Coming back from dropping my wife off at work, I was listening to a radio interview with Vikram Gandhi, director of a documentary about "a real fake guru as distinct from a fake real guru." "Kumaré" opens next Wednesday. Gandhi dons a false guru persona and creates a following in Arizona and eventually confesses his ruse.
Superficially, the conceit is likely to appeal to the intellect that picks holes in the flimsiness of human credulity and willingness to be scammed and yet never reflects on its own credulity and willingness to be scammed. In the radio interview, Gandhi does not sound like one of these intellectual feather merchants.
One of the things I have always found disquieting about the critics of "fake real gurus" is that, despite the fact that their criticisms may be utterly warranted, they seem to disregard the very human attempts to find something that will quiet the sense of unsatisfactoriness within. Some such attempts lead to "fake real gurus," to self-important religions, to gods whose light is dim at best. But however fake and fabricated and manipulative the chosen path, still there is the yearning and it seems to me that Gandhi wants to point it out.
It's not enough to say to people, "you are the answer to your own questions" -- that's too hard, too easy to say and hard to do ... and so there needs to be a format, a fabrication, a fib ... some circumstance in which to wrest from a lie the foundation of truth. It is the process of entering the lie and making a pedal-to-the-metal effort that builds a foundation or enriches the earth from which an actualized understanding can arise. Fear and criticize the lies and fabrications all you like, but I see no other option than to move forward into the fabrication and pray like crazy that that fabrication won't do too much damage. And if they do do too much damage, well, pick another fabrication.
I'm not sure exactly what the movie itself will be like, but I do like the implications. Pick your lie and then just don't stop. Be an intellectually acute critic or whining applause machine ... go ahead, but just don't stop.
The unsatisfactoriness is human and real ... if fabricated. The solution is human and real ... if fabricated.
"You are the answer to your own questions."
What was the question again?