Showing posts with label agreeableness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agreeableness. Show all posts

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Great Mother

Leia is The Hearth

"And underneath it all I see this terrible striving for arbitrary power that’s associated with this crazy utopianism.

But I still don’t exactly understand it. I don’t understand what seems to be the hatred that motivates it that you see bubbling up, for example, in identity politics, and in the desire to do nothing but, let’s say, demolish the patriarchy.
It kind of reminds me. . . And this is something else I wanted to talk to you about.

You’re an admirer of Erich Neumann and of Carl Jung. The Neumann connection is really interesting because I think he’s a bloody genius. I really like The Great Mother.

It’s a great book and really a great warning, that book. And also The Origins and History of Consciousness.

Paglia: One my most influential books.

Peterson: Yeah well that’s so interesting. I read an essay that you wrote. I don’t
remember when it was.

Paglia: It was a lecture I gave on Neumann at NYU, yes.

Peterson: Yes, it’s always been staggering to me that that book hasn’t had the impact that it should have had. I mean Jung himself, in the preface to that book, wrote that that was the book that he wished that he would have written. It’s very much associated with Jung’s Symbols of Transformation. And it was a major influence on my book, Maps of Meaning, which was an attempt to outline the universal archetypes that are portrayed in the kind of religious structures that you put forward.

But the thing that I really see happening. . . And you can tell me what you think about this. In Neumann’s book, consciousness - which is masculine, symbolically masculine for a variety of reasons - is viewed as rising up against the countervailing force of tragedy from an underlying feminine, symbolically feminine, unconsciousness. And it’s something that can always be pulled back into that unconsciousness.

The microcosm of that would be the Freudian Oedipal Mother familial dynamic where the mother is so overprotective and all-encompassing that she interferes with the development of the competence not only of her sons but also of her daughters, of her children in general. And it seems to me that that’s the dynamic that’s being played out in our society right now.

And it’s related in some way that I don’t understand to this insistence that all forms of masculine authority are nothing but tyrannical power. So the symbolic representation is Tyrannical Father with no appreciation for the Benevolent Father, and Benevolent Mother with no appreciation whatsoever for the Tyrannical Mother.

I thought of ideologies as fragmentary mythologies. That’s where they get their
archetypal and psychological power. In a balanced representation you have the
Terrible Mother and the Great Mother, as Neumann laid out so nicely. And you have the Terrible Father and the Great Father. So that’s the fact that culture mangles you have to death while it’s also promoting you and developing you. You have to see that as balanced. Then you have the heroic and adversarial individual.

But in the postmodern world - and this seems to be something that’s increasingly seeping out into the culture at large - you have nothing but the Tyrannical Father, nothing but the destructive force of masculine consciousness, and nothing but the benevolent Great Mother.

It’s an appalling ideology, and it seems to me that it’s sucking the vitality - which is exactly what you’d expect symbolically - it’s sucking the vitality of our culture. You see that with the increasing demolition of young men, and not only young men, in terms of their academic performance. They’re falling way behind in elementary school, way behind in junior high, and bailing out of the universities like mad.

Paglia: Well the public school education has become completely permeated by this kind of anti-male propaganda. To me, public school is just a form of imprisonment.

They’re particularly destructive to young men, who have a lot of physical energy.
I identify as transgender myself, but I do not require the entire world to alter itself to fit my particular self-image. I do believe in the power of hormones. I believe that menexist and women exist, and are biologically different. I think there is no cure for the culture’s ills right now, except if men start standing up and demanding that they be respected as men again.

Peterson: Okay, okay, so I’ve got a question about that. We did a research project a year ago trying to figure out if there was such a thing as political correctness from a psychometric perspective, to find out if the loose aggregation of beliefs actually clump
together statistically. And we actually found two factors, which I won’t go into. 

Then we looked at things that predicted adherence to that politically correct creed. There were a couple that were surprising.

One was - being female was a predictor. The personality attributes associated with
femininity - so that would be agreeableness and higher levels of negative emotion - were also both independent predictors. But so were symptoms of personality disorder,
which I thought was really important.

Because part of what I see happening is that. . . I think that women whose relationship with men has been seriously pathologized cannot distinguish between male authority and competence and male tyrannical power. They fail to differentiate because all they see is the oppressive male. And they may have had experiences that. . . Their
experiences with men might have been rough enough so that differentiation never
occurred. Because it has to occur. 

And you have to have a lot of experience with men - and good men, too - before that will occur.

But it seems to me that we’re also increasingly dominated by a view of masculinity that’s mostly characteristic of women who have terrible personality disorders, and who are unable to have healthy relationships with men. 

But here’s the problem. 

This is something my wife has pointed out, too. She said, ‘Well men are going to have to stand up for themselves.’ 

But here’s the problem.
I know how to stand up to a man who’s unfairly trespassing against me. 

And the reason I know that is because the parameters for my resistance are quite well defined, which is: we talk, we argue, we push, and then it becomes physical

If we move beyond the boundaries of civil discourse, we know what the next step is.

That’s forbidden in discourse with women. And so I don’t think that men can control crazy women.

I really don’t believe it. I think they have to throw their hands up in. . . In
what? It’s not even disbelief. It’s that the cultural. . . There’s no step forward that you can take under those circumstances, because if the man is offensive enough and crazy enough, the reaction becomes physical right away. Or at least the threat is there.

And when men are talking to each other in any serious manner, that underlying threat of physicality is always there, especially if it’s a real conversation. It keeps the thing civilized to some degree. 

If you’re talking to a man who wouldn’t fight with you under any circumstances whatsoever, then you’re talking to someone [for] whom you have absolutely no respect.

But I can’t see any way. . . For example there’s a woman in Toronto who’s been
organizing this movement, let’s say, against me and some other people who are going to do a free speech event. And she managed to organize quite effectively, and she’s quite offensive, you might say. She compared us to Nazis, for example, publicly, using the Swastika, which wasn’t something I was all that fond of.

But I’m defenseless against that kind of female insanity, because the techniques that I would use against a man who was employing those tactics are forbidden to me. So I don’t know. . . It seems to me that it isn’t men who have to stand up and say, ‘Enough of this.’ Even though that is what they should do, it seems to me that it’s sane women who have to stand up against their crazy sisters and say, ‘Look, enough of that. Enough man-hating. Enough pathology. Enough bringing disgrace on us as a gender.’

But the problem there - and then I’ll stop my little tirade - is that most of the women I know who are sane are busy doing sane things. They have their career. They have their family. They’re quite occupied, and they don’t seem to have the time, or maybe even the interest, to go after their crazy, harpy sisters. And so I don’t see any
regulating force for that terrible femininity. And it seems to me to be invading the
culture and undermining the masculine power of the culture in a way that’s, I think, fatal. I really do believe that.

Paglia: I, too, believe these are symptomatic of the decline of Western culture. And it will just go down flat. I don’t think people realize that masculinity still exists in the world as a code among jihadists. And when you have passionate masculinity circling the borders like the Huns and the Vandals during the Roman Empire. . . That’s what I see.

I see this culture rotting from within and disemboweling itself, literally.

Now I have an overview of why we’re having this problem, and it comes from the fact that I’m the product of an immigrant family. All four of my grandparents and my mother
were born in Italy. So I remember from my earliest years in this factory town in upstate New York, where my relatives came to work in the shoe factory. I can remember, still, the life of the agrarian era - which was for most of human history - the agrarian era where there was the world of men and the world of women.
And the sexes had very little to do with each other. Each had power and status in its own realm. And they laughed at each other, in essence. The women had enormous power. In fact, the old women ruled, not the young beautiful women like today. But the older you were the more you had control over everyone, including the mating and marriage. There were no doctors, so the old women were like midwives and knew all the ins and outs and [had] inherited knowledge about pregnancy and all these other

I can remember this. And the joy that women had with each other all day long. Cooking
with each other, being companions to each other, talking, conversing. My mother
remembered, as a small child in Italy, when it was time to do the laundry they would
take the laundry up the hill to the fountain and do it by hand. They would sing, they
would picnic, and so on.
We get a glimpse of that in the Odyssey when Odysseus is thrown up naked on the
shores of Phaeacia and he hears the sound of women, young women, laughing and
singing. And it’s Nausicaa, the princess, bringing the women to do the laundry. It’s
exactly the same thing. So there was. . . Each gender had its own hierarchy, its own
values, its own way of talking. And the sexes rarely intersected.
I can remember in my childhood in a holiday - it could be a Christmas, it could be a
Thanksgiving, whatever - women would be cooking all day long, everyone would sit
down to eat, and then after that the women would retire en masse to the kitchen. And
the men would go. . . I would look at them through the window and see all the men.
The men would be all outside, usually gathered around the car - at a time when cars
didn’t work as well as they do today - with the hood up. And the men would be standing
with their hands on their hips like that. Everyone’s staring at the engine. That’s how
I learned men were refreshing themselves by studying something technical and
mechanical after being with the women during the dinner.

So all of these problems of today are the direct consequence of women’s emancipation
and freedom from housework thanks to capitalism, which made it possible for women
to have jobs outside the home for the very first time in the nineteenth century. No
longer to be dependent on husband or father or brother.
So this great thing that’s happened to us, allowing us to be totally self-supporting,
independent agents has produced all this animosity between men and women,
because women feel unhappy. Women today - wherever I go, whether it’s Italy or
Brazil or England or America or Toronto - the upper-middle class professional women
are unhappy, miserable.
And they don’t know why they’re unhappy. They want to blame it on men. The men
must change. Men must become more like women. No. That is the wrong way to go.
It’s when men are men, and understand themselves as men, are secure as men - then
you’re going to be happier.
Peterson: There’s nothing more dangerous than a weak man.
Paglia: Absolutely. Especially all these quislings spouting feminist rhetoric. When I
hear that it makes me sick. But here’s the point. Men and women have never worked
side by side, ever. Maybe on the farms when you were like. . . Maybe one person is in
the potato field and the other one is over here doing tomatoes, or whatever.
You had families working side by side, exhausted with each other. No time to have any
clash of this. It was a collaborative effort on farms and so on. Never in all of human
history have men and women been working side by side. And women are now. . . The
pressure about Silicon Valley - they’re all so sexist, they don’t allow women in, and so
on. Men are being men in Silicon Valley.
Peterson: Especially the engineers.
Paglia: And the women are demanding that. . . ‘Oh, this is terrible, you’re being
sexist.’ Maybe the sexes have their own particular form of rhetoric, their own particular
form of identity. Maybe we need to reexamine this business about. . . Maybe we have
to perhaps accept some degree of tension and conflict between the sexes in a work
I don’t mean harassment. I’m talking about women feeling disrespected. Somehow
their opinions, when they express them, are not taken seriously. Even Hillary Clinton
is complaining. When a woman writes something online she’s attacked immediately.
Everyone is attacked online. What are you talking about? The world is tough. The
world is competitive. Identity is honed by conflict. The idea that there should be no
conflict, that we have to be in this bath of approbation. . . It’s infantile.
Peterson: That’s right. It’s absolutely infantile. Okay, so, a couple of things there.
Well the first thing is that the agreeableness trait that divides men and women

most. . . There’s three things that divide women and men most particularly from the
psychometric perspective.
One is that women are more agreeable than men, and so that seems to be the primary
maternal dimension as far as I can tell. It’s associated with a desire to avoid conflict.
But it’s associated with interpersonal closeness, compassion, politeness. Women are
reliably higher than men, especially in the Scandinavian countries and in the countries
where egalitarianism has progressed the farthest.
So that’s where the difference is maximized, which is one of the things James
Damore pointed out quite correctly in his infamous Google Memo. Women are
higher in negative emotion. So that’s anxiety and emotional pain. That difference is
approximately the same size. And again that maximizes in egalitarian societies, which
is extremely interesting. And then the biggest difference is the difference in interest between people and things. 

And so women are more interested in people, and men are more interested in things, which goes along quite nicely with your car anecdote.

But the thing about men interacting with men again is that it isn’t that they respect each other’s viewpoints. That’s not exactly right. 

What happens with a man. . . I know a lot of men that I would regard as remarkably tough people for one reason or another. And everything you do with them is a form of combat. 

Like if you want your viewpoint taken seriously, often you have to yell them down. They’re not going to stop talking unless you start talking over them.

It’s not like men are automatically giving respect to other men, because that just doesn’t happen. It’s that the combat is there, and it’s expected. 

And one of the problems. . . And so, this is one of the reasons I think men are bailing out of so much of academia and maybe the academic world in general. 

And maybe The World in general.

Men actually don’t have any idea how to compete with women.

Because the problem is that if you unleash yourself completely, then you’re an absolute bully. And there’s no doubt about that, because if men unleash themselves on other men, that can be pretty goddamn brutal, especially for the men that really tough. And so that just doesn’t happen with women ever. 

So you can’t unleash yourself completely. If you win, you’re a bully. If you lose, well you’re just bloody pathetic. So how the hell are you supposed to play a game like that?

I’ve worked with lots of women in law firms in Canada, for example. And high achieving women, like really remarkable people I would say. 

And they’re often nonplussed, I would say, by the attitude of the men in the law firm, because they would like to see everyone pulling together because they’re all part of the same team. 

Conquering vs. Sharing

Whereas the men are like at each other’s throats in a cooperative way because they want the law firm to succeed, but they want to be the person who is at the top of the success hierarchy.
And that doesn’t jive well with the more cooperative ethos that’s part and parcel of agreeableness

So we don’t really have any idea how to integrate male and female dominance hierarchies.

Paglia: Exactly. Exactly. That’s exactly right. This is why I love this show Real Housewives, which is [inaudible]. And just last night I was watching an episode where the women were at each other at a party and recounting. ‘But I said this to you, but you said this to me.’ 

And the men got together there and said ‘Well this is the way they communicate with each other. 

And we men just will have a fist fight, and ten minutes later we’re going to have a beer at the bar next to each other.’ I have observed that my entire life.

Peterson: My daughter used to be really irritated about that because she, like most people, was the target of feminine conspiratorial bullying at one. . . She’s no pushover, my daughter.

So it wasn’t like this was a continual thing or that she didn’t know what to do about it.

But she had observed these girls conspiring against her and blackening her name on Facebook, which is part and parcel of the typical female bullying routine, which is often reputation demolition

There’s a good literature on that. And then she’d watch what would happen if my son would have a dispute with his friends. 

And maybe they were drinking, and there was a dispute. They’d have a fight, and the next day they were friends again.

That’s another thing that’s strange is that men have a way of bringing a conflict to a head and resolving it. 

And it isn’t obvious to me that women have that same, perhaps you might call it, luxury.

But it’s also the case that men don’t know what to do when they get into a conflict with a woman. Because what the hell are you supposed to do?

Mostly what you’re supposed to do is avoid it.

Paglia: Well I’ve seen - I don’t know if this crosses into other countries - that there’s a certain kind of taunting and teasing that men, that boys do with each other that toughens them, where they don’t take things seriously. 

But a girl’s feelings become extremely hurt if she hears something that’s very tough, sarcastic against her.

So I do feel that there are profound differences between the sexes in terms of emotions, in terms of communication patterns. My father used to say that he could never follow women’s conversations. He said women don’t even finish sentences, that women understand immediately what the other woman is saying. 

And women tend to be more interested in - or have been traditionally more interested in - soap operas.

It’s not just that the women were home without jobs. It’s that honestly, I believe that soap opera does reflect, does mirror, the way women talk to each other.

These communication patterns have been built up through women - The World of Women, which. . .

It made sense that there was a division of labor.

It wasn’t sexism against women that there was a division of labor.

The men went off to hunt and did the dangerous things.

The women stayed around the hearth because you had pregnant women, nursing women, older women, that were cooking and so on.

So I feel that these communication patterns that we’re talking about have been built up over the centuries. Men had to toughen each other to go out. 

The hunting parties of Native Americans. . . They could be gone for two weeks when the temperature was below zero. 

Many of them died

The idea that somehow. . . ‘Oh, any kind of separation of the sexes, or different spheres of the sexes, is inherently sexist’.

 ... That is wrong.