I just finished listening to another one of Joe Rogan’s conversational marathons with Jordan Peterson.¹ In this one, Peterson explains the deep wisdom behind the seemingly naïve parental exhortation to “play nice”.
Like most of you, I imagine, I think I’ve always known intuitively that playing fair was, not just morally right, but also somehow smart. But, truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone explain precisely why it’s a rational long-term strategy. Peterson does so in this interview. And he does so remarkably well.
Life, says Peterson, can be viewed as a series of games. To maximize the number of games you win, you need to maximize the number of games you play. To maximize the number of games you play, you need to be the kind of player that people want to play with in the future. In practice, this means: don’t cheat, don’t cut corners, don’t fight dirty, be graceful in victory, and be graceful in defeat.
Cynical creeps like Roger Stone think they’re much smarter than the rest of us. Truth is, their no-holds-barred strategy is profoundly short-sighted and stupid. What’s more, it signals an absence of the moral emotions, a cognitive deficiency—indeed, a kind of disability. Smug sociopaths like Roger Stone are like blind men who think themselves superior to the rest of us because of their heightened ability to hear.
—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2018)
1. The Joe Rogan Experience #1139 (July 2, 2018).