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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