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Stupid Gurus - Page 27

"meconnaissance," through stupid recognition) oneself on stage, as the other of one's desire. Stupid saints, "das Ding" in incarnations from William Burroughs to Charles Manson, loom up everywhere in the stupid underground. There is no culture without these relays, catapults, necessary points ("de capiton") of stupid transference. One might suppose that any spiritual leader worth his salt would devote himself to blowing this vapor away, revealing the empty spot where he stands, for the disciple, in place of an object that doesn't exist, awakening us to the emptiness of the real. For the guru, however, this is often the very order of the impossible; and it is also why I would argue, if you want to call it an argument, that the stupidest guru is better than the most enlightened master. I once attended a talk given by quite a prominent spiritual teacher who exhorted his audience not to see him as a guru, but to be their own gurus, and they all assented: yes master, I won't take you as a guru, I will be my own guru. One would have to be an enlightened being not to go mad from frustration and humiliation over a career spent in such futile gestures. Nor could it be otherwise: the thing will not be divested by asking us to divest it. Then will it be divested through critical means? Dean and Massumi propose such a critique of the body-without-images of Reagan or Bush, but in their work too criticism reverts to the illusion that reason itself might someday establish a secure distance from the Thing. The stupid underground, however, in one of its most characteristic gestures, abandons criticism and embraces the same body, plays the same game, relates to the stupid guru through an aggressively stupid affirmation. One might call it a parody of identification, but parody suggests its own sort of critical-ironic distance and thus is not a term precise enough for this procedure. The Church of the SubGenius, for instance, explicitly rejects the suggestion that what it does is a parody (of religion, commerce, art movements, the American family, etc.). It insists on its truth. It demands that we take it literally even as it elaborates the most exorbitant absurdity. Psychoanalysis might recognize in this insistent absurdity the functional truth of fantasy, the empty truth of the Thing; it is presented to us here as empty, but without offering any pretense of distance from it. Hence I wish to insert here two figures, two hollow-core gurus, two Things as Thing: Monty Cantsin and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the stupid gurus of "Neoism" and of the Church of the SubGenius.17

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