I’ve been casually blogging about director David Lynch’s world travels of late. On Monday I noted his globe-trotting activities, planting meditation schools hither and yon across the European plains. (He wants 192.) Little did I know (until I read Hermann today) that the next day he’d be in town announcing plans for building Berlin’s very own Invincible University right on top of Teufelsberg, a ‘mountain’ unbelievably formed from the rubble of bombed-out Berlin after WWII and, all the more unbelievable, now the highest point in the city. If you’ve been out there, you know it’s a surreal location with a wonderful view. The “Devil’s Mountain” is rather natured out now (trees can grow on trash) and a choice location to hang out with some friends around a campfire on a summer night or, from what I hear, a good place to get freaked out on Halloween (totally shrooming, man).
(video continued below)
OK, so much for geography. From what I can gather from TIME, Der Spiegel and this really great blog post and video by eyewitness and blogger Nosedef (whose videos I’m posting here) the press conference started weird and just got weirder until they just decided to crank up the weird dial to 11 and rip the knob off. Apparently, this particular brand of meditation, TM (which may or may not be a cult), promises invincibility to its practitioners. Invincibility in TM means simply protection from negative forces (yeah, that sounds kinda culty to me). Lynch’s representative in Deutschland happens to be the self-proclaimed Raja of Germany, Emanuel Schiffgens, a man who must have been casted rather than selected, because dude is rocking a golden crown with a gold-trimmed, white robe and encouraging the audience to yell three times in succession: “Germany is invincible!”
No, not the best way to win over your modern German audience. Try: the absolute worst thing to do, ever. Audience members go ape shit, first laughing, incredulous, then, as the realisation sets in that, yes, he is really saying this and he means it, start yelling: “That’s what Hitler said, too!” Lynch, not understanding the German but realising that something is going very wrong, commandiers the mic and tries to explain what the guy really means. Several audience members plead with Lynch to see his mistake for trusting this guy, “He’s the wrong man! He’s a charlatan! He’s acting like a king.” Lynch’s words on TM were in fact more appealing. Considering his description of “waves of bliss” and marching boldly forward into a “bright and shining” future, imagine this: David Lynch, by comparison, being the voice of reason and normality; such was the kookiness of this cuckoo bird guru.
It was a bad day for Mr. Lynch, who likely won’t get the land and who is probably right now saying something like, “A lot of times, positives come from negatives.” While I think his aim is true and his cause is worthy, I do wonder if TM is enjoying Lynch’s star power like a certain other embattled cultlike organisation might be with a certain Mr. Cruise. It’s also hard to deny that if more people practiced medition, it would be a more peaceful world (or if more people took more bong hits or read the Bible or played hacky sack in the vicinity of a drum circle, for that matter). But you don’t need to pay USD 2,500 to learn mediation (when I can teach you for half that!). And you certainly shouldn’t get mixed up with clueless gurus like Mr. Schiffgens. That guy belongs in a movie.
Update: Lynch himself just started doing some damage control on YouTube.Stumble it!