Saturday, March 10, 2018

Art, Life and Jordan Peterson

Here is another post inspired by Jordan Peterson, for which I make no apology whatsoever! He has quickly become a world-famous thinker for very good reasons. This shocks the hell out of me because he was born about twenty miles away from where I was born, in the frigid wastelands of Northern Alberta, Canada.

There are likely many reasons why the thinking of Peterson is becoming so well known. Probably the most fundamental is that he has tapped into a lot of the perennial wisdom of the West, from the Bible to Socrates to Nietzsche to Jung to modern clinical research, and made a great deal of sense of it. This immediately sets him apart from the crowd because he is rejecting the Long March through the institutions of Gramsci and the other neo-Marxists that seems to have taken over so many universities. The other thing that makes him stand out from the crowd is that he stands up, very courageously, for what he believes to be true. This makes him almost unique among contemporary academics and administrators who seem to recoil in cowardice whenever the mob rises up.

Watching a talk or lecture by Peterson is a pretty bracing experience which is why they seem to always sell out. Here is an excerpt I ran across the other day in which he talks about the importance of art to your life, and why the great bank of cultural capital represented by great art and architecture is why millions upon millions of people visit France, Spain and Italy every year. This is worth incalculable amounts to their economies, but, sadly, the artists themselves almost never are able to monetize their own creativity. This little excerpt is only twelve minutes long:

He has some ferocious criticism of the place of art in Canada tucked in the middle there. Every arts administrator and bureaucrat in Canada needs to watch this, stat! Because one of the real problems with art in Canada is that while everyone goes around pretending to appreciate art and beauty, the reality is that it makes us really uncomfortable so we prefer to ignore it. This explains why, in Canada, arts and cultural "leadership" is thought to be in the hands of the faceless, grey nonentities that administer arts organizations. Isn't that an interesting delusion! For more on that see this post: Cultural Leadership in Canada.

Honestly, there is more genuine wisdom in this little excerpt about the arts, society, life and, yes, punk rock, than you normally run into in entire books and university courses. One tiny insight from the excerpt: "art is a window on the transcendent." Yep.

Do we need an envoi? Don't see why not. This is Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphonie:

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