad guy, he’s that mask that we saw first of all he’s the archetype of that mask that was judgmental about Pinokio having a voice one of the things Jung said about the shadow, and this is, I would say, one of the primary impediments to enlightenment is that if you start looking at your motives for misbehaving, and I mean by that something very specific I don’t mean that you’re misbehaving by someone else’s standards, I don’t mean that I mean: when you know by your own standards that you’re doing something that devious or malevolent or underhanded you know it, and you still do it, so it’s your own judgment you’re bringing to bear on yourself if you look at why you’re doing that, the longer you look at it, the deeper a hole you dig this is the motif of Dante’s Inferno, fundamentally Dante’s Inferno is a story about, I can’t remember his name, unfortunately; might be Dante, in fact I don’t remember; he’s led into hell by Virgil, who is an ancient philosopher, thinker [he was a poet] and hell has levels, so the outer level is… and this is a christianised version of hell, because there’s hells of all sorts but this is a christianised version; on the outermost levels of hell, which is sort of like normal life are the ancient philosophers, and they’re still in hell, because they weren’t christian but it’s like cheap motel hell instead of the full pit thing so then Dante goes deeper and deeper into hell, until he gets right to the bottom of it it’s been a while since I read it, but if I remember correctly, Satan himself is encased in ice at the bottom of hell surrounded by people who betray others; so Dante’s notion was that worst of all possible violations of moral behavior was betrayal, they’re in the deepest levels hell, and I really like that idea, I think it’s true because if you trust me, then you’re manifesting the necessary courage that puts someone through life if you’re smart, you don’t trust me ’cause you’re naive, you trust me knowing that I’m full of snakes, and so are you but maybe we can cooperate, and move things along nicely we can reduce each other to our word, and we can cooperate but you’re awake, and then I betray that, then I’m undermining your necessary faith in life and humanity and you can really hurt someone that way; sometimes it’s self-betrayal but you can really do someone in, you can really traumatize them, so that they can’t recover so it’s a really terrible thing to do to someone, and maybe it’s the worst thing, and that was Dante’s idea and it’s tied in… that makes very interesting reading, if you read it at the same time as Milton’s Paradise Lost because those metaphysical explorations, this is what they are, they’re metaphysical explorations of the terrible places you can end up and that people do end up, and also a metaphysical explanation of what spirit takes you there ’cause you might ask: “well, why do you betray someone?” and that is a deep question so you’ll have your specific reasons, but under that there’ll be some other reasons and under that there’ll be some other reasons, and under that there’ll be some other reasons and if you all the way to the bottom, you come up with the ultimate reasons why you betrayed someone and when you look at that, that will not be pretty that’s when your proclivity for evil, let’s say, unites with the general human proclivity for evil and you discover just exactly what you’re capable of Jung’s notion was that that was a full encounter with the shadow, which is I suppose partly what this course is about because one of the things I believe I told you at the beginning was that I was going to try and help you understand how it might be that you could be an Auschwitz guard and to really understand that, that’s a horrifying thing to understand but I’ll tell you, if you wanna grow some teeth, that’s a really good thing to understand so we were talking about your capacity to negotiate before, if you aren’t a monster, you cannot negotiate but if you’ve got that under control, then you don’t have to be a monster it’s really paradoxical, so if you’re just naive, well, you end up in jail, and a marionette master has control over you that’s not helpful, so that’s not good, that just means you’re useless, and you can be manipulated you won’t go out of your way to be malevolent, but it’s mostly because you just don’t have the skills the organizational skills, or even the depth to do that; you’re good because you’re harmless, that’s not good that’s easily manipulated, so you think, well, how do you get out of that? partly, you watch people, because you know what they’re like, because you know what you’re like but you also know what you could do, and would do if you were pushed you don’t have to show much of that when you’re negotiating with someone for them to take you really seriously it’s a strange thing; but one of the things Jung pointed out, too, was that what you most need to know will be found where you least want to look and that’s ’cause you haven’t already looked there it’s a little different for everyone, right, ’cause your particular place you don’t wanna look isn’t gonna be the same as your place but you’re gonna have a place you don’t wanna look, and what you haven’t discovered, that’s where it is that’s partly going to be discovered by you looking at what you’re capable of, what you’re truly capable of people, especially on the compassionate end, think: “I could never be brutal like that” and that could be true, but you can kill people with compassion, no problem, that’s the Freudian oedipal situation so think about working in a nursing home, there’s actually a rule of thumb, which I also use to guide my interactions with children, and also with my clients, and I would say with people in general *do not do anything for anyone that they can’t do themselves,* you just steal it from them so imagine you’re working with really elderly people, they have Alzheimer’s, it’s really easy to do things for them because, well, “easy”, ’cause it’s really a hard job, but it might be easier to do something for them than to let them struggle through it but you just speed their demise by taking away the last vestiges of their independence you do the same thing with kids, it’s like: “struggle through it, man”; did you ever see “My Left Foot?” that’s a great movie, it’s about this author whose name escapes me at the moment, brilliant movie the person who played the part, Daniel Day-Lewis, I think he won an Academy Award for it it’s about this author in Ireland, I think he had cerebral palsy, and he could really do was use his left foot that was it, the rest of him was pretty spastic and not controllable but he was there, he was very intelligent, he was with it, and his dad would not help him he had to drag himself um the damn stairs with his left foot, he just would not help him and what happened was, he learned how to live, he could function the book and the movie is called “My Left Foot”, and it does a lovely job of laying that out but you have to be one hard-hearted son of a bitch to let your son crawl up the stairs with his left foot over and over think about that; but what’s the alternative? if he would have been… and of course he lays this out in the book if he would have been catered to, he would have ended up just like you’d expect someone who was always catered to so it’s a very nice lesson in the triumph of fostering independence over too casual compassion that’s what I would say; so you look at the Coachman here, kind of looks like a demented Santa Claus doesn’t have a beard, but… it’s a nice touch on the animators’ part, he’s even got a pipe and the red suit and so he’s listening to the fox and the cat brag about how much money they made selling Pinokio to the Puppet Master and how evil and terrible they are, they’re bragging away, and he’s the real thing, eh he’s the real thing, and he can see through their little petty, narcissistic, grandiose tales of quasi-criminality and has nothing but contempt for, and you can see that in his facial expression, it’s like he’s sitting back a bit, thinking: “keep talking, bucko, pretty soon I’m gonna have you right where I want you” the fox and the cat are drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and talking about how evil they are and bragging about how they got one over on like a four-year-old; real impressive, guys, real impressive and the Coachman is thinking up his own nefarious schemes right now, what he might do with that puppet if he got his hands on him so that’s when he reveals himself, so what you see… the filmmakers just do it for a second and that’s an archetypal trip, you’ve got the fox and the cat, they’re sort of petty examples of criminality and evil and then you’ve got the coachman, and he’s the real thing, but he’s not really showing anybody who he is and then in one scene in the bar he lets his guard down, and he lets them see what he’s really like and so you see this: all teeth and predatory eyes and glee all at the same time that’s a bad combination, “I’m going to eat you, and it’s going to make me very happy” that’s insanity, you do not wanna see that look on someone’s face so that’s the look; and the fox is traumatized by that he thinks he’s a bad guy, and he’s not, he’s just… he just can’t be a good guy he hasn’t got the talent to be a bad guy; and then he’s talking to the coachman and bragging and the Coachman’s had enough of it, he shows his real face, and it’s like that’s not good, the Fox gets a real glimpse into hell and that just terrifies him; and the other thing the Coachman does is revel his plans and his plans are to kidnap Pinokio along with a bunch of other boys, and to take them to this place called Pleasure Island and the Fox knows what’s going on there, it’s the foreshadowing of the next stage of the adventure after the Fox and the Cat are terrified, the Coachman, who takes you along with him has a little chat with them, and they describe exactly what they’re going to do next and the Fox and the Cat know perfectly well that they’re over their head but at this point in their misadventures there’s no pulling back and I think we’ll stop there, even though it’s a little early, because that was a lot of material, and this is a really good place to stop I’d be happy to take some questions if you guys have some questions we could take questions for like 10 minutes, and then we’ll call it a day and you can ask me a question about anything you want [student] this goes back to the beginning of the lecture, but how does morality go from [student] who’s stronger and who’s weaker to what’s good and what isn’t? we’ll, I think it depends to some degree on what you mean by stronger so physical strength is one element, if you look at mythological heroes… imagine that the stories of heroes are fragmented elements of the archetype and so one kind of archetypal hero, obviously, is someone who’s physically strong there’s a great movie that you could watch about this, it’s called Hitman Hart it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, and it’s about this guy named Brett Hart and Brett Hart was for a while the most famous Canadian on the planet and he was a World Wide Wrestling Foundation? what do the call it? WWF? [WWE – World Wrestling Entertainment] yeah, he was their lead good guy … I love the documentary, ’cause when I was a little kid, like 4 or 5, I used to to watch his father, whose name was Stu Hart who ran this channel, this wrestling confederation in Alberta and Stu Hart had I think 8 boys, and he trained all of then to be pro wrestlers and part of the movie is extraordinarily funny, ’cause Stu Hart is in it, and he’s really old he’s like 85, and he’s just barely… can you imagine he was like a pro wrestler for 40 years? every joint is broken and he’s still big, but he’s just barely moving, and this kid and another kid come over and Stu is telling the story about how he used to take his boys into the basement and toughen them up I think Brett called that the journey to pain or something like that his father would take all these kids down there and wrestle with them, and push them right to the edge of their pain tolerance, constantly and anyways, they grew up tough, there’s no doubt about that, and all his daughters married pro wrestlers, too and I think he has 7 daughters, so he’s quite the character anyways, these two kids, they’re late adolescents, early adulthood, come over and one of them is pretty damn cocky, and he’s listening to Stu, and he says something smart like “well, you know, you were pretty tough in the old days, eh?” and Stu looks at him and says: “why don’t you come down to the basement with me?” and he says: “look, I don’t wanna hurt you, old man”; so the filmmakers follow them into the basement and they’re kinda standing there, that old guy grabs him in a headlock, he’s like a snake, eh? he’s got him in a headlock so fast, the kid doesn’t what to do, and then… Stu, he knows how to put a headlock on someone; he’s flexing his forearm, which is still not so bad a forearm and this guy’s face is just… it’s like he’s stepped in a bear trap, plus he’s absolutely shocked that this old guy got him so he’s kind of gasping, and Stu says something like: “you watch, if I flex this muscle just right, you can see this vein on his forehead start to pop out” it’s extraordinarily funny
[Peterson misremembered the scene in some key points, watch it for yourself] anyways, Brett Hart plays out the good guy archetype, and Brett’s… he’s a solid guy, but I would say he’s not particularly sophisticated, and I’m not being cruel about that I mean he had a great career, and he’s tough as a boot, so good for him but he plays out this good guy archetype and he gets tangled up in it now, I don’t remember your damn question, but I am trying to answer it, tell me the question again [student] so I was wondering how in morality you go from to who’s strongest and who’s weakest to what’s good and what’s bad oh yes, exactly; one of the things I really liked about this movie was it showed me why people watch wrestling and I couldn’t… because certainly they’re not appealing… and I’m not being… there are different strata of conception of abstraction that any entertainment process has to appeal to and most people don’t go to movies, and that actually… it really is because movies operate at a level of sophistication that is too high for many people just like novels, hardly anyone reads; 15% of the population, might be 20%, cannot read well enough to follow written instructions and there are people, maybe it’s 15% of the population or 10%, who have never finished a book, never and it is that high; but the archetype still needs to manifest itself on different levels and so it manifests itself in wrestling; but even there, where it is physical force, it’s not just physical force it’s a drama between good and evil, and you can see this so clearly in the Brett Hart documentary ’cause he’s the good guy; the bad guys are really over-the-top bad, it’s a real drama it’s good versus evil in the ring every time, and hopefully good wins, but good often gets… maybe the bad wrestler brings two of his friends in, and they bring in chairs, and they bash the hell out of the good guy and the whole audience is just outraged by this, and the documentary does a lovely job of showing that so even at the level of physical combat, let’s say, you can’t reduce what’s good to what’s strong it’s just one element of it; better to be strong than to be weak and so you can have strong hero, because it’s better to be strong than to be weak but it’s better to be strong and kind than to be strong and it’s better to be strong and kind and wise than to be strong and kind and that’s true not only in human beings, but it’s even true, let’s say, at the wolf or chimpanzee level because one of the things you see with the chimp dominance hierarchies, and I think I mentioned this before is if the leader, the dominant male, is really good at fostering social relations and being reciprocal in acts like grooming and also paying attention to the females and their offspring, his dynasty will be much more stable and so, strong might be good for one battle, it might be good for two battles, but for 50 battles it’s not optimized especially because no matter how strong you are, someone can take you out so what happens is the idea of what’s ideal becomes increasingly complex across time, multifaceted and so: strength, wisdom, intelligence, vision, all these things are amalgamated into a single being and we’ll talk a lot about that, because I wanna show you how that happened in Mesopotamia because that’s one of the first places where we have documentation about how that ideal emerged they had a god called Marduk, and Marduk had 50 names and as far as I can tell, the reason for that was that Marduk was an amalgam of the tribal deities of at least 50 tribes and when the tribes were brought together, and civilized, each of their gods, who were ideals- had to be amalgamated into something that was a single dramatized representation of value or there was no way that all those people could have lived together their different value structures would have fragmented them, and they would have stayed in a state of war so the question is… it’s the question you’re asking: if it’s not strength, then what is it? well, strength is an element, but the Egyptians figured out that it was vision, it was actually the capacity to pay attention that was paramount, and the Mesopotamians had that figured out more or less too because their god Marduk had eyes all the way around his head, he could see everywhere so seeing was a critical element of what should be on top, and the other thing for the Mesopotamians was the ability to speak so by the time of Mesopotamia people had already dramatized the idea that cardinal human attributes are vision and the ability to speak and the ability to speak the truth, too, not just speak other questions? [student] so, I wasn’t really aware of what you just said that most people don’t watch movies [student] because I’ve probably watched [unintelligible] so is that why we sort of consider… ’cause we were talking about celebrity career [student] that different levels of abstraction of celebrity are respected more? like reality TV probably lower than … Cumberbatch, than like a theater actor, then like a novelist [Peterson] sure, yes, that’s exactly why, because, you see the less sophisticated the genre, the more the genre is like real life and the more sophisticated it is, the more it has abstracted out across instances of real life the fundamental lessons and that’s what makes something profound and deep, it’s abstracted from multiple sources and it applies across multiple dimensions; ’cause that’s what you want, and here is why fundamentally, you have a problem, but that’s not the problem, the problem is that there are problems so the problem is a metaproblem: there are problems you need a solution to that, that’s not a solution to a problem, that’s a metasolution to the class of problems right, and that’s what people have been trying to figure out ever since we were able to actually figure things out it’s not: “how do you solve a problem”, it’s: “how do you act so that you solve the problem of problems” and that’s basically the complexity of life and the fact that you’re mortal and vulnerable [student] so then a follow-up question, from your book you have this sort of strata from play all the way up to religion and beyond that, sort of looking back retroactively with philosophy and rationality [muted] well that’s a good one, because I would say [muted] if you really wanna think this through, the best way to do that is to read Nietzsche and Dostoevsky at the same time now, I’m sure there’s other ways of doing this; but Nietzsche was actually quite heavily influenced by Dostoevsky more than people knew, although their thought runs very parallel Dostoevsky is like the ultimate dramatist, he embodies his ideas, and he has them act out in a dramatic space it’s literary; whereas Nietzsche has taken that up one level of abstraction, to the semantic he says: “well, here’s what’s going on” in an articulated way, but he doesn’t embody it in a story and you might say: “well, that’s higher”, but it’s only higher in a way it’s more abstract in that it’s more like words whereas what Dostoevsky does is half words and half images because when you read a novel what happens is that… people say, postmodernists say: “where the hell is the meaning in that novel?” it’s not in the word, it’s not in the phrase, it’s not in the sentence, it’s not in the paragraph, where do you localize the meaning? great question, their answer sucks, bu the question’s great but what happens partly when you’re reading a book, a novel, is that the words trigger representations in your imagination a lot of what you extract the information from is actually your imagistic representation of the words and that imagistic representation is richer than the words, because it’s informed by all of your knowledge about people you know this happens, because you go to a movie, like the Harry Potter movies, and you say: “that’s not how I imagined it” the probability that there’ll be a 1:1 correspondence between your internal representation of the book and the movie is 0; and usually the movie is less rich than the book I love movies, and they have their own place, that’s for sure, but… well, miniseries, the series now are more approaching the complexity and depth of literature because they can extend across 20 hours, they don’t have to compress a 12-hour reading experience into 2 hours of action what I was trying to do with that hierarchy was to show how the knowledge moved first of all it’s kind of implicit in your biology, and then it’s distributed into society and then by imitating society you make it part of your procedures, and then you watch your own procedures and start to build a representation of them, and then you can articulate that representation and it’s a bootstrapping process, too, because once you’ve made the representation, that can affect the way you behave so they start to loop; so here’s one idea, imagine that there’s a type of male who tends to win dominance hierarchy contests and to emerge at the top, well that’s the case, and that’s why you’re the way you are so what’s happened among human beings, this is so cool is that human females are choosy maters, so about twice as many men fail in their reproductive efforts as females fail but the men who succeed are more successful; so women are on average more successful and men are on average more failures and more successful and I’m talking strictly about reproduction here, although it generalizes to other areas, but I’m talking about reproduction so how does it work, exactly? well, the women have a real problem with mate selection who the hell are you gonna have as a mate? it’s too complex to work out, so women in their genius don’t they let the men compete, and then they peel from the top acting out the assumption that the man who wins is the best man, and it’s a good assumption because if you have a bunch of men competing, especially if they’re competing across competitions and someone pops up at the top, you can think: “well, they may not be worth much, but they’re better than anyone else at whatever it is that they’re doing” and that makes men at the top of dominance hierarchies very attractive to women an then the women accelerate that, so you can imagine they’re more likely to reproduce so what happens is the proclivity to emerge at the top of the set of dominance hierarchies becomes inbuilt into the biology across time, and the women exaggerate that by differentially allowing the men to reproduce and that’s also why they’re mother nature, they really are mother nature, it’s not just a metaphor then the representation and the biology start to tangle together and that’s like, well, that’s the difference between a meme and an archetype, a meme is this idea that propagates itself but an archetype is an idea that has propagated itself across such a massivespan of time that it’s actually shaped the course of evolution itself and men, I can tell you already… it isn’t necessarily that you even have to compete with other men in order to see who wins; as soon as you admire someone, and that’ll happen unconsciously, you won’t be able to stop yourself you’ve already elevated them in the dominance hierarchy contest, the act of admiration is your recognition that you’ve met someone who’s better at whatever it is that happens to be driving your admiration than you are and that’s partly the manifestation of just the idea as the, what would you say, as the representation of the ideal kids do that all the time, they hero worship other kids, usually like a 4-year old will latch on to a 6-year old who he or she will just follow everywhere, and do exactly what they do why? because that person represents to that child their next ideal, their conceptualization of the place forward any other questions? or should we maybe call it a day? [student] you said when the guy was smiling the thing was predatory glee [student] which is insanity, how do you define insanity in this context? well, let’s call it what you don’t wanna encounter alone in an alley at midnight and leave it at that, that is what I mean in this context, that’s exactly what I mean and then not only is the person there waiting for you, but they’re looking forward to whatever might happen [student] sure, I just mean in a psychological context, using that word has all kind of connotations [student] I was making sure I wasn’t interpreting it in a wrong way no, well the movie provides the frame for the interpretation in this particular situation so he’s the thing that hauls naive young boys off to their doom; OK, so that’s bounded yes [student] could you elaborate on… you mentioned the process where people do the thing that’s less hard but still hard? [student] facing the shadow [peterson] that’s actually a really productive way of procrastinating, although it comes with its own problems of rationalization [student] that reinforces certain circuits … [inaudible] bring up inhibitory circuits, and I was wondering if you can elaborate well, I’ve derived that partly from my study of addiction and also from my study of recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder but let’s talk about addiction, so there’s a series of actions that occur before you take your cocaine some of those are local, they are the things that happen immediately before, and some of those are distal they’re farther back in the chain of events; and when you have a hit of cocaine, it produces a dopaminergic burst and that feels really good, but it also makes the circuits that were immediately active before that grow that’s what reinforcement is, and then the growth is proportionate, not linearly but it’s proportionate to how long before that event occurred, the closer it is, the stronger they’re gonna get but even the ones that are somewhat distal get some reinforcement because you might say: “well, what did you do before you found your latest fix?” and the answer is: “how long before?”; well, the closer, the more reward what happens then is that if you take that person out of the normal environment and you put them into a treatment center they’re off they’re physical addiction, which is a weird thing in the case of cocaine, but… like not that long, a week will do it, two weeks for sure, even heroin, and alcohol for sure if you can get them through the seizure part without dying; and so they’re done, they’re not physiologically dependent anymore but you let that person go, and the first thing that happens is his old friend who is always doing drugs with shows up and bang! he’s craving like mad, and that’s because that thing in there is not dead at all and it’s activated by the cue, and it’s a circuit… it’s not, it’s a personality it only wants one thing, it wants cocaine, it’s gonna suppress any non-related thoughts and it’ll use lies, that’s no problem, especially if lies have been reinforced, which they certainly have “where are you off to, son?” you know, you’ll have a lie for that, and then 10 minutes later you have your drug that little lie has just grown; or maybe you think… you try to quit, you think: “to hell with it!” and every time, 10 minutes before you take your drug, you think “to hell with it”, and you do that a 1000 times well, believe me, that “to hell with it” circuit, that sucker is strong, it’s alive and it’s not like it just disappears, it can’t, it’s you, it’s grown in there now, you can build another circuit to shut it down, and you can help it decompose across time by not giving it what it wants but you’re gonna have to not give it what it wants in all of the multiple contexts that you’ve already associated with the drug some of you have probably smoked, and then tried to quit smoking, and what you see is you get a craving when you have a cup of coffee or when you finish dinner, when you’re done having a phone call when you first get up in the morning, or whenever you regularly had the drug, whatever you had the drug in relationship to even complex things, like ending a conversation will produce a cue of craving then that can extinguish over time if you punish it by either punishing it or not letting it get what it wants but a lot you have to build another circuit to just shut it down and then that circuit’s kinda fragile and stress can often disrupt it [student] that can be mediated by [?] people read about quitting smoking or things like ibogaine oh sure, well, ibogaine’s a whole different thing, because it seems to have a direct physiological effect but the addiction has a cognitive component, it’s full of thoughts and desires and wants you know, you may have to rebuild your whole personality in order to get that thing cornered religious conversion, for example, is a really effective treatment for alcoholism that’s partly why alcoholics anonymous works for the people for whom it does work but religious conversion, which is total personality conversion, is actually one of the few things that we know of that’s an effective treatment for alcoholism we don’t know how to induce it, although that’s not exactly true either because the early work with LSD… LSD was quite promising as a treatment for alcohol addiction and there’s recent work with psylocybin showing that if people have a mystical experience when given psylocybin their success rate of quitting smoking is about 80% which is way higher than any pharmacological intervention for smoking has ever been alright, we should probably call it a day, we’ll see you in a week




Comments
  1. I disagree with Dr. Peterson that Jiminy's explanation of morality is boring and propagandistic. It actually quite profound. "The wrong things that seem right at the time, even though the right things may seem wrong sometimes," sums up the entire socialist movement and is a wonderful definition of temptation. if that fact were not the case temptation wouldn't be temping! Almost all temptations are appealing because they seem right to us and may have something correct in them but not now or not in that place. I feel that the movie then shows both Jiminy and Pinocchio getting confused is illustrating what a hard concept it can be to follow for both children and adults

  2. The irony of comments on YouTube is that people don't seem to consider that the author may have grown and developed and changed since the comment was written. Even here, I see people replying to a comment written a year or more ago like it was a point made mere seconds before.

  3. Procrastinating studying and then listening to Jordan Peterson lecture on how motivation and procrastination works. Ouch.

  4. Mr Peterson I admire your work but you have made a major omission in the development of our archetipes and it is the fact that that copatibility in the imune defense genes (having differnet ones than those of the partner) determines if the offspring will be healthful or not; and therefore it also determines attraction. Many sea mammals that group in hareems have an interesting phenomena and its that females in the hareem go on escapades to mate with male loosers that are more genetically compatible and that probably explains the origin of monogamy and the civilization moral. Hypergamy is a rather primitive state and the reason we are so prone to it in todays culture is the sexual revolution and the artificial hyper sexualization of teenagers (it's ironic that feminism has promoted this).

  5. I am learning so much about the mistakes I made and how to avoid them here > 19:00
    this might be one of the best lectures i ever had including all those days I spent at learning institutions! :O

  6. Petersons understanding of Hitler is based on propaganda and lies. He is not aware of the criminal elements of Judaism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZVzItQ0MtE&index=2&list=PLyEGpienRGwI7lQ50eOD4BOcD3FvgORfl

  7. Dr. Peterson: the reason the tyranny will elicit a confession from you (the dissenter) is to prop up the legitimacy of the judicial system and to confirm to the public and the masses that the tyranny was correct about you. In Court a free and voluntary confession is very hard to dispute because you would have to attack your own credibility. You must prove you are a walking oxymoron: an innocent liar. A favorite trick is for them, while they are beating you, is to get you to also confess to unrelated anti-moral acts so they can equate dissent with murder, child molestation, whatever. This sends the message to the public that all dissenters are also x or will be viewed by the public as -x-.

    Also, a confession mitigates the need for any solid evidence, as here you are admitting that you did it. Therefore, if someone comes back to challenge this conviction there is a factual basis upon which it is based. This way they can act in a pseudo-legal manner, and not disrupt the status quo expectations of people. All Tyrannies use deception as they know that if they came out and told people what they were up to the people and possibly the military would revolt. That's why it is usually a small group of inner conspirators that run the thing. There is a secret agenda under the normal agenda of governance.

  8. What in the damn world is that asian girl doing? She goes from checking out social media to eating to playing some game …

  9. It's just mind-blowing: acting out something doesn't mean you understand it. The statement seems so true after I tried the past authoring excercising.

  10. 1:17:00 I can't believe that girl in the front is really playing on an emulator during this lecture. Gift squandered.

  11. To folks quitting smoking: Peterson is right about environmental triggers for addition, but his best point is about "religious conversion" being effective bc it's a complete identity change. That's also why hypnosis can help some ppl. It doesn't matter how you achieve it, but you must change your identity from a "smoker" to a "non-smoker." You're not just someone who won't smoke, but your IDENTITY is a healthy person who doesn't smoke. Once I did this, it became much easier. It's also helpful to understand no craving lasts over about 10 min, so you can set your timer or phone and wait it out. Each time you do this, your willpower grows stronger. You also get more in touch with yourself, and see maybe you were thirsty, angry, hungry, tired, etc. Lastly, if you're still struggling, try a month on a med like buproprion/ Wellbutrin/ zyban. It makes it easier. God bless

  12. the 5 reasons of the good that will come out of my goal and 5 bad things that will happen if I do not at least strive for that goal I think will help .. I have written it down and really see why I have to take better care of myself and the two scenarios are just a no brainer and to risk the outcomes of if I don't make the goal.. just to maintain a few habits that I think make life easier … I really do appreciate these lectures

  13. 41.25: Don't watch a YT vid on serial rapist/murderer Paul Bernardo if you're overly sensitive. There's plenty of info on that psychopath on wikipedia; reading about it will be less invasive to the health of your psyche than inflicting a vid on yourself. Practice emotional hygiene. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof", especially if the evil is dominating your thoughts to the exclusion of everything else.

  14. look at one of the kid on the left around 1:18:00, looking pretty much entertaining by playing game. supposed she's intellectual enough to catch all the things with just fragmented focus

  15. It pisses me off to realize how screwed up my parents made me. How I wasn't allowed to be a kid or face my problems. Jehovah witnesses are child abusers and people who run cults are scum. Enough is enough.

  16. I love the fact that Jordan Peterson referenced the South Park episode "TSST!" where Lianne Cartman brings in the Dog Whisperer to train her son. Such a great episode to be mentioned in such a great lecture.

  17. I don't understand why some of those student can be this distracted when Jordan B Peterson is actually right in front of their eyes…

  18. 2:09:58 "It's better to be strong than to be weak. But it's better to be strong and kind than to be strong
    . And it's better to be strong and kind and wise than to be strong and kind". That's really wise. I'll start training myself so that I can possess all three of those traits.

  19. what a fucking beast this man is it is criminal so many of those that have an opinion on him either way do not see his skill as a teacher. The man is at play here.

  20. It's paradoxically unfortunate for us that Dr Peterson has become so famous… I don't know if we are ever going to have these type of university lectures ever again from him

  21. Is eating in the classroom allowed? Isn't that considered disrespectful? He talks for 2.5 hours and he has to see people eating in front of him? Shocked!

  22. That bloody Asian student having her lunch and playing on her phone, I find it distracting and I’m not even sat beside her. How inconsiderate and self absorbed do you have to be to do something like that…take your lunch and fuck off to the canteen!!

  23. Id say on the topic of the secret police forcing you confess, even if they knew they had nothing on you, they had to actually prove to themselves that you were guilty, otherwise they wouldn't be justified in acting in this violent way. They may be corrupt but I'd wager a majority of the secret police didn't believe that, and they genuinely believed they were doing the right thing by stopping this criminal and getting you to confess all the criminal activity they were doing.
    The idea of them being wrong, and that it's actually true that they were doing something horrible would be extremely shocking, and that proposition makes people violent, hence the torture etc.

  24. This Asian girl in the grey shirt on the left side of the room just CANNOT put her damn phone or food away… Girl… Show some appreciation for the gift Jordan is sharing with you.

  25. Cute faces have big eyes and a “small nose”. When lying, his nose grows to a larger size because he loses his innocence.

  26. it's funny to think this class was made to teach 20 years olds. Good luck understanding how important it is he is teaching.

  27. Also when you r stressed out about something or have anxiety about something you wake up at 3 clock in the morning

  28. I will think he amazing but I don’t agree with 100 percent about adhd bc it is real. however adhd is both under and over dx. But it does have a lot with the school structure and giving stimulates help them pay attention it does the same thing that running around would do. However adhd does cause problems concentrating and people with adhd have to do what they like to or it’s nearly impossible for them concentrat. Most people adhd are successful when they do things that they are good at and what they like doing and being highly active. More so then taken meds however sometimes they need them in order to work or go to school. Therapy is the best when they are little oppose to putting them on meds.

  29. I truly admire the honesty of this man. He is not in the least bit arrogant like many intellectuals tend to be.

  30. That arrogant Chinese girl on the left whos obviously more interested in her snow flake txt friends than the class, dumb bitch.

  31. I wonder if at least a few of
    those kids in the classroom
    actually know how fortunate
    they are to have been able to
    attend this Man's class.

  32. His extraordinarily logical and structured way of laying out arguments continues to baffle me. Thank you Jordan.

  33. Did he ever elaborate about why the schooling system was set up that way? I would be interested to hear it.

  34. Most excellent lecture….
    Very, very thankful for the ability to "sit in" !
    Hat's off to JBP !
    Cheers

  35. The previous lecture in this series has over a million views. Which means right now – as of July 2019 – about 400 000 people are late to this class.

  36. 15:01 "Don't avoid small problems, because they grow into big problems all by themselves " and the dude in the bottom of the screen inmediatly writes that down 😂. I love these lectures !

  37. @ 1:38:00 That girl is playing a video game, while the Man himself is pouring his heart out, teaching you how to "play" "the game" of life properly, with meaning. smh.

  38. So I've started listening to the lecture in a very sleepy state, and then when I almost fell into the land of dreams, I get to the part where JP starts outliling about problems that grow bigger as you keep ignoring them, thats when my brain boots up and an allnighter starts.. Great Lecturer, man.

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