Take off the suffocating rubber clown suit of negativity!

So says David Lynch, who is on a national tour with John Hagelin and Fred Travis, visiting college campuses, speaking on the topic “Consciousness, Creativity, and the Brain” … part of a program sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace (which Hagelin is serving as president, a job he didn’t need to be elected to hold).

They were in Seattle last night. I managed to get on the attendees’ list during the 2 and half hours that registration was open a few weeks ago. It was quite a fascinating show.

Of course, I’m ever the skeptic… Lynch said (effectively) “You don’t learn about yourself by staring into a mirror. But you can learn about yourself through trancendental meditation.” Later in the program, Fred Travis comes out with a guy wired up to an EEG. They project the EEG on the wall and have the fellow do some tricks, like closing his eyes, then going into TM, then coming out… and Dr. Travis comments on the effects seen in the EEG… claiming this is proof of the power of TM… evidence of the pattern of coherence that comes from TM.

If I had made it to the microphone, my question might have been: “David, Robert Blake really scared me in Lost Highway. And if you would just speak up a little, you’d be impersonating that FBI agent in Fire Walk With Me. And I know it’s not a popular sentiment, but I thought there were some powerfully beautiful scenes in Dune and I think you really need to take back ownership of that film. Stop putting yourself down with all that talk about dying twice. So I’d just like to know, what’s the difference between trying to learn about yourself by staring at a mirror vs. staring at the waves of an EEG? Both are data feedback systems, eh?”

I tend to reject all this empiricism about consciousness… What’s with the need to re-dissect nature every generation? I make my living from technology, but I don’t believe science will ever find the bottom of a heart or a soul. There’s always another turtle… turtles on turtles, all the way down.

Nevertheless, I love David Lynch and he’s fun to listen to. I felt sorry for him, having to hear so many questions start with “I am just so honored to be here in your presence.” One interesting moment was when someone asked him how he uses improvisation in his films. The answer was absolute: “I don’t! There’s no improvisation in my films. None.”

They were passing out DVDs of their appearance in Boston earlier this year. I’ve played most of it, and it is amazingly (almost frighteningly) similar to the event I saw last night. It looks like you can also view the video from the Foundation’s website, too.

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