Wednesday, January 03, 2007

David Lynch: TM™ Hustler

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

David Lynch, the famous auteur of oblique feature films, is still hooking hard for the Maharishi and TM™. He's just about the most visible rep the ass-bouncers have outside of their failed presidential candidate, John Hagelin:
And now, the low-key auteur is emerging as the most visible, even fiery, proponent of the resurgent practice, which is being used increasingly in schools and in the workplace, as well as by a new generation of stars, including Heather Graham, Laura Dern and the record executive Rick Rubin.

In July 2005, Mr. Lynch began the David Lynch Foundation, which finances Transcendental Meditation scholarships for students in middle schools and high schools to study the practice.
And we all know how that turned out, at least at Terra Linda High School in Marin, California.

But that flop hasn't stopped Lynch from flogging TM™ as the cure for all personal and social ills, provided you've got at least $2500 to learn the simple technique the Maharishi cribbed from an exceedingly common meditation practice known for centuries all over India.

Selling sand at the beach to clams and crabs. It's made the Maharishi billions. Lynch's push to do the same may be sincerely motivated, but that doesn't forgive him for participating in his guru's flimflam. But who knows? Maybe Lynch is motivated by the possibility that he will eventually succeed the mad little man once he finally pushes off this Earth.

That's just what the world needs right now, the director of Eraserhead as one of its leading lights.

30 Comments:

At 1/04/2007 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said, "Maharishi cribbed from an exceedingly common meditation practice known for centuries all over India."

....................

I don't doubt that this is true but can you give specifics about where descriptions of this meditation can be found?

 
At 1/04/2007 9:42 AM, Blogger jody said...

Just about every damn guru in the entire country of India gives mantras. All the Maharishi did was package that. There is nothing unique at all about chanting bija syllables.

Like I said, he sells sand at the beach to crabs and clams.

 
At 1/04/2007 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But isn't it more than just the bija mantra. Isn't the subtlety of how that's done, the amount of concentration, how you deal with thoughts, etc. Isn't that also important. I've read a number of spiritual books and haven't found exact details there.

 
At 1/04/2007 5:40 PM, Blogger jody said...

I've read a number of spiritual books and haven't found exact details there.

There are hundreds of books about mantra.

TM™ is a scam, pure and simple. It's like the McDonald's of meditation. If you like to overpay for a meal full of fat, by all means give your money to the Maharishi.

 
At 1/04/2007 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TM™ is a scam, pure and simple. It's like the McDonald's of meditation

Aah, but they gave me a happy meal!

 
At 1/04/2007 6:10 PM, Blogger jody said...

Aah, but they gave me a happy meal!

No, you gave yourself a happy meal. You're just too sucked up into their bullshit to see it.

 
At 1/04/2007 9:08 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anon said:
But isn't it more than just the bija mantra. Isn't the subtlety of how that's done, the amount of concentration, how you deal with thoughts, etc. Isn't that also important. I've read a number of spiritual books and haven't found exact details there.


Anon, just as with hatha yoga, there are many many ways mantra meditation is taught. Mahahishi picked one, and didn't make it up. He did I believe choose a technique that is good for a large number of people, and did get the subtleties of the technique right.

But you can certainly learn the technique elsewhere free of charge.

I'm not sure Jody is saying the technique itself is full of fat---if so, I wouldn't agree, I believe it's merely one good solid meditation technique. One good piece in the yoga toolkit.

I'm not at all a fan of Maharishi's teaching in general, but I do believe he happens to have taught a technique that gets some results for many. This was part of his success -- of course it was all hyped beyond bounds -- but it was part of the success.

 
At 1/04/2007 9:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

I'm not sure Jody is saying the technique itself is full of fat

I'm saying all the "scientific studies", ass-bouncing, Vedic geek squads, the Global Country of World Peace, all buildings facing east and all the rest of it is fat. The actual practice is just simple mantra meditation. You get a whole plate of trans-fat-filled garnish with the one little carrot stick you are ridiculously overpaying for.

 
At 1/04/2007 9:18 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Jody said: That's just what the world needs right now, the director of Eraserhead as one of its leading lights.

You da man, Jody! These wry quips are part of what makes guruphiliac. :) They're the kind of Kool-aid that I like to drink.

 
At 1/04/2007 9:21 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

You get a whole plate of trans-fat-filled garnish with the one little carrot stick you are ridiculously overpaying for

Yes, that about sums it up! :)

 
At 1/04/2007 9:23 PM, Blogger jody said...

They're the kind of Kool-aid that I like to drink.

Thanks, Blade.

I can't say I'm nearly as funny as I'd like to be, but every now and then I seem to come up with something despite myself.

 
At 1/05/2007 7:08 AM, Blogger Liberated Fred said...

I see the TM technique in its practice as a beautiful jewel of a meditation technique surrounded by boatloads of conceptual horse sh*t. The actual practice is wonderful, but will it let you leap buildings in a single bound? I doubt it!

 
At 1/05/2007 7:43 AM, Blogger facedog said...

jody said...

TM™ is a scam, pure and simple. It's like the McDonald's of meditation.

............

To say TM is a scam, pure and simple is like saying that Chuck on this blog is an asshole. On the surface he appears to be one. Plenty of evidence for that but it's not the full picture.

TM appears to be much more of a scam now than it did for me in 1972. At that time it may have already been the McDonald's of meditation but it was pretty much the only source of food in town and I was VERY hungry. And as the Blade said it worked very well for many of us and did not necessarily lead to slavish dependence on Maharishi. He was not much of a part of it for me until much, much later.

I haven't been doing TM for almost 18 years now. I put a lot of time and effort into getting off Maharishi's mailing list, didn't want them to waste all that gold ink on me, but the fact remains for me that it was an incredible, gave me the tools I needed at the time and I am sure it is still doing that for many.

But maybe I'm just too sucked up into their bullshit to see.

 
At 1/05/2007 7:52 AM, Blogger jody said...

To say TM is a scam, pure and simple is like saying that Chuck on this blog is an asshole.

Something can be a scam and yet still have value. I'm not saying TM™ has none, I'm saying you can get the same benefits from practices you can learn for free. It's like paying $100 for a candy bar you can get for a quarter at any 7-11.

And I think Chuck is the right kind of asshole to have around here.

 
At 1/05/2007 8:02 AM, Blogger facedog said...

jody said...

And I think Chuck is the right kind of asshole to have around here.

..........................

I guess that is my point concerning TM as well. I agree about Chuck, he may be an asshole, but he's our own asshole.

 
At 1/05/2007 10:38 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

jody said...

And I think Chuck is the right kind of asshole to have around here.

..........................
facedog said,

I agree about Chuck, he may be an asshole, but he's our own asshole.

.................

Thanks fellas. It's great to be wanted!

 
At 1/06/2007 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said:
Jody said, "Maharishi cribbed from an exceedingly common meditation practice known for centuries all over India."

....................

I don't doubt that this is true but can you give specifics about where descriptions of this meditation can be found?

If you explored India, you would realize that a whole lot goes there on oral traditons from teacher to student. The oldest Hindu scriptures 'Vedas' are also called 'shruti' (heard) for this very reason.

After spending just two years in India I can count scores of meditation techniques I learned for free from illiterate sadhus. In fact, even now majority of holy men will balk at the idea of charging for meditation. Take it from me that in India, meditation is for free -- if that is all what you are interested in. What costs money is the slick packaging, and the English speaking baba.

You may wonder that in that case why Indians fall prey to these corporate sadhus. However, if you look at the Indians who go to them, you will notice that they are also not your typical Indians. They are the Indian elites who are as much ignorant of their traditions (and probably ashamed too..) as any Westerner. Corporate sadhus are for such Indians who consider it below their dignity to learn anything from an illiterate naked sadhu.

 
At 1/06/2007 1:23 PM, Anonymous Betty said...

Liberated Fred said...
I see the TM technique in its practice as a beautiful jewel of a meditation technique surrounded by boatloads of conceptual horse shit...

...............

Are you Fred Statillo, Fred Gratson, or Fred Mertz?

 
At 1/07/2007 11:54 AM, Anonymous durga said...

Anon said: After spending just two years in India I can count scores of meditation techniques I learned for free from illiterate sadhus. In fact, even now majority of holy men will balk at the idea of charging for meditation. Take it from me that in India, meditation is for free --

I kind of liked that article in the NYT about D.L. which I suppose this blog entry is in response to. I admire him for going against the nihilist art ethic he mentions and embracing meditation. Now, the fact he chose the maharishi may be contentious, but I think his (D.L.'s) message is relevant to a society gone bonkers. In these technologically driven, materialistic, violent times, a lot of people have lost their center. If TM gives him and others a little peace of mind, and they are willing to pay for it, it's their choice. Going to India is not an option for most people.
(ok, I am waiting for the heated rebuttal)

 
At 1/08/2007 11:33 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Durga said:
If TM gives him and others a little peace of mind, and they are willing to pay for it, it's their choice.


Mantra Yoga does have value I agree. I still do it actually. I'd be happy if David Lynch merely promoted mantra yoga (though I don't recommend it unreservedly); but the unfortunate thing here is that David Lynch is promoting it through the organization of a nutbag, with all that goes with that.

One of the worst effects of mantra yoga being promoted by this nutbag Maharishi is that Maharishi succeeds in misleading people that the mantra yoga technique in question is his. Which legitamizes him in the minds of many, because the technique is good for many. The big question in my mind is, in 2007, why is someone of David Lynch's intelligence not separating the useful technique from the crazy-man-organization?

Movie-wise I do think Lynch is something of a genius (I don't use that word lightly) and almost has a genre to himself. But if ever you see a kind of genius that seems close to madness, this is it. Therein we may have an answer to the question in the above paragraph.

 
At 1/08/2007 2:37 PM, Anonymous durga said...

blase said: The big question in my mind is, in 2007, why is someone of David Lynch's intelligence not separating the useful technique from the crazy-man-organization?

You are probably right. I don't know squat about the Maharishi. i read the article though and was impressed by Lynch's combination of artistic eccentricity with meditation. Having peace of mind and a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to take the edge out of art.

 
At 1/09/2007 7:59 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

When the meditation taught by Maharishi is separated from his name, the knowledge and use of it will go back to the sand it came from and noone will benefit from it.

Just like there are many blogs and sites where people discuss these same issues but this one is growing in use because it has pizzaz!

 
At 1/09/2007 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering where the notion that everything spiritual has to be free came from? In some of the old stories about hinduism, the guru asked for the first born son of the person coming for instruction, and that that child should be at once be put into his care at birth, or shortly thereafter! Now That's expensive! I don't see exactly why gurus should be poor, why they should not take money, if there are, indeed, giving anything worthwhile. If TM is worthwhile to people and helps them, who cares if Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gets money from them? I surely don't. And if some sadhus wander about giving the same for free, that's fine too. But everyone should have something to live on. Granted, MMY seems to have gotten more than a little greedy, but what businessman doesn't? Why is it against the rules to charge, and even charge a lot? Who made this set of rules? When some or other swami or babaji or mataji speaks, if they don't charge any money, I give it anyhow. It seems right that they should have a good living. Who knows? Maybe each one of us here is giving less to their boss and getting more money than we deserve? Why should gurus be so different?

Just another point of view.

 
At 1/09/2007 3:40 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

anon said:
Why should gurus be so different?


Why can't I set myself up as a charity for, say, preventing blindness in Africa, collect $1,000,000, give myself a $900,000 salary, and give $100,000 to preventing blindness in Africa? Why shouldn't I be a business man like everyone else? So what if I am a little greedy, what business-man isn't? Why is it against the rules to charge, and even charge a lot? Who made this set of rules? Why do you have a double standard for me and everyone else?

Just another point of view.

 
At 1/11/2007 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, blade, but you are comparing apples and oranges. Why should gurus sit around and eat mud? Why shouldn't they make money and live comfortably? I personally have no problem with that. The problem I have is their taking everything from people and leaving them stranded, and I've seen it happen! Also, those who accept money, like SSRS, creating "the largest NGO" in the world, supposedly, and then spend only a tiny fraction of it on what they said they would. But there are gurus I've seen (and not thought much of, btw) in the USA who charge money, live very well, and never promise to do anything particularly with the money. So what? They get the money and live well. The only problem is if they are not enlightened and are claiming to be, and promising that to others. It seems very wrong, yes, to promise something you can't deliver, taking money for it. Like any business, they will go out of business eventually if they adhere to practices like that. Even TM is on a downward slide, according to this blog, with MMY losing properties and money right, left and center. Bad business practices, and lies about what is given for money.

 
At 1/11/2007 9:24 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

anon said:
ah, blade, but you are comparing apples and oranges.


Don't know if you are the same anon, but I'm actually in agreement with what you say. I don't mind someone making an honest buck either.

On the other hand, I'm against someone purporting to be out to help humanity and then getting grandiose and greedy and exploitative and wacko, which is what I'm talking about. Maharishi (the one I was directing the above at) is not in fact an 'apple' to my 'orange' in this regard, but I have of course exaggerated it for illustration.

 
At 1/13/2007 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday was Maharishi's birthday. He was celebrated all around the world as a great man of thought and action. He has helped and inspired many. He has put his finger in the eye of American government and not flinched. He is loved and respected.

Can you say the same, Jody, blade, betty, jackflash, Chuck, and semblance? When you are old but much younger than Maharishi is now, will you be so honored and respected or will you be wearing Depends?

 
At 1/14/2007 7:24 PM, Blogger jody said...

He was celebrated all around the world as a great man of thought and action.

By a bunch of dupes and patsies.

will you be so honored and respected

Sure I will, if I decide to con millions by selling them sand at the beach.

 
At 1/15/2007 8:46 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

anon said
Can you say the same, Jody, blade, betty, jackflash, Chuck, and semblance? When you are old but much younger than Maharishi is now, will you be so honored and respected or will you be wearing Depends?
..........

By that time I will be a guru with my two main disciples being Betty and Semblance. Whenever possible I will sit on my white porcelain throne but if necessary Semblance will be changing betty's diapers and betty will be changing my diapers. That will constitute respect in action.

 
At 3/18/2009 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no difference between the 60 yr old, dirt poor lesbian in New Mexico who has been practicing meditation she learned froma hippie tract 30 years ago, and David Lynch. If they are both doing it daily what they have in common is a certain amount of inner peace. Just doing it is the whole "trick" to meditation.


Don't mystify meditation, it's just a simple thing anyone can do that is helpful, that is all. You don't need to pay 2500 to learn it. All meditation can and should be "transendental" once you've practiced long enough. A month, a year, whatever- as long as it's done daily and with care.

Sit down, Focus on your breathing and nothing else, and when your mind wanders bring it back. Just do that 10-20 mins. each day and you'll feel better overall in your life, period. If this meditation exercise doesn't appeal to you check out a book from the library that can give you different meditation exercises (that is all they are). I have meditated at times doing only breathing, other times chanting "om", other times focusing on my chakras (look it up-no biggie). Any and all types of meditation were and are helpful.

There's no hierarhy of types of meditation per se, - any honest assessment of actual people who meditate will show you that.

 

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