M. Scott Peck was a psychiatrist and author. He is best known for his bestseller, "The Road Less Traveled" (first published in 1978).
Dr. Peck is among the founding fathers of the self-help genre of books, which retain their popularity from year to year. "The Road Less Traveled," published in 1978, and its later companion volumes, "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" (1993) and "The Road Less Traveled and Beyond" (1997), have sold more than 5 million copies in North America, according to Dr. Peck's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and have been translated into more than 20 languages.
" 'The Road Less Traveled' really marked the beginning of contemporary self-help," said Jan Miller, a literary agent whose firm, Dupree Miller & Associates, represents other stars in the field, including Dr. Phil McGraw and Joel Osteen. "It was a significant work because he was able to blend the psychology and the spiritual so magnificently."
The book focused on Dr. Peck's core belief that, as stated in its opening sentence, "Life is difficult," and that its problems can be addressed only through self-discipline. Humans, however, tend to try to avoid problems, a habit that only creates more difficulties, Dr. Peck said.
To that dose of self-discipline, Dr. Peck added an inseparable spiritual element. "I make no distinction between the mind and the spirit, and therefore no distinction between the process of achieving spiritual growth and achieving mental growth," Dr. Peck wrote in the preface to the original book. "They are one and the same."
While he at one time claimed to have become a Christian, Peck denied almost every essential doctrine of Christianity. His theology placed him squarely in the New Age movement.
In setting forth his views on spiritual and mental health, Dr. M. Scott Peck has captivated the attention of Christians and non-Christians alike. The best-selling author of The Road Less Traveled and other books on spirituality and psychotherapy claims that true salvation or mental health comes to persons — whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, or atheist — as they set aside prejudices of the past and strive toward fulfilling their own potential to save themselves. In his teaching Peck denies practically every major doctrine of Christianity while advocating an unbiblical morality.
God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward God. God is the goal of evolution
The Panentheistic Process God can be seen in Peck's understanding of our own spiritual growth, how God relates to us, and how we relate to God. For instance, Peck says, "we can define spiritual growth as the growth or evolution of consciousness" (The Road Less Traveled, p. 280). He also makes this statement, "to put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us. We are part of God all the time. God has been with us all along, is now, and always will be" (Ibid., p.281).
Peck further explains, "in my vision the collective unconscious is God. The conscious is man as individual. And the personal unconscious is the interface between them" (Ibid., p.282). And in case there is a chance of misunderstanding Peck's statements, he makes his point clearly: "I have said that the ultimate goal for spiritual growth is for the individual to become as one with God. It is to know with God. Since the unconscious is God all along, we may further define the goal of spiritual growth to be the attainment of Godhood by the conscious self. It is for the individual to become totally, wholly, God" (Ibid., p. 283).
In This Entry
About This Page: