What is Your True Name?

By Magda Mariamidze

The theme of revealing someone’s or something’s true name is very common in philosophy, religion, or folklore. True name expresses and contains the nature, the essence of its bearer. In mythology and fairy tales, knowing someone’s true name gives one the power over them. True name is often hidden to avoid danger. Names are powerful and they have deep meaning.

Let’s take a look at some names in Twin Peaks. In the seasons 1 and 2, there were character-doubles sharing names: Bob and Bobby, two Mikes. Spirit Bob and Mike have common names. They function in this world and have chosen the names that humans would understand. These names fit with the time when they live among the humans. They can blend in. Mike in The Return becomes Philip Gerard, i.e. takes his host’s name.

If we look at other supernatural beings, those who we meet in the Lodges have descriptive names (The Arm, The Fireman), or presumed names, like Laura in the Red Room (who is and is not Laura). Also, Jiao Dai, which as far as I know has several meaning in Chinese, strikes me as descriptive name too. In short, these might not be their true names.

Tulpas, I imagine, get their names according to their creator’s purpose: Diane keeps her name because she needs to be recognized, while Dougie is a new name because he needs to stay unidentifiable as Cooper’s tulpa.

Mr. C is somehow special among them. He is, if my memory serves me right, the only doppelganger we meet outside the Lodges. According to Laura’s diary and Major Briggs’ note, there are two Coopers. But is “bad Dale” actually Cooper? In fact, Frank Truman confirms that he is not. In response to Hawk’s “That is Agent Cooper” Truman replies: “No… It’s not.”

Mr. C – shortened from Cooper, I suppose, is the name he’s called in the criminal ‘world of truck drivers’ as Buella would call it. Later Mr. C is asked about his name twice, or more correct, he’s told that he is Cooper – first by Jeffries, then by Richard Horne. Mr. C neither admits it, nor denies. He simply does not respond. Maybe he just cannot say it because it is not his name? The only time he admits it in response to Sheriff Truman, is with the words: “In the flesh.” He actually is only flesh, without soul. That might be why he cannot say it clearly himself, unlike ‘the one and only’ Cooper who says itintroducing himself to Alice Tremond. So I would say, Mr. C actually has no name, as he has no distinct identity. He is merely “not Cooper”, negative Cooper.

In the new timeline all names are changed, firstly, because personalities are changed, and secondly, maybe for protective reasons. Only Cooper insists on his old-timeline name and tries to force what he knows on the reality around him. He simply doesn’t accept that it is Carrie Page in front of him. In case of Dougie, Cooper easily takes up his name when swaps places with him. Cooper is not complete and, well, his ego is probably damaged – so he assumes the personality that other people assign to him. But after he is whole again, he doesn’t accept any other personality than Dale Cooper’s. But in the new timelines names must be changed for reason. What leaves me wondering which of these are the true names: Laura or Carrie, Dale or Richard, Diane or Linda?

Oh, and I almost forgot about two Trumans. This double has reasonable explanation but still gets the poor insurance man confused.

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