Jordan B. Peterson - Photo: MTI

Peterson: Identity not limited to individual

The nature of true identity is not expressed in individual subjectivity; identity is not limited to individuals, clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson said in his address to the Budapest Demographic Summit on Thursday.

Speaking about the relationship between mental health and identity, Peterson said an individual cannot be mentally healthy by himself.

Humans are social beings and form their identity “during negotiations” with others, he said. “We have to constantly discuss our identity with other people, (…) that is how we can be mentally healthy and free from anxiety,” he said. Peterson said a long-term, monogamous, child-centred relationship or marriage provided the optimal conditions for that experience.

A classic marriage is a transcendent commitment, in which the partners support and guide each other for decades. This is the best, this is good for the community, he said. Family is a form of mental health and identity.

“It is important to submit ourselves to a higher goal; our most fundamental responsibility is to the child,” he said. The proper structure around the child is the structure resulting from the union of man and woman, any alternatives to this are worse, he said.

He emphasised the need to maintain this ideal because it enables the integrity of the identity. By assuming resposibility, young people can find meaning in life that will help them overcome difficulties.

Marriage is a dynamic structure that can reach a harmonious balance through honest communication. “As conscious adults, we are able to give birth to a child and the arrival of the child is a huge opportunity to assume responsibility. This stabilises the couple, forcing them to look to the future and take stock of future generations.” The couple are integrated within the country, and eventually in a harmonious international community. This is a necessary prerequisite for the stability of the hierarchical structure, Peterson said.

Leave a Reply