Elon Musk Jordan Peterson talks Elon Musk, Elon Musk's roommate and the Hierarchy of life
What hierarchy you’re in most people’s hierarchies are actually quite small. They sort of consist of the people that they compare themselves to. You know, which is a strange thing too, because one of the things that you see happening with really successful people is they actually don’t, get a lot more, a lot happier and a lot less unhappy as they climb the the broad social ladder, because the people they Compare themselves to change, and so i can tell you a funny story about this, so i know this guy. I worked with him for a long time. His name is adeo resi and he’s, a hell of a guy he’s like six foot, seven and he’s, like really charismatic and and he’s, been pretty successful. He built this company in in san francisco called founder institute and it’s. Only one of many things: he’s done and it’s operating in 165 cities, it’s a school to teach people how to be entrepreneurs, he’s trying to export silicon valley um. What would you call it know how technological and and financial to the rest of the world, and in like five years he built 165 schools, not not physical schools, but school like organizations around the world and like go go. Try that, like that’s really hard, you know just to build one is hard, but to do that in multiple languages all over the world, it’s bloody, well impossible and then, at the same time he built his organization started 2500 successful companies as a consequence of of building This school it’s that’s pretty good, you know, and and – and he was having a rough time and was talking to me on the phone um about about you – know he wasn’t so happy about what he’d done with his life and he said she’s.
I compare myself with my roommate and you know: i’ve hardly done anything and his roommate was elon musk it’s. Like i just laughed at him, i thought geez really that’s what you’re gon na you haven’t done anything compared to elon, musk and you’re depressed about it. It’S like yeah, well, you and the rest of the planet. I mean look what what did musk musk? What did he do? He invented an electric car that’s impossible. Then he made it work that’s impossible, and then he built an entire infrastructure to charge it and and and that worked and that’s impossible and then and then they’re, good cars and and then he made them faster than any cars have ever been and cheap. And so that’s impossible and then that wasn’t good enough. So then he decided that he would compete with nasa, which is impossible and build rockets at one tenth, the price they were building them except bigger, and then he would shoot his car on his rocket out into space right and he did all that and it’s. Like a day, i was thinking, oh i’ve, hardly done anything with my life it’s like oh so, but my point is, is that you know you, you, primates of our type sort of have an a group size that we think about as our group of about 200 People so like on facebook, for example, the probability that you’re in something approximating reasonable, constant communication with more than 200 people is low.
You just don’t have the time and you can’t keep track of it. So so our natural group is something like 200 and our groups tend to fragment when they get bigger than that and so and that’s, also associated by by the way with cortical size. You see this in primates is that as primates get like, develop larger brains, this the group size that they seem to be able to manage, also increases, and that might be part of the reason why they develop larger brains. Who knows but anyways it’s about 200 people, and the problem is: is that, as you get more successful, say in in the global hierarchy of 100 million people, the 200 people that you compare yourself changes and so that you end up with 100 million dollars and you’re? Not very happy because your 50 billion dollar yacht is like 20 feet shorter than your friends. You know 150 million dollar yacht and so and you’re high in neuroticism. So that makes you frustrated and disappointed. You know so. Anyways anyways it’s important it’s important to understand it’s. The the message here, the point of this is that you have a system, the serotonin system base of your neurophysiology. It also sets your brain up during embryonic development, so it’s it really is. It really is the master control system in many many ways and it counts where you are in your hierarchy and then it decides how much positive emotion and how much negative emotion.
You should feel on average because of your position and so like if you’re let’s say number one is at the top and number 10 is at the bottom, so you’re number 10 you’re barely clinging to the bottom of reality. Your brain says: look it’s dangerous, where you are at the bottom of the hierarchy. You don’t have a lot of friends, it’s uh it’s precarious down there, and so that means any little thing that goes wrong. Any little error you make. That might be the end of you, and so you better be on guard and alert, and if something small happens it it better hurt because it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and there’s nothing pleasant about that, like of course. Why would there be? Why would there be anything pleasant about us, a process that magnifies everything negative, you feel about anything that might be wrong and not just on not just on one small dimension of negative emotion, not just anxiety, which is bad enough, but anxiety and the pain, related emotions. So pain related emotions are pain, obviously that it generally indicates damage to a psychophysiological system, but grief is a pain like emotion and frustration is a pain like emotion and so is disappointment loneliness as well. Those are all pain like emotions and have elaborated out of an underlying pain system and the so the negative emotion system is like a tree that has branches, and each of the branches is the separate negative emotion.
You know but they’re all tied together at the root and positive emotions are like that as well, except they’re, not quite as differentiated, and so if your serotonin levels fall because you’ve suffered a hierarchical defeat, then the positive emotion system gets flattened so that good things no Longer feel good because it’s dangerous to take risks, perhaps if you’re at the bottom of the hierarchy and you’re not doing very well, which is why you’re at the bottom? Why should you have any trust in yourself and you don’t have any friends and you’re not well situated in in the social world? You’Re not going to be enthusiastically moving forward to do new things, and so your motivation for for for for engaging in life declines and it can decline pretty much to zero. You know if you, if you see people who are seriously depressed, they say well, i can’t even listen to music anymore. It just sounds flat and dead. You know – and you know, if you talk to someone who says that about music, they’re they’re, pretty damn depressed, because music is one of those things that virtually everybody always enjoys.