Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm (SPOILERS)

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tmurry
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Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm (SPOILERS)

Postby tmurry » Sun May 28, 2017 2:58 pm

David Lynch (and Twin Peaks in specific) creates master symbols that evoke multiple different things at once. Once you can feel the overlap, this yields a very powerful synthesis. One good example (which made the rounds on this sub recently) is the white horse that Sarah sees. The horse calls to mind: 1) soporific drugs (think heroin = white horse in common parlance) in the milk; 2) the unconscious mind (Jung's horse symbol); 3) Impending death or doom (death riding a pale horse into the apocalypse, Revelation); 4) an absent savior or the need for a hero/rescue that does not come (Christ on a pale horse, Revelation, and common folk tale understanding of the white horse as a hero or princess mount – the horse being unridden suggests an absence of this). This is a great symbol to associate with Sarah who is the human personification of the feeling of utter doom that is unique to the transitional state from conscious to unconscious. Maybe she crawls across the floor to try to mount the horse, to save the young women of her family, but she does not make it. She spends the entire show dwelling in the medicated anguish in between the waking world and the dream.

The Evolution of the Arm (EoA) is such a symbol.

I believe the MFAP/Arm of the original run to represent the ego, the nexus of authorship of the self. Above the convenience store (especially in the Missing Pieces extended version), he sits at the table to represent a committee of impulses – the performer (dancing man), the sense of propriety (Mrs. Tremont), the need to provide by exerting will upon the world (the woodsman), etc. in an effort to remind Bob of the beauty of the world and coax him back into his place (for naught – Bob breaks free and takes control of the self… note the little man follows him into the red room, leaving all the other drives behind, with the fury of his own momentum). This is Bob taking control of Leland but also (in the collective space) consumptive impulses that wish to control and take, not caring who is harmed, taking the reins of the western world.

This take on the Arm also works in the final episode. He tells Dale in the trial’s waiting room that “when you see me again it won’t be me” – the trial will change Dale (the arm as his self). The arm works not just as a metaphor for pointing the direction that the self will go, but also as an indicator arm. The Arm’s sense of agitation indicates how much trouble Dale is in… it reflects the balance and integrity of his ego. I won’t go into the Freudian holy trinity scene (“one and the same”).
So how does the EoA work symbolically? We have the following evocations:

1) EoA looks like a nervous system/neuron with the head representing a ganglion or the focality of cognition or awareness – It represents the physical nature of the human electrical system as localizing to a seat of consciousness that is self reflexive.
2) EoA looks like part of a web/network with a node – Lynch sees the world as a vast network – a universal field, or web that humanity weaves together and lives in (“like a dream”). As the neuron relates to other neurons and creates a consciousness, each consciousness is connected by this network to others. This is like a section containing one spider in a web of billions of spiders, all connected. Electricity running through the pole wires at the Fat Trout.

3) EoA looks like a tree with a fruit – A sycamore tree for sure, but also the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Inland Empire contained a deep mythology about the Garden of Eden as an event of the creation of civilization and gender roles, brought on by an awareness of time and the need to “do.” This takes the Garden as a story of the development of awareness, the fruit being a brain-as-consciousness born of the system.

4) EoA looks like a mushroom cloud/explosion of technology – The brain in association with the nuclear cloud was a common 60s image of expanding consciousness. Now, the interconnectedness of the world is technological and the cloud a powerful symbol of the danger of rapidly expanding technology. Watchmen has a motif of skeletons or treelike splayed nervous systems against the background of nuclear explosions that is in similar territory.

Electricity.

The overlap here is profound – it draws a connection between consciousness, human connection, communication technology, and ancient archetypal stories of humanity’s origins. The evolution means that the arm, in today’s world, points in many directions – more complicated, less personal, but still maintaining the “I” at the center (lower case i, I guess… it has a dot).
So the doppelganger of the EoA (DEoA) becomes interesting. The fruit looks rotted, the “self” disassociating. The DEoA represents not an “evil arm” but loss of ego integrity and nihilism… the degeneration of meaning. Non-existence. This has all sorts of interesting things to contemplate given the new show having so much to say about aging and the state of America/the west. Whatever your political persuasion, the man in the white house is there because so many people chose to vote not for a leader but for a bomb to annihilate the system that failed them. But for good Cooper, this is the threat of loss of the good aspects to an anti-life part of his brain. This is what depression looks like, folks.

I spent 3 hours yesterday trying and failing to screencap David Lynch paintings off of The Art Life (only available on itunes) and failed (Macintosh caveat emptor) so I could discuss the visual aspects of this. It becomes obvious watching the movie that many of the surreal images present in the new Twin Peaks have their root in his paintings. There is a head hole motif present in the paintings (present all over this season), where smooth but irregular oblong orbs have asymmetrical hole and are positioned as heads. This relates to and intersects with some other Lynch visual and tactile obsessions – escaping black stuff (vapor or sludge, the "negativity), the smooth blank face with something mapped onto it (the balloon head of Inland Empite), rotting fruit (Lynch speaks of taking his father into the basement to see some of his projects, specifically a collection of fruit in different stages of composition - his father told him "David, I don't think you should have children"), the red human heart-looking thing (often floating as a head, the open ventricles looking like a monkey face), the planet with crater which may expel some sort of paste (Eraserhead, the new season), the missing/detached head, the removable faceplate (another post, given that Laura scene), the blue faced man who sometimes has a formation of flames over his head, and the monkey-ridged face (Judy).

In Lynch’s paintings, the motif appears to evoke a lack of psychological integrity, a coming apart of the psyche. This is the state you wind up in if you stay in the smelly rubber clown suit of negativity. The head becomes the focal point in this, and the DEoA is the bad brains version. It is obsessed with annihilation of the self over EoA’s generation of the self (again, the DEoA as the anti-ego). From the paintings, this is what happens when the mind destroying negativity takes over your brain, when the shadow self takes over. Consciousness and civilization seized by an urge to void (good band name, also works as a pee-pee joke).
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby StrangerDanger » Sun May 28, 2017 4:14 pm

Hi, thank you for the effort. I like the depth of your research into what the head might represent, and Lynch's other views.

However l feel you are forcing a square peg into a circular hole, playing a game of twister in order to avoid the self-evident truth that MFAP is evil, he is "The Devilish One". The only argument you've offered against this (in an earlier post) is a reference in the script of FWWM that MFAP was shocked at BOB's display of rage. That proves (disproves) nothing. Also l think that the final film footage counts the most, but anyway, both film and script make it blatant that MFAP = "The Devilish One".

Seems like, In order to avoid this realisation, you are trying to explain it all away in terms of psychology, sociology, philosophy, even a lil neuroscience. I absolutely believe it's possible to explain events in terms of their parallel planes e.g. psychology, sociology, philosophy etc. bypassing any mention of spirituality because all these things run harmoniously in parallel. However, it is only coherent when you start of with the fact at the heart of the matter, which is that MFAP = "The Devilish One".
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby counterpaul » Sun May 28, 2017 4:24 pm

This is a fantastic post, even if I don't completely agree with all the Freudian stuff (Lynch is way more a Jungian than a Freudian, though really he's neither). I think you're really hitting some important points here that get totally ignored amongst all the nonsense discussion over "world-building" (as if Twin Peaks was a fantasy/sci-fi show!).

I like this idea of The Arm being tied to Cooper's sense of self. I think there's a lot of truth in that. On the other hand, I'm incredibly hesitant to go along with ascribing any specific symbology to the lodge characters. I just don't think Lynch works in symbols--this is one way he very much is a surrealist, whether he wants to call himself one or not. His imagery is all about subconscious impulse and thus its meaning is fluid. This isn't to say that the imagery has no meaning. It's just that the meaning is heavily dependent on the emotional context of a given scene. There's a certain consistency (you wouldn't confuse BOB and The Arm, for example), but it's fuzzy.

To me, the most profound role MIKE and The Arm play (and have always played) are as harbingers of intuition. Coop meets The Arm when he first begins to intuit the identity of Laura's killer (way before he's able to consciously face it--and, yes, I do think that is essentially what is happening in Episode 2 and his subsequently "forgetting" what Laura told him). MIKE starts coming around as the truth becomes more and more undeniable. Similarly, MIKE approaches Laura as her wall of denial starts inextricably crumbling.

This, by the way, is why I don't understand why people are complaining about MIKE "explaining" things in The Return. He's always explained things--from the moment we met him. It's his primary role. As Cooper and Laura start to realize things, MIKE comes along and "explains" them--sometimes obliquely ("And, miss, the looks on their faces when it was opened--there was a stillness like a formica table top") and sometimes completely explicitly (his whole speech at the end of Episode 13 or, of course, "It's him! It's your father!"), depending (I would say) on how ready Coop or Laura are to hear something.

This is also why the whole "if MIKE is trying to stop BOB, and he knows Leland killed Laura, why doesn't he just tell Coop?" issue is utterly missing the point. Twin Peaks is, largely, a story about denial and intuition. Intuition can only help you when denial starts to break down. This is why the traffic stop scene in FWWM is so devastatingly brilliant--Laura's intuition is SCREAMING over her denial and she still can't hear it yet.

Cooper's relationship to intuition is different than Laura's, of course. In many ways, his strong sense of intuition and his willingness to follow it is how he defines himself. So, it makes sense that The Arm would act as a reflection of the state of Coop's identity. The Evolution of the Arm is in many ways the DE-evolution of Cooper's sense of self.

I also love what you say about The Evolution of the Arm's doppelganger. It is nihilistic in a way I've never seen in any of Lynch's work. It's a brief moment, but it's utterly TERRIFYING. I mean, Lynch's art is no stranger to evil, but evil in Lynch's work has historically always been offset by a profound assumption of the basic goodness of humanity. That moment--"NONEXISTENT!!"--is something we haven't seen before.

It points to where Coop is, and, by extension, where the show is. I think it's an incredibly shallow reading to say that there is a "bad Coop" and a "good Coop" and that the "bad Coop" is off doing horrible things, but that's okay because the "good Coop" has nothing to do with any of it. I do not think that this is where the show is going with this.

Dale Cooper is utterly lost because his soul has been compromised. He has to build himself back up from nothing. This has everything to do with COOPER'S actions. And Coop knows this in that same intuitive place where he has always found the most important clues. Now it's himself he must investigate.
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby Driftwood » Sun May 28, 2017 4:47 pm

StrangerDanger wrote:However l feel you are forcing a square peg into a circular hole, playing a game of twister in order to avoid the self-evident truth that MFAP is evil, he is "The Devilish One". The only argument you've offered against this (in an earlier post) is a reference in the script of FWWM that MFAP was shocked at BOB's display of rage. That proves (disproves) nothing. Also l think that the final film footage counts the most, but anyway, both film and script make it blatant that MFAP = "The Devilish One".

that doesn't seem self evident or blatant at all to me.
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby StrangerDanger » Sun May 28, 2017 5:02 pm

Driftwood wrote:
StrangerDanger wrote:However l feel you are forcing a square peg into a circular hole, playing a game of twister in order to avoid the self-evident truth that MFAP is evil, he is "The Devilish One". The only argument you've offered against this (in an earlier post) is a reference in the script of FWWM that MFAP was shocked at BOB's display of rage. That proves (disproves) nothing. Also l think that the final film footage counts the most, but anyway, both film and script make it blatant that MFAP = "The Devilish One".

that doesn't seem self evident or blatant at all to me.


MIKE says he was touched by "the Devilish One" and upon seeing the face of God, he cut his own arm off, which had an infernal tattoo on it. I forget the exact quotes but what l've said in the preceding sentence is as far as l'm aware, correct.

Also, everything about MFAP in the film is creepy. Now, l agree, that is my personal aesthetic, but where is the horror aspect of Twin Peaks if all it is, is a much misunderstood man in a red jacket, and submerged desires, ego vs. subconscious, denial, bla bla. Might as well be a story about rabbits.

I'm seeing psycho killers out on parole, Staffies as "nanny dogs", Pitbulls as "soppy, harmless", couples jumping off cliffs on elasticated ropes during marriage ceremonies. That's what we end up doing when we live in denial (a la the OP).

Also check this discussion about MFAP being the Devil: http://www.twinpeaksgazette.com/communi ... 8.cfm.html


Seriously though, a question: Do you wish "The Devilish One" had been struck out of the script? And that angel at the end of FWWM? And the aliens? That for me is the acid test of being with the story vs. trampling over it. It doesn't bother me if Lynch or Frost or any other writer is spiritual or not. If this were Beowulf, l would accept that the swamp thing and the dragon are honest-to-God monsters, rather than all this other stuff about guilt, ego, denial, etc., which concepts may have a place in the tale, but only because Beowulf felt guilt at not finishing the job of slaying an honest-to-God monster, not that Beowulf has childhood trauma, aka a swamp monster, and his guilt is that he blamed himself for what happened in his childhood bla bla. Eeeee. Sorry, nothing personal.
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby Driftwood » Sun May 28, 2017 5:22 pm

reducing the little man down to "the devil" is to me the least interesting way to possibly go. not everything weird and the color red has to be a metaphor for the christian devil and hell. Also mike said he was touched by the devilish one. so he was touched by his own arm lol? what about the new series, the devil helps cooper, but the devil has an evil doppleganger?

but where is the horror aspect of Twin Peaks if all it is, is a much misunderstood man in a red jacket, and submerged desires, ego vs. subconscious, denial, bla bla.

what, child abuse and murder isn't horrifying enough? but a devil with a pitchfork does it?
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby counterpaul » Sun May 28, 2017 5:27 pm

StrangerDanger wrote:However l feel you are forcing a square peg into a circular hole, playing a game of twister in order to avoid the self-evident truth that MFAP is evil, he is "The Devilish One".


While I would disagree that anything is "self-evident," there is certainly plenty of textual evidence to support the idea that The Arm is malevolent in some fundamental way. I think calling him "evil" is reductive, but there is a darkness--even a gleeful darkness at times.

I think it all has to do with the kind of knowledge--or, perhaps more precisely, the kind of knowing--The Arm brings to the table. He tends to presage some pretty dark revelations. And there is an aspect to being a detective that is kind of gleefully indifferent to all the pain surrounding the truth the detective seeks. The job of the detective, in a way, is to treat absolutely dreadful actions as clues in a game. The Arm can be read as that aspect of the process of knowing. Our very darkest intuitions ("You are here. Now there is no place to go... BUT HOME!!") come accompanied by devious smiles and dancing.

The Giant is a very interesting point of contrast. The Giant brings with him a deeper kind of knowing. There is a quiet, calm compassion that comes with the Giant. He has no doubts. He is not toying with anyone. This is the best side of the detective.
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby StrangerDanger » Sun May 28, 2017 6:10 pm

Driftwood wrote:reducing the little man down to "the devil" is to me the least interesting way to possibly go. not everything weird and the color red has to be a metaphor for the christian devil and hell. Also mike said he was touched by the devilish one. so he was touched by his own arm lol? what about the new series, the devil helps cooper, but the devil has an evil doppleganger?

but where is the horror aspect of Twin Peaks if all it is, is a much misunderstood man in a red jacket, and submerged desires, ego vs. subconscious, denial, bla bla.

what, child abuse and murder isn't horrifying enough? but a devil with a pitchfork does it?

I never mentioned Christianity, a pitchfork, or Hell. I'm staying with the narrative.

Please counter what l actually wrote (l mean that in the politest way, this isn't a fight, trust me!), that way, we both might come away with something from this :)

What about my questions?

I'll answer your questions: yes, child abuse and murder are horrifying, but Twin Peaks also has a sinister (literally, left is sinister) arm becoming an evil looking man in red, talking backwards-kinda, dancing grotesquely under a strobe light, an inhabiting spirit that saw the face of God, etc. It's more than child abuse and murder.

MIKE was touched by the Devilish One, and he cut is sinister arm off, which had an infernal tattoo, an evil talisman. It may therefore be that the Devilish One touched him by being drawn down and interfacing with that tattoo, and, because the tattoo was permanent, he took up permanent residence in that sinister arm. As for Devilish One helping Cooper, l'm not sure exactly what you're referring to, and in any case, both good and bad things can educate a man - e.g. leaning from mistakes - see, bad things can help you (also, you'll have to prove that MFAP actually accomplished good by "helping" Cooper).

As for the doppelganger of MFAP / TREE ... l've always said, that totally confuses me. However, it might be that MFAP / TREE are, like us, individuals, and therefore, like us, he too has a doppelganger? I still don't get it, but l'd be throwing out the baby with the bathwater to reject MFAP as The Devilish One just over one niggle, considering the overwhelming evidence for him being The Devilish One.



counterpaul wrote:I think calling him "evil" is reductive, but there is a darkness--even a gleeful darkness at times.

And MIKE seeing the face of God and cutting off his arm = reductive? By the way, why would a guy cut off his arm after seeing the Face of God? Repentance is a thing, penance, sure, l'm all for it. But why cut off an arm, unless that arm itself were innately offensive? Why would the left arm with that tattoo, be innately offensive? So much so, that not even tattoo removal would do? What is so offensive about that arm?

counterpaul wrote:The Arm can be read as that aspect of the process of knowing. Our very darkest intuitions ("You are here. Now there is no place to go... BUT HOME!!") come accompanied by devious smiles and dancing.

When your "process of knowing" was writhing with glee over Laura being murdered, an angel appeared in the train carriage, in opposition to everything MFAP stood for. So what did that angel represent? Love perhaps? But love / intuition ... you already ascribed intuition to MFAP.

Here's the crux of it, to me: MFAP is in a place sort of beyond time, but not quite. As such, he has great power, such that his slightest movements reverberate powerfully through our universe. There is your concept of MFAP's "intuition" / "knowing" - it's his station, where every little thing he does metaphorically causes changes in our world, he's just really powerful, really important. Because ... he's the Devilish One.

I think you're on rough terrain without headlights if you ignore what MFAP really is, and try to explain everything as metaphor. Like l said, metaphor does have its place, but only with MFAP in his role as the Devilish One. When the Devilish One is acknowledged, then explanations become way smoother, and they go with canon.



counterpaul wrote:The Giant is a very interesting point of contrast. The Giant brings with him a deeper kind of knowing. There is a quiet, calm compassion that comes with the Giant. He has no doubts. He is not toying with anyone. This is the best side of the detective.

I'm not deliberately being contrary, but, you speak of MFAP as knowing, intuition. Giant as deeper knowing. I maintain that these are superficial aspects, though they may be valid, you may be missing clearer messages, deeper messages. Not to put you down, but it's like, there is a superhero and an arch-villain battling it out in a shallow pool. I feel you're commenting on the ripples each differentially makes in the water, and ignoring that one is the Child of Light, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and the other is the undead Ahriman, knight of Dark Chivalry. I feel you're missing out on a lot of the fun.



P.S.: @counterpaul, l think you and tmurry might be onto something, re: MFAP representing knowledge:
tmurry wrote:3) EoA looks like a tree with a fruit – A sycamore tree for sure, but also the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

He seems to be Forbidden Tree plus Serpent, rolled into one. I'll leave it there, l don't know how Series 3 will pan out and l don't want to dominate this thread.

Also l am coming round to the idea that TREE might be a developing brain, perhaps a single neuron with a dendritic tree at one end. Bravo.

P.P.S.: I'll leave you with Major Brigg's friend's (?) own lecture, about how these supernatural things that our puffed up minds try to pass off and explain away, are actually otherworldly and exist in their own right:
https://youtu.be/vRz3deg1crY?t=111
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby tmurry » Sun May 28, 2017 9:23 pm

Yeah, I forgot to mention EoA's serpentine voice and tongue darting sound (electrical in its way) as accompanying the forbidden tree idea. I'm more taking an Gnostic/LDS version of the story where the snake offered a deal that brought pain and sorrow, but also everything valuable to humanity... the Prometheus story is the second oldest story I hear. This little dodge - Lucifer as an ambivalent figure - helps resolve our difference of opinion.

Mike is a tough figure for me, but I tend to look at him as an addict, with his DoC being the personal power of the Manson figure (the malignant archetype of the 60s project). His self determination and confident aspect took him down a bad path "with Bob" and cutting off his arm was a gesture of removing his own will, cutting off the avenue for the drug. The resulting person is skittish and neutered but wouldn't hurt a fly. But his desire is still there. This serves as a metaphor for drug addiction and abusive hippiedom, and the current neutered state of the 60s ideal.

Jung had the idea of the ego also, though it was more involved (he was a Freud pupil, then was the adversary student trying to outdo the teacher). He's the one that had the ego forms the self which projects the identity sequence. He just thought things weren't as simple as id/superego, and the interplay was more anthropomorphized and storiform.
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm

Postby counterpaul » Sun May 28, 2017 11:55 pm

This is a really fun thread. I totally disagree with a lot of your assertions, StrangerDanger, but I hope you don't take any of my disagreements the wrong way! It's a real pleasure engaging with the show on this level.

I think our main point of contention here is that I believe the show's drama functions fundamentally on a purely human level. I don't think calling all the manifestations of the lodge metaphoric is shallow at all! Quite the contrary. Twin Peaks is dealing with some of the deepest, darkest corners of human nature and it operates under the profound and rare assumption that it is impossible for us humans to be alone in our torment. Laura's torment deeply affected the entire town and Cooper's torment is affecting, it seems, the entire world!

The visions people have of the inhabitants of the lodge, and their interference with the goings-on out in the world, are a dramatic depiction of how trauma never remains self-contained. People KNOW what's going on even when they don't know they know consciously, and the trauma spreads. "Everybody knew Laura was in trouble." This is the foundational premise of Twin Peaks. Everybody knew, and that knowing grew into a sort of spiritual void out in the woods.

This isn't a story about literal spirits. It's a story about spiritual decay. This spiritual decay is dramatized by the lodge and its inhabitants. Lynch has always worked with this type of dramatic palate--from the Baby and the Man in the Planet and the Lady in the Radiator in Eraserhead, to the Mystery Man in Lost Highway, to the figure behind Winkies in Mulholland Drive. It's part of his toolkit as a storyteller and it makes for a remarkably visceral and affecting way to depict complex human truths.

In my opinion, this is far more profound than stories about mystical entities from other dimensions. In fact, the stories you reference (from the Bible and other age-old texts) are only meaningful themselves in that they are beautiful, metaphorical renderings of complex human truths. It is in that sense that they are useful points of comparison when discussing Twin Peaks.

StrangerDanger wrote:I'll answer your questions: yes, child abuse and murder are horrifying, but Twin Peaks also has a sinister (literally, left is sinister) arm becoming an evil looking man in red, talking backwards-kinda, dancing grotesquely under a strobe light, an inhabiting spirit that saw the face of God, etc. It's more than child abuse and murder.


Not more. Laura's abuse, and the entire town's denial of its truth, is the unspeakable seed from which everything in Twin Peaks grows. Nothing is more important than that. All the imagery you mention, everything in the "mythology" (which isn't really the right term when it comes to this show, but I'm using it here as shorthand) grew out of that horrible denial and its un-sustainability.

MIKE was touched by the Devilish One, and he cut is sinister arm off, which had an infernal tattoo, an evil talisman. It may therefore be that the Devilish One touched him by being drawn down and interfacing with that tattoo, and, because the tattoo was permanent, he took up permanent residence in that sinister arm.


Sure, but why is any of this central to the story of the murder of a young girl who was abused by her father? Any analysis that ignores this question, or treats it as anything other than a primary concern, is a shallow analysis of the show.

Cooper, and we as an audience, meet MIKE and hear this story when it starts to become clear that Laura's secrets are extremely dark. We don't know much by the end of Episode 2, but we definitely (I'd say) have the strong impression that Laura was not a random victim of an anonymous serial killer. Her murder has something to do with who she specifically is and it has something to do with the town.

MIKE shows us Cooper's intuition at work, but it's super fuzzy and hard to parse. This is how clues work for Lynch. There's very little literal truth to be culled--the value comes from how MIKE and BOB'S utterances, and being thrust into the Red Room, make us FEEL. Any literal indications as to where things might be going remain at the edges. The story of removing the arm--it's a stunning story and it sticks with you. "I took the entire arm off." If you're an incurable literalist, you hear that and think, "what, he couldn't just get the tattoo removed?" But if you're hearing its poetry, it makes perfect intuitive sense. The arm becomes a synecdoche for the things he has seen and participated in, so to move forward he must remove it completely.

But removing the arm, just like denying the truth of Laura's torment, does not actually accomplish anything. It only gives birth to The Arm--a manifestation of the things we know but cannot face.

As for Devilish One helping Cooper, l'm not sure exactly what you're referring to, and in any case, both good and bad things can educate a man - e.g. leaning from mistakes - see, bad things can help you (also, you'll have to prove that MFAP actually accomplished good by "helping" Cooper).


Here we basically agree! Finally hearing the unhearable is painful but necessary!

As for the doppelganger of MFAP / TREE ... l've always said, that totally confuses me. However, it might be that MFAP / TREE are, like us, individuals, and therefore, like us, he too has a doppelganger? I still don't get it, but l'd be throwing out the baby with the bathwater to reject MFAP as The Devilish One just over one niggle, considering the overwhelming evidence for him being The Devilish One.


Well, we can react to knowledge in many ways, both constructively and destructively. Sometimes learning something awful can result in despair and nihilism. INEXISTENT!

When your "process of knowing" was writhing with glee over Laura being murdered, an angel appeared in the train carriage, in opposition to everything MFAP stood for. So what did that angel represent? Love perhaps? But love / intuition ... you already ascribed intuition to MFAP.


These are profound questions. Laura's murder is deeply complex. Most importantly, it is the story of Laura refusing to be absorbed by the darkness. It literally kills her, but that refusal is the most profound victory Twin Peaks has presented to us thus far. She obliterates the status quo here. Nothing from that moment on can ever be the same, and secrets will have to be reckoned with. The town will never recover from this act of heroism.

Why does The Arm writhe with glee? Well, first, I think there is A LOT going on in MJA's performance in that moment. I do see glee to be sure, but I also see panic. Everything is falling apart. But the game is afoot! Laura will no longer be alone with her torment. The detective can enter the scene and begin gathering clues. "She's filled with secrets." It's time for them to begin spilling.

As for the angel. Well, as I said, there are many ways to react to things. Laura thought that all hope was gone. But she was wrong. All that is beautiful and human and good in Laura, all that BOB could NOT kill, is in that angel.

Here's the crux of it, to me: MFAP is in a place sort of beyond time, but not quite. As such, he has great power, such that his slightest movements reverberate powerfully through our universe. There is your concept of MFAP's "intuition" / "knowing" - it's his station, where every little thing he does metaphorically causes changes in our world, he's just really powerful, really important. Because ... he's the Devilish One.


This is interesting, but I would say that you have it exactly backwards. It's the actions of Laura and Cooper and Leland and Sarah, and everyone else in Twin Peaks that reverberate powerfully through the universe (my god, the scene at Dr. Hayward's house in the Missing Pieces when he and Eileen look at each other after Leland calls--THAT scene may be the greatest depiction of the rotting soul of the town). The Arm, MIKE, the Giant, and the Tremonds/Chalfonts as well, all dramatize different types and stages of knowing--different reactions to knowing. The intuition is a HUMAN thing. Twin Peaks is a story about humans.

I think you're on rough terrain without headlights if you ignore what MFAP really is


I suppose I could say the same to you. :)

I'm not deliberately being contrary, but, you speak of MFAP as knowing, intuition. Giant as deeper knowing. I maintain that these are superficial aspects, though they may be valid, you may be missing clearer messages, deeper messages. Not to put you down, but it's like, there is a superhero and an arch-villain battling it out in a shallow pool. I feel you're commenting on the ripples each differentially makes in the water, and ignoring that one is the Child of Light, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and the other is the undead Ahriman, knight of Dark Chivalry. I feel you're missing out on a lot of the fun.


Fair enough. We have different concepts of what are ripples and what is depth. The human drama is where the depth in any story lies, as far as I'm concerned. You lose that, and you end up with superficial nonsense. Super hero stories are superficial nonsense. As are stories of spirits, gods, angels, devils, etc. UNLESS, there is a deeper human drama at the core.

P.P.S.: I'll leave you with Major Brigg's friend's (?) own lecture, about how these supernatural things that our puffed up minds try to pass off and explain away, are actually otherworldly and exist in their own right:
https://youtu.be/vRz3deg1crY?t=111


Yeah, I read TSHOTP, and I kinda feel like it misses the doughnut for the hole a lot of the time. There's enough ambiguity that I don't feel like it hurts the Twin Peaks legacy in any way (and the article about Margaret is truly beautiful), but it's not really my cup of tea for the most part.

tmurry wrote:Jung had the idea of the ego also, though it was more involved (he was a Freud pupil, then was the adversary student trying to outdo the teacher). He's the one that had the ego forms the self which projects the identity sequence. He just thought things weren't as simple as id/superego, and the interplay was more anthropomorphized and storiform.


Exactly! The Evolution of the Freud! Freud is a real slog for me, but things start to get fun and engaging with Jung.

Again, I'd say Lynch is way more Jungian than he is Freudian, but he is fundamentally neither. He just goes where the ideas take him. He's marvelously undisciplined that way, and he finds profound truths I don't think there's any other way to find but to stumble upon them.
fluorescent light
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm (SPOILERS)

Postby fluorescent light » Mon May 29, 2017 7:26 pm

i'm into the arm analysis, although i would only add that i tend to think the negativity/void is an irreparable feature of the psyche, not something that comes from the outside. but in any case, i have been searching for some decent psychoanalytic analyses of the new season, and i guess this is the place. i am not a twin peaks / DKL freak yet, so i'm more interested if smarter people can direct me to good analysis of the new season if it exists out there

there were two things that I was trying to figure out in conjunction with each other: first, the existence of 3 coopers (dougie, doppleganger, and our hero) and second, the existence of the weird pink box out in space.

anytime things come in 3s, i knee-jerk interpret ego-id-superego. given doppleganger cooper specifically, but also BOB more generally, is a bit of a representation of the id, I thought maybe these could have aligned. but i couldn't really place Dougie at all, of course.

but then this got me thinking about how cooper has basically been returned to a state of infancy by episode 3/4. he traveled from the womb (that purple box with Mother banging on the outside) and out through the electrical outlet, thrust into a complicated world where - like most children - thankfully other people are doing a lot of the work for him (i read some of the jade theories, you could insert them here if you wanted). mostly though, it's just interesting to see him proceed through the various stages of understanding - figuring out his bodily functions (peeing - anal), food and coffee (oral) his identity (recognition of name/subject "doogie," the mirror stage), stuff that has to happen before he can fully and functionally enter the symbolic realm. Of course these early stages are characterized by linguistic repetition and total dependence on others - and here, he gets to have his fun with the inverted family where his (dougie's) son plays the role of father for him.

i am not entirely sure how to fit his experience in the overwhelming casino - maybe it's just the terrifying chaos of the pre-symbolic realm...would be interested in hearing what others think
douglasb
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm (SPOILERS)

Postby douglasb » Tue May 30, 2017 12:07 am

EotA and Cooper are, I think, the only entities who don't speak 'backwards' in the Red Room.
claaa7
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Re: Symbolism of the Evolution of the Arm (SPOILERS)

Postby claaa7 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:37 am

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