I guess it’s a good thing that Jordan Peterson never professed happiness as a goal in life.
“It’s all very well to think the meaning of life is happiness, but what happens when you’re unhappy? Happiness is a great side effect. When it comes, accept it gratefully. But it’s fleeting and unpredictable. It’s not something to aim at – because it’s not an aim. And if happiness is the purpose of life, what happens when you’re unhappy? Then you’re a failure. And perhaps a suicidal failure. Happiness is like cotton candy. It’s just not going to do the job.”
I hate having to agree with Peterson, but I do on this one point, despite having a mostly happy life myself. Misery is always going to intrude, whether by chance or the actions of others or your own failings, so don’t judge your worth by whether there’s a smile on your face.
So, sad to say, Mr Peterson is rather miserable right now.
She [Jordan Peterson’s daughter] says that her mother’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgical complication created an unbearable amount of stress for the family, and particularly her father. A doctor prescribed clonazepam, or Klonopin, to help him cope with the anxiety it caused. Clonazepam is an anti-seizure medication that is also prescribed to treat panic disorder.
After her mother went into remission, Peterson attempted to get off the drug on his own. This caused terrible withdrawals, his daughter says. “The reason we’re in New York is because dad’s in rehab using other medications to try and get off this clonazepam.”
All sympathy to the man. His daughter says he’s going to use this experience in his next book, because he really does need to improve his understanding of addiction and get away from his previous simplistic prescriptions.
Peterson’s YouTube videos routinely amass hundreds of thousands of views. In these videos, as with his writings, he lectures people on how to lead a successful, fulfilling life. In 2017, he advised people to cure addiction by replacing the substance or activity, such as smartphone use, with “something better.” The behavioral psychologist has provided advice that some may call over-simplifications about addiction on multiple occasions.
Maybe he’s not happy, but he has a learning opportunity here.