Love In Scott Peck\'s Book The Road Less Traveled

"What\'s Love Got to do With It?" That was Tina Turner\'s view of love in the late nineteen-eighties. Apparently Scott Peck, the author of The Road Less Traveled, felt the same way. Peck\'s view of love was a correction to what he thought everyone else thought love was. This paper will be an explanation of Peck\'s beliefs about love, a contrasting view on love, and my personal knowledge of Peck\'s beliefs.
Peck had a very pessimistic and, at times, a contradicting view of what is believed to be "love" and introduced that in his section on the definition of love. Peck (1978) believed "Love is too large, too deep ever to be truly understood or measured or limited within the framework of words"(page 81). Later on in that same page Peck offers a definition of love as being "The will to extend one\'s self for the purpose of nurturing one\'s own or another\'s personal growth"(page 81). He also breaks down his definition into five comments: First- The definition has a goal or a purpose, Second- The definition given is a circular process, Third- The definition includes self-love as love for the other, Fourth- The definition implies effort, and Fifth- The definition implies a "will" to do something rather than just a desire. Peck believes that lots of suffering can be avoided if a person would take the time out to do away with the common misconceptions of love and came to a more precise meaning of love.
Peck\'s section called "The Myth of Romantic Love" delves deeper into why he believes that people do not fully understand the meaning of true love. Peck says, "…the experience of falling in love probably must have as one of its characteristics the illusion that the experience will last forever"(page 91). He blames our mentality of this "fairy tale" love on society. In this section Peck also discusses the myth that there is one man for every one woman and vice versa. When a couple falls out of love, "…then it is clear that a dreadful mistake was made, we misread the stars, we did not hook up with our one and only perfect match, what we thought was love was not real or "true" love, and nothing can be done about the situation except to live unhappily ever after or get divorced" (page 91). Peck believes that couples that live by this type of mentality prize togetherness and see it as a sign of a healthy marriage but in actuality it is not. Mythical love, as Peck calls it, may be a trick in order for the continuation of the human race. This type of "love" is often known as dependent.
Dependency, Peck believes, is what people mistake for love. Examples of dependency are when a person: says, "I can\'t live without this person because I love them so much," or, when a person contemplates suicide because of the loss of a love. Peck defines dependency as, "…the inability to experience wholeness or to function adequately without the certainty that one is being actively cared for by another"(page 98). Peck compares dependency to the feeling that all humans have to be babied. Peck believes: "All of us have the desire to be babied, to be nurtured without effort on our parts…"(page 99). Dependency can even be linked to the most common disorder called "passive dependent personality disorder". This disorder is common in people always searching for love. These types of people never feel quite whole and don\'t tolerate loneliness well. When they finally do fall in love, they become so dependent upon that other person that they can not even imagine living them. A woman will even "unlearn" driving in order to become more dependent upon her husband as a means of transportation. A passive dependent marriage can never be considered genuine love or even healthy, but to a passive dependent, it is considered healthy and secure. Dependency can be blamed on the role, or rather absence of, the parent. This brings about years of searching for "…happiness and full-fillment"(page 105).
Although Peck makes valid points that love is not the only thing to live for, First Corinthians disagrees. The Bible verse says, " If