Art Wins

Here’s a great interview Tyler Cowan had with Jordan Peterson.

My favorite part is where Peterson bashes HR departments:

COWEN: If we turn to senior management of large American companies, as a class of people — and I know it’s hard to generalize — but what do you see them as just not getting?

PETERSON: I would caution them not to underestimate the danger of their human resources departments.

That’s exactly what my sister always says. The moment a company is large enough to make its leaders erroneously believe it needs an HR department, that’s when all hope for anything good dies. And those of us who are in academia can definitely agree.

This part is something he hasn’t thought through very clearly:

Our current prime minister has made a huge mistake by not putting down firm policies about what happens when you cross the border illegally. All that does is mess things up. But there wasn’t anti-immigration sentiment in Canada before that, even though, as I said, there’s tremendous amount of immigration into Canada.

Quebec is Canada, last I checked. But leaving aside Quebec, even in Toronto that he so loves there is a huge Chinese community that is entirely isolated from Canadian life. Ask any immigrant from anywhere how many of his or her close friends aren’t immigrants and, aside from the folks who were brought to the country as kids, the answer is likely to be none. In the five years I lived in Canada, I was never inside the home of anybody who wasn’t an immigrant. Never, not once. People were friendly but there was always a distance. But I was in the homes of folks from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Kenya, Iran, India, Spain, and Hong Kong constantly. (I was young, so there was a lot of hanging out together). So my suggestion is, ask an immigrant if there’s anti-immigrant sentiment. There is a lot of segregation into ethnic communities in Canada, and the crossover mostly happens from one ethnic community into another. From this group of friends I listed, everybody I know about married another immigrant, and not necessarily from their own country.

I loved this part, though:

But one thing we do know is that if you exercise — and weightlifting and aerobic exercise both work — that you can restore your cognitive abilities at age 50 to approximately what they were at age 30. That’s almost all a consequence of increased physical fitness.

And this great part about why my job is extremely important:

COWEN: What’s the main thing you learned over the years, living with those works, viewing the propaganda, thinking about it every day, every night?

PETERSON: Art wins.

COWEN: Art wins over propaganda. Why?

PETERSON: All the time, yeah. Nothing wins over art. Nothing is powerful enough to stand in the way of art.

This is so true.

There’s also a good part on cognitive ability. It’s a good interview.


14 thoughts on “Art Wins”

  1. Looking forward to hearing this. (I prefer to listen to JBP talk than read his words because has a permanently-annoyed-father voice that I find oddly relaxing.)

    Did you hear that Peterson and Zizek are facing each other in live debate this April? I’m already stocking up on popcorn. 😀


  2. Interesting!

    Question to all on HR. I worked for a very large organization that had HR but HR seemed to be about insurance and retirement issues, also taxes maybe, paperwork that was too much and too complicated for an administrator or faculty member to do. For instance, before there was even FMLA or maternity leave, but you had different types of insurance you might have bought for different reasons, you could call them up and have them help you figure out how to best deploy these to get the best paid maternity leave, or the most time to recover from some illness, etc. — or the most advantageous way to go into phased retirement, whatever it was.

    Now, though, here, they are ubiquitous and seem evil; any time the administration wants to do anything bad they call HR who comes in sort of like a bodyguard and speaks for them, and there is much more that they do that should be done by faculty and is now done by them in secret.


    1. Remember that time I posted about when an HR person came to teach us how to determine a candidate’s ethnicity by way of imperceptible glances? The only non-white colleague on that search committee was fit to be tied at the end of that exercise because it was deeply offensive.

      Right now, the HR isn’t letting us promote a great Adjunct person to TT. They aren’t even letting us have a conversation about it. We need to declare a fake national search, which is ridiculous because we have a wonderful person we all want right here. It’s a huge waste of money! $500 for an MLA ad! For what??? We already know who we want!

      Sorry, it’s a sore point. I hate fake searches and I’m forced to participate in one. Obviously, I’ll sabotage it, and I’m declaring this openly.


  3. I confess that I have at times found out HR department to be very helpful. For example, I recently had a dental insurance claim denied. It was a new dental insurance policy, and I had no idea what to do. A three minute phone call to HR resolved the issue. Another example is that back in 2001 when I adopted a child (the one you met last summer) the HR department made sure that the paperwork was finished on time so that she qualified for tuition remission as a faculty dependent child the following semester.


    1. For my personal needs, I know very well how to handle HR. I’ve gotten a lot of stuff out of them that people can’t believe. But for more collective issues, like hiring, it can’t be done.


      1. But for more collective issues, like hiring, it can’t be done.

        Oh, OK. I have not interacted with them in this way.

        Fake searches used to be required by law on the assumption that if you already know whom you want to hire, you most likely overlooked better qualified minority candidates, etc. I was under the impression that this was no longer the case.


  4. There is a lot of segregation into ethnic communities in Canada, and the crossover mostly happens from one ethnic community into another. From this group of friends I listed, everybody I know about married another immigrant, and not necessarily from their own country.

    Immigrants understand other immigrants in a way people who have never immigrated do not. It’s why my parents get along like gangbusters with people who are decades younger than they are if they are immigrants but have problems relating to their cousins who grew up here. I wouldn’t necessarily attribute all of this to bias or anti immigrant sentiment even though there is a lot of that. I don’t think, for example, someone who has never left their hometown would understand your post on the costs of fluidity. They might have an intellectual understanding but they don’t feel it.


    1. This is a very charitable way of looking at it. The reality, though, is that we are not in huge demand among non-immigrants. It’s not pleasant to admit, but that’s how it is in Canada.


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