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Jordan Peterson’s critics love to claim that he’s “just another self help guru”, “just another right wing ideologue and apologist for destructive individualist capitalism”. In fact, Peterson’s success reflects precisely the opposite. Today we ARE surrounded by self help gurus who promise wealth, status, dream jobs, harems of women etc. as the outcome of multi-thousand dollar workshops and coaching programs. Peterson’s message is far more profound. His idea is that society and people (and men in particular) only hold together when people take responsibility and work towards their ideals. And, conversely, when they do not, societies fall apart, people slip into resentment and self hatred and eventually destroy themselves and each other.
According to Peterson, (and following hundreds of years of philosophy- check out Nietzsche) societies work when people work towards their highest ideals and visions that benefit not only themselves but other people and future generations. And while collective ideals are important, it is not enough for a man to simply follow whatever it is that his parents, his friends or his culture tell him to follow. He must do the hard task of working out who he is, what motivates him, what he values, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and what ultimately is his part to contribute. And once he has worked this out, he should work towards making it happen – even in the face of resistance from his culture, his parents, his friends and his own worst enemy – himself.
Creating a vision and working towards it is not just about making a man wealthier, sexier, smarter or higher status (though this can happen). It is his fundamental ethical task, and the bedrock on which flourishing and beautiful civilisations are built.
In Maniphesto we use embodiment practices and the wisdom of elders such as Alexander Bard and Michael Butler to take Peterson’s ideas deeper, working with archetypes and an understanding of the tribal patterns of human behavior and interaction. We recognize not only the importance of personal vision, but of the different types of men who exist cross-culturally and cross-historically. In every culture there are men who fit into the archetypal roles of warriors, merchants, priests, shamans and androgens (to name but a few). In today’s society, warriors may be athletes, builders and engineers, merchants businessmen and entrepreneurs, priests academics and therapists, shamans artists and psychonauts, androgens popstars and models. We accept and embrace all the male archetypes, and work not only to help men craft and work towards their visions, but to understand what type of man they are, so they can create a vision that truly fits them and respect and admire the differing visions of their brothers.
We also recognize the importance of working within a tribe, brotherhood, or pack, who support you in formulating and pursuing your vision and hold you accountable as you pursue it. Men have always worked in teams (though the contemporary education system might have made you think otherwise). In this way we share our visions, our successes and our failures, learn from each other, find mentors, teachers and elders. We work neither as a mindless collective following a single leader or idea, nor as isolated individuals going it alone and figuring it out for ourselves, but as a dynamic, ,conciliar community, forever evolving, experimenting and learning.