Sunday, August 7, 2011

Abi ponders M. Scott Peck, MD -- Post #3

Well, one of the interesting things about chronic exhaustion and neurological challenges that I have observed over the past decade is that when I am "supposed" to do something, I mysteriously find the strength to do it.  Totally a God thing, that.  And so yesterday, as I ordered 2 copies of Peck's People of the Lie, I ran across his last book, which was published in 2005, the year he died ... and that was the book I got for my Kindle yesterday -- and read the first half of last night.  I'll be posting about that soon.

In the meantime I have been pondering lots ... and decided to refresh myself as to the particulars about Dr. Peck.

His official website is not very comprehensive.  It is, however, a good place to start, with the following things:
On the page of his website called "Conversations", I found this (added emphasis mine):
On Psychiatric Illness
"Starting with the Road Less Traveled, perhaps the most radical thing that I said in that book that deviated from traditional psychiatry is that I located the source of psychiatric ills in the conscious mind, rather than the unconscious. And that the previous view, the Freudian sort of view, had been that the unconscious was filled with all these bad feelings, and angry thoughts, sexy thoughts, and whatnot. And that was where psychiatric, psychological illness originated. When in fact, the real question is why those things, which were obvious, were in the unconscious, rather than the conscious mind. The answer was that it was a conscious mind that didn’t want to face certain truths, and pushed this stuff into the unconscious. But the problem is with a rejecting consciousness in which we simply don’t like to think about things….Over the years I came to believe, and again I’m leaving out the biological aspects, but that psychological disorders are all disorders of thinking. So narcissists, for instance, cannot or will not think of other people…. What we used to call passive-dependent people don’t think for themselves. Obsessive-compulsives tend to have great difficulty thinking in the big picture. And I would say that if you have a patient or a client who has some real difficulty, psychological difficulty, look for the problem in their thinking. There is some area where they are not thinking correctly. "
The article on Peck at Wikipedia has a great deal of good information.  And, as with everything (and I really do mean everything), there will be those who are determined to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  By this I mean that M. Scott Peck was a human.  He was far from perfect.  He was better at understanding and correcting the problems of other people than he was his own.  (Anyone who does not find this to be true of themselves has a problem with self-deception, IMO.)

I find it particularly sad that Dr. Peck, after 43 years of marriage, was surprised to find that his wife had had enough. (She left around January, 2004.)  He was not particularly easy to live with and she came to end of her coping mechanisms.  I wonder, as did he, whether his growing, but not yet "diagnosed" pancreatic and liver duct cancer, and Parkinson's disease, contributed to the demise of their marriage.  I would be willing to bet they did.  No doubt, his last months with his second wife (he and Kathy married sometime in late 2004 and he died on September 25, 2005) were yet another kind of Severe Mercy....

I am grateful for the wisdom God shared with us through this particular cracked Eikon (HT:  Scot McKnight).  Peck knew that he did not know it all.  And he also knew the sometimes terrible price the family of a doctor/prophet/writer pays for the brilliance he exhibited.  There but for the grace of God....

I will be throwing no stones ... but I will be looking to think more clearly.  And for that, I have Dr. Peck to thank.  He has done for psychiatry (in my eyes), what homeopathy did for "modern medicine" -- taken it beyond flat earth thinking.  The mind-body-spirit reality that is humanity parallels the Triune God in that they are all one yet continually interpenetrate each other as they form that one-ness.  When you focus on mind without taking body and spirit into consideration, you will not have the full picture.  Just as if you focus on God the Father without taking Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit into consideration, you won't have the full picture, either. 

The Father, Son and Spirit are ONE -- they cannot be separated and still be perceived properly.  Mind, body and spirit are ONE -- they cannot be separated and still be perceived properly.  And pondering the mysteries involved there needs massive amounts of clear thinking!

I will wait patiently as Father shows me more of his cHesed (which Peck understood -- you can tell by his definition of love -- I wonder if it was part of being partially Jewish?) ... and am confident that I will continue to learn what it means to do the hard work of thinking clearly ... of turning away from the laziness that seeks to skirt the pain and suffering necessary to grow up into the image of Christ Jesus.

Okay ... neurological wiring beginning to overload....

Be blessed, friends.

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