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Lecture2- ReadingThe Meaning of Meaning [Peterson]

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University of Toronto St. George
Jordan Peterson

Lecture 2- (Reading) The Meaning of Meaning (Peterson) INTRO/CONCLUSION ● World is too complex to manage without simplification ● Meanings = baseline for radical functional simplification ● Determinate: Having defined limits; not uncertain or arbitrary, fixed; established; definite ● Yang: ○ Order ○ Security ○ Tyranny ● Yin: ○ Chaos ○ Indeterminacy ○ Unpredictability ○ Danger ○ Possibility ● Error: Must be recognized and eliminated as a consequence of voluntary exploration, generation of information and update or reconstruction of skill and representation ○ Bad things must be approached and conquered ● If we act out the hero stories the significance of our being may overshadow our weakness 1st class of meanings: Meanings of determinate world, Motivations ● Based in: ○ Motivation ○ Emotion ○ Personal ○ Social identity ● Instinctively grounded ● Tend towards the dogmatic or ideological Motivation ● Motivation solves ○ Self-maintenance ○ Self-propagation ○ Complexity ● Motivation: Induces a state of world-simplification ○ Does not drive behaviour in deterministic manner ○ Provides current state of being with boundaries and values ○ Micro-worlds of experience: Bounded states guided by motivation ○ Point A: Undersired beginning-state ○ Point B: Desired end-state ○ Simplest Narrative or Story ■ "I was here I went there" ○ Dasein: Existence or determinate being ○ Present position cannot be defined without a point of future contrast ■ Potential future cannot be evaluated except in terms of a present position ○ Perception: We are low-capacity processors, we can apprehend less than 7 objects ■ Working memory+ motivation system: A good goal involves no more things that we can track Emotion ● Solution to the problem of motivation ● Emotion: Evaluation of implications/unexpected implications of action constitute function of emotion ○ Devoted towards real-time maintenance of motivation-simplified worlds ■ Marker of if the journey to target is working ● Emotional relevance two-dimensional (vs. motivation w. multiple domains) ○ Affordances ○ Obstacles ■ Less disruptive to encounter obstacle that requires switching of means than one that invalidates a motivation-world Identity ● Solution to the problems of motivation and emotion ● Much closer to abstract conceptualization than motivation and emotion ● Determinate world conjured to pursue tokens that can be exchanged for things such as companionship, sustenance etc. ● "I have a stake in the maintenance of my determinate worlds, regardless of their particular content." ● Personal identity: Acceptance of a given motivation-world as a valid aspect of the self ○ Shades into social ● Problem of organization ○ Sequencing: In what order should motivation-worlds manifest themselves? ○ Hierarchical import: Which should be granted priority of value? ● Structure of identity determined not only by motivations and emotions but by fact that all others are making analogous decisions ● Personal and social identity is unplanned consequence of the co-operative/competitive establishment, sequencing and rank-ordering of determinate worlds. ● Higher levels of resolution e.g. write sentence ● Lower levels of resolution (Higher levels of abstraction) Behaviour organized into functional and theoretical homogenous groupings 'Classes' 2nd class of meanings: Meanings of Indeterminate world ● Anomaly as a consequence of the insufficiency of determinate motivation-worlds ● Based on emergence of anomaly or ignored complexity, novelty ● Instinctively grounded ● Tend towards the revolutionary ○ See what he said about rebels ● Exploration and identification of those aspects of the environment that constantly arise to challenge the integr
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