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46 - You Don't Get the Gold Without the dragon

Updated: Nov 29

You Don’t get the Gold

without the Dragon


A Jordan Peterson University Lecture

Eight minutes and twenty-nine seconds long



The idea is that, if you’re, if you fall into a chaotic state, and everything falls apart. There’s the possibility that things can come back together. Including what you’ve just learned, in a new state. And so, you can conceptualize that symbolically as the existence of the dead father at the bottom of the, of, of the chaotic landscape. That’s, that’s the proper way, as far as I can tell, to think about it. It’s like there’s something down there that’s capable of reforming and re-emerging that’s, that incorporates the previous state, but that takes it farther. And, you’re not gonna find that unless you descend into this chaotic place, where it feels like all order is gone. While you generate order, it’s gonna be akin to the order that you had before, but there’s going to be something new about it as well. So, it’s down to the bottom of the chaotic state to bring up what you’re missing. And, that’s one level of analysis. Another level of analysis, you think is, well, that’s also what you’re doing, that’s what you should be doing, in principle, when you’re going to university. You know, you’re, you come to university in roughly the same state as Pinnocio. You know, you’re a bit of a puppet, and you’re kind of a jackass, and what the hell do you know. And it’s chaotic because you haven’t found you’re place in the world properly. And I don’t mean merely for career. Not that that’s no relevant. Because it is. But it’s more important than that. It’s because you’re a historical creature. Because you are a product of history. Unless you are inculturated properly, which means you understand your past, in, in the sense that the humanities can allow for that. Then, you haven’t been able to incorporate the wisdom of your ancestors into your day to day pursuits. And, that’s gonna make you weak. That’s the idea, anyways. And so, when you come to university, this is what university is for. It’s so that you can go into the chaos, and you can pull something out of it that’s truly of value. And you can incorporate that in your own personality. And that makes you much, much stronger. Like, literally, stronger. Not more educated, but, it’s not like you know more facts. It’s that you literally are a better person. And better means you can do far more things. You can articulate your, that’s, that’s something that’s of crucial importance is that you can articulate yourself properly. Which is more useful than anything else you can possibly manage. Like, if you guys come out of university capable of making coherent arguments. And using language properly, you’re so powerful that it’s ridiculous. You, you always, you can lay out a strategy and pursue it successfully. And maybe the strategy is actually oriented towards something good. Something that will actually work. Work for you and work for other people as well. And I, I don’t really understand why people aren’t, ta, told this when they come to university, is that your goal is to make yourself as articulate in writing and thinking and speaking as you possible can. Because that opens the door to everything that you’ll want to do in the future. No matter what it is. The more articulate person always rises. Always. Because, they lay out strategies more effectively. They, they lay out the reasons for doing something, or for not doing something. More particularly, they convince people, and properly so, that they can grapple with potential that lies ahead. Effectively. And they can defend themselves when they’re challenged. And so, all of that is going into the past, into the chaos of the past, you could even say, and pulling up the spirit that inhabits that from the bottom, and uniting with it. And, if you don’t do that, well, you’re defenseless in the case of, in the face of the tragedy of life. And, and then, then that’s not so good. Because if you’re defenseless in the face of the tragedy of life then you get way more hurt than you would otherwise get. And so do the people around you. And then, the probability that you’re gonna be resentful and bitter about that is really high. Because, no one likes to fail continually. And then you get bitter, and, and resentful. And then once you’re bitter and resentful, well, being, being vengeful and mean is the next step. It doesn’t take much of a transformation to move you from that place to the next. So now Pinoccio has to face the thing that he’s afraid of most. And that’s a complicated idea as well. So Yung has this phrase that he liked that he took from the alchemists. Which was “in sterquiliniis invenitur”. And what it meant was, what you most want to find will be found where you least want to look. There’s this old story, it’s from King Arthur. And King Arthur has these knight’s right. They all sit around a round table. Which mean’s they’re roughly equal. That’s what the round table means. And they’re off to find the holy grail. And the holy grail is the most valuable object. That, that’s what it means. So they’re off to find the most valuable thing. But they don’t know what it is, and they don’t know where it is. But they know that there’s a most valuable thing. So, in some sense, it’s akin to them orienting themselves by the star. And they don’t know where to look. And so, what they decide is. They have the castle and It’s in the middle of the forest. And, so each knight decides to start looking for the holy grail by entering the forest at the point that looks darkest to him. And, so what’s the idea there. Well, imagine there are things that come easy to you. And that you’re fond of pursuing. And that you’re happy about pursuing. So, you’ve found those and pursued them. And you’ve mastered them. So, you know all that. But then there’s another place that you don’t what to go. And so, you haven’t gone there. And you haven’t mastered it. And, you’re very small in comparison to it because you haven’t mastered it. And so, it has this monstrous aspect. And, but it has, if where you’re working where; if what you’re doing isn’t working, its where you haven’t gone that you need to go. And so, I can give you another example of this. So, let’s say, you’re an agreeable person. And so, you don’t like conflict. And you won’t stand up for yourself. And you regard anger and the proclivity to provoke and, and to engage in conflict as something that’s positively terrible. It’s not only that you’re not good at it. It’s actually that its wrong. So, that’s where you have to go if you’re going to learn how to stand up for yourself. And, imagine that you’re afraid. Maybe you have something like agraphobea. And so there’s a whole bunch of things that you’re afraid of. And you don’t want to go there. But if you want to put yourself together than that’s exactly where you have to go. And so, it’s frequently the case that, what you want to find is to be found where you least want to find it. And that idea is echoed in the, the prominent stories of dragons and gold. It’s exactly the same idea, is that, the dragon is this terrible thing. It’s this terrible predatory thing that lives forever, and is very, very wise. It lives underground, and it’ll kill you. It’ll burn you up in a second. And you, but, it hords gold. And so you have to go there, into the dragons lair if you’re gonna get the gold. And that’s a representation of people’s paradoxical relationship with reality. It’s like, you have to go out there and confront it, in order to incorporate what it has to offer to you. But, the probability that that’s going to be intensely dangerous, and push you right to the limit. First of all, those are actually the same thing. If it didn’t push you to the limit you wouldn’t gain anything valuable from it. So, you don’t get one without the other. You don’t get the gold without the dragon. That’s a very strange, very, very strange idea. But, it seems to be accurate.

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