Showing posts with label M S Peck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label M S Peck. Show all posts

Oct 17, 2009

Thinking out loud - Reflections


Something to chew on.....
M Scott Peck in his book had commented that he did not think that God is omnipotent because HE endowed us with free will ('developable').
God created the soul. Why would he (or did he) create an evil soul ? "This is not meant to take away the mystery of it all. Indeed, if soul creation, is in fact, an experiment of God's in each and every instance, it then becomes mysterious why there are so very few such obviously failed experiments". Therein lies an even greater mystery, that of human goodness.

So if we are God's experiments, he grows with us. God changes with his people,  moves with the times according to our evolution?  God of the old testament is different from the one in the new.   The Israelites, thousands of years ago, needed a heavy hand as opposed to people of today who respond better to reason because we have evolved, we are more thinking beings than our ancestors

Somehow it makes sense, we are not created perfect and our lives are not perfect either. We each have flaws. We each have free will.

Oct 15, 2009

Living and Dying Well - M Scott Peck


Part 2-3 of Denial of the Soul

Dr Peck's theological and religious leaning comes through quite strongly in his advise on how we should approach death. It is as if he too was searching for a way to the ultimate stage of acceptance.
The second half of the book draws a parallel between living and dying and Dr Peck discusses what it means to do both well and in communion with God or one's deepest self (soul) for secularists. There are stages that we go through in any situation of trouble or crisis and it applies to dying too.  (Kubler-Ross stages of learning)
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Dr Peck puts forth that human beings are meant to continue learning and developing, most often we stop learning because we do not get pass the denial stage. The soul he believes, is not created to stagnate 'why would God not only create us but continue to nurture us unless we were developable. Unless God desired our development, our learning?' This he feels is the meaning of life.

Dying gives us the opportunity for learning and soul development. By opting for Euthanasia however we are denying the meaning of human existence and attempting to 'escape the reason for our being', 'it shortchanges ourselves.'  In his experience with dying individuals, the final stage of Acceptance appears to lead one to an ethereal awareness of self,  they seem to emanate 'light that embraces their company', no sadness is experienced.
When we are depressed, the healing of depression requires that there be (existential)l suffering. When we seek out answers to our troubled feelings, we come out on the other side with learning and wisdom on a higher plane. Interestingly he says sometimes the solution could mean there is no solution, we accept that and move on.  Dr Peck describes that to arrive at enlightenment we need to recognise our shortcomings and give up 'things of the ego' - arrogance, excessive competitiveness, need for self-esteem, righteousness etc. We need to identify it and realise we 'can give it up' and do it.  It is about making a choice to continue learning, to develop the inner being and thus we should continue to live until we cannot.

Death of the ego or letting go can be painful. Dr Peck likens these episodes of working at depression to 'little deaths'. One of these characteristics is the 'need to be in control'. Certain forms of Euthanasia or assisted suicides is motivated by this need to control our exit from life.  But Dr Peck maintains that it is not up to us to decide when. In such cases that need (ego), means forgoing cooperation with the Creator and forgoing the ultimate enlightenment of 'emptying ourselves'.  The relief of suffering at the expense of hastening death is acceptable as opposed to shortening life to avoid facing death. Extreme pain and suffering without viable relief is the influencing factor and timing is not of our choosing.
In the final part of the book part 3, Dr Peck discusses different ways to handle terminal illness, their aftercare and suggests methods and counseling for individual medical contexts and also proposes pastoral advisors for meeting the needs of the soul.

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
I believe there is a close parallel in religious writings that many of us can identify with - 'to die in order to live'.

I am finished with the book but not really done with it (if you know what I mean).

Sep 29, 2009

Our Human-ess and the Human Spirit

Human nature('ego') and the human spirit are two different entities, while we blame human nature often we forget we do have a human spirit that can be stronger. It appears to be a question of motivation.

Back to M Scott Peck's book - Denial of The Soul,  I'm currently into the early chapters of part 2.
M S Peck had a story about a man who had literally become a skeleton of himself due to terminal lung cancer, for some reason he was still alive and should have been dead.  He could not eat, even when he tried to force himself. His body had wasted away, he was in anguish in more ways than one.His wife was probably the reason he would not give up. His wife was holding on to him through her strong influence and motivation about not giving up the fight, 'can beat this', it was her 'fighting spirit in conjunction with' her husbands that was keeping him alive.'

The fact was, this man's spirit was obviously stronger than his body, and his body was dying. 
The advice that Dr Peck had for the wife was to consider giving her husband the permission to let go. The advice to her husband was for him to consider 'giving up'. 
[Please bear in mind the subject of the book is Euthanasia].

Most of us are brought up to believe that it is always wrong to give up and that was what the husband thought too.  Dr Peck did not tell him it was the right thing to do but he also did say it was 'not necessarily bad to quit' and left him to think on it.
Both husband and wife prayed for more than day together and then decided to go home together.  Two days later the husband passed away peacefully. The wife thanked Dr Peck for his advice.
I had goose bumps when I read this story, that a human bond can be so powerfully binding, that the human spirit can be so awe-inspiring.

Dr Peck was not just a physician and psychiatrist but also a theologian. And that is what makes his contribution on this subject, rather more complex. He argues that while secularists don't acknowledge the 'soul' per se, they should not ignore that there is a deeper essence to us beyond the body and mind.  When Dr Peck talks about soul it is not so much in the religious sense as that of the inner being, something 'larger than the self'.

In Peck's mind, the husband had not given up but 'chosen to cooperate -to give in to God'. Time for the soul to return. This is the beginning of part 2, questions explored are, are we denying the soul, do we shorten our lives by our 'little' addictions and excesses that harm our body, are we fighting the natural order (for human or soul), should life be unnaturally and painfully prolonged or as Dr Peck  interprets, are we cooperating with God re: the longevity of life.

" We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health. " 

I'll be back with more of Peck's experiences and lessons. I don't expect there to be a conclusion or decision at the end of this book. Dr Peck wanted us to be more discerning when it came to the question of living and dying well.

Sep 21, 2009

Self-conflict & Mortality

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
I am currently reading M Scott Peck's book 'Denial of the Soul'. Have almost completed Part 1 and impatient to get to Part 2 which is on the spiritual aspects of the subject. The book addresses Euthanasia and Mortality, through medical and spiritual perspectives of individuals.
Apart from discovering more on the mind, the other reason why I picked this book up, is to discover if it is wrong or right to say that I don't want to live that long a life just upto 68 and not 90.. would suffice. I don't think the book will deliver an answer, only God can, but it will give me food for thought. Yes I know it sounds like a strange thing to think about but haven't you ever wondered about it. This topic actually comes up in discussion with my insurance agent who constantly advises me to save more for my future.


Part 1 attempts to uncover definitions, reasons and causes on why we are conflicted, is it right to give up, when we should(alternatively to pull the plug).. from medical and psychiatric points of view.
For most of us, we are able to deal with conflicts and overcome them. Depression is a bi-product if we are not able to solve conflicts. So depression is normal I 'm happy to discover. And depression (Peck describes it like we are in a cage trapped) is apparently useful to us as it helps us grow.
It is interesting to know that conflicts which are inherent in the human condition, are considered psychological pain. These are the simple everyday issues, M S Peck describes these ranging from husband/ wife difficulties, not enough money, job stress, are children  a drag to competitive existence. As long as the world order is not in sync with us (does not conform according to our thinking), we are in conflict. ....  (To continue click on Read more below)

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