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Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray in Dublin

Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray in Dublin

The Following is a transcript of the talk that Jordan Peterson, Douglas Murray and Sam Harris had in Dublin.





Travis Pangburn:    00:00:00       All Right, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.

Sam Harris:         00:00:38       Thank you all for coming out.

Douglas Murray:     00:00:40       Well, good evening Dublin. As you've just heard, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris met the first time in person two weeks ago now in Vancouver. They covered an enormous amount of ground and there is, I think, an enormous amount of ground still to cover, but I've asked them if they would start this evening in the following way. You're all familiar with a straw manning. Anyone who follows politics, knows straw manning, but I've asked them to do the opposite tonight. Just start by steel manning the arguments of each other to present in the best possible, most fair, most rigorous light, what they understand to be the other's argument on all of the major issues we're about to discuss. Thank you. I'm going to ask Sam Harris to go first and we're going to go from there.

Sam Harris:         00:01:57       Thank you. So first, thank you all for coming. It's really, it's an immense privilege for us to do this. Thank you. And, uh, I've, uh, I should say many of you have sacrificed a lot to come here. People who have come from other countries, I'm told you all dealt with a ticketing system that seems like it was run from a cave in Afghanistan. Uh, it's, um, so again, thank you all because it's, you know, it's, it's one thing for us to put this date on the calendar and say we're going to speak here is another for all of you to show up. And this is a privilege we certainly don't take for granted. So. And it's an immense one. So Jordan and, and I, I should say that though  much of our conversation together, we'll often sound like we're debating it, We will definitely be there, None of us are in the habit of pulling our punches. There's an immense amount of goodwill here and it's onstage as true offstage and we're all trying to refine our beliefs together in conversation. So there's this, none of us view this as a debate though. We might stridently disagree about one thing or another. Um, what's so what Jordan, I think, disagrees with me about it. I think he is worried that I, though we we clearly have a common project; We're both concerned to understand how to live lives worth living, how can we do this individually and how can we build societies that safeguard this project for millions of people attempting to do this. and the diverse ways and so so many questions immediately come online when you try to do that, but what is the relationship between facts and values, for instance, where science and spiritual experience or our ethical lives and we have as for the moment different answers to those questions. Jordan is concerned that I in my allergy to religion insufficiently value the power of stories in general and religious stories in particular that that there's, there's something more than just nakedly engaging with facts as the as they are, but we do. We don't simply come into contact with reality. We have to interpret reality. We interpreted through our senses and with our brains obviously, but you need frameworks and as Jordan would say, stories with which to do that. You don't get facts in the raw and Jordan believes that I, because my purpose so often is to counter what I view as the dangerous dogmas within religion. I ignore the, the power and even the necessity of certain kinds of stories and certain ways of thinking about the world and our situation in the world that, uh, that not only bring many, many millions and even billions of people, immense value are in fact necessary for anyone. However rational to build a society where all of our, our, a wellbeing, uh, can, can be conserved. So I think in brief, that's Jordan's concerned about me.

Jordan Peterson:    00:05:24       Okay. So Sam is concerned. Um, I would say above all, with the minimization of unnecessary suffering, which seems to me to be a pretty good place to start and he's concerned that he's concerned that in order to do that we need to develop an ethic. And ethics should be grounded in that realization that unnecessary suffering is worth contending with and dealing with. And that and that. If we make too much of the divide between facts and values, then we end up in a situation where our value structure has no super subordinate foundational grounding and this is a big problem. So generally in the philosophical community, it's accepted, although not universally that it's difficult if not impossible to derive values from facts. But the problem with that proposition is that you end up in a situation where either you lose all your values because they're just arbitrary or you or you have to ground them in something that isn't. That that's revelatory and Sam is concerned that one of the negative consequences of grounding your fundamental ethic and something that's revealed is the emergent consequence of irrational fundamentalism. And so obviously that's worth contending with. And so he's taking issue with the philosophical idea that facts and values have to be separate and formulating the proposition that we can in fact ground a universal system of values in the facts and that we can mediate between the facts and the system of values using using our facility for truth. But even more specifically. Our facility for rationality and rationality can be the mediator between the world of facts in the world and the world of values, and so the. The problem I have with that, I guess if, if we can skip briefly to problems is that it isn't obvious to me how to produce an ethos with sufficient motivating power to to ground that conception of the minimization of suffering, say in the promotion of wellbeing in a way that's that grips people and unites our society and so I think that's. That's part of what we're discussing and trying to sort out with regards to the potential role of narrative and religious belief. As an underpinning to this ethos. We seem to agree on the necessity for the universal ethos. We even seem to agree. I would say on what that is because certainly the minimization of suffering seems to me to be a very good place to start. We share our concern with and a belief that the pathway to that ethos is in some manner related to our ability to speak the truth, but we disagree on what that has to be grounded in and how it has to be grounded. My sense, especially after thinking about our discussion is that Sam makes what rationality is do too much work and I'm hoping that not that rationality is irrelevant or unimportant because it clearly is neither of those, but maybe the devil's in the details and hopefully we can get down to the details tonight and we, we brought Douglas into the conversation. He's here to serve as much more than a mere moderator and partly we've determined that as Sam alluded to, that what we're actually trying to figure out is what are the minimum necessary preconditions for the construction of engaged productive individuals with meaningful, responsible lives in a society that's stable enough to sustain itself and dynamic enough to change? What are the minimal preconditions for that? What are the and and how do we ground those presuppositions, those preconditions, and what price do we pay for? For having them because you never get something without a cost. And we thought that Douglas would be very interesting addition to this conversation because of course he's concentrated on such things as borders and when you set up preconditions for social order, you also automatically produced such things as hierarchies and borders and they don't come without a cost. And so we hope to expand the conversation to include a discussion of those issues as well.

Sam Harris:         00:10:00       Yeah. Right, before Douglas Chimes in. And I just want to reiterate the fact that he has not been cast here as our moderator though. If Jordan and I run off the rails, I expect Douglas to put us back on. And the king's English.

Douglas Murray:     00:10:12       I'm not moderate enough to be a moderator...

Sam Harris:         00:10:16       but, uh, you're your more moderate than either of us are. But so I want, I want you to reset the part of your brain that is poised to begrudge the moderator taken up too much time because every moderator has felt that. And Bret Weinstein was brilliantly aloof and uninvolved in much of our exchange together. But, but Doug was really as a third participant here. And uh, and he, he stands between Jordan and I on some issues. Interesting way so that the, there's a, we have a three way conversation here where none of us is really sitting in the same spot. So

Douglas Murray:     00:10:54       can I make a quick observation about some of the, some of the progress that you've already made in Vancouver? Some of the Progress I hope we can make tonight seems to be. I see one thing that hampers it, um, uh, let me go straight to it with Sam which is. Um, I discovered a terrific phrase the other day that our mutual friend, Eric Weinstein came up with, we were talking about the manner in which you can discuss within the sciences certain scientific problems. And he said, look, if you've got a scientist who you know is also basically a very literalist Christian, you will listen to their argument a whole long part of the way and there's somewhere at the end of it, you know, you're going to be worried about it. And he came up with this phrase, I love this face. He says, Jesus smuggling, right? Jesus smuggling is, you're going to follow all the way. Yes, yes, and then the worry is that when you get to the bit that you're not so good on, that's when they're going to smuggle in Jesus. My suspicion is that you have a reservation about some of what Jordan is saying on substructures on stories are much more because you're worried that at some point either on stage or off it at some point when you are not looking. [Laughter]

Sam Harris:         00:12:13       No, no I am looking...

Douglas Murray:     00:12:16       He's going to Jesus smuggle you.

Sam Harris:         00:12:18       Yeah, that's it. Well uh...

Jordan Peterson:    00:12:25       Well, I was thinking maybe I just carry them in on a cross. [Laughter]

Sam Harris:         00:12:31       Well that is an all too apt analogy because it's a. It is what worries me and it's. But it's. It's more subtle than that because it's not. Just to think that you're consciously doing it is is a different claim. Like there's A. I don't think there's anything insincere about your argument for the, for the importance of religion, but it's, it's also possible we've all met the people who we believe are making insincere arguments and are really; They're consciously putting the rabbit in the hat and then it pretending to be surprised when it pops out. Right. And the analogy to magic is actually interesting here because we we had over dinner, we're talking about the the difference between real and fake art and we were talking about this pair at this paradox that if the art seems to be incredibly valuable and yet the value isn't located in the object itself or can't be obviously located there because a forgery that is a materially the exact copy of some masterpiece is essentially worthless and the real masterpiece, even if it suffered some damage would be incredibly valuable. And so where is the value to be located? But it worries me about your enterprise Jordan and the way in which you were you were, you seem to be linking our rational project and our scientific project with religion is, is right here. There's a, there's a difference between and magic as a decent analogy. There's a difference between like paradoxically real magic is fake magic and fake magic is real magic. The only, the only real magic in the world produced by magicians is the fake magic where the magician and like someone like Darren Brown will tell you. Actually no, I can't read minds. And I, I did put the rabbit in the hat and if this is fake, but, but the, the surprise is that even knowing it's fake, you can't understand how this affect is being achieved, whereas the fake magicians are the ones who are pretending to be real, who are, who are hiding, who are not acknowledging the mechanics, the real mechanics behind what is in fact effective, you know, the, the, the illusion that the rabbit pops out of the hat. And what I worry with, with some of your ways in which you discuss the power of story, the power of metaphor and the religious anchoring there is that the, the leverage and the utility can be had even while acknowledging the real mechanics of it. You know, the fake, the fakeness of the magic. Right? And you seem to suspect that it can't, that it takes all of the wind out of the sails.

Jordan Peterson:    00:15:17       I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure what of it's fake. And what if it isn't. Well, let, let. So I would say that I do consciously participate in the process that you described and, but, but you see, I would also make the case, and this is certainly one of the things that we've been, we've been discussing that you do it unconsciously and let, let me make the case for that because I'd really, I'd been thinking about it a lot and I'd like to see your response. So here's what I really read the moral landscape a lot and I thought about it a lot, you know, and so this is what it looks like to me. So you, you, you make the proposition that we have to breach the gap between facts and values because otherwise our values are left hanging unmoored and that certainly brings about the danger of nihilism but also a potential danger of swing to totalitarianism.

Jordan Peterson:    00:16:06       Something we agree about. I truly do believe that. And then you perform an operation, a conceptual operation and you say, surely we can all agree that. And then you outline a story about this woman who lives in this horrible country and who's basically just being starved in disease ridden and tortured her whole life and having just a hell of a time of it to put it in a phrase and then you say, well surely we can all agree that that's not good. And then you contrast that with, at least in principle, the sort of life that we would all like to have, if we could choose the life that we have. And then you say, well, we could start with the proposition that we should move away from this terrible hellish circumstance and we should move towards this more ideal perspective. And you say, if we could only agree on that then and so and so like so far so good. But this is, this is. There's, there's a couple of things that go along with that that are quite interesting. And so the first is that actually what you're claiming is that the highest moral good isn't existing in that better space. The highest moral good is acting in the manner that moves us from the hellish domain to the desirable domain. It seems to me to be implicit in your argument. So there's a pattern of behavior that constitutes the ethic...

Sam Harris:         00:17:23       Well, I wouldn't say that it existing in that, in that better space is good enough as well as that there's the, there's the question of what it takes to move from where you are to some place better and then there's just the someplace that's better...

Jordan Peterson:    00:17:37       Yes! There was both of them but. But we perhaps we could say, look, what's the ultimate hell? It might be existing in the hell that you described, but it also might be this is something worse. I think. I think participating in the process that brings about that hell is actually a hell that's even deeper than the hell. So it's, it's an analogous argument. There's this state of being in a good state, but there's also the state of being that brings you to that good state. And then there's the state of being that's in a that's a terrible state and the process that brings you to that terrible state. And one of the things that I've learned from the architectural and religious texts that I've studied as well as the philosophical text, is that the process that transforms society into something approximating hell is a lower hell. Now the reason...

Sam Harris:         00:18:25       Let me just close. Yeah, on that because I'm pretty sure I disagree. You can imagine two counter examples. One, as you can imagine, a sadistic being a, you might even call him God, who would create a circumstance of hell and populate it with innocent souls right? now, that's presumably that action be not be attended by a lot of suffering. Or You could imagine...

Jordan Peterson:    00:18:50       no, but it's still. It's still wrong...

Sam Harris:         00:18:52       totally wrong...

Jordan Peterson:    00:18:53       You Know you could even imagine someone who enjoys generating that hell. That would be even more wrong than not enjoying it. Okay, so we want to separate out two things. We want to separate out these states of being and the process that brings them into being. And I do believe you do that in your work because basically what you suggest is that the appropriate way to act ethically is to act in a manner that moves us away from hell and moves us towards a desirable state. Now, the thing is is that as far as I'm concerned, there's a couple of things about that. The first thing is that I wouldn't say that that mode of acting is a fact. I would say it's a personality and that what you're suggesting is that people embodied the personality that Moves Society Way from hell towards heaven for lack of a better term. And the reason terms and the reason I make that argument is because I think that you recapitulate the essential Christian message precisely by doing that because symbolically speaking, at least as far as I can understand, stripped of its religious of it's metaphysical context. Let's say that the purpose of positing the, the, the vision of the ideal human being, which independent of the metaphysical context, it certainly what the symbol of Christ represents is the mode of being that moves us most effectively from something approximating hell to something approximating heaven and then part of that part of that message is, and this is also something that's dead along the lines of what you're arguing, is that the best way to embody that is actually to live in truth. I mean so because I would say that the fundamental Christian ethic, metaphysics excepted once again is to act in love, which is to assume that being is acceptable and can be perfected and to pursue that with truth and that you should embody that.

Jordan Peterson:    00:20:37       And then I would say that the purpose of the representation we could call the meta-fictions or archetypal representations, is to show that in embodied format so that it can be imitated rather than to transform it into something that's diluted in some sense to to an abstract rationality. Because I don't think the abstract rationality in itself has enough flesh on it so to speak. Which is partly why in the Christian ethic, there is an emphasis that the word which is something roughly akin to rationality, has to make, has to be made flash. It has to be enacted,

Sam Harris:         00:21:11       but is the, is the flesh made of dogmatism and superstition and other worldliness? Is that part of what gives it its shape and necessity? I think, uh, traditionally historically it has been. And that's been the problem with religion. If you, if you denude it, of everything that is unjustifiable and the light of 21st century science and rationality, I think you, what you have to get down to is something quite a bit more universal and less provincial than any specific religion. Christianity per se.

Jordan Peterson:    00:21:47       Well, it's interesting too though, you know, one of the, one of the things, one of the points that you do make is that you do appeal to or assume the existence of a transcendental internal ethics. Something like that. Which I would say, by the way, since we're going down this direction, seems to me to be something very akin to the idea of the Holy Spirit, which is something like the internal representation of a transcendent universal ethic. Now remember, I'm trying to strip these concepts of their metaphysical substrate. I'm not making a case at the moment for the existence of the great man in the sky. We can. We can get to that later. I'm saying that what seems to be the case is that we have underneath our cognitive architecture and our social architecture a layer of symbolic and dramatic and narrative representation that instantiates the same concepts but but in a, in a multidimensional context.

Jordan Peterson:    00:22:43       One of the things we talked about in Vancouver for example, is that the religious enterprise doesn't only emphasize rationality it. It brings music into the play and it brings art into the play and it brings drama and it brings literature and it brings architecture and it brings the, the organizing of of of cities around a central space. Like it's. It's pushing itself. It's manifesting itself across multiple dimensions of human existence simultaneously. And to me that gives it a richness that cannot be diluted without loss and and, and also a motive power that, that appear appeal to rationality I don't think can manage, and this is see, one of the things. This is maybe a good place for Douglas to leap in and see one, one of the things that Douglas who's claimed upon multiple locations to be an atheist and I don't know how he's feeling about that and at the present time, but it doesn't matter. It's one of the things. One of the things Doug Douglas has has pointed out was that there are things that we've done in free countries, let's say broadly speaking in the West that are worth protecting and that in order to protect them in the longest sense, it's conceivable that we need a, a cognitive structure, something like that that can act as a bulwark against those forces that would seek to undermine and destroy it. And Douglas has been driven, I would say, to some degree, to hypothesize that for Christianity, for all its faults or we could say Judeo Christianity to broaden it for all its faults might provide something approximating that bulwark if we could only figure out how to utilize it properly. So..

Douglas Murray:     00:24:28       yes, I mean, one of my problems on this is that it seems that we are where we are with belief in whether we wish it to be or not. We cannot believe as our predecessors believed, even if we wanted to, we know too much more now and it puts us in this very difficult position. Um, but to denude also as if the entire story seems to me to be a fool's errand for the set of reasons. One of which is that from a lot of travel, a lot of speaking to people from all around the, well, it doesn't seem at all obvious to me that what we have in companies like this one is the default position of human beings. In fact, it strikes me as being very rare, order, even political order, political liberalism, political freedom, very, very unusual things. And if you like the things that helped to get through that with all of the caveats, with all the caveats we can, we could throw in in all evening and it's not the only thing that got us there obviously. But if you'd like, broadly speaking, where we are, you've got to be very suspicious at the very least of saying the whole story is no good. We don't need the story. We can move on. I quote quite often the radical theologian Don Cupitt, who was often described as an atheist priest and uh Cupitt said somewhere in a recent book he said, you know, we can't help it. He said, for instance, the dreams we dream are still Christian dreams. Whether we like that fact or not.
 And without being able to believe myself. Does that mean not being able to be a literal believer? Um, I worry! Yeah. I worry about what happens when the square is denuded completely. And that's why this discussion tonight and You two in particular, are right on the cusp of this, because this is, this is where I think a lot of us are, even if we really wanted to believe, we basically Can't. And by the way very quickly. That's why I think there's an additional, just to refine my previous point to use them. That's why there's this additional thing. I think there is a fear which you may have, which I also have, which is if there's a risk that even what I've just said, nevermind what Jordan has also said, there's a risk. I think some people feel that you're going to soften up the land somehow and that even if neither Jordan nor I are going to suddenly start Jesus smuggling, we might create the conditions that make it easier for someone else to do that. Is that a fair?

Sam Harris:         00:27:21       Yeah, and it, it is...

Douglas Murray:     00:27:27       No photos!! [Jordan fixes Douglas's microphone]

Sam Harris:         00:27:27       That's very Christian of you! [Jordan Laughs]

Douglas Murray:         00:27:36       Thank you.

Sam Harris:         00:27:38       Let me see if I can sharpen up what my concern actually is here. Because it's not even true to say that I think you need to get rid of the Jesus story or even, or even not, hey, I don't even think there is something problematic with orienting your life around the Jesus Story. I think that that can be reclaimed. But so for instance, I was walking yesterday in this fine city of yours and saw someone on the sidewalk giving Taro readings to people. He had a tarot deck spread out. He had a few cards spread out and he was soliciting people in. And, and, uh, I'm sorry to say I didn't sit for a reading, but you know, to Tarot cards, if you're familiar with them, are the the quintessential artifact of new age woo, right? Um, these are not thought of as legitimate tools that divination except by people who think that they're legitimate tools of divination. And yet a tarot reading can be truly powerful, right? I mean, this is built on something, right? This is not just a massive, uh, example of self deception on the part of people reading and people getting their cards read. These cards can seem precious. I could give you all a reading right now and 95 percent of you would find what I would, what the cards would say to be relevant to your lives. I mean, I could do it with an imaginary deck. I don't even an invisible imaginary deck. I don't know anything about Tarot cards, but I'm going to turn two cards. Now. One is the sun and the other is the fallen man. Now I know so little about Tarot than I'm not even sure the fallen man is a tarot card . I think it was the hanged man is a tarot card. Okay, so I've got these two cards and you know the sun is clearly the representation of wisdom, right? And the and the, the hanged man is the is the representation of, of lost opportunity. And I can tell you with some degree of certainty that all of you are at a crossroads in your life where you have, you have good reason to believe that you're not making the most of your opportunities right now. I could go on like this for an hour, right? And pretend all the while that it has something to do with the cards actually been working in concert with the dynamics of the cosmos, such that these cards that I turn over, were they real, would be the ones that of necessity were revealing something about your mind in this moment and obviously people think in these terms about astrology and sympathetic magic and all the rest and religion is built upon this kind of superstition.

Sam Harris:         00:30:26       There's a way of understanding the utility of using a device like this and the real effect it has on you. I mean, if I turn over the cards and and ask you to look at your life in this moment as though for the first time through this lens, considering in this case lost opportunities, right? Of course it's going to be valid. That doesn't make a. It can be an incredibly useful thing to do. The... My main concern is that at no point you have to lie to yourself about your state of knowledge about the mechanism, right? You don't have to believe Tarot cards...

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:03       Even then There's deeper, deeper mechanisms at work with someone who's actually good at that, and so I agree with what you've said..

Sam Harris:         00:31:11       but they need not be supernatural...

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:12       No, I don't think they are supernatural and in fact, I think what happens when you use a projective technique like that because that's essentially what it is. If I'm good at interpersonal attunement and I'm quite intuitive what I'm going to do this and everyone does this in the course of a dialogue that's actually working well, I'm going to flip over the cards and I'm going to start with generic archetypal statements that are that are true in some sense for everyone, but then I'm going to watch you both consciously and implicitly, unconsciously with all of my social intelligence and I'm going to see through very, very subtle signs on your part when you respond positively to what I'm saying and when you respond negatively, and I'm going to continue down the lines that you established by your positive responses...

Sam Harris:         00:31:56       Yeah but that's Derren Brown does. He's a mentalist...

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:58       Yeah! Well, it's exactly what happens when children are interviewed, for example, by people who lead them as witnesses, right? But children need infer from the emotional expressions of the person who's interrogating them what it is that they actually want to hear, and so...

Sam Harris:         00:32:12       That even worked with that horse. Clever Hans...

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:13       Exactly right! That's right. Exactly. Even horses can do this, so Tarot card readers can definitely do this, So the, the mechanisms behind something like that, even if it appears entirely superstitious on the surface, are often deeper than it is revealed at first approximation. So, and I wanted to talk a little bit, if you don't mind, for a minute about rationality because the, the. We've already agreed, I think definitely stop me if I'm wrong, that there has to be an intermediary mechanism between the world of facts in the world of values and. Well since we've talked, I've been reading have a variety of commentaries on Immanuel Kant. Mostly these have been written by Roger Scruton, by the way, and this is actually the issue that the Kant obsessed about for most of his philosophical life and what he concluded was that empiricism can't be right in rationality, can't be right as philosophical disciplines because you need an intermediary structure and that we have an inbuilt intermediary structure and that structure is what mediates between the thing in itself, the world of facts, let's say, and the outputs, the values. So then I was thinking...

Sam Harris:         00:33:25       Well, the truth is we don't quite agree on this in my summary of your view of me. I would have agreed with that, but for me it's just facts all the way down.

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:34       Okay, Great! Great glad to hear it, man. Why do you need a brain then?

Sam Harris:         00:33:40       Well, a brain is yet another part of reality. And it was not what I mean by a fact.

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:46       Yeah but what does it do, facts are just there. What does the brain do? It has to do something because otherwise you don't need it...

Sam Harris:         00:33:54       It does a lot. But the, the uh, I mean, so your concern to, to jump to the, where I think we're going in this conversation is how is it that values can be another order of fact that seems problematic to you? It seems problematic to you. It's problematic that David Hume...

Jordan Peterson:    00:34:14       Well, that's problematic for me for a technical reason, which is that in order to act; and let's see if we agree on this in order to perceive and to act, which I believe are both, uh, acts of value to perceive as an active value because you have to look at something instead of a bunch of other things. So you have, you elevate the thing that you're perceiving to the position of highest value by perceiving it, by deciding to perceive it.

Sam Harris:         00:34:43       Okay but that gets translated in my brain into just more facts. You're just giving me the facts of human perception...

Jordan Peterson:    00:34:52       Okay that's fine, That's no problem. I'm perfectly happy about that. And then in order to act, you have to select the target of action from among an infinite number near infinite number, close enough of possible mechanisms of action. And so what a biological organism does is take the facts and translate them into perception and action, and the only organisms that do that with one to one mapping are organisms that are composed of sensory motor cells, like sponges, marine sponges, which are composed of sensory motor cells. They don't have an intermediary nervous system, so what they do is they sit in the water and they make a sponge. They're so simple that if you grind a sponge through a sieve and in salt water, it'll reorganize itself into the sponge. So that's quite cool. The sponge sits in the water and what it does and what it does is there's waves on it and so it, those are patterns and then the sponge opens and closes pores on its surface in response to those patterns. So it maps the pattern of the waves right onto its behavior with no intermediary of a nervous system, but it's. It can only map waves. That's all it can do, and it can only open and closed pores. That's it. So it does one to one factor value mapping. Now what happens is that as the, as the complexity of a biological organism increases, two things happen. The first thing that happens is that the sensory and motor cells differentiate. So now the organism has sensory cells and motor cells, so since senses to detect and senses and sorry cells to detect and cells to act. Okay, so then it can do. It can detect more patterns because it's more sophisticated at the sensory perspective and it can do more things because it has specialized motor systems, but then what happens is that as it gets even more complex than it puts an intermediary structure of nervous tissue in there and that structure increases in the number of layers of neurons. And what that means is that as. As that happens and as the sensory cells become more specialized and as the motor output cells become more specialized, many more patterns can be detected. Those are roughly equivalent to facts and many more motor outputs can be manifested, but a tremendous number of calculations have to has to occur in that intermediary nervous tissue. And that's the structure that I'm talking about. That structure exists and it translates the patterns into motor output and it doesn't do it on a one to one basis because there are more patterns, more facts. Then there are motor outputs, so what has to happen is this tremendous plethora of facts that surrounds us has to be filtered to the point where you pick a single action because you can't act, act otherwise, and so the mechanism that reduces the number of facts to the selected action is the mechanism that mediates between facts and values, and it's not simply in and of itself. It's a fact that that exists, but it isn't as simple as that. What it does isn't the simple fact you can't do. You can't explain it. You can't understand it...

Sam Harris:         00:37:55       Why not?

Jordan Peterson:    00:37:56       For the same reason that you can't look for the same reason, for the same reason that you don't know what a neural network is doing, like you can train a neural network...

Sam Harris:         00:38:07       There's a distinction between facts and facts that we know right there. There is whatever it is the case, right? And then there's our understanding of it and our misunderstanding of it. So there are many things that we think we know that we're wrong about. There are many things that we are aware we're ignorant of, and there's this, there's this larger always this larger space of reality that we're struggling to engage with, and it may in fact be the case that in evolutionary terms, but we know it's the case that we're. We have not evolved to understand reality and large perfectly. That's not the sort of monkeys we are. Right? And you could even argue over that one. One cognitive scientist who some of you may have heard of Donald Hoffman is arguing now you know, very colorfully that human consciousness or the human mind is, is actually evolved to get things wrong in a fairly specific ways so that so as to maximize survival. And that...

Jordan Peterson:    00:39:07       That was the argument I made in our first discussion...

Sam Harris:         00:39:09       No, but, but, but was not quite because there's still. This still preserves the difference between getting things right and getting things wrong. He, his argument is that getting things truly right, having a nervous system and a cognitive architecture that could really understand reality, quote reality as it is, would be maladaptive and he has some, he has some mathematical demonstration of this, that, that, that, that the, the true, the true representations of reality are categorically maladaptive and uh, you had certain kinds of error that is, and I'm not, I'm not sure I buy this argument, but the fact that you can make this argument, the fact that you can differentiate the adaptively useful misunderstandings versus a true understanding that's maladaptive. The fact that we can even talk about that demonstrates to me that we have this larger picture of what is in fact true whether we know it or not and this is what this is what religion get so catastrophically wrong religion gives you some other mechanism whereby, whereby to Orient Yourself well, in this case, revelation...

Jordan Peterson:    00:40:24       religious, does religion does provide those, those functional simplifications...

Sam Harris:         00:40:30       Yeah but they are simplifications appropriate to the Iron Age? if that.

Jordan Peterson:    00:40:35       Well some of them are for sure, and that's why we have to have this discussion because, because merer revelation and mere tradition is insufficient and I, I truly believe that we can agree on that. But back to the back to the biological argument. So, um, because I thought that tonight I would make a very strictly biological argument is that so now the question is now. So now you've got your sensory systems that are detecting the world of facts and you have your motor output system, which is a very narrow channel because you can only do one thing at a time. And that's one of the things about consciousness that's quite strange. It's a very, very narrow channel. So you have to take this unbelievably complex world and you have to channel it into this very narrow channel and you, you don't do that by being wrong about the world, but you do do that by ignoring a lot of the world and by using representations that are no more complicated than they have to be in order to attain the task at hand.

Jordan Peterson:    00:41:26       It's like you're losing using low resolution representations of the world. They're not inaccurate because a low resolution representation the world isn't inaccurate any more than a low resolution photo is, but there are no higher resolution than they need to be in order for you to undertake the task at hand, and if you undertake the task at hand and that goes successfully, then what you've done, and this is basically the essence of American pragmatism. What you've done is validated the validated the validity of your simplifications. So if the tool you have in hand is good, if the ax you have in hand is sharp enough to chop down the tree, then it's a good enough axe and that's part of the way that we define truth pragmatically in the absence of infinite knowledge about everything. Okay? So now you build up this nervous system between the world of facts and the world of values and it, and it narrows the world of facts. And the question then is how do you generate the mechanism that does that narrowing? And this is useful...

Sam Harris:         00:42:19       That's not quite how the cake is layered. Because the facts are up here too right? for me and for me to even notice that you're a person, right, or to attribute beliefs to you or to have a sense of being in relationship at all. This is one of those higher order interpretive acts based on a many layered nervous system. It's not only bottom up yet yet, but yeah, it's bottom up and top down. Yes and and But facts are also on the top, right? It's not that we have facts here and values here. It's, it's. ...

Jordan Peterson:    00:42:52       Well, I think what I'm trying to do I think what I am trying to do. I think maybe one way of thinking about it is that you, you are using your positing that we can use rationality as a mechanism for mediating between facts and values, I believe because otherwise there's no use for rationality. We can just have the facts. Its a process...

Sam Harris:         00:43:10       It's even simpler than that. It's just that for me and I think for everyone, if they will only agree to use language in this way. For me, values are simply facts about the experience of conscious creatures. Good and bad experiences. Give us our values.

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:29       Yeah, but they're not simple. Neither are the goods and the bad.

Sam Harris:         00:43:32       But some are very simple you have in your hand. Put It on a hot stove is incredibly simple and...

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:38       Not if it'll save your child if you do...

Sam Harris:         00:43:39       well, but again, the unpleasantness of it. Right now it's. That's an orthogonal point.

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:47       No, it's not. No, it's not. If you look at the way the reward and punishment systems work in the brain, you can easily train an animal using reward to wag its tail. If it's being shocked electrically, you can do that and you can wire it very loaded...

Sam Harris:         00:43:59       that there's a range of unpleasant experiences we can have where we can construe them as pleasant or necessary. Right? And that's a kind of a higher level of theater. But I'm talking about the worst possible sensory experience that all of us will agree. We'll agree is unpleasant, right? That doesn't require a story to. For us to feel aversion to and there's. There are many things like that in life that are just just rudimentary. Whereas we are, we are organized in such a way that if you put us into fire...

Jordan Peterson:    00:44:33       so are you Are you claiming then like this is another problem. This is where I think that the argument that you make, although accurate in it's rudiments, let's say, is insufficiently high resolution because now it sounds to me like you're including the domain of qualia unquestioningly in the domain of facts. Now you can do that, but we need to know if that's what you're doing. Like what are these facts you're talking about? Are they mere manifestations of the objective world or do they shade into this subjective?

Sam Harris:         00:45:01       There are, there are objective facts about subjective experience. So I can make, I can make true or false claims about your subjectivity and that, and you can make, you can make those about your, your own subjectivity, right? You can be wrong about your own subjectivity here. We're not subjectively incorrigible. Uh, and I, I might've said this last time in Vancouver. I mean, the example I often use here is to speculate about what jfk was thinking. The moment he got shot right is not a, a completely vacuous exercise there. They're literally an infinite number of things we know he wasn't thinking right. So we can make claims about his conscious mind at, at that moment in history, which are scientific a, even though the data are unavailable, right? So many people get confused between having an answer is in practice and there being an answers in principle.

Sam Harris:         00:45:59       I mean there, there are many trivial fact based claims we could make about reality where we can't get the data, but we know the data are there. So, you know, do you have an even or odd number of hairs on your body at this moment? You know, we, you know, we don't want to think about what it would take to ascertain that fact, right? But there is a fact of the matter, right? And uh, and so it is with anything. But. So what is somebody, what does a person weigh? There's many, many facts are blurry because you are going to weigh him down to the, the 100th decimal plate place. No. So it's like at a certain point you are going to be rounding and someone's weight at that point is changing every microsecond because they're exchanging atoms with the air. So there's. So there, there are facts that can be loosely defined. Uh, this is still, this is true of all of our subject of lives too. So if it is a fact about you that when you, when you were praying to Jesus, you felt an upwelling of rapture, right? Subjectively, that can be an absolutely true thing to say about you. We can, we can pair that subjective experience with an understanding of, of the neurophysiological basis for it. Uh, you can think about it in terms of a larger story about your life, but all of this can be translated into a fact based discussion about what's happening for you and, and, and my only claim is that, that the value part. And hence the ethics part relates to the, the extremes of positive and negative experience that people have not.

Jordan Peterson:    00:47:36       First of all, I wouldn't dispute. I don't want to dispute the fact that there are stable qualia of pain and pleasure, for example. And also that there are fundamental motivational systems that structure our perception. So as the nervous system increases in complexity, these underlying a nervous system, subsections that produce these rather stable quality, uh, evolve, hunger, thirst, defensive aggression, sexuality, all these subsystems that, that, that label experience with certain somewhat inviolable labels. I understand that happens. But the point that I'm trying to make here is I think to try to increase the, what would you call the breadth of the conversation about how facts get translated into, into values? Because it seems to me the other thing that your account doesn't take proper. And this is what surprised me so much about your thinking when I first encountered it. See, I think the manner in which facts are translated into values is something that actually evolved. And it evolved over three and a half billion years. The three and a half billion years of life. And it built the nervous system from the bottom up and it built this reducing mechanism that takes the infinite number of facts and translates them into a single value per action. And it does that in layers. And so there is a relationship between the world of facts in the world of values and there has to be, but it isn't derival one to one in the confines of your single existence through pure rationality. It's way more complicated than that..

Sam Harris:         00:49:03       there's more to it than rationality, yes. Again, it's not rationality that causes you to remove your hand from a hot stove and it's not rationality that causes you to like the experience of love and bliss and rapture and creativity over or more than pointless misery and despair. Right? So like things other than rationality are clearly necessary, which is absolutely. The question is, do we ever have to be irrational to get the good things in life? And I would argue that that the answer is clearly no. There's nothing irrational about loving your wife or your best friend or yourself or even a stranger, if, if, if what you mean by love, there is genuinely wanting happiness for that person, genuinely taking pleasure in their company, genuinely wanting to to find a way of being where you're. You're no longer in a zero sum condition with a stranger or with a partner, but you're, you're, uh, collaborating together to, to have better lives. Rationality moves through that situation continuously because rationality is the only way that you and I can get our representations of the world to cohere. It's, it's when I say, okay, there's, there's a lion behind that rock. Don't go over there that only that only makes sense to you. If you're playing this rationality, game it the way I'm playing it. If I mean something else by lion or I mean something else by don't go over there. You know, you're confused and, and very likely dead or not.

Jordan Peterson:    00:50:40       So if we're, if we're trying to establish the proposition that rationality is the mechanism by which we make our worldviews cohere, I would agree with that in part, we also will make them cohere because we're actually biologically structured the same way. And so there's a proclivity for them to go here to begin with, but we iron out our differences through the exercise. I wouldn't call it rationality. I would call it logos because I think it's a more, it's a, it's a broader...

Sam Harris:         00:51:04       That's where he is smuggling in Jesus.

Jordan Peterson:    00:51:06       Haha, I'm not unconscious of that, Let's say.

Sam Harris:         00:51:11       There's a point of order here. I want to, uh, I'm a, I'm a disconcerted by Douglas's silence. I want to pivot because I know, I know how good he is when he actually speaks. Uh, so I want to pivot to another subject because we can return to this at some point we need to...

Douglas Murray:     00:51:27       Can I just say before you pivot. I mean, having said to you what I think your concern is with Jordan and Jordan's concern, and I share this just as I share some of your concerns expressed at the outset, uh, Jordan's fundamental concern. It seems to me as a one I fundamentally share, which is rationalism isn't enough and it's, let me put it another way or that...

Sam Harris:         00:51:57       Can you both show me where it, where it's obviously insufficient like...

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:03       Music!

Sam Harris:         00:52:03       but, but there's nothing but, but again, so to say that it's not to say that there's more to life than being rational is not to say. And perhaps never to say you need to run against rationality, you need to be irrational in order to get something good.

Douglas Murray:     00:52:18       Let me, let me express it a different way. Um, we haven't tried the purely rational approach yet. We haven't tried it for very long.

Sam Harris:         00:52:28       Well, but many, many of us have been trying for a couple of centuries at least.

Douglas Murray:     00:52:32       Which is a blip. Yeah, I mean the tiniest dot at the end of human evolution. So I think that a concern which Jordan has certainly a concern that I have is if we try this, we can think of all sorts of ways in which you can go wrong. If you take away all the supporting structure can think of any number of ways in which it can go wrong. And that I suppose that that's at the root of the concern about where you might be taking us or to put it another way, if we enter the world that you would suggest not everyone may necessarily come out as Sam Harris.

Sam Harris:         00:53:12       Maybe give me one way where you think it can go wrong. And again, we can't forget your caveat which you started with...

Jordan Peterson:    00:53:20       What if you're not very smart, right?

Sam Harris:         00:53:25       So then you're basically saying that the stupid people need their myths. You know, we smart people on stage don't need them.

Jordan Peterson:    00:53:32       Well, I am. I actually look, I actually am saying that to some degree. Look, if you're, if you're not exceptionally cognitively astute, you should be traditional and conservative because if you are, if you can't think, well, you're going to think badly and if you think badly, you're going to fall into trouble. And so it is definitely the case, and this has been an what would you call a cliche of political belief for a long time. If you're not very smart, it's better to be conservative because then you do what everyone else does and generally speaking, doing what everyone else does is the path of least error moving forward. Now, that doesn't mean that rationality is unnecessary...

Douglas Murray:     00:54:14       Nor does it mean that all conservatives are stupid...

Jordan Peterson:    00:54:17       It doesn't mean that either, right? Precisely. It doesn't mean that...

Sam Harris:         00:54:21       but all, all conservatives structures are not the same either. And that we have many warring and and incompatible versions of being conservative.

Jordan Peterson:    00:54:30       True, true. And this is exactly. This is where rationality actually does play a role. Although I don't think it's best conceptualized as rationality, precisely. It's definitely the case that we take Douglas's point that we need to be bound by our traditions, but we need to be judicious in their representation and update. And we have to do both.

Douglas Murray:     00:54:52       This is what the dialogue on religion. This is what Schopper says. He says he describes the tragedy of the clergy. He pretty much, he pretty much says, look, if they don't believe it, they recognize it's a very useful metaphor, but they don't need to believe it. It's they tell it and he says the tragedy of the clergy is they can never admit that what they're saying is just a metaphor.

Sam Harris:         00:55:14       Right? So is before or after he threw his housekeeper down the stairs...

Douglas Murray:     00:55:18       Look, we can all find flaws. We all have skeletons in our closet. Yeah. Um, but the, but the, the, the, there is a way in which religion is what he describes his philosophy for the masses. And that if you recognize that most people are not going to spend their lives studying philosophy, they're not going to be reading about the differences between Leibniz and Kant that religion has to do. Now, I'm not saying that I agree with that particularly, but there's a heck of an argument within the, which a lot of people will be living their lives in.

Sam Harris:         00:55:49       I don't think it's a good argument if you recall, or I just am, just imagine what it's like to be a child, but especially from the perspective of being a parent. I have two young girls, uh, and they, you know, they're very smart young girl. They're smart, but you know, one of them is four and a half years old and knows almost nothing, right? So she knows what I and my wife and our society tell her at some level. I mean, at what point is she going to think for herself about these fundamental questions? And I mean, she, again, she's, she's currently spending half the day dressed up like batgirl or catwoman, right? So if I told her that these superheroes were real, she would believe that for the longest time, uh, and if she, if we lived in a cult that thought they were real or a whole society that by dint of its geographic or linguistic isolation managed to maintain a conversation about, in this case batgirl and catwoman, that they were real and that it was absolutely important to honor them and you'd burn in Hell if you failed to do this, but this would be, we would be meeting fully grown adults who believed this sort of thing.

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:03       But it seems to me, Sam, that you bring up the superhero thing quite a bit. So I think I'll go to that directly. So...

Sam Harris:         00:57:10       I love superheroes...

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:11       So, you make the case in the "Moral Landscape" that they're, they're an ideal, is real. Because the ideal that you define an ideal is real and the ideal is whatever maximizes well being and gets us away from hell. You said not only is that real, you also say that's the fundamental axiom. That's the claim in the moral landscape. So you do make a claim that there is a real ideal and I would..

Sam Harris:         00:57:35       well I, I wouldn't necessarily put it that way, but there's a real. We are in a circumstance where things can matter, right? We consciousness is the key is the condition in which things can matter where there can be a range of experiences, some of which are very, very bad. If the word bad means anything, they're bad and some of which are very, very good. If the, if the word good means anything and we are navigating in that space, we can't help it navigate it or seek to navigate in that space. And religion is one. Okay, well look more of a conversation and that's that navigation problem. And I would argue an often deluded one... [Jordan removes his Jacket and tie and rolls up his sleeves]

Douglas Murray:     00:58:12       Jordan rolls his sleeves now, he means Business now.

Jordan Peterson:    00:58:22       Batgirl and catwoman are approximations to a higher ideal...

Douglas Murray:     00:58:23       and to attend. This is a biblical idea. I'm, I'm fairly sure that there are a lot of parents are perfectly content with bringing their children up vaguely within the story they've inherited and at some point the children realize that the fairy doesn't bring them money when their teeth fall out at some point, maybe around the same time or a bit later, they discovered the Santa Claus doesn't really come down the chimney and at some point they realized that actually the whole religious thing is a kind of metaphor, but he's got them through the formative years in some way, often with terrible damage along the way. I can see that, but also with something else, and I'm. I'm struck by the number of people, and this is why I shared with some of what I think is Jordan's concerned about the possibility of the world. You're envisaging, which is I can think of a lot of parents now, my country and other countries as well who I'm just very struck. They themselves a kind of baby boomer or sixties atheists, humanists, whatever, and I start to notice, for instance, that they're enrolling their children in Christian school and I say to them. Why aren't you doing this? And they have fairly coherent arguments along the lines. That one I just had, look, I don't particularly believe this myself, but I think it's a pretty good way to bring up the kids. It's the structure of a kind and I'm not sure I can find all sorts of flaws in that, but enough people are doing it that it's something that needs to be addressed,

Sam Harris:         00:59:45       what I would. It's I would say yes, it speaks to a real failure of imagination and an effort in the secular community to produce truly non embarrassing alternative.

Douglas Murray:     00:59:59       Exactly.

Sam Harris:         01:00:00       Yeah, and this is, this is across the board. This is not just school, this is how do you conduct a funeral? How do you get married, you know, all of the it. What rites of passage can you offer a 13 year old?

Douglas Murray:     01:00:13       What are you doing here, what are we doing here? and how to have the first people in history to have absolutely no explanation for what we're doing at all. Yeah. It is a big moment!

Sam Harris:         01:00:28       Yeah. Yes, and that's, that sharpens up my concern perfectly because to to shrink back from that moment and resort to one of the, the pseudo stories of the past, I consider to be a failure of nerve, both both intellectually and morally.

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:52       Okay, so let, let's go back to the the super hero idea. One of the, one of the things you might notice about superheroes is that some of them are actually deities right, so in the Marvel Pantheon you have Thor for example, and so there's a, there's a very thin line between the idea of the superhero in the idea of a god, especially if you think about it in a polytheistic manner. So the modern superheroes and the Greek gods, for example, share a tremendous number of features in common, and so here's, here's, here's something to think about. So there's a reason that people admire superheroes and it's because they act out parts of the hero archetype. That's the technical reason there obviously acting something out because that's how you can tell they're superheroes. They share some set of characteristics across the set of superheroes that makes them super heroes. Now the question might be, what is the essential element of being a superhero that makes you a superhero and the answer, the way that that was solved historically is that as a polytheistic societies developed and that was usually a consequence of isolated tribes coming into contact with one another. They each had their separate deities and then over the course of time those deities, warred in actual wars with people, but also conceptually and out of that polytheistic framework was extracted, something that was vaguely monotheistic as all of those cultures came together to try to determine what their highest ideals should be, so that's the god of gods. That's a way of thinking about it or the of kings. That's another way of thinking about it and that's an implicit ideal, but it could make a case...

Sam Harris:         01:02:25       You tell that to the Hindus and the Hipaa. We've got one point 2 billion people, or maybe it's one point four now who are operating in a in a religiously saturated system that does not conform to that ideal. There is no one on top.

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:39       Well, there's. There's still. They're still associated...

Sam Harris:         01:02:41       Arguably there's three on top of it all..

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:43       But there's still a. there's still an attempt to generate that, that polytheistic and to integrate that polytheistic reality underneath the single rubric or you have nothing but continually dissociation of the culture, and I'm not saying this is necessarily good...

Sam Harris:         01:02:58       It's description of what's going on in India at the moment.

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:59       Well, I'm not. I'm not saying that this is inevitable either and there is a tension. The problem, the problem this is Nietzsche's, observation and Mirchi Elliot (?) as well. The problem with extracting out the highest God from the panoply of Gods is the ideal becomes so abstract that it disappears. That's the death of God and Elliot has tracked that phenomena over multiple cultures, not it's not something that's unique to the west, so, so the danger of that abstraction is that it gets too abstract and disappears and leaves us in this situation that Douglas just pointed out.

Douglas Murray:     01:03:27       Can I throw this back to the key, the key issue of Elton John's glass, which you came up with the other night. because that's something I wanted to do. Add to that that you've explained why I said Elton's on this glass just now.

Sam Harris:         01:03:40       Oh, well, we came back to this question of what makes something valuable, and I used as an example in Vancouver on one of those nights, if I had a glass here, which I, which I said was actually it was the glass that Elton John used the last time he played in this theater. Suddenly it seems to be a more valuable glass and that Jordan and I argued about what the status of that value was. That I don't know where you want...

Douglas Murray:     01:04:10       Well, it's just one thing in particular, which is the whole issue of what it is you give value to and let's let's say that that glass was demonstrated for the time to having been drunk from by Elton John, that his final concert at work, no latest farewell tour, whatever. So that's already a glass with something. Let's say that over the years the whole attribution of that glass becomes debatable over a long period of time. A lot of things are going to have happened around it and to stretch this breaking point, possibly. Let's say at some point people lose their lives over whether that is Elton John's glass or not. Let's say the people that want to lose blood..

Sam Harris:         01:04:55       let's, let's not just say that. Let's recognize that is the world we're living at with respect to the religions...

Douglas Murray:     01:05:01       Exactly, so the problem is that we end up, when we're talking about religion, when we're talking to the same thing, when you're talking about land, you're not just talking about any inherent worth, you're talking also about the worth of things people have given up for this and so we end up giving the layers of things. It knows, it's more than that. We inherit more and more layers if the meaning, because other people before us have given that meaning to it so that by the time you have this object, it's an object of worth even if it's no of no worth in itself at all because of the amount of work that people before you have given to it. And that seems to some extent what we're doing with the religion discussion.

Jordan Peterson:    01:05:43       Yes, yes. Well, so, so. Okay, so, so that's, that's extraordinarily productive. I think so. See, when you start with a hypothesis of fact, then you kind of have to define what a fact is and so I think the simplest way of doing that to begin with is that there's a set of objective facts. That's the facts about objective reality. You can think about that from the scientific perspective and we're going to. We're going to agree that that exists. Although it's very complicated and difficult to understand that exists as one set of constraints on what we can do and what we can't do. That's the objective world. And then on top of that, and this is where things get very, very complicated. You have this layered system of meaning which is partly a manifestation of these layers of the nervous system that I described, but also partly a manifestation of those layers of the nervous system operating in social space over vast periods of time. So that would be the social sociological agreement. That's all layered on top of the objective world and had actually constitutes part of the. The Lens through which you view the world to the degree where you actually see the layering in the thing. So like when you go to a museum and you look at Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley's guitar, you don't look at the guitar and think that's Elvis Presley's guitar. That's not how your brain works. You actually see Elvis Presley's guitar. It's an active perception. So it becomes built right into your nervous system even though the fact that that is Elvis Presley's guitar and the reason that that's valuable is because of a sociological agreement about what position Elvis Presley occupied in the dominance hierarchy that we're all part of. And so what you see when you look at an artifact like that is you see a layer of dominance hierarchy overlaid on top of an objective reality, and that's actually your phenomenal reality. Now the thing that's so interesting is that layer of perception that's mediating between the facts and you has a structure, and that's the structure that I've been insisting is a narrative. And I think Sam thinks it's a narrative too, because his fundamental ethic is that you should act in a way which means to embody a mode of being. Which means to be a personality that moves us from hell to something approximating heaven.

Sam Harris:         01:07:56       Jordan. What I'm struggling to understand what I don't understand this, how any of that is a counterpoint to my concern about religion. So for it, because I agree with all that, I mean there, there are some caveats. I would issue, for instance, it's quite possible to walk into a museum, be shown a guitar, not no, it's Elvis Presley's guitar and then be told it's Elvis Presley's guitar and you can see in real time the change and significant so that you can see the layers of the perceptual, the meaning a crew. You might actually not even care. You might know who else Elvis Presley is and not care. Right? So there are many different things on on, on the menu here as opposed to just beholding awestruck, Elvis Presley's guitar. And the same is true of the Jesus story or anything else that that people. You can find layers of engagement with it that be maybe more and less useful. My fundamental concern is that the way you are tending to dignify the religious subset of stories as being fun, foundational, necessary, We criticize at our peril is giving people license to believe things that they clearly shouldn't believe. Things that are intrinsically divisive in intrinsically less than optimal as far as organizing an individual human life. We can do better than Christianity on almost every question with the possible exception of building churches.

Jordan Peterson:    01:09:31       Okay, so the first thing is the first thing is that I deeply agree with you that that mechanism can go wrong. Okay, so you have the objective world and it's one set of constraints and then you have this interpretive structure, and I'm not saying that that interpretive structure is infallible. It clearly isn't and neither is the process that gives rise to it. You see this, for example, in conditions like manic depressive disorder with religious delusions or schizophrenia, you see what you see in those situations is a pathologization of that overlay of meaning that can clearly happening. Okay? Now the question is what do we do about that? How do we keep those perceptual structures which are somewhat arbitrary? How do we keep them functional, and this is I think where your discussion of rationality is so important, particularly when you say rationality is what enables us to establish what will you agree on in our shared reality. Okay, so, so imagine this. So part of the way you orient yourself in the world of facts, objective facts is through your senses. So you basically have five dimensions of triangulation, so to speak, to help you determine what's there in the objective world, and then you have this multilayer structure that's partly biological and partly socio culture, that cultural that enables you to distill that, but it can go astray part because it ages and becomes archaic, which is and demented for that matter, which is partly your objection to the fundamentalist types. This has been known for a very long time that this sort of thing happens. So what we do, the way we solved that, we have a solution to that. So partly the way we solve that is through articulated discourse, right? Because you have a way of looking at the world and I have a way of looking at the world and we have to occupy the same space, so you're probably wrong about some things and I'm probably wrong about some things and hopefully if we talk we can sort out the differences and make things more stable

Sam Harris:         01:11:22       and I would put rationality right in that place. That's by rationality...

Jordan Peterson:    01:11:27       problem. Fair enough. But. But there's a problem with that too and I think see the. All the times we've talked so far, you've been, I would say the Avatar of a scientific viewpoint and I'd been cast, let's say as the Avatar of a religious viewpoint, but I've actually thought this through scientifically a lot and I can make a biological argument for all of this and a developmental argument. So it isn't only rationality that does this. So this is what. The thing that was so cool about studying, for example, John Piaget, because one of the things piaget pointed out is that children engage in negotiation and they negotiate their reality just like adults do, but they don't do it only through articulated speech and neither do adults with children do is they get together and play and this is why play is so important for children that starts to happen when there were about three years of all because they can look outside their own idiosyncratic perspective at three and they can start to take someone else's view point into consideration, which is what you have to do if you're going to play, and then what children do is they invent little fictional realities. That's what they do when they're pretending and so they assigned each other roles and they assigned a plot and a drama to the, to the pretend play and then they act it out and in that action they bring themselves into harmonious union. Right? Which is the act of generating a game that everyone wants to play. And Piaget's observation was, and this is Nietzschean observation as well, that the morality that characterize the society isn't rationality top down. Although it's partly that it's also interactions that are, say, play based and bought them up, and that's actually how it evolved to begin with because animals generates societies that are functional but they don't do it through rationality. They can't because they don't have rationality. They don't have articulated speech. They have something like an embodied game. Now what happens, and this is a Nietzschean observation, he's the first person I learned this from, is our morality emerged from the bottom up through through thousands, hundreds of thousands of years have shared games, let's say at the end, the interweaving of those shared games into something approximating a morality that we could all live within peacefully. That happened bottom up and then what happened was because we didn't know the mechanism behind that because it's instantiated in our nervous system invisibly. We watched ourselves act, which is what we do, and then we told stories about that because that's what we do when we watch yourself act and then we encapsulated the morality that evolved in the stories and that's the religious essence of the story.

Sam Harris:         01:14:06       Ten seconds. So we have to pivot to Douglas for an important question, but I would just say in response to that, Jordan, I don't disagree with much of consequence in that. My concern however is that there is, there's a, there's a reason why we differentiate childhood from adulthood and all of us are stunted to some degree or another in a fairly perverse childhood. And the reason, I mean what, what we, what we confront now is a world largely populated by dangerous children, right? Who are in their fifth and sixth decade of life. I mean run by, populated in, run by yes. And, and it's so real. And if anything typifies the childhood of our species, in my view, it is this religious orthodoxy and in so far as we're breaking free of the orthodoxy part and getting something that's more scalable and, and, and, and, and can survive a more pluralistic and cosmopolitan world. It is because it is being winnowed at every point by rationality. And I think that that at some point we could have a fully defensible, rational honoring of, of many of the things you think are, are essential. Like the power of story or the power of ritual or the power of, of, of art that is focused on some sacred purpose. Uh, and the question is how to get there. We have a point of order here.

Douglas Murray:     01:15:33       That's one question, but I want to hand over to the audience for q and a and a for a couple of minutes. I've had a sign being waved at me saying q and a and really should obey the sigh. So I think what's gonna happen is we're going to use your computer...

Jordan Peterson:    01:15:53       We're going to, we're going to ask the audience first. I think that was what we decided. And you guys, I guess you guys get to vote by noise. There's an inflection point here. We can do one of two things and I'll let, I'll let the first people yell and then the second people yell. But the question is we can either continue the discussion or we can stop and go to q and a. So the first thing we'll do is say, okay, how many of you would like us to stop and go to q and a? [soft cheering] Okay. Second, second question. How many of you would like us to continue with the discussion?[Louder cheering]

Sam Harris:         01:16:34       That's, that's a successful vote I want to go. I'm going to seize the floor. I want to ask you a question to both of you. Okay. It's about the three of us, but I think it's more about the two of you. Each of us to one or another degree has been described as a gateway drug to the alt right. We've been attacked by, by people left of center as somehow inspiring or pandering to right of center and in many far right of center ideas and, and, and, uh, ethical and pseudo ethical commitments. Uh, uh, I'm wondering. Yeah, I'm wondering, I'm wondering if we can steal man, the concerns that people have with us for a few minutes before addressing that. How do you, how do you view this, this reaction to your, to your work?

Douglas Murray:     01:17:34       Well, I'm happy to do that first. Can I just say before I do that was going to say, if we were going to go to audience Qa, I understand it was reminded today that there's still a blasphemy law in Ireland. Am I right on that? I'm right aren't I?. In which case can I just say that I'm not going to be happy if we leave the stage tonight if we both have not committed blasphemy. And if Jordan would like to join in? [laughs]

Jordan Peterson:    01:18:08       I prefer that to do that in private

Douglas Murray:     01:18:10       We could make it a full house. I really do think we should be blasphemous.

Sam Harris:         01:18:16       I think I must have done that already, but I'll have to go to the tape on that.

Douglas Murray:     01:18:20       Um, so. Well, here's the thing, we've all had similar rich experiences on that and there are a number of people among our friends and colleagues. Perhaps you might say you've had it as well. Um, and I think what's happening at the moment is that there's a set of trip wires that have been put across the culture and for a long time, if you went across these trip wires, you died reputationally speaking because of the nature of the media, new media, among other things that sudden death isn't possible anymore. All these is not always possible. Right? So for instance, if the New York Times says Jordan is a, you know, sort of leading member of the Klu Klux Klan, it's not just that people don't believe the New York Times anymore, it's that they can go and find out for themselves that this is a lie and that's the fundamental difference and it means that people are surviving the trip wire experience. But there's a whole set of these trip wires and I think they've been, they've been planted very strangely among other things. I mean, the one I tripped on was Islam one think to an extent it was the one you tripped on Jordan. It was more to do with nouns and pronouns was the first one. The Great. The great thing about this by the way, is that once you survived the first trip wire, you know, in my case, they sort of merrily jump along in no man's land landing on ied after ied. Right? And strangely, I'm still here. [Applause] You said I should steel man it. Here's what I think is probably happening. There is a fear that in this realm of uncertain values, which we might concede at any rate, that we're in a. There is only one thing we all agree on. The one thing we all agree on is we mustn't become Nazis. Okay? Broadly speaking, that's the basis of our ethics. It's the only bit of history anyone knows and they don't even know it, so they think they're all over the Hitler thing. Haven't got a clue. Most of them all they know is Hitler was a bad person. This is why, by the way, anyone, anyone doesn't like your politics is Hitler like George W, Bush, Hitler. If you had any sense of historical reference, you might say Henry the fifth? domineering father who shattered and he had to step out of, for instance by Henry the fifth myth. Who knows about that? So it's everything's here. So if we agree that the one thing we're all meant to do is not become Nazis. You build these incredibly deep, big trenches around anything you think could be as it were, something that would lead us back to that. The problem is is that people who have done that trench building include people who are doing it for their own personal political game, so they build a set of trenches around their political views and they say, if you come near this and you've gotten into the trench, then you're a Nazi, some of it is for short term convenience and I've no doubt that some of it is sincere, but the amount of the amount of lying about it makes me doubt that last bit, and let me add one other thing to that.

Douglas Murray:     01:21:52       One of the books I recommend people read most to do with politics. There's a brilliant book by Paul Berman who I think you know as well, Called "Power and the Idealists." It has, by the way, the worst subtitle of any book. It's called "Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath" Distinguished left wing German politician, though he is, It doesn't, It doesn't leap off the shelf. Anyhow. The strange passion of Joschka Fischer is an amazing book, which I wish was taught in schools because he describes in this book how this group of Germans who grew up in the 1950's had one aim: We're not going to become like our parents. Okay. It, they think it's enough to orient their politics around that. What happens. Uh, the Green Movement melds with the part of the German left, a whole set of things happen. They ended up agreeing with the PLO and the hijackings in the late sixties and early seventies. And before you know it, one of Joschka Fischer's housemates is on the plane as it's on the tarmac and he's separating the Jews and the non Jews. We've done it again! The one thing we are meant not to become was the people standing on the ramp saying that way that way. And we did it. We went all the way around. So there's something about this that I just wish was better known, but he's not as damn easy as all that. Like your enemies don't come with Jack boots and swastikas like this. It's just not that easy.

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:33       No, they live inside you. That's really the case. So let me try this steel man approach. So the first thing that people assume about me is that I'm no fan of the radical left and that's absolutely and that's absolutely true. I am no fan. The radical left, and that's primarily because, there's a variety of reasons, but it's primarily because I believe that the radical left errs in insisting had every possible opportunity that the proper defining characteristic of each individual is their group membership. I think that that's you and you do have a group membership. In fact, you have a whole plethora of them which makes things quite complicated as the intersectionalists have already figured out, but whenever someone brings a primary orientation to the world that is group centered rather than individual centered, I think they've already made a catastrophic mistake. And so I don't approve of the collectiveness. Now I don't approve of left wing collectivist and I don't approve of right wing collectivists, but the right wing collectivist haven't overrun the universities and the left wing collectivists have. So. So that's a distinct difference. Now the left wing collectivists enjoy acquiring a certain linguistic hegemony because they know that that's part of the way they can win the battle and that's what they were trying to do when they passed compelled speech legislation in Canada, as far as I was concerned. So I made a video saying I'm not going to abide by that because I'm not using the reprehensible linguistic maneuvers of collectivists who I detest. So now when I did that, you see it was a very strange thing for a Canadian to do because Canadians don't do that partly because Canada works just fine and so nobody comes up and says waves the flag saying, look, we're, we're wandering off a dangerous cliff here. And so then if someone does stand up and say that, then the first thing that all the other Canadians think and should think is that there's something wrong with that person and that would be me. So then the question would be, well, what variety of things could be wrong with Dr Peterson? That's a very long list, but the ones that

Sam Harris:         01:25:59       that's actually a better subtitle...

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:06       Ha ha, Yes. So what happened was I objected to the radical left, that was my perspective, but the people who objected to me or who were even critical of mere curious about me thought, okay, well if Peterson isn't part of the left than where the hell is he? And the answer could be anywhere on the political spectrum including Nazi. And of course that's hypothetically true. And if I was a Nazi then that would be really useful for all the radical leftists because if you're a Nazi, as Douglas has already pointed out, we've already decided that you're a bad person and if I was a bad person then no one would have to listen to me. And so it was in the interests of the radicals who I was just whose positions I was disputing to cast me as a Nazi. But it was also a reasonable cognitive maneuver because there was some possibility. Although it's infinitesimal, given the tiny proportion of actual Nazis in our society than I would in fact be one and have gotten away with hiding that at two major universities for 25 years. And also [Applause]. At that point, I had 250 hours of my lectures on youtube, which was basically every word in essence that I ever uttered to a student since 1993, and a huge part of that actually consisted of very trenchant criticisms of Nazis. So it was difficult to pin that on me. So, so, so. But to give my critics credit, they had their reason for vilifying me. And the reason was if you object, you might be a villain. Okay, so, so that's, that's steel man. Number one. I'm not at least the kind of villain they think I am, although I might be some other kind of villain altogether. So then the next steel man issue is the left has a place. Okay, so why? Well, here's why. In order to act properly in the world, you have to do things. Everyone agrees on that and to do things, you have to do them. In the social world, you have to cooperate and compete with other people. And when you cooperate and compete with other people in the service of valid goals, valuable goals, productive goals, you produce hierarchies, you produce hierarchies of competence and hierarchies of power. Those aren't exactly the same thing, but either way, you produce hierarchies, hierarchies, dispossessed people. They dispossessed people because the spoils go to a few. That's the problem of the unequal distribution of wealth. And because in any hierarchy of competence, a disproportionate number of a small number of people do most of the creative work. And these are iron clad laws. Okay, so the problem with higher hierarchies are necessary, but the problem with hierarchies as they produce disposition and the left in principal speaks for the dispossessed and someone has to speak for the dispossessed. And so when the lefties looked at me and they say, well, Dr Peterson is always speaking about the necessity of hierarchies and how can we be sure that he's not trying to justify them in their current position and obscure the fact that they tend towards tyranny and deception, which they clearly do. How do we know that he's just not reifying the present power structure for his own aims and why should we trust them and that's a perfectly valid objection. Now I believe it happens to be wrong because I understand the downside of hierarchies and, and I also think I understand how to go about rectifying that, but that's why they're objecting in so far as they don't as the, insofar as they're playing a straight political game and not some ideological game of grandiose, grandiose behavior that.

Douglas Murray:     01:29:48       So there's one other thing in this which is worth mentioning, which is the perception is that the, as it were, aside from let's say this is the center of the political access and going to have to do this for you, but okay, that's the right. The presumption is that it's just a cliff. Like if you start by saying, I don't know, I think people should pay smaller taxes or whatever, you're there. And you just go like that [moves finger slightly] and its just Nazism. Here's the really weird thing that is discussed because all of this look at all of this is just the footnote still the 20th century and we're still trying to work out what happened and why and we don't know. And in the history books, the period we're living in will be the post Holocaust Post World War Two, Post Gulag world when they were still trying to sort out what happened behind the crime scene tape. Okay. So on the left there's a very interesting thing which is that you can go pretty much all the way like this [extends arm to the left]. And first of all there's not a very wide recognition that you had the gulag not. There's not very much known about that. People don't read Solzhenitsyn. So you can get pretty far left.

Sam Harris:         01:31:06       You just hit the vegans...

Douglas Murray:     01:31:10       You might be like radical in your fairness. Okay. So the problem here is not just, they don't know what happened on that side, but it's worse than that. There was a, there was a young girl, a commentator on the TV and the London a couple of mornings ago arguing about Trump. And so on as a usual, not very enlightening discussion. She's arguing with Piers Morgan and she says, you, you keep on saying, I'm a supporter of Barack Obama. I mean, I'm a communist. She said, I'm literally a communist, thought if this girl had said you knew you should be more careful. I'm, I literally a fascist, you know? By the way, edit that one carefully on that. No, I'm, I'm alive to Youtube.

Jordan Peterson:    01:32:00       That would be The New York Times headline...

Douglas Murray:     01:32:03       Right, Exactly. Literal Fascist admits, but, but if everyone is busy searching around, like in Canada, the, one of the big discussion forums, uh, the human rights commission, it's found that there were like 11 people on this Neo Nazi forum and it turned out half of them were working for the Canadian government trying to find NeoNazis. Canadian government constituted 50 percent of the Neo Nazis in Canada. So they're scurrying around looking for the Nazis like this. And on the other side, it's like mainstream or the television. Yeah, I'm a communist. I'd love to go through that again.

Jordan Peterson:    01:32:38       Well, okay. So, so here, here's another problem. This is a really interesting problem. Okay. So you brought up two things and one is no one knows about what happened in Mao's China or what happened in the Soviet Union, which is absolutely appalling because we should all know that. And so there's obviously a cliff on the left side. Now I would say actually there is the possibility that as you move farther out on each end of the political spectrum, the rate at which you deteriorate accelerate. So it's not linear. I think that's possible. But having said that, that's also the case on the left. Now one of the things we could say is, well those idiot leftists should get their house in order because they won't differentiate themselves from their radical brethren. Okay, so now we might ask, well why? We might ask two things. Why and whose problem is that exactly. Okay. So the first issue of why is. Well people who are left leaning have a hard time drawing boundaries. That's what makes them left leaning. And I mean this technically because left leaning people are high in openness to experience which is a creativity trait. So they like information flow and they don't like borders between things. And they tend to be low and orderliness, so disorder doesn't disgust and upset them. Okay. So they can't draw boundaries and that's why they're on the left. But boundaries have their problems. So there's some utility in people who don't like them. Okay. But the second problem is, and this isn't a problem that's only Germane to the left, it's the problem of the dam 20th century. It's like, okay, when does the left go too far? And the answer is nobody knows! Like with the right wingers, you can tell man, it's like they make a claim of ethnic or racial superiority. It's like box, Nazi, right? And then you can see that this happens because even back in the seventies when William f Buckley was sort of a leading conservative, he put a box around the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch types. And he said, I'm not you, but none of that's happening on the left. Okay, why? Well, they say, well, we stand for diversity. It's like, well everyone likes diversity and well, what about inclusivity? Damn right, man. Let's include some people. Well, what about, what about equality? That'd be good. That'd be good. Let's have some equality. It's like, okay, well how much equality. Exactly. Well then it's gradations, right? Well, equality of opportunity. Damn straight. Equality of outcome. Sounds good. How about no! under no circumstances whatsoever, but you know what? I can't but here's the problem You get somebody. You get somebody saying race or ethnicity group member x is detestable because of their group identity and you think evil Nazi; but then you see someone saying, well, I just wish that everybody could have an equal outcome. What are you going to do? Are you going to punch them? It's what you're supposed to do with Nazis. No, you're not. You're going think "oh that's pretty nice person" and it's like, just because you're nice doesn't mean you're good and just because you stand for equality of outcome doesn't mean right, but it's. But the thing is it's complex technical problem, right? Because it looks like you need a multivariate equation to define pathology on the left, it's like, well, if you believe this and this and this in and too disproportionately, then we have to put a box around you, but it's not like someone wears a symbol on their damn shirt or tattooed onto their face that enables you to identify them. So we have a real structural problem here. We don't know how to box in pathology on the left. No one knows, including the moderate leftist, but none of us know.

Sam Harris:         01:36:30       An additional problem is that many of these issues may not have a solution that we can happily live with. Right? So it'd be takes it. Let's sharpen this up, and this was more in the interest of steel manning our critics. You take a problem like immigration right now, the, the, the, the intuition that's driving the left. I did. Let's take the extreme case of it and open borders ethic, but borders are illegitimate. Borders are just in principle, a sign of, of selfishness and xenophobia and and unearned privilege, right? You, none of us can take credit for the fact that we were born into the societies were born into a and yet we have all of the advantages of having been born there. Uh, and so it is with, with all of you, the weird. None of us are currently living through the civil war in Syria now. And that's a good thing for all of us. And so the concern here is that the moment you say, well, immigration is potentially a problem, right? Immigrate. We can't just throw open the borders to all of humanity. Because what would happen, what would happen is people would continue to cross those borders until the, the level of, of, of wellbeing in the developed diminished so much that there was no reason to cross the borders anymore. Right? It would be like some principle of Osmosis, right? So it's even, it's even worse than that. But the concern is that this is totally ethically speaking, this is a totally illegitimate situation. And to shine a bright enough light on any particular story in Syria, say, I mean you just give me the right family with children. And I learned enough about them and their plight and I recognize within 30 seconds that if I were them, I would be desperate to get to Dublin or New York or San Francisco or anywhere but Syria. Right? And it seems like a completely, uh, it seems evil to in any way perpetuate this lottery where you pulled a bad ticket and sorry, that's this is, this defines the rest of your life and the lives of your children. And we, and, and it, there is no bright line where any of us, you know, well meaning people wherever we are on the political spectrum or wherever we are in any other question, there's no bright line where we can say, Aha, that's exactly the, as the solution that we know is ethical, that we know we can defend against all comers and it can survive every test of narrative. I mean this goes straight to the power of stories. You tell it, you tell people a compelling enough story about one little girl and it changes policy and it's not what happened to Angola Merkel. I mean, she just was faced with one, one denied refugee and all of a sudden the policy for Europe changed. Uh, and so this is, again, this is a, I'm not saying there's a solution to this, but this is the fear, the fear that there's, there's an, there's an imputation of callousness on the part of. I'm speaking specifically to you Douglas, because it's been your issue more than ours. How callous must you be to be worrying about immigration? And that's, that's obviously there's a counter argument from the right side, but there is a, there's an ethical core to it that is, it's difficult to dismiss.

Douglas Murray:     01:40:10       And this is something which, I mean, it's not just that issues almost every issue we were talking about this during dinner. We seem not to be. Well, we just aren't ready for the communications age we're in and we're just not ready for. Our brains are not yet able to cope. Let me give you an example. Uh, the notion of private and public speech that's just basically evaporated so that if you, this is the problem, try out an idea with your friends. Just throw around an idea, we've all done it for around ideas with your friends. If even one person is videoing it and might post it, this is the world we're in. It's too dangerous to try things out for most people.

Jordan Peterson:    01:40:56       That's a problem of have no borders...

Douglas Murray:     01:40:58       And so this is it. So we are always vulnerable that our, for instance, most people in Europe for instance, want borders. I mean the overwhelming majority in every country want there to be borders, but if you show them footage of somebody being turned away at the border that morning like we don't know what to do with it. We have abstract principles we need to abide by. We want to abide my. Everybody wants to abide by, but we don't know what to do in this precisely this era and I think we've just got to, among other things, work and all sorts of ways to find ways to think about this sort a deeper than the ones we've managed so far. One of them, yes, is to cope with the idea of the unbelievable luck, but we've all got unbelievable luck and then the questions from that, if I'm lucky, what am I, what are my priorities, what are my obligations, what am I, what are my obligations? And some people say, my obligation is to share my home with the rest of the world. If it's not that, it's worse than that because it's because I know lots of people who've taken in a refugee and things like that. Okay. And I have unbelievable admiration for them. That's really working the walk..

Sam Harris:         01:42:11       Is that just people who called your bluff when you said, I don't see you taking in refugees into your home. And they said, oh actually there's one of the living room right now.

Douglas Murray:     01:42:17       I always wanted to turn up to the houses with some refugees. "Here I got yours"

Jordan Peterson:    01:42:24       Also there aren't 50 in the living room. Okay. So, so, so let's, let's, let's elaborate on this a bit more. Okay. So the issue is borders exclude, right? That's a postmodern proposition. Or maybe you can take that even further. That borders exclude and privilege those within the borders. It's like, yes. Okay. So let's take that seriously now. Part of this seriousness is poor. Innocent children are hurt at borders. That happens all the time. Okay? The question is, are you willing to give up the borders? Now let's think about what borders are. Your skin is a border, okay? And your prejudice in protection of your skin. For example, you won't just sleep with anyone. You reserve the right to keep that border intact, right? And to be choosy about the manner in which it's broached, you're, you likely have a bedroom. It probably has walls. You have clothing, you have a house, you have a town, you have a state, you have a country, and those are all borders. It's borders within borders, within borders, and you need those borders because otherwise you will die. So we could not be too hypocritical about the damn borders is like we don't know how to organize fragile things without putting boundaries around them. And you see that in Genesis, right? As soon as people realize that, I'm sneaking in little religion here case you didn't notice, as soon as people realize they become self conscious, they wake up and realize their vulnerability. The first thing they do is manufacturer border between them and the world and we need borders between us in the world and we pay a bloody price for borders and I and I say those words very carefully. We pay a BLOODY price for those borders and it's often in the price of other people's blood, well, how should you conduct yourself ethically in a world where other people are paying in blood for your borders? And the answer that I'd been trying to communicate to people is get your damn house in order! Bear as much responsibility as you can, act as effectively as you can as an individual in the world because then you can justify your privilege. You can justify your luck and your good fortune and maybe within the confines of your border you can be more productive and useful than you would be in the absolute absence of borders altogether. And it seems to me that that's the case and then we have to have a discussion. Okay. The left doesn't like borders and the right is more fond of them and they're both right and so because we don't know how strict the borders should be, all her permeable it should be. It shouldn't be absolute, so nothing moves between borders at everything dies them, but if the borders disappeared then we can't survive. So we have to have a discussion about borders all the time and that's partly, that's partly what we're doing here. We have to be more sophisticated about These sorts of things.

Douglas Murray:     01:45:18       Very few people end up getting held accountable for their own use in this matter as amongst so many others. There's an enormous amount to gain by saying something that's wrong and there's very little to gain by saying something that's right on this. I mean you just. It's just a world of suffering Whereas and look problem with this. I mean this is, this is your, this is your area of politics more than it is mine, but these lines that have been put down on the left at the moment of which this is one, these other ones that are now coming up. I mean, you see today's one, you can't act a role that you're not

Sam Harris:         01:46:03       Scarlett Johansson yeah...

Douglas Murray:     01:46:03       Yeah. You can't pretend to be someone else. Like this is a brand new rule. The I'm talking about Scarlett Johansson who was cast in the film as a trans

Sam Harris:         01:46:13       for transgender woman. I think

Douglas Murray:     01:46:17       A man become a woman.

Sam Harris:         01:46:20       It might've been the other way around, but it's scarcely matters. Yeah.

Douglas Murray:     01:46:22       Oh, it matters. That's your fascist talking...[laughter]

Sam Harris:         01:46:27       Yeah That's my privilege talking.

Jordan Peterson:    01:46:29       Interesting. Because that's actually a boundary too. That's actually a border too. So it's another case where these things reverse in a perverse manner.

Douglas Murray:     01:46:37       Like where did that one come from?

Sam Harris:         01:46:39       Yeah, it's A. Well, it probably came from the west coast. [Laughter] It, it seems to me that we need to somehow get comfortable with the increasingly public moments of uncertainty on topics like this because so much of so much of safety and reputational safety as you were just alluding, is predicated yet in the public sphere in either pretending to be certain or, or fall asleep in certain on a safe answer. A safe and wrong answer to a complicated...

Jordan Peterson:    01:47:27       part of this is, is, is, um, the pathology of basal instinct. And so because the rule now is if I feel sorry for you, I'm good. Right? And so, so let's say there's a complex situation that requires a tremendous amount of adult cognitive computation to solve, like what do we do about the borders? Because tearing them down is not the answer. Well, the person who stands up and says, well, I see someone who's hurt by a border and I feel empathy for them. Then immediately says, therefore I'm good, which isn't so bad, but therefore I'm also morally superior to you. And this is. This is one of the true pathologies of the empathic collectivists, is that they presume that they are reflexive empathy marks them out as morally superior. And that's appalling because part of it is a, it's too easy. Just because I feel sorry for you doesn't mean I'm good, partly because I can feel so sorry for you that I'm actually harmful to you. And that's what happens in the case of overprotective parents, for example. So we know perfectly well that empathy is not an untrammeled moral virtue, it has to be tempered by other virtues and carefully tempered by other virtues and so we have to stop allowing in our public discourse the unquestioned assumption that just because I manifest more pity in the moment than you do that I'm somehow a morally superior individuals. In fact, not only do we have to question that, we in fact have to, we have to deeply questioned it and say, what makes you think that you're, that you're just not taking things too far right there because there's just as much error on the side of too much empathy as the resort and the side of too little empathy. And that's a hard thing for everyone to learn because empathy feels so good. Like if you feel mercy towards us suffering child, it's like that is kind of an indication that you're an ethical person, but that's not the basis for complex and sophisticated foreign policy.

Sam Harris:         01:49:32       Well we know it isn't because we, we know our empathy diminishes it almost linear way with the numbers of people empathize with. Right? So we spoke about this one night in Vancouver, but this has been tested where you tell someone about the plight of one little girl, you will elicit the maximum empathic response and the the maximum of an altruistic response, though they'll give the most amount of money they're going to give to any cause to one compelling story to save one little boy or girl. But if you start adding boys and girls to the, to the one keeping the one the same, people's empathy degrades and they're actually at their altruism degrades. So. So empathy is non quantitative almost by definition.

Jordan Peterson:    01:50:21       It's also partly because in your life, if you see a person in trouble, yes, do something. But if you see a million people in trouble, what you should probably do at least to begin with is run. And then what are you going to do? Maybe you could give a thousand dollars to one person, but, but if you divided that up among a million, all of that would happen, would you? You wouldn't be. You would have no money and they wouldn't be any better off.

Sam Harris:         01:50:48       But, but, but this is just say that so much of of moral progress today entails unhooking from the highly salient empathy driving story and connecting with the, the actual quantitative reality to learn that it's 500,000 people dying every year from heart disease or whatever it is. Or there's, there's this was 500,000 people dying in this famine. The fact that that that can't be made sexy for our news cycle, right? The fact that we lose attention is something we have to figure out how to correct

Jordan Peterson:    01:51:25       Well, that's also akin, It's very interestingly akin to your objection that you raised before is that there are, there are adult forms of solving problems that aren't akin to children's play, which is something by the way, I agree with because I don't think that the manner in which children organize the world is the end of the way that things should be organized. It's the basis for some of the organization, but this is akin to the same issue, is that the basal motivational responses, the emotional response is no matter how well meaning aren't sufficient conceptual sophistication to deal with Incredibly elaborate and complex systems and then we have another problem too, is that, well, that's really troublesome for people because they want to do the right thing globally and then you tell them, look, you don't know anything. You don't know how to take this insanely complicated system that we have and improve it and just because you're feeling pity doesn't mean that you're an expert in the retooling of hydroelectric systems, for example,

Douglas Murray:     01:52:24       and this one, this one's straightforward way to do that. I mean, give you an example. There's a Kurdish demographer who lives, who's a Swedish citizen now who cited this fact that it costs the same amount to bring one refugee and keep them in Sweden as it does to look after 100 refugees in Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon. Okay, so the obvious thing from that is you say, look, it's madness then to be, for instance, bringing in thousands of refugees to Sweden. You could be looking after hundreds of thousands of people in the region. Why is that still a tainted argument is because people aren't sure you're not going to smuggle in racism. That's what I think. Are you sure you're not just coming up with this democracy in order terms like you're smuggling and Hitler type smuggling. Jesus is going to start with NGO figures and before we know it, it's Auschwitz. That's what they. Right, but here's the thing. This is the shortcut solution to answering almost every single one of these problems is assume that your interlocutor has good motives, that they are being honest in the way that they're looking at it. And that's why I say...

Jordan Peterson:    01:53:34       I have a comments about that. Okay, so this is something I deal with in my clinical practice all the time. Okay. So imagine that you're naive and then what you are when you're naive as someone who thinks you trust people because you think everybody has good motivations, which is some sense with douglass is a recommended it and I'd say, well that's just naive. It's like just wait a second though because here's the developmental pathway. First you're naive and you trust everyone and then someone cuts you off at the knees or multiple people do. Or maybe you cut yourself off at the knees because you trusted yourself too much and you didn't take into account the malevolence that lurks in your heart and the hearts of others and so that you get traumatized by betrayal and then you become cynical and you think, Jesus, I'm a lot smarter now that I'm cynical and you are because cynical is actually a move up on naive, but it's not the last move. The last move is to transcend cynicism and to say that even though I know that there are just as many snakes in your heart as there are in my heart, I'm going to hold out my hand in trust because that's the best way to elevate both of us and that is the prerequisite for a sensible discussion.

Douglas Murray:     01:54:48       To concede that this is where I am always going about Aristotle, to concede that it's not between good and evil but between competing virtues. But when it comes to something like the borders discussion, you're dealing with justice and mercy. You can not only be driven by one of those virtues. Mercy itself will lead you to hell. Justice on its own. Blind and unseeing can lead you to Hell.

Jordan Peterson:    01:55:12       Yes, exactly. Well and so this also, and we're running very short on time here, so we should. I think this is also why your emphasis on truth and that emphasis on truth is so absolutely important because you and I obviously differ in on a variety of different things and as Douglas does with both of us, but you know that doesn't mean. That doesn't mean that I think that you're a bad person. I don't think that actually what I. What I think and what I fervently hope is that some of the things that you think are wrong actually turn out to be right in a way that would be extremely helpful to me at everyone I know. If I incorporated them, I really hope that because I'd rather not be stupid and wrong if I could help it because then I don't have to wander into a pit and so I'm hoping that if, if we can have a genuine dialogue and we can tell each other the truth, which is the crucial issue here, then I can find out what you know that I don't know and that'll make me stronger and it'll fortify everyone around me and that's the basis for the right and responsibility of free speech. Right? You have the right of free speech, but that's so that you can be a responsible bearer of free speech so that you can say the truth so that you can set the world right and adjust the hierarchies and make sure the borders are properly functional and so that we can keep this thing going property and that is all dependent, at least in part. Well in large part on the truth, but also to some degree on this faculty that you described is rational because we're engaged, I know rationality isn't enough that that's my sense, you know, but it's certainly an adult form of communication and definitely the prerequisite to a discussion like this, which seems to me highly useful and which I'm so happy that you're all willing to participate in how strangely, how strange that is not withstanding.

Sam Harris:         01:57:07       Yes. Well we've been shown various cards that had diminishing increments of time and now they have just stopped showing us cards because we're totally incorregable. Uh, but, uh, yeah, I just want to reiterate what Jordan's just said there, that you all really are the occasion for this conversation even though you are, are in the audience and we're on stage. We very much feel that this conversation is with all of you and we know the conversation continues in your lives and it, again, it's just a tremendous honor to show up and, and, and meet all of you in this space. And so thank you for that. And I want to thank, I want to thank both of these men. We have, we've never gotten together before like this. And, uh, it's really, it's a, it's a great pleasure to be confronted and cajoled and in your company.

Douglas Murray:     01:58:06       Likewise . [Applause] Thank you.

Sam Harris:         01:58:17       Thank you.

Jordan Peterson:    01:58:18       Thank you all very much. It's been a great pleasure to be here...

Travis Pangburn:    01:58:19       Please give it up for Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray!

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