Hitler Yoga and David Lynch's Invincible Germany

David Lynch Invincible Germany Tour, Part 1.

David Lynch Invincible Germany Tour, Part 2.


David Lynch has been spending a lot of time campaigning on the behalf of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ideas and projects. That's cool. I've always felt a fondness for the saddhu king of Trancendental Meditation because he's just so damn kooky. His situationist events are trés surreal —troops of meditators working for the World Peace Government or even the rooms full of yogic hopping flying (YouTube Clip A, Clip B). But this surreality took a decidedly dark and "Lynchian" left turn in Germany, where the director was campaigning for support of a new Invincible University in Germany.

It's funny and creepy. In part because there's a degree of karma and truth at work here. We tend to associate meditation, and yoga, and spiritual work with airbrushed purple art, minimal zen retreats, and various artifacts from India. Or perhaps we associate yoga with some idealist notions of peace and serenity. But yoga is also, and always has been, about power. Cultivating it, containing it, focusing it, surrendering to it, absorption into it. It comes in many forms and flavors, with names like Kundalini, prana, 'energy', or mind control. But let's not kid ourselves, yoga and fascism (and related forms of Eastern mysticism) are not strangers —and traces of these seeds bore fruit in the Third Reich. (Just read Hitler's consort Savitri Devi, Julius Evola, or Miguel Serrano.)

On a subtler level however, yoga and meditation are just plain hard work. There's nothing solid on which to hold. It's often much easier to mistake the solid ground of our ideals and concepts for some kind of truth. That usually gets us humans into heaps of trouble. Add that to a mind which has become increasingly distorted and deranged by identification with legitimate mystical revelations and insights, or just plain short-circuited by channelling too much 'energy'. Whatever. It spells serious crisis and worse when we try to impose these distorted ideals onto others through charisma, force, or other modes of misguided altruism.

I'm not saying that David Lynch and the whole Maharishi situationist empire are victims of these all-too-human tendencies, necessarily. I'm just suggesting that these themes and memes are polyvalent, especially within the context of fascism and Germany and spiritual idealism. Essentially "invincible" is a terrible word choice and not very peaceful.

Ich bin ein Berliner!

Link. (The must-watch YouTube videos: Clip 1. Clip 2.)

Remarks

1 total remarks for this post. Add your own remarks below.

Fri 23 Nov 2007 at 09:03AM

Michael Pepe

Looks like enlightenment means out of touch for The Invincibles. Or certainly, a lack of marketing fundamentals at the most practical commercial level. Invincible and Germany are two words that should not be brought together. But even thousands of miles away in my suburban New Jersey town of 20,000, The Invincibility Center of Summit looks oddly out of place. Its main street store front features organic clothing in J Crew like window displays and promotions for free meditation classes. What exactly are they selling? Meanwhile, a block away, The Bikram Yoga Center boldly announces "Hot Yoga" leaving no doubts about what they are selling. If the Maharishi intends on mass expansion, he ought to choose a name which invites rather than alienates, offends or confuses. An intriguing name is fine but give it careful thought before you expand country to country.

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