The Key to David Lynch—Part I

Over many years I have watched and studied the films of cinematic and enigmatic genius David Lynch. In April, 2011 I posted a brief analysis of Inland Empire and in March, 2012 I posted analyses of Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. As I have implied previously, it is almost like he is making his movies on the astral plane (the first dimension of Time in my theory of the structure of Omniverse). His plots and settings are loosely fixed in Time and Space. It is as if he is trying to directly film his imagination, overlaying subjective and objective realities. 

Some highly strange and sometimes repetitive elements I have found in his films are: 

  1. “Impossible” phenomena such as bi-location
  2. Sudden screen-filling white light
  3. Mysterious otherworldly advocates and adversaries
  4. Anthropomorphized animals as masks for entities
  5. Spirit possession/dual souls
  6. Electricity connected with otherworldly activity
  7. The idea that life is a kind of dream
  8. Disruptive electronic static/white noise
  9. Barking or shrieking dogs or wolves on or off-screen
  10. Buzzing, clicking, or banging
  11. Blue lights
  12. Spotlights
  13. A profusion of the colors red and blue
  14. Black dogs and men dressed in black
  15. Characters and things that blink in or out of existence 

In starting an overall analysis of Lynch’s major works, I kept recalling those certain repetitive elements and saying to myself: I have seen this set of elements before, but where? Suddenly, I remembered: Of course! These elements are found throughout UFO literature, throughout the stories people around the world have been telling of shocking encounters with alien spacecraft and their (usually) humanoid occupants. Most of these elements are also found in books on demonology. Not surprisingly, some students of demonology consider the UFO phenomenon to have a Trickster, or satanic, origin rather than Mars, the Zeta Reticuli, some planet in the Pleiades star system, or the Future. 

For example, many people who tell tales of abduction by aliens report being in a room or automobile that suddenly fills with bright white light after which something takes control of their bodies. Countless UFO sightings, often with multiple witnesses, have been immediately preceded by the barking of a dog or dogs, and the unidentified hovering objects often appear over telephone poles and power-lines. Nearness of a UFO is commonly associated with electrical disruption of automobile engines and static on radios and TV sets. Sometimes voices speak from out of electronic equipment that is unplugged or turned off. Popular conceptualizing has it that flying saucers are powered by electromagnetic forces. Whatever the means of propulsion, they sometimes arrive suddenly and exit the scene by seeming to blink out. 

Sometimes the aliens appear to have traveled through outer space or through time for the purpose of helping Earth humans. Sometimes the visitors reportedly harm or kill. Red lights, beams of blue light, and spacecraft decorated with red are frequently described. Examples of connections between elements of UFO reports and elements found in Lynch’s films could fill and, in fact, have filled not only a book but literally hundreds of books on the topic of UFOs. In Passport to Magonia, veteran UFO investigator and best-selling author Dr. Jacques Vallee shows that these elements which we have come to associate with UFOs and visitors from elsewhere are not just a modern phenomenon. They are found in stories of strange encounters told over millennia. What Vallee discusses in Passport are folktales. Lynch’s stories may be seen as post-modern folktales containing not so much radically new imagery as imagery rooted in a very long multicultural tradition. Consciously or unconsciously, Lynch is tapping into that “energy.”

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One Response to “The Key to David Lynch—Part I”

  1. PluribusOne™ Says:

    In addition to the fifteen repetitive film elements listed in the post above, another has come to my attention: blinking or flickering light.

    In the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, for example, there is a scene wherein FBI agent Dale Cooper is examining the body of Laura Palmer in a room with a flickering overhead florescent light fixture. The medical examiner explains that the fixture apparently has a “bad transformer.” The symbolism here relates to the larger concept of transformation, and more specifically: a problematic transformation.

    Intermittent light is off and on, dark and light—dyadic. This dyadic light fixture is one dyad among many dyadic symbols shown from the beginning of this episode, all signifying a theme of unrecognized/invisible (spiritual/mental/emotional) conflict. Among the human chakras the dyadic chakra relates to sexual energy. The bad transformer in the examination room symbolizes the problematic transformation of a human being from prepubescent child to young adult as the reproduction system is activated within the context of a natural maturation process marked by intermittence of inner and outer chaos and calm.

    A little further on in the story we see the teenage character Audrey poking a pencil into the base of a white (purity) Styrofoam cup (feminine symbol) and asking something she already knows: “What would happen if I pull this out.” The message-via-symbol here is another clue to the story of the life and death of seventeen-year-old Laura. Although sexual activity may be forestalled well beyond that age, loss of virginity initiates—as sure as the force of gravity—a flow of subsequent sexual events that can be overwhelming, out of control, and socially messy.

    Later in the same episode a woman flips a light switch off and on repeatedly in order to get the attention of an unruly gathering of people in a meeting room. Her desire is to transform the chaos in the room to a state of order, which is the flipside of the effect symbolized in the medical examiner’s room. This further symbolic act involving flashing/flickering light underscores the fact that forces of Nature—and intentional purposeful use of such forces—can be positive or negative, for “good” or “evil” from the human perspective.

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