Monday, August 13, 2007

The Road Less Travelled

It's creeping up on 30 years since this book first came out, [1978] but the subtitle still seems as valid as it would have been then... "a NEW psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth."
Because Peck speaks so deeply of the needs and longings that cut to the very fundamental elements of human nature, a post-millennial reader can still find Peck's "new" insights relevant and even revolutionary.
So many of the truths found here along
The Road Less Travelled are timelessly true. For instance, how "timely" would be a new worldwide appreciation of Peck's definition of love, which is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth."
The pages that follow that definition, along with his explanation of how "falling in love is invariably temporary" are in themselves worth the purchase of the book.

What kind of reader will not like this book?
My answer would be, one who needs to think simplistically, and is in denial of the paradox that makes up nearly every moment of normal adult life. This reader needs a formula, tends to think one-dimensionally... perhaps when he or she reads the opening sentence "Life is difficult" this type of person will think "Really? I had no idea!"

What kind of reader will like this book?
One that knows his or her present day problems may require a little extra help and advice. Something beyond their own haphazard intuition and good intentions. Someone who is willing to be attentive, to learn, to think multidimensionally. Someone that will respond to the opening sentence "Life is difficult" with something like "No kidding! Tell me about it!"
The Road Less Travelled will not disappoint this second type of reader.

I've read it twice, and will read it again. And I've also read its sequels, Further Along The Road Less Travelled [1993] and The Road Less Travelled & Beyond [1997].
For more on how much I love the works of M. Scott Peck, click HERE.



Sean Shark said...

When I was 17 and in very real danger of being kicked out of high school for having extremely poor grades (less then 30% average…) my vice principal called me into his office and started lecturing me on my lack of focus, constant daydreaming, and I’m sure a bunch of other things (I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention…) and while he didn’t kick me out of school, he suggested I take something of a sabbatical, maybe get a job; then he quoted Robert Frost. The whole while he was reciting this poem I was staring out the window, watching my bus drive away. Later that afternoon, had it not been such a beautiful day in May, I may have been rather angry at having to walk the 10km home. But, I did stay in school and even went on to achieve almost ‘decent’ grades. Nonetheless, ever since then I’ve had something of an unmerited personal resentment towards Frost. It’s strange the way something such as this post can cause an involuntary memory of high school. Speaking of involuntary memory, and keeping in theme with movies vs books, while taking a break away from Proust, I came across this article…

Dorothy W. said...

I was assigned this book in college and remember being quite moved by it -- perhaps I need another look some day!

cipriano said...

Thanks for your comment Sean Shark. That is hilarious as hell. I'm trying to picture the vice principal reciting Frost while you stare out the window. That is a powerful image.
There is a poem in there.
You could call it... Dealing With The Bored of Education!

Dorothy, oh yes. I encourage you. Have another look at this book. It really is timeless, and full of such wonderful stuff. I know that Peck has been severely criticized, raked over the coals, summarily burnt at the stake over the years, and maligned because his own marriage fell apart in a shambles, but who cares? I still believe that he was onto almost some sort of cosmically-inspired insights when he wrote the thing.