Jordan Peterson: Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology (born: 1962) | Biography
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Jordan Peterson
Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology
Known for Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, 12 Rules for Life
A.K.A. Dr Jordan B Peterson, Jordan B Peterson, Jordan Bernt Peterson, Jordan...
Is Professor Educator Critic Writer Internet personality Podcaster Psychologist
From Canada
Field Academia Healthcare Internet Literature
Gender male
Birth 12 June 1962, Fairview, Alberta, Canada
Age 61 years
Star sign Gemini
Residence Fairview, Alberta, Canada; Arlington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Politics New Democratic Party
Mother: Beverley Peterson
Father: Walter Peterson
Spouse: Tammy Peterson
Children: Mikhaila PetersonJulian Peterson
University of Alberta
McGill University
Grande Prairie Regional College
Notable Works
Maps of Meaning  
12 Rules for Life  
Jordan Peterson
The details (from wikipedia)


Jordan Bernt Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is a Canadian professor of psychology, clinical psychologist, YouTube personality, and author. He began to receive widespread attention in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues, often described as conservative. He is considered to be a member of the intellectual dark web.

Born and raised in Alberta, Peterson obtained bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University. After teaching and research at Harvard University, he returned to Canada in 1998 to permanently join the faculty of psychology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which became the basis for many of his subsequent lectures. The book combined information from psychology, mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and neuroscience to analyze systems of belief and meaning.

In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics. He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.

Afterwards, Peterson's lectures and conversations—propagated especially through podcasts and YouTube—gathered millions of views. He put his clinical practice and teaching duties on hold by 2018, when he published his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Promoted with a world tour, it became a bestseller in several countries. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Peterson's work was obstructed by health problems in the aftermath of a severe benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. In 2021, he published his third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, and returned to active podcasting.

Early life

Peterson was born on 12 June 1962, in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up in Fairview, a small town in the northwest of the province. He was the eldest of three children born to Walter and Beverley Peterson. Beverley was a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter was a school teacher. His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/, BAIR-ənt), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.

In junior high school, Peterson became friends with Rachel Notley and her family. Notley became leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th premier of Alberta. Peterson joined the New Democratic Party (NDP) from ages 13 to 18.


After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature, studying to be a corporate lawyer. During this time he read The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, which significantly affected his educational focus and worldview. He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982. Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe, where he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War; 20th-century European totalitarianism; and the works of Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984. In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill's Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier. While at McGill University and the Douglas Hospital, he conducted research into familial alcoholism and its associated psychopathologies, such as childhood and adolescent aggression and hyperactive behavior.


From July 1993 to June 1998, Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University, where he was hired as an assistant professor in the psychology department, later becoming an associate professor. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and was noted in The Harvard Crimson for his "willingness to take on any research project, no matter how unconventional." While still at Harvard, he switched his primary area of research from familial alcoholism to personality. After the change of focus, he has published extensively. Author Gregg Hurwitz, a former student of Peterson's at Harvard, has cited Peterson as an inspiration of his, and psychologist Shelley Carson, former PhD student and now-professor at Harvard, recalled that Peterson's lectures had "something akin to a cult following", stating, "I remember students crying on the last day of class because they wouldn't get to hear him anymore." Following his associate position at Harvard, Peterson returned to Canada in July 1998 and eventually became a full professor at the University of Toronto.

Peterson's areas of study and research within the fields of psychology are psychopharmacology, abnormal, neuro, clinical, personality, social, industrial and organizational, religious, ideological, political, and creativity. Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers and was cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017; at end of 2020 almost 15,000 times.

Beginning in 2003, Peterson appeared in various TV productions, speaking on a range of subjects from a psychological perspective. On TVOntario, he appeared on Big Ideas in 2003 and 2006, and in a 13-part lecture series based on Maps of Meaning, aired in 2004. In the 2007 BBC Horizon documentary, Mad but Glad, Peterson commented on the connection between pianist Nick van Bloss' Tourette syndrome diagnosis and his musical talent. From 2011, TVOntario's The Agenda featured Peterson as an essayist and panelist on psychologically-relevant cultural issues.

For most of his career, Peterson maintained a clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He has been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16. As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017 and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018. In February 2018, Peterson entered into a promise with the College of Psychologists of Ontario after a professional misconduct complaint about his communication and the boundaries he sets with his patients. The college did not consider a full disciplinary hearing necessary and accepted Peterson entering into a three-month undertaking to work on prioritizing his practice and improving his patient communications. Peterson had no prior disciplinary punishments or restrictions on his clinical practice.

Regarding the topic of religion and God, Bret Weinstein moderated a debate between Peterson and Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver in June 2018. In July, the two debated the subject again, this time moderated by Douglas Murray, at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London. In April 2019, Peterson debated Slavoj Žižek at the Sony Centre in Toronto over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.



Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999)

In 1999, Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, in which Peterson describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaning, form beliefs, and make narratives. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, draws concepts from various fields including mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and psychology, in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.

Peterson at the University of Toronto in March 2017

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why individuals and groups alike participate in social conflict, exploring the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification) that eventually result in killing and pathological atrocities such as the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the Rwandan genocide. Influenced by Jung's archetypal view of the collective unconscious in the book, Peterson says that an "analysis of the world's religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality."

In 2004, a 13-part TV miniseries based on Peterson's book aired on TVOntario.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson's second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, in which abstract ethical principles about life are provided in a more accessible style than his previous Maps of Meaning. The book topped best-selling lists in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the US, and the United Kingdom.

To promote the book, Peterson embarked on a world tour.

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life (2021)

Peterson's third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, was released on 2 March 2021. On 23 November 2020, his publisher Penguin Random House Canada (PRH Canada) held an internal town hall where many employees criticized the decision to publish the book.

YouTube channel and podcasts

In 2013, Peterson registered a YouTube channel named JordanPetersonVideos, and immediately began uploading recordings of lectures and interviews. The earliest dated recordings are from Harvard lectures in 1996. By the end of 2013, content on the channel included the lectures from Harvard, some interviews, and additional special lectures on two defining topics: "Tragedy vs Evil" and "Psychology as a career".

From 2014, uploads include recordings from two of his classes at University of Toronto ("Personality and Its Transformations" and "Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief"), special lectures ("Potential" for TEDx, "Death of the Oceans"), interviews, experiments in Q&A format, and video essays.

In March 2016, after three years of basic uploading of course videos, Peterson announced an interest to clean existing content and improve future content, including a new experiment in crowdfunding through Patreon.

The channel gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos received more than 65 million views as of August 2018. By January 2021, subscribers on JordanPetersonVideos numbered at 3.4 million and total views reached over 200 million.

From early 2017, funding for projects dramatically increased through his use of Patreon. Peterson hired a production team to film his 2017 psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. Donations received, range from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017; more than $50,000 by July 2017; and over $80,000 by May 2018. With this funding, a number of projects and lecture series were proposed: more interviews, regular live Q&A sessions, public lecture series on the Bible (Genesis through Revelation), conversations with Muslims in Canada and US, and an online university. From May through December 2017, a lecture series on biblical stories was recorded and released on YouTube. A series of live Q&A events, appearing approximately monthly, were released beginning April 2017, through January 2018, then shifting to an irregular schedule through 2019. Regular donations for the YouTube channel were interrupted in January 2019, when Peterson deleted his Patreon account in public protest to the platform's controversial banning of another content creator. Following this, Peterson and Dave Rubin announced the creation of a new, free speech-oriented social networking and crowdfunding platform. This alternative had a limited release under the name Thinkspot later in 2019, and remained in beta testing as of December 2019.

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows. In December 2016, Peterson started The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast. In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson's daughter as a co-host on some episodes. Peterson defended engineer James Damore after he was fired from Google for writing Google's Ideological Echo Chamber.

Biblical lectures

Jordan Peterson speaking in front of St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary, in May 2019

In May 2017, Peterson began The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories, a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability. In October 2020, Peterson announced plans for a lecture series on the Book of Exodus and the Book of Proverbs.

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said the fellowship would give him "the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months", and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus. A spokesperson for the university said there was "no place" for anyone who could not uphold the "inclusive environment" of the university. After a week, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobic shirt. The Cambridge University Students' Union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation "a political act to…legitimise figures such as Peterson" and that his work and views are not "representative of the student body". Peterson called the decision a "deeply unfortunate...error of judgement" and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an "ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob".

Self-Authoring Suite

In 2005, Peterson, with colleagues Daniel M. Higgins and Robert O. Pihl, established a website and company to deliver an evolving writing therapy system called The Self-Authoring Suite. It consists of a series of online writing programs: the Past Authoring Program (a guided autobiography); two Present Authoring Programs, which aids analysis of personality faults and virtues; and the Future Authoring Program, which aids in developing a vision and planning desired futures.

To understand the statistical benefits of the suite academic trials have been conducted, and several studies published. Peterson states that more than 10,000 students have used the program, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.

The Future Authoring program has been used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve grades, and since 2011 by the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

A 2015 study published by Palgrave Communications showed a significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students. In 2020, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) published a study within its Access and Retention Consortium. As HEQCO (with ARC) is an agency of Ontario government, this study represents published research for broader public awareness and application. To support this, several institutions were represented in the research: Mohawk College, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, Queens University. The program was tested at Mohawk College, and found similar results as with other studies.

Political views

Peterson has characterized himself politically as a "classic British liberal", and as a "traditionalist". He has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right-wing. The New York Times described Peterson as "conservative-leaning", while The Washington Post described him as an "aspiring conservative thought leader". Yoram Hazony wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "[t]he startling success of his elevated arguments for the importance of order has made him the most significant conservative thinker to appear in the English-speaking world in a generation." Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Barton Swaim wrote, "I wouldn't describe [Peterson] as a conservative—his interest lies in individual rather than societal order, and he says little about public policy. But it's true that he not infrequently winds up holding conservative viewpoints on cultural matters." The American Conservative wrote that, while Peterson has "abjured any connection to modern liberalism or conservatism ... the biggest tell that Peterson is a conservative is simply that his general disposition toward life and society is conservative." In the Los Angeles Times, libertarian journalist Cathy Young commented that "Peterson's ideas are a mixed bag. ... But you wouldn't know this from reading Peterson's critics, who generally cast him as a far-right boogeyman riding the wave of a misogynistic backlash." Nathan J. Robinson of the left-wing magazine Current Affairs opines that Peterson has been seen "as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected."

Academia and political correctness

Peterson suggests that universities are largely responsible for a wave of political correctness that has appeared in North America and Europe, saying that he had watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s. Peterson believes the humanities have become corrupt and less reliant on science, in particular sociology. He contends that "proper culture" has been undermined by "post-modernism and neo-Marxism."

Peterson's critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernism, postmodern feminism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and environmentalism. His social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail wrote that "few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won." Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said that Peterson's opponents had "underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society's institutions", while Tim Lott stated, in The Spectator, that Peterson became "an outspoken critic of mainstream academia".

According to his study—conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy—of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: "PC-egalitarianism" and "PC-authoritarianism", which is a manifestation of "offense sensitivity". Jason McBride claims that Peterson places classical liberals in the former, and so-called social justice warriors, who he says "weaponize compassion", in the latter. The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.

Psychologist Daniel Burston has critiqued Peterson's views on academia. On Marxism, postmodernism, feminism, Burston faults Peterson's thought as oversimplified. On the general state of academia, Burston generally agrees with Peterson's criticisms of identity politics in academia, as well as Peterson's charge that academia is "riddled with Left-wing bias and political correctness". On summarizing the decline of the university, Burston disagrees with Peterson's critique against the Left, arguing that Peterson overlooks the degree to which the current decline of the humanities and social sciences are due to university administration focus.

Postmodernism and identity politics

Peterson says that "disciplines like women's studies should be defunded", advising freshman students to avoid subjects like sociology, anthropology, English literature, ethnic studies, and racial studies, as well as other fields of study that he believes are corrupted by "post-modern neo-Marxists". He believes these fields to propagate cult-like behaviour and safe-spaces, under the pretense of academic inquiry. Peterson had proposed a website using artificial intelligence to identify ideologization in specific courses, but postponed the project in November 2017 as "it might add excessively to current polarization".

He has repeatedly stated his opposition to identity politics, stating that it is practiced on both sides of the political divide: "[t]he left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let's say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride". He considers both "equally dangerous", saying that what should be emphasized, instead, is individual focus and personal responsibility. He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating that the concept promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.

Peterson's perspectives on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments have been compared to the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, including his use of "Cultural Marxism" and "postmodernism" as interchangeable terms and his take of postmodern philosophy as an offshoot or expression of neo-Marxism.

Several writers have associated Peterson with the so-called "intellectual dark web", including journalist Bari Weiss, who included Peterson in the 2018 New York Times article that first popularized the term.

Bill C-16

On 27 September 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled "Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law". In the video, he stated that he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government's Bill C-16, which proposed to add "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the hate speech laws in Canada.

Peterson speaking at a Free Speech Rally in October 2016

Peterson stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free-speech implications if the Criminal Code were amended, saying he could then be prosecuted under provincial human-rights laws if he refused to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual's preferred pronoun. Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments, paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed "directly or indirectly" as offensive, "whether intentionally or unintentionally". According to law professor Brenda Cossman and others, this interpretation of C-16 is mistaken, and the law does not criminalize misuse of pronouns, though commercial litigator Jared Brown has described a scenario (albeit one he thinks unlikely) in which a person could end up in prison for contempt of court for persistently refusing to comply with a court order to refer to another person by their preferred gender pronouns.

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty, and labour unions; critics accused Peterson of "helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive" and of "fundamentally mischaracterising" the law. Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention. When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said "it would depend on how they asked me.… If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no.… If I could have a conversation like the one we're having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level." Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill, saying that gender-neutral singular pronouns were "at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century."

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation, and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he had shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it. Peterson's analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage. In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16. However, a media-relations adviser for SSHRC said, "Committees assess only the information contained in the application." In response, Rebel News launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on Peterson's behalf, raising C$195,000 by its end on 6 May, equivalent to over two years of research funding. In May 2017, as one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs hearing.

In November 2017, Lindsay Shepherd, the teaching assistant of a Wilfrid Laurier University first-year communications course, was censured by her professors for showing, during a classroom discussion about pronouns, a segment of The Agenda in which Peterson debates Bill C-16 with another professor. The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a "toxic climate", being compared to a "speech by Hitler", and being itself in violation of Bill C-16. The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized. The events were cited by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards and national newspaper columnists, as illustrative of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors. As of September 2018, Wilfrid Laurier had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.

Gender relations and masculinity

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing "crisis of masculinity" and "backlash against masculinity" in which the "masculine spirit is under assault." He has argued that the left characterises the existing societal hierarchy as an "oppressive patriarchy" but "don't want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence." He has said men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that male violence is reduced in societies in which monogamy is a social norm. He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a negative reaction to a push to "feminize" men, saying "If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology." He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview in which he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap. He disputed the contention that the disparity was solely due to sexual discrimination.

Peterson holds the view that the concept of cosmic "order" is masculine, while "chaos" is characterised as feminine. He believes that these traits exist inherently and beyond any temporal constraints, not as results of societal or cultural structures. To Peterson, "culture" is "symbolically, archetypally, mythically male," while "chaos—the unknown—is symbolically associated with the feminine." He has expressed that while it may be considered "unfortunate" that this is the case, any attempt to change or subvert these traits would result in a loss of humanity, saying, "You know you can say, 'Well isn't it unfortunate that chaos is represented by the feminine'—well, it might be unfortunate, but it doesn't matter because that is how it's represented. ... And there are reasons for it. You can't change it. It's not possible. This is underneath everything. If you change those basic categories, people wouldn't be human anymore. ... We wouldn't be able to talk to these new creatures."

Religious views

In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked if he was a Christian; he responded, "I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes." When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: "I think the proper response to that is No, but I'm afraid He might exist." Writing for The Spectator, Tim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung's philosophy of religion and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said that Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos and posits life would be meaningless without this duality.

Writing in Psychoanalysis, Politics and the Postmodern University, Daniel Burston argues that Peterson's views on religion reflect a preoccupation with what Tillich calls the vertical or transcendent dimension of religious experience but demonstrate little or no familiarity with (or sympathy for) what Tillich termed the horizontal dimension of faith, which demands social justice in the tradition of the Biblical Prophets.


In 2018, Kelefa Sanneh wrote in the New Yorker that Peterson "is now one of the most influential—and polarizing—public intellectuals in the English-speaking world."

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989; the couple have a daughter, Mikhaila, and a son, Julian.

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings. The paintings are displayed in his house as a reminder of the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror. In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwakaʼwakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie ("Great Seeker").

Health problems

In 2016, Peterson had a severe autoimmune reaction to food and was prescribed clonazepam. In late 2016, he went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables, in an attempt to control his severe depression and the effects of an autoimmune disorder including psoriasis and uveitis. In mid-2018, he stopped eating vegetables, and continued eating only beef (carnivore diet).

In April 2019, his prescribed dosage of clonazepam was increased to deal with the anxiety he was experiencing as a result of his wife's cancer diagnosis. Starting several months later, he made various attempts to lessen his intake, or stop taking the drug altogether, but experienced "horrific" benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, including akathisia, described by his daughter as "incredible, endless, irresistible restlessness, bordering on panic". According to his daughter, Peterson and his family were unable to find doctors in North America who were willing to accommodate their treatment desires, so in January 2020, Peterson, his daughter and her husband flew to Moscow, Russia for treatment. Doctors there diagnosed Peterson with pneumonia in both lungs upon arrival, and he was put into a medically induced coma for eight days. Peterson spent four weeks in the intensive care unit, during which time he allegedly exhibited a temporary loss of motor skills.

Several months after his treatment in Russia, Peterson and his family moved to Belgrade, Serbia for further treatment. In June 2020, Peterson made his first public appearance in over a year, when he appeared on his daughter's podcast, recorded in Belgrade. He said that he was "back to my regular self", other than feeling fatigue, and was cautiously optimistic about his prospects. He also said that he wanted to warn people about the dangers of long-term use of benzodiazepines (the class of drugs that includes clonazepam). In August 2020, his daughter announced that her father had contracted COVID-19 during his hospital stay in Serbia. Two months later, Peterson posted a YouTube video to inform viewers that he had returned home and aimed to resume work in the near future.



  • Peterson, Jordan B. (1999). Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-92222-7.
  • Peterson, Jordan B. (2018). 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0-345-81602-3.
  • Peterson, Jordan B. (2021). Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0-735-27833-2.

Select publications


  • The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019)
  • No Safe Spaces (2019)

Explanatory notes

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 01 Dec 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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