People of the Lie

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People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

There was a stark difference in the message of this book compared to his other works. Whereas in The Road Less Traveled trilogy, the message provided optimism and hope, in this book Dr. Peck painted a dark and very sinister view of how common evil is in everyday people.

Reading this book gave me the chills in some passages. Dr. Peck states that we can spot evil in people by the constant and pervasive lies they tell themselves and others. I suddenly started seeing people these lies all around me, in the men and the things they talk about. I was also horrified that I had erected a facade of lies about my own self, and how those lies had tainted the way I saw the world, and how I had become evil. Dr. Peck states, “It is the unwillingness to suffer emotional pain that usually lies at the very roof of emotional illness," which then leads us to construct these lies and in the process become evil.

In reading this book, it reinforced a lot of what I have come to understand about the choices I have made in this life and the path those choices have led me down. There was a passage on failure that I was able to really identify with. Dr. Peck was stating the difference in what the regular human being and the evil one would do in times of failure, and I saw that my way fell under the evil category. “Failure wounds our pride, and it is the wounded animal who is vicious. In the healthy organism failure will be a stimulus to self-examination and criticism. But since the evil individual cannot tolerate self-criticism, it is in time of failure that he or she will inevitably lash out one way or another."  Whenever I failed at something, I would not be able to admit it; instead, I would find a reason to blame someone or something else, and searched for a way to alleviate my feelings of inadequacy and shame. What a pathetic, cowardly, and evil way for me to live in this world back then. I realize today how easy it is to fall onto the path of evil if I start to lie to myself again, and have resolved to continue to examine myself for the truth at all costs. It is the only way to grow and evolve as a human being.

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