In my latest reading of People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, M. Scott Peck talked about another case study in the area of human evil: Mr. R. and Mrs. R., the parents of Roger.
Unlike Bobby’s parents, whom I discussed in my last post, Mr. R. and Mrs. R. were sophisticated, urbane, glib, economically comfortable, and socially adept. But Peck concluded that, for whatever reason, they were seeking to undermine their son Roger. They disregarded Roger’s request to go to boarding school. And, when Roger’s work with people who had mental retardation earned him a trip to New York City for a conference, his parents did not let him attend because his room was messy. Moreover, rather than admitting that they themselves needed counseling, they proposed that perhaps Roger had an incurable condition.
Peck mentioned a letter that Mrs. R. sent him after his final session with the Rs. Mrs. R. said that she and Mr. R. were following Peck’s suggestion that Roger go to boarding school, for they were sending Roger to a military school that worked with troubled youths. The thing is, while Peck in an earlier session said that the Rs should have been more sensitive to their son’s desire to attend boarding school, Peck in the last session recommended that they keep Roger in his Catholic school rather than sending him to boarding school, for Roger was happy and well-liked at the Catholic school, plus a dramatic change was not what Roger needed. This reminded me of people I know who have, well, odd “memories” of things that did not happen. Whether they’re evil or not, I cannot say.
One insight that Peck communicated in a footnote was that Mr. R. and Mrs. R. worked as a team, as did Bobby’s parents, and as do a number of parents who are evil.
I can’t say that I fully understood my latest reading—-the motives of the Rs, why evil parents work in teams, etc. But it was intriguing. And I have to admit: I somewhat enjoyed reading the Rs’ back and forth with Dr. Peck, since Peck sometimes strikes me as rather condescending and arrogant when I read him, and it did seem that the Rs were baffling him with their smooth, well-crafted comebacks. It was sad that their actions were negatively affecting Roger, however.