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beyond order
Author: Jordan B. Peterson

Author: Jordan B. Peterson

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life Jordan B. Peterson 2021

Beyond Order: Rules are boring. not creative. And not democratic. The general track, patterns, and prescriptions are not for thinking people. If you think so, let me surprise you. In fact, the rules are a tool for giving meaning to every day you spend on the planet. At least those rules about which it is written in this book.

Clinical psychologist and philosopher Jordan Peterson are not without reason considered the idol of today’s intellectual youth. In his presentation, the rules of human existence – the very ones that are familiar to us from childhood and evoke any feelings other than enthusiasm – acquire tremendous power. Their wording is simple. But the depth to which Peterson casts anchor is dizzying. It shows the connection between ordinary rules and the ideas of different peoples about the other world, with processes in the human psyche and relationships, with the myths of antiquity and the bestsellers of our days. The ordinary advice in his mouth becomes like a lecture on anthropology, seemingly psychological and religious studies, and in some places, even a sermon, sometimes very harsh, but perhaps even more convincing because of this. 

In our time of universal relativism, one needs to have remarkable intellectual and human courage to remind people that the laws of human destiny have not changed since the time of the prophet Abraham. That in order to find happiness, one must learn to take responsibility, that no success can be achieved without effort, and that even in the presence of death, it is important to behave with dignity. And so that the implementation of the rules is not painful, it is enough to figure out why they should be observed. And this book makes that possible.

Beyond Order is the third book in the series, in which Jordan Peterson talks about the rules of a worthy, fulfilling life. The first is “12 rules of life. The Antidote for Chaos 1  was translated into seven languages ​​and published in a total circulation of more than 2 million copies. The second is “Meaning Maps. The Architecture of Belief” is a little less known, but it has also been translated into Russian.   

Peterson’s rules are universal maxims that may not help you make a lot of money or lose the hated excess weight, but they will definitely help you live a life filled with meaning. And this, you see, is a great value.

Rule 1: Respect Public Institutions and Creative Achievements

Man is a social being. We need to communicate with our own kind in order to understand who we are, where we are going, and what we can achieve. And we constantly exchange stories that broadcast our experiences. 

Without even realizing it, a person constantly builds hierarchies from deeds and phenomena, dividing them into more and less significant ones. The sums of individual hierarchies are embodied in the activities of social institutions. At the everyday level, these institutions ensure the stable functioning of society; at the conceptual and value level, they rank all phenomena and actions on the basis of their significance. All the endless variety of ideas and actions is evaluated in terms of functionality for society, provided with labels, and grouped into categories – this reductionism is necessary for the smooth functioning of the system as a whole. 

Rationality, reasonableness is a social construct that arises from the sum of judgments of different people. Sigmund Freud2 and  Carl Gustav Jung, who did so much to analyze the human psyche, paid too much attention to its individual aspects and too little to its social ones. 

According to Jordan Peterson, people who do not have organic mental problems maintain mental health because they constantly receive signals from society about how normal their behavior is. Without the influence of society, it would be extremely difficult for a person to organize his mind – he would simply be lost in an endless ocean of external impulses.

Social institutions also act as a “touchstone” of the creative act, helping to find its place on the general scale of values. Therefore, to deny their authority and neglect them is irresponsible and dangerous. 

Not a single currency in the world is worth more than the attention of society: social, economic, etc. We compare the value of our goals and actions against it. We constantly compete for it, striving to become the source of the most valuable expertise for others. 

If you talk to others about things that no one cares about, your personal value tends to zero.

Beyond Order

A person is constantly busy satisfying his basic needs, which include not only food, shelter, and sex, but also contact with others, recognition, and human warmth. The ways in which we meet these needs must be socially acceptable, or better yet, beneficial to society as a whole. 

Feeling some inner need, we first look for a solution for ourselves personally, then we develop it for a group of people around us, and finally, we bring it to a universal level. 

The ability to create something that will potentially benefit all of humanity is the most important quality of a creative person. 

Beyond Order

The maturity of a person is measured by the degree of his readiness to play by the rules of society, that is, to interact with others within the proposed framework, show self-control skills, and strive to achieve a common goal. 

The most fruitful communication is between equals. Therefore, it is often better to be somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy than at any of its poles: this is where the most fruitful and pleasant interactions take place. In addition, it is at the middle level that one can obtain important information, which, according to the laws of hierarchical interaction, often does not penetrate to the very top. The value of social connections does not change with age: communication is just as important for the elderly as it is for children. 

The best player is the one called to the most significant games.  You can increase your social significance by constantly improving the skills of playing together. To do this, it is useful to put yourself in the position of a beginner who is ready to learn from everyone he comes across. Willingness to play by the rules, modesty, patience, and tolerance are the qualities necessary for learning social games.

It’s always better to assume you don’t know something and try to learn than to overestimate yourself, fail to see a serious risk, and jeopardize the entire project.

Beyond Order

It is necessary to distinguish between power and true authority. In times of trial, at the top of the hierarchy is always the one who can solve the actual problem better than others. People instinctively feel who is competent and courageous enough, and willingly obey such a person, even if he is not a formal leader. 

Genuine power is always clearly limited by the limits beyond which it ceases to operate. 

True leaders enthusiastically nurture and train their subordinates, generously share their knowledge with them and provide opportunities for growth without demanding anything in return.

To remain useful to society, social institutions need to be improved. However, to change their means to encroach on the stability of the whole society. 

Conservative and creative approaches should exist in a harmonious balance.

That is why the real heroes in myths, legends, religious systems, and even modern works of art are figures who, on the one hand, perfectly understand the existing order of things and perform rituals, and on the other hand, are able to understand which existing institutions are outdated, and under Necessities can blow them up from within in order to establish a new, more advanced order and, by their authority, give it value and strength. 

This ability is similar to Jesus Christ and Harry Potter, who, being heroes of completely different stories, do exactly this: respecting the system, they change it to make it more perfect. Interestingly, not all important rules are clearly stated, so Harry and his friends are regularly punished for formal misconduct, along with a reward for the essence of what they do.

Beyond Order

Rule 2: Imagine who you want to be and focus on that goal.

A person’s opinion of himself includes an idea of ​​who he is and what he would like to become. 

The personal potential is a zone of conditional knowledge: we feel that we are capable of something, but often we do not seem to know it.

Potential is limited by poor health or adverse circumstances. But often people ignore their ability to move towards the desired goal, because they are afraid of risk, remember the experience of past failures, etc.

In stories that people remember best and willingly tell each other, poorly realized, in the beginning, the hidden inner potential of the hero manifests itself and becomes visible. And it can be a beautiful story in its essence, and the most terrible. The main thing in it is the manifestation of the invisible, the realization of what is laid down, and the correlation of this realization with the realities of society. Through stories like this, we realize what is in our souls.

Inside each of us there is a leader, a creator, a lover or a rebel, but we realize ourselves in these roles, looking at the reflection of the corresponding images in cultural phenomena. 

Beyond Order

As we learn and internalize beneficial patterns of behavior, we pass them on to each other through stories.

Human beings have an inherent desire to seek, learn and learn new things. In order to unlock their potential and advance in development, he needs to face new circumstances that will help him realize his abilities. It doesn’t really matter if the goal is achieved or not. Striving for something new is already a change. 

We don’t choose what interests us, it’s the unknown that chooses us. It looks both alluring and frightening, this internal dichotomy is embodied in legends and myths in the images of a powerful fire-breathing dragon, the eternal rivals of Saturn and Jupiter, the human soul, divided into male and female parts. 

Our consciousness is closely connected with the body, and our perception of the world around us is almost like a moving picture – a movie in which sensations, images, and the exchange of subjective information with others play a more fundamental role than scientific theories. Reality for us consists of a set of characters, and these are far from always people: we humanize the forces of nature, animals, and inanimate objects, and each of them has a gender.

The myths that humanity creates are filled with the struggle of formidable deities, symbolizing the inner movements of our soul. In the end, a hero comes who establishes a hierarchy and a new world order based on wisdom. Hero is a word that brings order out of chaos, serves as a vehicle for conveying myth, and is similarly used to bring order to the human world and to our soul. 

Beyond Order

Hell, hidden at the bottom of the human soul, is pacified by the open recognition that life is impossible without suffering, and in the end, death awaits everyone. Even if it is quiet on the surface, terrible monsters never sleep under the thin ice on which we walk.  And the myths about the victory of the hero, which all the peoples of the world have, tell us in the allegorical form: having courage and strength, you can defeat the most terrible monsters, in whatever form they may pursue us.

To defeat the snake, Harry Potter had to recognize his dark side and speak to the monster in his language. And it is no coincidence that at the key moment of the fight, Harry is assisted by a phoenix – a bird that serves as a symbol of the eternal renewal of life. 

Beyond Order

Use the word to turn your life into an inspiring story. Set a goal and go. Name all the obstacles and mistakes – this will help you move forward. You should always know where you came from, where you are and where you want to go. Focus on it.

Rule 3

To illustrate this simple rule, Jordan Peterson recalls the Egyptian myth of the god Osiris, who, sitting on a throne, turned a blind eye to the deeds of his wicked brother Set and was eventually killed. Chaos reigned on the earth. Miraculously born after the death of Osiris, his son Horus defeated the insidious Seth, descended into the kingdom of the dead, and saved his father. The symbol of Horus is the all-seeing eye, which is often depicted separately from the figure of the god.

This is an impressive description of how much such blindness costs us. Notice what surrounds you every day. Get rid of the little things that interfere and annoy: repeated constantly, they can cause tremendous stress and literally poison your life.

What happens everyday matters. Don’t pretend to be happy if there is something that makes you upset.

By default, we consider passivity to be better than potentially malicious activity. Family people often say to themselves: “This nonsense is not worth starting a conversation.” But behind this unwillingness to defend the little things is the fear of a serious conflict.

We often think: if you say that you don’t like the way your wife makes coffee, you will get a terrible quarrel, divorce and the collapse of the whole familiar world. 

Beyond Order

The author tells how people who are not aware of their desires and tastes value the peace in the house too much to obey more active and confident spouses. Their houses are filled with objects that they do not like, they do not live and relax as they would like. Individually, all these things seem to be of no decisive importance, but the critical mass grows until it leads to a terrible end to the union, which could be happy if people communicated more openly.

The author once observed a terrible illustration of such a prosperous-looking, full of internal drama marriage in intensive care. A wife cut her dying husband’s nails while he was on a ventilator, and she did it in such a way that blood flowed from each finger. “What had to be going on in their house to make her want to make even his death a little more gruesome?” Peterson asks. 

Beyond Order

Sigmund Freud studied in detail the defense mechanisms that our psyche uses to mask the horror of the external environment. In whatever form this desire manifests itself, it leads to the fact that a person betrays himself. 

Seeing something unpleasant is too scary. It is better to find a good explanation and continue to live in illusions, many say to themselves. 

Beyond Order

A person can be so scared that he is afraid to notice his own discontent. He may be afraid that his desires will not be accepted and understood, and prefers to remain silent. He is afraid to become vulnerable, to show that he is capable of such base feelings as jealousy, and envy. He is afraid that he will be betrayed. But by denying yourself the manifestation of discontent, you deprive yourself of joy. Your tastes and desires disappear. Life becomes aimless. Anxiety is growing. Fear takes over. You are literally, albeit imperceptibly, killing your soul. 

Any manifestation of negative emotions deserves to understand its causes and work with the source. That is how they become mature. And along with maturity comes the understanding that your negative emotions are far from always connected with what you unconsciously associate them with because people react very differently to the same stimulus. 

The path to the Holy Grail begins in a dark forest, and the signs to the destination are hidden until you decide to look into the thicket. 

Beyond Order

When you close your eyes, you lose direction. And there is very little chance that the current itself will take you to where you would like to be. So keep your eyes open, don’t betray yourself, and don’t be afraid to stand up for your opinion. 

Rule 4

The person who takes responsibility becomes indispensable. He restores order where chaos reigned before him. Learns more than others know. He makes his contribution, without which the common cause suffers. 

Giving up responsibility is a bad idea. By refusing responsibility, you lose the opportunity to show yourself, become an unnecessary, useless part of society and lose the opportunity to live a full life.

The minimum burden that is available to you is the responsibility for yourself, which cannot be shifted to someone else. But you can make the world a better place – so why not try? The higher your goal is, the more satisfaction you will get from striving for it. 

The more significant the goal, the more effort you need to make to achieve it, the happier you will become. And even if things go wrong, you can say to yourself, “At least I did something really important.” 

Beyond Order

What if you don’t feel confident enough to take responsibility? Forbid yourself to come up with false restrictions. Just start playing. Pretend to be that brave, decisive, and inquisitive person who can and wants to solve pressing problems – and act. 

If you are outraged that something is not being done right, this may be a pointer to what you should be doing.

The tale of Peter Pan is a sad example of how an infinitely long life can be wasted. Wendy, the girl Peter is in love with, deliberately sacrifices the opportunity to remain a child forever in order to live a real life, start a family and experience the joys of motherhood. And Peter Pan misses this opportunity, and even his readiness for death is not courage, but only a readiness to stop eking out an existence at any moment, in which there is no point. 

Beyond Order

Being yourself is hard. It takes discipline and effort. But it is the only way to live a meaningful life. It will not be easy for you, but the feeling that your life is filled with meaning will become your reliable helper. 

The story of the biblical prophet Abraham shows that even the fulfillment of the highest will is fraught with great trouble. Abraham led a quiet life until the age of 75, and then, in obedience to the will of God, he left his native city and went on a journey. In return, he was promised that his offspring would be countless throughout the ages, like the sand of the sea. It would take too much space to list Abraham’s trials, but it must be said that in the end God’s promise was fulfilled. Abraham was not easy. But such is the price for the trace he left on Earth.

Beyond Order

Returning to the myth of Osiris and Horus, the author emphasizes how important it is that Horus entered the battle of his own free will. It was the determination to win that helped him free his father and restore order on earth.

The future will inevitably come. Choose what is important in the long run. Don’t sacrifice your future for a moment’s pleasure here and now. Happiness will follow because we get true satisfaction by moving towards a goal that is meaningful to us.

Rule 5. Don’t be a puppet

We are willing to make sacrifices for what we believe in. But every cell of our being rebels against fruitless and stupid pursuits. However, how often do we allow ourselves to say “no” to things that don’t align with our values?

Jordan Peterson insists that fighting what you hate is the right thing to do. Express your opinion. Stand up for your principles. Be prepared for the stress and even losses. Prepare an alternate airfield and figure out how you will act if the situation develops according to a negative scenario. But don’t back down. Better yet, start resisting what you don’t like as early as possible. This will give you a chance to stop the flow of madness before it gets too strong. 

The author gives the example of an emigrant who moved to Canada from Poland and got a good job. A senseless struggle began in the corporation with manifestations of imaginary intolerance (at the level of “prohibit the word” flip chart “because” flip “in the jargon means” Filipino “”). The woman, who knew firsthand how far ideological speculation could go, endured the growing absurdity for a long time, but finally decided to speak out against it. As a result, she had to change jobs, which she cherished – and a better option, of course, was found. And yet, if she had immediately pointed out to her colleagues the senselessness of their initiative, there would have been a chance to nip the wave of false tolerance in the bud and not change jobs. 

Beyond Order

By opposing the general direction, you put yourself in opposition and reduce the level of personal security. You must have complete confidence in yourself and have no doubt that what you stand for matters to you. Keep calm. Be correct but firm. Remember the first rule: the hero who blows up the system from the inside must know how it works and be able to play by the rules. Knowing the system, combined with the ability to say no, will give you power.

Rule 6. Away with ideology

In the second half of the 19th century, due to the development of industry, the centuries-old patriarchal way of life in European countries was destroyed. This dealt a serious blow to traditional religion and was expressed, for example, in the famous statement of Friedrich Nietzsche: “God is dead”, which was made in 1882. However, even earlier, in the book “Demons”, published in 1872, the death of religion was predicted by the Russian writer F. M. Dostoevsky. 

Nietzsche hoped that human evolution would lead to the emergence of a superman (Übermensch, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1873), whose will would replace the meaning of traditional religions. These hopes were not justified. The researchers of the human psyche Z. Freud and C. G. Jung demonstrated that a person is not able to consciously “assign” to himself the values ​​that will give meaning to his life. This function is entrusted to external social institutions (see rule 1). Values ​​that we consider significant enough should connect us with other people. Otherwise, the postulate is not perceived as significant at the subconscious level.

The niche that religion occupied in society was quickly filled by ideologies: first communism, and then fascism. 

The author reveals the mechanism of the formation of ideologies:   

1. Abstractions are chosen that denote the phenomena of the surrounding world in the most general way: instead of specific people, classes appear, instead of individual industries, the financial system, and other complex structures – the economy, etc. 

2. One main quality is attributed to each abstraction, behind which the infinite variability and complexity of individual phenomena are lost: all the “exploiters” become villains, all the “oppressed” become angels, and all world evil is now easy to concentrate in people of one nationality.

3. Everything that happens in the world is explained through the manifestation of the key characteristics of roughly defined classes of phenomena: the “world behind the scenes” conspired against “us, the good ones,” and we are obliged to preserve ourselves in these conditions, rebuffing the “enemy”. 

In Marx’s theory, a person acts exclusively as a subject of economic activity, devoid of individual will and feelings. Between wealth and power, which, of course, are connected, an unreasonable equal sign is put. This is also an example of ideological simplification, on the basis of which the social theory of Marxism was built, from which the human person as a result completely dropped out. 

Beyond Order

The methods of “algorithmic reduction” in a society infected with ideology are applied to the assessment of absolutely all phenomena. Crowds of dishonest intellectuals make ideology their feeding trough, planting a primitive, distorted worldview on all who are willing to listen to them. And it is a big mistake to think that only fools become victims of ideology. Smart people who are simply too lazy to understand the diversity and complexity of the world fall under the influence of propagandists, adopt their views and begin to talk about the world in a simplified and superficial way.

The trap of ideology is also that it is safer to follow it than to contradict it. On one side of the scale is a simple and convenient explanation of everything in the world plus social well-being. On the other hand, the need to maintain clarity of thought, and collect and evaluate numerous facts, plus the risk of being a “white sheep”. 

The author tells about the experiment of biologists who observed a herd of wildebeest. These animals are very similar to each other – to such an extent that scientists could not keep track of an individual individual to study its behavior. In the end, one of the antelopes was marked with a small circle of bright paint. The effect was unexpected. The antelope began to catch the eye not only of people, but also of lions. The effect of the “crowd”, which makes the antelopes indistinguishable to predators, has been destroyed. The marked animal was torn to pieces as soon as it stood out from the general mass. 

Beyond Order

It’s hard to think for yourself. It is dangerous to be different from the majority. And yet, give up the total submission to ideologies. They are fraught not only with damage to society (and there are too many horrifying examples of this in the history of the 20th century), but also with the fact that you and your children will live without the risk of expressing your true feelings, betraying yourself every day and hour, and will not get the opportunity to realize your personal potential.

Rule 7: Work hard and see what happens

Heat and pressure in the depths of the earth’s bowels turn coal into a diamond. Hard work does the same to a person. 

The structure of our psyche is hierarchical. Without submission to a single goal, our personality cannot achieve integration, that is, a state where all its aspects act in harmony. We become anxious and confused, overreact to any nonsense, and generally waste energy in vain. 

The cure for personal disintegration is goal setting and self-discipline.

Students who work harder at the university achieve greater success both in their studies and in their subsequent careers. People who do not scatter over dozens of hobbies, but focus on one activity, succeed faster. 

Beyond Order

The secret of success is to sacrifice today’s pleasures for tomorrow’s victory. This must be learned from childhood, and a responsible parent teaches his children the need for discipline and self-discipline. These are not oppressive tools, but a way to organize all your energy and direct it towards creating a better future. As a beginner, obey those who have achieved more. Learn from their concentration and perseverance. 

A master who has reached the pinnacle of his art ceases to habitually obey the system into which he once entered as a disenfranchised apprentice. He tempered his character, moving up. Now the system serves him, and he can create new rules if he wants to. 

Beyond Order

Make decisions with a high goal in mind. And work hard. Even if you do not become a diamond, you will definitely cease to be an ember. 

Rule 8. Touch the beauty 

Working with clients as a psychotherapist, Jordan Peterson often advises them to clean up the house before making claims to the universe. However, this is not enough. Establish a personal relationship with beauty by aesthetically pleasing the space around you. One room is enough to get started. In the future, you can bring more beauty to other rooms, to your office or garden space. 

It is difficult to overestimate the impact that works of art have on a person. Get one for yourself, remembering that art is not decoration, but something more. Dates with art become a spiritual act for every person because a painting or sculpture is a window into the transcendent from our everyday world. 

Perhaps, instead of collecting hundreds of beautiful paintings and sculptures in large museums, it would be better to arrange a museum of just one painting in each locality. This would give more people the opportunity to look beyond the everyday.

Beyond Order

By studying art, you touch the collective wisdom of civilization in its most refined form. Artists are at the forefront and turn into tangible works of literature and art that are hidden in the depths of our souls. They make the invisible visible. 

A sign of a true work of art is that the creator himself does not fully understand what exactly he brought into this world. Carrying out a plan, realizing it, he acts intuitively, without complete clarity. More is embodied in the final product of art than the creator himself can tell. This is a huge field for interpretation, in which there are connections with the unconscious, hidden, from which light is shed on everyday life. Viewers feel this impact, although they cannot always describe it in words. We worship masterpieces as something sacred. And it is not for nothing that the most expensive items on our planet are great works of art.

Beyond Order

Art serves as our guide and beacon. Touching it, we become thinner and deeper, wiser and more attentive, better understand others and more easily establish fruitful connections with them. It becomes easier for us to set high goals for ourselves, and, most likely, we will not want to sacrifice them for the sake of everyday tinsel (see rules 4 and 7).

“Man does not live by bread alone,” says Matthew 4:4. And this is the truth. We live by art, literature, and beauty. Our perception of life is not only rational but also sensual. For all your focus and forward focus, take the time to notice the beauty around you, slow down to take part in the child’s game, think about something that is beyond the ordinary – give yourself a sense of the infinity of being.

Rule 9. Write down the memories that torment you.

Most people have unpleasant baggage of fears and painful memories. They literally interfere with life, scrolling in the soul, again and again, keeping from moving towards the goal, undermining self-confidence, depriving one of strength and optimism. 

By driving painful memories to the back of your mind, trying to ignore them, you doom yourself to eternal torment. The problem that you try to ignore is growing more and more new heads, like a mythological hydra. Personal hell has no bottom, its depth is infinite. The only way to deal with it is to bring fears into the light, take them apart, shake them up and fix the conclusions.

This process is likely to be painful. But this is how character is tempered, maturity and respect for others are achieved. You accept all facets of your personality and get the opportunity to fully live. 

Like God, you are armed with the Word to bring order out of chaos. 

Beyond Order

Fear is signaling that the door to your future accomplishments is here.

As a clinical psychologist, the author has repeatedly observed the process of curbing fears and transforming painful experiences. The effect of such efforts to overcome their fears was the same: instead of people with whom something happens due to someone else’s will, people appeared in front of the author who makes their own decisions.

Peterson describes the astounding story of a young woman who struggled with an acquired phobia who was subjected to systematic psychological abuse in the family. She was even afraid to enter the meat department of the supermarket, where instead of food she saw dissected animal corpses. Struggling with this fear, she first learned to look at the butchering of carcasses, and then, of her own free will, was present in the morgue when the human body was embalmed. There is also a less radical example – a young man who read a terrible book about the atrocities of the Nazis and realized how terrible the actions of ordinary-looking people can be.

Beyond Order

Break your life into stages – arbitrarily, as you wish. Write down the key events of each stage. Analyze how they affected you emotionally and practically. What conclusions did you draw and what do you still believe in. Take a critical look at these beliefs: which of them help you move towards your goals, and which, on the contrary, pull you back? A detailed analysis will reduce stress and help you turn toxic memories into a source of knowledge about yourself and the world.

Having to make decisions about the future in our highly complex world can be excruciating, with each step having dozens of consequences. But paralysis of the will must be overcome. Remember Rule 1: Without facing the outside world, it is impossible to understand your potential. Get started. 

Every step you take changes the world – and in such a way that your dream becomes closer. To realize this means to understand, perhaps, the most important rule of being. 

Rule 10

Four hours of romance a week will turn your marriage into a union full of warmth and understanding. Even if you have long despaired of finding a common language with your spouse, just start dating.

The first of these, quite possibly, will be a disaster. Many couples who have been prescribed “romantic treatment” by a psychotherapist start fighting at home, arguing all evening in a restaurant, and return home frustrated. However, after five, or 10, or 15 dates, everything happens in a completely different way. You just have to keep remembering that you will have 54 of these dates a year – 540 over the next ten years of your marriage, more than a thousand over 20 years, etc. These are the thousands of hours that you will spend as a couple, keeping the fire going in your time has brought you into the universe.

Burdened with children, jobs, and loans, caring for elderly relatives, and health problems, you will say: “We just don’t have time for all sorts of nonsense.” But romance in marriage is not stupidity, but a means to strengthen your union and fill it with genuine feelings. 

Choosing a marriage partner is a difficult task, but you do not have to find “the one” at all. There are billions of people on Earth and hundreds of thousands, and even millions of those with whom you can make a good couple. It’s not worth dragging out the selection process: it takes three to five years to test each suitable option, and each time your chances decrease, and the ability to adapt to a new partner dwindle because you get older (and probably choose older partners). Just accept that you are not looking for the perfect person, but the right one. There are no ready-made ideal marriages: marriage is a process of joint development, and it takes time.

If you are an adult, reasonable person, obviously you do not want to spend decades of your life doubting whether you have chosen the right spouse. Infantilism is inappropriate and destructive here. Your choice has already been made. The vows have been taken. Now – only forward.

Beyond Order

The basis of marriage is complete trust between spouses. Do your best to maintain this foundation. Even in the most difficult times, going through life together is easier than alone. Keep this in mind and don’t lie to your partner. 

There are three types of bonds between people in the world: tyranny, slavery and cooperation. For marriage, the third is best suited. 

Beyond Order

Within a marital relationship, a good understanding of one’s feelings and needs and the ability to engage in constructive dialogue are essential. The most difficult moments in marriage are when one of the spouses refuses to communicate: answers “I don’t know” to all questions, cries (which, by the way, more often means anger than pain or fear), or simply leaves. Remember that your goal is collaboration. And at any cost, continue the dialogue.   

If you have an affair on the side, try to soberly analyze what pushed you into the arms of a person with a personality disorder. From a mistress (ka), who (th) dreams of destroying your marriage, a reliable wife (husband) will not come out. Take away the taste of forbidden adventure from your extramarital affairs – and what is left?

Beyond Order

The author argues for the traditional distribution of responsibilities in marriage, but not because some things are supposedly better for men, and others for women. Just existing within a well-known framework is convenient. If you don’t have to decide every day who takes out the trash, pays the bills, or does the dishes, you save a lot of time and effort. Follow the models adopted from the parental families, or create your own, as long as it is stable and does not require constant correction.

Plan for romance. Schedule sexual intimacy (at least once a week, although two is better). Don’t be confused by the lack of spontaneity: the schedule is a reliable wall that will fence off your personal time from the shaft of every day worries. Talk to each other for at least an hour and a half a week on personal and important topics for the family. 

Only four achievements are possible in a person’s life: a lasting marriage, children, work, and the realization of personal talents. Invest your energy and resources in what will be your achievement.

Rule 11

Resentment, lies, and arrogance are the most common manifestations of evil in everyday life. Most often they arise as a result of life’s trials, and such a reaction can be understood. But still, it is worth doing everything so as not to multiply evil.

Waking up every morning, a person constructs a picture of the world, including in it not only plans for the day, but also pieces of the past and forecasts of what will happen to him next – in a week, a month, a year. These predictions are the zone of conditional knowledge, the potential that has already been mentioned (see Rules 1 and 2). 

We figure out how we can act and how our world will change depending on different actions. “What if…” is the main question of human life. As we answer it, we recall over and over again the details of the stories we have heard in our lives (see Rule 2). 

Beyond Order

In the depths of our psyche (anatomically – in the hypothalamus) lives the belief that our existence is under threat. We are warming ourselves by a fire surrounded by darkness, and some vague but powerful danger breathes there, in the darkness. It is worth leaving the illuminated circle – and the attack of the forces of evil is inevitable. We are biologically programmed to perceive the world in a dramatic way and exaggerate the dangers that threaten us. 

Fear of the unknown is in dynamic balance with the desire to explore the world. And since man tends to personify all natural phenomena, the sense of the delicate balance between life and death evokes the idea of ​​sacrificing what threatens us. We bargain with the unknown and the frightening – and the more sensitive the nervous system, the more desperate the bargaining becomes.

It seems to us that if now we give the darkness some part of our lives, sacrifice something important, then in the future we will be rewarded or at least condescending by formidable external forces.

Beyond Order

Needless to say, this is not true. Good and evil are always present in life, they fight and change their positions, but this struggle is never directed against someone personally. It all depends on the actions you take. The best thing to do is to accept the evil of life as well as the good. And teach it to your children.

Sleeping Beauty’s parents failed to save her by simply not inviting the evil sorceress to the christening. Perhaps just inviting the witch to the holiday would provide the girl with additional protection. 

Beyond Order

By protecting children from problems, you yourself become a destructive element in their lives. By educating helplessness, infantilism, and unhealthy sentimentality, you deprive children of the chance to succeed in life. They will not learn to take responsibility and boldly master the real world – and we already know that this is the only way to live a full life.

Four characters define our lives: the Good and Evil Witches in nature, the Wise King and the Evil Tyrant in culture. The former support us and encourage development. The second scare and force you to take care of yourself. Sensitivity to their forces depends on the innate temperament: some of us are more courageous, some are more timid. But in any case, success in life is associated with the ability to find a balance of opposing forces. 

Beyond Order

From the personification of the forces of evil grows the conviction that all the troubles that happen to us are not accidental. We evaluate the ups and downs of life in terms of their fairness and take offense at life as if it were a rational being. And we acquire the habit of being offended by others, which harms our work, marriage, relationships with children and friends, and the realization of talents. 

From the same root grows deceit, which not only undermines the trust of others around us. Lies dry the soul. It breaks the connection of a person with the world in which his loved ones live. Makes him think that he is smarter than others and found an easy way that is not available to other honest people. He loses the chance to gain true authority among others, which arises if a person takes on difficult tasks. 

The lie creates a spiral that unwinds over time: it brings short-term benefits, and if it is not exposed, the next time the liar lies even bolder. Until he is caught and punished. 

Creating world order out of chaos, God used the Word as an instrument, reflecting the truth. Conscious lies defile the Word, which is the basis of Being. 

Beyond Order

Lying is an act of arrogance. By deceiving, a person seeks to satisfy his momentary need at the expense of others and at the same time believes that the world will obediently change exactly as he pleases.

By deceiving, a person tries to equal himself with God, to construct a reality that is convenient for him. The retribution for this is a fall into chaos and evil.

Beyond Order

It would seem that some life circumstances are too difficult to go through them without being offended, without lying, and without showing arrogance. However, it is not. Any test can be overcome without dropping yourself. 

A practicing doctor, D. Peterson has been working with patients suffering from incurable diseases for many years, and he sees with what courage and dignity people can meet pain and death. The reserves of human strength are amazing and sometimes seem inexhaustible.

Beyond Order

The more trials a person meets, the more dignity he overcomes them. The one who is offended lies and shows arrogance, always intuitively feels that he is doing wrong, and cannot become a happy person.

Rule 12

The biblical story of how the crucified Christ exclaimed: “My God, why did you leave me?” – says that life is sometimes too hard even for God himself. Understanding this is scary for a mere mortal. How many times in our lives do we run the risk of falling to our knees and thinking that it would be better if this life did not happen at all? However, somewhere in the depths of our souls, we know for sure that murmuring like that is not the best way out. We feel how to behave in the hour of trials. 

By acting nobly in difficult times, you make the world a better place.  By setting an example of worthy behavior, you become the hero of the story that people will tell each other. This is a real help to those who follow you: by your example, they will learn not to betray themselves under the yoke of circumstances. Their faith in the best will be strengthened. They will act with dignity, reinforcing this pattern, and this is how the world will be a better place because of you.

What specific actions can bring such long-term benefits to humanity? The author lists:

  • Refusal of lies, even the smallest.
  • The ability to accept life in all its diversity of good and evil, without naivety and cynicism.
  • Willingness to do the right thing, even when it takes a lot of effort and can be avoided.
  • Refusal of rationalization unreasonably deprives actions and thoughts of their moral background.

Remain grateful to live even when it is cruel to you.  Even when there is no reason for gratitude, you can simply decide to show your best qualities and give the world an example of how not to let bitterness, resentment, envy, and arrogance defeat the best in a person.

Remember gratitude when you meet with your family when you interact with children. Life is fragile and finite. People are imperfect. But you can still love life and those around you despite these limitations. Looking into the abyss, we learn to appreciate the light given to us more.

We thank Sergey Sukhov for their help in preparing the summary, 
founder and head of the Delta project, 
the author of the blog and the host of the StoicStrategy telegram channel. 

Top 10 Thoughts

1. People need each other and social institutions that provide survival, the transmission of values ​​, and productive strategies.

2. Everyone can turn their life into an inspiring story. To do this, you need to formulate a goal and move towards it, not succumbing to fear.

3. The struggle between good and evil, life and death, opportunity and fear is constantly going on: in nature, society, the human soul.

4. In order to defeat evil, it must be well-considered and taken into account.

5. Only four achievements are possible in a person’s life: a lasting marriage, children, a good job, and self-realization in your free time. They need to be focused on.

6. It is impossible to become happy without taking responsibility. The greater the responsibility, the greater the satisfaction from life.

7. Don’t do what you hate. Start resisting evil as early as possible before it gains strength. 

8. Always keep your eyes open. Meditate. Do not settle for surrogates that ideology imposes.

9. Give up resentment, lies, and arrogance. Conduct yourself with dignity in the most difficult circumstances.

10. Love, warmth, and beauty are worth your time, no matter how busy you are.

1.  Read the summary of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Antidote for Chaos”.

2.  Read the summary of the book “Introduction to Psychoanalysis” by Sigmund Freud and the summary of the book  “Man and His Symbols” by Carl Gustav Jung.

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