I have recently been approached by a top academic press to write a book titled Mapper of Meaning: The Philosophy of Jordan Peterson. The book will tackle big questions. Consider the following truth: We are born, we live, and then we die. Broad statements like these are rare, because the more we graft words onto a statement, the more we shrink its range with exceptions. Does this mean that sweeping truths must be limited to platitudes? Engaging in a big picture style of thinking that might be termed “synthetic philosophy,” Jordan Peterson proposes a general map of what happens—and what ought to happen—between the bookends of anyone’s birth and death.
Humans must have mental maps of the world around them in order to act and survive. Invariably though, there will be times when those maps fail. Peterson thus adds the following certainty to the shortlist of birth and death: we do not know everything. This means that our need to cope with the unknown can be regarded as an environmental constant, regardless of our cultural and biological diversity.
How do we set goals and map out ways of achieving them? Can science tell us which goals to pursue, or must we turn to mythological and religious narratives for guidance? Do evolutionary forces help to shape such narratives? If so, what can a renewed appreciation of story-telling teach us about current and historical events, both good and bad? Mapper of Meaning will look at Peterson’s influential answer to these questions.