fbpx
23/03/2019 Communication Science news and articles

What’s the deal with Peterson?

Room for Discussion hosted Jordan Peterson, psychologist and author. Who is he? And what made his appearance so newsworthy. Medium helps you find out.


Last Wednesday, Room for Discussion of the University of Amsterdam invited famous psychologist and author of the critically acclaimed self-help book 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to chaos’ Jordan Peterson to speak on the topic of ‘society in crisis’ for their lustrum week. The event did not go unnoticed and ended up causing quite a bit of commotion.Who is Jordan Peterson and what made his appearance at the Room for Discussion such a newsworthy event? Medium Magazine is here to give you the scoop!

Who is Jordan Peterson?
Let me give you a quick recap: Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. Peterson has been sharing his ideas on life for years, either through YouTube videos of his lectures filmed by his students or by answering questions on the popular user-based forum Quora, like this particularly famous one. This Quora answer spread like wildfire and inspired him to write his book ’12 rules for life’, which was published last January. Around the time Peterson wrote the what would later become draft version of 12 Rules for Life on Quora, Canada passed a new law: the c16 law. The c16 law is a law that basically states that it is punishable by law to discriminate anyone on the basis of their gender identity and/or gender expression. This includes refusing to use the preferred gender pronoun of the individual in question. Peterson criticized the law, stating that the government threatening him with criminal prosecution for not using someone’s preferred gender pronoun is limiting his freedom of speech and thus constitutes censorship.

‘Conservative, patriarchal, anti-feminist’
It was this response to the Canadian law which really put Peterson in the limelight and brought his ideas to a whole other landscape: The political one. A lot of Peterson’s approaches to certain topics are considered to at least somewhat challenge the worldview of left-leaning liberals. His words are often taken out of context and used by far right-wing movements to justify certain extreme behaviours, such as discrimination. This has lead to some 80 staff members of the University of Amsterdam penning an open letter, requesting the Room for Discussion to invite another guest speaker to oppose Peterson’s ideas, as they view his worldview to be too radical and state him to be ‘conservative, patriarchal (…) and anti-feminist’ among many other things.  This fierce response to news of his guest appearance brought up fears of violent protests during his talk.

See you there, cowards
Peterson has responded to the letter on his website. Among other things, he flames the staff members for speaking on behalf of others, stating that students are interested in hearing what he has to say and have come to hear him speak, not some other randomly chosen guest speaker. He also refutes their claims that his ideas are based on pseudo-science, showing of his status in the academic world by referring to his credentials in teaching at university level and the countless scientific articles he has written. He ends the letter by calling out all the people that signed the letter as follows:’ See you in Amsterdam, you cowards, denouncers and totalitarian wannabes.’

The bottom line
Despite fears of a protest with perhaps dangerous consequences taking place, the Room for Discussion did not budge and did not invite another guest speaker to sit opposite Jordan Peterson. Instead, they opted to have an extra 20-minute Q&A session at the end of his speech. The discussion went by surprisingly well and peacefully, with no major offenses taking place during. People opposing Peterson’s worldview were given the right to protest silently, by being allowed to hand out pamphlets to the audience explaining why they are so against his ideas. Peterson himself expressed his regret at the fact that many of his ideas are used in a political context, while he’s mainly speaking from a psychological point of view. In regard to how to deal with a society in which it is so easy to receive political backlash from the smallest mishap in your speech and/or writing, he advised the audience to learn to write well and to not take the academic field of humanities for granted. At the end of the day, what matters is that we give each other space to have an insightful discussion. If you oppose someone’s views, at least make sure you have listened to all their points and considered them carefully, coming from themselves. It is only than that we can have a meaningful discussion and actually learn from each other.

Cover: Folia / Final Editing: Ivo Martens

228 Total Views 1 Views Today

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

Where does scapegoating come from?

22/03/2019

22/03/2019

Alvaro found out where scapegoating comes from, and explains it to us in this article. Why do we scapegoat? And what has the Bible to do with it?

Killfies: And You Thought Duckface Was Bad

21/03/2019

21/03/2019

With astonishing numbers in countries such as India and Russia, the 'Killfie' is gaining not only in popularity, but also in casualties. Why do people take such great risks for 'just a picture'?

Onder de loep: De Luizenmoeder

20/03/2019

20/03/2019

Het tweede seizoen van De Luizenmoeder is een aantal weken geleden begonnen. Wat maakt dit programma nog steeds zo succesvol? Medium zocht het uit.

My Podcast and Me: The Intimacy of Podcasts

20/03/2019

20/03/2019

Podcasts; the substitution to TV and radio among millennials. However, the statistics on podcasts listeners are respectively low in the Netherlands. Why are podcasts popular in other countries? And how come that we stay behind?

BNR: Backstage with the Chief

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

Medium Editor-in-Chief Thomas Korver started his internship at BNR Nieuwsradio this year, a very special feat. Thomas is working right along the most powerful people of the Netherlands, but that's quite normal.

CNN and the Metamorphosis of News

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

A comprehensive look at how the CNN used technology to disrupt the media landscape and transform the news cycle

Women’s march: what are we trying to say?

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

The second Woman's March took place on March 9th in Amsterdam. Eva brought her camera and shows us how the participants visualized their message about feminism.

Students of the world: Inaya

18/03/2019

18/03/2019

Students of Amsterdam goes worldwide! This means that Medium didn't interview a student from the University of Amsterdam, but a communication science student from the University of Manchester; meet Inaya!

The Medium Magazine Brexit Podcast

16/03/2019

16/03/2019

Are you following Brexit? We tried to, have a listen!

Audrey Hepburn: The Woman Behind The Icon

15/03/2019

15/03/2019

One week ago the world celebrated International Women's Day. This week Eva commemorated a very special women; Audrey Hepburn.

Students of Amsterdam: Gary

14/03/2019

14/03/2019

Deze maand is tweedejaars Communicatiewetenschap student Gary de 'Student of Amsterdam'. Tegen Medium vertelt hij over zijn reis naar Vietnam, zijn leven in Amsterdam en zijn prioriteiten.

#DOESLIEF: SIRE’s sleutel tot een vriendelijker Nederland

13/03/2019

13/03/2019

SIRE startte de #DOESLIEF-campagne, omdat mensen niet bewust zijn hoevaak mensen nog worden beledigd. Medium zocht uit of deze campagne effectief is.

Review: Russian Doll

11/03/2019

11/03/2019

If you could do it all again, would you? The new Netflix series, 'Russian Doll', explores this idea with a twist.

The Digital Migrant

05/03/2019

05/03/2019

"Water, phone and food." This article takes a look at the crucial role played by smartphones and technology in the lives of migrants.

Suppressed Voices Given a Chance to be Heard: Introducing ‘Looney Radio’

28/02/2019

28/02/2019

This thursday we introduce a very special radio station from Argentina: Radio La Colifata. Opening their doors, Hospital Borda takes the recovery process of the patient to another level.

EnjoyInstagram