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(Not Doing) Drugs, Schools and Higher Consciousness: A David Lynch Commencement Address

Summer’s still upon us, so it’s not too late to post this improvised commencement speech given by director David Lynch this past June at the Maharishi University of Management. Presented with a Doctor of World Peace honoris causa degree, Lynch, a proponent of Transcendental Meditation, gives a typically anodyne set of answers to students wanting to balance the practicalities demanded by the job market with the searcher for a higher consciousness.

Time, Inc’s Motto provides a complete transcription of the talk. Here is Lynch answering a question about his own school years. From Motto:

I was very lucky. I was going to the academy in the late ‘60s when drugs were really, really, really becoming popular. And for some reason my friends said, “David, don’t you take these things.” They were all taking them, but for some reason they warned me against it. So I guess I-I dodged a bullet. I’d say, you know, there’s many, many different kinds of drugs in the world and there are pharmaceutical drugs that save lives, but if you watch TV, you see there’s many, many drugs that have tremendous side effects and some of the side effects are worse than the illness you took the drug to get rid of. So it’s — what Maharishi says is, “Water the root and enjoy the fruit.” Get it from the deepest level.

The experienced gardener waters the root, enlivens that sap, and the whole tree comes up to perfection. If people can hear that at a young age and get with the program, start their meditation; it’s going to save them a lot of trouble. They’re going to be a lot happier, they’re going to be more self-sufficient, self-assured, filled with energy instead of fatigue, relationships will improve. Schools that have this, the fighting stops, the teacher burnout stops, people get along with one another, grades go up. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. I hated school. I hated almost every minute in school. I loved everything outside of school, but it was a nightmare to me. So boring. I don’t think I learned anything I took with me. But I think if I had been to a consciousness-based school, it would have been completely different. I don’t know if I answered your question [applause].

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