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(June 2000) [Printed in "Reality Module No.16."]

M. Scott Peck
"The Road Less Travelled"

Normally I am wary of self-help books. Too many are filled with shallow platitudes - easy answers.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy - though it may be delightful.

I do not agree with everything M. Scott Peck says, but there is much wisdom and much insight here.

"We carry around in our heads a sort of 'working model of the world.' It is simpler than the real thing - and we have created it ourselves."

Green, Michael. "Is There Meaning In Dreams?" in Reality Module 9. April 1999. ANZAPA 187.

"But the biggest challenge of map-making is not that we have to start from scratch, but that if our maps are to be accurate we have to continually revise them. The world itself is constantly changing. Glaciers come, glaciers go. Cultures come, cultures go. There is too little technology, there is too much technology. Even more dramatically, the vantage point from which we view the world is constantly and quite rapidly changing. When we are children we are dependent, powerless. As adults we may be powerful. Yet in illness or an infirm old age we may become powerless and dependent again. When we have children to care for, the world looks different from when we have none; when we are raising infants, the world seems different from when we are raising adolescents. When we are poor, the world looks different from when we are rich. We are daily bombarded with new information as to the nature of reality. If we are to incorporate this information, we must continually revise our maps, and sometimes when enough new information has accumulated, we must make very major revisions. The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful, sometimes excruciatingly painful. And herein lies the major source of many of the ills of mankind.

"What happens when one has striven long and hard to develop a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that the view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and usually unconsciously, is to ignore the new information. Often this act of ignoring is much more than passive. We may denounce the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place."

Peck, M. Scott. The Road Less Travelled. London : Arrow Books, 1990 printing. [pp.46-47].


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Last Updated: 2 July 2003