i was listening to the news on Howard Stern this morning when they did a short piece on the passing sunday of M. Scott Peck, author of the book The Road Less Traveled, among many others. When I was 17 or 18 years old, my grandma gave me this book because i had shown some interest in the field of psychology and maybe becoming a therapist when i went to college. at the time i wanted to work with teenagers and pre-teens, particularly "troubled" ones who had bad home lives, or just couldn't stay out of trouble.
Anyway, reading this book set my brain to thinking in ways that it never had before, and though Dr. Peck is an avowed christian, what i learned from the book allowed me to question everything about myself in a way that felt safe, even my faith. he's a truly "spiritual" man, meaning that just because he's a christian, he's not a right-wing nut job. in fact, as he recounts in his book People of the Lie, he's even received numerous death threats from conservative christians all over the world, claiming his philosophy on spirituality and compassion run counter-productive to "true" christianity. go figure.
But i have read The Road Less Traveled many times in the last 11 years or so, along with a handful of his other books, and i can honestly say that Dr. Peck is more singularly responsible for shaping my current worldview than anything else. I even wrote him a letter once in college, thanking him for his wisdom and compassion on the issue of homosexuality (another reason the conservatives hated him), and how he helped give me some of my own internal strength to come to terms with that aspect of myself. i never sent it, but i used to have fantasies that we would become pen pals.
it's funny, too, that since i've decided to major in psychology in school now, i've been thinking about him a lot lately, and even had a brief conversation with my therapist about him last week. he thinks just as highly of Dr. Peck as i do.
i realize this entry is a bit disjointed and rambly, but i just wanted to throw something up real quick-like about a man who was one of my first true idols and for whom i have a tremendous respect. he truly changed my life at an age where i needed someone like him to be doing it, and not trent reznor.
rest in peace, Dr. Peck. we'll miss you.
and if you've never picked up a copy of The Road Less Traveled, i can't recommend it enough, obviously.