Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) is the subject of the book that Mark Frost is currently writing. This post investigates the Indian spiritual teacher’s possible connections to and influences on the third season of Twin Peaks.
In 1911, Theosophist Annie Besant–then President of the Theosophical Society–appoined Krishnamurti Head of the Order of the Star in the East, an organization funded to promote the coming of the World Teacher (a messianic entity, the Maitreya). But Krishnamurti dissolved the Order in 1929, convinced that people do not need guidance but awakening. He argued that “truth is a pathless land” and that “it cannot be brought down”, therefore, one does not need a spiritual authority to reach it.
In order to become free, man only needs to devote attention to “what is” in order to awaken intelligent thought and dissolve the net of illusions (which Hindus would call Maya): “Understanding comes through being aware of what is”. This attention to what is, of consciousness, should be unencumbered by the past (memories, knowledge) or the future (goals). In other words, karma: “you have a burden in the present, the burden of the past in the present… you bring with you the environment of the past into the present, and because of that burden, you control the future, you shape the future”. This burden traps one in a vicious circle, a prison for the mind, because “reaction to the past may impede my full comprehension in the present”. All this is reminiscent of the words uttered by Dale Cooper in part 17 of The Return: “The past dictates the future”.
The awareness to what is (as opposed to what could or ought to be) shouldn’t be affected by “the stream of pain and sorrow” caused by “loneliness, shallowness, emptiness, insufficiency”. To achieve this, Krishnamurti claimed that we need to reach the unity that hides behind all dualities (“when the mind is trying to overcome, it must create duality, and that very duality negates understanding and creates the distinctions”) and conflicts of the world: conflict between the “I” (the self) and its environment, between individuals, religions, nations, etc. One needs to transcend duality so as to reach unity, to reassemble the pieces of the puzzle into the coherent whole it has always been. There should be no fear of what is, just awareness. As long as there isn’t, the fear will subsist, which blocks the intelligent understanding of life.
To do this, the mind needs to become aware of its own conditioning (by the State, the family, etc.), an obstacle to free thought. Krihnamurti stressed the unity of human existence and rejected divisions of all sorts. This is similar to what the Log Lady said in her introduction to episode 15 about “The pros and cons of division”.
The following description of Krishnamurti’s vision of how a true artist should exist matches what David Lynch says about the Art Life he pursues, a lifestyle revolving around creativity and the arts: “To me, the true artist is one who lives completely, harmoniously, who does not divide his art from living, whose very life is that expression… this demands that exquisite poise, that intensity of awareness and, therefore, his expression is not divorced from the daily continuing of living”.
I have argued elsewhere (in French film magazine La Septième Obsession) that the original opening credits of Twin Peaks were about a process of division (the original world tree being sliced up into logs in the sawmill), whereas the new credits for season 3 mirror the overall move of the season towards integration, towards unity… towards the One (i.e. Laura). In that sense, The Return (to unity) closely follows the message of Krishnamurti.
Awakening is a constant motif in The Return, a season during which the cosmic dream is all-encompassing. Krishnamurti would certainly have agreed with the message. Awakening of intelligence is necessary to attain freedom. It could be argued that Cooper did not entirely awaken because he was not able to release the burden of the past – his actions in part 17 and 18 to save Laura show an attachment that leads to disaster