My Notes — Second Rule — 12 Rules for Life

I am doing my thoughts on each chapter. The post with my overall thoughts on 12 Rules for Life can be found here. This post also contains links to my thoughts on each chapter. If you have not done so already, you should buy Jordan Peterson’s book.

This chapter is primarily about figuring out how to treat your internal self well. There are many things that you can do that ignore what you actually need. If you sacrifice in a relationship or friendship, it may make you into someone weak and the other person into a monster.

Rule 2 — Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

Page 73

Walking the line between chaos and order, you can find out something new about yourself. You also have the potential to learn something new about the world. If you are too far into order, nothing will be novel. Being too far into chaos means nothing will make sense. You need to be in a place where you can actually be on solid footing.

Chaos can be scary. It should be. The problem is that order doesn’t seem scary. It should be as well.

Page 75

Even if you are in pure order and completely safe, chaos can visit. There is no truly safe place.

When you are in pure chaos, order can appear where you don’t expect it. You can embrace it or walk away.

A healthy person needs the strength to walk along the border between order and chaos and keep yourself there. You will end up in pure chaos at some point in your life, no matter what. It is also a guarantee you will end up in pure order. You need the strength of will to pull yourself away from order just as much as you need the strength of will to pull yourself back from chaos.

Page 76+

You can’t make someone else strong. You have to let them get strong on their own. Protecting them from anything that doesn’t cause irreparable harm is most likely the wrong choice.

Challenge and danger are how heroes are made. Everyone needs to be a hero of some kind. Otherwise they are not a complete person.

If you provide too much order to someone, they will never be strong enough to deal with any kind of chaos. They must be strong on their own, otherwise they are not strong at all.

Page 82

Don’t infer ought from is. You don’t know enough about the world and the other people in it to infer ought.

Knowing that something is a certain way means you can deal with it. That is enough.

Page 84

To know how to harm someone else is as simple as knowing how to harm ourselves.

If preventing harm in the world and providing people the tools to be strong is good, evil must be the opposite. Evil is finding new ways to harm people. Evil is exploring your depths on how someone could harm you and instead doing it to them.

We are self conscious, which allows us to know that we are vulnerable. We can thus infer others are just as vulnerable.

Hell is suffering, and evil wants you to suffer. Heaven is meaning, and good wants you to find it.

Page 85

Being vulnerable can make us want to defend ourselves. Being hurt can make us want to retaliate. If the world hurts us, we want to hurt the world back.

There are some people who love suffering. Oftentimes, the people who love the suffering in others hate the suffering in themselves. It is very evident when you look at the history of torture that some people are very good at this game.

Page 86

I combine what Peterson says about speech being good and creating existence with something Chomsky has said that I should do better at souring and citing. Chomsky stated that speech and language came out of nowhere from an evolutionary perspective.

Was speech the thing that made us exist?

Page 91

Do not let yourself become a victim. If someone is bullying you, you need to fight back. This is especially true if that bully is yourself. People and systems will want to create order out of all problems they see. This may create a tyranny. You can be your own tyrant as well.

Don’t support tyranny. Don’t be a slave.

If you do not defend yourself, you have the potential to make yourself a slave in a relationship. If you are a slave, the other person must be a tyrant. Don’t force someone to be a tyrant due to your weakness.

Page 92

You don’t have to be perfect in order to make something that seems impossible possible. You can hold something broken together, even if you are broken yourself.

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