Peterson vs. Žižek on the Evolution of Consciousness and Happiness: From Pragmatism to Sarkar’s Tantra

Justin M. Hewitson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Mystics and philosophers across the ages have interrogated ideological systems to reveal truth and the praxes that ensure a good life. The 2019 debate “Happiness: Marxism vs Capitalism” between Jordan B. Peterson and Slavoj Žižek exemplifies the perennial quest to link consciousness with a source of lasting happiness. This essay first deconstructs Peterson’s responses to Žižek regarding the biblical devolution of consciousness and religious belief. The second half addresses Žižek’s appraisal of Indian mysticism per the Nazi regime’s misuse of the Bhagavad Gītā contrasted with P. R. Sarkar’s exegesis of the text’s Tantric philosophy. This essay concludes that as Christianity’s religious narrative denies spiritual transcendence (humanity is irrevocably separated from its perfect cause), it struggles to stand the philosophical test of James’s spiritual pragmatism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPragmatism, Spirituality and Society
Subtitle of host publicationNew Pathways of Consciousness, Freedom and Solidarity
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811571145
ISBN (Print)9789811571138
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Christian
  • Consciousness
  • Duality
  • Happiness
  • Jordan B. Peterson
  • Meditation
  • Monism
  • P.R. Sarkar
  • Religious pragmatism
  • Slavoj Žižek
  • Suffering
  • Tantra


Dive into the research topics of 'Peterson vs. Žižek on the Evolution of Consciousness and Happiness: From Pragmatism to Sarkar’s Tantra'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this