More Culture:

October 03, 2017

Filmmaker David Lynch has an idea for combating youth crime in Philly

David Lynch, the acclaimed director responsible for the long, hard slog that was/is "Twin Peaks: The Return," as well as films like "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man" and the original "Twin Peaks" two-season run, has some advice for curbing crime among Philadelphia’s youth.

His suggestion: Transcendental Meditation®.

In an interview with CBS3, Lynch said the basic tenets of Transcendental Meditation® – in which you’re given a mantra and a carved time for silence, could help youth in Philadelphia schools tune out and find self-awareness.

“Pretty books and painting the school room isn’t going to do a damn thing,” he said. “You gotta get these kids diving in, transcending every day.”

This isn’t a new idea for Lynch. The filmmaker has a namesake foundation that aims to use Transcendental Meditation® in helping at-risk youth, as well as veterans, prisoners and others. Several public schools in Chicago have started testing the technique after Lynch’s foundation was awarded a $300,000 grant from the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Transcendental Meditation® is not a religion. It’s not a cult,” Lynch said. “It’s a mental technique.”

The David Lynch Foundation’s school practice centers around “Quiet Time,” which includes two 15-minute periods of meditation a day.

“This schoolwide program complements existing education strategies by improving the physiological underpinnings of learning and behavior,” the description reads

Lynch’s Philadelphia connection comes from his young adult years spent here as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1965 to 1970. He has often spoken of his relationship with the city and its influence on his work.

“Philadelphia, to me, I always say was my biggest influence,” he said during a 2014 interview at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

“When I was here… the streets were narrow, and the buildings were all soot-covered, the clouds hung low, and it had a beautiful mood. In that atmosphere there was fear, there was violence, there was despair and sadness – there was a feeling of sanity and kind of a knowledge of corruption, and this kind of seeped into me… which I loved, by the way.”