Now I know why I like LOST!

I’ve been a devoted follower, and I havent till now figured out why. Tonight’s episode gave me the answer. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed the producers’ random and subtle allusions to various subplots within major literary works or their quiet religious/philosophical tones. It’s like LOST was taking language from a bunch of different fields, maintaining some of it and at the same time redefining the meaning for their own story. I thought this was clever, and it made me think! I would wonder, are they naming this character or using this term accurately to hint at the real meaning of the plot or is it a subversion to make me think something is happening that isn’t? Should I deplore my knowledge of British literature and Hindu culture or embrace it in order to get a heads up on what is coming next for Benjamin, Desmond, Kate, Charlotte or Locke?

On the other hand, with all the crazy stuff that happens in the show (black smoke being the least of my confusions) I constantly asked myself, why am I still following this show?  [Especially after my favorite character died (Cha’lee). Of course we find later that death is not equal to done.] Finally in tonight’s episode we got some clear answers. Fundamentally, the island is concerned with whether human nature is at the core good or bad. Good to know, thanks Abrams! I realized, as I watched the show, that I’m really interested in that question. The island gave me insight into my own life! It struck me… Bernard Mandeville is my favorite political theorist because he argues for a corrupt human nature in an extremely persuasive way. In his Fable of the Bees Mandeville offers the strongest argument against our “core goodness” I have ever read. Ralph Waldo Emerson thinks we ARE good and his utopian optimism is entertaining to the max. This is one of the reasons Emerson is awesome, he fights courageously for the losing side, and wins as much as possible but is obviously never ultimate victor.  He can’t be, he is simply wrong.  Emerson still gets props for his skills of persuasion amidst and despite his own unpersuasive beliefs. Dude had skills.

Ultimately, I respect both writers because of their willingness to engage with a difficult question. Mandeville wins hands down, but that’s not the point. I always knew I liked these writers, but I never made the connection that both are passionate about this same issue, and both do a wonderful job in defending their respective sides. Now, as long as LOST ends by reminding us how NOT good we are, my loyalty will be defendable.

Loyal for good reasons(?),

M.P.

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3 thoughts on “Now I know why I like LOST!

  1. I am convinced that The Island is all about purgatory, and the point isn’t about The Island, but who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. I love LOST myself, mainly because I like to speculate on all the themes as well as for the religion vs philosophy debates.

  2. I think you have good reasons to believe that. All this hell talk/people saying they are in hell/they want to escape hell (Richard can’t even die)/ others are dead and alive at the same time/ the cork holding evil inside, etc. The main reason I resist this notion is because I don’t want it to be true. I also don’t believe the island is THAT bad. I mean, as long as you follow the rules you are fine, for the most part. Purgatory has gotta be worse than that! I’m not a huge fan of alternate universe plots but I’d rather the Island be an alternate universe than a middle world. If the Island is purgatory, I’ll be disappointed but also suprised b/c I would have never guessed that from the beginning. But how could the island be purgatory if some are able to leave at will? If this is the case, this version of purgatory aka “the Island” is weak sauce.

  3. Funny how I want it to be true and you totally don’t, isn’t it? I guess it would be cool if it was an alternative universe. I like that whol sci-fi aspect, but couldn’t we view purgatory, heaven and hell as alternative universes, too? As, it is purgatory, but the show never says what it is. I don’t think they are going to spell it out for us, to further allow us to wonder and debate, which is cool with me.

    I wonder if when they leave The Island is it all just in their heads and part of purgatory, rather than physcially leaving it. Things didn’t really fare well for them off island, so that pushes me more towards my purgatory theory.

    All i know is that I can’t wait for next week … and I hope each show will get better than the last. I’m a huge Charlie fan and I can’t wait to see him again.

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