The Shimmering Dead End
Thoughts on the packaging and sale of nonduality

Dead gurus rule the FToE

As far as gurus are concerned, there are a whole lot more dead ones than living. But ashes on the Ganges or in a grave somewhere else, dead gurus project great power into the present nonduality spirituality zeitgeist.

Fortunately, there are some good ones among the bad. But even these get deified, their simple lives transformed into ornate and fantastic hagiographies. While their nondual understanding remains unquestionable, the details of their lives as “recorded” by those who’ve written about them are usually blazing with 8 coats of white paint, and then detailed with all manner of assumption about their lives, all based squarely within the folk theory of enlightenment.

Basically, the life stories of the saints are stocked to the rafters with occluding notions about nondual enlightenment. As quaint and inspiring as they can be, they aren’t really helping people come to their own nondual understanding, and aren’t likely to have much one-to-one correspondence with the actual events of that life, anyway.

There is also the cross-cultural gap that exists between an Indian guru’s life and that of their modern western admirers. For instance, all the Victorian prohibitions against what is for most folks, an entirely normal sex life. Again, folk theory comes into play as the notion that sexual activity depletes spiritual energy, providing the occluding idea that as long as I’m having sex, I won’t come to enlightenment.

Most hagiographies contain stories of miracles. Some are almost entirely miracle stories. Our appetite for miracle stories is enormous. So much so that I’m going to conjecture that there is a neurological basis for being interested in and believing miracle stories. Miracle stories are the purest of the pure heroin of the folk theory of enlightenment. We can thank many living and most of the dead gurus for pushing it on us.


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