THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
The Discipline section of M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled first deals with life's difficulties. He makes it clear that we all have problems and pain but we have to deal with it to get by and to make life less difficult. "Life is difficult... Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."(p.15)
The four main points of the Discipline section are delaying gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to reality and balancing. These four points are referred to as tools to solve life's problems. By using these tools one is able to overcome
anything that life throws his or her way.
Delaying gratification as Peck puts it is "a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with."(p. 19) I feel Peck's point is to save the good things
for last so that you can always have something to look forward to and an incentive to finish whatever task is at hand. Good scheduling skills and the lack of procrastination are very important in delaying gratification.
Responsibility is very important in solving life's problems. Peck says that we must accept responsibility for a problem before the problem can be solved. This is a fairly self-evident statement; however, many people feel if they put the blame for all their problems off on other people that the problems with miraculously go away. Perhaps they are scared of the pain that the problem will cause, or maybe they just can't handle the stress of the problem. Peck goes on to make it clear that these unresolved problems with
eventually catch up to you. Peck then discusses how neurosis and character disorders deal with misplaced responsibility. This misplaced responsibility is either one extreme or the other. "The neurotic assumes too much responsibility; the person with a character
disorder not enough."(p. 35)
I feel that responsibility can be directly tied into delaying gratification. The three main problems I see with responsibility are people either denying the fact that a problem exists, taking too much responsibility for the problems that do exist, and knowing the fact a problem exists but putting of solving the problem. The latter of the three main problems is directly related with delaying gratification because it involves putting off the difficult things.
Dedication to reality deals with the ability to clearly see the reality of the world. Without this clear picture we have a false misconception of the way the world works. This also impairs us from being able to make wise decisions and determine the correct course of action. People that ignore reality ignore it because reality is scary and not easy to deal with. To have a true dedication to reality in Pecks words means "first of all, a life of continuous and never-ending stringent self-examination. We know the world only
through our relationship to it. Therefore, to know the world, we must not only examine it but we must simultaneously examine the examiner."(p. 51)
Peck describes the fourth and final tool of balancing as "discipline required to discipline discipline." Balancing requires a great deal of flexibility. Peck says that "extraordinary flexibility is required for successful living in all spheres of activity."(p. 64)
Balancing is difficult for many people because it involves making sacrifices. The act of giving something up, especially something helpful or pleasurable, is very difficult for many.
Peck defines love as, "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth."(p. 82) Peck breaks...
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