Tag Archives: projection

Jordan Peterson and the New Masculinity

For some time I have considered writing about men’s issues in the modern world. I have not done so simply because I do not want to be drawn into the culture wars, and especially the gender wars. But something has now changed, and I believe that we can all begin to move forward in a positive way. A new wave of mature masculinity  beckons, and it is a very, very good thing.

My inspiration for entering the discourse is the arrival of Canadian professor and intellectual Jordan B Peterson into the public sphere. In this post I am going to explain why I think Peterson’s ideas and his success are so important. Secondly, I am going to outline what I believe to be a conscious and mature approach to men’s issues. Much of what I will say is equally applicable to women and feminism, as I shall point out.

I am going to use the word “empowerment” to describe this way of being. Jordan Peterson does not like the term, and I can understand why. It suggests having or wielding power over others. The truth is that any such “power” is transient, and I do not think it is wise to base our sense of self upon that which may rise and fall like night and day.

Thus, when I use the term “empowerment” it is more about an internal state, a wise and loving relationship we have with our minds and bodies. This can shift the way we move in the world and relate to others, including the opposite sex.

Years ago I worked with some very wonderful female spiritual teachers who were well aware that our dominant narrative on male-female power is simplistic. I have been deeply influenced by one of my greatest teachers, Jessica, a very powerful and wise woman with a mind so sharp and intuitive it could cut through you like a razor. A gifted intuitive, at times she could be terrifying, such was the accuracy of her perceptions. Jessica said that it was men, not women, who were being dominated and controlled within modern relationships, and also across certain aspects of society in general. I worked with Jessica and other dedicated healers who had a deep commitment to spiritual well-being. Healing personal issues with the opposite sex was a big part of what we did. As a result of what I saw there, I came to the conclusion that men have taken on so much guilt and shame that many are now simply unable to stand within their own power. They have become child-men. In the two decades since, I have not changed my mind.

This is remarkably similar to the conclusion that Jordan Peterson has come to today, in his role as a clinical psychologist, and now as something of a celebrity.

It is beyond dispute that women currently control much of the public discourse on gender relations, and men who offer dissent from the dominant narrative face severe repercussions, both personally and professionally. That Jordan Peterson has successfully managed to rebel against this power structure and come through the battle relatively unscathed shows that the climate has now shifted. We are at the point where open discussion of related issues is now at least possible. This is something that men (and women) should be grateful to Peterson for. A social fabric and public discourse which is founded upon the open shaming of masculinity is good for nobody – not for men, not for women, and not for LGTB people.

Jordan Peterson
In case you are not aware of who he is, Jordan Peterson has risen from the backrooms of Youtube to become a social media phenomenon, almost overnight. A recent interview of him on British TV, Channel 4, (conducted by Cathy Newman) for example, has generated over five million views within a few days. In the interview we see a relaxed and vibrantly intelligent man, but also one with a ready smile and compassion for his interviewer, despite the fact that she tries to detail him at every opportunity. I encourage you to watch this interview. I believe it represents a seminal moment in the evolution of the culture wars.

When Peterson first emerged on YouTube perhaps three years ago, he was a rather more severe-looking and nervous individual. Undoubtedly, the ad hominem attacks he received (and still regularly receives) as a result his criticisms of Bill C-16 were partly responsible for his awkwardness. That bill enshrined the “misuse” of gender pronouns into the Canadian legal system. Peterson could easily have become a casualty of the political correctness monster and had his academic career ruined.

But Peterson has survived, and indeed thrived. The attacks continue. He is regularly grossly misrepresented by mainstream media and the political left as “alt-right”, a white nationalist or simply a conservative. None of these is true. For example, after the previously mentioned Cathy Newman interview, the host station quickly released an article linking Peterson indirectly to alleged death threats that the interviewer had received. This appeared to be little more than an attempt to to deflect attention away from the fact that Peterson had come across as perfectly reasonable and indeed charming in the interview, and had intelligently addressed every point that the interviewer brought forward. Her inability to formulate adequate responses made her seem less than competent.

The Plight of Young Men
Approximately eighty percent of Peterson’s audience is male, and the Canadian psychologist is deeply concerned about the well-being of men, and especially young men. He regularly tells stories of lost younger males who write to him or approach him after his public talks, to thank him for helping them get their lives together. The passion that he has for them is clearly seen in this video, where he openly weeps when relating such interactions.

I agree with Peterson at we have to begin to address men’s issues. The problem is reaching crisis point.

Activism and the Shadow
Jordan Peterson does not let men off easily, however, and I believe that his ideas about masculinity can help herald a new era of a more responsible, empowered and ultimately loving masculinity. In this sense, there is a potential for the new wave of masculinity to be more genuinely empowered and enlightened than third-wave feminism. The latter, like virtually all social justice discourses, has become so focused on blame and projection at a perceived “evil other,” that it has all but abandoned introspection. There is a dark rage and highly destructive drive in modern feminism which should be being addressed by its leaders. Instead, the feminist movement tends to ostracise those female and male feminists and critics who display any dissent towards its often misandrist doctrines. It has lost its way. It is no longer about equality, but about power and control. It has joined the long list of hegemonic ideologies in human history, more concerned for the perpetuation of its own narratives than for truth or the greater good of society. This is admittedly a harsh judgment, but it is my honest perception of what it has descended into.

The new wave of masculinity must avoid such mistakes if it is to offer any genuine resolution to the current impasse between the sexes, and between the political divides. This is why Peterson offers hope. He is willing to be combative, is willing to stand his ground, but is also willing to assume responsibility for the shadow (the darker, suppressed impulses within the mind that we would prefer not see the light of day). He appears to be aware of how a failure to address the shadow can prevent integration of the trauma and self-limiting beliefs within a person’s psyche, and in doing so become downright destructive. When entire movements, groups and nations abandon introspection, they can quickly become delusional and destructive.

Cultivating a Love of Women
Shadow work is the missing link in today’s social justice movements, and I will include much of the men’s movemnt in this. It is for this reason that these movements inevitably descend into destructive delusion, adopting a victim consciousness, including addiction to blame and projection. The new wave of masculinity will have to include a greater degree of courage and commitment to truth than that displayed in the social justice movements we have witnessed in recent years. It will require a willingness to permit criticism and dissent. It must inculcate a high degree of emotional and social intelligence within men, such that the movement is able to offer dissent and criticism in ways that are respectful and mindful of those with differing perspectives.

It must not make the mistake of seeing women as the enemy. Instead it should have at its heart the goal of cultivating deep love for women; and for relationships between men and women. It must avoid the culture of blaming and shaming that delimited the greater good that feminism could have brought to the world. In making men the enemy, feminism has effectively stultified the healing of the collective male-female wound. It has developed a consciousness not of love, but of shaming and destruction.

Of course, all is not lost for feminism, nor for other social justice narratives. But there needs to be a greater degree of introspection and honesty if they are to move forward.

Peterson has a huge fan base. Judging by the comments sections under his YouTube videos, many of these people appear to be responsible and well-meaning. The trolls and haters are there, but they do not dominate the boards that I have surfed. Peterson himself seems to be bringing out the best in his audience, granting a voice to a segment of society that we have lost compassion for. That the online forums are relatively civilised is an encouraging sign, as the same cannot be said for all activists in the associated men’s rights groups.

For this reason, I hope that Jordan Peterson can begin to address the issue of healing relationships between the male and female collectives. To date, as far as I am aware, he has not said too much on how to develop genuine love for women, both in individual relationships, and in general. Hopefully in time he can begin to do so and cultivate this attitude in the mostly young men in his core audience.

A New Masculinity
As Peterson has stated, the new masculity will not entail the negative traits that today’s education systems and media typically attribute to men. Peterson’s healthy expression of masculinity is not about domination and control, colonisation, suppression and rape. These impulses, he states, must be acknowledged and incorporated within the psyche, such that the man develops the right relationship with them. Instead men can exhibit the noble qualities that truly healthy masculinity is capable of: high levels of personal responsibility, love and compassion, courage, doing soul-affirming work, sharing the wisdom of the father.

I am in complete agreement with this. I believe the new masculinity can be more restive, more embodied, more present. It will be deeply responsible. It will allow a healthy expression, not suppression, of sexuality. It will honour the fundamental impulses of men, but in a positive way. We must begin by encouraging men to believe in themselves, to create positive visions of their futures where they can embody the hero archetype, finding deep purpose and meaningful work. For meaningful work is a big part of what makes life worth living for men.

If this is done the right way, I believe we can create a generation of men who will exhibit a confidence and “charisma” that will be far more attractive, in every sense of the word, than the enfeebled, guilt-driven, virtue-signalling male that is often found today, an end result of generations of the shaming of men.

In order to do this, we need to begin to trust men again. And to trust them, we (especially women) have to allow a certain space for vulnerability. We will have to allow our psychological walls to come down, at least some of the time. All spiritually healthy relationships are founded on firm boundaries, but they must also allow those boundaries to soften, when friendship, love and intimacy beckon.

What this will look like in any given man will depend upon the characteristics of the individual. I see Jordan Peterson as a fine embodiment of such a creature. Like all of us, he is imperfect. But his exceptional courage, intelligence and wisdom mean that he has continued to grow as a man even into his fifties. Both men and women can now be the beneficiaries of this. Peterson is the right man at the right moment in history. His massive popularity is just reward for the courage and tenacity he has displayed in championing men in an age where it has become an effective taboo to say anything good about them.

Empowered, deeply embodied men and women are not a threat to each other. When Cassie Jay came to Australia in 2017 to promote her documentary The Red Pill (about men’s rights groups) she was savagely attacked by the media, feminists and even men. The savaging was merciless. This destructive mentality is what we all have to rise above to move forward. We need to start listening to each other, being present with each other. Learning how to love again.

Now is the right time to begin. Let there be (genuine) empowerment for men. And women.

Is looking into the shadow necessary?

infinite-possibilities

Today’s question for the Five Minute Mystic comes from Penny. This is a very important query. Why should anyone do shadow work, and is it really worth all the effort? In this video I address the pros and cons of delving into the murky depths of the human psyche. Penny’s question is below.

I have divided this into two videos. In this video, below, I address the idea of the “shadow” in its standard form as meaning the human psyche. In the second video here, I move the discussion onto the question of “darkness” as a consciousness field – is evil really a “force”?

Marcus

 

Dear Marcus,

I’m reading your The Mind Reader book right now, about half way through, and loving it but it is also difficult for me because there is a lot of darkness in myself and so the book is rather disturbing. I know that I have a lot of hard work to do and I hope I will have enough courage. It is a good book to read as a companion to your Discover Your Soul Template. You sure have had an amazing life and I thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve also found your videos on youtube and they are so very helpful too. And I like your sense of humor.

Penny

It’s a riot: when religion rejects Spirit

No doubt you have been following the news this week, and watching with some concern – maybe even anger – at the riots by outraged Muslims. The demonstrations have broken out in several middle-eastern countries and also (at the time of writing) in Britain and Australia.

Hate is a strange thing. It seems to defy the universal law of entropy.  Entropy entails that there is just a little bit of energy lost after all chemical reactions and physical processes. According to many physicists, the universe will eventually run down and go cold. But just before the last bit of stardust flickers and dims, I reckon we’ll still have some idiots grabbing each other by the throats and screaming “Look what you gone and done to us! You people are evil!” hate just seems to go right one expanding. Hate begets more hate.

Hate is contagious. It doesn’t take much to get caught up in it. No doubt a big part of this is the basic neurochemistry of the brain and body, and the evolutionary imperatives which lie behind it. You’ll find a lot of agreement with this in mainstream science.

From my experience as a longtime introspective mystic, I have seen that hate also has an “energy”. But it is not “energy” in the classic meaning of the term. It’s not part of one of the four known forces of nature. I am talking about the way that thought/consciousness operates within fields of intention, and these consciousness fields tend to be self-maximizing, acting like attractor fields which suck the “minds” of the unsuspecting into a vortex of ‘mental’ violence. And once the mind becomes violent, the body tends to follow pretty quickly. This is one of the reasons why the current violence tends to pull people in. Seeing others full of hate and blame tends to make us feel angry. Unconsciously we may be drawn into a “dark” consciousness field.

Culture is another factor which is important in much mass violence. If the culture in which you are embedded says it’s okay to project hatred and violence at the other, then naturally people will feel inclined to do so. In Muslim communities worldwide there is a strong victim mindset which has permeated their worldview. Victims tend to feel justified at lashing out in hatred and blame. After all, the “victim” is innocent, and the “other” is the wrong-doer. This kind of culture can be spread in many ways: the internet, religious teachers, news media, community, family and so on.

There is also the reality of individual spiritual maturity – or lack thereof. A person who has a high level of spiritual maturity knows his mind well. And in this understanding he knows the nature of all minds. Through the discipline of introspection he has come to recognise that the mind tends towards constant projection. The mind lives in an imagined world of belief and judgment while rejecting experience and data which contradict those beliefs. When we live from “the head” and life experience informs us that our beliefs are inadequate, we inevitably hit out at those who we see as threatening our worldview.

There is always a part of the mind that knows that its beliefs are fantasies. The alcoholic knows that it is not really true that “I can give up anytime I want”. The wife beater certainly realises deep down that it is a lie to insist that “The beatings are good for her”. The religious believer too, knows full well that it is impossible that his beliefs (and his God) are the only beliefs that are true and that every other religion is deluded or evil. But instead of going through the destabilising trauma of accepting that he might be wrong, and entering a state of “not knowing”, he attacks the thing that he believes is threatening his (imagined) world. But it is not the other that is the cause of his fear. The fear emerges from the truth that is bubbling up from within him, whispering “Your world is an illusion.”

This is why deep meditative introspection is forbidden in many religions. Religion tends to be terrified of the psyche. For it is within the psyche that the truth can be found. And that truth that will often contradict “the scriptures”. A great irony is that much religious practice is actually the mind’s way of making sure that it does not listen to Spirit.

Let’s face it. There is not a lot of wisdom and common sense in smashing things up and killing “the other” simply because he laughs at you. Why attack Americans, Germans, Brits and Australians when the YouTube video you are outraged by was made by a man of Egyptian heritage?

You probably agree that it’s madness: “These people are nuts!” Yet if you find yourself saying that then you are in the grip of the mind. It is not that you are wrong, technically speaking. Yes, the people murdering and burning and screaming revenge are deluded. They have lost control of their own minds, and their connection with Spirit (Spirit, like Grace, tends to find goodness and peace in everything).

Every spiritual and religious teaching has the potential to become a religion. That even includes this “teaching” you are now reading in this blog post. In fact all spiritual truth becomes a religion as soon as the mind takes possession of it; and that happens every single time you enter the world of thought!

Depressing thought, isn’t it? Yes, the THOUGHT is depressing, but not the simple awareness that lies behind it.

Times of violence and collective madness are perfect opportunities to deepen awareness for anyone committed to a genuine spiritual way of being. For as the flames rise before you, you can see yourself reflected in them, like a ghostly visage. Most people, like the silly kitten charging at itself in the mirror, cannot tell that they are just looking at their own reflection.

Can you?

It’s a question which is crucial to your future. And all human futures.

Marcus

 
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