• Noble Dust
    3.2k
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS

    Any Twin Peaks fans here?

    I've been re-watching some moments from the new series, and thinking about the whole structure of the show. David Lynch has said in interviews that it's not so important to try to tie together all of the confusing, unresolved plot points. The idea is that life often doesn't make sense. The threads of our lives go unresolved; relationships, opportunities, disagreements, unexplained phenomena...

    Which leads to the surreal element of the show. Take a look at scenes like this one:



    The question, for instance, of why Cooper's face is super-imposed on this scene, and eventually says "we live inside a dream" at half-speed, is a question that's never resolved in the show. What this scene does is create a mood, and a general feeling of nausea, which is definitely a theme in the last two episodes of the show.

    The common misconception (even among devotees of the show) is that these surreal elements all connect in some secret way to create a coherent plot. But this isn't the case; it comes from Lynch himself, and consequently, the show is so much more satisfying when viewed this way.

    So, the themes of the show actually come full-circle: the surreal becomes the real: just like real life, things don't make sense, threads are not tied up; conflicts are not resolved. Plot points aren't neatly resolved; fan service isn't paid. The genius of Lynch here is that the surreal becomes the real. And vice versa. Ad nauseaum.

    This brings up an interesting philosophical problem: does art reflect reality? Should it? Does art carry an intrinsic message? Is Lynch, for instance, trying to specifically show us the weirdness of our everyday lives, or is he simply responding to an aesthetic instinct, and finding what the results seem to indicate only after the fact? Is this sort of surrealism-made-real philosophically nihilistic? The ending to this new season, for instance, was sickening; I literally felt sick after watching it and had trouble sleeping that night. Not because of any horror element, but because of the element of the unknowable; the meaninglessness that seemed to permeate the finale.

    A few more scenes:





  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    Yes, absolutely loved every second of it. And have been rewatching the earlier series again.

    You are likely right that the main idea, as much as Lynch would be that concrete, is life is more like a dream (or that's a refreshingly different way to understand it).

    We spend so much time fitting events into narratives, weaving a life that had some proper plot arc and resolution, that this is the anti-view - life lived with that particular character of dreaming, the anxiety of chasing meaning, apparently even grabbing hold of fleeting meaning, and finding things have morphed, altered, eluded our understanding.

    So it is not surrealism as shock and surprise, but surrealism as relief and antidote.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    :)

    You are likely right that the main idea, as much as Lynch would be that concrete, is life is more like a dream (or that's a refreshingly different way to understand it).apokrisis

    True, I didn't connect it all the way to saying that "life is like a dream". I dug for the interview in which he addressed it, but couldn't find it, I'll keep looking. I'm not sure how I feel about that though; that almost makes it too easy; "We live inside a dream"...it almost becomes an artists statement in that scene. I can't imagine he meant it that way. "We live inside a dream" seems more connected to the finale and the ending, to me. If you've parsed through the various possible layers of what time periods, alternate realities, etc etc that happened in those last two episodes, in an intelligible way...let me know...

    So it is not surrealism as shock and surprise, but surrealism as relief and antidote.apokrisis

    Yes, there is a real emotional element of relief in the most surreal scenes. I know exactly what you mean.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    The question, for instance, of why Cooper's face is super-imposed on this scene, and eventually says "we live inside a dream" at half-speed, is a question that's never resolved in the show. What this scene does is create a mood, and a general feeling of nausea, which is definitely a theme in the last two episodes of the show.

    I watched the original series and a few of the episodes from the return, which were very good, it takes me a long time to watch a TV series generally.


    OK, he starts to dream, unaware that he is dreaming, then he sees the clock running backwards and he realizes that he is dreaming, his slow motion realization is that he is dreaming, at which point his face is super-imposed to suggest that he is aware of what is happening in his dream. Then as his dream progresses he loses this awareness of dreaming and the super-imposed image is gone.

    Do you believe Lynch, does he have any right (authorial intent fallacy) or is his interpretation as valid as any other interpretation? I am undecided on this, but I tend to think the author may not be the best source for an unbiased interpretation of his work.

    This brings up an interesting philosophical problem: does art reflect reality? Should it? Does art carry an intrinsic message?

    I think Art necessary starts with reality and then transcends it to become what it is, whatever that is, a reflection, a message, a dream...
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    OK, he starts to dream, unaware that he is dreaming, then he sees the clock running backwards and he realizes that he is dreaming, his slow motion realization is that he is dreaming, at which point his face is super-imposed to suggest that he is aware of what is happening in his dream. Then as his dream progresses he loses this awareness of dreaming and the super-imposed image is gone.Cavacava

    I assume you're basing that interpretation off of the clip I posted? That would be a fair interpretation off of just that clip, however, that clip begins in the middle of a long sequence that has a lot of moving parts. i didn't find a youtube clip of the entire scene. The superimposition of Coopers face actually begins minutes before, within the same scene. it (oddly) cuts out once Cooper is reunited with Diane, but then reappears, and then the superimposed face utters its classic line (just you wait! it will be classic soon enough). I would also recommend watching all 18 episodes of the new season; it has some flavors of the original, but overall, the style of the new season is wholly it's own thing. Lynch co-wrote and directed all the episodes, after all, which was not the case for the original. This is pure Lynchian Twin Peaks!

    Do you believe Lynch, does he have any right (authorial intent fallacy) or is his interpretation as valid as any other interpretation?Cavacava

    I've made this argument before here, in discussions with you as well as others...no, Lynch doesn't possess some objective truth when it comes to his own work. My concept of the artist being only a fraction of the work itself should be well known to anyone who bothers to read the arts forum here. But, the reason I brought up Lynch's own interpretation of his work is because of the incessant conspiracy theories trying to tie all of the Twin Peaks knots together. In light of that culture of interpretation from the fans, I think this is a perfectly good example of when the artist does have some weight in weighing in and offering a subtle, simple interpretation to help us along. But only after we've grappled with the content on our own terms.

    I think Art necessary starts with reality and then transcends it to become what it is, whatever that is, a reflection, a message, a dream...Cavacava

    Why does art need to begin with reality?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    I think the origin of art lies in the beauty/ugliness of what we see around us. Nature is the true artist.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    So the aesthetic of art is from nature? The beauty/ugliness dichotomy stems from physical nature?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    If by "aesthetic" you mean surface then yes, it stems from what we see in nature, but that does not limit it, rather nature forms the basis from which our imagination works.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    No, I mean aesthetic metaphysically. The aesthetic of a work is the property that makes it interesting to the observer. Aesthetic as "surface", as you say, is a different thing.

    So, that being said, can you expound on this:

    [aesthetic] stems from what we see in nature, but that does not limit it, rather nature forms the basis from which our imagination works.Cavacava
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    We can discuss it, if you are looking for a full blown theory then no. I think natural beauty is where all art starts. Our fascination with of what we see around us, what interests us with no purpose such as a sunset, the ocean, the sky and on and on, I think man takes from nature and transcends nature in art, producing something of higher value to others, a different kind then what is found in nature.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    We can discuss it, if you are looking for a full blown theory then no.Cavacava

    What? Why not? I would love a full-blown theory.

    I think natural beauty is where all art starts. Our fascination with of what we see around us, what interests us with no purposeCavacava

    Ah, this must be our departure. Why say that the beauty of a sunset has no purpose?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    If it had a purpose then it could not be beautiful, because what is beautiful must be beautiful as such with no ulterior motive or interest beyond itself as it is.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    If it had a purpose then it could not be beautiful, because what is beautiful must be beautiful as such with no ulterior motive or interest beyond itself as it is.Cavacava

    So beauty is it's own referent? I disagree. Beauty needs a context in which to obtain its definition.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k



    We, the observers are as necessary as the artist, as the work, as the whole history of art. But what fascinates, what sets our imagination on fire is the work it self (not its context but certainly its contents) and what we experience in such a work opens up new possibilities which were not there prior to our experience of the work. Since all experiences are different there is no single correct interpretation as I said previously and as I think we have discussed in the past the experience of a work of art depends on how in tune one is with the work.
  • T Clark
    3.4k
    We can discuss it, if you are looking for a full blown theory then no. I think natural beauty is where all art starts. Our fascination with of what we see around us, what interests us with no purpose such as a sunset, the ocean, the sky and on and on, I think man takes from nature and transcends nature in art, producing something of higher value to others, a different kind then what is found in nature.Cavacava

    I think this is relevant - My brother-in-law is a visual artist. He paints geometric images. I asked him why he makes abstract rather than representational paintings. When he was a kid, he started out drawing what he saw around him. As he got older, that became unsatisfying and he started developing the style he has now. I don't get most abstract art. Some of it is beautiful or interesting, but I'm a pretty representational guy. Every once in a while I'll see something that makes me think about human perception in a different way. I enjoy that.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    If you look at the progression of a painter's works, especially early 20th century painters, there is a strong tendency to start with nature and then simplify it, following and contributing to the trends of other painters, some of these painters eventual produce something that has little visible relationship with nature. An example of this kind of progression are the works of Piet Mondrian.
  • T Clark
    3.4k
    If you look at the progression of a painter's works, especially early 20th century painters, there is a strong tendency to start with nature and then simplify it, following and contributing to the trends of other painters, some of these painters eventual produce something that has little visible relationship with nature. An example of this kind of progression are the works of Piet Mondrian.Cavacava

    I looked him up on Wikipedia and I see what you mean about progression. I like his later paintings, colorful with a sense of composition that feels good, but they don't have any intellectual or emotional impact on me.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    We, the observers are as necessary as the artist, as the work, as the whole history of art.Cavacava

    Yeah, again, i've made that point on this forum for awhile now. I'm not sure how it's a response to my question about beauty being it's own referent.

    But what fascinates, what sets our imagination on fire is the work it self (not its context but certainly its contents)Cavacava

    What? How can you say the audience is as important as the artist, and then say that context is not as important as content?

    Since all experiences are different there is no single correct interpretation as I said previously and as I think we have discussed in the past the experience of a work of art depends on how in tune one is with the work.Cavacava

    Wait, so which is it, according to you? Is there no single correct interpretation of a work, or does "how in tune one is with the work" determine the interpretation?
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    Can I ask a question in good faith? Why is it that when it comes to aesthetics, us philosophy types are suddenly beholden to personal experience?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Can I ask a question in good faith?Noble Dust
    No, I only let you ask me questions in bad faith. Hope that's okay with you.

    Is this sort of surrealism-made-real philosophically nihilistic? The ending to this new season, for instance, was sickening; I literally felt sick after watching it and had trouble sleeping that night. Not because of any horror element, but because of the element of the unknowable; the meaninglessness that seemed to permeate the finale.Noble Dust
    Yes, I would say it is nihilistic from the clips and the way you describe it (I haven't watched the show). It tries to portray things as meaningless and not tied together - as senseless. But that's just one way to experience life. Some people experience life as inherently meaningful, and weave stories around their experiences such that they make sense.

    For example, giving a hypothetical example - someone has a boyfriend/girlfriend who they want to marry, and for reasons outside of their control they are unable to - like say Romeo and Juliet. One person would view the situation and the rest of their lives as senseless and meaningless. The other will look at it in terms of what they've learned from the other person, and will experience it as deeply meaningful, and connected with whatever future events requires them to use that knowledge. They may even believe they will be able to be together with that person after death.

    There isn't just one way to relate to reality.
  • Forgottenticket
    156
    Yes loved it. I always think there should be more on the philosophy of dreams anyway. Some too easily take verdical experience and a strong distinction between dreams and waking reality as a self-evident proposition.
    I'm not sure the show didn't make sense. A lot of it did make sense and it needs to be remembered there are two authors to it. Mark Frost had a lot of input.
  • T Clark
    3.4k
    Can I ask a question in good faith? Why is it that when it comes to aesthetics, us philosophy types are suddenly beholden to personal experience?Noble Dust

    I think natural beauty is where all art starts. Our fascination with of what we see around us, what interests us with no purpose such as a sunset, the ocean, the sky and on and on, I think man takes from nature and transcends nature in art, producing something of higher value to others, a different kind then what is found in nature.Cavacava

    I haven't haven't read anything you've written that didn't seem in good faith.

    I was responding to what Cavacava was saying. As for "us philosophy types," here's my aesthetics. Four types of art 1) Stuff that moves me. 2) Stuff I don't get, but that I can see has value or know that people whose judgment I respect think it does. 3) Stuff about which I don't have an opinion. 4)Crap.

    Following that aesthetic, I end up depending on my own personal experience. I think most of the rest of the aesthetic philosophy I've come across, which is not much, is pretty self-indulgent. For me, it comes down to "does it move me." If it doesn't, why pay any attention? There's too much wonderful stuff in the world I'll never get to without worrying about what I might be missing.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    It tries to portray things as meaningless and not tied together - as senseless. But that's just one way to experience life. Some people experience life as inherently meaningful, and weave stories around their experiences such that they make sense.Agustino

    I don't think Lynch is trying to show life as meaningless or senseless. As I mentioned, what he said was something to the effect of "life doesn't always make sense". I like the way he plays with the foundational narrative structure we've all come to rely on; it confounds expectation, and it's truer to real life; our lives aren't the equivalent of a 2 hour Hollywood blockbuster; all the plot points of our lives don't get tied up nicely. That's what's interesting about his use of surrealism to portray an aspect of real life.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    I always think there should be more on the philosophy of dreams anyway. Some too easily take verdical experience and a strong distinction between dreams and waking reality as a self-evident proposition.JupiterJess

    I'm with you!

    A lot of it did make sense and it needs to be remembered there are two authors to it. Mark Frost had a lot of input.JupiterJess

    Which parts?
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    here's my aesthetics. Four types of art 1) Stuff that moves me. 2) Stuff I don't get, but that I can see has value or know that people whose judgment I respect think it does. 3) Stuff about which I don't have an opinion. 4)Crap.T Clark

    So how come your philosophy in general doesn't follow those types? Or does it?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I'm with you!Noble Dust
    Like this?



    and it's truer to real life; our lives aren't the equivalent of a 2 hour Hollywood blockbuster; all the plot points of our lives don't get tied up nicely.Noble Dust
    I think the tying up of plot points is largely subjective, something that we have to do, it's not done for us. Nobody is going to tell you why you had the experiences you did - it's up to you to tie them together.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    I think Lynch would agree with you. :P
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I think Lynch would agree with you. :PNoble Dust
    Yep, but so much ado about nothing :P
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    What, this thread, or the show?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    What, this thread, or the show?Noble Dust
    Neither! Rather the point that we are responsible to create the narrative of our lives. It's really quite a trivial point in the end. I suppose for other people it may not be, but if you've thought a long time about this, you know that this is the case.
  • T Clark
    3.4k
    So how come your philosophy in general doesn't follow those types? Or does it?Noble Dust

    Yes, I think it does. It comes from my observations, thoughts, and feelings about the world. And those are all one thing. As Emerson wrote:

    "Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,---- and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages."

    I was going to say pardon me for putting myself in company with Emerson, and by reference with Moses, Plato, and Milton, but that was just Emerson's point.
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