Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

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It's partly because our belief systems are not only systems of belief, but structures that serve to render everyone who participates in that belief and its dramatization and acting out in the world predictable, trustworthy and cooperative even when competing. Is there a hierarchy of rank or value among belief systems, or are they merely arbitrary?

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What is the relationship between descriptions of the objective world and moral guidelines? How do you determine how to conduct yourself in the world?

What should you do and is that question even genuine -- or answerable? What inbuilt structures do you bring into the world, as a consequence of biological evolution, that help you orient yourself in life, in the face of its overwhelming complexity?

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What is the relationship between the games that children learn to play when becoming socialized and the cultural structures that guide us in broader society? How is all this related to the underlying symbolic structures religious structures that sit at the base of our societies and belief structures?

Subject: Psychology. All rights reserved. Clinical Psychology. Lecture 1 Play Video. Context and Background In this lecture, I discuss the context within which the theory I am delineating through this course emerge: that of the cold war.

Jordan Peterson’s ‘Maps of Meaning’ — no, it’s not legit

Lecture 2 Play Video. Lecture 3 Play Video. Marionettes and Individuals Part 2 In this lecture, I continue with the analysis of the Disney film Pinocchio to illustrate the manner in which great mythological or archetypal themes inform and permeate both the creation and the understanding of narratives. Lecture 4 Play Video. Lecture 5 Play Video. Story and Metastory Part 1 In this lecture, I make the case that we each inhabit a story, describing where we are, where we are going, and the actions we must undertake to get from the former to the latter.

Lecture 6 Play Video. Lecture 7 Play Video. He aims his analytical lens at the motivational and behavioral dynamics behind evil and meaning. These issues seem to be most often addressed by theogians whose presuppositions are difficult for a rational person to digest whole, or by New Age fuzzy thinkers. This book is most definitely not New Age Joe Campbellites beware - meaning is not simple bliss! I found the book taught me lessons in the neuropsychology of emotion, moral philosophy, and the deep structure of mythic narrative - and weaved these disparate fields into a coherent, powerful tool of interpretation which is what a good theory should be.

Undoubtedly there are weaknesses in Jordan's understanding of each of these individual fields, but his synthesis is pretty interesting, at worst, and profound, at best. This is a challenging read, both in the scope and difficulty of the material and in the way your thinking about your self and the world is challenged. For those with a good attention span and a synthetic curiosity about the world, I would recommend this book highly. A Customer on Oct 10, One of the most influential books I've ever read, Maps of Meaning takes an unflinching look at what truly drives human behavior, and human choices.

Drawing on an incredible range of material, from philosophy to literature, from cognitive psychology to religion, it manages to weave a rich tapestry of the issues underlying the human condition. Essential reading for any intellectual. By Robert on Dec 20, This book was a huge disappointment.


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It abounds with dense, often impenetrable, verbiage. Basic points are made repeatedly, but subtle ones occasionally appear in the middle of an argument and are never referenced again. Even worse, this text makes at least one statement that is factually wrong. This mistake is not a small oversight, either. It is one that demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the topic being discussed at that part in the text, and throws into question the validity of other points made throughout the rest of the book.

I found the lectures by Dr. Peterson fascinating, but, unfortunately, confusing in parts. There were details I wasn't able to fully grasp, and I wanted to know more. That led me to this book, in hopes of filling in the gaps and developing a better understanding of the topics that were covered. One of the blurbs on the back cover says the book is " Although I'm a layman in the area of psychology, I do have a graduate degree in computer science and took a handful of psychology and philosophy courses as an undergraduate. Dr Peterson teaches a course based on this text that only has a couple of second year psych courses as prerequisites, so I figured I should be well-prepared to study, and understand, the book's contents.

Things were slow-going from the start. There were repeated instances where the text could have said something simply, or at least with more clarity, but instead chose to obfuscate. Try this passage on for size from page 13 : "Active apprehension of the goal of behavior, conceptualized in relationship to the interpreted present, serves to constrain or provide determinate framework for the evaluation of ongoing events, which emerge as a consequence of current behavior.

But I soldiered on.

I took my time and tried to understand the details Dr. Peterson was presenting. In fact, there were parts of the book that I found genuinely fascinating and well-written. Unfortunately, these parts were overshadowed by a slowly growing feeling that I was having the wool pulled over my eyes. It was when I reached the middle of the book that this feeling fully crystallized. On page , Dr Peterson writes: "A moral system -- a system of culture -- necessarily shares features in common with other systems.

The most fundamental of the shared features of systems was identified by Kurt Godel. Godel's Incompleteness Theorem demonstrated that any internally consistent and logical system of propositions must necessarily be predicated upon assumptions that cannot be proved from within the confines of that system. First of all, Kurt Godel was a logician, and his work on his Incompleteness Theorem was related to axiomatic formal mathematical systems.

Simply extrapolating results on axiomatic systems to "moral systems" or "systems of culture" as a self-evident fact has the whiff of charlatanry.

Even worse, the statement of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem given above is completely wrong! I'd like to say that Dr Peterson merely provided a naive oversimplification of the theorem, but that's not even the case. What Dr. Peterson stated is a total misrepresentation of Godel's work. Godel's Incompleteness Theorem has nothing to do with proving the "assumptions" axioms of the system from "within the confines of the system. Peterson hammers on this mistake a page later when he describes the five postulates of Euclidean geometry. He writes: "What constitutes truth, from within the perspective of this structure, can be established by reference to these initial postulates.

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However, the postulates themselves must be accepted. Their validity cannot be demonstrated, within the confines of the system. This is where the book broke down for me. If the text so egregiously misrepresented Godel's Incompleteness theorem, what else had it oversimplified, misrepresented, or gotten plain wrong?

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And how much of its dense rhetoric was simply fancy word play to hide vacuous arguments? To quote David Hume, "If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.


  • Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief [PDF].
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (Modern Library Classics).
  • Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief.
  • As I mentioned, there were parts that I found well-written and interesting.