The Cultural History of the Island in Lost
by Pearson Moore
LOST was the story of a struggle to control the Island.
Except the antagonist didn't want any part of the Island; he'd have been happiest returning to Rome, never again to see his tropical prison. Okay, then, LOST must have been the story of the struggle to replace Jacob. Except we know two events carried greater importance: the destruction of the Smoke Monster and the replacement of the Cork Stone. Hmm... no matter how we look at LOST, ferreting out the purpose seems impossible.
If we approach LOST in a conventional manner we will never understand the series. The story was presented in non-linear fashion, and understanding any single piece of the puzzle requires intimate knowledge of every other piece. But we need to know much more than this. We have to understand the most important character in the series.
The story focussed on a single character, present in every one of the 121 episodes. This character had a back story and a culture all her own. She was strong-willed, always on the move, responsible for not one but several murders. No one could control her. This character made her own rules, and everyone, even the Protector of the Island, was obliged to obey her.
The most important character in LOST, the one whom all obeyed, was the Island. LOST was not the story of a struggle to control the Island. It was the story of a struggle to surrender control, to work toward a common destiny. LOST was the story of the survivors' relationship with a living, breathing Island.
At Jacob's meeting with the final four Candidates in 2007 we learned much about the structure and history of the Island. The Island was defended by a Protector, who was empowered by the Island to train and approve the next Protector. The Guardian (usually called "Mother"; see Lostpedia at http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Mother) trained the Boy in Black for this most important position, but when he made choices rendering him unsuitable to the office, she appointed Jacob. Two thousand years later Jacob appointed Jack after the doctor volunteered. After Jacob did his best to offer a choice, Jack gave Hurley no option to decline leadership. "It needs to be you, Hugo," Jack told him, in spite of his protests.
The means of recruiting, training, and installing the new Protector was left entirely to the former Protector. The only apparent requirement was the ritual drinking of fresh Island water at the request of the former Protector. The formal Latin invocation (Nam non accipimus hoc quasi vulgarem potionem, sed ut ille sit quasi unus mecum) was not required, since Jack did not use these words during transfer of authority to Hurley. The words of installation were simple: " Now, you and I...are the same," or "Now you're like me."
More than one person could be in training for the position. The Guardian had two Candidates that we know of. Over the following two thousand years Jacob considered at least 360 Candidates, if not more. He did not seek their consent. The last round of Candidates was drawn from among the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, and consisted of individuals Jacob had touched and spoken with over the thirty years before the crash, the first being James Ford during the summer of 1976.
The Will of Mittelos
We are used to thinking of land as being a passive entity subject to the whims of the organisation or government claiming control over its borders. We don't normally think of land as possessing a personality or a will. At most, we might think of land as having a kind of symbolic consciousness, as in the expression "The land and the king are one." Possibly we could even imagine the land as expressing a reaction to historical events. For example, Arthur is destined to become king, so the land allows him and only him to free Excalibur from the stone. We might even think of land as enjoying a kind of collective consciousness, responding to stresses and strains with corrective actions, as with versions of the Gaia Hypothesis.
It is much more difficult for us to understand an island with an agenda, planned over millennia, executed by agents accountable to and controlled by the land, in response to specific needs. But this is the full reality of the Island.
Michael committed unthinkable murders. His wife divorced him, his son hated him, his mother wanted nothing to do with him. Living a life without meaning, enduring nightmares every night, Michael sought to end his life with a bullet to the brain. But when he pulled the trigger, the gun barely clicked. He had already tried crashing his car into a wall. He might as well have tried electrocution, poisoning, or stabbing himself. Every attempt at suicide failed and would have failed.
TOM: I got some bad news for you, amigo. You can't kill yourself. The Island won't let you.
MICHAEL: (Panting) What'd you say?
TOM: No matter how bad you want to, no matter how many different ways you try, it won't happen.
[Tom hands the revolver back to Michael.]
TOM: Give it a shot if you don't believe me. You got more work to do, Mike. When you figure that out, I'm in the penthouse at the Hotel Earle.
Michael was not a Candidate. Jacob never touched him. He had the Island's protection, but unlike the Candidates, he was given an immediate task: he had to return to the Island to blow up the Kahana. In carrying out his mission he would have to give up his own life, after which he was consigned to indefinite detention as one of the Island whisperers. This might have seemed unfair punishment. Wasn't the execution of the mission and the sacrifice of his own life sufficient redemption? Not quite, as it turns out. In the epilogue we learned Michael had two enormous tasks waiting for him in the whispering afterlife: Enticing his son, Walter, back to the Island, and then reconciling with his son, who was to become Protector.
In Michael's mission we begin to see the truth of the Island's personality. There is no general rule stating that a 34-year-old man accompanied on the Island by an eight-year-old boy must be recalled to the Island every time an 84-tonne freighter shows up in its waters so that he can destroy it. The Island doesn't have rules. It has needs. The freighter had to be destroyed, and someone had to do it. What better choice than the man whose son would ultimately become the Protector of Mittelos?
Man in Stripes: "You can go now, Michael."
Michael: "Who are you?"
The man in striped shirt didn't get the opportunity to respond to Michael's inquiry; the explosion interrupted all conversations on the Kahana. We should consider ourselves fortunate in not having heard his answer, because the words he chose would have confused us more than anything our ears had picked up in the previous four years:
Man in Stripes: "I am the Island."
Some of you are laughing. "Pearson's lost his mind. Everyone knows the Smoke Monster took Christian Shephard's body." I beg to differ.
That Christian's body went missing from his coffin was no indication he had been taken over by the Smoke Monster. We know the MIB didn't need a body--all he required was the impression of a form of someone's body. The body didn't even have to be on the Island. From Richard's memories the Smoke Monster was able to copy Isabella's form exactly. He took Yemi's form from Eko's memories. No, the disappearance of Christian's body had nothing to do with the Smoke Monster. Rather, it was the sign of a much greater mystery, and too big a topic to cover here.
Christian's form appeared on a freighter several kilometres from the Island. After the explosion there was no boat to return to the Island.
SAWYER: What do you need a boat for? Can't you just turn into smoke and fly your ass over the water?
MAN IN BLACK: Do you think if I could do that I would still be on this island?
The Smoke Monster needed a boat to cross the water. We don't need to take his word for it. We know there was not a single instance of the Smoke "flying his ass over the water", even over the short distance to Hydra Island. He had to take human form and get in a boat. That was the rule.
There was a much bigger problem with the assumption that the MIB was anywhere on the Kahana seconds before it exploded. We know from Season One that the Smoke Monster had a deep aversion to dynamite. Back then we believed it was because of dynamite's destructive force. It wasn't until Season Three that we learned the real reason: Smokey didn't like disruptive sound waves. The Dharma barracks were completely protected from the Smoke Monster thanks to the sonic fence. In the same way, the Kahana was immune to any MIB activity as long as there was a threat of the C4 explosive being detonated and unleashing deadly sound. The MIB was never on the Kahana.
Jacob never took anyone's form other than his own. He appeared to Hurley and the MIB as a boy, but that was his own young form. Jacob was never on the Kahana.
So, who appeared on the Kahana just before the C4 exploded? Did Michael have an hallucination--of a man he had never before seen? Did Christian Shephard take it upon himself to rise from the dead and swim out to the freighter?
No. This and every other appearance of the very dead Christian Shephard was the doing of a very motivated, determined individual: The Island. In this case, the simplest statement is also the truest statement: Christian Shephard was the Island. To gain a fuller appreciation of this truth, please see the essay here:
The Magnificent Seven
The Valenzetti Equation contained six integer coefficients: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42, corresponding to John Locke, Hugo Reyes, James Ford, Sayid Jarrah, Jack Shephard, and Jin-Soo Kwon respectively. The "odd man out" was Jack Shephard; he was unique in being assigned the only prime number among the Velenzetti coefficients.
Some of you are wondering how I was able to assert that Jin-Soo Kwon was one of the Six but not Sun-Hwa. Wasn't Sun-Hwa Kwon one of the Oceanic Six? True enough, but the Oceanic Six were not connected to Jacob's Six. The Oceanic Six included Aaron, who was never touched by Jacob. Sun-Hwa was touched, but she didn't time travel.
The Candidates all traveled through time at one point or another, and it is this commonality that can be applied as criterion of Candidacy. Jacob's Six shared three crucial characteristics: They were on Jacob's long list of Candidates, they were touched by Jacob, and they traveled backwards through time.
Rules of Time Travel
In fact, we can understand the selective nature of the time travel phenomenon in the light of Candidacy. Not everyone on the Island traveled back and forth in time. Daniel Faraday, Charlotte Lewis, Miles Straume, and Juliet Burke were neither Candidates nor were they 815 survivors, but they moved to and fro through time with Sawyer and Locke. I believe Daniel Faraday and Miles Straum, like Michael Dawson, were the unwitting agents of the Island. Faraday had to time travel because his incorrect notion of the Time Boulder would not reset events as he imagined, but his idea would serve to collect the Candidates into a single location immediately above the Swan at the time of the Incident. That location would allow all of them to be catapulted forward in time thirty years, to the precise moment of Jacob's death.
The abrupt forward time travel was necessary because it became the only way to enforce the cardinal rule of the Island, that a Protector or Candidates must be on the Island and able to serve as Protector at all times. Miles had to be there to assist Sawyer in integrating into Dharma culture. Sawyer was essential to the whole effort because he would provide for safe housing and transport of the two most important players in the Island's history: Jack Shephard and Kate Austen.
Charlotte Lewis and Juliet Burke time traveled even though they were not among Flight 815 survivors. If time travel was Candidate-centric, their time travel is explained as a privilege of Constancy: Juliet was Sawyer's Constant, and Charlotte became Daniel's Constant.
This idea goes only so far. This Candidate-centric model doesn't explain the necessity of time travel for such apparently useless individuals as Neil Frogurt and Rose and Bernard Nadler. Rose and Bernard may have been the only mechanism for getting Desmond Hume to the Source. As for Neil and the other minor time-traveling characters, they may have been included due to their proximity to the Flight 815 Candidates. Perhaps almost everyone who crashed and who stayed on the Island was obliged to travel through time. We might think of the Island's ability to segregate individuals for time travel as having limitations. If the Island selects an individual for time travel (or for some other distinction that includes proclivity to time travel as intended or unintended consequence), perhaps everyone within a certain physical radius of that person must also be imbued with whatever qualities render that person amenable to time travel. But this idea doesn't allow easy reconciliation of selective time travel from Ajira Flight 316.
The Seventh Coefficient
Jacob touched eight individuals, not six. One of the eight was not a Candidate, leaving seven. Of the several passengers on Ajira Flight 316, only four were selected for travel back to 1977, and all of them were Candidates: Jack Shephard, Hugo Reyes, Sayid Jarrah, and one not among the six Valenzetti coefficients: Katherine Anne Austen.
Jacob would have heard of the Valenzetti Equation through Richard, Charles, Eloise, or Ben over the twenty-year run of the Dharma Initiative. He would have known about the core environmental and human factors of the equation; it seems not unlikely that he reserved these six coefficients for his most promising Candidates. I doubt that Jacob put much credence in the significance of the Equation, but I do believe he was thorough and he had a plan. He supplemented the six most visible Candidates with one who was always the first to volunteer for any difficult mission. The urge to run had been her supreme weakness on the outside world, but on the Island it became Kate's strongest virtue. She was always first in line, always ready to explore an unknown hatch or lead a rescue mission.
Kate was number 51 on Jacob's lighthouse list. An unremarkable number for a most remarkable woman. Only Kate would have the reckless courage to pick up a rifle and fire it at the Smoke Monster. This psychological tendency would have been understood as undisciplined foolishness before the struggle on the cliffs, but after she put a bullet in the MIB's chest, only seconds before he would have killed Jack, the true nature of her courage and the reason for her selection became clear.
Kate killed the Smoke Monster, but she also killed the Valenzetti Equation, and with those deaths, she became agent and subject of the Island's thesis of hope: Human civilisation will never perish from this earth.
The Island relied on its own understanding of humanity as superior to any doomsday equation. The Valenzetti Equation was derailed by the inclusion of a seventh coefficient, by a woman who believed not in pre-ordained global self-destruction, but in one child's need for a mother. In seeking to re-unite Claire and Aaron, Kate freed the Island from the Smoke Monster's tyranny and gave everyone a new basis for optimism.
The bullet from Kate Austen's rifle killed the Smoke Monster, and it also killed the notion of the ascendency of science and rational thought. The Valenzetti Equation, predicting the inevitability of humankind's self-destruction, was entirely rational. Optimistic belief in the positive tendencies of human nature is irrational. The Island proved, through Kate, that irrational optimism is more firmly anchored in reality than the most scrupulously rational statement of scientific pessimism.
A Devout Meditation in Memory of Stuart Radzinsky
The Island asserts the value of the irrational over any system of rational thought.
The contemplative writer Thomas Merton wrote possibly the most famous essay on rational thought--what we call sanity--some fifty years ago, just after the trial of the Nazi war criminal and mass murderer, Adolf Eichmann. His essay was called "A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann." In the essay, Merton comments on the fact that Eichmann was found to be sane.
One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing.
The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.
It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missile, and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared...
And so I ask myself: what is the meaning of a concept of sanity that excludes love, considers it irrelevant, and destroys our capacity to love other human beings, to respond to their needs and their sufferings, to recognize them also as persons, to apprehend their pain as one's own? ... Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs... who have planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities of using bacterial and chemical agents: these are not the crazy people, they are the sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can he considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too. On the other hand, you will probably find that the pacifists and the ban-the-bomb people are, quite seriously, just as we read in Time, a little crazy. I am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself. The "sanity" of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of the dinosaur. If he were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival...."
Logic constitutes a small and dangerous sub-set of reality. Those who wish to experience the full range of human reality, according to the Island, must be willing to assert the ascendency of irrational optimism even in the face of the most rational proof of pessimistic outlooks.
The sane thinkers of the world are the ones who believe Winston would at some point be obliged to pour acid on a child's face in order to advance the precepts of rebellion against control by the Inner Party. That is to say, rebellion is pointless because those who rebel are only going to assert their power with the same tyranny demonstrated by the Inner Party.
The irrational thinkers, those who assert the primacy of humanity and believe in the principles of the Island, proclaim that there is no Goldstein, there is no inevitable tendency toward self-destruction. George Orwell had it wrong, Darlton tell us. The fall of Winston is not inevitable, because there are always Kate Austens among us--or as Steve Jobs and Ridley Scott would have us imagine, there are always sledgehammer-wielding freedom fighters ready to destroy the instruments of rational control (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8).
The Dharma Initiative was doomed.
This statement may seem at odds with the philosophy I've taken pains to develop over the last several pages. However, the statement is consistent with everything I have so far written.
The Dharma Initiative was based on rational science. The Initiative's top scientist at the time, Stuart Radzinsky, used the time-tested principles of science to devise a plan for study of the electromagnetism that was to become the focus of the Swan Station. The catastrophic release of electromagnetic energy, referred to as "The Incident", was inevitable because rational science does not map reality, and therefore cannot predict events outside the narrow constraints of rationality.
The scientists running the Deepwater Horizon in early 2010 used sound scientific principles and models in developing drilling and capping equipment and procedures. The models had been tested for several decades and were found to be not only adequate, but accurately predictive of oil, sedimentary rock, and ocean behaviour, even at depths of several thousand metres. No one could have imagined an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, or that the blowout preventer would fail, or that the well would spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico without restraint over three months before finally being shut down after around-the-clock, heroic measures were taken. Here was a real-life "Incident" that perfectly mirrored the events on Mittelos, and demonstrated the folly of placing trust in science.
Much more should be said about the Dharma Initiative, its principles, effects, and achievements, but that is a subject too broad for this short essay.
For the purposes of this survey of Island history, it will suffice to point out that the Dharma Initiative contained within itself the potent seeds of its own destruction. If the Initiative had been based in the core principles of civilisation it would have prospered. But since it was based on the narrow-minded limitations of science, it could only fail.
The positions of Protector and Candidate were the only etched-in-stone requirements of the Island. The Island conferred special powers on the Protector, as already discussed. The Protector conferred Candidate status and had the discretion to grant immortality.
The position of Consigliere was probably created by Jacob. The Island had vested him with authority to grant immortality, which until 1867 had probably been used exclusively to protect Candidates from the Smoke Monster. But Jacob, who had never experienced love, did not relate well to people. Richard, who had known love all his life, and especially with Isabella, not only related well, but he had been steeped in the best traditions of humanity--the very traditions that Jacob was sworn to protect.
At some point after 1867 the position of Leader was probably created. Richard had been successful in harnessing the people's desire to serve the Island's needs, as expressed by Jacob, and a more formal structure must have seemed useful. The Protector, in collaboration with the Consigliere, appointed a Leader who would be responsible for executing the Protector's commands. So it was that Richard, Jacob's right hand man, came to carry considerable authority.
In 1954 Richard faced what was likely the first major test of his authority and discretion when he was approached by a bald man who claimed to be his leader, from the future:
LOCKE: ... tell me how to get off the Island.
RICHARD: That's very privileged information. Why would I share it with you?
LOCKE: Because you told me that I had something very important to do once I get there. And because I'm your leader.
RICHARD: You're my leader?
LOCKE: That's what you told me [in the future].
Richard took no action on Locke's request at their 1954 meeting, but the brief encounter did cause him to wonder about John Locke, and probably also made him aware of the need to develop strong bases for the selection of a Leader. Were their selection criteria even useful at all?
Richard exercised discretion in 1961 and again in 1972, contacting Locke to determine his suitability for leadership. The 1961 meeting caused Richard to doubt Locke's leadership capacity, and in 1972, when Locke didn't even bother to inquire about the Mittelos Laboratories summer camp, Richard had severe reservations about Locke. Careful not to draw hasty conclusions, though, Richard asked Jack about Locke five years later, in 1977.
RICHARD: Over, uh, twenty years ago, a man named John Locke, he walked right into our camp. And he told me that he was going to be our leader. Now I've gone off the Island three times, to visit him. But he never seemed particularly special to me.
JACK: You said you had a question.
RICHARD: You know him? Locke?
JACK: [chuckles] Yeah. Yeah, I know him. And if I were you, I wouldn't give up on him.
Here was yet another instance of the Island's influence on history. Through the teaching of John Locke and the direct experience of events after the crash, the Island was molding Jack Shephard into a committed man of faith. Three years before this 1977 meeting with Richard, in 2004, Jack would have labeled Locke a lunatic. Now he was teacher, mentor, and leader in Jack's opinion. Thanks to the Island, working through Jack, Locke briefly occupied the office of Leader.
The most experienced Protector in the Island's history had some strange notions about the Island's significance. In 1867 Jacob explained the nature of the Island to Ricardo Alpert, newly arrived from the Canary Islands.
JACOB: [picks up the bottle of wine] Think of this wine as what you keep calling hell. There's many other names for it too: malevolence, evil, darkness. And here it is, swirling around in the bottle, unable to get out because if it did, it would spread. The cork [raises cork] is this island and it's the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs.
Jacob was more than a little out of touch with the outside world. He had probably already been a frequent traveler, but it seems unlikely he ever attended Sunday mass. Ricardo had attended mass, of course. Probably every Sunday of his life. Every week he heard that wine symbolised the divinity of Christ. Now this strange man who lived in a shoe was telling him wine was a symbol of evil?
Jacob inverted many conventions of the outside world, some of which are accounted for in my second essay on "Ab Aeterno" (http://pearsonmoore-gets-lost.com/Lost609PartII.aspx).
His philosophy was weird, fragmented, and in many ways just plain incorrect. The beauty of the Island's power is that it was able to overcome Jacob's fragmented leadership. Thanks to the Island's influence on history neither Jacob nor the Man in Black had the final word.
The Protector was bound by the rules. She had wide latitude in protecting the Island. She was immortal. The only thing that could end her life, that we know of, was a ferromagnetic knife thrust into her chest or abdomen. With her touch, she had the power to grant immortality. Her Candidates could not take their own lives, and they had limited or full immunity from death by natural causes. All of this power was directed toward a single end: She had to protect the Light.
The Guardian was tired of Protector duties. She looked worn out, and she was. She probably stayed at her post for centuries, perhaps thousands of years. When the Man in Black thrust the pugio into her abdomen, the greatest sensation she experienced was gratitude. "Thank you," she told him. It was as if an enormous burden had been lifted from her. The responsibility of guarding the Light was no longer hers.
Why hadn't she just walked away, centuries ago? I believe she did. She walked away, but found she could not leave. She brought ships to the Island and found out about limited access to and from Mittelos. But even when she had the master of the vessel point the ship on the narrow course with proper bearing, she could not leave. The ship and its crew could make their way out, but she was captive to the invisible sphere engulfing the Island.
She tried killing herself. We know how that ended. She could try to poison herself, but she'd just vomit the poison back up. She could try to jump from a high cliff, but the vegetation below would break her fall. She could swim far out in the ocean, inhale sea water, lose consciousness and think herself successful, only to wake minutes later on the beach, coughing the water out of her lungs. If she cut off her arm she'd see blood spurting everywhere, and she'd again think herself successful as she lost consciousness, only to wake hours later, her arm restored, her ruddy complexion a proof that she had lost no blood.
I have to believe she was more determined than this. After several Groundhog's Day-style suicide attempts she must have understood that engineering her own death was pointless. She would have recruited others to design her demise. If wonder if she felt shock at living after an arrow pierced her chest?
"The land and the king are one," was not an empty phrase on Mittelos. Without a Protector there could be no Light. Therefore, there has always been a Protector. Until she designated Candidates or had selected a replacement, the Protector could neither leave nor die. So the Island decreed. So it was.
The history of the Island can be understood only in the context of the Island's personality and ambitions.
circa 4000 B.C.
We don't know when the Island came to be, or when the Cork Stone was first used to supply the Light of the Island to the world. We don't even know the duration of the Guardian's tenure as Protector. Claudia began asking the question, but the Guardian cut her off before she could finish.
CLAUDIA: How long have you--
GUARDIAN: Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.
We know that the Cork Stone is inscribed with cuneiform symbols. According to Lostpedia, "The stone cork and the hole that it stoppered have markings on them. The clearest are cuneiform script, some of the earliest known forms or writing, used by Akkadians and Sumerians in ancient Iraq circa 5000–1000 BC."
We have to reconcile the apparent age of the writing with this unusual bit of interpretive guidance from Darlton (Across the Sea audio commentary):
Damon Lindelof: If I were to have a theory that that apparatus we see in the finale with the stone sticking in the middle of the pool that's sort of blocking the light, maybe that apparatus wasn't created until after this event [the creation of the Smoke Monster].
Carlton Cuse: I think that's an incredibly likely deduction, Damon.
Damon Lindelof: It's possible people went down there and basically...
Carlton Cuse: They built something.
Damon Lindelof: Some people think the light went out in that shot but it was just the smoke monster obstructing the light. The light has not been diminished in any significant way but is probably largely responsible for what just happened.
The Cork Stone might have been carved as late as 50 A.D., according to information supplied by Damon and Carlton, but the symbols etched into the stone were considerably older. What shall we make of this? Have we discovered an inconsistency?
I don't think so. There's nothing new under the sun. Jacob is averse to modern technology because it is a distraction from the elements of life that have real bearing on our survival: Trust, Love, Faith, Honesty, Hope, Charity. I don't think the placement of the Cork Stone was a first statement of humankind's commitment to the greater truths of our humanity. It certainly was not a temporary or interim measure. But the upholding of the truths carved into the Cork Stone, according to Lost, may turn out to be the best action humanity could ever take.
When did the words defining our humanity come into our lexicon? Certainly not in 50 A.D. They are at least as old as Gilgamesh, and probably older than Gilgamesh's oldest contemporaries' most distant memories of their grandmothers' and great-grandmothers' stories of ancient times. People trust each other. We love each other. These are the crucial elements of our humanity, carved into the Cork Stone, guarded by Walt, carried in our hearts.
The Cork Stone was inscribed with script that even two thousand years ago was more ancient than the pyramids, more enduring than the mountains, more meaningful than any scroll or book of wisdom. This is the stuff of which we are made, a firm foundation without beginning, more valuable than gold, worthy of our vigilant protection.
LOST is not the story of a struggle to control the Island. It is the story of our struggle to protect our dignity and our humanity, our status as people of the Light.