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Copyright © 1997, Jay Ligda.  All rights reserved.  Published by Humans in the Universe and Jay Ligda.

Scott Peck's Stages of Spiritual Growth

      In his book The Different Drum, psychoanalyst Scott Peck explains the four stages of spiritual growth for an individual.  The first stage is chaotic in which people are incapable of loving.  They are unprincipled and self-serving.  Most children are in this stage, and according to Peck, one in five adults.  When people become aware of the chaos in their lives they may transfer to the second stage, the formal.  Here people will adhere to institutions for rules to live by, a paradigm.  These institutions could be religious, political, military, corporate, etc.  People "are in fact so attached to the cannons and the liturgy that they become very upset if changes are made..." (Peck, 190).  Their authority figures are almost always external with punitive powers.  Stage three occurs when one becomes skeptical of the authority of the institution and start seeking the truth on their own.  The fourth stage is that of the mystic.  Here individuals begin to recognize the interconnectedness of all matter in the universe.  They realize the enormity of the universe and understand that they can not in fact understand it.  They are no longer afraid of the mystery.

      Peck's stages of spiritual growth support Fromm's explanation of humanity.  Stage two takes over stage one to relieve the insecurity of the chaos, stage three takes over stage two when one rebels against authority and seeks their humanity, and stage four takes over stage three when one becomes comfortable and secure by their own efforts and will understand the interdependence of the universe and will be capable of developing humane values.

by Jay Ligda

(This work is a all or part of an original work first published/written for Humboldt State University, I.T. 492:  Senior Project., May1991.)


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References

  • Peck, S. (1987).  The Different Drum:  Community Making and Peace.  New York, NY:  Simon & Schuster.
  • Fromm, E. (1968).  The Revolution of Hope:  Toward a Humanized Technology.  New York, NY:  Harper & Row.

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