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Twin Peaks

Five years ago I got the American Twin Peaks DVD box for my birthday (otherwise I would have bought it). I don’t know how long it was since I saw these series then, maybe when my brother scratched together the series on official VHS tapes or maybe the last time it was in TV. Me and my girlfriend watched the seven episodes and expected that the rest of the series would follow soon. This took five years! Earlier this month the rest of the series were finally made available on DVD, this time at the same time all over the world, so this time I got the European version (with subtitles). We have first watched the first series again and are now slowly working through the rest of the episodes. Without a doubt, Twin Peaks is the best that ever happened in cinematic history, better even than David Lynch’s film-masterpieces Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive. Twin Peaks starts as a normal police series with a murder and an FBI agent. The characters are a bit strange, such as a woman with one eye, an airhead deputy, a doctor with two-coloured glasses. As the series continues, the atmosphere gets more and more mysterious, vague and dark. There is something strange about the little town, something dark. The killer is not just a killer, there is more going on. The FBI agent is a strange fellow too, doing yoga in his hotel room, speaking about Tibet all the time and having the weirdest visions. Evil is presented in a totally unique way in the series that slowly grow to ‘Lynchian’ weirdness.
I love the atmosphere. Lynch knows how to work with music and Julie Cruise’s “Falling” makes me melancholic, the ‘Twin Peaks theme’ brings tears to my eyes (even in the raped version by Moby). The work of Lynch is of the few cinematic works that works on my emotion. In this way, Lynch films and Twin Peaks are like music to me. I don’t get tired of them, they raise an atmosphere instead of just presenting a story or a puzzle to be solved such as in a the ‘normal’ TV and film productions. Halfway the series the murder is solved, but Lynch doesn’t care, the series continue. In later productions he no longer even solved the questions (or maybe he simply doesn’t ask them anymore), he just makes an atmosphere and cinematic experience.
Twin Peaks has great humour, many layers of understanding (“esoteric”?), a message and much, much food for thought. Some scenes I know by heart, even though I haven’t seen them for 10 years (or so), other things I had totally forgotten. Twin Peaks goes from everyday situations (such as a woman who can be pregnant from two men) to the weird and dark scenes that his films (especially the last INLAND EMPIRE) are completely built off. ‘Lynch light’? Maybe, maybe not, but I definitely understand why Twin Peaks reached a far greater audience than Lynch’s films do. You can just watch and enjoy them, but you can also try to dive into the deep; the films are not ‘enjoyable’ but FORCE you to undergo the mystery of them. I love both kinds.
We don’t rush through the series, but take it in small doses and yet I find myself humming “Falling”, thinking about the symbolism used, laughing about Andy or wondering what has happened thus far and this even on ‘Peakless’ days.

On polytheism

I recently started the book The Myths And Gods Of India by Alain Daniélou (1907-1994). The book was originally titled Hindu Polytheism and now subtitled The classic work on Hindu polytheism. I don’t think there is polytheism, especially not in Hinduism. Polytheism is also often an ‘accusation’ against ‘pagans’. Some of the modern ‘pagans’ indeed do regard themselves polytheists, I definately don’t!
Let me start with two quotes from the book:
“The notion of divine unity is […] a fiction, a mental construction which is merely a projection of the living notion of individuality into the causal complex, a shaping of “god” to the image of man.” (p.35)
“In any form of ritual, of prayer, of mystical experience, man can approach only one of the manifest aspects, one of the several “gods”, never can he reach the vague Immensity, which, in any case, could bring him no comfort but that of nonexistence.” (p.36)
I wonder, did Daniélou not understand, does he contradict himself on purpose? These two quotes are close to stupidity or ignorance. I even marked the second with “duh” in the sideline. First, if the Divine is one, why would this “one” by man-shaped? Second, that the Ultimate Divinity is out of the human reach, does this mean that it is nonexistent?
“Whenever he carries any form of experience to its farthest limit, man has a glimpse of an unknowable “Beyond” which he calls divinity. This divinity cannot be grasped nor understood for it begins where understanding fails.” (p. 5). Beautiful!
“The theory of polytheism is based on a similar attempt. It is only through the multiplicity of approaches that we can draw a sort of outline of what transcendent reality may be.” (p.5)
Indeed, the gods are part of the Ultimate, therefor in my view, many gods does not necessarily mean polytheism. In the end, all is one, or in the words of Daniélou himself: “Whatever we try to worship, the worship ultimately goes to Him who is everything.” (p. 10). Exactly my idea!
Daniélou gives several descriptions of Divinity: transcendent reality (p.5), supreme cause (p.6), Brahman (p.7), nondual Immensity (p.7), Immensity (p.20), undifferentiated supreme self (p.8), the Soul” (p.16). This definately is a Hindu doctrine, so why does the writer deny it?
“The Soul is the sum of all the gods. “All the gods are this one Soul, and all dwell in the Soul.” (Manu Smrti 12.119/ [13])” (p.16)
A strange play of words this writer makes. I agree with the man, but what he calls (and proves not to be) “polytheism”, is not in my opinion, there is nothing outside of Brahman.
(For the rest, this is supposedly the ultimate work on Hinduism.)