If you missed the opportunity to hear David Lynch speak at the Power Center on Sunday night, don’t worry. I can summarize the entire event with one word: bullshit.
Lynch is, of course, one of the most prominent film directors of our era. But the genius behind Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive (among others) didn’t come to the Power Center to speak about his film career.
Rather, he came as the figurehead of an organization that is billed as an educational revolution but which comes off as a new-age cult. Indeed, he only spoke about his films and creative life when asked, and even then he would quickly change the subject to the aims of his “David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.” Yes, an organization with that name actually exists. Stop reading for a moment to let that sink in.
Are you weirded out yet? It gets worse. The entire evening was filled with propaganda. From the DVDs and “informational brochures” given to everyone in the audience to the excessive use of new-age buzzwords (Expanded! Deepened! Unity! Wholeness! Transcendence!) to the downright creepy tone taken by John Hagelin, quantum physicist extraordinaire, I felt like I was listening to a Sun Myung Moon brainwashing session.
Throughout the evening Lynch and his guests – John Hagelin and Fred Travis, both hailing from the cultish-sounding Maharishi University of Management – besought the audience to consider an education system built upon the foundation of transcendental meditation. Such a system would, they argued, give students a greater depth of knowledge and bring peace to the world. When asked how he would rigorously test and analyze the implementation and products of such a system, Lynch, of course, changed the subject.
But buried within all this unfocused, inarticulate rhetoric was a statement that sealed the deal on this whole cult thing. Lynch offhandedly mentioned that he wants to raise $7 billion (that’s a B!) to create a permanent organization of about 8,000 meditators to literally “manufacture” world peace. Supposedly, that many enlightened people meditating around the clock could pump out enough peace to offset every single act of unspeakable violence and hatred in our world. Forever. I was appalled that the audience wasn’t laughing in his face at that point.
Admittedly, the three speakers did raise a few very valid, apropos observations. Travis made a good argument for severely questioning the stress, sleep deprivation and drug abuse found at our nation’s top universities, and Hagelin took a jab at the Bush administration, which is always appreciated. Most of the audience, however, came to hear a marvelous film director speak about creativity. Instead, they received more than an evening’s fair share of Grade A BS.
Kuder is a Music and Engineering sophomore.