Saturday, October 08, 2005

In memory of M Scott Peck

Scott Peck, author of one of my all-time favorite books "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth" was truly a brilliant man. He died Sep 25, 2005 at age 69. I am known to buy up as many used copies as I can find and give them to friends. It is probably the single most influential book in my life other than the Bible. In fact it probably brought me to God more than any other book - well actually I read "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" first - it was on my dad's bookshelf and I read it over the summer after my mom kicked me out of her house and made me go live with my dad as "punishment". Funny thing is when he wrote the first book, he was not a Christian. The story goes someone came to him and said, did you realize that what you wrote reflects Christian theology? And he was like, no... and then he gradually figured it out himself and embraced it.

He has the most similar understanding of Christianity to my own beliefs of anyone I know of. I am just reading an article on his life/death in the online Washington Post and didn't realize he - like me - had Jewish blood. How cool is that! This is an interesting quote from that article "[H]e said he had an appreciation of Jesus Christ as someone 'who was almost continually frustrated.' He told Omni magazine, 'He was a man who was often angry, scared, sad or even prejudiced on occasion.' He had little regard for what he told another interviewer was the ever-smiling 'wimpy Jesus.'"

Today, I bought his book "The Road Less Traveled and Beyond" the last in his series -I am researching competition for the book I'm writing (an essential component of a book proposal). At the end he wrote a long poem about his life and relationship with God and a few parts spoke to me about some things in my life right now.

Was it at five...
or ten or fifteen that
I first decided to speak
The truth
When I could have gotten away with a lie?
I can't recall.
Certainly by college, honesty
Had become my habit
(some have said my compulsion).
I do not mean I never withhold
A piece of truth now and then;
Only that it is painful for me
To love in such a way.

My book on "What is Truth" (in progress) discusses some of Peck's ideas, because they are truly and simply brilliant, deep, and so insightful into society and how we could become a better world if people would just listen and incorporate this information into their lives. He discusses the concepts of great truths as paradoxical, and describes the way people go to great lengths to fight against new information and proclaim the heralder of the news as "evil" or wrong, rather than the minor adjustment it would truly take to incorporate the new information (classic example is evolution for Christians). I will one day expand on something that takes up a mere 2 pages on the stages of spiritual growth - I will relate it to the evolution of a culture (rather than individuals which he does). If you haven't read his book - I highly recommend it. It changed my life.

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