The World Needs an "Anti"-Hero

Guru U G Krishnamurti.jpg

U.G(h… I'll get back to that in a moment)

Terrorism. Islamism. Radicalism. Rotten fruits born of fanatical ideological pursuits and perhaps three of the hottest keywords that will define this decade. For the remainder of this piece, let us simply say "enough of that side of the spectrum" for now.

Just look to the other side of things, and in doing so, perhaps gaze inwards.

The suspension of disbelief is needed because it seems almost impossible to speak of antithetical ideologies without some context to what is happening around the country and the world. This is no more apparent than with the humanitarian crises in areas like Syria, Palestine, and Yemen. The digital age has given us a false dream, specifically that of achieving a global community as fast as information is shared. I don't blame technology; I always look at humans for the causes of human problems first.

It is our failed attempt at ignoring thousands of years’ ideology – often masked in the cloak of religion –  although we've tried for centuries. We're rushing to fix historical mistakes with political correctness while creating new problems for the future by looking for inoffensive labels. In all of the chaos, between trying to identify what we are truly at war with, America has also somehow forgotten a bit of her youth, including a culture that is inextricably fused with religion. 

This is despite our best national efforts in seeing to the separation of church and state. 

It is our denial that is furthering indifferent ignorance to the very ideologies we hope to eradicate. While some might see this is hyperbolic, I'm merely pointing out an oversight with the utmost humility and reverence for the Founding Fathers, who also struggled to define the radical experiment of a new nation based on an ideology never put into practice in history. To the surprise of half of the country – and probably most of the world – the last election awakened us to a sobering truth: religion affects our lives whether we are active participants or simply can't be bothered with the thought of it.

In light of this, a reinvigorated spirit of non-dualistic ideas comes from the East that I believe can positively lead us toward a secular, egalitarian democracy instead of settling for whatever conservatism drops in our laps. 

Why have I withheld the name of our subject for this long? Because it really doesn't matter, and you've never heard of him… or so I'd like to think this “anti-guru” would appreciate me writing of him.

However, I did already start with him: U.G. wasn't the beginning of a sigh at mass-media hot words; it is our subject's name and what he is affectionately referred to as by his devotees. His full name is Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti, who was born in India in 1918 and died in Italy in 2007. He is descendant of a Hindu tradition and a master of Vedic knowledge, and he has acknowledged the possibility of enlightenment, though not in the traditional way you might think of it. No doctrine or scripture can or should be ascribed to him, despite him being a prolific philosopher. Still, there is a compulsion in me to express that he is perhaps the most important Indian thinker of the 20th century.

To borrow a European word, his “nihilistic” view of -isms is to be void of them. In his spiritual pursuits, he saw to the truth as many have interpreted as enlightenment, in that of the Buddhist/Hindu tradition, Upon his self-realization, he was met with an empty dread of indescribable proportions. Instead of celebrating, he describes the enlightenment or "death experience" as a catastrophic calamity and completely uncomfortable, scoffing at metaphysical abstractions of Eastern iconography. Nirvana, it turned out, had nothing to do with euphoria or bliss.

Enlightenment – as described by spiritual texts of ancient eastern traditions from Hinduism, Sufism, Buddhism, and Taoism – often is praised as the highest of all spiritual goals. However, U.G.'s experience was one of such disappointment and undesirability that he made it somewhat of a mission to debunk the grandiose cosmology and spiritual fantasies of the religious orders (no matter what religion, faith, creed, denomination, or ideology). This is perhaps to the dismay of the Hindu non-dual approach to self-realization heavily ascribed to Ramana Maharshi, U.G.’s teacher and a very important guru in his own right. The Buddha’s elaborate path to paradise is an allegory to romanticize man’s natural state.

If there was to be a commandment, it may be something to the effect: 

“If it does not serve an immediate utility here, now in the present, on earth, then it is of no use and should be discarded from any archive of information.”

One of his followers called him a "spiritual terrorist." As U.G. asserts:

“My aim is not some comfy dialectical thesis but the total negation of everything that can be expressed."

I think the term is fitting considering our times and just the kind of anti-hero we need now more than ever. To summarize in his own succinct words and in a rebellious move in and of itself, U.G, says:

"My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody... I have no teaching. There is nothing to preserve. Teaching implies something that can be used to bring about change. Sorry, there is no teaching here; just disjointed, disconnected sentences. What is there is only your interpretation, nothing else. For this reason, there is not now nor will there ever be any kind of copyright for whatever I am saying. I have no claims..."

Therefore, I am taking that liberty, U.G., and I hope you don't mind.

There is nothing more to learn and no new knowledge of God will be attained, and there is no escape from this world for which we're all a little responsible. It is time to embrace this unsung anti-hero's ideology, or rather, embrace nothing whatsoever. I think it might actually soften the hearts of fanatics who might now see by holding onto nothing, both arms are free to catch all of the possibilities that can fall from the heaven of an open mind.

I struggle to think what U.G. would make of the current political climate. Certainly, I know he’d be amused on some level, yet he might be completely disgusted on another hand. That is the state of the times.

It is so cacophonous that it seems a third party system is emerging as the Bernie train continues to gain momentum. Conservatives, liberals, and centrists cannot be ascribed to respective parties of the Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Such antithetical meta irony is evident in the fact that the independent ballot looks like there will be contenders for an “ideological” Independent Primary candidacy. 

The fact that so many qualified candidates are vying for the ultimate legitimacy, in all respective parties that is, that I doubt there are any clear frontrunners. Perhaps that is a sign of the upcoming election. It is certain that Trump’s Presidency has had an earthquake effect to the political system and the world of government, and I mean this very positively:

It has forced any and all contenders in the public arena to be completely disrobed in the public eye, whether they know it or not.