On Twin Peaks and Left Hand Umbranism

1) Twin Peaks as cruelty.

Whatever is your stance on the finale of Twin Peaks, one thing is for sure: it was cruel. Open ended and dark, it not only gave no answers to us, but it left our good, immaculate hero stained. After the doppelganger/worms have feasted for the last 25 years on his and his beloved’s carcasses, he then either became lost in an unknown time loop that brought him back to the past, before any of his effort even existed, or stranded in a future, in which every familiar face has been erased from the plane of existence. Of course, for some, this was an act of gratuitous ontological sadism. Far from that, others are convinced that this is a dark metaphysical statement, which doubles one of the most unsettling proposition of deleuzian philosophy.

In Difference and Repetion, Deleuze wrote: «Cruelty is nothing but determination as such, that precise point at which the determined maintains its essential relation with the undetermined, that rigorous abstract line fed by chiaroscuro» (Difference and Repetition, p. 29). The upshot of this statement, which, on a surface level, could just seem a pretty obscure form of philosophical mumbling, is, as Reza Negarestani noted in Differential cruelty, very clearly: existing in all of its varied significances = determination from an undetermined background/Umbratic plane = an act of cruelty. This, of course, doesn’t only entail the conscious processes that we trigger with our actions. For example, being born is, following this skeletal outline of Dark Deleuzism, the cruelest of all determinations, setting in motion an accretion-without-consent against the possibility of non-being/being-one-with-the-the-HyperUnCreation-of-Umbra and chaining each and every one of the newborns to an illusory fixity. As Artaud put it: «For it seems to me that creation and life itself are defined only by a kind of rigor, hence a fundamental cruelty, which leads things to their ineluctable end at whatever cost» (The Theater and Its Double, p. 103). This is, they think, the upshot of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s finale: Judy/the Red Goddess/Umbra eternally wins, because she is able to demonstrate to the starry-eyed Agent Cooper (any accretion whatever) that everything he could possibly do to right the wrongs that haunt him is, at the end of the day, cruel, an act of cruel accretion. He not only will always fail, like Morpheus – too weak not to look back to check the wellbeing of the simulacrum of his loved one, condemning her either to repetition or to non-existence – but he’s always confronted with the cruelty of an ontologically pluralistic universe made of accreted or volatile pneumas.

2) Cruelty as ethics. So that’s it? The non-cruel ontologists may ask. Luckily, the party of cruelty not only has a dismal metaphysics at their disposal, but also a blackened ethics to propose. After all, we know how Judy/the Red Goddess/Umbra wins. Cooper, in an act of all-too-human weakness looked back. He triggered, the party says, the disappearance of Laura Palmer and the destruction of the whole universe. He looked back and undid the whole world with his own eyes. Therefore, the cruel party proposes a radical, mercyless solution: let us be as cruel as Judy, as oceanic as Umbra, let us eat cosmos and let us follow her Chtonic left-hand path of pneumas-without-accretions. Rather than surrendering to Cooper’s humanist fears and behaviors, let us join Judy/The Red Goddess/Umbra. Never look back, no matter how long Sarah will try to capture Laura’s pneuma, without being afraid of the unknown consequences of our journey. After all, no one promised us that we will have the peace we are hoping for; the only thing we really know for sure, is the (existence of an) alien world, radically disfigured by our transgression of time and space. As Negarestani wrote: «In the wake of the philosophy of cruelty, ethics can return to the mathesis of the problem once again wherein the problem is not determined by its solution or conditions but by its capacity to generate fields of the problematic» (Differential Cruelty, p. 82). Judy demands to be destroyed with her own sword and daggers, and be reborn once again in us.

3) She’s universal emptiness. But that’s not enough! The party of cruelty says; if we want to appreciate David Lynch and Mark Frost’s sadomasochistic ontology, we have to push ourselves forward and consider the show in its entirety, not just the finale. This last season, they contend, was the actualization of a greater plan for this universe: the desecration of the fixity of the monistic substance and the annihilation of the World, both inside and outside the Twin Peaks’ mythos. As spectators, we witnessed a grotesque puppet show, whose protagonists resembled the lovely characters we have learned to love in the past two seasons, but felt way too hollow to be the “real” thing. They were as thin as our own breath. Two prime examples were, of course, Dougie Jones and Diane: Dougie Jones looked just like our beloved Coop, but he was, actually, just an empty, lost pneuma. An alternative and not fully realized accretion, stranded in a world in which he was probably never meant to be summoned, of an accretion (Agent Cooper) who, in what we think was our past, we have learned to love. On the other hand, for months, we grew attached to Diane’s loud mouth, only to find out that she was nothing more than a half realized accretion, directed by an alien, malignant will. She was the particular embodiment of a form of universal emptiness, in a dreadful cosmos where not even the owls are what they seem.

4) Us is Them. Therefore, for these theorists, the upshot of the cruel Frostian and Lynchian metaphysics is that there is no such thing as this world. Everyone and everything is a tulpa/accretion of some alien pneuma, set against the non-field (the kabbalistic dark Waters of HyperUnCreation of the Leviathan/Umbra) of the darkened powers/the left hand path/Umbra. Can it be our situation? It is.

5) The endtimes. Hail Umbra.

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