Compassionate Jordan Peterson
By David Henderson
I’ve watched the whole 30-minute interview of Canadian psychologist Jordan B. Peterson by the BBC’s Cathy Newman twice. Like many people, I was impressed by his ability to handle her questions and keep his cool. But when I showed it to a friend in Miami last week who knew nothing about him, we stopped after the 3-minute point because we found it so profound. Particularly moving were his words at the 1:57 point, when he says that many young men have heard almost no words of encouragement. My friend and I, who both went to the same therapist in the mid-1970s in Los Angeles, and who both went to a few of Nathaniel Branden’s weekend-long intensives in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appreciated that thought. Although it’s not true that I never heard words of encouragement, they were few and far between.
Listening to this part the third time led me to think that Jordan Peterson is an incredibly compassionate man, especially toward younger men.
I came to the same conclusion about Nathaniel Branden after going, at great expense and despite much skepticism, to my first Nathaniel Branden intensive in New York City in February 1978. In this audio, where I introduced Branden for a speech he gave at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Los Angeles in 1979, I talk about the moment during the weekend when I came to that conclusion. My intro goes from the 0 minute point to about 3:20. (The person in the audience who pleasantly heckles me is my good friend the late Roy A. Childs, Jr.)
I’m particularly interested in hearing from men about any memories you have of encouragement.
I’ll lead with mine: it might sound trivial but it made me feel appreciated. Every few years at my cottage in Canada, we would overlap for a few days with my uncle from Texas and his family. In the summer of 1962, when I was 11, my uncle Elmer heard my brother Paul’s pet name for me: Henry. I don’t recall how he came up with it except that it was a shortened version of his longer name for me, Henry Can Holly. Uncle Elmer heard that and started calling me Patrick Henry. Then he shortened it to Patrick. There was a lot of affection in his use of that name.