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"A Glitch in the Matrix" - Jordan Peterson, the Intellectual Dark Web & the Mainstream Media

By now readers will probably be aware of the Jordan Peterson/Cathy Newman Ch4 interview that went viral. 

There have been many post mortems about this event but A Glitch in the Matrix in my opinion, is one of the best. This is because it is a kind of cri de coeur from a young man who admits he identifies as a liberal but whose interactions with Peterson have caused him to start asking questions. For David Fuller and others the Ch4 interview was:  

…a glitch in the matrix where the limitations of the old operating system are laid bare and something new pokes through.

Former Ch4 news producer and documentary filmmaker, Fuller had already interviewed Peterson in his Toronto home last October. The outcome was a film called “Jordan Peterson Truth in the Time of Chaos”.   

As a result of that meeting Fuller says he realized that Peterson would probably soon become one of the most recognized and “important thinkers of our age", but at the time he could not possibly have imagined how the Canadian clinical psychologist would break through to a mass audience. A few weeks later the interview with Newman was aired and the answer became obvious.

Millions watched the it online, tens of thousands commented, and an overwhelming majority saw through the not-very-attractive Rottweiler interviewing style of Newman, along with the intellectual paucity of the MSM’s pre-programmed ideas.

 “This was a nearly terminal case of close-mindedness” said one representative comment on the net.

A Glitch in the Matrix is a 54-minute podcast/documentary in which Fuller focuses on the question, “What does this glitch say about the state of the mainstream media and the culture at large”? 

In the film a group of 40-something pundits weigh in with their analyses.This is the demographic probably most affected by years of male-female force-fed ideologies – which Peterson characterizes as “fragmentary mythologies”.

Point one was really about the clash between New and Old media. 

Dave Rubin creator and host of political talk show The Rubin Report says:

The mainstream media is based on an old dying model that is being replaced by new media and new technology so quickly that its faults are becoming glaringly obvious. Fortunately, thanks to YouTube podcasting and however else you get shows like this one the MSM's stranglehold on information - which really is a stranglehold on your ability to think clearly about the issues of the day, is crumbling at an incredible rate. Now the question is who and what will replace it? People are figuring out ways to have these important and dangerous conversations that are completely ignored by the mainstream. 

Rubin argues that the ‘intellectual dark web’ people, i.e. Peterson, Eric Weinstein, Sam Harris and many others are more influential at this point than ‘whatever collection of cable news pundits you can come up with’. What unites them is the feeling that the ideas running Western culture over the past few generations are breaking down and in the chaos of the moment there is an attempt to find new ones – and this is happening almost entirely online

In the aftermath of the Trump election which came as such a shock to most of the media, Jordan Greenhall of Deep Code Situational Assessment describes how the “blue church” MSM -  The Guardian, the BBC, the New York Times Channel 4, NBC. CNN etc. began to be challenged by a new web-based insurgence or ‘red religion’:

During the (JP/CN) interview we see an example of a delusional framework that appears to be largely incapable of perceiving or reacting to reality in real time. But much more interesting is what happened afterwards – which was the self-healing and policing mechanism of the larger social consensus – of how the blue church reactively goes about maintaining the integrity of its frame. So, what ended up happening was there was a break in the frame – there was a glitch in matrix – the mechanisms of the blue church reacted to the endeavor to control the frame and to convert it into a way of making sense of what occurred but still maintain the integrity of its frame. It was fallback position that was reactive, almost instinctual – no – precisely instinctual- pure habit – there was no – thoughtfulness or even strategic action there. It was ‘if X then Y’.

Fuller points out that Cathy Newman’s determination to turn the (original) interview into a conflict has something to do with the soon-to-be outmoded nature of television. Broadcast television has a very limited amount of time to accomplish its task, and at the same time they are trying to make everything as salacious as possible. It relies on forcing the story because everything must happen in the now, within the next 5 minutes, and this is not conducive to real conversation or real thinking.   

The film also deals with some of the issues surrounding the original interview – the relations between men and women in our culture. 

In a conversation with Camille Paglia, Peterson stresses his belief that in the postmodern world, there is now only the archetypal Tyrannical Father – the destructive force of masculine consciousness on the one hand, and nothing but the benevolent Great Mother on the other hand. No balance, no cohesion no sanity: “It’s an appalling ideology which is sucking the vitality out of our culture”.   

Finally, he says, we are living in a tumultuous time because:

It is the time for discussion of First Principles – and First Principles are virtually at the level of theology - because they are the things that you just assume and then move forward from. So, what should we assume – well, how about the dignity of the human soul? Let’s start with that. You can’t treat yourself properly or have a relationship, stabilize your family or have a functional society without that…So what does it mean to the human soul to have dignity? (It means) you are participating in creation itself. You do that with actions and language and you get to decide if you are tilting the world a bit more towards heaven or a bit more towards hell and that’s actually what you are doing.

If the outcome of this now renowned interview can start the kind return to First Principles that Peterson speaks of here, it would be wonderful. I hope that happens, but the internet itself is vulnerable to restriction so let’s just hope enough people get the message before it’s too late.

 


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