Feet of Clay

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9780006384236: Feet of Clay

There are many reports of strange cults which enthral their followers and cut themselves off from the world. Invariably led by gurus, or "spiritual leaders", the fruit of these cults are mass suicides in the South American jungle or the self-immolation of hundreds in besieged fortresses. This study provides an examination of these men and women and of those who follow them. It takes as example some of those considered to be modern gurus - James Jones, David Koresh, the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Gurdjieff and others - and establishes what each of them has in common. It then examines what they share with other gurus whose teachings are accepted or at least respected - Jung, Freud, Ignatius Loyola, Jesus himself - and finds some startling continuities.

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Review:

Every generation has its charismatic spiritual leaders, its gurus. Some are true saints while others conceal unspeakable depravity. Anthony Storr, Oxford professor of psychiatry, analyzes an interesting array of gurus and finds many commonalities among them--an isolated childhood, a need for certainty, a demand for obedience. He also elucidates aspects of this psychological profile in various intellectual, artistic, and political figures of history. This eye-opening book invokes a larger issue: in our search for guidance and truth, when and why do we cross the line from reasoned inquirer to unquestioning follower?

About the Author:

The editor, Anthony Storr, is a doctor, psychiatrist and analyst (trained in the school of C.G.) and author of 'Jung' (a Fontana Modern Master,1973) amongst many others.

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