We were naive then. We believed him.
Morgan Scott Peck (May 22, 1936 – September 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author who wrote the book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978.
The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978, is Peck’s best-known work, and the one that made his reputation. It is, in short, a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being, based largely on his experiences as a psychiatrist and a person.
The book consists of four parts. In the first part Peck examines the notion of discipline, which he considers essential for emotional, spiritual, and psychological health, and which he describes as “the means of spiritual evolution”. The elements of discipline that make for such health include the ability to delay gratification, accepting responsibility for oneself and one’s actions, a dedication to truth, and “balancing”. “Balancing” refers to the problem of reconciling multiple, complex, possibly conflicting factors that impact on an important decision—on one’s own behalf or on behalf of another.
In the second part, Peck addresses the nature of love, which he considers the driving force behind spiritual growth. He contrasts his own views on the nature of love against a number of common misconceptions about love, including:
that love is identified with romantic love (he considers it a very destructive myth when it is solely relying on “feeling in love”),
that love is related to dependency,
that true love is linked with the feeling of “falling in love”.
Peck argues that “true” love is rather an action that one undertakes consciously in order to extend one’s ego boundaries by including others or humanity, and is therefore the spiritual nurturing—which can be directed toward oneself, as well as toward one’s beloved.
In the third part Peck deals with religion, and the commonly accepted views and misconceptions concerning religion. He recounts experiences from several patient case histories, and the evolution of the patients’ notion of God, religion, atheism—especially of their own “religiosity” or atheism—as their therapy with Peck progressed.
The fourth and final part concerns “grace”, the powerful force originating outside human consciousness that nurtures spiritual growth in human beings. In order to focus on the topic, he describes the miracles of health, the unconscious, and serendipity—phenomena which Peck says:
nurture human life and spiritual growth,
are incompletely understood by scientific thinking,
are commonplace among humanity,
originate outside the conscious human will.
He concludes that “the miracles described indicate that our growth as human beings is being assisted by a force other than our conscious will” (Peck, 1978/1992, p281).
Random House, where the then little-known psychiatrist first tried to publish his original manuscript, turned him down, saying the final section was “too Christ-y.” Thereafter, Simon & Schuster published the work for $7,500 and printed a modest hardback run of 5,000 copies. The book took off only after Peck hit the lecture circuit and personally sought reviews in key publications. Later reprinted in paperback in 1980, The Road first made best-seller lists in 1984 – six years after its initial publication.
Keaton was at one point briefly institutionalized; according to the TCM documentary So Funny it Hurt, Keaton escaped a straitjacket with tricks learned from Harry Houdini. In 1933, he married his nurse, Mae Scriven, during an alcoholic binge about which he afterwards claimed to remember nothing (Keaton himself later called that period an “alcoholic blackout”). Scriven herself would later claim that she didn’t know Keaton’s real first name until after the marriage. The singular event that triggered Scriven filing for divorce in 1935 was her finding Keaton with Leah Clampitt Sewell (libertine wife of millionaire Barton Sewell) on July 4 the same year in a hotel in Santa Barbara. When they divorced in 1936, it was again at great financial cost to Keaton.
On May 29, 1940, Keaton married Eleanor Norris (July 29, 1918 – October 19, 1998), who was 23 years his junior. She has been credited by Jeffrey Vance with saving Keaton’s life by stopping his heavy drinking and helping to salvage his career. The marriage lasted until his death. Between 1947 and 1954, they appeared regularly in the Cirque Medrano in Paris as a double act. She came to know his routines so well that she often participated in them on TV revivals.
Keaton died of lung cancer on February 1, 1966, aged 70, in Woodland Hills, California. Despite being diagnosed with cancer in January 1966, he was never told that he was terminally ill or that he had cancer; Keaton thought that he was recovering from a severe case of bronchitis. Confined to a hospital during his final days, Keaton was restless and paced the room endlessly, desiring to return home. In a British television documentary about his career, his widow Eleanor told producers of Thames Television that Keaton was up out of bed and moving around, and even played cards with friends who came to visit the day before he died.
Dr. Randolph Frederick “Randy” Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human–computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007, he was given a terminal diagnosis: “3 to 6 months of good health left”. He gave an upbeat lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” on September 18, 2007, at Carnegie Mellon, which became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. He then co-authored a book called The Last Lecture on the same theme, which became a New York Times best-seller.
Pausch died of complications from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.
Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture”, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, at CMU on September 18, 2007. He gave an abridged version of his speech on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2007. The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, with a topic such as “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?” Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, “Make me earn it”, someone in the audience shouted back, “You did!”
Trevor Graham Baylis CBE (born 13 May 1937) is an English inventor. He is best known for inventing the wind-up radio. Rather than using batteries or external electrical source, the radio is powered by the user winding a crank for several seconds. This stores energy in a spring which then drives an electrical generator to operate the radio receiver. He invented it in response to the need to communicate information about AIDS to the people of Africa. He runs Trevor Baylis Brands plc, a company dedicated to helping inventors to develop and protect their ideas and to find a route to market.
Plato (/ˈpleɪtoʊ/;[a] Greek: Πλάτων[a] Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or 424/423[b] – 348/347 BC) was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. Unlike nearly all of his philosophical contemporaries, Plato’s entire work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Others believe that the oldest extant manuscript dates to around AD 895, 1100 years after Plato’s death. This makes it difficult to know exactly what Plato wrote.
Along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato laid the very foundations of Western philosophy and science. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” In addition to being a foundational figure for Western science, philosophy, and mathematics, Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. Plato’s influence on Christianity is often thought to be mediated by his major influence on Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the most important philosophers and theologians in the foundation of the Western thought. In the 19th century, the philosopher Nietzsche called Christianity “Platonism for the people”. Numenius of Apamea viewed this differently, he called Plato the Hellenic Moses. This would justify the superiority of Christianity over Hellenism because Moses predates Plato—thus the original source of this wisdom is the root of Christianity and not Hellenistic culture.
Over 2 million view on this six and a half minute video. Excellent. A crash course on Plato and philosophy.