Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Crazy Ruminations on LOST.

First, my dream last night – I must have taken Ben’s comment about how everyone will die if they make the phone call a bit too literally. I dreamt that the group was waiting in the area where the Others’ houses were to be rescued, and they become elated as they hear the sound of a helicopter approaching. As the helicopter comes over the horizon, it is a large Apache-style copter, and something feels wrong about the situation. Suddenly the two turret-style guns on either side of the copter start blazing, mowing down everyone. The copter literally chased each person it could see. Apparently I was a Lostie in this dream. I hid behind a house as the copter continued its rampage, but it was like the copter could smell me, and we played-cat-and-mouse around the house until it was sufficiently satisfied that it had taken everyone out of commission. Finally, the copter parked in the garage of the house (don’t ask me how that would be possible!). In sequence, an army of “bad guys” got out of the copter, wearing smug expressions of satisfaction that they’d found the “magic” island. They spread out to survey the land. At this point, I’m thinking since the copter is parked in the garage and unoccupied, I’m getting the hell out of dodge. I sneak through the house and enter the garage through the house. I climb in the copter and fire it up. Of course, in short order the baddies realize what I’m doing and start running back toward me. I have to fire up the guns and mow down a few of them to make it out of the garage. As I rise up above the village and come to the top of the tree-line I come upon a startling revelation – the Losties that had been killed by the copter just minutes earlier had vanished from the ground, then fallen from the sky and landed in the trees above the village, and were calling out to me to pick them up before I left…

After the season finale last night the pondering began. What does it all mean? What the hell is his island, but more importantly, why can’t anyone just say what they know? Ben, for example: “don’t do it, Jack, or everyone will die.” Why can’t he just say “I know that everyone will die if you do this because a spirit told me so.” Even if Jack doesn’t believe him, Ben would have at least provided some level of information – believe it or not, but I’m telling you why, which is the only thing that matters.

Then I started thinking about the motivations of the characters on the show and came upon a new revelation, which I haven’t read anywhere else before so here goes: LOST is the name of this show, which presumably implies that the Losties have no idea where they are – it’s a physical location which eludes everyone. However, when I see “LOST” now I’ve changed my tune after the finale – the title of the show represents not a place, but a mentality. You can individually dissect each character in the show based on the concept of LOST and one other important element. The island isn’t important insofar as where it is and what it’s magic properties are, per se, but that the island represents a method for lost people to find meaning in their lives. Let’s talk about a few characters.

Jack – he needs to save people. When his wife divorces him and his father passes away, he’s lost the will to live because his life means nothing to him. Suddenly he crashes on an island in the middle of nowhere and everyone looks to him for guidance. On the island, Jack finds purpose in his life – to help, heal, and guide people. To be a leader. However, off the island, in the future, Jack has lost himself again. He’s one of the few Losties that actually realizes he doesn’t want to be rescued, because the unique properties of the island fuel that need for him to be constantly challenged to help others, than even life as a doctor cannot satiate.

Shannon & Boone – both of them were self-absorbed and spoiled. They come to the island and come to terms with their true selves – Boone admits to loving his sister and Shannon becomes helpful by translating the French distress call. Shannon also falls for Sayid, not the type of rich pretty-boy she probably would have preferred in the past. That was their role to fulfill in this world, to come to acceptance of who they are and shun their superficiality. Their overcoming of those barriers put them in a place where they could pass away having found their meaning. Note that last night when I told Monika this theory, she raised the "BS Flag" on Nikkie and Paulo - why did they die? Perhaps the island also passes judgement on those who are truly not good people. If they cannot find real meaning in such a magical place, they get the axe (or, sand in this case).

Locke – he had a terrible relationship with his father that spiraled out of control to yield a crippled man who still held the belief that he could do anything. The reality of a broken spine prevented him from realizing his true desires in “the real world.” Upon reaching the island, Locke can miraculously walk again, and feels a bond with the island that gives him purpose in life. Locke will not leave the island because the island is the very source of meaning for his life.

I don’t want to get too redundant here, but there isn’t a character that comes to mind for which I can’t form this general argument: the people who crashed from Oceanic 815 and survived were all somehow incomplete in their own unique way. The island gave each of them the opportunity to find meaning in their lives, by giving them the opportunity for leadership, sacrifice, to express their true feelings, or giving their bodies a second chance (not just Locke, but Jin with the sperm-count). Upon experiencing these revelations, some are ready to leave the island and some are not. Claire, Bernard & Rose, Jin & Sun, etc. are all ready to leave the island. They will return to the “real world” and be at peace with who they are and embrace the experience they had. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer think they want to leave the island but they really don’t, although afterward Kate and Sawyer come to accept it while Jack enters a drug-induced depression. Characters like Locke and Hurley experience meaning in their lives because of the island, and won’t ever want to leave. Over the course of the remaining episodes we’ll find out who really wants to leave, who thinks they want to leave, who wants to stay. We’ll find out if those that “should” have left flourish with their new found understanding of their lives and if those that didn’t leave continue to find meaning from living on the island. Of course, the most interesting cases will be those, like Jack, who felt a burning desire to leave, only to find that it wasn’t what they really wanted. Can he find his way back?


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