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People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Oktober 1983

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Gebundene Ausgabe, Oktober 1983
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-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
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A gripping book from the bestselling author of hugely popular self-help book, The Road Less Travelled. Leading psychiatrist and self-help pioneer Dr M.Scott Peck reveals his encounters with evil, during sessions with patients of his psychiatric therapy. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

Synopsis

A description of the author's experience of psychiatric therapy with patients who appear manifestly evil which attempts to show that a spiritual or even religious dimension is required to aid in the understanding of human nature. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Format: Taschenbuch
The author writes from a mainstream Christian perspective, which is certainly legitimate. He describes certain case studies where the patients suffered from extreme narcissism. I am not convinced that all the cases represent the narcissistic form of evil that Peck tries to define; some may instead be exhibiting psychopathy or types of schizophrenia. In one case, for example, the pathology exhibited itself as victimless if one exempts the patient herself from victim status.
Peck sets forth a case for a scientific study of evil and writes engagingly about mental illness and the naming of evil. He also investigates the phenomena of possession and exorcism. It becomes quite interesting when he looks at the fiction of J R R Tolkien and the work of Erich Fromm and Martin Buber and when he discusses the three major theological models of evil, i.e. the nondualism of certain Eastern faiths, the integrated dualism espoused by Buber and the traditional Christian one of diabolic dualism as he terms it.
Where the author goes wrong in a big way, is in his study of the My Lai atrocity or rather the conclusions he draws from it: his suggestion for a military draft (involuntary service) and his criticism of specialisation. Here he reveals some utopian notions that I find very questionable. A compulsory draft goes against the principles of individual freedom and besides, utopian schemes invariably turns out evil. The good doctor should know that by now. The coercion involved in society laying that sort of claim on the individual is a totalitarian concept that is by definition evil.
Another misconception that I noticed is that Dr Peck still thinks that psychotherapy is a universally good idea, notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary.
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Format: Taschenbuch
This is a controversial book and, though I don't agree with all that Scott Peck says, it's certainly worth reading. This book framed evil in such a way that made it easily recognizable (confusion, grandiosity, etc.). I do question Peck's judgment of some as "evil." Labeling people as such excludes them from the rest of humanity -- it's a form of scapegoating which, ironically, is one of the very features of evil, as defined by Peck! It would seem that, when fighting evil, you run the risk of becoming "evil" yourself. This is what makes this book so thought-provoking.

It's ironic that this book is written by a therapist. I myself never encountered "evil" until I saw a therapist some years ago for a brief period of time. The therapist routinely lied, had girlfriends and family members in his group therapy, scapegoated emotionally dependent group therapy clients when they challenged him on ethical violations which caused injury to the very people he was supposed to protect, etc. I experienced profound confusion and repulsion with this man. Now, years later, Peck's book has helped me understand why .... I wish someone would write a book on "evil" people who use the healing and spiritual professions as a means of controlling others. It's a very real problem.
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Format: Taschenbuch
This is not a self-help book for those who ARE the "People of the Lie!" These people do not self-examine. They believe the lie, that only their desires are valid. There is no common ground on which to stand. This book can help those who have to live with them or work with them. The confusion that Dr. Peck felt while dealing with his patients is nothing compared to the disconcertion that a lay person feels. At least the doctor knew they were ill! This book helped me deal with an evil boss until I retired. I agree with Dr. Peck's advice: Get away from them, as fast as you can! In the meantime, read this book so you will know that it's not you who is sick, but them.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Mr. Peck is a psychiatrist and shows us some cases where a "value-free" psychology would not be able to solve the problem satisfactory. Scientificly educated psychotherapists are only concerned about whether an individual is functioning well; only if not, then there is a disease. Moral judgments about well-functioning are avoided. And "evil" is such a moral judgment. The book is a proposal "that it may also be a scientific judgment" (p.293). He tries to show that a "diagnosis" of "evil" would clarify some things. He starts with a definition of evil as "that force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness" (p.47). In "The Road Less Travelled" he defined evil "as the exercise of political power - that is, the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion - in order to avoid ... spiritual growth" (RLT, p. 279). In other words "the evil attack others instead of facing their own failures" (p.82). He brilliantly shows how this "evil" behaviour is related to lies, narcism and scapegoating. And later in the book he gives some possible explanations of "group evil" (like war crimes) in relation to all this.
I learned a lot from his analysis of "evil" in relation to lies, narcism and scapegoating; it clarified a lot for me about the possible mechanisms at work. And it offered a good basis for a critical look at my own motives in life. Thank you Mr. Peck. The book offers a lot of material for theory-development, and that's also its purpose: "to lead us to the dissatisfaction with our current state of ignorance of the subject" (p.11).
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