Bystroushaak's blog / English section / Philosophy / Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson - what just happened?

Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson - what just happened?

So I have watched all four hours of debate between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson in Vancouver, and I don't understand what the hell did I just witnessed.

I mean, I kind of like Peterson, and I've never before heard about Harris, but I liked his arguments. But that's not what I don't understand. I can't get my mind around what was that that I have been watching.

I've seen a lot of Peterson's talks before, and some of them were brilliant, some of them genuinely interesting. I've seen him debate and engage in deep psychological flame war of highest discussion caliber with moderators and other speakers. It was entertaining and all, but this was something completely different.

For four hours, Peterson and Harris discussed their various world views and psychology in cultivated and well meant manner. Whole event was set up in potentially flame-inducing way, there was moderator and it was expected to be duel. But the opposite happened;

Two highly intelligent individuals laid before each other their mental models and helped themselves to understand each other. And the crowd of three thousand people cheered and sacrificed their own time for questions and answers just to be able to listen a little bit longer.

It was like watching some sport match, but without the drama. People cheered and applauded and kept focus for hours, and in the end, nobody won.

By all expectations, this shouldn't been so interesting. It should be almost boring debate of two intellectuals and yet I went two times too late to sleep just because I couldn't stop listening.

Imagine somebody would tell you about this ten years before; oh, it was a four hours long discussion between two intellectuals about psychology and people actually paid money and cheered and loved every minute of it.

Would you believe that this is possible? I wouldn't. But now I want more.

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