“One way of conceptualizing yourself is that you’re one speck of dust among 7 billion.

When you conceptualize yourself that way, you might think, ‘Well, what difference does it make what I say or do?’

And that’s actually quite convenient for you, because if it doesn’t matter what you say or do, then you don’t have any responsibility, and you can do whatever you want.

The price you pay for that is a bit of nihilism, but if you don’t have to shoulder any responsibility, that’s a small price to pay…

The other way of looking at it – and this is actually the accurate way of looking at it – is that you’re in a network – you’re a node in a network.

So, you can do a little arithmetic very rapidly and figure out how powerful you are.

You know a thousand people. You’re gonna know more than that over the course of your life, but let’s say a thousand for the sake of argument for now. They know a thousand people. That means that you’re one person away from a million people and two persons away from a billion people.

And you’re the center of that network.

Now, the way networks work is that information propagates in a network manner. 

So don’t underestimate the power of YOUR SPEECH.

Now, you know, Western culture is predicated upon the idea of the “Logos”. [“Logos”: (Greek: Λόγος, lit. ”Word”, “Discourse”)]

The “Logos” is the sacred element of Western culture.

And what does that mean?

It means that your capacity for speech is divine.

It’s the thing that generates order from chaos, and then sometimes turns pathological order into chaos, when it has to.

Don’t underestimate the power of ‘truth’ – there is nothing more powerful.

Now, in order to speak what you might regard as the ‘truth,’ you have to let go of the outcome.

You have to think: Alright, I’m gonna say what I think, stupid as I am, biased as I am, ignorant as I am, I am going to state what I think as clearly as I can.

And I’m going to live with the consequences, no matter what they are.

Now the reason you think that – that’s an element of Faith.

The idea is that nothing brings a better world into being than the stated truth.

Now you might have to pay a price for that, but that’s fine.  You’re going to pay a price for every thing you do. And everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price.

So, if you’re going to stand up for something, stand up for your ‘truth.’

It’ll shape you because people will respond, and object, and tell you why you’re a fool and a biased moron, and why you’re ignorant.

And if you do that for five years, you’ll be so damn tough and articulate, and able to communicate and withstand pressure that you won’t even recognize yourself.

And then you’ll be a force to contend with.

And you don’t get to wait until

Because I get letters… all the time, from faculty members in particularly, that say, ‘Well, you know, when I get tenure,’ it’s like, and then they think, ‘Well, when I’m an associate professor,’ and then they think, ‘when I’m a full professor.’… but one of the things that indicates is that it is almost impossible to provide people with enough protection, so that they feel safe to speak.

Okay, so we’ll address that directly – it is not safe to speak, and it never will be!

But the thing you’ve got to keep in mind, is that it is even less safe not to speak, right?  It’s a balance of risks.

Do you want to pay the price for being who you are, and stating your mode of being in the world, or do you want to pay the price for being a bloody serf – one that’s enslaved themself?

Well that’s a major price, man.  That thing unfolds over decades, and you’ll just be a miserable worm at the end of about 20 years of that, right?

No self-respect, no power, no ability to voice your opinions, nothing left but resentment because everyone’s against you, because of course you’ve never stood up for yourself.

It’s like, say what you think carefully, pay attention to your words.

The price is – it’s a price you want to pay, if you are willing to believe that truth is the cornerstone of society.

And in the most real sense, if you’re willing to take that leap, then tell the truth and see what happens, and nothing better could possibly happen to you.

There will be ups and downs, and there will be pushback, and it’ll be controversy and all of that, but it doesn’t matter.

The truth is what makes the world – the truth is what redeems the world from hell.

And that’s the truth.

And we saw plenty of hell over the last 100 years, you know, and we haven’t learned a bloody thing from it. It’s like, wake up!

Tell the truth!

Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie, and that’s a start….

People have an inchoate longing to have this sort of thing that we’re talking about articulated, and so don’t be thinking you’re alone.

It’s just that people can’t talk, they’re afraid to talk, or they don’t know what to say.

And those are real problems, so if you’re reasonably articulate, start talking and sharpen yourself up.

I mean, the enemy is a cloud.

They’re a cloud of gnats.

They’re only courageous in groups.  They’re only courageous in mobs.

If you stand your ground, and don’t apologize, and articulate things properly, they’ll disperse around you, like they’re not even there.

So most of it is illusion.

So don’t be…

Be afraid, but be afraid of the right thing.  And the right thing you should be afraid of is, not saying what you say, because that’s the same as not being.

And here you are suffering away.

You might as well be… at the same time, at least then, there’s something to you.”

~ This post is a remix of Jordan Peterson speeches

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