The Evolution Gap and Rule Three

Jul 20, 2023

Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You

The third rule in Jordan Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is: Make friends with people who want the best for you. This rule encourages individuals to surround themselves with positive influences, with individuals who genuinely care about their well-being and personal growth. Delving into this rule through the lens of the Evolution Gap opens up fascinating insights into human social behavior, evolutionary psychology, and the unique pressures of modern society.

The Evolution Gap represents the divergence between our biological evolution, which has been slow over thousands of years, and the rapidly changing technological and societal landscapes we now inhabit. In the context of our social interactions and relationships, this divergence can lead to confusion, isolation, and a sense of disconnect. Rule three offers a strategic approach to managing these challenges and navigating our social environment more effectively.

Human beings evolved in tightly-knit communities where reciprocal altruism – exchanging resources and assistance – played a crucial role. Our ancestors thrived by building supportive networks, sharing resources, and ensuring mutual survival. This ingrained instinct for cooperative relationships forms the evolutionary basis of Peterson’s third rule.

In our modern society, however, the face of social interaction has significantly changed. The rise of social media and the digitization of communication has led to a world where relationships are often superficial, based more on online personas than real, intimate connections. Many of us have hundreds, if not thousands, of friends or followers on social media, but how many are genuinely interested in our well-being? How many would be there when we need real help or honest advice?

Additionally, the pressures of the modern world often lead us to prioritize career success, wealth, and status above relationships. These pressures can create environments that foster competition, envy, and pretense rather than genuine friendships. This makes a clear manifestation of the Evolution Gap. We find ourselves caught between our evolutionary need for supportive relationships and the individualistic, competitive environment of the modern world.

In this context, Peterson’s third rule acts as a guiding principle. By consciously associating with people who genuinely wish the best for us, we can create social networks that provide emotional support, honest feedback, and meaningful interaction. This can help counteract the feelings of isolation and disconnection often symptomatic of the Evolution Gap.

Further, in a world that increasingly blurs the line between our personal and professional lives, this rule underscores the importance of nurturing relationships that value us as individuals beyond our professional achievements or social status. This principle encourages us to value relationships for their utility and their capacity to enhance our lives, promote personal growth, and provide emotional sustenance.

In conclusion, when interpreted through the lens of the Evolution Gap, Peterson’s third rule reminds us of the importance of our evolutionary need for supportive relationships. It provides a crucial roadmap for managing our social interactions in a rapidly changing world, promoting healthier relationships and a healthier, happier life.

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