Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity

I have a lukewarm feeling about this book. I'm a huge fan of filmmaker David Lynch, and that's why I purchased this title. But there wasn't anything particularly spectacular or substantial in its pages.

It only took me part of a day to blow through this book. It is a mish-mash of Lynch’s observations on how decades of Transcendental Meditation (TM) have greatly enhanced his creativity, alongside thoughts on how he encountered the ideas that contributed to the body of work he has accomplished.

Still, the book did reinvigorate in me an interest in learning to practice TM.

Lynch made some valid points on how new technologies are greatly changing the art of cinema. He sees the cinema at its best as a world into which the audience can enter and become lost, where each member is free to perceive a film through his or her own personal lens. He writes that seeing video as we do today, on a much smaller, less theatric scale (i.e. on an iPod), removes the viewer from having the opportunity to perceive a film in a unique way.

He believes high-definition resolution is almost TOO crystal clear to communicate the cinematic experience, because it takes away the gauzy mystique and feelings of other-worldliness, and sharpens imagery that should challenge the imagination, rather than appear in full, illuminated detail. I happen to agree. I found this the most interesting point that Lynch made. In our modern society, we seem to have this fixation with getting ever and ever perfect clarity in every film or television show we view. It's wonderful that we can avail ourselves of these technologies to achieve this. But, through this, films become too realistic. Don't we watch movies, because we want our minds to be carried away from all that is part of ordinary life – to escape the cares, distractions and stress of daily living?

A great degree of realism has its place. It’s acceptable in a National Geographic documentary. But it can be a deterrent to getting lost in the imagery of a David Lynch film.

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