Jordan Peterson on Rules for Life, Psychedelics, The Bible, and Much More (#502)

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It seems to me that the purpose of life is to find a mode of being that is so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.

— Jordan Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors, and business people, consulted for the UN secretary-general, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an adviser to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe.

With his students and colleagues at Harvard and the University of Toronto, Dr. Peterson has published more than one hundred scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality, as his book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief revolutionized the psychology of religion.

His book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos was published in 2018 and has sold more than 4 million copies internationally. His latest book is Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. Watch on YouTube here.

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Do you want to hear an episode with one of Jordan’s more well-known debate partners? Listen to my most recent conversation with Sam Harris in which we discussed psychedelics, how to cope during the pandemic, taming anxiety, and much more.


  • Connect with Jordan Peterson:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Personality Assessment | Self-Authoring Suite


  • Who was Sandy Notley, and what role does she play in Jordan’s story? [05:23]
  • Early influential books that have stood the test of time for Jordan, and what listeners can expect to gain by delving into the list of books he recommends at his website. [08:57]
  • On the Nietzschean idea of morality as cowardice, and what we might do to cultivate courage while keeping our more dangerous inclinations in check. [11:37]
  • Drawing a distinction between thinking and paying attention as a way to gain insight during a conversation that may turn adversarial, and why resentment, for all its ugliness, can be a valuable consultant. [16:18]
  • On finding meaning to make life’s suffering irrelevant (or at least non-corrupting), and Jordan’s thoughts about how this perspective informs his conservative leanings. [24:10]
  • What does Jordan feel is the right way to constructively criticize a social institution? [29:30]
  • Jordan weighs in on what he finds fascinating about psychology and the physiology of drug and alcohol use, and what he considers to be the “Pandora’s Box” of seeking religious experiences through psychedelics. [34:43]
  • If the contents of this Pandora’s Box facilitate greater openness, when might this not be a good thing? How does Jordan define openness in this context, and how does it relate to Carl Jung’s warning to “beware of unearned wisdom?” [39:48]
  • In what ways does Jordan believe the world is, as he puts it, “deeply strange?” How did his son once inexplicably illustrate the chaos and order of this strangeness from a child’s perspective? [45:24]
  • Stoned apes, high flies, and the risk of ontological shock faced by people who pursue psychoactive experiences too casually. [51:00]
  • What might the average person in the Western world, religious or not, gain by studying the Bible? [53:57]
  • Jordan believes that ancient stories — as found in the Bible — carry kernels of wisdom that have been stripped of superfluousness over time. When writing a book, how does he try to convey his own messages in a way that will remain intact over time to serve further generations? [59:54]
  • How writing a book can be the meaning an author needs to keep going, and why finishing it can counterintuitively be a source of devastation rather than elation. [1:02:25]
  • What would Jordan recommend to someone seeking meaning if they have reached a high level of competence in a certain area? [1:03:30]
  • Why is Jordan’s new book called Beyond Order? [1:05:23]
  • Beyond sales, what would make Jordan consider Beyond Order a success? [00:00]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:16:48]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.