M. Scott Peck
Psychiatrist & author
Harvard and Case Western Reserve. He served in administrative posts in the government and was a psychiatrist in private practice.
In his last years, he devoted much of his time to the work of the The Foundation for Community Encouragement, a non-profit organization that he and his wife, Lily, helped found in 1984. He died in 2005.
BookA World Waiting to be Born by M. Scott Peck
The Search for Civility
People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck
The Hope for Healing Human Evil
The Different Drum by M. Scott Peck
Community Making and Peace
The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
LinkThe Stages of Spiritual Growth
Article by M.Scott Peck
PersonM. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
QuotationOn being open by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
On community by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
On dedication to the truth by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
On evil by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
On life being difficult by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
On the defintion of love by M. Scott Peck Psychiatrist & author
Quotations from M. Scott Peck:
By their openness, people dedicated to the truth live in the open, and through the exercise of their courage to live in the open, they become free from fear.
We know the rules of community; we know the healing effect of community in terms of individual lives. If we could somehow find a way across the bridge of our knowledge, would not these same rules have a healing effect upon our world? We human beings have often been referred to as social animals. But we are not yet community creatures. We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival. But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, equality, and love of genuine community. It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail parties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries. It is our task--our essential, central, crucial task - to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures. It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed.
A life of total dedication to the truth also means a life of willingness to be personally challenged.
There really are people and institutions made up of people, who respond with hatred in the presence of goodness and would destroy the good insofar as it is in their power to do so. They do this not with conscious malice but blindly, lacking awareness of their own evil -- indeed, seeking to avoid any such awareness. As has been described of the devil in religious literature, they hate the light and instinctively will do anything to avoid it, including attempting to extinguish it. They will destroy the light in their own children and in all other beings subject to their power.
Evil people hate the light because it reveals themselves to themselves. They hate goodness because it reveals their badness; they hate love because it reveals their laziness. They will destroy the light, the goodness, the love in order to avoid the pain of such self-awareness. My second conclusion, then, is that evil is laziness carried to its ultimate, extraordinary extreme. As I have defined it, love is the antithesis of laziness. Ordinary laziness is a passive failure to love. Some ordinarily lazy people may not lift a finger to extend themselves unless they are compelled to do so. Their being is a manifestation of nonlove; still, they are not evil.
Truly evil people, on the other hand, actively rather than passively avoid extending themselves. They will take any action in their power to protect their own laziness, to preserve the integrity of their sick self. Rather than nurturing others, they will actually destroy others in this cause. If necessary, they will even kill to escape the pain of their own spiritual growth. As the integrity of their sick self is threatened by the spiritual health of those around them, they will seek by all manner of means to crush and demolish the spiritual health that may exist near them.
I define evil, then, as the exercise of political power -- that is, the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion -- in order to avoid extending one’s self for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth. Ordinary laziness is nonlove; evil is antilove.
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
I define love thus: "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.
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