It all started with the Beach Boys and their song Good Vibrations…
Well, the notion of “good vibes” does comes from the 1960s and their 1966 hit might have played an important role in popularising it. But when it comes to “good vibrations”, on the other hand, the idea can at least be traced back to the 19th Century. In 1893, Frank Earl Ormsby published The Law and the Prophets: A Scientific Work on the Relationship Between Physical Bodies, Vegetable, Animal, Human, and Planetary. In the book, one can find quotes such as “Receive all the good vibrations that spirits can give you, but do something for yourself, if you expect results”.
Vibrations are of the utmost importance in many esoteric teachings – several of which have influenced the universe of Twin Peaks. For instance, one finds the following information in the book Thought-Forms (by theosophists Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, 1905), of clear importance in relationship to Tulpas:
“In cases in which good or evil thoughts are projected at individuals, those thoughts, if they are to directly fulfil their mission, must find, in the aura of the object to whom they are sent, materials capable of responding sympathetically to their vibrations. Any combination of matter can only vibrate within certain definite limits, and if the thought-form be outside all the limits within which the aura is capable of vibrating, it cannot affect that aura at all. It consequently rebounds from it, and that with a force proportionate to the energy with which it impinged upon it”
A bit further on in the book, one also finds:
“These radiating vibrations, like all others in nature, become less powerful in proportion to the distance from their source, though it is probable that the variation is in proportion to the cube of the distance instead of to the square, because of the additional dimension involved. Again, like all other vibrations, these tend to reproduce themselves whenever opportunity is offered to them; and so whenever they strike upon another mental body they tend to provoke in it their own rate of motion. That is—from the point of view of the man whose mental body is touched by these waves—they tend to produce in his mind thoughts of the same type as that which had previously arisen in the mind of the thinker who sent forth the waves”.
Besides Thought-Forms, another example of the importance of vibrations in the world of hermeticism can be found in the writings of Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, discussed elsewhere on this blog, author of books with paranormal and occult themes which have influenced Twin Peaks. Here, for instance, is what he wrote in The Cave of the Ancients:
“Everything on this world consists of vibrations; the whole world’s vibrations and everything within the world – may be likened to an octave on a musical scale”.
The Fireman would probably add “Listen to the sounds!” after reading this quote. One might also wonder if the sound heard by Ben Horne in the Great Northern Hotel might not be connected to the fact that this is the place which leads Cooper to Phillip Jeffries, a place that vibrates to the right frequency in order to open the door to such a spacetime shortcut…
Vibrations have always played a central role in Twin Peaks, right from the first season of the series. The first time we see The Arm, right before he utters the now famous “Let’s rock!” (what’s a rocking motion if not a vibration, an oscillation?), we can see him vibrating with his back to us, as if trying to find the right frequency before speaking to Cooper.
And the floor of the Red Room, with its chevron motif, is of course an ode to vibrations!
Another example of vibrations can be found in season 2, when various inhabitants of Twin Peaks begin to experience vibrations in their hands, annoucing BOB’s crossing over from the Lodges to our realm via the Ghostwood Forest by such a use of vibrations.
Also in season 2, Angelo Badalamenti composed a track named Packard’s Vibration for the series’ soundtrack.
In The Return an obvious example of the role of vibrations is the moment when Bobby Briggs opens up his father’s device (that resembles a cigar) by hurling it onto the ground and listening to the ringing tone it produces. As in the Great Northern Hotel, that sound is an indication that it’s possible to open something normally sealed by the power of vibrations.
So: what does it all mean? Why such an interest in vibrations? And what are vibrations anyway?
Wikipedia explains that they are “a mechanical phenomenon whereby oscillations occur about an equilibrium point”. There are all sorts of vibrations, from sound vibrations to light vibrations, electromagnetic vibrations. The following book (link), for instance, focuses on “the oscillatory aspects of the electromagnetic field— that is, on the vibrations, waves, radiation, and the interaction of electromagnetic waves with matter”.
Electromagnetism? Vibrations? Waves? Radiations? WELCOME TO TWIN PEAKS!
In my book Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic, I explain that “in the world of Twin Peaks at the root of every movement lies a vibration” and I link this to the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose influence on David Lynch should never be underestimated: “Through every thought, word, and action we are producing an influence to affect all our surroundings. Physics has revealed that through everything we do we are producing vibrations in the atmosphere.”
Beyond this, I also wrote about the role of the colour extremes of red and blue in the series – I explained that they “are the result of their energetic wavelengths, which place them at near opposite ends of the visible electromagnetic radiation spectrum… once again one is dealing with vibrations, waves or ripples on the surface of the ‘ocean of consciousness’, with most of the currents occurring outside the reach of normal human senses”.
When The Arm explains how he sounds, he plays with the sound properties of vibrations – more precisely, with the Doppler effect, “an increase (or decrease) in the frequency of sound, light, or other waves as the source and observer move towards (or away from) each other. The effect causes the sudden change in pitch noticeable in a passing siren, as well as the red shift seen by astronomers”.
The real clue concerning the use of vibrations in the series is to be found while reading Bill Hasting’s website The Search for the Zone, especially the page on The Grant Chronicles called Parallel Universes and Density Shifting.
In my book I discussed the importance of the Fourth dimension (space dimensions) in Twin Peaks, which I associated among others to artists like Marcel Duchamp, to the esoteric tradition and to Theosophy: “it is useful to know that the hermetic tradition gives a special significance to waterfalls… the waterfall becomes a metaphor for the existence of a mysterious Fourth Dimension that interacts with our three-dimensional reality”.
When he discusses the possibility of parallel universes, Bill Hastings basically uses the same idea. He names it the Fifth dimension, which is similar to the one mentioned above except that it also includes vibrations: “The Universe is based on major 5 dimensions, and is unknown except to a select group of mankind! You are familiar with the first three linear axis of ordinary spatial volume related, x, y, and z of standard math. The fourth is time… The fifth dimension involves vibrational frequency. This frequency or vibrational rate is super imposed on matter and energy at the sub atomic level. This would be called its resonant frequency”.
We can also find the following quotes from the site:
“The fifth dimension has many different levels… This is how reports from friendly encounters of being able to pass through solid objects is achieved. Atoms vibrating at different frequencies do not mix; they simply slide past each other… At density level 4 a new Universe appears, less crowded in the number of stars, and in the density of matter itself… Where the vibrational rate of the atomic structure increases, oppositely so does the ambient subatomic field of dark matter thin, thus affecting the perception of time to others outside of the affected area and the particle flow of sub atomic particles related to light, gravity and magnetism“.
In a higher dimension, which could be reached by fine tuning the vibrational frequency of the waves of particles, a cube would become a hypercube: “a higher-dimensional being could convey to us the concept of a hypercube by unraveling it until it becomes a series of three-dimensional cubes, called a tesserack… If the edges of a cube are made of sticks, and the cube is hollow, we could shine a light on the cube and have the shadow fall upon a two-dimensional plane”.
This is basically what takes place in New York with the glass cube experiment: it was designed as a five dimensional trap to catch entities from the Lodges / the Zone, vibrating at a higher rate than us. The cube is actually a hypercube capable of holding specimen from this other realm.
This really should be linked to Robert Heinlein’s (an author of special interest to Bill Hastings) short story “‘—And He Built a Crooked House—’“ (1941) about an architect who builds a house shaped liked the unfolded net of a tesseract so as to save money.
This ability to manipulate vibrations also explains why the five dimensional entities from higher realms are able to penetrate the inhabitants of Twin Peaks: “This idea of reaching into a solid object without breaking the outer surface seems absurd to us only because our minds are limited when considering higher dimensions”. They somehow manage to coexist in the same physical space by adopting different vibrational rates.
A lot more could be written about the central role of vibrations in Twin Peaks as a way to move between dimensions and to procur visions beyond the sense of sight. This concept might very well be THE most important in the universe of the series, it explains so much, on so many levels, that it probably deserves several articles. I recently published one such article in POSITIF, a French monthly film magazine (the second oldest French film magazine in publication after CAHIERS DU CINEMA). In this text, I discussed the importance of waves (watery, electromagnetic, etc.) in Twin Peaks. My next step will be to write a more in depth analysis of vibrations, a subject directly connected to the oscillation of waves.