Transcript: Jordan Peterson on Slaying the Dragon Within Us | Apr 20, 2003

Jordan Peterson stands in a university classroom behind a small desk with an overhead projector.
Jordan is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a beige suit, yellow shirt, and striped beige tie.

He says SO I'M GOING
TO TELL YOU TODAY ABOUT A WAY OF
LOOKING AT THE WORLD THAT I
THINK IS SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT
FROM THE WAY THAT MOST PEOPLE
LOOK AT THE WORLD.
AND THE WAY I WANT TO TELL YOU
ABOUT LOOKING AT THE WORLD TODAY
IS, I THINK, MORE INCLUSIVE THAN
A STANDARD SORT OF MATERIALIST VIEW.
THE STANDARD SCIENTIFIC VIEW OF
THE WORLD, OF COURSE, IS THAT
IT'S MADE UP OF FAMILIAR OBJECTS
AND THAT THE WORLD IS, IN
ESSENCE, A MATERIAL PLACE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Jordan Peterson. Psychologist. Recorded December 11, 2002."

Jordan continues BUT THERE ARE SOME VERY POTENT
LIMITATIONS OF THAT VIEWPOINT,
DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT'S GIVEN
US TREMENDOUS POWER.
AND THE LIMITATIONS ARE
ESSENTIALLY AS FOLLOWS.
THE ESSENTIAL MATERIALIST VIEW
CAN'T TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT
CONSCIOUSNESS, WHICH IS PROBABLY
THE PRIMARY FACT OF EXPERIENCE.
NEURAL SCIENTISTS IN RECENT
YEARS, MOSTLY IN THE LAST
DECADE, HAVE BEEN TRYING TO
CRACK THE PROBLEM OF
CONSCIOUSNESS.
AND THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY MADE NO
PROGRESS.
THEY HAVE TRIED TO ASSOCIATE
CONSCIOUSNESS WITH NEURONAL
ACTIVITY, BUT THAT SEEMS TO BE
AN INCOMPLETE ANSWER, BECAUSE
THERE'S MANY FORMS OF NEURONAL
ACTIVITY IN THE BRAIN THAT
AREN'T ACCOMPANIED BY
CONSCIOUSNESS AT ALL.
NOT ONLY DO NEURAL SCIENTISTS
UNDERSTAND VIRTUALLY NOTHING
ABOUT CONSCIOUSNESS, THEY CAN'T
EVEN REALLY FIGURE OUT WHAT ITS
FUNCTION IS.
THEY CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY OUR
BRAINS WOULD GO TO SO MUCH
EFFORT TO MAKE US AWARE OF
THINGS WHEN IT ISN'T CLEAR AT
ALL THAT AWARENESS IS NECESSARY
FOR LIFE, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THAT
THERE ARE MANY LIFE FORMS ON THE
PLANET THAT DON'T SEEM TO BE
AWARE AT ALL.
THE STANDARD MATERIALIST VIEW IS
ALSO INSUFFICIENT IN MANY OTHER WAYS.
IT'S INSUFFICIENT
PHILOSOPHICALLY, I THINK, AS YOU
PROBABLY ALL KNOW, BECAUSE A
CONCEPTION THAT PORTRAYS THE
WORLD AS MADE UP OF OBJECTS, IS
IN SOME REALLY FUNDAMENTAL WAY,
DEAD.
ALL RIGHT, IT DOESN'T SEEM TO
HAVE A PLACE IN IT FOR HUMAN
BEINGS, OR A PLACE IN IT FOR
MEANING, OR A MODE WHEREBY YOU
MIGHT BE ABLE TO CONCEPTUALIZE
THE REAL EXISTENCE OF SOMETHING
LIKE AN EMOTION OR A DREAM, OR A
MOTIVATION, ALL PHENOMENA WHICH
ARE JUST AS MYSTERIOUS TO NEURAL
SCIENTISTS AND TO SCIENTISTS IN
GENERAL AS CONSCIOUSNESS.
NOW THE PROBLEM WITH THIS SEEMS
TO BE MOSTLY EXPERIENTIAL.
IF YOU HAVE TO ASK PEOPLE WHAT
THEY KNOW MORE THAN ANYTHING
ELSE, THEY KNOW, NUMBER 1, THAT
THEY'RE CONSCIOUS.
THEY KNOW, NUMBER 2, THAT
THEY'RE INTERNAL EXPERIENTIAL
LIFE IS COMPOSED OF EMOTIONS AND
MOTIVATIONAL STATES, WHICH
ALTHOUGH NOT RATIONAL IN
ESSENTIAL STRUCTURE, ARE SO REAL
AND RELEVANT, THAT VIRTUALLY
EVERYTHING THAT PEOPLE DO IS
PREDICATED ON THEM.
SO OUR CURRENT VIEWPOINT,
DESPITE IT'S ABILITY TO GIVE US
TREMENDOUS TECHNOLOGICAL POWER,
SEEMS TO ERADICATE FROM FORMAL
CONSIDERATION, MANY, MANY
ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES THAT ARE
VITAL TO LIFE.
IN FACT, EVEN PERHAPS PRIMARY.
NOW I'M GOING TO SUGGEST TO YOU
TODAY, THAT THERE'S AN
ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINT, AND I
THINK ALSO IT'S ONE THAT,
ALTHOUGH YOU MAY BE HEARING
ABOUT IT FORMALLY FOR THE FIRST
TIME, IS ALSO SOMETHING THAT YOU
KNOW UNBELIEVABLY DEEPLY.
HOW THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO,
PLATO PROPOSED THAT ALL
KNOWLEDGE WAS REMEMBERING.
OF COURSE WE DON'T BELIEVE THAT
TODAY BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT WE
GATHER KNOWLEDGE AS A
CONSEQUENCE OF CONTACT WITH THE WORLD.
BUT YOU'LL SEE TODAY THAT THE
KNOWLEDGE THAT I'M GOING TO
SHARE WITH YOU WILL STRIKE A
DEEP CHORD OF REMEMBERING AND
IT'S BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT
YOU'VE DONE THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE
IS, IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER,
PREDICATED ON WHAT I'M GOING TO
TELL YOU TODAY.
I'M GOING TO DEMONSTRATE THIS IN
A PECULIAR WAY, I THINK, BECAUSE
I'M GOING TO START BY TELLING
YOU A STORY.
AND THE REASON I'M GOING TO DO
THAT IS BECAUSE MODELS OF THE
WORLD THAT INCLUDE PHENOMENA
LIKE CONSCIOUSNESS AND EMOTIONS
AND MOTIVATIONS AND ACTIONS AND
INTERACTIONS, ARE GENERALLY
PORTRAYED FORMALLY IN STORIES
AND NOT IN SCIENTIFIC THEORIES.
AND IT DOES TURN OUT TO BE THAT
STORIES THEMSELVES HAVE AN
IDENTIFIABLE STRUCTURE, EVEN A
GRAMMAR THAT MAKES THEM
COMPREHENSIBLE.
FURTHERMORE, IT TURNS OUT THAT
EVEN THE SIMPLEST STORIES,
ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE ELEGANTLY
CONSTRUCTED HAVE AN UNBELIEVABLY
PROFOUND UNDERLYING MEANING, AND
YOU CAN FREQUENTLY SEE THIS,
MOST PARTICULARLY IN CHILDREN'S
STORIES.
I REMEMBER I SHOWED MY SON WHEN
HE WAS 4 YEARS OLD, THE DISNEY
MOVIE "PINOCCHIO," WHICH, ON THE
SURFACE OF IT, IS A REALLY
STRANGE TALE, RIGHT?
IT'S A WOODEN PUPPET WHO WANTS
TO BECOME REAL, SO HE HAS TO
RESCUE HIS FATHER FROM THE BELLY
OF A WHALE.
A STRUCTURE THAT COULD BY NO
MEANS BE CONSIDERED RATIONAL.
THAT IS, IN FACT, SO SURPRISING
AND UNEXPECTED, THAT IT'S
REMARKABLE TO IMAGINE THAT GROWN
MEN AND WOMEN, INCLUDING
CHILDREN, CAN SIT IN A MOVIE
THEATRE AND WATCH A STORY LIKE
THAT UNFOLD, WITHOUT EVER
THINKING FOR A SECOND THAT IT'S
ABSOLUTELY PECULIAR THAT THEY
CAN BE TAKEN IN BY SUCH A TALE,
AND REGARD IT, EXPERIENTIALLY,
AS REAL.
"PINOCCHIO" IS A DEEP, DEEP
STORY.
IT HAS ECHOES THAT GO BACK 3 OR
4,000 YEARS TO THE EARLIEST
STORIES WE KNOW, AND IT'S SO
RICH WITH INFORMATION, THAT A
CHILD CAN WATCH IT OVER AND OVER
AND OVER AND OVER...
I THINK MY SON WATCHED
"PINOCCHIO" 30 TIMES.
WHY?
WELL IT'S EITHER BECAUSE A CHILD
CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN FANTASY AND REALITY, OR
IT'S BECAUSE THERE'S SOMETHING
TO THOSE STORIES THAT'S MUCH
MORE POTENT THAN WE ACTUALLY
CONSCIOUSLY UNDERSTAND.
IT'S KIND OF INTERESTING, TOO,
YOU KNOW, IF YOU GO TO A VIDEO
RENTAL ESTABLISHMENT, YOU'LL
FIND THAT IN THE TOP 10 HIGHEST
GROSSING MOVIES OF ALL TIME, ARE
4 DISNEY MOVIES THAT ARE
ANIMATED FAIRY TALES,
ESSENTIALLY RETELLING OF
MYTHOLOGICAL STORIES.
THEY STRIKE A DEEP CHORD.
WHY?
WELL SHAKESPEARE WAS OF COURSE A
GREAT LITERARY FIGURE, SAID IT
PERHAPS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE
HAS, WHICH IS NOT SURPRISING,
BECAUSE HE SAID MANY THINGS
BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS.
HE SAID, "ALL THE WORLD'S A
STAGE, AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN
MERELY PLAYERS.
THEY HAVE THEIR EXITS AND THEIR
ENTRANCES AND ONE MAN IN HIS
TIME, PLAYS MANY PARTS."
AND SO FOLLOWING FROM THAT, YOU
CAN IMAGINE THAT A STORY IS NO
MORE ABOUT THE PROPS IN THE
WORLD, THAN A PLAY THAT YOU GO
AND SEE IS ABOUT THE PROPS ON
THE STAGE.
A DRAMA IS ABOUT THE MANNER IN
WHICH PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST, THE
EMOTIONS THAT THEY FEEL THE
MOTIVATIONAL STATES THEY
ENCOUNTER, THE PROBLEMS THEY
HAVE TO SOLVE WHEN THEY INTERACT
WITH EACH OTHER, AND THE PLAY'S
THE THING, FROM THAT PARTICULAR
PERSPECTIVE, FROM WHICH WE CAN
CAPTURE THOSE ASPECTS OF OUR
EXPERIENCE THAT ARE NOT ONLY
REAL BUT ESSENTIALLY HUMAN.
I'M GOING TO TELL YOU A LITTLE
STORY TO BEGIN THIS OFF WITH.
IT'S A KIDS' STORY, WRITTEN FOR
CHILDREN OF ABOUT 4 YEARS OF
AGE, BUT IT'S VERY, VERY
ELEGANT.
I TRIED TO CUT IT DOWN FOR THIS
TALK, BUT I FOUND I COULDN'T,
BECAUSE IT WAS SO WELL EDITED
THAT EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF IT
HAD TO FIT IN TO MAKE THE STORY
COMPLETE.
AND I'M GOING TO SHOW YOU FIRST
THE STRUCTURE OF THE STORY.
NOW THIS IS A VERY USEFUL
DIAGRAM IN MANY WAYS.
IT'S VERY SIMPLE.
BASICALLY, IT SAYS THIS.
WHENEVER YOU'RE DOING ANYTHING,
YOU INHABIT A BOUNDED WORLD.
NOW YOU KNOW, LIKE FOR EXAMPLE,
YOU'RE SITTING HERE IN THIS
LECTURE, THERE ARE THINGS YOU'RE
PAYING ATTENTION TO AND THINGS
YOU'RE NOT.
IF I TOOK MOST OF YOU OUT OF
THIS ROOM RIGHT NOW AND ASKED
YOU DEFINITIVELY WHAT COLOUR THE
RUG WAS, YOU WOULDN'T KNOW, OR
WHAT COLOUR YOUR CHAIR WAS, FOR
EXAMPLE, OR WHAT THE PERSON NEXT
TO YOU WAS WEARING, AND UNLESS
THAT PERSON HAPPENS TO BE YOUR
HUSBAND OR YOUR WIFE, YOU
WOULDN'T REMEMBER ANY OF THOSE
THINGS.
AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS, WHEN
YOU'RE IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS,
AND YOU'RE ATTENDING TO A
SPEAKER, MOST OF THE OCCURRENCES
THAT ARE UNFOLDING AROUND YOU
ARE IRRELEVANT, YOU DON'T STORE
THEM.
YOU ONLY FOCUS ON CERTAIN
THINGS.
WELL HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO
FOCUS ON, GIVEN THAT THERE'S
VIRTUALLY AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF
THINGS TO PAY ATTENTION TO.
WELL, YOU HAVE TO CONCEIVE OF
YOURSELF AS BEING SOMEONE,
ALWAYS.
AND YOU HAVE TO CONCEIVE OF
YOURSELF AS GOING SOMEWHERE, SO
YOU CAN SAY THAT IN A REAL
SENSE, THE WORLD YOU INHABIT IS
A JOURNEY.
IT'S A JOURNEY FROM POINT A TO
POINT B, A JOURNEY FROM WHAT IS
TO WHAT SHOULD BE.
A JOURNEY FROM THE PLACE YOU
ARE, WHICH IS INSUFFICIENT IN
SOME IMPORTANT MANNER, TO A
PLACE THAT IN SOME IMPORTANT
MANNER IS GOING TO BE BETTER.
A STANDARD STORY HAS EXACTLY
THAT STRUCTURE.
A CHILD COMES HOME AND YOU SAY,
"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU TODAY ON
THE WAY TO SCHOOL, SETTING UP
THE LITTLE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE,
AND THE CHILD WILL UNFOLD THE
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS THAT HE
ENCOUNTERED
IF THE STORY'S MORE INTERESTING
THAN JUST A RECOUNT OF EXACTLY
WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM, IT USUALLY
INVOLVES THE ENCOUNTER WITH
SOMETHING UNEXPECTED ON THE WAY
TO POINT B, AND A DESCRIPTION OF
THE MANNER IN WHICH THAT
ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNEXPECTED
WAS RESOLVED, TYPICAL STORY.
NOW WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW
THAT?
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO
IT?
WELL, IT'S BECAUSE ON YOUR
JOURNEY FROM POINT A TO POINT B,
ALL SORTS OF UNEXPECTED THINGS
ALWAYS HAPPEN.
AND IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS
ENCOUNTERED SOMETHING
UNEXPECTED, AND CONJURED UP A
DECENT SOLUTION TO IT, IT COULD
WELL BE WORTH YOUR TIME TO
LISTEN.
WELL, MAYBE THERE'S A PATTERN TO
ENCOUNTERING UNEXPECTED THINGS.
MAYBE THERE'S A PROPER WAY TO
ENCOUNTER THE UNEXPECTED.
MAYBE IT'S THE CASE THAT, IN OUR
COLLECTIVE WISDOM AS HUMAN
BEINGS, WE'VE GATHERED UP
REPRESENTATIONS OF WAYS TO
ENCOUNTER THE UNEXPECTED THAT WE
PUT FORTH IN OUR STORIES.
HOW SHOULD YOU FACE WHAT YOU
DON'T UNDERSTAND.
AND NOW I'M GOING TO TELL YOU
THIS STORY.
IT'S WRITTEN FOR 4 YEAR OLD
KIDS.
BUT I WANT YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT
IT FOR A MOMENT FROM A DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVE, AND SEE IF YOU CAN
IMAGINE EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT
IT'S SAYING.

He projects an illustration taken from a children's book of a child and a dragon that occupies a whole house.

He continues "THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A DRAGON."
WELL, WE ALL KNOW THAT, RIGHT?
A DRAGON IS A FICTITIOUS
CREATURE.
REPTILIAN, TERRIBLE, LIVES
FOREVER, BREATHES FIRE, HOARDS
GOLD.
STRANGE COMBINATION OF
ATTRIBUTES.
WHY WOULD SOMETHING TERRIBLE AND
ANCIENT, HOLD A TREASURE?

He projects a page from the book and reads
"BILLY BIXBY WAS RATHER
SURPRISED WHEN HE WOKE UP ONE
MORNING AND FOUND A DRAGON IN
HIS ROOM.
IT WAS A SMALL DRAGON, ABOUT THE
SIZE OF A KITTEN.
THE DRAGON WAGGED ITS TAIL
HAPPILY WHEN BILLY PATTED ITS HEAD."

He projects a drawing of Billy in bed looking at the small red dragon standing at his feet.

Jordan continues IT'S INTERESTING, YOU KNOW, IN
CHINESE MYTHOLOGY, THE DRAGON IS
A POSITIVE FIGURE.
IN EUROPEAN MYTHOLOGY, THE
DRAGON IS SOMETHING TO FACE IN
COMBAT AND DESTROY, OR SOMETHING
TO FACE IN COMBAT AND BUILD
SOMETHING OUT OF THE PIECES LEFT
OVER FROM THE DRAGON.
"BILLY WENT DOWNSTAIRS TO TELL HIS MOTHER.

He projects the next page, in which Billy talks to his mother as she prepares dough.

Jordan continues 'THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A
DRAGON', SAID BILLY'S MOTHER.
AND SHE SAID IT LIKE SHE MEANT IT."
I REMEMBER ONCE, MY DAUGHTER HAD
A NIGHTMARE, SHE WAS ABOUT 4.
THIS WAS ABOUT THE TIME WHEN SHE
STARTED TO NOTICE GRAFFITI AND
LITTER, AND BOTH GRAFFITI AND
LITTER BOTHERED HER.
SHE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND THE
MOTIVATIONS BEHIND THE GRAFFITI
ARTIST, AND SHE DIDN'T LIKE THE
FACT THAT THERE WAS LITTER
CLUTTERING UP THE WORLD'S ORDER.
AND THE REASON SHE GOT SENSITIVE
TO THAT AS A CHILD WAS BECAUSE
CHILDREN ARE REALLY, REALLY
DEPENDENT ON ORDER, I MEAN,
RIGHT?
AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS THAT
THEIR REALM OF COMPETENCE IS
RATHER RESTRICTED.
SO THEY DON'T LIKE TO SEE THINGS
MESSED UP.
SO LITTLE KIDS, FOR EXAMPLE,
THEY'RE NOT HAPPY WITH YOU, IF
YOU PLAY A GAME WITH THEM, AND
THEN MESS AROUND WITH THE RULES
OF THE GAME.
THEY DON'T LIKE THAT AT ALL.
THEY THINK THAT THAT'S IMMORAL
ACTIVITY, TO SHAKE UP THE
STRUCTURE OF THE GAME.
WELL ANYWAY, WHILE SHE WAS
PONDERING ALL THIS, SHE CAME
INTO OUR BEDROOM ONE NIGHT AND
SAID, "DAD, I HAD A NIGHTMARE."
NOW WE ALL KNOW, RIGHT,
NIGHTMARE'S AREN'T REAL, JUST
LIKE DRAGONS.
DREAMS AREN'T REAL, WHICH OF
COURSE RAISES THE QUESTION OF
WHY IN THE WORLD YOU BOTHER
HAVING THEM 6 OR 7 HOURS A
NIGHT, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR
LIFE, AND WHY THEY ARE A
RECOGNIZED FEATURE OF ANIMAL
BEHAVIOUR, ALL THE WAY DOWN TO
THE AMPHIBIAN LEVEL.
SHE SAID, "I DREAMT THAT THERE
WAS A CLEAR FLOWING STREAM, BUT
IN THE STREAM THERE WAS A WHOLE
BUNCH OF GARBAGE.
AND IT SCARED ME AND BOTHERED ME
SO MUCH I WOKE UP."
SO I TOLD HER, "LOOK, CLOSE YOUR
EYES, AND IMAGINE THE STREAM.
IT'S FULL OF GARBAGE.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO ABOUT IT?"
SHE SAID, "WELL IS SHOULD TAKE
THE GARBAGE OUT OF THE STREAM."
SO I SAID, "ALL RIGHT, WELL,
PICTURE THE STREAM, PICTURE
YOURSELF CLEANING THE GARBAGE
OUT OF IT."
SHE CALMED DOWN AND WENT BACK TO
SLEEP.
WHY?
WELL BECAUSE DREAMS CONCENTRATE
ON THREAT, WE KNOW THAT.
THEY PRESENT THREATS TO YOU,
THREATS YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO
DEAL WITH WELL.
THERE'S A PART OF YOUR BRAIN
THAT TRACKS THREATS, AND IT'S
NOT REALLY ALL THAT SMART IN
SOME WAYS.
ALL IT SAYS IS, "LOOK, HERE'S A
PROBLEM."
AND IT'S WAITING FOR THE REST OF
YOUR BRAIN TO CONJURE UP SOME
SOLUTION TO THAT PROBLEM.
AND IF IT DOESN'T CONJURE UP
SOME SOLUTION, THEN IT JUST
PRESENTS THE PROBLEM OVER AND
OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
SO PEOPLE WHO HAVE POST
TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHO HAVE BEEN REALLY
UPSET WITH THEIR CONTACT WITH
SOMETHING UNEXPECTED, DREAM
ABOUT THE SAME TRAGEDY FOREVER
UNTIL THEY SOLVE IT.
AND THEY SOLVE IT BY FACING IT
AND LIVING IT OVER AND OVER,
VOLUNTARILY.
SO YOU MIGHT THINK, RIGHT OFF
THE BAT, BY LISTENING TO THAT
LITTLE STORY THAT SUGGESTING TO
YOU R 4 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WHO'S
JUST HAD A NIGHTMARE, THAT HER
FEARS AREN'T REAL, AND THE DREAM
REPRESENTATION OF THEM ISN'T
REAL, BECAUSE IT'S NOT TANGIBLE
LIKE A TABLE, MIGHT NOT REALLY
BE THE BEST APPROACH TO THE
PROBLEM.
SO YOU SEE, BILLY, HE'S PRETTY
MUCH GOT IT RIGHT, RIGHT OFF THE
BAT, RIGHT?
"THE DRAGON WAGGED ITS TAIL
HAPPILY WHEN BILLY PATTED ITS
HEAD.
BILLY WENT DOWNSTAIRS TO TELL
HIS MOTHER.
'THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A
DRAGON', SAID BILLY'S MOTHER.
AND SHE SAID IT LIKE SHE MEANT
IT."
SO THERE'S A DRAGON IN THIS
HOUSE.
NOW THE NEXT THING YOU MIGHT
WONDER IS, HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU
ACTUALLY GONE INTO A HOUSE WHERE
THERE'S A DRAGON?
MY GUESS IS, IF YOU DON'T TAKE
THIS PARTICULARLY SPECIFICALLY,
AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO USE YOUR
IMAGINATION AND THINK
METAPHORICALLY FOR A MOMENT,
YOU'VE ALL ENCOUNTERED DOZENS OF
HOUSES THAT WERE FILLED RIGHT TO
THE RAFTERS WITH VARIOUS
DRAGONS, ALL OF WHICH WERE BEING
STUDIOUSLY IGNORED BY THE PEOPLE
WHO INHABITED THE HOUSE.

Jordan projects the next page of the book and continues
"BILLY WENT BACK TO HIS ROOM TO DRESS.
THE DRAGON CAME CLOSE TO BILLY,
IN A FRIENDLY MANNER, AND WAGGED
IT'S TAIL.
BUT BILLY DIDN'T PAT IT.
IF THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS
SOMETHING, IT'S SILLY TO PAT IT
ON THE HEAD."

The audience chuckles.

Jordan continues "BILLY WASHED HIS FACE AND HANDS
AND WENT DOWN TO BREAKFAST.
THE DRAGON WENT ALONG.
IT WAS BIGGER NOW, ALMOST THE
SIZE OF A DOG.

He continues projecting the illustrated pages and continues
BILLY SAT DOWN AT THE TABLE.
THE DRAGON SAT DOWN ON THE
TABLE.
THIS SORT OF THING WAS NOT
USUALLY PERMITTED, BUT THERE WAS
NOT MUCH BILLY'S MOTHER COULD DO
ABOUT IT.
SHE HAD ALREADY SAID THERE WAS
NO SUCH THING AS A DRAGON, AND
IF THERE'S NO SUCH THING, YOU
CAN'T TELL IT TO GET DOWN OFF
THE TABLE."
SOMETIMES I SIT WITH FRIENDS OF
MINE WHO HAVE VERY YOUNG
CHILDREN TO EAT, SAY.
AND THE CHILDREN, 2 OR 3 YEARS
OLD, DON'T SIT AT THE TABLE,
THEY SIT ON THE TABLE, OR THEY
RUN AROUND THE TABLE, OR THEY
RUN AROUND THE TABLE AND PULL
THINGS OFF THE TABLE.
OR THEY RUN AROUND THE HOUSE AND
THEY PULL THINGS OFF ALL THE
SHELVES IN THE HOUSE AND KEEP
THEIR PARENTS SO BUSY CHASING
THEM AROUND, THAT THEY HAVE NO
TIME WHATSOEVER TO INTERACT AS
ADULTS.
WELL YOU HAVE TO WONDER UNDER
THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, WHETHER
YOU'RE DEALING WITH A CHILD OR A
DRAGON, SO TO SPEAK, AND YOU
ALSO MIGHT WONDER WHETHER OR NOT
THE DRAGON IS LARGE AND UNRULY,
PRECISELY BECAUSE THE PARENTS
ARE COMPLETELY UNWILLING TO
ADMIT THAT IT ACTUALLY EXISTS.

The audience laughs.

Jordan continues "MOTHER MADE SOME PANCAKES FOR
BILLY, BUT THE DRAGON ATE THEM ALL.
MOTHER MADE SOME MORE, BUT THE
DRAGON ATE THOSE, TOO.
MOTHER KEPT MAKING PANCAKES
UNTIL SHE RAN OUT OF BATTER.
BILLY ONLY GOT ONE OF THEM, BUT
HE SAID THAT'S ALL HE REALLY
WANTED ANYWAY."
ONE TIME, UH...
AN ACQUAINTANCE OF OURS IN
BOSTON BROUGHT THEIR SON OVER TO
BE BABYSAT AT OUR HOUSE, AND HIS
NANNY HAD JUST BEEN IN A CAR
ACCIDENT, SO HE WAS BEING
SHUNTED FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE
WHILE HIS PARENTS WENT OFF TO
WORK.
AND HE DIDN'T HAVE A VERY GOOD
REPUTATION, THIS KID, HE WAS
ABOUT 4.
AND UH...
HE CAME OVER TO OUR HOUSE IN THE
MORNING WITH HIS MOTHER, AND SHE
DROPPED HIM OFF AND SHE SAID,
"WELL HE PROBABLY WON'T EAT ALL
DAY, BUT THAT'S ALL RIGHT."
AND I THOUGHT, "NO, HE'S 4.
IF HE DOESN'T EAT ALL DAY,
THAT'S NOT ALL RIGHT."
RIGHT, BECAUSE KIDS, IF THEY
DON'T EAT, THEY'RE BASICALLY
HORRIBLE, RIGHT?
IF THEY DON'T SLEEP AND THEY
DON'T EAT, THEY'RE HORRIBLE, SO
IT ISN'T ALL RIGHT IF HE DOESN'T EAT.
SO THEN YOU THINK, WELL MAYBE
THERE'S SOME SORT OF DRAGON
ASSOCIATED WITH THIS CHILD THAT
HAPPENS TO BE INTERFERING
PERHAPS WITH HIS ABILITY TO EAT."
SO I CAME BACK AT NOON, MY WIFE
HAD TAKEN CARE OF THE CHILDREN
THAT DAY, AND I WALKED IN THE
HOUSE, AND THE OTHER 4 OR 5 KIDS
THAT WE HAD IN THE HOUSE WERE
OFF PLAYING, AND THIS LITTLE KID
WAS STANDING IN THE CORNER,
REALLY ISOLATED AND LOOKING, YOU
KNOW, UPSET, FUNDAMENTALLY.
SO I WENT OVER AND I POKED HIM A
BUNCH, BECAUSE GENERALLY, IF YOU
POKE A KID A LITTLE BIT, YOU
KNOW, WHILE THEY'LL GO LIKE
THIS, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL BACK
OFF, BUT SOONER OR LATER, YOU
CAN CRACK THEM AND THEN THEY'LL PLAY.
NOT THIS KID, BOY, THERE'S NO
BLOODY WAY HE'S GOING TO PLAY
WITH ME, AND THAT WAS THAT.
HE'D ALREADY LEARNED THAT ADULTS
SHOULD EITHER BE IGNORED, OF
THAT THEY WERE TROUBLE, AND HE
WASN'T GOING TO LET ANY ADULT
INTO HIS LITTLE WORLD.
SO THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY A DRAGON
ASSOCIATED WITH THAT LITTLE BOY,
AND IT WAS EATING ALL HIS PANCAKES.

Jordan projects the next page and continues "BILLY WENT UPSTAIRS TO BRUSH HIS TEETH.
MOTHER STARTED CLEARING THE TABLE.
THE DRAGON, WHO WAS QUITE AS BIG
AS MOTHER BY THIS TIME, MADE
HIMSELF COMFORTABLE ON THE HALL
RUG AND WENT TO SLEEP."
I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE.
"BY THE TIME BILLY CAME BACK
DOWNSTAIRS, THE DRAGON HAD GROWN
SO MUCH HE FILLED THE HALL.
BILLY HAD TO GO AROUND BY WAY OF
THE LIVING ROOM TO GET TO WHERE
HIS MOTHER WAS.
'I DIDN'T KNOW DRAGONS GREW SO
FAST', SAID BILLY.
'THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A
DRAGON', SAID MOTHER FIRMLY.
CLEANING THE DOWNSTAIRS TOOK
MOTHER ALL MORNING.

The audience laughs.

Jordan continues WHAT WITH THE DRAGON IN THE WAY,
AND HAVING TO CLIMB THROUGH THE
WINDOWS TO GET FROM ROOM TO ROOM."
SO YOU KNOW, YOU THINK BACK ON
YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, WHEN YOU'VE
GONE TO A HOUSE WHERE THERE'S A
DRAGON HIDING UNDERNEATH THE
LIVINGROOM RUG, AND NOBODY'S
SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, AND
THEN YOU THINK, HOW LONG DOES IT
TAKE TO GET SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY
SIMPLE DONE, IN A HOUSE THAT'S
ABSOLUTELY JAMMED TO THE RAFTERS
WITH UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
FOREVER, RIGHT?
ORGANIZING PEOPLE IN A HOUSEHOLD
LIKE THAT, EVEN TO DO SOMETHING
AS SIMPLE AS GO OUT FOR
BREAKFAST IN THE MORNING, OR
EVEN PERHAPS TO MAKE A MEAL, IS
VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE.
WHY?
WELL, BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING
GOING ON IN THE HOUSEHOLD THAT
IS BEING STUDIOUSLY IGNORED FOR
A VERY LONG TIME, AND HAS GROWN
SO LARGE AS A CONSEQUENCE, THAT
IT OCCUPIES THE WHOLE DOMAIN.
"BY NOON THE DRAGON FILLED THE
HOUSE.
ITS HEAD HUNG OUT THE FRONT
DOOR, ITS TAIL HUNG OUT THE BACK
DOOR AND THERE WASN'T A ROOM IN
THE HOUSE THAT DIDN'T HAVE SOME
PART OF THE DRAGON IN IT.

Jordan projects the following page, which features a drawing of the now gigantic dragon poking its head out the front door of the house. A woman pushing a stroller stares at the sleeping dragon.

The audience laughs.

Jordan continues WHEN THE DRAGON AWOKE FROM HIS
NAP, HE WAS HUNGRY.
THE BAKERY TRUCK WENT BY.
THE SMELL OF FRESH BREAD WAS
MORE THAN THE DRAGON COULD
RESIST.
HE RAN DOWN THE STREET AFTER THE
BAKERY TRUCK.
THE HOUSE WENT ALONG, OF COURSE
LIKE THE SHELL ON A SNAIL.

In the next drawing, the dragon trots around the neighbourhood carrying the house on his back.

The audience chuckles.

Jordan continues THE MAILMAN WAS JUST COMING UP
THE PATH WITH SOME MAIL FOR THE
BIXBYS WHEN THEIR HOUSE RUSHED
PAST HIM, AND HEADED DOWN THE
STREET.
HE CHASED THE BIXBYS' HOUSE FOR
A FEW BLOCKS, BUT HE COULDN'T
CATCH IT.
WHEN MR. BIXBY CAME HOME FOR
LUNCH, THE FIRST THING HE
NOTICED WAS THAT HIS HOUSE WAS GONE.

The audience chuckles.

Jordan continues LUCKILY ONE OF THE NEIGHBOURS
WAS ABLE TO TELL HIM WHICH WAY
IT WENT."
YOU KNOW, THAT SORT OF THING
HAPPENS TO PEOPLE NOT
INFREQUENTLY, TOO, RIGHT?
THEY'RE NOT REALLY LOOKING
AROUND MUCH AT WHAT'S GOING ON,
AND THEY COME HOME FROM WORK ONE
DAY, AND THEIR HOUSE IS GONE.
AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
WELL MAYBE THEIR CHILDREN HAVE
BECOME COMPLETELY ALIENATED FROM
THEM, OR MAYBE THEIR WIFE HAS
DECIDED SUDDENLY, BUT OF COURSE
NOT SO SUDDENLY, TO LEAVE.
WHY?
WELL, ACCORDING TO THIS STORY,
IT'S BECAUSE SOMETHING IGNORED
WAS GROWING IN THE HOUSE.
"MR. BIXBY GOT IN HIS CAR AND
WENT LOOKING FOR THE HOUSE.
HE STUDIED ALL THE HOUSES AS HE
DROVE ALONG.
FINALLY HE SAW ONE THAT LOOKED
FAMILIAR.
BILLY AND MRS. BIXBY WERE WAVING
FROM AN UPSTAIRS WINDOW."

In the next drawing, a man waves from a tiny red car.

Jordan continues YOU KNOW, IN THE 1890's IN
INDIA, WHEN A HOUSE WAS BEING
BUILT, THE LOCAL PRIEST,
EQUIVALENT TO THE PRIEST WOULD
COME ALONG AND SET THE
FOUNDATION STONE.
AND WHEN HE SET THE FOUNDATION
STONE, HE'D TAKE A BIG SPIKE AND
DROVE IT INTO THE GROUND.
AND THE REASON HE DROVE IT INTO
THE GROUND AT THE PLACE WHERE
THE FOUNDATION WAS GOING TO BE
LAID, WAS TO KEEP THE GREAT
DRAGON THAT IS UNDERNEATH
THE EARTH FIRMLY PINNED DOWN
BY ITS HEAD, SO IT COULDN'T MOVE
AND SHAKE THE HOUSE TO BITS.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
WELL IT MEANS THE SAME THING
THAT'S MEANT IN THE NEW
TESTAMENT WHEN YOU'RE TOLD NOT
TO BUILD YOUR HOUSE ON A
FOUNDATION OF SAND, RIGHT?
IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW GOOD THE
HOUSE IS, OR HOW WELL
CONSTRUCTED IT IS OR HOW RICH IT
IS, IF THE FOUNDATION IS MADE
OUT OF SAND, OR IF IT RESTS ON
TOP OF A DRAGON.
THERE'S NOTHING IN THAT
HOUSEHOLD THAT'S EVER GOING TO
BE ACCOMPLISHED THAT'S POSITIVE.
AND THE WEALTHY DISPLAY THAT THE
HOUSE MIGHT CONSIST OF, IS
NOTHING BUT A SHAM.

In the next drawing, the whole family pops out a top floor window as Billy pats the huge dragon on the head.

Jordan continues "MR. BIXBY CLIMBED OVER THE
DRAGON'S HEAD ONTO THE PORCH
ROOF AND THROUGH THE UPSTAIRS
WINDOW.
'HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?', MR.
BIXBY ASKED.
'IT WAS THE DRAGON', SAID BILLY.
'THERE'S NO SUCH THING', MOTHER
STARTED TO SAY.
'THERE IS A DRAGON', BILLY
INSISTED, 'A VERY BIG DRAGON'.
AND BILLY PATTED THE DRAGON ON
THE HEAD.
THE DRAGON WAGGED ITS TAIL
HAPPILY.
THEN EVEN FASTER THAN IT HAD
GROWN, THE DRAGON STARTED
GETTING SMALLER.
SOON IT WAS KITTEN SIZE AGAIN.
'I DON'T MIND DRAGONS THIS
SIZE', SAID MOTHER.

In a drawing, Billy's mother pets the small dragon.

The audience laughs.

Jordan continues 'WHY DID IT HAVE TO GROW SO
BIG?'
'I'M NOT SURE', SAID BILLY, 'BUT
I THINK IT JUST WANTED TO BE
NOTICED'."
SO THE FIRST THING YOU MIGHT
THINK ABOUT IS JUST, WHAT
HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T PAY A BILL?
LIKE REALLY DON'T PAY IT.
I MEAN, WHEN IT FIRST COMES IN,
IT'S ONLY THE SIZE OF A KITTEN.
BUT IF YOU LEAVE IT ALONE FOR 2
OR 3 YEARS, IT PRETTY MUCH GROWS
INTO A FULL FLEDGED DRAGON.
WHY?
WELL BECAUSE THINGS THAT YOU
IGNORE HAVE A LIFE OF THEIR OWN,
A COMPLEX LIFE.
LIKE A BILL, BILLS ATTACH TO A
WHOLE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, RIGHT?
ONE OF WHOSE MAJOR FUNCTIONS IS
TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU PAY THE BILL.
AND IF YOU DON'T PAY THE BILL
THEN YOU IMMEDIATELY FIND OUT
WHAT IT'S CONNECTED TO.
IT'S CONNECTED TO SOMETHING
IMMENSE AND VERY TROUBLESOME,
AND IF YOU ALLOW THE FULL FORCE
OF THAT THING TO MANIFEST
ITSELF, IT'S NOT PRETTY.
SO ONE LESSON FROM THIS STORY
IS, IF SOMETHING'S NAGGING AT
YOU, JUST A BIT.
IT'S PROBABLY BETTER TO DEAL
WITH IT BEFORE IT TURNS INTO A
FULL FLEDGED DRAGON.
AND THEN YOU MIGHT THINK, "WELL
WHAT IF IT'S ALREADY A FULL
FLEDGED DRAGON?"
RIGHT, I MEAN, THEN WHAT'S YOUR
OPTION?
IS THERE NOTHING LEFT BUT TO RUN
AWAY?
SO THEN I CAN TELL YOU WHAT WE
KNOW FROM 50 YEARS OF STUDYING
THE OUTCOME OF CLINICAL
PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS.
SO LET'S TAKE AN EXTREME CASE,
OKAY?
LET'S SAY THAT SOMETHING TRULY
TERRIBLE HAS HAPPENED TO YOU.
AND AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT,
YOU'RE IN SHOCK, POST TRAUMATIC
SHOCK, WHICH IS A CONDITION THAT
IS SUFFICIENTLY SERIOUS TO
DAMAGE YOUR BRAIN OVER TIME.
IT'S NOT ONLY A PSYCHOLOGICAL
DISORDER, IT'S A PHYSICAL
DISORDER.
IF YOU'RE REALLY STRESSED YOUR
CORTISOL LEVELS SHOOT UP, AND IF
YOUR CORTISOL LEVELS SHOOT UP,
THAT CORTISOL IN HIGH DOSES IS A
NEURO-TOXIN.
IT STARTS TO DAMAGE YOUR BRAIN.
SO LET'S TAKE A VERY EXTREME
CASE AND IMAGINE THAT YOU'VE
BEEN VIOLENTLY SEXUALLY
ASSAULTED, AND AS A CONSEQUENCE
OF THAT, YOU'RE IN POST
TRAUMATIC SHOCK.
HOW DO YOU GET CURED?
SO THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T REALLY
GO OUTSIDE.
YOU CERTAINLY CAN'T ENCOUNTER
ANYTHING THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH
THE EVENT.
YOUR SENSE OF INTEGRITY AND
PERSONAL SAFETY HAVE BEEN
COMPLETELY DESTROYED.
IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN GET
BACK ON YOUR FEET?
WELL THERE'S A WOMAN NAMED EDNA
FOWA IN NEW YORK, I THINK ONE OF
THE WORLD'S TOP CLINICAL
PSYCHOLOGISTS AND SHE'S BEEN
DEALING WITH WOMEN WHO HAVE POST
TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER FOR
DECADES.
AND SHE'S FOUND A TREATMENT THAT
WORKS.
AND THE TREATMENT IS THIS.
SHE HAS THE WOMEN RELIVE THE
EVENT, IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS
POSSIBLE, OVER AND OVER IN THEIR
IMAGINATION, WITH THE
ACCOMPANYING EMOTION.
AND SHE'S FOUND, BECAUSE SHE'S
DONE PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT
ON HER CLIENTS, THAT THOSE WOMEN
WHO ALLOW THEMSELVES TO GET THE
MOST FULLY UPSET AS A
CONSEQUENCE OF THE RELIVING, GET
BETTER FASTER AND STAY BETTER LONGER.
THE CLINICAL EVIDENCE IS ABSOLUTELY CLEAR.
WHEN YOU TAKE SOMEONE TO
THERAPY, YOU'RE BASICALLY DOING
2 THINGS TO THEM, WELL, 3.
YOU ALLOW THEM TO CONFESS WHAT'S
WRONG WITH THEM, BECAUSE IT'S
REALLY USEFUL TO ACTUALLY SAY
WHAT IT IS THAT'S BOTHERING YOU.
IT MAKES IT CLEAR AND DISTINCT.
YOU HELP THE PERSON GET THEIR
STORY STRAIGHT.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR
STORY STRAIGHT, RIGHT?
YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHERE YOU'RE
COMING FROM AND YOU HAVE TO KNOW
WHERE YOU'RE GOING, BECAUSE
OTHERWISE THERE'S NO STRUCTURE
FOR YOUR LIFE.
AND THE THIRD THING IS, IF YOUR
PATH FROM POINT A TO POINT B, IS
BEING BLOCKED BY SOMETHING THAT
YOU'RE AFRAID OF, YOU BETTER
LEARN TO CONFRONT IT, BECAUSE IF
YOU DON'T, IT WILL GROW AND
EXPAND UNTIL IT TURNS INTO THE
KIND OF DRAGON THAT OCCUPIES
YOUR WHOLE HOUSE.
THIS IS ANOTHER REPRESENTATION
OF A STORY.

He projects a graph, which shows a point A and a point B. Between both points are three items captioned "Planned sequence of behaviour."

Jordan continues IT'S A SIMPLE STORY.
I THINK IT'S ONE THAT'S MOST
APPLICABLE TO CHILDREN AT--
THERE ARE ASPECTS OF IT THAT ARE
MOST APPLICABLE TO CHILDREN.
THE SEXUAL DESIRE ONE OBVIOUSLY
ISN'T.
IT'S A MAP OF MOTIVATION THAT
BASICALLY SAYS THIS, AND IT'S
EASY TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU THINK,
GO TO A MOVIE, DOESN'T MATTER
WHAT COUNTRY IT'S MADE, THERE'S
CERTAIN THINGS THAT ALWAYS
HAPPEN, RIGHT?
LIKE TWO BROAD CLASSES OF
FICTION, ADVENTURE AND ROMANCE.
WHAT'S AN ADVENTURE?
TO GO TO NEW LANDS AND DISCOVER
SOMETHING NEW, AND BECOME
TRANSFORMED AS A CONSEQUENCE.
WHAT'S A ROMANCE?
TO MEET ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS
CERTAINLY AS COMPLICATED AS
ANYTHING YOU COULD MEET ON AN
ADVENTURE, AND AGAIN TO BE
TRANSFORMED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF
THE CONTACT.
TWO FUNDAMENTAL PLOTS.
WHY?
WHY ARE THERE FUNDAMENTAL PLOTS?
AND WHY CAN WE UNDERSTAND THEM
WITHOUT THEM BEING EXPLAINED TO
US?
WELL, IT'S BECAUSE FUNDAMENTALLY
WE'RE ALL VERY, VERY SIMILAR.
WE HAVE A FINITE SET OF BASIC
NEEDS.
SO FOR EXAMPLE, HOT PEOPLE WOULD
RATHER BE COOL, THIRSTY PEOPLE
WOULD RATHER HAVE WATER, HUNGRY
PEOPLE WOULD RATHER EAT.
AND THESE MOTIVATIONS COLOUR
WHAT WE CONCEIVE OF AS OUR
ULTIMATE DESTINY.
SO IN THE OLD TESTAMENT FOR
EXAMPLE, AN AGRARIAN COMMUNITY,
OFTEN HUNGRY, PARADISE WAS
CONSTRUED AS THE LAND OF MILK
AND HONEY.
WELL WHY?
WELL MILK IS HIGH IN FAT AND
HONEY IS HIGH IN GLUCOSE, AND IF
YOU'RE HUNGRY, REALLY HUNGRY,
THERE'S NOTHING THAT YOU WANT
MORE THAN FAT AND SUGAR.
AFFILIATIVE DESIRE -- WE LIKE TO
BE AROUND OTHER PEOPLE.
SEXUAL DESIRE, A FUNDAMENTAL SUB
ELEMENT OF A ROMANTIC PLOT.
THESE UNDERLYING MOTIVATIONAL
SYSTEMS OF OURS SET US UP,
BOUNDED WORLDS WITHIN WHICH WE
LIVE.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE IF YOU FALL IN
LOVE WITH SOMEONE, AND YOU
CONSTRUE YOUR DESTINY AS BEING
WITH THEM, ANY INDICATION THAT
THEY'RE PLEASED WITH YOU IS
GOING TO PRODUCE A RUSH OF
POSITIVE EMOTION.
WHY?
BECAUSE OUR EMOTIONAL SYSTEMS
ARE SET UP SO THAT ANY SIGN THAT
WE'RE MOVING TOWARD OUR GOAL IS
RESPONDED TO WITH A RUSH OF
POSITIVE EMOTION.
AND CONVERSELY, A FROWN FROM THE
PERSON THAT YOU LOVE, ESPECIALLY
IN THE INITIAL STAGES OF A
ROMANCE, IS MET WITH A FLOOD OF
NEGATIVE AFFECT.
WHY?
BECAUSE ANYTHING THAT STOPS US
ON THE PATH THAT WE'VE CHOSEN
PRODUCES NEGATIVE EMOTION.
THAT'S HOW WE'RE SET UP.
AND OUR EMOTIONAL SYSTEMS ARE
ACTUALLY QUITE STRAIGHT FORWARD.
WE POSIT A GOAL.
THE THING ABOUT PEOPLE IS THAT
WE CAN POSIT VIRTUALLY ANYTHING
AS A GOAL.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
DISTINGUISHES US FROM ANIMALS,
SO WE CAN ALL BE THRILLED TO
DEATH WHEN OUR FAVOURITE SOCCER
TEAM SCORES A GOAL, BECAUSE WE
PARTICIPATE IN WHAT THEY'RE
DOING.
THE SAME WAY WE PARTICIPATE IN
WATCHING A PROTAGONIST ON A
MOVIE OR IN A BOOK.
WE CAN FEEL IT, WE EMBODY IT.
WE EVEN KNOW NOW THAT THE NEURAL
SYSTEMS THAT I USE TO WATCH A
MOVIE INVOLVE THE SAME NEURAL
SYSTEMS THAT THE ACTOR IS USING
ACTING OUT THE PART.
SO WHEN YOU SAY YOU UNDERSTAND
SOMEONE ELSE, WHAT YOU MEAN IS,
YOUR BODY IS SET TO DO EXACTLY
THE SAME THING THEIR BODY IS,
AND YOUR EMOTIONAL SYSTEMS ARE
LOCKED ON EXACTLY THE SAME WAY
THEIRS ARE.
SO WHEN THEY EXPERIENCE
SOMETHING, AND YOU'RE WATCHING
IT, YOU EXPERIENCE AN ECHO OF IT
AND THAT'S WHAT UNDERSTANDING
MEANS.
AND IT TURNS OUT AS WELL THAT
THOSE NEURAL SYSTEMS THAT ALLOW
US TO EMBODY SOMEONE ELSE, AND
TO IMITATE THEM, ARE RIGHT
UNDERNEATH THE STRUCTURES THAT
WE'VE EVOLVED TO USE FOR
LANGUAGE, AND WHAT THAT
INDICATES IS THAT MOSTLY WHAT WE
USE LANGUAGE FOR, IS TO TELL
STORIES.
TO TELL STORIES ABOUT THE WAY
PEOPLE ACT, SO WE CAN DERIVE
INFORMATION.
NOT ABOUT WHAT THE WORLD IS MADE
OF, BECAUSE WE DON'T REALLY CARE
ABOUT THAT IN SOME FUNDAMENTAL
WAY, BUT INSTEAD HOW SHOULD WE
ACT?
THAT'S THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION,
HOW SHOULD WE ACT?
NOW IF YOU GO SEE A MOVIE ABOUT
A THUG, THE MESSAGE THERE IS,
GIVEN THAT THE THUG USUALLY
COMES TO NOT SO GOOD END, DON'T
ACT LIKE A THUG, RIGHT?
INTERESTING THOUGH IT MIGHT BE,
COMPELLING AS A LIFESTYLE, AT
LEAST SUFFICIENTLY COMPELLING SO
YOU'LL WATCH IT, IT'S NOT A GOOD
LONG TERM STRATEGY.
WHAT IS A GOOD LONG TERM
STRATEGY?
YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN COLLECTING
STORIES AS PEOPLE FOR HOW LONG,
WE DON'T KNOW, REALLY, WE DON'T
KNOW.
100,000 YEARS, MAYBE.
THERE'S BEEN CREATURES LIKE US,
INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM US, FOR
100,000 YEARS AND WE KNOW THAT
SOCIETIES THAT APPEAR TO BE MORE
OR LESS AS ARCHAIC AS THOSE OLD
SOCIETIES, TELL STORIES, HAVE
RITUALS, HAVE MYTHOLOGY.
WE HAVE ANCIENT WRITTEN STORIES,
LIKE THE ENUME LISH, WHICH IS A
SUMERIAN STORY, THE OLDEST
WRITTEN STORY WE HAVE, 4,000
YEARS OLD, BASED ON AN ORAL
TRADITION THAT'S PROBABLY 20,000
YEARS OLDER THAN THAT.
WE'VE BEEN COLLECTING STORIES
FOR A LONG, LONG TIME.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR?
WELL IMAGINE THIS, YOU KNOW, YOU
TELL A STORY TO YOUR HUSBAND OR
YOUR WIFE, ABOUT SOMETHING
INTERESTING THAT YOU SAW, RIGHT?
WELL THEN IMAGINE THAT YOU COULD
COLLECT 1,000 OF THE MOST
INTERESTING STORIES.
AND THEN IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE
SOME KIND OF LITERARY GENIUS
LIKE SHAKESPEARE, AND YOU COULD
TAKE THOSE 1,000 INTERESTING
STORIES AND BOIL THEM DOWN TO
100 REALLY INTERESTING STORIES.
AND THEN IMAGINE THAT YOU HAD
10,000 YEARS TO GATHER UP THOSE
100 MOST INTERESTING STORIES AND
AVERAGE THEM, AND YOU COULD COME
UP WITH 1 PERFECT STORY, THE
BEST STORY, THE MOST INTERESTING
STORY THAT YOU COULD POSSIBLY
TELL.
WELL THAT'S WHAT A MYTH IS.
IT'S THE MOST INTERESTING STORY
THAT YOU CAN POSSIBLY TELL.
AND JUST LIKE THIS LITTLE STORY
THAT I JUST TOLD YOU, HAD AN
UNDERLYING MYTHOLOGICAL
STRUCTURE, VIRTUALLY EVERY STORY
YOU EVER SEE, HAS SUCH A
STRUCTURE.
THAT'S WHY IT'S COMPELLING TO
YOU.
AND WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE WHO'S
CHARISMATIC, OR WHO HOLDS YOUR
ATTENTION, OR WHO YOU'RE
INTERESTED IN, THE PROBABILITY
THAT THEY'RE ACTING OUT A
MYTHOLOGICAL FRAGMENT, IS VERY,
VERY HIGH.
AND THAT'S WHY IT IS THAT YOUR
ATTENTION IS CAPTIVATED BY THEM.
WHAT'S THE WORLD LIKE FROM THIS
PERSPECTIVE?

He projects a new chart, in which a different set of concepts appears between point A and point B, including a "tool" and an "obstacle" surrounding an "object."

Jordan continues WELL LOOK, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE ALL
SITTING IN THIS ROOM.
YOU THINK, IF I TOOK YOU OUT OF
HERE, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?
WELL YOU'D SAY IT WAS FULL OF
CHAIRS, THERE WAS A TABLE,
LIGHTS...
WELL WHY WOULD YOU PICK THAT
LEVEL OF RESOLUTION, EH?
LIKE WHY WOULDN'T YOU SAY,
"WELL, YOU KNOW, THE AVERAGE
CEILING TILE HAD ABOUT 15,000
DOTS ON IT."
IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE A RELEVANT
DATA POINT, RIGHT?
YOU COULD SAY THE SAME THING
ABOUT THE RUG.
THERE'S NOTHING STOPPING YOU
FROM COUNTING THE NUMBER OF
STAINS OR THE NUMBER OF RED
SPOTS, OR THE WAY THE LIGHT
PLAYS OFF YOUR PARTNER'S SHIRT
OR THE SHINE ON YOUR SHOES.
AND IF YOU WERE AN ARTIST, SAY,
AND TRYING TO MAKE A
REPRESENTATION OF THIS ROOM,
YOU'D CONCENTRATE ON ASPECTS OF
IT THAT ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
FROM THOSE THAT YOU'RE
CONCENTRATING ON NOW.
YOU TALK ABOUT CHAIRS, TV
CAMERAS, CABINETS, TABLES...
WHY?
THEY'RE FUNCTIONAL, THEY'RE
OBJECTS, RIGHT?
THEY'RE TOOLS, THEY'RE TOOLS,
THEY'RE THINGS YOU CAN USE.
NORMALLY WHEN YOU'RE GOING FROM
POINT A TO POINT B, YOU DIVIDE
UP THE WORLD INTO THINGS YOU CAN
USE, AND THOSE ARE THINGS YOU SEE.
YOUR PERCEPTUAL SYSTEMS DO THAT.
THINGS YOU CAN USE, AND THINGS
THAT CAN GET IN THE WAY.
AND AS YOU MOVE FROM MOTIVATED
WORLD TO MOTIVATED WORLD, THE
LITTLE STORIES THAT YOU INHABIT,
YOU CHOP THE WORLD UP INTO
DIFFERENT PIECES.
SO A PIANO FOR A CONCERT PIANIST
IS DIFFERENT, IS A DIFFERENT
PHENOMENA THAN A PIANO FOR
SOMEONE WHO HAS NO MUSICAL
EDUCATION.
BUT YOU'RE ALWAYS PARSING UP THE
WORLD IN TERMS OF WHAT IT'S GOOD
FOR, HOW IT CAN SERVE YOUR
PURPOSES, AND YOU EVEN SEE IT
THAT WAY.
NOW THE QUESTION IS--
THE COMPLICATED QUESTION ISN'T
SO MUCH HOW DO YOU PARSE UP THE
WORLD INTO THINGS THAT ARE
USEFUL TO YOU, LIKE CHAIRS.
THE COMPLICATED QUESTION IS,
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SOMETHING
THAT YOU DON'T EXPECT HAPPENS.
SO IMAGINE YOU'VE HAD A 15 YEAR
LONG MARRIAGE, AND YOU FIND
LIPSTICK ON YOUR HUSBANDS
COLLAR, NOT ONCE BUT 3 TIMES.
AND THEN YOU THINK, WELL, I
THOUGHT I HAD HIM MAPPED, RIGHT?
I THOUGHT WE WERE BOTH IN THE
SAME GAME.
I THOUGHT WE WERE BOTH GOING
FROM POINT A TO THE SAME POINT B.
I THOUGHT WE HAD ESTABLISHED A
SHARED STRUCTURE OF
INTERPRETATION, BUT I FIND THAT
THERE'S SOME ASPECT OF HIS
APPARENT BEHAVIOUR THAT'S
COMPLETELY OUTSIDE MY SCOPE OF
INTERPRETATION.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
WELL YOU CAN CHOOSE TO IGNORE
THAT, RIGHT?
IT'S EASY TO DO THAT.
WHY WOULDN'T YOU IGNORE IT?
BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T IGNORE IT,
YOU HAVE TO THINK, "HE'S NOT WHO
I THOUGHT HE WAS."
AND THAT'S REALLY NOT A GOOD
THING TO THINK, BECAUSE PEOPLE
ARE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY
COMPLICATED, AND IF THEY'RE NOT
WHO YOU THINK THEY ARE, YOU HAVE
NO IDEA WHO THEY MIGHT BE.
AND YOU ALSO MIGHT THING, "WELL,
MAYBE I'M NOT WHO I THINK I AM."
BECAUSE AFTER ALL I GOT SUCKED
INTO THIS SITUATION.
I THOUGHT I PRETTY MUCH
UNDERSTOOD THE WORLD, AND IT
TURNS OUT THAT I CERTAINLY DON'T
UNDERSTAND THE OPPOSITE GENDER,
AND THERE'S SOME INDICATION THAT
I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND
MYSELF, BECAUSE FUNDAMENTALLY
I'M SO CLUELESS, AND THEN YOU
MIGHT THINK, WELL WHEN DID THIS
START, THIS CLUELESSNESS?
HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN BLIND?
WELL DO YOU REALLY WANT TO ASK
THAT QUESTION?
NOT GENERALLY, RIGHT?
IT'S EASIER TO KEEP THE DRAGON
IN THE CLOSET, WHICH IS WHERE IT
TENDS TO LIVE.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER
SOMETHING YOU DON'T EXPECT?
FOR A LONG TIME PSYCHOLOGISTS
THOUGHT THAT PEOPLE LEARNED FEAR.
RIGHT, SO YOUR TYPICAL PERSON,
YOUR TYPICAL LAB RAT WAS A CALM
CREATURE.
NOW IT'S A FUNNY THING, EH, IF
YOU TAKE A LAB RAT OUT OF HIS
HOME CAGE AND YOU PUT HIM IN A
NEW CAGE WHERE YOU WANT TO TEACH
HIM, SAY, TO BE AFRAID OF
SOMETHING, TO BE AFRAID OF A
LIGHT PAIRED WITH A SHOCK, WHICH
IS A TYPICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL
EXPERIMENT.
THE FUNNY THING ABOUT THE RAT
IS, YOU'VE GOT TO LET HIM CALM
DOWN BEFORE HE'S NORMAL.
WELL EXCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT THINK
THAT THE NOT CALM RAT IS ALSO
THE NORMAL RAT, RIGHT?
YOU TAKE THE RAT OUT OF HIS CAGE
AND YOU PUT HIM IN A NEW CAGE,
AND WHAT DOES HE DO?
HE GOES LIKE THIS.
WHY?
WELL HE'S A RAT, RIGHT?
SOMEONE MIGHT EAT HIM.
SO HE'S A BIT NERVOUS ABOUT
BEING IN THIS NEW SITUATION.
RATS DO NOT LIKE BEING IN NEW
SITUATIONS.
THEY DON'T LIKE BRIGHT LIGHT.
IF YOU PUT THEM IN A NEW
SITUATION THAT'S BRIGHTLY LIT,
THEY GO RIGHT OVER TO THE
CORNER.
BECAUSE THEY THINK MAYBE CATS
WON'T FIND THEM.
RATS ARE SO AFRAID OF CATS THAT
THEY NEVER EVEN HAVE TO MEET A
CAT TO BE AFRAID OF THEM.
SO YOU CAN TAKE A RAT THAT'S
NEVER SEEN A CAT IN HIS LIFE,
AND IF YOU LET HIM SMELL SOME
CAT ODOUR, OR SHOW HIM A CAT,
HE'LL--
WELL I'LL TELL YOU, IF YOU SHOW
A RAT A CAT SOMEWHERE HE DOESN'T
EXPECT IT, HE WILL RUN BACK TO
HIS BURROW AND SCREAM FOR 24
HOURS.
NOW YOU IMAGINE HOW SCARED YOU'D
HAVE TO BE TO SCREAM FOR 24
HOURS, ESPECIALLY GIVEN A RAT
ONLY LIVES ABOUT A YEAR.
SO THAT WOULD BE FOR YOU, LIKE
SCREAMING--

The audience laughs.

Jordan continues THAT WOULD BE LIKE SCREAMING FOR
3 MONTHS, RIGHT?
SO THE RAT RUNS BACK TO HIS
BURROW AND SCREAMS, AND EVERY
OTHER RAT WHO HEARS HIM SCREAM,
FREEZES, AND THEY ALL STAY LIKE
THAT FOR 24 HOURS, TILL THEY
SORT OF CALM DOWN.
AND THEN THE FIRST THING THEY
DO, IS THEY GO BACK TO THE PLACE
WHERE THEY SAW THE CAT, AND THEY
START TO MAP IT OUT.
SO THEY DO THESE THINGS CALLED
CORNER RUNS.
SO THE RAT WANTS TO GO BACK TO
HIS TERRITORY, HE KNOWS THE
TERRITORY MIGHT BE A PLACE WHERE
HE GETS FOOD.
IS THE CAT STILL THERE?
WELL YOU MIGHT THINK, STAY IN
THE BURROW, RIGHT?
BUT THEN MAYBE YOU DON'T GET
SOMETHING TO EAT.
SO THE RAT GOES BACK TO THE
PLACE WHERE THE CAT WAS...
CAREFULLY.
AND THEN HE HUNCHES DOWN AND HE
RUNS OVER PART OF IT.
AND IF NOTHING KILLS HIM, THEN
HE GOES BACK AND HE DOES THE
SAME THING WITH A LITTLE MORE OF
THE TERRITORY, UNTIL FINALLY THE
RATS HAVE RUN ALL OVER THE
TERRITORY AGAIN.
AND THEN THEY GO BACK TO EATING,
MAKING LOVE, PAYING ATTENTION TO
THEIR FAMILIES, BECAUSE RATS ARE
QUITE SOCIAL, DESPITE THE FACT
THAT THEY'RE RATS.

The audience chuckles.

Jordan continues THE RAT'S SMART ENOUGH TO GO
BACK TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
SO TO SPEAK, RIGHT?
IT'S NOT GOING TO LET THE DRAGON
THAT MIGHT BE THERE GROW.
THE RAT KNOWS THAT IF SOMETHING
IS TERRIFYING, IT SHOULD BE
INVESTIGATED, NOT RUN AWAY FROM.
THE QUESTION IS, WHAT DO YOU
ENCOUNTER WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER
SOMETHING YOU DON'T EXPECT?
AND SO YOU SAY, WELL YOU'VE GOT
YOUR SPOUSE MAPPED OUT, RIGHT,
AND THEN THEY DO SOMETHING THAT
YOU DON'T EXPECT.
WHICH HOPEFULLY HAPPENS FAIRLY
REGULARLY RIGHT, BECAUSE
OTHERWISE YOU GET BORED WITH
THEM.
THEY DO SOMETHING YOU DON'T
EXPECT, AND YOU THINK, AH-HA,
WHO IS THAT PERSON PRECISELY.
AND WHAT THAT MEANS, IS THAT--
WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT WHEN YOU
ENCOUNTER SOMETHING UNEXPECTED,
YOU ACTUALLY CAN'T SEE WHAT'S
THERE.
WHY?
BECAUSE IT'S TOO COMPLICATED.
YOU MIGHT HAVE TO SPEND A MONTH
TALKING TO YOUR SPOUSE TO FIGURE
OUT JUST EXACTLY WHY THEY HAVE
THAT PARTICULAR PECULIAR
OPINION.
YOU HAVE TO EXPLORE AND DIG TO
FIND OUT HOW THEY MAP THE WORLD.
IF YOU ENCOUNTER SOMETHING
UNEXPECTED, THE FIRST THING YOU
SEE IS NOT THE WORLD.
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE IS JUST
A SENSE OF DISCOMFORT AND FEAR,
COMBINED WITH SOME LATENT???
CURIOSITY THAT THE WORLD IS NOT
THE WAY YOU THOUGHT IT WAS.
NOW, HOW DO YOU FIND OUT WHAT
THE WORLD IS ACTUALLY LIKE?
WE HAVE TO INVESTIGATE IT.
WE HAVE TO INVESTIGATE IT, THAT
MEANS YOU HAVE TO TAKE A RISK,
YOU HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD, THE
SAME WAY THAT PEOPLE DO IN
PSYCHOTHERAPY.
YOU HAVE TO FIND THE THING THAT
YOU'RE BORDERING ON AVOIDING AND
GO IN AND MAP IT.
NOW IT'S A CURIOUS THINK YOU
KNOW, COMMON ANXIETY DISORDER IS
AGORAPHOBIA.
AGORAPHOBIA IS A GENERALIZED
ANXIETY DISORDER AND PEOPLE WHO
SUFFER SEVERELY FROM AGORAPHOBIA
OFTEN GET TO THE POINT WHERE,
BECAUSE OF THEIR PANICS, THEY'RE
HOUSEBOUND, THEY CAN'T GO
OUTSIDE THEIR ROOM, OR THEIR
HOUSE.
NOW THEY'D RUN AWAY
FROM THEIR ROOM OR THEIR HOUSE,
TOO, IF THEY COULD, BUT THERE'S
NOWHERE TO RUN, SO THEY'RE
PRETTY MUCH STUCK BEING
SOMEWHERE. SO AN AGORAPHOBIC
COMES IN FOR THERAPY, SO WHAT DO
YOU DO WITH THEM?
AND YOU SAY, WELL THE
AGORAPHOBIC SAYS, "I CAN'T GO ON
ELEVATORS."
AND YOU SAY, "OKAY, WELL LET'S
GO TRY."
AND YOU SAY, "ALL RIGHT, RELAX."
TEACH THE PERSON TO BREATHE,
WHICH REALLY DOESN'T HELP MUCH,
BUT IT MAKES THEM FEEL BETTER.
YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT TEACHING
THEM TO RELAX, IT DOESN'T MATTER
A BIT.
BUT IT DOES HELP THEM FEEL
BETTER.
SAY, "OKAY, THERE'S THE
ELEVATOR.
HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET TO THE
ELEVATOR?"
THEY SAY, "WELL, I CAN'T REALLY
GET MORE THAN LIKE, 20 FEET,
THAT'S MAXIMUM."
SAY, "OKAY, OKAY, LET'S JUST GO
UP TO 20 FEET THERE," AND I MAY
DO THAT, AND YOU LET THEM STAND
THERE, AND STAND THERE AND STAND
THERE AND STAND THERE, AND
SOONER OR LATER, THEY GET BORED
OF BEING 20 FEET FROM THE
ELEVATOR.
AND THEN YOU SAY, "LOOK, OKAY,
LET'S--
CAN YOU GO 10 FEET NOW?"
"NO, I COULDN'T GO 10 FEET,
THAT'S TOO CLOSE."
"HOW ABOUT, CAN YOU GO 3 MORE
FEET?"
"YEAH, I THINK I COULD DO THAT."
SO THEY GO 3 MORE FEET AND YOU
LET THEM STAND THERE, AND THEY
FIND OUT NOTHING TERRIBLE IS
HAPPENING, SOONER OR LATER, AND
THEN THEY GO ANOTHER 3 FEET AND
THEY GO ANOTHER 3 FEET, AND THEN
THEY'RE LIKE CONFRONTING THE
ELEVATOR, AND THEN THEY'RE
INSIDE THE ELEVATOR, BUT THEY'RE
GOING LIKE THIS, BECAUSE THEY
DON'T WANT TO LOOK AT THE
ELEVATOR, RIGHT?
SO YOU'D SAY, "WELL YOU GOTTA
LOOK AT THE ELEVATOR, YOU GOTTA
LOOK AT THE NUMBERS, YOU GOTTA
LOOK AT THE BUTTONS."
SO THEY DO THAT, AND THEN YOU
THINK, WELL, COULD WE GO UP A
FLOOR?
"NO, WE COULDN'T GO UP A FLOOR."
"OKAY, WELL I'LL TELL YOU WHAT,
WE'LL JUST CLOSE THE DOOR, I'LL
PUT MY HAND IN AND IT WILL OPEN
AGAIN, COULD YOU DO THAT?"
"YEAH, I COULD DO THAT."
STEP BY STEP, SOONER OR LATER,
AND USUALLY SOONER, BANG,
THEY'VE GONE UP A FLOOR.
SO THEN WHAT HAPPENS?
THEY GO HOME AND HAVE A FIGHT
WITH THEIR HUSBAND THAT'S BEEN
BREWING FOR LIKE 15 YEARS.
WHY?
WELL IT'S NOT BECAUSE THE
ELEVATOR IS SYMBOLICALLY RELATED
TO THE FIGHT.
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.
IT'S BECAUSE WHAT THE PERSON
LEARNS IN THE COMBAT WITH THE
UNKNOWN, WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO
BE TAKING THE GUISE OF AN
ELEVATOR, IS THAT THEY CAN
CONFRONT THINGS THAT FRIGHTEN
THEM WITHOUT BEING DESTROYED BY
THE CONFRONTATION.
SO WHAT YOU SEE IMMEDIATELY, AND
THIS WAS CONTRARY TO AN INITIAL
PSYCHOANALYTIC PREDICTION, IS
THAT MAN, YOU KNOW, YOU TAKE
THAT PERSON OUT AND YOU TEACH
THEM THAT THEY CAN GO ON THE
ELEVATOR, AND RIGHT OFF THE BAT
THEY'RE GOING TO SHOPPING MALLS,
THEY'RE IN TAXIS, THEY'RE BACK
IN THE SUBWAY AND THEY'RE
STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES AT
HOME.
GENERALIZATION -- WHY?
BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T LEARN THAT
THE ELEVATOR WASN'T FRIGHTENING.
THAT ISN'T WHAT THEY LEARNED.
THEY LEARNED THE DESPITE THE
FACT THAT THE ELEVATOR IS AS
TERRIFYING AS ANYTHING THEY HAVE
EVER ENCOUNTERED, THEY WERE
ACTUALLY UP TO THE CHALLENGE.
NOW THAT'S A REALLY USEFUL THING
TO TEACH SOMEONE, RIGHT?
BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE AN OBSESSIVE
COMPULSIVE PATIENT, AND I HAD
ONE WHO ACTUALLY USED TO WORK
WITH RADIATION.
NOW HE WAS--
HE WORKED IN SOME KIND OF BIO
LAB IN MONTREAL.
PEOPLE WITH OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE
DISORDER OFTEN ARE VERY
FRIGHTENED THAT THEY'LL
CONTAMINATE SOMEONE ELSE, SO
LIKE TYPICAL OBSESSIVE-
COMPULSIVE OBSESSION WOULD BE,
I'LL GO TO A SHOPPING MARKET,
I'LL TOUCH SOME FRUIT FROM SOME
THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, I'LL GET
SOME NASTY BACTERIAL DISEASE,
I'LL BRING IT HOME AND I'LL GIVE
IT TO MY KIDS.
WELL YOU TELL THEM, WELL LOOK
THE CHANCES OF THAT ARE 1 IN
150,000.
AND THEY LOOK AT YOU AND THEY
THINK, "I DON'T CARE IF THE
CHANCES ARE ONLY 150,000, WHAT
IF MY KIDS DIE?"
AND YOU THINK, "WELL YEAH, THAT
DOES POSE A PROBLEM, DOESN'T
IT?"
BECAUSE IT ISN'T EXACTLY CLEAR
FROM A LOGICAL PERSPECTIVE WHERE
YOU SHOULD DRAW THE RISK LINE.
WELL WITH THE OBSESSIVE-
COMPULSIVE YOU DO EXACTLY THE
SAME THING.
YOU SAY, "LOOK YEAH, YOUR FEAR
IS REAL, NO KIDDING, BECAUSE
LURKING AT THE BOTTOM OF THEIR
FEAR IS THE SAME FEAR THAT
EVERYBODY ELSE HAS, RIGHT?
THE SAME FEAR, I MIGHT DIE, I
MIGHT GET SICK, I MIGHT LOSE THE
PEOPLE THAT I LOVE.
NOT ONLY MIGHT THAT HAPPEN, IT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN.
WELL WHY AREN'T PEOPLE AFRAID OF
THAT ALL THE TIME?
WE DON'T REALLY KNOW.
THE OBSESSIVE PERSON BECOMES
AWARE OF IT.
WHAT DO YOU TELL THEM?
YOU SAY, DO IT ANYWAY, DO IT
ANYWAY.
AND THEY LEARN QUICKLY THAT IF
THEY DON'T RUN AWAY FROM THE
THING THEY'RE AFRAID OF, THERE'S
SOMETHING IN THEM THAT RESPONDS
TO IT.
THEY LEARN THAT THE FEAR IS NOT
LARGER THAN THEY ARE.
NOW I LIKE EDNA FOAS CASE IN
PARTICULAR, BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS
MIGHT WONDER WITH THIS, LIKE
WHAT'S THE LIMIT?
RIGHT, OKAY, THAT'S SOUNDS GOOD
IN THEORY, BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING
REALLY TERRIBLE HAS HAPPENED TO
YOU?
WELL WHAT'S HAPPENED TO EDNA
FOA'S PATIENTS, THAT'S RIGHT UP
THERE WITH TERRIBLE, RIGHT?
I MEAN THAT'S UP THERE WITH
TERRIBLE.
STRIPPED OF SOCIAL DIGNITY,
VIOLATED PHYSICALLY.
THAT COMBINES 2 OF PEOPLE'S MOST
SPECIFIC FEARS.
WELL THEN THERE'S OTHER KINDS OF
CONFRONTATION, TOO.
I LIKE THE STORY OF
SOLZHENITSYN, I THINK THAT'S
REALLY A GOOD ONE, BECAUSE
THERE'S DIFFERENT KINDS OF
DRAGONS, RIGHT?
THERE'S NATURAL DRAGONS LIKE
DEATH AND DISEASE, AND THEN
THERE'S SOCIAL DRAGONS LIKE
BUREAUCRACIES AND TYRANNIES.
ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN AS YOU
MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW WAS A
PRISONER IN THE SOVIET GULAG
CONCENTRATION SYSTEM, THAT BY
HIS REPORT AT LEAST, KILLED 60
MILLION PEOPLE BETWEEN 1919 AND
1959, RIGHT?
60 MILLION, THAT'S 10 TIMES AS
MANY AS HITLER KILLED.
AT LEAST WITH REGARDS TO THE
GENOCIDE -- 60 MILLION.
SOLZHENITSYN, HE HAD A PRETTY
NASTY LIFE.
FIRST OF ALL HE'S ON THE RUSSIAN
FRONT, WHICH WAS A NASTY PLACE
TO BE.
THEN HE WAS CAPTURED BY THE
GERMANS, AND THEY DIDN'T LIKE
RUSSIANS, SO THEY PUT THEM IN
SEPARATE PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS,
PARTLY BECAUSE STALIN, WHO WAS
THE CONSUMMATE PARANOID,
WOULDN'T SIGN THE GENEVA
CONVENTION ON THE TREATMENT OF
PRISONERS OF WAR.
SO THE GERMANS SET UP EXTRA
P.O.W. CAMPS FOR THE RUSSIANS,
AND THEY STARVED GENERALLY SO
BADLY, THAT IF OTHER P.O.Ws WERE
IN THE VICINITY, THEY'D THROW
FOOD PACKAGES OVER THE WIRE EVEN
THOUGH THEY THEMSELVES WEREN'T
PARTICULARLY WELL FED.
SO THEN THE WAR ENDS AND THE
RUSSIANS WIN AND SOLZHENITSYN
GOES BACK TO RUSSIA, RIGHT?
AND WHAT HAPPENS, HE'S THINKING,
WOW, THIS IS OVER.
WE HELPED DEFEND THE FATHERLAND,
WE'RE GOING TO GET, IF NOT A
HERO'S WELCOME, AT LEAST SOME
WELCOME.
BUT STALIN FIGURED, NO, NO,
THESE RUSSIANS WHO HAD BEEN TO
THE WEST, THEY WERE CONTAMINATED
BY THEIR EXPOSURE TO THE WESTERN
ECONOMIC SYSTEM AND AS A
CONSEQUENCE OF THAT, THEY POSED
A THREAT TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE
SOVIET STATE, SO HE JUST THREW
THEM ALL IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS.
SO FINE, SO SOLZHENITSYN IS
SITTING THERE IN THIS
CONCENTRATION CAMP ON A COAL
PILE WHICH CONTAINED THIS KIND
OF CLAY THAT HIS COMPATRIOTS
WOULD EAT BECAUSE THEY WERE SO
DAMNED HUNGRY THAT IT WAS BETTER
TO HAVE THE CLAY IN THEIR
STOMACH THAN NOTHING AT ALL.
AND HE THOUGHT, ALL RIGHT, WHAT
THE HELL DID I DO TO GET HERE?
WHICH IS REALLY A REMARKABLE
THING TO THINK, RIGHT?
BECAUSE LIKE THERE WAS THE
SECOND WORLD WAR, AND THAT
PROBABLY COULDN'T BE PINNED
DIRECTLY ON HIM, AND THEN
THERE'S STALIN WHO WAS REALLY
ONE OF THE WORLD'S WORST
MONSTERS, AND THEN THERE'S THE
CONCENTRATION CAMP AND THE
P.O.W. CAMP AND LIKE, A LOT OF
THINGS HAPPENED TO SOLZHENITSYN,
BUT HE SAID THAT HE HAD NOTHING
BUT TIME TO THINK IN THIS
CONCENTRATION CAMP, AND HE
WASN'T REALLY THAT HAPPY ABOUT
THE WAY THINGS TURNED OUT.
SO HE MADE A VOW IN THE CAMP AND
THE VOW WAS THIS.
HE WAS GOING TO GO BACK
OVER HIS WHOLE LIFE, WHOLE LIFE,
RIGHT FROM DAY ONE, AND TRY
TO REMEMBER EVERY TIME HE EVER
DID SOMETHING HE THOUGHT WAS
WRONG. HE THOUGHT, RIGHT? NOT
SOMEONE ELSE. BUT THAT GAVE
HIS CONSCIENCE A PANG.
AND HE SAID, SINCE I DON'T HAVE
ANYTHING BETTER TO DO, I'M GOING
TO SPEND THE NEXT 10 YEARS
SEEING IF I CAN UNDO ALL THOSE
LITTLE KNOTS IN MY SOUL THAT I
TIED.
AND THE CONSEQUENCE OF THAT WAS
THAT HE WROTE A BOOK CALLED THE
GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, LIKE A 3
VOLUME BOOK, 1900 PAGES LONG.
HE MEMORIZED IT, BECAUSE THERE
WASN'T ANY PAPER AND PENCIL
AVAILABLE FOR HIM IN PRISON.
AND THEN IT CIRCULATED IN THE
UNDERGROUND IN THE SOVIET UNION
FOR YEARS BEFORE IT WAS
PUBLISHED IN THE WEST, PUBLISHED
IN 1975.
DEFINITELY ONE OF THE LITERARY
EVENTS THAT BROUGHT DOWN THE
SOVIET UNION.
I THINK THAT'S KIND OF
INTERESTING, ISN'T IT?
THIS ONE GUY, RIGHT, HAS GOT
NUMBERS TATTOOED ON HIS ARM,
HE'S AS SKINNY AS A RAIL, HE'S
Three quarters DEAD, HE'S BEEN BEAT TO
DEATH IN 15 DIFFERENT WAYS.
HE DECIDES UNDER COMPLETELY
UNREASONABLE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT
HE'S GOING TO TAKE PERSONAL
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE POSITION
THAT HE HAPPENS TO FIND HIMSELF
IN, THE CONSEQUENCE OF THAT, 25
YEARS LATER IS THAT SOLZHENITSYN
IS STILL AROUND, BUT THE SOVIET
UNION ISN'T.
AND YOU THINK, WELL THAT CAN'T
BE THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS, NOW
CAN IT?
BUT THEN YOU THINK THIS, TOO.
DO WE REALLY KNOW HOW THE WORLD
WORKS, RIGHT?
WE'VE HAD A PRETTY NASTY CENTURY
IN THE LAST 100 YEARS, WE'VE HAD
THE NAZIS, WE HAD MAO TSE TUNG,
WE'VE HAD THE RECENT TRAGEDIES
IN AFRICA.
WE DON'T SEEM TO LEARN ANYTHING
ABOUT GENOCIDE.
SOMEONE LIKE SOLZHENITSYN SAYS,
WELL, YOU KNOW, MIGHT BE YOUR
FAULT.
WHY, WHAT ARE YOU IGNORING?
GOOD QUESTION.
CAN YOU MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR OWN
FAMILY?
IT'S NOT SO EASY, RIGHT?
IT'S PROBABLY NO EASIER THAN
MAKING PEACE BETWEEN THE
ISRAELIS AND THE PALESTINIANS.
WHAT DO WE ENCOUNTER WHEN WE
ENCOUNTER SOMETHING WE DON'T
UNDERSTAND?
WE DON'T KNOW.
IT'S NOT THE SIMPLE WORLD OF
OBJECTS.
THE SIMPLE WORLD OF OBJECTS IS
SOMETHING WE'VE LEARNED TO SEE.
THE REAL WORLD IS WAY MORE
COMPLICATED THAN WHAT WE JUST
SEE.
LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.
WHEN I WAS IN MONTREAL, 1985, MY
COMPUTER CRASHED.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR
COMPUTER CRASHES?
WELL, WHEN THE COMPUTER
ENCOUNTERS SOMETHING UNEXPECTED,
IT CRASHES.
IT CAN'T DO A DAMNED THING ABOUT
IT, YOU HAVE TO FIX IT.
SO I CHECKED THE MONITOR, IT WAS
OKAY.
IT WOULDN'T GO ON, IT SEEMED ALL
RIGHT.
THEN I NOTICED MY LAMPS WEREN'T
WORKING, SO I WENT TO THE FUSE
BOX, AND ALL THE FUSES SEEMED
OKAY, SO THEN I WENT OUTSIDE TO
GO DOWN TO THE CORNER STORE TO
GET A CIGARETTE.
AND I SAW THAT OUTSIDE ALL THE
LIGHTS WERE OFF, THE TRAFFIC
LIGHTS WERE OFF, THE WHOLE CITY
WAS IN DARKNESS.
THEN I FOUND OUT THE NEXT DAY
THAT THERE WAS A SOLAR WIND.
A BIG SOLAR FLARE PUT OUT A BIG
CLOUD OF ELECTRONS, ZIPPED ALONG
TO EARTH AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT,
PUT AN ELECTRICAL PULSE THROUGH
THE HYDRO-ELECTRIC GRID IN
QUEBEC, CRASHED MY COMPUTER.
WELL I HADN'T THOUGHT, UNTIL
THAT POINT, THAT THE INTEGRITY
OF MY COMPUTER WAS DEPENDENT ON
THE STABILITY OF THE SUN.
EVERYTHING IS WAY MORE
COMPLICATED THAN IT LOOKS, AND
WHEN YOU JUST LOOK AT SOMETHING,
YOU SEE A VERY SIMPLE
REPRESENTATION OF WHAT'S
ACTUALLY THERE.
WHAT DO YOU ENCOUNTER WHEN YOU
ENCOUNTER SOMETHING UNEXPECTED?
WELL WHEN YOU FIRST ENCOUNTER
IT, YOU DON'T KNOW.
ALL YOU KNOW IS THAT IT
FRIGHTENS YOU, BUT IT MAKES YOU
CURIOUS.
THINK DRAGONS, RIGHT?
EVERY PRIMATE IS AFRAID OF
LIZARDS, INCLUDING US.
CHIMPANZEES DON'T LIKE SNAKES.
IF YOU TAKE A CHIMP THAT'S NEVER
SEEN A SNAKE, YOU SHOW IT A
SNAKE, IT WILL HIT THE ROOF OF
ITS CAGE, THEN IT WILL LOOK AT
THE SNAKE.
WHY WOULD A DRAGON HOARD GOLD?
BECAUSE THE DRAGON REPRESENTS
EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE AFRAID
OF.
WHAT'S EMBEDDED IN EVERYTHING
THAT YOU'RE AFRAID OF?
ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THAT YOU
NEED TO FIND.
RUN FROM WHAT YOU'RE AFRAID OF,
RUN FROM EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED
TO FIND.

He projects a drawing of a man on horseback attacking a small dragon.

Jordan continues ONE OF THE OLDEST DRAMATIC
REPRESENTATIONS WE KNOW OF, NOT
THIS SPECIFIC PAINTING, THIS IS
ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON.
THE DRAGON LIVES IN THE
GROUND...
CHASED THERE BY HEROES OF A
PREVIOUS GENERATION, NOW AND
THEN RE-EMERGING.
KILLS PEOPLE, RIGHT?
THESE ARE SKULLS AROUND ITS
LAIR.
THREATENS THE INTEGRITY OF THE
COMMUNITY, LIKE EVERYTHING
UNEXPECTED DOES, HERO COMES OUT,
SLAYS THE DRAGON, FREES THE
TREASURE.
IN THIS CASE, IT'S A VIRGINAL
WOMAN.
DRAGONS HOARD GOLD BECAUSE THE
THING YOU MOST NEED IS ALWAYS TO
BE FOUND WHERE YOU LEAST WANT TO
LOOK.
I'M GOING TO CLOSE THIS WITH
ANOTHER DREAM.
THIS IS A DREAM MY 5 YEAR OLD
NEPHEW HAD.
NOW YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE
CONTEXT OF THIS DREAM, RIGHT?
A YEAR AFTER THIS DREAM, PARENTS
WERE DIVORCED.
SO THERE WERE DRAGONS IN THE
HOUSE.
HE WAS ABOUT 4 AT THIS TIME, HE
WAS RUNNING AROUND THE HOUSE
WITH THIS LITTLE PLASTIC KNIGHT
HELMET ON AND A SWORD.
HE WAS ZIPPING AROUND KILLING
THINGS WITH IT, DOING THIS ALL
THE TIME.
AND EVEN WHEN HE WENT TO SLEEP
AT NIGHT, HE'D PUT THE SWORD BY
HIS PILLOW AND THE KNIGHT HELMET
ON HIS PILLOW.
NOW EVERY NIGHT, OR EVERY SECOND
NIGHT OR EVERY THIRD NIGHT, FOR
6 MONTHS, HE'S BEEN WAKING UP
SCREAMING.
NOW WHY?
WELL HE WAS ABOUT TO GO TO
KINDERGARTEN, RIGHT, AND THAT'S
A REAL THRESHOLD FOR A KID.
AWAY FROM MATERNAL DEPENDENCE
FUNDAMENTALLY AND INTO THE REAL
WORLD.
THAT'S--
THAT'S A NEW THING.
BUT ALSO THERE WAS UPSET IN HIS
HOUSE.
SO I WAS THERE ONE NIGHT WHEN HE
WOKE UP SCREAMING.
I SAID THE NEXT MORNING, "WELL
DID YOU DREAM ANYTHING?" AND SO
HE LAUNCHED INTO THIS STORY.
HE SAID, "DWARF."
HE WAS IN THIS FIELD AND THESE
LITTLE CREATURES, LIKE DWARFS
WERE COMING UP TO HIM AND THEY
DIDN'T HAVE ANY ARMS, THEY JUST
HAD LEGS.
AND THEY WERE--
THEY HAD BIG BEAKS AND THEY WERE
COVERED WITH HAIR AND GREASE,
AND ON TOP OF THEIR HEAD WAS A
CROSS SHAVED INTO THIS HAIR.
AND THERE WAS LOTS AND LOTS OF
THESE DWARFS AND THEY WERE
JUMPING ON HIM, WITH THEIR
BEAKS, BITING HIM.
WE ALL LOOKED AT HIM AND
THOUGHT, WELL IT'S NO WONDER
THAT YOU'RE WAKING UP SCREAMING,
YOU KNOW.
THAT DOESN'T SOUND SO GOOD.
AND THEN HE SAID, "WELL WAIT,
THERE'S MORE," RIGHT?
BACK IN THE DISTANCE, THERE'S A
DRAGON, AND THE DRAGON IS
PUFFING OUT FIRE AND SMOKE AND
EVERY TIME HE PUFFS OUT FIRE AND
SMOKE, IT TURNS INTO THESE
DWARFS.
BIG PROBLEM, RIGHT?
JUST LIKE THE PROBLEM WITH THE
HYDRA IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY.
CUT OFF ONE HEAD, 7 MORE APPEAR.
SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO
ABOUT THESE DWARFS? KILL ONE,
BIG DEAL, 10 MORE ARE COMING.
I SAID, "WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT
THAT?"
NOW, IN A LEGAL TRIAL, THAT
WOULD HAVE BEEN AN INADMISSIBLE
QUESTION.
THAT'S CALLED LEADING THE
WITNESS, RIGHT?
BECAUSE WHAT I TOLD HIM WAS,
DESPITE THE HORROR OF THIS
SITUATION, YOU MAYBE COULD DO
SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
AND HE SAID, "HA, I'D TAKE MY
SWORD, I'D GET MY DAD ."
THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, DAD, THERE'S
THE REAL DAD AND THEN THERE'S
THE TRADITION DAD, RIGHT?
YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE YOUR
FATHER BY YOUR SIDE IF YOU'RE
GOING TO GO INTO BATTLE.
I'D TAKE MY SWORD, I'D GET MY
DAD, I'D GO TO WHERE THE DRAGON
WAS.
I'D JUMP UP ON HIS HEAD, I'D
POKE BOTH OF HIS EYES OUT WITH
THE SWORD, I'D TO DOWN HIS
THROAT TO THE PLACE WHERE THE
FIRE COMES OUT, I'D CUT A PIECE
OF THAT BOX OUT AND I'D USE IT
AS A SHIELD.
I THOUGHT, "WOW, THAT'S
UNBELIEVABLE.
UNBELIEVABLE THAT HE COULD DO
THAT.
IT'S PERFECT, RIGHT, BECAUSE
THERE'S NO SENSE GOING AFTER THE
DWARFS BECAUSE THERE ARE
THOUSANDS OF THEM.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO AFTER THE
DRAGON.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GO AFTER THE
DRAGON?
YOU GET A PIECE OF IT.
RIGHT A PIECE OF IT'S CENTRE
NATURE.
A PIECE THAT CAN DEFEND YOU
AGAINST ANYTHING, INCLUDING
OTHER DRAGONS.
SO WHAT IF THIS WAS THE CASE?
EVOLUTIONARILY SPEAKING, OR
RELIGIOUSLY SPEAKING, WHAT IF WE
WERE ADAPTED TO THE WORLD?
AND WHAT IF IT'S NOT THE SIMPLE
PLACE OF DEAD OBJECTS THAT WE
THINK IT IS?
WHAT IF IT'S SOMETHING A LOT
MORE ALIVE, A LOT MORE LIKE A
STORY?
WHAT IF THE STORY IS SOMETHING
LIKE THIS?
YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING
YOU NEED, BUT YOU HAVE TO USE
ALL OF IT.
IF YOU RUN AWAY FROM ANY OF IT,
AND IN PARTICULAR THE PARTS OF
IT THAT FRIGHTEN YOU, AND YOU
KNOW THERE'S ENDLESS REASONS TO
RUN AWAY FROM.
IF YOU RUN AWAY FROM ANY OF IT,
YOU DON'T GET THAT PIECE OF THE
DRAGON.
IF YOU MISS EVEN ONE PIECE,
THERE'S A CHINK IN YOUR ARMOUR,
THERE'S A PLACE THAT YOU'RE
VULNERABLE.
IF YOU MAKE EVEN ONE MISTAKE,
YOU LESSEN YOURSELF.
IF YOU LESSEN YOURSELF, YOU'RE
GOING TO RUN AWAY MORE.
NOT ONLY THAT, WHEN SOMEONE
WANTS TO LEAN ON YOU?
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO
LEAN ON YOU, BECAUSE YOU'LL JUST
FALL OVER.
WHAT IF IT WAS THE CASE THAT WE
WERE ADAPTED TO THE WORLD,
REALLY ADAPTED TO IT?
SO IF WE MADE FULL USE OF ALL
THE TALENTS WE HAD, WE'D BE
OKAY.
WHAT IF IT WAS THE CASE THAT IF
WE SET OUT CONSCIOUSLY TO NEVER
RUN AWAY FROM SOMETHING THAT WE
SHOULDN'T RUN AWAY FROM, THAT
EVERYTHING WOULD BE ALL RIGHT?
WELL, YOU CAN THINK WHATEVER YOU
WANT TO THINK, BUT THIS IS WHAT
I THINK.
I THINK IT'S BLOODY AMAZING THAT
THAT LITTLE KID'S BOOK THAT I
READ YOU AT THE BEGINNING OF
THIS LECTURE, HAD ALL THAT
INFORMATION IN IT.
SO YOU MIGHT ASK YOURSELF WHEN
YOU LEAVE, IF THAT INFORMATION
ISN'T TRUE, HOW THE HELL DID IT
GET THERE?
THAT'S IT.

The audience laughs.

Jordan smiles and says THANKS.

[applause]

Watch: Jordan Peterson on Slaying the Dragon Within Us