Jordan Peterson: 12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (amazon link)

The “look inside” feature at the link above gives the foreword and part of the overture (or introduction).

Here are PDF copies of sections of the book:



















Nothing Matters

Files relating to the topic to be discussed on 21 January 2018 at the State Library of NSW.



Quotes (thank you to Christos for these):

“Come now I will tell thee-and do thou hear my word and heed it-what are the only ways of enquiry that lead to knowledge. The one way, assuming that being is and that it is impossible for it not to be, is the trustworthy path, for truth attends it. The other, that not-being is and that it necessarily is, I call a wholly incredible course, since thou canst not recognise not-being (for this is impossible), nor couldst thou speak of it, for thought and being are the same thing.”
-The Way of Truth

(the above is from Parmenides)

“The body is a device to calculate the astronomy of the spirit.”
-The Fragile Vial

“Upward soareth our spirit: thus is it a simile of our body, a simile of an elevation. Such similes of elevations are the names of the virtues. Thus goeth the body through history, a becomer and fighter. And the spirit—what is it to the body? Its fights’ and victories’ herald, its companion and echo.
Similes, are all names of good and evil; they do not speak out, they only hint. A fool who seeketh knowledge from them!
Give heed, my brethren, to every hour when your spirit would speak in similes: there is the origin of your virtue.
Elevated is then your body, and raised up; with its delight, enraptureth it the spirit; so that it becometh creator, and valuer, and lover, and everything’s benefactor.”
-Thus Spoke Zarathustra

(the above is from Nietzsche)



“Doing” Philosophy of Language


We decided to begin a journey. A quick journey to the heart of Analytical Philosophy. This time, unlike the previous meetings, we are not going to use a philosophical masterpiece to get into the subject. These series of meetings revolve around a textbook in the field of philosophical analysis (An introduction to philosophical analysis). This meetup name starts with “doing” due to the practical intentions behind the book and the discussions. Who is coming with us to this adventure?!

Please read chapter 1 carefully which is about the philosophy of language and some information about philosophy itself (you can download it HERE). Try to philosophize and answer the exercises at the end of the chapter using the concepts that were introduced (This is the most important part – please note that there is no such a thing as a “correct” answer). Important concepts which are introduced in this chapter are words and things, classification, words as tools, definition, the scope of definitions, vagueness, connotation, emotive meaning, ostensive definition, impressions, meaninglessness and etc.

Next meetings in this series (hopefully) will be:

-“Doing” philosophy of knowledge (epistemology)

-“Doing” metaphysics

-“Doing” philosophy of science

-“Doing” ontology

-“Doing” philosophy of mind

-“Doing” philosophy of religion

-“Doing” ethics

There are 15 questions at the end of chapter one. Seven of them are mentioned below to give you a general sense:

Q 01- Is the following a verbal issue? If so, how would you resolve it? A squirrel, clinging to a tree, goes round and round it, always on the opposite side of the tree from a man it is trying to elude. Thus, the squirrel goes around the tree, and the man goes around the tree (at some distance from it). But does the man go around the squirrel?

Q 02- You replace a defective part in your car. The next day you do the same with another part, and then do so each day until you have replaced every part with a new one. Is what you have at the end of this process the same car (with new parts), or is it a different car? And, if it is different, when did it become so?

Q 03- Jack said to his brother Dick, “When I die I’ll leave you all my money,” The next day he changed his mind and decided to leave it all to his wife instead, and he wrote in his will, “All my money I leave to my next of kin” (his wife). But unknown to Jack, his wife had died. Next day Jack himself died, and his money went to his next of kin, his brother Dick. Did Jack keep his promise to Dick?

Q 04- Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? What kind of question is this, and how would you resolve it? Now do the same with the question, “Is music a language”?

Q 05- Is this the same cold I had last week, coming back after five days, or is it a different one? Does it make any difference whether you answer yes or no?

Q 06- Death was long defined as a cessation of heartbeat. Later the definition was changed to the cessation of brain waves. Assuming that what’s wanted is a condition from which one can’t recover (we don’t say, “He was killed twice last year”), is the second definition better than the first? Would you call the second a true definition?

Q 12- Can you have any idea of the following without having experienced them firsthand? Would you consider the ideas of them simple or complex? State whether you are using “idea” in the sense of image or of concept.
a. space
b. bookends
c. nothing
d. motion
e. swimming
f. life
g. novelty
h. regret

State Library directions ( (for newcomers)

Your event host, Fred.

library book requested (from offsite):

An introduction to philosophical analysis / [by] John Hospers. ( (2nd edition, 1973)(not the 1997 edition used above)

King Nothing and the Tarot Tower

Tarot cards depict archetypal themes and #16, called “The Tower”, depicts a catastrophic bringing-down of high ambitions. Here are four illustrations of it:


This theme lies behind the song lyrics of King Nothing (Metallica, 1996).

Wish I may, wish I might
Have this I wish tonight
Are you satisfied?
Dig for gold, dig for fame
You dig to make your name
Are you pacified?

All the wants you waste
All the things you’ve chased
Then it all crashes down
And you break your crown
And you point your finger
But there’s no one around
Just want one thing
Just to play the king
But the castle’s crumbled
And you’re left with just a name

Where’s your crown,
King Nothing?
Where’s your crown?

full lyrics

This archetypal idea also seems to have been behind the spectacular theatrical display of sending planes crashing into the two “looming towers” on 9/11.

Being archetypal, “The Tower” can stand for any number of things: the pride of the individual ego who thinks s/he can build a strong castle that can keep her/him safe from all catastrophe, the pride of a nation that thinks it has its military security well in place, the pride of a culture that thinks it can show the way to every other culture, the pride of a God who thinks S/He can rule all other gods.

In whatever form it takes, “The Tower” is an image of the consequences of what the Greeks called ὕβρις or hubris.

What person, nation, people or God is not subject to it?

If you are attending a State Library meeting for the first time, here are directions as to how to get there:

directions for newcomers


PhiloSophia directions

If you are attending a library study group for the first time, here’s how to get there.


Please message me if you are having any trouble accessing this file.

Here is a view of study room #1 at the end of the spiral staircase:


Please do note that currently (as of late 2018), we tend to use study room #3, which is diametrically opposite to this one.

For discussions held in the open area opposite the Glasshouse, the map below might be useful. The area marked in blue is the one to get to.


For those who might find the map confusing, here are verbal directions (provided by Daisy/DaC):

Open sofa area in LG1 adjacent to the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. See picture below.
Directions: Take the lift to LG1, turn right and walk pass the lockers and you will see the space.
No need to check in your bags as you are not entering the “collections and reference” section of the library.


Here is a photo of the open area, taken a few years ago. There is now furniture and play activities for children there as well.


Here is a somewhat more recent photo:


Other general files: