Over on our Discord server, user “Hemi” was struggling to decipher the illustrious Jordan Peterson’s book, “Beyond Order” (which, as an aside… isn’t that just a chilling title?).
“The most phylogenetically ancient multicellular organisms (that is far enough for our purposes) tend to be composed of relatively undifferentiated sensorimotor cells.1 These cells map certain facts or features of the environment directly onto the motor output of the same cells, in an essentially one-to-one relationship.”
From Beyond Order Jordan B. Peterson. His source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bies.201900088
“Navigation can also be a task for a single cell; mobility can be generated as a response to local sensory information by individual specialized “sensorimotor cells” that contain both sensory receptors and an organ for generating motion. Eukaryotes with cilia and ciliated sponge larvae, for example, employ ciliary motion to navigate their environment in response to a change in illumination, chemical gradients, and gravity.”As best as I can tell the article focuses on some invertebrates with interneurons between sensory input and motor output.I would assume since they are not say integument or digestive, interneurons are differentiated (y’know as in Adam Smith’s division of labor) from precursors.Uggg, not sure why but he uses this basic cellular grounding in taxis or orientation as a stepping stone into…(wait for it…cue drum roll) hierarchies. He winds up getting into social construction (sans Searle) and value hierarchy (sans Maslow) and an almost self referential aside involving archetypes of Fool and Redeemer. Then a quasi Hegelian interpenetration of workplace opposites (Jungian tension?) between tradition and change orientation. Weird stuff.– user “Hemi”
There was more. Props to “Hemi”, they were clearly grappling with a quality of thought and writing reminiscent of Calvin’s (of “and Hobbes”) Dick and Jane paper. But what interested me was the reason for Peterson publishing something this muddled and nonsensical:
It’s all ego. Peterson’s one of those people who has taken the idea of himself as rational, highly intelligent, even a genius, as part of his identity, and in so doing made it axiomatic to his world that he understands everything, automatically, better than anyone else, maybe only with the exception of other
menpeople with PhDs in their specific fields.
Consequently, he mistakes his own tepid understanding of a lot of topics as deeper than it is. It’s like Trump’s “Nobody knows this but…” except not as obviously coming from an idiot, because Peterson is intelligent, just not the genius he assumes he is. Thus, you get works like this: he’s strung unrelated concepts together from various fields, glued together with a shaky comprehension that he thinks is rock-solid because it’s his, all cherry-picked to reach a conclusion that is arguable at best but which he believes is pillars-of-the-earth-level Truth because, again, it’s his.
The general Dunning-Kruger Effect has seemingly been debunked, but its cousin, narcissistic hubris, lives on. Peterson says things that nobody else is saying, and he thinks that therefore he is being uniquely prfound, when in fact he is simply being wrong.