‘A starec is him who transfers your soul, your will, into his soul and his will. Once your starec has been chosen, you abdicate your will and abandon it to him in complete submission, complete abnegation. Such experience, such terrible process of life learning, is well accepted by him who renounces himself, in the hope to win himself after such long a challenge, to dominate himself so as to reach, through the submission of his complete being, perfect liberation, which is liberation from himself, thus escaping the fate of those who lived all their life and did not find themselves in themselves. […]

It cannot be denied, of course, that this experimented, and by now millenary, instrument of man’s regeneration from slavery to freedom and moral perfectioning, can turn into a double bladed knife, so that someone might not perhaps be led to humility and the definitive dominion of himself, but to the strongest satanic pride, or shackles, instead of freedom.’

F.M. Dostoevskij, The Brothers Karamazov


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