Why I Love (and Fear) Jordan Peterson & Russell Brand

Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand

tldr version

Jordan Peterson
and Russell Brand
both see a
current crisis
and both see it as
primarily “spiritual”

however, for each,
there are issues
when it comes to how
and “spirituality” relate

and how they relate
is vital

bit longer version


i love me some
Peterson and Brand

always generally dug
Brand’s flicks
and standup,
and have been a
fan of his podcast/YouTube
for a year plus

(fun fact:
the pic above is
from once when
Peterson went
on said podcast;
and don’t they look
smashing together?
🙂 )

Peterson came to
my attention
more gradually,
but then like a
hurricane recently –
give him a Google
and marvel at the
moment he’s been having

i have Recovery and
12 Rules for Life
on my bedside table
(along with some more
explicitly Christiany books
and a tablet, upon which
i theoretically read,
but mainly just
obsess over guitar gear
i don’t really need)

both are excellent texts
and both feel
supremely plugged in
to a zeitgeisty sense
that something’s amiss,
in general,
with ppl rn

(i agree)

both also,
and both men
in their public lives,
propose something
like a
spiritual cause
for this
“something amiss” –
what might be called a
“spiritual crisis of meaning”
stemming from
(or something like God;
more on this later)
no longer holding
significant sway
for so many

(i agree for sure)


please note here
that these gentlemen
are obv far more complex
than i’m making
them seem, as is
this whole topic
(and i’m not
even addressing
their politics);
i’m attempting to
essentialize here;
i considered deep diving,
but am refraining
for the sake of brevity
and also because i’m
kind of lazy

in any case, here are
some decent articles
related to this post;
go ahead and Google –
there’s plenty more:

“Jordan Peterson vs. Russell Brand”

“The religious hunger that drives Jordan Peterson’s fandom”

“Is Dr. Jordan Peterson A Gateway Drug to Christianity, Or Just A Highbrow Joel Osteen?”

here are two of my own,
also related:

“Get Re-Enchanted: Stranger Things 2, Pop Culture & God”

“What IT Means (and How *Any* Good Story ?Means?)”


but here’s the problem:
as much as i *love*
Peterson and Brand’s
respective approaches
to the significance
of the spiritual,
i *fear* that
neither approaches
*truth* sufficiently

what do i mean?

well, with Brand,
the issue appears to be
lack of specificity –
many manifestations
of spirituality
might address the
problems he sees
(note that his book
is based on the 12-steps,
which speaks of “God,
as we understand him”)

and while this is
well and good to a point,
of course,
in the end,
truth commonly understood
is *specific* and *exclusive*
by its nature,
and not addressing this,
it seems to me,
is a problem

for Peterson,
the issue is confusing
with something like
“what works”

he tells us to live by a
certain ethic
and seek a certain meaning
grounded in
certain Jungian archetypes,
not because it is true
or because the
archetypes are –
at least not in
the usual
way generally meant –
but because it
just happens to reflect
how things have gone
re: humans
when it comes to
our psychology
from an
evolutionary perspective;
it is what is and
therefore what “works”
and therefore “true”

again, all well and good
to attach some
functionality to truth,
of course,
but conflating the two,
it seems to me,
is a problem

also, this is why
Peterson kind of
the question he’s
often asked:
“do you believe in God;”
he may or may not,
but he definitely
does not think of
that question primarily
as it relates to *truth*
commonly understood


and so:
when it comes to
Peterson and Brand,
i love them,
but i also fear them

i find them both
engaging and articulate
and brilliant, etc.,
and *correct;*
but, concerningly,
on this point,
only to a point

i want people to
hear their message(s) –
i know good can come
of it –
but i fear ill may too

i see them as
*prophetic* even
in this current moment –
both have
cut through the mix
in a way that’s so
unusual anymore,
given the noise –
but probably only
“part way down the path”
to the true destination
they both seem to
have glimpsed
(or, better,
which has glimpsed them):

not God
“as we understand him,”
not a “God” that
simply works,
but the *true* God

the true God
as He really is


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