Adulthood and competence

Dr. Jordan Peterson’s BBC 4 interview has made the rounds recently:

Dr. Peterson’s commentary on adulthood, power, and competence was striking. Dr. Peterson:

There’s nothing uglier than an old infant. Nothing good about it. People who don’t grow up don’t find the sort of meaning in their life that sustains them through difficult times, and they are certain to encounter difficult times. And they’re left bitter and resentful and without purpose and adrift and hostile and resentful and vengeful and arrogant and deceitful and of no use to themselves and of no use to anyone else and no partner for a woman. There’s nothing in it that’s good. …

You help people understand why it’s necessary and important for them to grow up and adopt responsibility. Why that’s not a “shake your finger and get your act together” sort of thing, why it’s more like a delineation of the kind of destiny that makes like worth living. … There’s an actual reason they need to grow up, which is that they have something to offer; that people have within them the capacity to set the world straight, that’s necessary to manifest in the world, and that also doing so is where you find the meaning that sustains you in life.

Cathy Newman, the interviewer, rhetorically asks at one point, “What’s in it for the women?”:

Well, what sort of partner do you want? Do you want an overgrown child, or do you want someone to contend with who’s going to help you and who you can rely on? …

Women want, deeply want, men who are competent and powerful. And I don’t mean power in that they can exert tyrannical control over others. That’s not power, that’s just corruption. Power is competence. And why in world would you not want a competent partner?

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