On Ideology

When I went to SciencesPo, one of the things I noticed is that ideology passed as “thinking” for most of my professors! And I was absolutely dumbfounded by this because to me, ideology is not real thinking; it’s just the application of an existing structure onto new facts. Even worse, the students who simply applied the ideology often got really high grades too, thus making me even more annoyed that I, who was trudging through the difficult work of thinking for myself and figuring out what I and I alone think, got lower marks.

But at least I have been faithful to myself and I have not once “written what I think the professor agrees with” for the sole reason of trying to pass. And as a result, over the past 3 years, I have built up a body of essays which compromise my own personal philosophy of sorts. That’s because for every new set of facts and issues, I articulated a response. And since the responses all came from the same source, then there must be a unifying factor between all of them.

As I was reading what I had just written above, the answer popped into my head as to why I would not be an ideologue: it’s because I’m the only one who would think all of the same thoughts in the same theoretical coherence that I do. That’s what separates me from the Marxists who all sound the same: I am original. And yes, the thoughts which I think do not come from me, they were thought of by people long dead. But I’m the one who would be putting them together and articulating them all, and for this, I get brownie points.

To go back to the issue: the unifying factor is how I act: I make decisions about how I’m going to act and what I’m going to pursue as I spend my time, these actions turn into choices, these choices turn into habits, these habits turn to thoughts, and these thoughts turn into one’s philosophy. Now there’s undoubtably incoherence between all of these thoughts, because, well, they haven’t been thought out. And so by thinking them all out, you’ll be able to iron out the contradictions. But then, you’ll create a standard which is above you, and that means that you’re going to have to disavow the parts of you which don’t keep up, or, change your ideology because it was wrong.

However, I still think it’d be worth it because contradictions mean you will trip and fall in the world when two values clash with each other. Integration is a much better solution. Milo Yiannopoulous is a great example of a guy who tripped and fell because he had so many contradictions, at least according to Peterson. And hopefully when all is articulated out, with 2 reasons for everything, I’ll be able to hierarchically organize my values in a productive and meaningful way so that I have a good life.

This blog probably doesn’t make much sense if you’re not me, but it’s a good rough draft and I understand it. You’ll end up seeing the end product, reader, if all goes to plan.

“Say what you mean, so that you can find out what you mean. Act out what you say, so you can find out what happens. Then pay attention. Note your errors. Articulate them. Strive to correct them. That is how you discover the meaning of your life. That will protect you from the tragedy of your life. How could it be otherwise? Confront the chaos of Being. Take aim against a sea of troubles. Specify your destination, and chart your course. Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are. Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward forthrightly. Be precise in your speech.”

  • Jordan B. Peterson

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