Scott Peckauthor

M. Scott Peck


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Morgan Scott Peck (May 23, 1936 – September 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist and author, best known for his first book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978. He became recognized as an authority on the connection between psychiatry and religion, pioneering a trend in understanding human development as including not only physical, mental, and emotional growth but also spiritual development.

Peck described human life as a series of obstacles to be overcome on the way to developing a mature character and promoting discipline, or to be more precise, self-discipline, as the set of tools essential for solving life's problems. He also discussed the nature of love, stressing that love is not a feeling but rather an activity. Peck also promoted the formation of what he called "true community," wherein individuals overcame their self-centered viewpoints and were able to empathize fully with one another. 

Controversially, Peck also addressed the idea of evil people and the existence and influence of the Devil or Satan. While Peck promoted a life of discipline, true love, and honest relationships, he did not live up to these ideals in his own life. He was involved in numerous adulterous relationships and finally divorced his first wife, as well as being estranged from two of his children. 

Nevertheless, his insights into the human condition, in its best and worst forms, contributed greatly to our understanding of mental health.

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The Road Less Traveled