Hollywood producer David Lynch, known for his dark films such as Mulholland Drive, coolly assures anyone that his announcement early this year to raise $7 billion to teach Transcendental Meditation Technique in American schools is serious spiritual business.
Some may wonder how he could raise the staggering amount, which is much more than the production and marketing cost of all Hollywood films made in three years. But Lynch is getting some serious attention in the media. The New York Times chose his plan as one of the 25 most intriguing ideas proposed in 2005. And Lynch, who has practiced TM developed by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for 32 years, was recently interviewed at length in The Washington Post.
He also talked about a world meditation community. "At least 8,000 beautiful souls working like factory workers doing their program, pumping peace for the world," is how he described his vision.
Why 8,000? "That is approximately the square root of one per cent of the world's population, which is the number needed to produce the Global Maharishi Effect for reducing international conflict," he replied.
Speaking to India Abroad, Lynch says that $7 billion is indeed a huge amount, but added that the craving for peace is bigger. It is a different story, of course, that each time he makes his low budget films (by Hollywood standards where a film on an average costs $70 million), he has to struggle to raise $15 million to $20 million. He does believe that everyone will feel the urgency to support the movement when it comes to peace in schools and homes though.
So far, Lynch has spent $400,000 of his own money and raised $1 million in donations from a handful of individuals and organisations. "'Money will open so many doors," he told the Post. "It will start snowballing."
He might want to recruit Naomi Watts, the damsel in distress in current rage King Kong, for his cause. The Australian actress who won critical kudos for the first time for her work in Mulholland Drive, is already into yoga. She said in interviews last week that a steep fall she suffered while working on Kong did not cause her serious injuries because her body was supple thanks to years of yoga. For her, then, the leap from yoga to TM could be a gentle one.
As for Lynch, he estimates that world peace, or 'Heaven on Earth', can be purchased for the price of 3 1/2 B-1 bombers. "In which case," he says, "it would be a bargain."