In his latest book “12 Rules for Life” (Random House Canada, 2018), Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson offers a frank appraisal of the ways in which we divide societies instead of working for their betterment. While the book predominantly focuses on individual improvement, the larger message hones in on your place in your community, touching on very old messages, such as being a better neighbor and friend, which in turn makes you a better person.
Peterson’s book is filled with advice for positively affecting those around you, making it a perfect match for this month’s theme: community. The four rules below from Peterson’s book are important reminders that life is not just about “I” and that we are stronger and healthier, physically and mentally, when we work together.
Rule #2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.”
Rule #3: Make friends with people who want the best for you.
“It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with people whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve. … Have some humility. Have some courage. Use your judgment, and protect yourself from too-uncritical compassion and pity.”
Rule #4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
“What you aim at determines what you see.”
Rule #9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
“A conversation of mutual exploration has a topic, generally complex, of genuine interest to the participants. Everyone participating is trying to solve a problem, instead of insisting on the a priori validity of their own positions. All are acting on the premise that they have something to learn.”
I made this playlist while my wife was at Coachella last month, running an activation for her company. Considering the role this festival plays in bringing people together around music, I browsed the (very long) list of musicians and put together a sampling of great tracks. I aimed for upbeat songs, sequencing them appropriately for a workout or, as I’ve been doing all week, putting it on while at my desk working.
Being that it’s a long playlist with 24 songs, I won’t give a play-by-play of each track. But I will highlight a few:
“Fists of Fury.” Kamasi Washington is one of the best things going on in jazz today—he also plays sax on Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize–winning record “Damn.” With a new record arriving in June, this homage to a Bruce Lee movie is a natural place to start.
“The Boy’s Doin’ It (Carl Craig Remix).” South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela is one of his continent’s legends. Most Americans first heard his name when Michael Jackson (illegally) sampled him for his track “Rock With You.” Masekela passed away in January. When I saw that Detroit legend Carl Craig was spinning, however, I had to dig up one of my personal favorite DJ tracks of all time.
“Pray for Me.” Kendrick Lamar might not have been at Coachella—well, not officially, but he did perform with SZA and Vince Staples—The Weeknd was. This track, featuring Lamar, from the “Black Panther” soundtrack, has been playing nonstop on my system all year.
“It Runs Through Me.” I’m a huge Jordan Rakei fan, which is how I found Tom Misch. Thus far, I’ve been lukewarm on Misch’s music, but his new album “Geography” is now in constant rotation. Hearing De La Soul’s Posdnuous is a welcome throwback, reminding me of my first foray into hip-hop in the late 80s.
“River.” Coachella generally doesn’t focus on international artists, but this French duo (consisting of twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz), who sing in four languages (including that of their Nigerian ancestors), have been creating solid tunes for years.
“Nont for Sale.” Everything that Sudan Archives releases is gold. The Ohio native fell in love with Sudanese strings, fusing it with R&B and electronica. She’s stunning in every respect.
“Who.” I had to include this twofer, since both David Byrne and St. Vincent graced Coachella’s stage this year. This collaboration is one of the ex-Talking Heads singer’s best tracks ever.
“Black Smoke Rising.” These Michigander 20-somethings grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and, in 2012, decided to revise their sound. Some purists hate on Greta Van Fleet, but that’s no matter—they’re just killing it.
Photo credit: Michael Benz, Unsplash