Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Comic Guru To Make Cosmic Splash

This morning I explored the site of Guru Pitka, alter ego of Mike Meyers in the comedy The Love Guru, due for release in mid-June. Love Guru is pushing the envelope of web-based marketing, with Pitka promoting his fictional self through networks from facebook to beliefnet.

Just as Matt Damon's Rounders in 1998 heralded the poker boom, Love Guru may foretell a surge of mainstream interest in the Eastern spirituality subculture. We'll see in a couple months. Meanwhile, I'd say it's worth a moment to visit the site for its laugh-out-loud satire, technical virtuosity, and psychedelic visuals that gave me flashbacks to old Salvia trips. Let us know what you think.

Publicity for Meyers/Pitka will be goosed by controversy. As reported in today's Guruphiliac blog, defenders of Guruism are urging theater owners to "stop distributing or screening the movie till Paramount has made necessary changes to the movie, so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community."

Therein lies the more profound side of the story. I see meditation as a process of curiosity and exploration, of unconditionally questioning all my ideas and opinions. If I'm sincerely questioning my ideas, only then can I laugh at them. Only then can I see what a great joke it is to assume that Truth can be contained by ideas.

Everyone engages in inquiry, right up to the point where it bumps into deeply-held personal beliefs. Inquiring and believing are mutually exclusive. An ancient sage (or maybe it was Woody Allen) said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." I'd add to that, "... or tell him your beliefs."

In a live-and-let-live society, we must defend individuals from assault, threats, and deliberate deception. But there's no fundamental right to be free from hurt feelings; questioning dogmas will always ruffle feathers. Laughing at beliefs reveals them for what they are: no more than beliefs. It loosens our grip on what we think we understand; it leads to recognition of how profoundly we simply don't know. From that perspective, all pretensions of knowing what it's all about... are pretty damn funny.

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