The Lost Blog

The Island is the Mind of God

This week's LOST Theory was provided by Mizzed.
The Island's Mind

Jacob Struggles With God


The Mind Of God
A Brief History of Time

Put away the science conversations for a moment.  There is a consciousness on the island, one that seemingly knows and sees not only events on-island but off as well, offers spontaneous healing, judgment and redemption, communicates via spirits and mathematical equations, sets predestined, unalterable paths for its characters, and contains massive amounts of energy.  Is the consciousness Jacob?  Given his "help me" plea, together with the circle of ash and his temporary displacement by Christian's spirit, probably not.

 

In the Bible, Jacob is God's personal emissary.  He gains the name Israel (Hebrew meaning "one who has struggled with God"), after he wrestled with either an angel from God, or God himself.  Jacob called the place where he encountered this spirit Pnei-el (meaning "face of God"), saying "I have seen God face to face and lived."

 

I believe TPTB are going for something mystical, deep, and very powerful- the Island is not just a geographical place, but is actually the cosmic consciousness, or the Mind of God.

 

"However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason -- for then we should know the mind of God", Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time.

 

"There are some questions that are very engaging and interesting, and then there are other questions that we have no interest whatsoever in answering. We call it the midi-chlorian debate, because at a certain point, explaining something mystical demystifies it", Lindelof, May 2008.

 

Thomas Dolby
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse
 

Dharma Initiative

1. She Blinded Me With Science.

 

Some fans argue against a spiritual answer to Lost's mysteries because they believe that Lost is grounded in science, not the supernatural.  TPTB have created a set of consistent, scientific "rules" for the Lost universe, but they have never claimed that there is not also a supernatural element to the show:

 

"The science needs to be right enough that we create a sense of believability to the storytelling," Cuse says. "But we're always trying to skirt that line between the two possible explanations - the scientific one or a mythical and magical one - and we are purposefully ambiguous about which one might be correct."   

"Hopefully it won't feel like it's a copout when the show does answer that question," Lindelof adds, "because we never promised a show that was based entirely and grounded in science
.", Popular Mechanics, 4/24/08

 

Season 4 began to shift the scale of science vs. faith in favor of faith:

LOCKE: It's not an island. It's a place where miracles happen. And--and--if you--if you don't believe that, Jack, if you can't believe that, just wait till you see what I'm about to do.

JACK: There's no such thing as miracles.

LOCKE: Well... we'll just have to see which one of us is right.

Locke believes that the island can be moved, and he is right.  Jack refuses to believe the island has been moved, even when he sees it disappear with his own eyes.  When post-return Jack tries to return home to his logic and his medicine, it leads to depression and attempted suicide.  To save himself and the people he loves, Jack must find "religion" (i.e. faith in the island), and accept that Locke was right all along: 

KATE: This is not gonna change.

JACK: No, I'm sick of lying. We made a mistake.

KATE: I have to go. He's gonna be wondering where I am...

[Jack grabs her]

JACK: We were not supposed to leave.

That doesn't mean that the science isn't part of the show, but it's more of the side dish, not the main entrée.  By tantalizing the fans with wormholes, the Faraday Constant, the mechanics of time travel, the Casimir Effect, etc, the writers are like a magician, drawing our attention away from where the trick is actually happening.

 

D&C are self-professed "Star Wars geeks", and they both felt Lucas made a mistake in the second series of Star Wars movies when he introduced the scientific concept of midi-chlorians to explain the Force:

 

Lindelof: "You can actually watch Star Wars now, and when Obi-Wan talks about the Force to Luke for the first time, it loses its luster because the Force has been explained as, sort of, little biological agents that are in your blood stream. So you go, "Oh, I liked Obi-Wan's version a lot better.", May 2008 interview.

 

A case in point is the Dharma Initiative, which Ben mockingly describes as busy "with their silly experiments".  Several of the Dharma stations appear to have literally been placed on top of older "mysteries"- the Swan, the Orchid, and possibly Ben's secret passageway to summon the Smoke Monster.

 

"Again, the idea of the hatch is, there's this very Jekyll-and-Hyde-like quality to it, that was very advertant on our part, which is...Basically, the hatch brings out the worst in you. The hatch sort of represents the Devil has arrived on the island..", Season 2 DVD commentary

 

Dharma lives a comfortable life with modern conveniences, while Jacob abhors modern technology.  The island protects and heals those in alignment with it, but Dharma has a medical station (presumably to deal with sick members).  Later, when Ben moves the Others into the former Dharma compound and assumes those same conveniences and technology, he becomes sick, loses his ability to speak to Jacob, and finds Alpert withdrawing his support in favor of the more naturalistic Locke.

Brother Campbell
Joseph Campbell
Mr. Eko

John Locke

2. The Mind of God, but not necessarily the Christian God

 

Some have argued that TPTB have been all over the map with their religious references as a way of being inoffensive and not taking sides.  But I think they are purposefully channeling Joseph Campbell (who gets a shout out with Brother Campbell).

 

Campbell argued that many diverse early religions and mythology show amazing similarities- the same themes, stories and allegories repeat themselves over and over.  He believed that they all started with the same sources, just as languages as diverse as English, Hindi, Russian and Urdu all evolved from the same Indo-European language.

 

The Mind of God/Island's truth and mysteries do not belong to any one denomination- the truths they reveal are ancient and fundamental, and so we see references and symbols from Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Greek and Egyptian mythology, the Old Testament, etc,.

 

Lindelof: "Well we think the show is spiritual and is in a spiritual space and you know Lost has always been more. It's not just that they are lost on an island, they're also sort of Lost in their own lives. We're not preaching or promising or you know trying to convert anybody but we do we do like the idea that you know, these people are all connected, that there is sort of a sense of you know, a higher power", Podcast 12/6/06

 

They dealt with this issue forcefully in the story arc of Locke and Eko, the two men on the island with the strongest faith.  Locke represents the ancient religions, Eko, the Christian faith. 

 

Cuse: "Locke's faith is rooted in this paganistic, ritualistic appreciation in whatever the powers are. Adewale came on and offered sort of another pole of faith, but in this case, sort of pure religious faith". Season 2 DVD

 

It is Locke, who despite his initial crisis of faith with the hatch, becomes spiritually aligned with the island, while Eko is killed by the Smoke Monster.  Note their compared notes of their first Smokey encounter:

LOCKE: So, what exactly did you see back there? I saw it once, you know.

EKO: And what did you see?

LOCKE: I saw a very bright light. It was beautiful.

EKO: That is not what I saw.

Cuse: "we had a priest on the show and you know I think the priest's, the priest's demise, Mr. Eko's demise was very much wrapped up in his sense of spirituality which was very informed by his Catholicism", Podcast 12/6/06

 

Flight 815 crashes

Young Benjamin Linus 

younglocke.jpg

Desmond Hume

Hugo Grotius - also known as De Groot

3. Predestined Fate by a Higher Power

 

The core characters have limited free will, even when given an opportunity to redo parts of their life- Desmond is still not allowed to buy the ring.  These characters have been assigned to walk the "Lost" path by a higher power that goes beyond coincidence or elaborate conspiracy.  Their crashing on the island was not random or an accident.

 

Lindelof: "In terms of the pragmatic reality, Oceanic 815 never would have crashed had Desmond pushed the button. But is there a larger, more faith-based, spiritualized reason that these people happened to be on that plane when he failed to press the button?"

 

"And in fact they're not on this Island by random circumstances. They're not on this Island because they're nice people. They're on this Island because there are things in the past of all these characters that, you know, are still being worked out in the circumstances of this show", Podcast 3/1/06

The characters can not escape this destiny- there is no ability to choose another path.  When Desmond tried to break off from the group and escape on his boat, he was literally unable to sail away from the island.  The Oceanic 6 were rescued, but must now go back.  Michael "escaped", but was also forced back to the island against his will:

Cuse: "Michael's story is for us one of the most becoming storylines on the show because here's a character who obviously, you know, took- undertook some very extreme actions in order to basically get his son off the Island and then when he sailed off in that boat.  I think everyone was very curious about what happened to him, what is his fate, and in a series that deals a lot with the powers of redemptive on the Island and what these characters need to do to redeem themselves", ComicCon 2007

 

At the most extreme, these characters become virtually immortal-  Jack and Michael cannot commit suicide and Ben and Widmore cannot be killed until they fulfill their purpose.

 

Ben gets a tumor

locke shot

815crash.jpg

Mikhail.jpg

4. Redemption, Judgment and Healing

 

The Island offers redemption and healing.  The characters that exhibit faith are spontaneously healed- Rose, Locke ("get up, John").  TPTB have even suggested that Alpert's agelessness is part of his relationship with the island.  On the other hand, the characters that fall off the righteous path are made sick- Ben's tumor, or Jack suddenly getting appendicitis as soon as he makes contact with the freighter.

 

Cuse: "The healing is related to the degree to which you are in communion with the island at any given moment. Perhaps Ben getting sick and needing surgery had to do with the fact that he had fallen out of favor, that his connection with the island was maybe not what it had been in the past",  Jimmy Kimmel interview (2008)

 

In addition to physical healing, the Island also offers redemption and spiritual healing as well.  All of the main characters are spiritually lost, broken people- and must fix themselves as they prepare for final judgment and the show's resolution. 

 

Cuse: "Sawyer is someone who struggles with his own sense of self-loathing. Charlie is struggling with drug-addiction. Um, you know, Sayid is struggling with his, you know, uh, with the duality of himself as being a nice guy, but also having the potential to inflict, you know, torture on other people. And I think that these are issues that are not easily resolved. I don't think- you know, in the same way that the issues that we all have as individuals are not easily resolved... I think that our characters are on this island perhaps in some measure to be tested over and over again on the axis of their issues",Podcast 3/28/06.

 

None of the key Losties were on Jacob's list, because they have not worked through their issues, and until they do so, they are unworthy of the Island's redemption. 

MIKHAIL: I misspoke. What I meant to say is you are not capable of understanding.

KATE: And why am I not capable?

SAYID: Kate.

MIKHAIL: Because you are not on the list.

KATE: What list?

MIKHAIL: The man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here, he is a magnificent man.

MIKHAIL: Ben? Ben is not. I will try to make this as simple as I can. You are not on the list because you are flawed. Because you are angry, and weak, and frightened.

This judgment and redemption aspect may also lead us into a better understanding of the Smoke Monster and its relationship to the island.  The Dharma Initiative called it Cerberus, after the mythical dog that guarded the gates to Hades.  Campbell's monomyth theory:

 

"The hero must cross the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not. Often this involves facing a "threshold guardian", an entity that works to keep all within the protective confines of the world but must be encountered in order to enter the new zone of experience", Joseph Campbell.

 

We know that when the Smoke Monster encounters Eko, it sees into his mind (and soul?), cycling through his memories and actions and evaluating him..

Cuse: "It does imply that the other castaways perhaps face a similar fate as Eko. Does it mean that everyone on the island is destined to be judged?", Podcast, 11/6/066

Cuse: "I think that the answer sort of lies there that um, o- obviously the pilot, and the way in which he behaved, um, and the way in which Eko and Locke behaved towards the monster, um, I think determined their fates -- the monster is discriminating -- the monster does not treat everyone equally".

 

Lindelof: "...when Locke sort of sees the monster for the second time in the finale of last year, it treats him much differently. In fact, uh, it attacks him and tries to drag him into a hole, so h- how would your theory correspond with that action"?

Cuse: "Well, I think that, uh, at that particular moment in time, Locke's behavior and attitude may not have been the same as when he was, uh, confronted by the monster the first time".

Lindelof: "Maybe a little less secure in his sort of faith that he was on the right path."

Cuse: "That- that would be a very good, uh, assumption, Damon." Podcast 1/23/066

 

 

henrygale_sm.jpg

PI - the movie

numerology The Valenzetti Equation

5. The Numbers: God's Code

 

TPTB have stated several times that while the original concept of the numbers was important, the actual numbers were not.  Lindelof has said his father was very much into the Illuminati and the number 23, and together with the movie Pi, gave them inspiration for the numbers concept:.

 

Cuse: "I mean there's actually certain thematic similarities between the movie Pi and things that we're doing on Lost..."

Lindelof: "We ripped him off. [Carlton laughs] That's really all there is to it, so now we gotta repay the favor",  Podcast 2/13/06

 

The numerology concepts in the Illuminati lay in the "Series of Fives", which is described as a cosmic code that ultimately explains all phenomena.  The movie Pi deals with a 216 digit string of numbers that originated in the Torah as a code from God and potentially explains everything from the stock market to the Second Coming.

 

I believe that the mystical numbers which appear everywhere in Lost were conceived as both a message from "God" in the form of a mathematical equation that defines the essential nature of the universe. 

 

Cuse: "...it's sort of an impossible question on one level to answer. I mean, some of the mysteries of this show are sort of like religious mysteries, like how would you explain, you know, the notion of God? I mean, you can- you can take a stab at an answer, you can- you can- but there may be a thousand different ways to answer that question, and I think that- that there's certain- there's a certain mystical quality to the numbers that may not ever be explained.", Podcast 2/13/06

 

Only after they were inundated with questions about the meaning of the numbers, did TPTB respond (sort of) by inserting the Valenzetti Equation concept into the Lost Experience.

 

 

jacobs_eye.jpg

The Panopticon plans

Island Eye

6. Everything is Being Watched

 

The concept of an "entity" watching over the proceedings has been a hallmark of Lost since the very beginning.  According to the Lostpedia, 17 different episodes have begun with a close-up of a character's eye, including the very first scene in the very first episode (Jack).  While Jacob's character is still a mystery, we have twice seen a close-up of his eye: he is watching us. 

 

EW: "Hurley also saw an eyeball looking back at him. Should we be wondering about the identity of the owner of this eyeball?"

CUSE: "One of the definitions of omniscience is to be in more than one place at a time",

 

The Pearl was a monitoring station designed to watch the other stations, similar in concept to Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, a prison design that would create a feeling of constant surveillance and paranoia among the prisoners.

 

In addition, for anyone who has read the audio transcripts of the whispers on the Island, they can be defined as commentary of unseen observers continually watching the main characters.

 

 

the Stand.jpg

star wars

Randall Flagg

7. The Stand, Star Wars, and the Monomyth

 

Finally, two sources that factored heavily into the original creation process were Stephen King's The Stand and George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy.

 

Cuse: "I think both of us have to give a big shout out to Stephen King."

Lindelof:: "Huge. We basically stolen The Stand [Carlton laughs] and put it on a Island, if anyone has ever read that book. The shout out is for not suing us", Podcast 11/21/05

 

Lindelof: "And more importantly, we meet Jacob - the elusive, unseen, presumed leader of the Others - for the first time. And this is a character who is every bit as significant to our universe as the Emperor was to the Star Wars universe - a character that you didn't get to meet until Return of the Jedi but was referred to all through the preceding films. Jacob is a guy who is going to have a very significant, ongoing sort of story value in our show", EW (May 2007)

 

The Stand is a book about a post-plague showdown between Good and Evil, featuring a seemingly random group of people who must come together to face a physical manifestation of the Devil.  The heroes are flawed characters, pulled together by God (via the visions of Mother Abigail), who undertake an arduous journey of initiation where their faith will repeatedly be tested.  In the end they find redemption and defeat the evil, but not without sacrifice.  Most people are very familiar with Star Wars, which shares many of those same plot characteristics.

 

For that matter, so does the Lord of the Rings (which King used as his inspiration for The Stand), the Matrix, Harry Potter, and countless others (and yes, even Kung Fu Panda).

 

Joseph Campbell called this the Monomyth or Hero's Journey, and it is a concept known by most every scriptwriter.  It is a consistent story cycle that has existed and been used for thousands of years, and includes not only the fictional examples above, but the stories of Osiris, Moses, Buddha and Christ as well.  (BTW, for anyone curious about whether Locke is actually dead, wiki Campbell and monomyth). 

 

The key point here is that while The Stand uses Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg as stand-ins for God and the Devil, and Star Wars uses "The Force" instead of labeling the universal power and spirit as "God", both stories are fundamentally about the need for faith in God as the only true weapon that can defeat overwhelming evil. 


Got a LOST Theory? : Readers can submit their own theory by sending an email to me - vacc@coolplaythings.com and include "Lost Theory" in the subject.  You can also nominate any theory already posted in the comments of this blog by posting something like "This would make a good theory submission".  From time to time (or until we all run out of theories), a new theory will be chosen and spotlighted here, for grading, critique, and discussion. .

Thanks again to Mizzed for providing some very interesting, timely, and thought provoking ideas for us to debate.

WOW! Well done. Well-written. Well thought-out. Very thought-provoking. I love reading anything you write.

#1. Posted by: lovelost at July 2, 2008 12:49 PM

Now... explain it for all of us polytheists, hindi, buddhists, shintoists, atheists, agnostics and, dare I say, pagans. Por Favor?

#2. Posted by: MorBid0 at July 2, 2008 5:49 PM

We're gonna need to read that again.

#3. Posted by: Cecil Rose at July 2, 2008 5:53 PM

I'll add another WOW! I feel like reading that somehow made me smarter.

#4. Posted by: mrsdobalena at July 2, 2008 6:23 PM

intense. i really appreciate all your quotes from Damon and Carlton. i'm skeptical that this is the answer to Lost, but i love your idea. thanks for taking the time!

#5. Posted by: DriveShaft at July 2, 2008 6:54 PM

I can definitely see the writers ending the show with a supernatural or even spiritual ending. After when you think back which side is usually correct in Lost the side of Faith or the side of Science. In my opinion when people on the island have faith they are usually better off. When people are like Jack and ignore faith, or spirituality or mythology they end up looking like fools.
Recently Darlton said that next season they want Jack to be more a man of faith, you can even see that happening in the flashforwards. Old Jack would never want to go back to the island based on what is basically a hunch and and blind faith.
I intend, at some point, to tackle this issue more on my blog: http://ncjl.wordpress.com/

#6. Posted by: Izikavazo at July 2, 2008 9:12 PM

"The heroes are flawed characters, pulled together by God ..., who undertake an arduous journey of initiation where their faith will repeatedly be tested. In the end they find redemption and defeat the evil, but not without sacrifice."

It's hard to argue with the monomyth theory, and it clear that the "stages" of journey appear in most every story ever told. However, therein lies its weakness (IMO). It is SO generic to human experience in general, as to be almost impossible to deny in any tale worth telling. Even in stories not worth telling ... "Seinfeld" episodes, always ostensibly about "nothing," often hold "true" to the monomyth model.

Why is this? I hold that the basic model, as you summarized (and I quoted above), underlies everyone's experiences to varying degrees (save perhaps, Paris Hilton ... and I suppose you could even argue for her). This is why it is the basis of most stories ... everyone can identify at some level. Anyone who has "survived" beyond a certain age has, by default, gone through most of the defined stages. Especially in the ancient world, where death loomed at nearly every stage of life, getting "to the end" by living to relatively old age, would have been seen as a "heroic" model for all to aspire to.

This premise also lies behind the prevalence of "trials by ordeal" throughout societal history ... those who die, must not have found redemption ... otherwise, they would have persevered, right? This idea is not alien to modern Western thought either, lest you think it is a vestige of primitive days gone by ... one need only look to Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" for confirmation (or more recent comments by Wesley Clark regarding McCain's being shot down). For that matter, consider the common disdain shown for the homeless, justifiable or not (these people must have somehow failed to "find redemption," or they wouldn't be in such a predicament, right?).

Not arguing against your idea, just pointing out that there needn't be a metaphysical basis for it. Of course, looking for reason in the vagaries of existence, most peoples have eventually come to the conclusion that there MUST be an "unexplainable," yet somehow justified, rationale behind all of this. Hence the origin of mythology, and from an atheistic perspective, religion.

Yet from an agnostic perspective, this doesn't mean such beliefs are wrong ... if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it doesn't prove it's a duck, but doesn't disprove it either. There are certainly some sound scientific reasons behind beliefs that the universe obeys some level of "divine intervention," if not necessarily to the level of trial by fire (see Paul Davies "The Mind of God" for an intelligent perspective). Most unfortunately, such ideas have been bastardized to justify "Intelligent Design" arguments for presenting Biblical creation as a legitimate alternative to evolution (when in fact, serious theorists posit that evolution may be "driven" by "design" ... yet none of these people are out there suggesting the world was created 6k years ago, and that dinosaur bones were planted to "test faith" ... such ridiculous notions have dealt a severe blow to true scientists with good ideas, most of which have now [due to reverse-prejudice from the "scientific community" unwilling to associate itself in any way with such ideas ... and thereby undermining the basis of the scientific process itself as an unfortunate result] been disregarded off-hand as "crackpot" ideas ... yet the sun being the center of the solar system was once a crackpot idea ...).

Anyway ... trying to come full circle here, by asking this question ... is the island supposed to be the true "Mind of God," or a manifestation of such? I will pose this in terms of your own mentioning of "Christ" as a monomyth model. I have always found it interesting that Jesus referred to himself as the "Son of Man," rather than the Son of God (too many NT Biblical refs to mention). I have an interpretation of this, which hopefully will not anger the Christians out there, and I think should not ... from a historical perspective, at that time especially, being a "son" would be tantamount to being a servant of one's father, in all respects. By calling himself the "Son of Man," I (JMO) think Jesus saw himself as a servant to humanity, and by extension, to God. When one references Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, or Siddhārtha, et al, regardless of religious belief, the common thread (without having to rely on the monomyth model) is that they saw themselves as servants of mankind. I will take the possibly blasphemous step here to say they were all possibly manifestations of God's consciousness, rather than truly BEING "the Mind of God." I would suggest that D&C are introducing "the island" as yet one more "manifestation" of God's consciousness, rather than "The" thing itself, if that makes any sense.

With these exceptions, Mizzed, I find your theory quite excellent ...

#7. Posted by: ealgumby at July 2, 2008 9:20 PM

What a wonderful gathering of your thoughts! I wish I could do that.

I have always said I would NOT like a Non scientific explanation for the series. I would call "God's Mind" a cop out. BUT After reading what you have put together, I see that you don't necessarily mean "God". Put "The Universe" in there and I think I can go along with your theory. And by the universe I think I mean the cosmos, some kind of meaning to everything and not just chaos.

But not a fatherly being watching every sparrow smashing into the grill work on a 16 wheeler. Just some sense of understanding or a hope of being able to understand what the hell life is all about.

I have read the history of various religions and most do have the same basic ideas. I have always thought that it is because we - people - are basically the same and want to know why it rains sometimes and not others. Because the gods are angry or because of the jet stream? The Natural religions who revere the rain for what it is and does make more sense to me.

So I could go with Locke being the natural spiritualist and Eko the one who brings a calf to be slaughtered for the fall harvest.

Oh Crap. See? I have lost myself.

Why would the true natural/ancient religion/faith have smited Eko? Eko wasn't religious like a good Catholic should be. He loved his brother and did what he had to do often using wrong to make right. When he landed on the island, I think he thought he had found HIS religion. One that is not ruled by a "judging" deity. One that offered redemption for him. But then it turned around and wacked him.

If I could reconcile Eko and the island's ill use of him, I would back your theory 100%. Maybe the Cerebus is NOT run by Mother Abigail but by the man in Vegas?

Anyway, I truly admire your skills in putting this together. Thanks!!!

#8. Posted by: berkyo at July 2, 2008 9:30 PM

Oh, And I too liked the quotes from D and C. I only recently found the podcasts. Thanks avian.

#9. Posted by: berkyo at July 2, 2008 9:34 PM

→ 7. Posted by: ealgumby
are introducing "the island" as yet one more "manifestation" of God's consciousness, rather than "The" thing itself, if that makes any sense.

Yes, I do not agree that the island itself is a "thinking" consciousness.

The original animal that first saw himself as a thinking being (I don't think my dog does......so I see myself as different - not better) tried to sort out good and evil. And maybe even gave them their names because of a kind of intuitive survival of the fittest. Why do we die? What is lightening? Fear of the dark.

If the hunters fight amongst themselves then the hunt suffers and the children go hungry and people die. So that was an evil thing. To be overly aggressive and argumentative and not work for the group was evil.The group suffered. And it made sense. For the group to survive they needed some structure, some laws. The Island may be a pure version of these laws to live by.

The smarter ones in the group saw this and tried to find ways to reason with their group. They became the priest with powers to talk to the gods to grant a bountiful hunt. And of course being human they misused the powers that they had and wielded them to their own purposes. Wealth and Power over others. This may the threat to the Island.

I think this kind of spiritualism or would be acceptable to me. Not a thinking land mass. Although I do like the Gaia stories and would like of think of the earth as a living being that can heal itself after we ruin it.

#10. Posted by: berkyo at July 2, 2008 9:59 PM

@berkyo/10
"If the hunters fight amongst themselves then the hunt suffers and the children go hungry and people die. So that was an evil thing. To be overly aggressive and argumentative and not work for the group was evil.The group suffered. And it made sense. For the group to survive they needed some structure, some laws."

Your premise goes to the heart of game theory ... suppose there are two people, and they have the option of cooperating, or screwing the other person over for their own benefit. If they both cooperate, their joint benefit is meager, but still positive. If one decides to screw over the other, cooperative partner, then the "loser" suffers, but the "screwer" benefits greatly. If they both decide to screw the other person, they both lose, big time.

Let's hypothetically call these "type A" and "type B" people, where type A people will screw over their partner, and type B will cooperate. In a world full of only type A people, society will crumble very quickly, and extinction will soon result. In a society full of only type B people, advancement will come very slowly, and the society stands vulnerable to potential extinction from swift environmental changes, and lack of a "survival first" response.

As odd as it may seem, the "best" result is achieved with a certain proportion of both type A and B people in the mix (much more B than A). One could argue this is the "mathematical" end-game of natural selection, and it is a purely logical function of evolution that a certain percentage of humanity should be a$$holes, essentially supported by the cooperative types, but essential to advancement and adaptability.

One could also argue that the "game theory" analyses are all inherently unstable, and introduction of mix of "type A" and "type B" people will inevitably lead to bifurcation states of all A or all B ... yet the world persists ... for now ...

How is the "unstable balance" of takers/doers maintained? Is it? This now becomes the realm of very abstract theory ... or theology ...

#11. Posted by: ealgumby at July 2, 2008 10:49 PM

Thanks for the great comments.

→ 7. ealgumby wrote "It's hard to argue with the monomyth theory..However.., It is SO generic to human experience in general, as to be almost impossible to deny in any tale worth telling".

I agree that versions of the monomyth are everywhere, but the reason why shows like Seinfeld don't fit the bill is the notion of sacrifice. The monomyth requires the hero to face his/her doubts, go through an intitiation, gain new insight- but then must be willing to sacrifice themselves (and their new powers) to defeat overwhelming evil. In our society which is often based on immediate, personal gratification, I would argue that self-sacrifice is missing from most current stories.

ealgumby wrote "just pointing out that there needn't be a metaphysical basis for it", and berkyo seconded "Yes, I do not agree that the island itself is a "thinking" consciousness."

It took me a while to come around to this as well, but what other theory (in the context of Lost) fits? You could make the argument for some sort of supernatural presence that controls the island, but then you've got to explain how events are controlled off-island as well. What rational explanation can prevent any pen from working at the Sydney adoption agency? The trump card in this debate is the "numbers"- it becomes virtually impossible to come up with a non-supernatural explanation for their continual presence.

ealgumby asked "is the island supposed to be the true "Mind of God," or a manifestation of such?"

Again, only in the context of the show, I'm not sure it matters.

→ 10. berkyo: "If I could reconcile Eko and the island's ill use of him, I would back your theory 100%"

The island (via the Smoke Monster as Yemi) offered Eko a chance for redemption- he rejected it.

EKO: Yemi! You say you want to hear my confession! Why? Why now, eh? Show yourself! Where are you! Where!

[Yemi appears across from Eko in a field of waist-high plants with red flowers. Eko walks over to him.]

YEMI: Are you ready, Eko?

EKO: Yes. I am ready, Yemi.

[Eko pulls out the cross and raises it. Yemi reaches out to caress it but does not take it.]

EKO: I ask for no forgiveness, Father. For I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive.

It is after this exchange that Eko is killed. He is given an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and redemption, but he does not take it. He falls back on his religious faith, but the "island" rejects it. His final words "You're next" suggest that all of the Losties will face their own moment of judgment.

Again, to argue against a spiritual basis for this show, there would need to be a plausible explanation that otherwise explains this persistent theme of judgment and redemption- especially when D&C frequently refer to the core of the show as a spiritual quest across those very same issues.

#12. Posted by: Mizzed at July 3, 2008 12:09 AM

@12 Mizzed quoted and commented...

>EKO: I ask for no forgiveness, Father. For I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive.

>It is after this exchange that Eko is killed. He is given an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and redemption, but he does not take it. He falls back on his religious faith, but the "island" rejects it. His final words "You're next" suggest that all of the Losties will face their own moment of judgment.

From a Christian standpoint, I'd say Eko did not 'fall back on his Christian faith' but rather that he denied it. Christians recognize that we are all sinners, and 'doing what I had to do' is no excuse. We need God's forgiveness.

This is what disappointed me about this episode. Eko had been portrayed as am unrightious man with one redeeming quality - his love for his brother. He first masqueraded as a priest for sinful reasons (smuggling opium out of the country). Yet after his brother's death he continued the charade and the charade became reality. He really seem to have acquired the faith and humility that he at first only role-played for his own ends.

That's why his rejection at the last moments of his life of all he seemed to have acquired spiritually struck me with such a false note. If it wasn't just bad writing it really makes for as curious point - smokey as avenging angel?

As for Eko's last words, if they were really "you're next" (Locke paraphrased "He said 'we're next'") then they suffer from the ambiguity of the English language - second person being the same in singular and plural forms. So it could have meant "You (John Locke) are next, or "You (all the losties) are next."

#13. Posted by: Cecil Rose at July 3, 2008 9:46 AM

Cecil-

The character of Eko was to play a larger role in the series, but things did not work out with Adewale. I agree the way they killed him off was very curious-

"Mr. Eko's demise was very much wrapped up in his sense of spirituality which was very informed by his Catholicism."

I don't know how else to interpret this other than to suggest that "faith" on the island is drawn from something more ancient, almost pagan- note also the four-toed statue, the ruins where Cooper was tied up, the reference to "The Temple", the hieroglyphics, etc.

A couple of other nuggets if anyone wants to comment:

1. Why Jacob? They could have selected any biblical reference to be the key spiritual presence on the island. Other than "seeing the face of God", Jacob is the father of the 12 tribes of Israel- he is the allegorical parent of "God's Chosen" people.

This seems consistent with the concept of Jacob's list, the judgmental aspect of the Smoke Monster, and D&C's implication that The Others are a collection over time of many different people who have been "chosen" to join the group based on their relationship with the island.

2. Hurley and the Numbers- When Hurley uses the numbers to win the lottery, he is told he has opened Pandora's Box. He has used a spiritual message to gain material wealth- therefore, the money is cursed and cannot be happily used. His being "chased" by the numbers suggest guilt and goes back to the concept of redemption.

BTW, while I'm peddling the Spiritual soap here with Lost, that does not reflect my own personal beliefs- just my interpretation of a tv show.

#14. Posted by: Mizzed at July 3, 2008 11:40 AM

Mind of God -
God is Dog spelled backward, or normally for us dyslexics. Could this all be from the mind of 'Vincent'.

[wavy lines wiggle at the edge of Vincent's vision].

Stuck in the cargo-hold for 14 hours. High on tranqs. Turbulence. Vincent imagines the flight going down. Imagines himself on the island with all of the humans he saw in line during check-in. Plenty of rabbits to chase here on the island. Running out of rabbits to chase. Start duplicating them and numbering them. Not enough of a challenge? Imagine wild boar to do battle with. Still not enough of a challenge? Imagine bears to fend-off and protect the humans from. Hunting is no fun alone. Imagine taking a human along. Hey, how about that guy in the wheelchair? I bet he'd appreciate getting out of that thing to go hunting. Oh, and that heavy-set guy, he is my new best friend because if he has food, then I know I am always going to have something to eat. I'll hang out with that tall, young blonde gal too. Her nails are perfect, so she will always scratch me just right... smells nice too. Vincent dreams on....

[wavy lines wiggling at the edge of Vincent's view cease].

Vincent awakens in LAX baggage pick-up.

End Series.

FilmFodderers have collective heart attacks realizing accuracy of July 2008 prophecy.

#15. Posted by: ANON2 at July 3, 2008 2:57 PM

→ 11. Posted by: ealgumby
"As odd as it may seem, the "best" result is achieved with a certain proportion of both type A and B people in the mix (much more B than A). One could argue this is the "mathematical" end-game of natural selection, and it is a purely logical function of evolution that a certain percentage of humanity should be a$$holes, essentially supported by the cooperative types, but essential to advancement and adaptability."

ealgumby, your "type A's" are easy to spot... they all own Hummers.


now, ANON2, i assume (and dearly hope) that that was a joke. i think i would cry for weeks if Lost ended that way.


oh, Cecil - i thought of you when i heard about this new saying. i remember your in detail explanation of "jumping the shark"... well, now you may refer to it as "nuking the fridge", thanks to the latest Indiana Jones adventure. :)

#16. Posted by: DriveShaft at July 3, 2008 4:21 PM

@15 ANON2 blarnied: A bunch of stuff.

Aren't you supposed to be turning a donkey wheel, somewhere?

#17. Posted by: Cecil at July 3, 2008 4:22 PM

→ 15. Posted by: ANON2
That was a welcome respite in the midst of all the heady banter. lol For extra giggles, add the "doodle-oo's" from Wayne's World to the wavy lines.

Y'all are great. Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th...

#18. Posted by: lovelost at July 3, 2008 7:18 PM

All done spinning the frozen wheel. Pat and Vanna said it was too cold in there. Ben won 20K island dollars in the bonus round, a trip to Tunisia, and a new VW van.

[glad the Wayne's World reference was detected].

I forgot the best part. Final scene: Close-up on Vincent's eye - it opens. He starts howling to the poodle in the next pet carrier... "arr-rhoo, ruff, ruff, uhhh, uhhh, uhhh... rut-row, grrrrr." Translation - "We have to go back Fifi!"

#19. Posted by: ANON2 at July 3, 2008 8:26 PM

How is the "unstable balance" of takers/doers maintained? Is it? This now becomes the realm of very abstract theory ... or theology ...
→ 11. Posted by: ealgumby

I think it was the reason religion was invented. to keep the type A's in check. And that might have been a good idea! On paper. Unfortunately, the type A's soon learned to work the system and began to dole out the opiate to the masses and screw them over anyway.

Sorry if I have offended anyone. These are just my humble but annoying ex socialized religious beliefs. I don't have the right to tell anyone NOT to believe what they want and would never do so. But the theory here got me going on Why the basic good/evil had to be based in a knowing God type island. Why not just the basic if we don't live together we die alone. So I guess I would side with jack and be miserable back in the real world. Would I be trying to return? I don't know.

#20. Posted by: berkyo at July 4, 2008 9:43 AM

→ 12. Posted by: Mizzed
“It took me a while to come around to this as well, but what other theory (in the context of Lost) fits? You could make the argument for some sort of supernatural presence that controls the island, but then you've got to explain how events are controlled off-island as well. What rational explanation can prevent any pen from working at the Sydney adoption agency? The trump card in this debate is the "numbers"- it becomes virtually impossible to come up with a non-supernatural explanation for their continual presence.”

But why does it have to the mind of God running the numbers? I love the numbers. I agree that there are unexplained things happening. I would not suppose it to be God. Maybe there is some mysterious power – in the island itself – the rock- the whatever. It is healthier to live where I live than in LA. Does my small town have healing properties? And there are remote thingees that can do all kinds of tricks from far away. Science is awesome enough for me. I don't understand string theory or chaos theory but I have read about them and awestruck at the intricate workings of the universe and our ability to try to understand it. Who knows why some people can feel impending disaster. ESP? Could one with EEEESp control happenings at great distances? Could some places in the earth be more conducive to ESP than others?
--------------------------------------
“Again, to argue against a spiritual basis for this show, there would need to be a plausible explanation that otherwise explains this persistent theme of judgment and redemption- especially when D&C frequently refer to the core of the show as a spiritual quest across those very same issues.”
But I don't think spiritual needs to involve a judging God. I just took my dog for a walk in the woods to a nearby hilltop corn field where I can see for miles. I feel totally connected with a spiritual presence. I don't believe that it is God.
But judging someone like Eko – who I considered a good human, was the work of a Nasty, Self Righteous God. Or the type A personalities screwing with the power of the island. In my opinion. I can go along with your theory if the smoke monster is a creation of the Dharma (I always thought the Pentagon had a hand in the DI agenda- maybe it's the ultimate smart weapon) and has been Altered by the powers embedded in the island. And is now controlled by the type A personalities using the island for ill.
Maybe what I am saying is I do like your theory as it explains an awful lot, but I will not be happy with the vengeful Judeo/Christain God living on the island and controlling things at the bottom of the mystery. Or any God.

And I wish I could express myself as well as you have done.

#21. Posted by: berkyo at July 4, 2008 10:15 AM

→ 19. Posted by: ANON2

All done spinning the frozen wheel. Pat and Vanna said it was too cold in there. Ben won 20K island dollars in the bonus round, a trip to Tunisia, and a new VW van.

LOL!

#22. Posted by: berkyo at July 4, 2008 10:22 AM

→ 21. Posted by: berkyo "I will not be happy with the vengeful Judeo/Christain God living on the island and controlling things at the bottom of the mystery. Or any God."

Well, it's definitely not the Judeo-Christian God. The point in Lost is that the true nature of the universe can not be defined by any one religion or belief system.

While they will no doubt explain Jacob, Widmore, Dharma, etc, in the last two seasons, they may never actually define (i.e. demystify) the island, the numbers, Smokey, etc. I don't picture a Joan of Arcadia scenario where the supernatural presence ever explains itself or its motivations.

I picture the Lost universe as one where the concepts of theoretical physics are true- space-time is not just a theory, but actually how the universe works, allowing for wormholes, consciousness jumping in time, etc.

However, there is also (in Lost) an active "awareness" beyond our conscious reality- whether you want to call that awareness God (or in a polytheistic view, "gods"), the Universe, the Force, Cosmic Consciousness, whatever.

In other words, this is the Theory of Everything, Lost style- where science and faith ultimately become the same thing. In my more obsessive moments, I have wondered if the common abbreviation for the Theory of Everything (TOE) is somehow linked to the four-toed statue, as a sort of easter egg by TPTB for their overall conception of the story.

#23. Posted by: Mizzed at July 4, 2008 12:20 PM

→ 23. Posted by: Mizzed
"The true nature of the universe can not be defined by any one religion or belief system."

I can agree with that.
-----------------------------
"there is also (in Lost) an active "awareness" beyond our conscious reality- whether you want to call that awareness God (or in a polytheistic view, "gods"), the Universe, the Force, Cosmic Consciousness, whatever.

I can agree with this too.
----------------------------

Please accept my apology to any here who are believers in whatever religion. I tend to be a bit too judgmental.
I have family and friends who are good Christians and Jews. I admire their ability to trust and believe.

#24. Posted by: berkyo at July 5, 2008 2:03 PM

@# 15 ANON2

"Hey, how about that guy in the wheelchair? I bet he'd appreciate getting out of that thing to go hunting."

i nearly wet myself.

#25. Posted by: kaseygir106 at July 7, 2008 12:52 AM

@berkyo/24
"I tend to be a bit too judgmental."

Fortunately (thank God), I am completely free of this heinous character flaw ... ;)

#26. Posted by: ealgumby at July 10, 2008 10:21 PM

Well my theory of Lost is simple and short.
Everone at the island is in a coma and they're all dreaming of the place and strange actions going on. Whenever someone dies, they basically just wake up or the life supprot machine just gets turned off,lol!

#27. Posted by: Martin at July 19, 2008 10:46 AM

GREAT theory there Mizzed. Absolutely well done! However, I am a little saddened you had no mention of the significant and obviously important BUNNIES...

#28. Posted by: BunnyLover at July 25, 2008 5:15 PM

@BunnyLover/28
"you had no mention of the significant and obviously important BUNNIES"

Hmm ... what of Bunny #15? We know Bunny #15 caused chaos to ensue in the Orchid station ... what precipitated this turn of events? Why was Bunny #15 sent back in time (I assume, as if sent forward the film crew would've known beforehand there might be a conflict ... right?)? Could this have been an accident, perhaps induced by the Dharma gassing, or intentional? I started this post completely tongue in cheek, but the more I think about it, the more I see some plot-point signficance ... we have been promised an "explanation" of the Bunny #15 incident. Have we already gotten it, or is there more? If we "have" (ostensibly via the vid Locke started viewing in the bowels of the Orchid) then I am disappointed ... I wanna know how Bunny #15 fits into the saga. Who sent Bunny #15 back in time, and why?

The Dharma folk don't seem to have recognized the power of the island from what we've seen ... perhaps Bunny #15 was intended as a wake-up call ... or perhaps, Bunny #15 IS, the Mind of God.

Don't lose faith BunnyLover, you may yet be proven precocious in your love of Lepus ...

#29. Posted by: ealgumby at July 25, 2008 10:26 PM

@ ealgumby/29

Couldn't have said it better myself. No really. There's no way. You see, my vocabulary simply isn't as progressed as yours and I really couldn't have said it better.

Rest assured, I will not lose faith. I have a feeling that bunny #15 is actually JACOB... Or, could it have been bunny #8, and because Ben shook it till it "passed out" that's why Ben fell out of grace with Jacob. Hum... that almost makes sense... NOT!
The bunnies will have their revenge!

#30. Posted by: BunnyLover at July 28, 2008 10:07 AM

→ 28. & 30. BunnyLover & 29. ealgumby: While on the subject of rabbits, it might also be significant that one of the first books Sawyer's seen reading on the beach is Watership Down...

#31. Posted by: Alaïs_Longthought at July 28, 2008 2:32 PM

@ Alaïs_Longthought / 31

Watership Down just happens to be one of my most favorite books! (Go figure...) I even named one of my rabbits "Hazel" after one of the main characters. "Safflay anyone?"

#32. Posted by: BunnyLover at July 28, 2008 3:11 PM

The island is the mind of cod?? Holy mackerel! :))

#33. Posted by: Clementine at July 31, 2008 9:13 PM

→ 33. Clementine: "The island is the mind of cod?? Holy mackerel!"

Trust you to come up w/a hilariously good pun—thanks for the laugh! : )

#34. Posted by: Alaïs_Longthought at August 1, 2008 10:45 AM

Very Goood.

Look this page: http://imagenes-subliminales.blogspot.com/
http://imagenes-subliminales.blogspot.com/

#35. Posted by: Ariel at August 4, 2008 6:21 PM

perhaps the god/cosmic consciousness is prevelant within self which is why Locke and some of the survivors heal in an almost willful manner. Those whom know and understand this concept are
able to enable such manifestations.

#36. Posted by: shani at September 10, 2008 6:32 PM