Themes In "The Road Less Traveled"

1013 words - 4 pages

The Road Less Traveled

M. Scott Peek starts off with "life is difficult." Peck speaks of discipline and how it is the basic tool required to solve our problems. Life is a series of problems and what makes life difficult is the process of confronting and solving problems. These problems "evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness, anguish or despair." yet it is in facing these problems that we gain wisdom, strength and courage. Any problem brings out a certain emotion; feelings and these feelings can be at times very painful. But it is this that helps us grow. A good example he mentions is school, we purposely give our students a set of problems based on their grade level and ask them to solve it and through them learning different methods of accomplishing the problems they learn, they grow. But this is not everyone; he mentions that most of us are not so easily developable. We postpone what we are supposed to do and we hope that our obligations or problems will go away. But by avoiding the problems in life we also avoid growth. Peck recalls four ways of dealing with problems constructively, delaying gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to the truth, and balancing a revolutionist, changed how I now live my life, and for that I am forever thankful.

Peck also talks about love. On the topic of love the discusses the difference between being "in love" and love. He notes that love is not a feeling, but an activity, and defines it as "the willingness to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own and another's spiritual growth." He complains about the uncontrolled notion of romantic love that spreads through society today that one is not truly in love unless one feels those incredible "I'm in love" feelings that we all know so well. He observes, "Many, many people possessing a feeling of love and even acting in response to that feeling act in all manner of unloving and destructive ways. On the other hand, a genuinely loving individual will often take loving and constructive action toward a person he or she consciously dislikes..." Love for ourselves and love for others will motivate us to endure risks, pain, and discomfort in the service of growth. Peck states what love is and what it is not. Love is not falling in love, Love is not dependence, Love is not self-sacrifice Loves is not a feeling. One thing that stood out in this book was that if the world treats us well then we have no need to punish ourselves. If seeking revenge is our goal in life, then we will have to see that we are being treated badly in order for it to be justified. Also Peck said that love is an action, an activity. This he says is a major misconception. The feeling of love is the emotion accompanying the experience of Cathexis, a process by which an object becomes important to us. ...

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