Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Road Less Travelled


A full life

Key Words Suffering Pain Risk Gain Life
Source The road less travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 133
Quote If a person is not willing to risk pain then that person must do without many things:having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship – all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. Move out to grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all.

The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay. Elect life and growth and you elect change and the prospect of death

References Life in its fullness (John 10:10)

 

I Love my family

Key Words Love Care Concern
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 119
Quote Says that love is not a feeling, it is an act of will directed at the wellbeing of its object.

Thus even though an alcoholic may say “I love my family”, the fact that this is causing them hurt clearly shows that this is not an act of love

 

Judicious love

Key Words Love Judgement Struggle Pain
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 111
Quote Love is not simply giving; it is judicious giving and judicious withholding as well. It is judicious praising and judicious criticizing. It is judicious arguing, struggling, confronting, urging, pushing and pulling inaddition to comforting. It is leadership. The word “judicious” means requiring judgment, and judgment requires more than instinct; it requires thoughtful and often painful decision-making.

 

Love is not self-sacrifice

Key Words Love Self-sacrifice Doormat
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 111
Quote Tells story of minister who’s family are all having breakdowns because he is doing things for them all the time. In the end he had to stand up to them
References Eye for eye (Matthew 5:38-48)

 

American War Brides

Key Words Love Projection
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 109
Quote Tells story of American soldiers who married brides when they couldn’t speak English.

Once the women learned to talk to the men they no longer wanted to be married to them, because they didn’t love them, they loved the image that had been projected onto them.

 

Owning Before giving up

Key Words Love Sacrifice Possession Ownership
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 97
Quote Talks about insight of most mystics that we must own something before we can give it away. It reminds of a similary thing that Covey talks about in “7 Habits”

Augustine and Happiness

 

According to Augustine, our cheif godo must both stretch and satisfy us.  It stretches us if it is better than we are; it satisfies us if it is something we can be confident we will not lose involuntarily, lest our happiness be undermined by worrying about its loss.  Such a good is spiritually helpful by stretching us in ways that draw us closer to fuliflling our God-given end – actually improving and even perfecting us. (page 32)

“For the better and more widely God is proclaimed, the fervently he is loved and esteemed.  And when this comes about, the human race cannot but advance surely and steadfastly toward the life of perfect happiness” (page 32)

He [Augustine] distinguishes proper from improper self-love and urges his readers not to fear talking about proper and improper self-hatred either.  The sermon is a precis of his teaching on self-love, which is an important component of his ethics. (page 38)

Beginning with the Catholic Way of Live, love began replacing wisdom as the way to God and happiness in God.  Augustine’s great twist on philosophical outlook was to identify the triune God as the truth and wisdom that the philosophers sought, and to say that the way to God is through love rather than insight alone.  Well-ordered love enables one to dwell in the fineness of things, their rightness and goodness, their beauty and excellence. (page 41)

But when I love you, what do I love?  It is not physical beauty or temporal glory or the brightness of light so dear to earthly eyes, or the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, or the gentle odour of flowers and ointments and perfumes, or manna or honey, or limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God.  Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God –  a light, voice, odour, food, embrace of my inner[ness], where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food that no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God. (page 41-42)

 

We cannot love what we are unacquainted with; but we do object to being unhappy, and that implies another state in which we would be happy.  (page 43)

Although all people say they want to be happy, not all really do: some lack the strength of character needed to admit that God alone is the only true and lasting happiness. (page 43)

Perhaps only individuals emotionally strong enough to risk change and engage self-criticism can be open enough to new ways to make their way to a happy life. (page 43)

Asking whether happiness lies in virtue or in material goods suggests that happiness is an object, whereas the Confessions present it as a form of knowledge of God stored in memory. (page 46)

The Stoics maintain that living virtuously is living happily, and they seem to think that that is relatively easy to do.  It is for them a matter of knowing and willing.  But Augustine has a deeper grasp of human psychology: happiness is spiritual growth, and it does advance through powers of the soul; but four cardinal virtues, while perhaps necessary, are insufficient.  Without love, that is, the ability to love well – or, rather, to love God well – the divided soul will never heal. (page 46)

The crucial point is that the Stoics recognise only the ignorant soul and not the divided soul. (page 47)

A good will that aspires to God can bring a person near to complete happiness, but Augustine holds tenaciously to the view that life is so challenging that true happiness eludes us. (page 47)

Augustine concludes thatit is altogether impossible for one to be genuinely happy unless that happiness is invested in wanting to remain alive in some sense.  That requires faith in the immortality of the soul; here is Augustine’s eschatology at full tilt.

Only by way of something that not every everybody wants – sharing in the immortality of God – can we proceed toward something that everybody does want, namely happiness.  For “many despair of ever being immortal, though no one can be happy without this.  By failing to believe that they could be immortal, they fail to live so that they can be.  So faith [in immortality] is necessary if we are to obtain happiness… of body and soul.” (page 49)

The happy life promies to us in contemplation of eternal things, that is, God, “the best and happiest spirit of all”.  Recognising the manifold divine attributes that are the divine life, he contains them within twelve: eternal, immortal, incorruptible, unchangeable, living, wise, powerful, beautiful, just, good happy and spirit. (page 49)

Catching the verve of the divine life is essential for grasping the soteriological import of Augustine’s moral psychology and is the foundation of the constructive proposal offered here. (page 49)

The journey into God is a helaing journey into self, for each step deeper into God heals and strengthens love.  In this journey, love of material goods loses its power as one is healed in, by and for the love of God, which is at the same time, perfect self-love. (page 50)

The point is not finally that Stoicism does not work because it cultivates false bravery, but that it trusts in reason rather than in the mercy of God, which inspres hope.  (page 54)

For Augustine, happiness is the spiritual benefit of knowing, loving, and enjoying God, and loving self and others in pursuit of that goal.  It is being at rest in God, as he so famously said: “our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” This sentence is a window into the therapeutic soteriology he develops in the moral psychology of the second half of De Trinitate.  It is a soteriology of ascent of sorts, but it is perhaps more accurately described as a soteriology of penetration.  He calls his readers to penetrate God and themselves until they recover the unbroken image of God that they seek to return to, because God has created them for that exalted identity and the beautiful life that expresses it. (page 57)

Augustine’s belief in a therapeutic soteriology that heals the broken image of God in us holds promise.  It has not been often discussed, though it deserves to be heard.  So I will voice to it here. (page 58)

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Augustine’s doctrine of happiness is that it heals the soul.  It is a christologically grounded eschatological theory of happiness that is salvific.  To be healed is to be happy.  If we cannot be happy in this life, it is because we cannot be fully healed here – not that we cannot be healed here at all.  The soul’s rest in God is its healing.  Augustine experienced that rest and was inebriated by it.  Yet he was unable to luxuriate in it continually and thus he hoped for the time when he would be able to do so. (page 61)