January 27, 2008

The Road Less Travelled

Completed Scott M Peck's "The Road Less Traveled". An interesting read. It took me quite sometime to complete the book. I had to skim and skip some of the last chapters, which deals with grace and laziness. Yeah... In Scott's words, perhaps I was a bit lazy and rejected "grace" by doing so ;-)

Given below are some of the quotes and excerpts that I liked.

Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.

If we feel ourselves valuable, then we will feel our time to be valuable, and if we feel our time to be valuable, then we will want to use it well. Those who procrastinate do not value their time.

A General: The single greatest problem in this army, or I guess in any organization, is that most of the executives will sit looking at problems in their units, staring them right in the face, doing nothing, as if these problems will go away if they sit there long enough.

Eldridge Cleaver: If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs

To our children we say, “Don’t talk back to me, I’m your parent.” To our spouse we give the message, “Let’s live and let live. If you criticize me, I’ll be a bitch to live with, and you’ll regret it.” To their families and the world the elderly give the message, “I’m old and fragile. If you challenge me I may die or at least you will bear upon your head the responsibility for making my last days on earth miserable.” To our employees we communicate, “If you are bold enough to challenge me at all, you had best do so very circumspectly indeed or else you’ll find yourself looking for another job.”

A life of total honestly also means a continuous and never-ending process of self-monitoring to assure that our communications – not only the words that we say but also the way we say them – invariably reflect as accurately as humanly possible the truth or reality as we know it.

Lying can be divided into two types: white lies and black lies. A black lie is a statement we make that we know is false. A white lie is a statement we make that is not in itself false but that leaves out a significant part of truth.

The feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of “falling in love” always passes. The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades. When it fades, the couple, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that the beloved has and will continue to have his or her own desires, tastes, prejudices and timing different from the other’s. One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back into place; gradually or suddenly they fall out of love. Once again they are two separate individuals. At this point they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the work of “real” loving.

I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.

When someone says that he/she can’t live without his/her love, it is a description of parasitism, not love. When you require another individual for your survival, you are a parasite on that individual. There is no choice, no freedom involved in your relationship. It is a matter of necessity rather than love. Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.

If being loved is your goal, you will fail to achieve it. The only way to be assured of being loved is to be a person worthy of love, and you cannot be a person worthy of love when your primary goal in life is to be passively be loved.

In a constructive marriage the partners must regularly, routinely and predictably, attend to each other and their relationship no matter how they feel. Couples sooner or later always fall out of love, and it is at the moment when the mating instinct has run its course that the opportunity for genuine love begins. It is when the spouses no longer feel like being in each other’s company always, when they would rather be elsewhere some of the time, that their love begin to be tested and will be found to be present or absent. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still exercised.

When we love another we give him or her our attention; we attend to that person’s growth. When we love ourselves we attend to our own growth. When we attend to someone we are caring for that person. The act of attending requires that we make the effort to set aside our existing preoccupations and actively shift our consciousness.

Love is work, nonlove is laziness, and anti-love, which is evil personified, is the extreme form of laziness.

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear.

With cathexis there is always the risk of loss or rejection. Love anything that lives and it will die. Trust anybody and you many be hurt; depend on anyone and that one may let you down. The price of cathexis is pain. If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things: having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship – all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant.

The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay. Elect life and growth, and you elect change and the prospect of death.

As long as one marries, enters a career or has children to satisfy one’s parents or the expectations of anyone else, including society as a whole, the commitment by its very nature will be a shallow one.

Parents who are unwilling to risk the suffering if changing and growing and learning from their children are choosing a path of senility – whether they know it or not – and their children and the world will eave them far behind. Learning from their children is the best opportunity most people have to assure themselves of a meaningful old age. Sadly most do not take this opportunity.

Loving spouses must repeatedly confront and criticize each other if the marriage relationship is to serve the function of promoting the spiritual growth of the partners. No marriage can be judged truly successful unless husband and wife are each other's best critics. The same holds true for friendship. There is a traditional concept that friendship should be a conflict-free relationship, a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" arrangement, relying solely on a mutual exchange of favors and compliments as prescribed by good manners. Such relationships are superficial and intimacy-avoiding and do not deserve the name of friendship which is so commonly applied to them. Mutual loving confrontation is a significant part of all successful and meaningful human relationship. Without it the relationship is either unsuccessful or shallow.

When we confront or criticize someone it is because we want to change the course of the person's life. There are many ways to influence the course of events than by confrontation or criticism. by example, suggestion, parable, reward and punishment, questioning, prohibiting or permission, creation of experiences, organizing with others, and so on.

One’s feelings are the source of one’s energy; they provide the horsepower, or slave power, that makes it possible for us to accomplish the task of living. Feelings are one’s slaves and the art of self-discipline is like the are art of slave-owning.

The genuine lover always perceives the beloved as someone who has a totally separate identity. Moreover, the genuine lover always respects and even encourages this separateness and the unique individuality of the beloved.

Kahlil Gibran:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

A common and traditionally feminine martial problem is created by the wife who, once she is married, feels that the goal of her life has been achieved. She cannot understand or empathize with her husband’s need for achievements and experiences beyond the marriage and reacts to them with jealousy and nerve-ending demands that he devote increasingly more energy to the home.

The path to holiness lies through questioning everything.

Education is derived from the Latin educare, literally translated as ‘to bring out of’ or ‘to lead forth’. There fore when we educate people, if we use the word seriously, we do not stuff something new into their minds; rather we lead this something out of them; we bring it forth from the unconsciousness into their awareness. They were the possessors of the knowledge all along. When we are reading a book and come across an idea or theory that appeals to us, that ‘rings a bell’ with us, we ‘recognize’ it to be true. Yet this idea or theory may be one of which we have never before consciously thought. He word says we ‘re-know’ the concept, as if we knew once upon a time, forgot it, but then recognized it as an old friend.

Ultimately there is only one impediment to spiritual growth, and that is laziness.

Original sin exists. It is our laziness. It is very real. It exists in each and everyone of us.


Roopa said...

Thank you so much for the excerpts from this book. I have been searching how say somethings to a person I care for ..

Just found out how ...

Sophroniscus Dialectic said...

Thats nice to hear :) The book has quite a bit of stuff that one will be able to relate to...

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much It was extremely valuable to have come across your blog. My heartfelt thanks to you

Sophroniscus Dialectic said...

You're welcome... anonymous :-)