Anthony Storr

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Anthony Storr (18 May 192017 March 2001) was an English psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author.


Feet of Clay; Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus (New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997)[edit]

  • In other words, gurus generalize from their own experience. Some gurus are inclined to believe that all humanity should accept their vision: others allege that, when the last trump sounds, their own followers will be saved, whilst the majority of mankind will remain unredeemed. This apparently arrogant assumption is closely connected with certain features of personality displayed by a variety of gurus.
    • Introduction (pp. XII–XIII)
  • We must consider the possibility that the conviction expressed by gurus is less absolute than it appears in that their apparent confidence need boosting by the response of followers. As we shall see, some gurus avoid the stigma of being labelled insane or ever of being confined in a mental hospital because they have acquired a group of disciples who accept them as prophets rather than perceiving them as deluded.
    • Introduction (p. XV)
  • Constructing or adopting a belief system in which one is either God's prophet or God himself inflates the ego to monstrous proportions. Koresh was more deeply concerned with religion, Jim Jones with racial equality and an egalitarian society. But both compensated for isolation and lack of love in childhood by becoming infatuated with power, and both ended up with delusions of their own divinity.
    • Chapter I "Paranoid Enclosures" (p. 18)
  • Reading his discourses made me realize that Rajneesh was a sad loss. He had an extraordinary range of knowledge and a vision of how life should be lived, but he proved incapable of following his own precepts.
    • Chapter III "Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh" (p. 63)
  • In 20th-century England, an individual announcing that he was the son of God and would return after death in glory would probably attract psychiatric attention; but earlier generations might have regarded such claims as unsurprising.
    • Chapter VII "The Jesuit and Jesus" (p. 144)
  • Few subsequent gurus seem to have matched the simplicity and directness of Jesus′s message; but it must be remembered that we have very little information. If the world had possessed a detailed biographical account of Jesus, an authentic picture of what he was like as a man, it is quite possible that Christianity would not have been estabished as a world religion.
    • Chapter VII "The Jesuit and Jesus" (p. 147)

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