Thus Spoke Golden Guru
by Conrad Linden

"Anything that Golden Guru says is not to be taken without a good deal of critical thought. The students are encouraged to think for themselves.."

This collection of eleven essays covers a wide array of topics from love and Australian Aborigine culture to climate change and the value of the European Union. Most are short, some three to five pages, with questions on topics posed in a conversational style and answered in boldface blocks of the “guru’s” answers stated in essay form. Following each section is an additional essay question for the reader to ponder and perhaps do research and write a response to. Poetry and linguistic theory regarding the language of the Australian Aborigines, with whom the author has spent time serving as a political advocate for equality, are included. A few essays concern morality and religion, with imaginal work on the crucifixion of Jesus and a homespun parable of a “pure land” or place established by Akhenaten for gardening in the light of God. The author posits that Jesus may have been taught at a re-embodiment of said school/garden.

There are quite a few references to various philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Jean-Paul Sartre in the book. Conspicuous in his absence is Friedrich Nietzsche, whose famous “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” immediately comes to mind when reading this collection’s title. Zarathustra is discussed in passing, as are morals, which Nietzsche certainly had notions about. The author received his doctorate in pedagogy under a lecturer from Lomonosov University in Moscow and seems to have a concept of “larger memory” that is partly based on Jung’s collective unconscious and partly based on the mnemogenetic—or genetic component—of memory, a theory that has had more track in the Eastern Bloc than the West. Overall, this is an interesting approach to teaching essay writing, with the segments concerning aboriginal culture and the author’s political work on their behalf garnering the most interest.

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