A lady who has been coming to theStory for the last few months handed me this book and encouraged me to read a few pages of it. I read them and then just had to read the whole book. I hadn’t heard of Scott Peck before, but apparently he’s pretty well known. This book, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, is actually a follow up to his book The Road Less Traveled and is a collection of his lectures that deals with spirituality, psychology and personal character. Maybe I’m just back in the mood to read again, but I found myself enjoying his descriptions of humanity and why we do the kinds of things we do and what that means about us. He talks about all sorts of things from pain, forgiveness, death, mystery, self esteem, mythology, addiction, spiritual growth, sexuality and God. It seems like the more that I read psychologists and anthropologists the more I become aware of the field of knowledge that exists that explains a lot about the way that humanity is. They seems to have a grasp on situations and people that is rare, especially within religious circles. It’s that kind of awareness that Scott Peck unfolds chapter after chapter in this book. This kind of view in the world tends to lend the kind of balance that I need to be able to speak honestly about myself and my own situation. So to be able to read stuff like this, and recognize that there is a lot more to understand about myself and that there is a lot more to understand about myself was a good experience for me.
Scott Peck has kind of help popularize these four stages of spiritual growth. I am sure there is more out there, especially a type of fifth stage that I think moves beyond what he addresses here, but nonetheless, these stages help define my own journey quite a bit.
Stage I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a will greater than their own. Many criminals are people who have never grown out of Stage I.
Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith. Once children learn to obey their parents, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good law-abiding citizens never move out of Stage II.
Stage III is the stage of scientific skepticism and inquisitivity. A Stage III person does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. Many people working in scientific and technological research are in Stage III.
Stage IV is the stage where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature. While retaining skepticism, he starts perceiving grand patterns in nature. His religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through blind faith but does so because of genuine belief. Stage IV people are labelled as mystics.
I am sure if you follow my blog and the posts on here all the way back to 2004 when I started, you would be able to track my way through some of these struggles and stages. Most specifically a move from stage 3-4, which I seem to hover in the middle. If I would have had a blog in high school, then you would have seen a very loud and obnoxious stage 2 person.
So I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys seeing big pictures of how the world fits together, and patterns in humanity. I wouldn’t recommend it to those who are academics or those who don’t like to see themselves as a statistic or cliche.