Jordan Peterson’s Fight Against Chaos

May 10, 2021 by

by Steven Wedgeworth, The Gospel Coalition:

Review: ‘Beyond Order’ by Jordan Peterson.

After nearly dying last year, Jordan Peterson is back with a sequel to his bestselling 12 Rules for Life. Titled Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, it’s packaged as a complement to the first. Whereas 12 Rules for Life offered order as “an antidote to chaos” (its subtitle), this book seeks to move “beyond” that order. Is it then the chaos book? Almost, but not quite.

Beyond Order is indeed the yin to the previous yang. The packaging of the books gives this away, as the two have identical cover designs except that the first is white while the second is black. Peterson had referred to this arrangement in the introductory overture to his first book, and he calls that first book a work of “ordering principles.” But Beyond Order is not chaos so much as balance.

Yes, it does have the black cover, and it was written during a chaotic time in Peterson’s life. It also repeatedly emphasizes the need for creative transformation, the need to change when the status quo has become corrupt. This isn’t chaos, however, but rather liberated continuation of the original spirit and intention of the rules. People can “break the rules ethically” but only after they “have mastered them first and disciplined themselves to understand the necessity of those rules” (85).

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