Author Archives: Eric Wulff

Criticism Disguised as Compliments

Any Western foreigner who’s spent a while in Japan will be familiar with the phenomenon of 日本語上手. For those who are just starting out on the long journey to master the Japanese language, it can feel good to hear a Japanese person tell you 日本語上手. Any glimmer of understanding can feel fun, so it’s nice to decipher this polite phrase in real time. Wow, Japanese people are so friendly! I love this country! But once you get better at Japanese and you hear it for the hundredth time, it starts to grate on you.

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Jordan Peterson’s Red Pill

Those beholden to social justice criticize Peterson for supposedly being a darling of the alt right, while the alt right criticizes Peterson for being a lightning rod that neutralizes people who would otherwise join the alt right. In other words, the left accuses him of being far right, and the far right accuses him of pushing people to the center. To the SJWs Peterson is a right-wing radical, and to the alt right he’s a cowardly centrist.

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From Ethnonationalism to Multiculturalism

Most people engage in extensive compartmentalization. They have certain beliefs in one part of their mind, and they don’t allow those beliefs to propagate to other parts of their mind. A classic example is a person who’s able to think scientifically, but refuses to apply their scientific patterns of thought to their religious beliefs. If you try to dissect their religious beliefs with logic and show them they’re irrational, they’ll put up a wall. Your arguments will do nothing to them.

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A Double-Edged Sword

Unable to grapple with his arguments on religion, culture, and society, many of Jordan Peterson’s detractors turn their attention to his diet. Searching for a way to swiftly discredit him, they make fun of his strict program of beef, salt, and water. Surely a man following such a strange diet is a lunatic! Peterson’s pseudoscientific worldview goes far past a mere obsession with rekindling toxic masculinity, they argue. It embraces a fad diet which rejects well-established science in its reckless promotion of red meat.

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Jordan Peterson’s Descent into Chaos

(Note: See here for discussion on this post.)

With Peterson’s personal disaster comes a horde of vicious haters using it as an opportunity to tear him down. When he was well, they twisted his words. And now that he’s sick, they’re using it as a chance to launch a new type of offensive. They rejoice in his suffering, and ask what they consider to be a slam-dunk question: “If Peterson can’t keep his own life together, then why should we listen to his life advice?”

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A Not-So-Paradoxical Reaction

(Note: See here for discussion on this post.)

Mikhaila Peterson just came out with a video where she gives an update on Jordan Peterson’s health. He almost died, in large part due to a “paradoxical reaction” he got from a particular anti-anxiety medication. When I watched the video, I immediately remembered something that Peterson said long before any of this happened: “I’m surfing a 100-foot wave, and generally what happens if you do that is that you drown.”

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The Aesthetic Landscape of Culinary Tradition

When deciding what to eat, aesthetics should hold no less important of a place than nutrition, even for the utilitarian. The artistic presentation of food not only provides the connoisseur with an outlet for pleasure, but also provides the dryly practical individual with valuable information. The presentation paints on the outside an aesthetic which reveals to the cultured mind what exists within the internal substance.

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The Neolithic Harnessing of Psychoactives

We have programmed into us a system where consuming certain substances changes our neurological settings in one way or another. People take for granted the fact that you can take an anti-depressant to improve your mood, but there’s no reason an organism must be built that way. Why can you swallow a pill and have it change your emotions? If all your digestive system does is take plant parts and animal flesh, and break them down into building blocks for the body and usable energy, then why can you put a small object containing certain chemicals in your stomach, and have it change your mental parameters? Why do mind-altering drugs work? Clearly there’s something more involved going on in your digestive system.

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The Price We Pay for Untangling Variables

(Note: This is an updated version of this post.)

Biologically close to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, modern humans nevertheless work as a team to operate technological societies of millions upon millions of people. As the requirements of civilized life differ sharply from what it was like to hunt animals and gather plants in an ancient tribe, it was mostly up to cultural evolution to take human psychology and adapt it to civilization. While humans are biologically wired to find it intolerably boring to sit alone at a desk entering data into spreadsheets all day, the spontaneous order of society has evolved a solution. With enough coffee, sugar, and ADHD medication, it’s possible to hold down such a job. Civilization-era foods, stimulants, and psychoactive drugs help people fit into modern life.

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Two Types of Cures

(Note: This is an updated version of this post.)

If I told you that we already know how to prevent or even cure cancer, autism, and many of the other diseases and disorders that plague civilization, you’d be forgiven for assuming that I must be deluded. Surely I know nothing of the greatness of science. I’ve been led astray by the cranks, quacks, and charlatans on the Internet peddling nonsense. With many billions of dollars allocated to cutting-edge medical research, and many of the best minds in the world working tirelessly on the problems, it’s absurd to suggest that a loosely organized group of amateurs on the Internet have come up with cures where so many professionals have fallen flat on their face. My convictions must be more akin to religious faith than rational science.

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