Matthew McConaughey | Jordan B. Peterson Podcast

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Key Takeaways

  • The best way to put forward a message without being propagandistic is through stories
  • Dealing with fame
    • Don’t take things personally
      • “It ain’t personal, it’s business”
    • Accepting the inconveniences
    • Periodically shedding fame to reconnect with who you really are
  • “If you have a reputation that has a life of its own, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between yourself and that reputation, and that’s a pitfall of fame” Jordan Peterson
  • The danger of not understanding humility is false modesty
    • That can make you lose confidence
    • Paradoxically, it can make you arrogant
  • “You’re either in love with what you know or in love with what you don’t know, and there’s a lot more that you don’t know, so pick your love carefully” Jordan Peterson

Book Mentioned

Intro

  • Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors. He won an Academy Award, appeared in more than 40 feature films that grossed more than $1 billion, and has become a producer, director, and philanthropist with his Just Keep Livin’ Foundation
  • Host: Jordan B. Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto
  • In this chat, Matthew discusses his recent book, the impact of fame on his life, and lessons he learned

The Story of Matthew’s Book

  • Matthew has been keeping journals since he was 14 years old
    • He kept them all in a treasure chest, but over the years he never managed to take the time to review them
  • But when he turned 50, he thought he could work with a New York Times (NYT) writer to put those journals together into a book
  • Matthew headed to the desert with nothing but food, water, and his journals
    • He spent 5 periods of 12 days in solitude in the desert to write the first draft
  • He was aware that his celebrity status would have a strong influence on the reception of the book
    • The words on the page need to be worthy to be put on the page if they were signed by ‘Anonymous’, but at the same time they need to be words that only Matthew McConaughey could have written” Matthew McConaughey
  • Matthew practiced writing reviews of his book as if someone else was writing them
    • This allowed him to better identify his audience and to get a different perspective on the book
  • The best way to put forward a message without being propagandistic is through stories

The Downsides of Fame

  • When you’re famous you experience a profound shift in your relationships
    • Most people identify you with your success, not with who you are
    • Everyone you meet knows something about you
    • For some time, even Matthew’s mother related to him as a fan more than a mom
    • This shows the overwhelming power of Hollywood’s manufactured fame
  • “If you have a reputation that has a life of its own, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between yourself and that reputation, and that’s a pitfall of fame” Jordan Peterson
    • Often people sacrifice themselves because of their reputation
  • Dealing with fame
    • Don’t take things personally
      • “It ain’t personal, it’s business”
      • Matthew understood that fame is impermanent and his best choice was to “dance” with it, enjoy it
    • Accepting the inconveniences
      • You can’t let the paparazzi stop you from taking a walk or playing outside with your son
    • Matthew periodically sheds his fame to reconnect with who he really is
      • He went to a monastery in South America to spend time in solitude

Playing Dark Characters and Nihilism

  • Jordan Peterson was impressed by Matthew’s characterization of Rustin Cohle, a dark character from True Detective
  • Matthew enjoys some aspects of portraying dark characters
    • They often have more nuanced identities than the good guys
    • They are outsiders, underdogs
  • But there is also some danger to going too deep into an evil mind
  • Matthew was able to get into Rustin Cohle’s mind due to his strong faith
    • When he is sure about his beliefs on something, he explores the other extreme
    • Playing Cohle was a way for him to learn about a different way to see things
      • His faith was so strong he knew he wouldn’t be affected
  • Rustin Cohle’s nihilistic attitude reminded Jordan of an anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar
    • Benatar argues that since life involves much suffering we should stop reproducing and bringing more people to life
    • Jordan’s response is that Benatar’s attitude creates even more suffering in life, so that cannot be a solution

The Real Meaning of Humility

  • The danger of not understanding humility is false modesty
    • That can make you lose confidence
    • Paradoxically, it can make you arrogant
  • “You’re either in love with what you know or in love with what you don’t know, and there’s a lot more that you don’t know, so pick your love carefully” Jordan Peterson
  • Humility is a form of courage
    • Accepting what you don’t know
    • But also moving with confidence about what you do know

Accepting Our Flaws and Others’ 

  • “If flawed people were incapable of creativity we wouldn’t have any creativity” Jordan Peterson
    • Everyone is flawed
    • What’s great about creative, accomplished people is that they made it despite all their flaws
  • We wouldn’t want to lose creative people just because they’re flawed, we’d lose everyone that way
    • Louis C.K. is an example of a great comedian

Lessons from his Father

  • Matthew’s relationship with his father was complicated
    • “The hands that hugged were the same hands that would harm”
  • Matthew feels no bitterness and recognizes that his father also taught him valuable lessons
    • Never say you “can’t” do something
      • Rather say you’re having trouble
    • Don’t lie
    • Don’t hate

Shame, Religion, Ideals

  • When you feel ashamed by your behaviors, it means that you’re comparing yourself to an ideal of who you could be
    • You are constantly judging yourself against your ideal
    • The function of religious thinking is flashing out what that ideal should be
  • The ideal is the highest form of being that you are capable to become
Jordan B Peterson Podcast : , , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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