The Meaning of Maps of Meaning: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of the book Maps of Meaning? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the book Maps of Meaning, including its topic, usage, origin, and more!

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What is the book Maps of Meaning?

According to Growth, Routledge, and Jordan B. Peterson, the book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief is a book that was published in 1999. This book is 564 pages and says that myths have a tremendous unseen value. The author believes that myths lay the foundation for large, successful, stable civilizations that have lasted thousands of years. The author also asserts that myths provide time-tested wisdom that can help us eradicate evil in the social world and move through catastrophes in our personal lives. 

Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist said that he began writing the book in 1985 when he was upset by the Cold War. He hated the superhuman energy of the arms race and the ideologically motivated battle. He did not understand the political and social behavior that had occurred in the past such as the Nazis, Stalinists or the Khmer Rouge. He didn’t understand the human propensity for belief inspired violence and had numerous recurring nightmares about said destruction. He dedicated himself to educating himself on these topics while finishing his doctorate at McGill University in clinical psychology, while he was also a faculty member at Harvard University and the University of Toronto. He has also published many articles on alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and aggression. In this book, which is also available as an audio download, Peterson explores the deep structure of human experiences. 

Jordan Peterson was raised in Northern Alberta and has had a variety of different jobs before getting into the field of clinical psychology. Peterson has published hundreds of different scientific papers, and Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief has since transformed the psychology of religion. Person has been nominated for five consecutive years as one of the best university lecturers in Ontario, and has gone viral for a series of online lectures, according to his website. Peterson runs a YouTube channel in which he uploads a variety of different talks and lectures on various topics.

During his research, Peterson came to realize that these ideologies had a specific narrative structure, and the emotional stability of the individuals depended on this integrity. He now understands that religious mythologies are true for each individual and people will do anything to maintain their stability. Many believe this book is a cutting-edge work that brings Jungian approaches (from Carl Jung) and cognitive science, as well as a good deal of personal soul from Peterson, to create a brilliant enlargement of our understanding of human motivation. Reviewers are impressed by Peterson’s levels of analysis from his critical modern mind. He explores rich theory and the meaning of myth, seeing similar structures between vastly different religions and eras to form a provocative hypothesis. Peterson’s musings, including his numerous articles, are considered a brilliant new synthesis of the meaning of mythologies. These are incorporated in the rise of self-reference books. The table of contents is below:

  •  Maps of Experience: Object and Meaning
  •  Maps of Meaning: Three Levels of Analysis
    •  Normal and Revolutionary Life: Two Prosaic Stories
    •  Neuropsychological Function: The Nature of the Mind
    •  Mythological Representation:The Constitutent Elements of Experience
  •  Apprenticeship and Enculturation: Adoption of a Shared Map
  •  The Appearance of Anomaly: Challenge to the Shared Map
    •  Introduction: The Paradigmatic Structure of the Known
    •  Particular Forms of Anomaly
    •  The Rise of Self-Reference, and the Permanent Contamination of Anomaly with Death
  •  The Hostile Brothers: Archetypes of Response to the Unknown
    •  Introduction: The Hero and the Adversary
    •  The Adversary: Emergence, Development and Representation
    •  Heroic Adaptation: Voluntary Reconstruction of the Map of Meaning
    •  Conclusion: The Divinity of Interest

Peterson states that analysing the world’s religions allows us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality. He decides to study different cultures and religious stories around the world, including scripture, mythological representation, and structure of the world, and more, analyzing it with modern neuropsychology and political science. The book covers numerous topics, as follows, according to Barnes and Noble:

  •  Don’t Assume Myths Are A Primitive Form of Science
  •  Don’t Quickly Dismiss Myths—They Contain Implicit Wisdom
  •  We Must Constantly Regenerate Culture and Ourselves
  •  The Great Mother is the Unknown, Dangerous Yet Promising
  •  Why Study Myth? (Jordan Peterson’s Story)
  •  The Hero Shows How to Transform Unknown into Known
  •  Evil is arrogant rejection of unexpected anomaly
  •  The Great Father is the Known, Protective Yet Stifling
  •  Initiation Rituals and Adolescent Group Memberships
  •  Voluntary Sacrifice and Courage “Manifests” the Generous Unknown

Papers associated with Maps of Meaning are as follows:

  •  Neuropsychology and Mythology of Motivation for Group Aggression – 1999
  •  Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief – Precis – 1999
  •  Commentary – Awareness May Be Existence – 2000
  •  Commentary – Metaphoric threat is more real than real threat – 2000
  •  The Functional Neuroanatomy and Psychopharmacology of Predatory and Defensive Aggression – 2004
  •  Play and the Regulation of Aggression – 2005
  •  Peacemaking among higher-order primates – 2006
  •  Religion, Sovereignty, Natural Rights, and the Constituent Elements of Experience – 2006
  •  A Psycho-ontological Analysis of Genesis 2-6. – 2007
  •  The Meaning of Meaning – 2008
  •  Psychological Entropy: A Framework for Understanding Uncertainty-Related Anxiety – 2011

Overall, the book Maps of Meaning written by Jordan Peterson explores the neuropsychological function of myths. Peterson has also written 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.


  1. Maps of Meaning Summary: 10 Best Lessons from Jordan Peterson | Growth 
  2. Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief – 1st Edition – Jordan B. | Routledge 
  3. Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief | Jordan B. Peterson 
  5. About | Jordan Peterson