I’ve been known to hero-worship someone from time-to-time.
I’ve even anointed people with guru status.
And, I’ve believed everything that guru has said and taken it as gospel and blindly followed him.
As I’ve gotten older and not necessarily wiser, I’ve realised that it’s a dangerous game to put your destiny in one person’s hands.
The challenge is that most gurus, be they of the religious, political, spiritual, business or self-help persuasion, teach one ‘what to think’ and not ‘how to think’.
I really have no problem if you’re following someone who you believe can help you become a human being that is self-sustaining and benevolent.
Danger lurks when you lose your ability to have independent thought.
There are numerous stories of things going horribly wrong when one subordinates one’s thoughts to the guru.
Probably the most infamous case of this is the Jonestown massacre. ‘Guru’, Jim Jones managed to get 912 (276 children) to commit suicide by getting them to drink Kool-Aid and Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide and Valium on November 18, 1978.
- Women burned at the stake for witchcraft (sometimes just for owning a pet)
- Gays persecuted
- David Koresh
- Race persecution
- Charles Manson
- Religious persecution
- Stewart Traill
- Incas (one of the most advanced (workable) government system ever) wiped out by the Spanish for God (actually wiped out for the gold)
- Aum Shinrikyo
- The earth is the centre of the universe
- Claude Vorilhon
- The earth is flat
- Joseph Di Mambro
- Every president of a country that has led us down a destructive path
This is just a fraction of what is out there. I’m sure you can come up with your own list at a drop of a hat.
“A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves” – Edward R. Murrow
I suppose we all want to believe in something. But, with roughly 4200 religions and belief systems and just under 5000 gods to choose from (all professing to be right), finding a path is quite daunting. And, add all the self-professed gurus, claiming that only through them will you find true happiness … then it becomes downright confusing.
I think picking a lane is a good thing because it can help us make sense of the chaotic world we live in. Picking a belief that has at its core benevolence to one’s fellow human is probably a good call. However, almost every belief system I know of professes to be for the benefit of others. Patently, this is not so and that leaves us back to square one.
Who and what to choose?
“Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you” – Benjamin Franklin
- Remember. Most ‘gurus’ are just as stuffed up as you and me. They’re also fumbling around trying to make sense of this human endeavour. You know what they know. You just need to remember what you know, that’s all. You are your own guru.
- Real gurus know that when they’re the smartest person in the room it is time to find another room. They don’t believe their own PR, are humble and know that they are only a fraction of the way to real understanding.
- My take is to choose a belief system and someone that teaches you ‘how to think’ and ‘not what to think’.
- Don’t allow others to think for you. Apply your mind and question everything.
- Remember, that the person you choose to take instruction from is human and fallible, just like the rest of us. This person could be on the wrong path and leading you along it too.
- Be wary of gurus that are self-promoting.
- The same goes for gurus that say that their way is the only way.
Blindly following someone and subordinating your free will to them is not an answer to your problems. It could very well be the start of your problems … leading to you losing yourself, your heart, your soul and your life. And, of course, destroying others in the process too.
Read this article, How Do You Know You’re In a Cult?
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