The Umbratic In Twin Peaks -Further notes.

Inspired by Kaspar’s fascinating post.

We speak of umbratic resistance. An realm necessarily outside of our contact. Like a faerie gathering the umbratic vanishes before we can behold it. Its resistance is a necessity because it is substrate beyond awareness -non-information (and hence only ever a paradoxical phantasy).

What the show illustrates beautifully is that resistance is not necessarily on a plane of hidden spatio-temporal solidity. The topology that the pneuma lies along, parasitic on the umbra, is shown as far stranger. This is not just a case of observing the machinations of the various spirits/black lodge entities, which sometimes seem like warped nod at Harryhausen’s Olympians, for these too are relational entities and hence bound by pneuma.

Cooper knows something. Cooper has known since the beginning that the topology doubles back on itself sometimes and that it is possible to discern its traces -pneuminous interference. Cooper believes something else that is true, the pneuma can effect the umbra, or in more recent (though not identical) Freestonian terms the concept can effect the vector( Leland is a vector infected by Bob). His (Cooper’s) intent can bring about the correct outcome.

Cooper is correct insofar as the logic of magick demands not that negative concepts (such as we call them) can infect vectors but also those we regard as virtuous. What Cooper fails to understand is that the umbratic has a limit to its pneuminous give. In a kind of failed Prometheanism he seeks undo history but becomes locked into its folds. His failure can be interpreted as that of being thwarted by agency (Judy as active) or having simply run up against what is possible (Judy as resistance).  This reinforces our regular sense of temporality as solid whilst simultaneously showing a topology in which the doubling backs are not simply presentable as clues (synchronicity/pneuminous interference) but also as literal pathways (fable or not Castaneda described such pathways beautifully). Judy as Umbra is (like so much ontology) subject to the manifestation we choose (active or passive). This of course does raise the ontological possibility of cruelty by design -there are criteria for this suggestion.

The literal magickal ontological challenge is precisely that Twin Peaks seems to display a viable version of what we are stuck in. The Return emphasises more than the original (though of course it is there too) that we are not restricted to simply magickal hints but that the gate to the red room/zone may be less metaphorical than we might be comfortable with.


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