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Jordan Peterson: The Video That Will Change Your Future – Powerful Motivational Speech 2018

if you’re hungry it’s not a
deterministic Drive
it’s a subpersonality that has a goal
and then it has a bunch of action
patterns that are going to work in
reference to that goal it has a bunch of
perceptions that that suit that goal and
it organizes your emotional responses
around that goal and so to think about
it as a personality is it much it’s a
much more intelligent way to look at it
one other thing about Skinner’s rats you
know Skinner could get rats to do almost
everything and he would reward them with
food and so he had a simple rat model
but his rats were starved down to 75% of
their normal body weight so not only
were they not social gregarious rats
like rats are because they were isolated
they’re genetically altered from wild
rats but they also weren’t as complex as
a rail route because they were starving
and so but you know a starving rat is a
pretty good model of a rat and a rat has
a pretty good model of a person but our
a lot of our models of simple behavioral
learning were based on starving isolated
so anyways how to think about motivation
well think about it from the
hypothalamic perspective so we could say
one thing that motivation does is set
goals we could say that emotions track
progress towards goals and I’m gonna use
that schema even though it’s not exactly
right so you say well motivation
determines where you’re gonna aim so if
you’re hungry you’re gonna aim at
something to eat and then that will
organize your perceptions so that you
zero out everything that isn’t relevant
to that task which is almost everything
you concentrate on those few things that
are going to facilitate your movement
forward when you encounter those things
that produces positive emotion as you
move through the world towards your goal
and you see that things are laying
themselves out that facilitate your
movement forward those things cause
positive emotion and if you encounter
anything that gets in the way then that
produces negative emotion and it can be
like threat because you’re not supposed
to encounter something that gets in the
way it can be anger so that you move it
away it can be frustration
disappointment grief those would if you
had a response that’s serious to an
obstacle it would probably punish the
little motivated frame right out of
existence you know so you walk
downstairs and I don’t know the
contracting company and set a wrecking
ball through your kitchen it’s like
that’s going to be disappointing you’re
not gonna keep eating the peanut butter
sandwich in the rubble that little frame
is going to get punished out of
existence and some new goal is going to
pop up and it’s dead and you know one of
the things we’re gonna try to sort out
is how do you decide when you’ve
encountered an obstacle that’s so big
that you should just quit and go do
something else because that’s not
obvious you know and you can you can get
into counter productive persistence
pretty easily so we don’t know how
people solve that problem it’s a really
complicated one so anyways we’re gonna
work on that scenario your hypothalamus
pops up micro goals that are directly
relevant to biological survival that
produces a frame of reference so it’s
not a goal it’s not a drive and it’s not
a collection of behaviors it’s of little
personality and the personality has a
viewpoint it has thoughts that go along
with it
it has perceptions it has action
tendencies all of that you can see this
in addiction most particularly so one of
the things that you find often with
people who are alcoholic is they lie all
the time and that’s because when they’re
they built a little alcohol dependent
personality inside of themselves or a
big one it might maybe it’s 90 percent
of the personality and one of that one
of the things that component consists of
is all the rationalizations that they’ve
used over the years to justify their
addiction to themselves and to other
people and so the addiction has a
personality you know and so when the
person is off mod maybe they’re addicted
to meth or something like that where we
know the addiction is more it’s it’s
it’s more short-term powerful that I
would say than an alcohol addiction
he’ll say anything and that the the
words are just tools used to get towards
the goal and if they happen to be
whatever it doesn’t matter they’re just
practical tools to get towards the goal
and then when you get towards the goal
and you take a nice shot of meth or
something like that you reinforce all
those rationales that you use to get the
drug and then the next time you’re even
a better deceiver and liar so okay so
we’re gonna say motivations one way of
thinking about as they set goals but
is not the right way of thinking about
it they produce a whole framework of
interpretation and so we’re gonna think
about that framework of interpretation
and then emotions emerge inside of that
so that’s it so the world is framed
motivation set goals you could say the
world has to be framed so motivation
sets that frame whose goals emotions
perceptions and actions and then actions
track progress so positive emotion says
you’re moving forward properly towards
your goal and if you encounter something
you don’t expect you stop
that’s anxiety it’s like oh we’re not
where we thought we were and so we don’t
know what to do so we should stop
because we don’t know where we are what
we’re doing stop frozen and then the
more powerful negative emotions like
pain they might make you get out of
there so emotions forward stop reverse
that’s your emotions within that
motivated frame so and that’s another
example of how your mind is embedded in
your body you know emotions are like
they’re they’re offshoots of action
tendencies that’s that’s the right way
to think about it because action is
everything fundamentally so what are
some basic motivations
most of these are regulated by the
hypothalamus by the way and that tells
you just how important a control system
it is the other thing that’s useful to
know about the hypothalamus is that it
has projections going up from it that
are like tree trunks and inhibitory
projections coming down that are like
grape vines so you can kind of control
your hypothalamus as long as it’s not on
too much but if it’s on in any serious
way it’s like it it wins so partly what
you do to stop yourself from falling
under the Dominion of your hypothalamus
is to never ever be anywhere where it’s
action is necessary right you don’t want
to go into a biker bar because you might
find yourself in a situation where
panicked defensive aggression is
immediately necessary you probably don’t
want that you don’t want the panic you
don’t want the terror you don’t want the
frenzied fight you don’t want any of
that you don’t want to have to run away
in absolute panic so you just don’t go
there and then a huge a huge part of how
we regulate our emotions is just by
never going anywhere where we have to
experience them and so that has very
little to do with
internal inhibitory control and
everything to do with staying where you
belong so okay so basic motivations
hunger thirst pain pain is not regulated
by the hypothalamus that’s a different
circuit anger slash aggression thermal
regulation panic and escape affiliation
and care sexual desire exploration play
and you can kind of break those in you
can kind of break those into the classic
Darwinian categories too and say well
there’s a set of motivations that go
along with self maintenance
gotta be your survival ingested and
defensive see I’ve sort of coded them
there so the the self maintenance
there’s an adjustable base ik
motivations that go with self
maintenance you say that’s hunger thirst
there’s a set of defensive motivations
paying anger thermal regulation panic
and escape and then there’s there’s
motivations that are associated with
reproduction affiliation care and sexual
desire and then I put exploration and
plays sort of outside of that I would
say because those two things serve both
of these approximately equally when I
went to Harvard I came from the Gil and
I had spent a lot of time with my
adviser there and a research team that
he had trying to understand the genesis
of antisocial behavior and I’m among
adolescents mostly so well as kids as
well antisocial behavior is very
persistent so if you have a child whose
conduct disordered at the age of four
the probability that they will be
criminal at the age of fifteen or twenty
is extremely high it’s unbelievably
stable it’s a very dismal literature
because you see these early onset
aggressive kids and and it’s persistent
and then you look at the intervention
literature and you throw up your hands
because no interventions work and
believe me psychologists have tried
everything you could possibly imagine
and a bunch of things that you can’t in
order to ameliorate that so we’re really
interested in trying to understand for
example if you’re antisocial
by the age of four then there isn’t an
intervention that seems to be effective
so and the standard penological theory
is really quite horrifying in this
regard because what you see is that male
aggression Peaks around the age of 15
and then it declines fairly
precipitously and and and sort of
normalizes again by the age of 27 and
standard penological Theory essentially
is this cold-hearted it’s like if you
have a multi if you have someone who’s a
multiple offender you just throw them in
prison till they’re 27 then they age out
of it and that’s all there is to it
that’s that’s what we’ve got now there’s
some downside to that because there’s a
corollary literature that suggests that
the worst thing that you can do with
antisocial people is to group them
together which is what we do in prisons
so so that’s a whole mess anyways one of
the things we were doing was trying to
see if there might be cognitive
predictors of antisocial behavior and so
we used this battery of
neuropsychological tests that was put
together at the Montreal Neurological
Institute took about 11 hours to
administer and hypothetically assess
prefrontal cortical function and we
computerized that reduced it to about 90
minutes and then assessed antisocial
adolescents in in Montreal and found out
that they did show deficits in the
problem-solving ability that we
associated with with prefrontal ability
when I got to Harvard I thought well
that’s interesting we could use the
neuro psych battery to predict negative
behavior perhaps we could use it to
predict positive behavior so I thought
well what if we turned the neuro psych
battery and over and thought well can we
predict grades for example because you
know that’s a decent thing to predict so
we ran a study we ran a study that
looked at Harvard kids University of
Toronto kids line workers at a Milwaukee
factory and managers and executives at
the same Factory and what we found was
that the average score across these
neuropsychological tests they were kind
of like games they were game-like you
know so in one in one test you had there
were five lights in the middle of the
screen and a box was associated with
each light and you had to learn by trial
and error which boy
was associated with with each light that
was one of the tests so we took people’s
average score across the tests because
they seemed to clump together into a
single structure you can do you can find
that out statistically if you take a
bunch of tests you can find out how they
clump together statistically by looking
at their patterns of correlations and
you might get multiple clumps which is
what happens with personality research
where you get five or you might get a
singular clump which is what happens in
cognitive research and we got a single
clump essentially and then we were
trying to figure out if at the same time
I was reading the literature on
performance prediction and there’s an
extensive literature on performance
prediction a lot of it generated by the
Armed Forces by the way indicating that
IQ is a very good predictor of long-term
life success and so here’s that here’s
the general rule if your job is simple
which means you do the same thing every
then IQ predicts how fast you’ll learn
the job but not how well you you do it
but if your job is complex which means
that the demands change on an ongoing
basis then the best predictor of success
is general cognitive ability and and I
learned that the general cognitive
ability test clumped together into a
single factor that’s fluid intelligence
or IQ and then we didn’t know if the
factor that we had found was the same
factor as IQ and it and we still haven’t
really figured out whether or not that
was the case because it kind of depends
on how you do the analysis but anyways I
I got deeply into the performance
prediction literature and I found out
well if you wanted to predict people’s
performance in life there’s there’s a
couple of things you need to know you
need to know their general cognitive
ability if they’re going to do a complex
job you need to know their trait
conscientiousness some of you might have
heard that rebranded as grit in a very
corrupt act by the way because it’s a
good predictor of long-term life success
freedom from negative emotion low
neuroticism is another predictor but
it’s sort of third on the hierarchy and
then openness to experience which is a
personality trait is associated with
with expertise in creative domains the
evidence that now I should tell you so
there’s such a complicated question I
should tell you how to make an IQ test
is actually really easy
and you need to know this to actually
understand what IQ is so imagine that
you generated a set of 10,000 questions
okay about anything it could be math
problems they could be general knowledge
they could be vocabulary they could be
multiple choice it really doesn’t matter
what they’re about as long as they
require abstraction to solve so they be
formulated linguistically but
mathematically would also apply and then
you have those 10,000 questions now you
take a random set of a hundred of those
questions and you give them to a
thousand people and all you do is sum up
the answers right from so some people
are gonna get most of them right and
some some of them are gonna get most of
them wrong you just rank order the
people in terms of their score correct
that for age and you have IQ that’s all
there is to it and what you’ll find is
that no matter which random set of a
hundred questions you take the people at
the top of one random set will be at the
top of all the others and it with very
very very high consistency so one thing
you need to know is that if any social
science claims whatsoever are correct
then the IQ claims are correct because
the IQ claims are more psychometrically
rigorous than any other phenomena
phenomenon that’s been discovered by
social scientists now the IQ literature
is a dismal literature no one likes it
here’s why here’s an example so here’s a
little here’s a fun little fact for you
for liberals and conservatives alike
because conservatives think there’s a
job for everyone if people just get off
their asses and get to work and liberals
think while you can train anyone to do
anything it’s like no there isn’t a job
for everyone and no you can’t train
everyone to do everything that’s wrong
and here’s one of the consequences of
that so as I mentioned the Armed Forces
has done a lot of work on IQ and they
started back in 1919 and the reason they
did that was because well for obvious
reasons say let’s say there’s a war and
you want to get qualified people into
the officer positions as rapidly as
possible or you’ll lose so that’s a
reason and now the Armed Forces has
experimented with IQ test since 1919 and
in the last 20 years a law was passed as
a consequence of that and
which was that it was illegal to induct
anyone into the Armed Forces who had an
IQ of less than 83 now the question is
why and the answer was all of that
effort put in by the Armed Forces
indicated that if you had an IQ of 83 or
less there wasn’t anything that you
could be trained to do in the military
that wasn’t positively counterproductive
now you got to think about that a
because the military is chronically
desperate for people right there it’s
not like they’re it’s not like people
are lining up to be inducted right they
have to go out and recruit and it’s not
easy and so they’re desperate to get
their hands on every body they can
possibly manage and then especially in
wartime but also in peacetime but then
there was another reason to which was
the Armed Forces was also set up from a
policy perspective to take people in the
underclass let’s say and train them and
move them up at least into the working
class or maybe the middle class so
there’s a policy element to it too and
so even from that perspective you could
see that the military is desperate to
bring people in but well with an IQ of
83 or less it’s not happening okay so
how many people have an IQ of 83 or less
10% now if that doesn’t if that doesn’t
hurt you to here then you didn’t hear it
properly because what it implies is that
in a complex society like ours and one
that’s becoming increasingly complex
there isn’t anything for 10% of the
population to do all right well what are
we gonna do we’re gonna ignore that
we’re gonna run away from that and I
won’t believe me we have every reason to
or we’re gonna contend with the fact
that we need to figure out how it is how
it is how it might be possible to find a
place for people on the lower end of the
general cognitive distribution to take
their productive and and worthwhile
place in society and that isn’t just
gonna be a matter of dumping money down
the hierarchy because giving people who
have nothing to do money isn’t helpful
it doesn’t work it’s not that simple
well so that’s kind of an answer to the
question of whether or not we should
deal with the with IQ forthrightly it’s
if you can find a flaw in that logic
like just go right ahead it’s not like I
was thrilled to death to discover all of
this by nose by no stretch of the
imagination was that the case so so what
so IQ is reliable invalid that’s the
first thing it’s more reliable and valid
than any other psychometric test ever
designed by social scientists by a
factor of about three that’s fact number
one fact number two is it predicts long
term life outcome at about 0.3 0.4 which
leaves about 85 percent 70 to 85 percent
of the story unexplained but it’s still
the best thing that we have well it’s
also the case that in places like Great
Britain when IQ tests were first
introduced they were actually used by
the Socialists and they were used to
identify poor people who had potential
cognitive potential and to move them
into higher into Institutes of higher
education so there’s an upside you know
a social upside as well this is
something you can’t say anything about
without without immediately being killed
so I’m hesitant to broach the topic but
I’ll tell you one thing that I did in
the last week that’s relevant to this so
there and this just shows you how
complex the problem is first of all we
should point out that race is a very
difficult thing to define because racial
boundaries aren’t tight right so and so
when you talk about racial differences
in IQ you you’re faced with the thorny
problem of defining race and that’s a
big problem from a scientific
perspective but we’ll leave that aside
and I wrote an article this week
somebody stood up at one point one of my
talks and veiss bless their hearts took
this particular question and used it as
an indication of the quality of the
people who are my so-called followers
and by the way the quality of my
so-called followers is pretty damn high
and you can find that out quite rapidly
just by going looking at the YouTube
comments which are head and shoulders
above what the standards said of YouTube
comments I can tell you that so someone
asked me they’re both the Jewish
right and
the implication it was actually someone
Jewish and the implication was that Jews
are over-represented in positions of
authority and power and and I was had
just spoken for like an hour and a half
and you know this guy had an axe to
grind and I thought there’s no goddamn
way I’m getting into this at the moment
and so I I I said I can’t answer that
question but that’s not a very good
answer so I wrote a blog post this week
and I said look here’s the here’s the
all right Jews are over-represented in
positions of power and authority but
then let’s open her eyes a little bit
and think for like two or three seconds
and think hey guess what they’re also
over-represented in positions of
competence and it’s not like we have
more geniuses than we know what to do
with and if the Jews happen to be
producing more of them which they are by
the way then that’s a pretty good thing
for the rest of us
so let’s not confuse competence with
power and authority even though that’s a
favorite trick of the radical leftist
who always failed to make that
distinction well why does this over
representation occur because it does it
also there’s also over representation in
political movements including radical
political movements okay why
well answer one Jewish conspiracy okay
that’s not a very good answer
we’ve had we’ve used that answer before
all right but but do we have an
alternative well here’s an alternative
the average Ashkenazi IQ is somewhere
between 110 and 150 which is about one
standard deviation above the population
average and so what that means is that
the average Ashkenazi / European Jew has
an IQ that’s higher than 85% of the
population that’s bought higher now that
doesn’t make that much difference in the
middle of the distribution okay but
geniuses don’t exist at the middle of
the distribution they exist at the tails
of the distribution and you don’t need
much of a move at the mean to produce
walloping differences at the tails and
the tails are important because a lot of
where we draw we draw exceptional people
from the exceptions right so here’s an
another example of the same thing most
engineers are male
why because men are more interested in
things and women are more interested in
people and you might say well that’s
socio-cultural it’s like no it’s not and
we know that because if you stack up
countries by their by their egalitarian
social policies which you can do quite
effectively and then you look at the
over representation of men in STEM
fields the over representation increases
as the countries become more egalitarian
so it’s not socio-cultural okay now men
aren’t that much more interested in
things than women it’s one standard
deviation which is about the same
difference by the way between the
population norm and the Ashkenazi Jews
but if you’re looking at the person the
one person in 20 or the one person in 50
who’s most who’s hyper interested in
things and that’s likely to become an
engineer then most of them are men
here’s another example of the same thing
men are more aggressive than women now
you might ask how much an answer that is
best place to look at that is in Sweden
where the Galit Aryan policies have been
laid out for a long period of time and
you can you can get a more direct
inference about biology if you took a
random man and a random woman out of the
population and you had to bet on who was
more aggressive and you bet on the man
you’d be right 60 percent of the time so
that’s not that much right it’s it’s
deviates from 50/50 but it’s not like
ninety ten it’s 60/40 okay so so what
does that mean well we got a tail
problem here again let’s say that now
you decide to go out on to the extremes
of aggression and you identify the most
aggressive one in a hundred persons
they’re all men
guess who’s in prison those people
that’s why most of the people in prison
are men and so this is elementary part
of the problem in our society is that we
don’t understand statistics we don’t
understand that you can have relatively
small differences at the population
level that produce walloping
consequences at
the tails of the distribution okay so
back to IQ one final thing to say about
IQ the ethnic differences are difficult
to dispense with it’s not easy to make
them go away you can say well the tests
aren’t culture fair well here’s a test
of that so imagine you you test group a
with an IQ test and you test Group B
with an IQ test and then you look at
their actual performance in whatever
you’re predicting if the test was biased
against ethnic group a then it would
under predict their performance and that
doesn’t happen now you could say well
there’s systemic bias in the performance
measures and the potential measures and
that’s a possibility
all right now one other thing about that
there’s a real danger in the ethnicity
IQ debate and they the danger is that we
confuse intelligence with value or that
we include we we confused intelligence
with yet with human value that’s a
better way of thinking about it and one
of the things that we’re going to have
to understand here is that that’s a
mistake is that being more intelligent
doesn’t make you a better person that’s
not the case it makes me you more useful
for complex cognitive operations but you
can be pretty damn horrific as a genius
son of a bitch right it’s morally
neutral and we also know that from the
psychometric data by the way there
doesn’t seem to be any relationship
whatsoever between intelligence and
virtue and so if it does turn out that
nature and the fates do not align with
our egalitarian presuppositions which is
highly probable
we shouldn’t therefore make the mistake
of assuming that if group a or person a
is lower on one of these attributes than
group B or person B that that is somehow
reflective of their intrinsic value as human beings that’s a big mistake
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