“We live our lives in a real world. To live them well it is necessary that we come to understand the reality of the world as best we can.. But such understanding does not come easily. Many aspects of the reality of the world and our relationship to the world are painful to us. We can understand them only through effort and suffering. All of us, to a greater or lesser extent, attempt to avoid effort and suffering. We ignore painful aspects of reality by thrusting certain unpleasant facts out of our awareness. In other words, we attempt to defend our consciousness, our awareness, against reality. We do this by a variety of means which psychiatrists call defence mechanisms. All of us employ such defences, thereby limiting our awareness. If in our laziness and fear of suffering we massively defend our awareness, then it will come to pass that our understanding of the world will bear little or no relation to reality. Because our actions are based on our understanding, our behaviour will then become unrealistic. When this occurs to a significant degree, others will realise that we are “out of touch with reality”. And will deem us mentally ill even though we ourselves are most likely convinced of our sanity. But long before matters have proceeded to this extreme, and we have been served notice of our illness, we are served notice by our own unconscious or our increasing maladjustment. Such notice is served by our unconscious through a variety of means: bad dreams, anxiety attacks, depressions, and other symptoms. Although our conscious mind has denied reality, our unconscious, which is omniscient, knows the truth and attempts to help us out by stimulating, through symptoms, our conscious mind to the awareness that something is wrong. In other words, the painful and unwanted symptoms of mental illness are manifestations of grace. They are products of a powerful force originating outside of consciousness which nurtures our spiritual growth.” M Scott Peck

I would say that 98% of this book is quite profound, although there is an element of arrogance to his style of writing. I find that arrogance can be dangerous in that it can be a defensive, and therefore fixed in opinion and not open to new ideas. If you can read through the slight arrogance, I think you will find this an extremely edifying read.

I highly recommend it.

Simon

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