Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Dig Deeper and Find a Meaning for You

Written by: on November 12, 2023

“We tell ourselves stories about who we are, where we would like to be and how we are going to get there. These stories regulate our emotions, by determining their significance of all the things we encounter and all the events we experience. We regard things that get us on our way as positive, things that impede our progress negative, and things that do neither as irrelevant.” [1]

For me this quote was a direct reflection of how I interpreted this book. Both a negative experience on relevance within our reading list, and my personal feelings on how irrelevant it was to help us grow as leaders. Why, out of all the thousands of books in the world, out of all the books that have been so carefully chosen thus far, did we choose to stop here? As a program, why did we choose this book? I am truly hoping that someone has gleaned something from this book so that I can learn more. For the time being, I intend to maintain an accepting mindset in order to maximize our potential for mutual growth. 

Shared scrutiny of the book from a reviewer: 

“Scrutiny shows that Peterson’s Maps of Meaning is defective as a work of anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and politics. Its emphasis on religious myth and heroic individuals provides a poor blueprint for understanding the origins of totalitarianism, and an even poorer guide to overcoming its evils.

The meanings of the word “murky” include both “dark and gloomy” and “not fully explained or understood.” Peterson’s book is murky in the first sense, with frequent emphasis on suffering rather than on the joys of love, work, and play. The book is also murky in the second sense, although it is less meandering and disjointed than his videotaped lectures.” [2]

After perusing open ai for a summary, the following was the result:

“While the book may challenge some established beliefs and provoke thought-provoking discussions, it offers readers a unique opportunity to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth.” [3]

God has a sense of humor. That’s all I have to say. Laughing out loud as if a sham palm reading had just occurred. (I’ve never done one of these…. But from what I’ve seen in movies…) My beliefs were not called into question. I did not have a meaningful discussion, nor did I experience self-discovery with this book. What did happen, however, was that I had to grow personally in order to dig deeper, find more grit, and see what I could get out of it. I needed to change my mentality.

I appreciate the time he put into this book. According to my research, he worked on it for thirteen years and three hours per day. I appreciate that this book is not only significant to him, but that it has inspired so many people to have meaningful conversations about it.

I never want to belittle culture in our world, which I deeply cherish. Myths mentioned in this book are an integral aspect of culture… In my spare time, I enjoy learning about the beliefs of others around me, both past and present. Nepal being close to our families heart: My children enjoy reading about the yeti, which was created in Nepal to terrify children into staying close to home.

In the end… If I had to give an additional thought: This book sets out to explain how we navigate the world and define its meaning for us.  

[1] Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (New York, NY: Routledge, 1999), xiv.

[2] Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Jordan Peterson’s murky maps of meaning. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hot-thought/201803/jordan-petersons-murky-maps-meaning

[3] ChatGPT, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com/, “Summarize the book Maps of Meaning, by Jordan Peterson.”




About the Author

Alana Hayes

Alana is a mother to four beautiful children and wife to a farmer in Texas. She is an avid world traveler with a heart for both the world and education. She is the president of the nonprofit Against the Grain Texas where they focus on providing education to children overseas and at risk adults in the states. To date the nonprofit has given almost $100,000 to individuals around the world. In her free time she loves spending meaningful time with people and reading to further her personal education.

2 responses to “Dig Deeper and Find a Meaning for You”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Tell us how you really feel… Alana! Ha. I love your honesty and your position is more than valid. “A sham palm reading.” That’s fantastic. I feel your honest disapproval of Peterson’s work and your summary is defended. Well done.

    You said, “God has a sense of humor.” I couldn’t agree more. It may sound weird but I have personally laughed out loud in (many) times of prayer and reflection with God. Does anyone else laugh with God or is this just me? We were made in his image and we are able to express humor, so it only makes sense to me that God genuinely enjoys a good laugh with us.

    As for Peterson, I may be among the cohort minority here but I enjoyed his work. I like how some books and lectures speak to individuals more profoundly than others, and that’s perfectly acceptable. This goes for sermons, songs, and art too. I agree that this week’s lecture and book stand out in the crowd of leadership books on our list, but overall I found his perspectives on belief systems and their impact on (the) people (we lead) to be beneficial – and at the very least, we were able to taste a unique slice of social science pie, with an almost bizarre flavor that you either refuse another bite or can’t wait for seconds.

    Negatively, I do think he rambles a lot live and circles far away from his argument, to actually magnify his original point, but at the same time could easily lose the interest of the audience along the way. His voice is not the most pleasant for lectures which I think exemplifies the already disinterested. Overall, I still think his work is relevant, and I really enjoyed your post.

    Thank you, Alana.

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