Posts Tagged ‘search for meaning’

Guru Fascination

January 6, 2009

Guru Fascination (thinking primarily of the stories by Ruth Praver Jhabwala, in How I Became A Holy Mother…)

A quick contemporary anthology of “guru” influences:

  1. Mike Myers, The Love Guru
  2. Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei and Ajay Naidu, The Guru

I haeve been thinking for a while about a story involving shamans or witch doctors, who play essentially the role not of physicians but of psychologists, in their primitive societies. When the shaman or witchdoctor is discredited because he doesn’t know scientifically based medical techniques, the society he ministers to loses more than what medical science will replace him with. The witchdoctor, like any guru, is a source of meaning, a god-surrogate. This is why gurus frequently speak in difficult philosophical language, and why in primitive societies, they are considered voices of God.

I like the idea of introducing “unwittingness” into everything, so the unwitting guru, the unwitting holder of meaning for a group, is something that piques my interest. It would have to be in my absurdist style of course. Some questions to answer:

  1. What happens to the holder of meaning? Who first realizes that he’s that person? How does he find out?
  2. Who are the guru’s “followers”? What is this society that craves meaning, and how does the guru provide it?
  3. What’s the ending? At this point, I imagine it will be something Camus-like — the protagonist will end up somewhat still bewildered though he will have “learned” something which will be tangential to the needs of his society. He could also leave the society to find anonymity somewhere else.

I really should finish my pending short story first, though. It’s in a similar style, I should take it as far as I can and then move on to the next, possibly this, one. Bah.