“If scientific beliefs are just a particular culture’s mythology, how come we can cure smallpox and get to the moon, and traditional cultures can’t? And if truth is just socially constructed, would you say that climate change is a myth? It’s the same with moral values. If moral values are nothing but cultural customs, would you agree that our disapproval of slavery or racial discrimination or the oppression of women is just a western fancy?”

-Pinker, Steven Pinker: ‘The way to deal with pollution is not to rail against consumption’ (Anthony).

What ‘no’ means, in the final analysis, is always “If you continue to do that, something you do not like will happen to you.” Otherwise it means nothing. Or worse, it means “another nonsensical nothing muttered by ignorable adults.” Or worse still, it means, “all adults are ineffectual and weak.” This is a particularly bad lesson, when every child’s destiny is to become an adult, and when most things are learned without undue personal pain are modelled or explicitly taught by adults). What does a child who ignores adults and holds them in contempt have to look forward to? Why grow up at all? And that’s the story of Peter Pan, who thinks all adults are variants of Captain Hook, tyrannical and terrified of his own mortality (think hungry crocodile with clock in his stomach).

-Dr. Jordan Peterson, Twelve Rules for Life, 140. An interesting consideration on the origin of the Peter Pan complex, perhaps?

And yet, for Seneca, in so far as we can ever attain wisdom, it is by learning not to aggravate the world’s obstinacy through our own responses, through spasms of rage, self-pity, anxiety, bitterness, self-righteousness and paranoia. A single idea recurs throughout his work: that we best endure those frustrations which we have prepared ourselves for and understand and are hurt most by those we least expected and cannot fathom. Philosophy must reconcile us to the true dimensions of reality, and so spare us, if not frustration itself, then at least its panoply of pernicious accompanying emotions.

-Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy, 81.

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