Synopses & Reviews
The Guru Papers demonstrates with uncompromising clarity that authoritarian control, which once held societies together, is now at the core of personal, social, and planetary problems, and thus a key factor in social disintegration. It illustrates how authoritarianism is embedded in the way people think, hiding in culture, values, daily life, and in the very morality people try to live by. The book unmasks authoritarianism in such areas as relationships, cults, 12-step groups, religion, and contemporary morality. Chapters on addiction and love show the insidious nature of authoritarian values and ideologies in the most intimate corners of life, offering new frameworks for understanding why people get addicted and why intimacy is laden with conflict. By exposing the inner authoritarian that people use to control themselves and others, the authors show why people give up their power, and how others get and maintain it.
About the Author
Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad are co-authors of The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. They have written and taught together since 1974 on evolution, spirituality, relationships, values, awareness, yoga, and social issues. Their Web site is www.joeldiana.com.Joel Kramer, the author of The Passionate Mind, did post-graduate work in philosophy and psychology and was a resident teacher at Esalen Institute (1968-1970). He is a pioneer and legend of modern American yoga whose evolutionary vision of yoga freed it from its authoritarian roots, re-visioning it for the West.Diana Alstad, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, received a doctorate from Yale University in 1971. She taught in the humanities and initiated and taught the first Women's Studies courses at Yale and Duke. She envisioned the Yoga of Relationship and developed it with Kramer.
Table of Contents
Preface and Map of the Book
Why Focus on Authoritarianism?
Authority, Hierarchy, and Power
Part 1: Personal Masks
1. Religion, Cults, & the Spiritual Vacuum
Religion and Morality
The Challenge of Science
Who Defines Reality in Religions and Cults?
Reexamining the Sacred
2. Gurus and Times of Upheaval
3. The Seductions of Surrender
Control and Surrender
Scandals, Saints, & Self-Centeredness
Recognizing Authoritarian Control
4. Guru Ploys
5. The Assault on Reason
6. Stages of Cults -- Proselytizing to Paranoia
The Messianic Phase
The Apocalyptic Phase
7. The Attractions of Cult Hierarchy
8. Gurus & Sexual Manipulation
The Betrayal of Trust
9. Gurus, Psychotherapy, & the Unconscious
10. The Traps of Being a Guru
Narcissism and Adulation
Deceit and Corruption
11. Jim Jones & the Jonestown Mass Suicide
12. On Channeling Disembodied Authorities
Assumptions about Channeling
An Example of Channeled Writing:
A Course in Miracles
What Are Channels Channeling?
13. Do You Create Your Own Reality?
14. Healing Crippled Self-Trust
Part 2: Ideological Masks
Introduction: The Morality Wars
1. Fundamentalism & the Need for Certainty
The Essence of Fundamentalism
The Quandaries of Revisionism
Revisionism and the Need for Identity
What's at Stake?
2. Satanism & the Worship of the Forbidden:
Why It Feels Good to Be Bad
Good and Evil
The Problem of Evil
Satanism as an Avenue to Power
The Divided Self: Good and Evil Internalized
Satanism as the Dark Side of Monotheism
3. Who Is in Control?
The Authoritarian Roots of Addiction
What Is Addiction?
The Divided Psyche:
Symptom of a Dysfunctional Morality
Taming the Beast:
The Inner Battle for Control
Addiction as Revolt Against the Inner Authoritarian
The Failings of Disease & Responsibility Models
Twelve Steps to Where?
Developing Wholeness and Self-Trust
4. Love & Control:
The Conditions underlying Unconditional Love
What Is Unconditional Love?
Love, Time, and Timelessness
Self-Sacrifice, Power, and Passion
Control and Boundaries
Measuring and Roles
Forgiving and Letting Go
The Religious Foundation of Unconditional Love
Timeless Love through Time
5. Oneness, Enlightenment & the Mystical Experience
The Mystical Experience
Dualism and Renunciation
The Function of Enlightenment
The One-Sidedness of Oneness
Holism and Interconnectedness
Renunciation as Accumulation
6. The Power of Abstraction:
The Sacred Word & the Evolution of Morality
Abstractions and Power
From Animism to Polytheism:
The Concrete Abstractions of Idolatry
Monotheism: A Universal Abstraction
Oneness: The Culmination of Religious Abstraction
Abstraction, Either/or Thinking, and Dualism
Symbol Systems and Power
Transforming the Symbol System:
A Dialectical Perspective
Epilogue: Where to Go from Here?