LOST as you've never experienced it before--
"LOST Humanity," the new book by Pearson Moore!
Now available at Amazon.com. For a limited time "LOST Humanity" may be purchased for $3.99--less than the price of a cup of coffee!
The first chapter of "LOST Humanity" is reprinted below.
Chapter One: The Mythology of LOST
Blue and yellow make green.
LOST is about the human need to belong, and the personal need to struggle. To achieve these conflicting ends, to find ourselves, we face disorientation, paradox, impossibility, and triumph, and all of these in the context of deep relationships, hurtful and healing, with those who make us into the people we become. The core of who we are—struggle and surrender, integrity and iniquity—is expressed in our relationship with others.
The contradictions are unrelenting. An intelligent, evil entity—immortal, impervious to bullets and missiles, invulnerable to rock and spear—could not be destroyed. Yet Jack and Kate killed the Smoke Monster. Juliet used her last bit of strength to smash Jughead’s nuclear core, but there was no explosion, no return to pre-Island lives. We ought to account the Incident a failure, yet the Candidates were catapulted thirty years into the future to fight the battle that would destroy all time loops. Faraday’s plan succeeded in ways unpredicted.
Forces and furies unrelated converged to explode into events unforeseen. Blue had no relation to yellow, but working together, they made green.
LOST presents a bewildering array of complex ideas, dense mythologies, interconnected events, and layers of thought and imagination woven into the most baffling and entertaining series ever produced for television. With so many characters and plot threads we feel overwhelmed, perhaps even convinced that the series made no sense, that it left too many questions unresolved. Our confusion is real, inevitable, and necessary. But it is not the final stage in our understanding. Hundreds of questions outstanding are resolved into a few major ideas. The major ideas meld into a single core, which is the thesis of LOST. The colours of the rainbow, the complexities of LOST, are all driven into light of a single wavelength, the kernel of an idea, that is the central tenet of the series.
The book you hold in your hands combines light and dark, blue and yellow, fate and freewill, good and evil, into a sure means of distilling coherence from ambiguity, confusion, and paradox. These were some of the guiding dramatic methods used in telling the story of LOST. The storytelling techniques were more advanced than any ever before applied to television, and with good reason. The creators of LOST were attempting to generate a work of enduring significance, an audacious statement about the condition of our humanity and the value of human civilisation.
This book is for anyone who has enjoyed LOST but wishes to gain fresh appreciation for the interrelated nature of its rich ideas. This book is for all of you who followed the series faithfully through most or all of the six years, but found yourselves disenchanted or confused or frustrated. You were not alone in your bewilderment and vexation—I was there, too. With several thousands of hours of research dedicated to the task, I found my way through the confusion and into a new state of understanding. In less than ten or twenty hours, having read this book, you will find a deeper and more rewarding sense of the Island, without having to read advanced texts in differential equations, literary theory, or quantum physics. You may find yourself at times annoyed or amused. You may concur with my analyses or disagree with my interpretations, but you will not complete this book without becoming exposed to new ways of thinking about and exploring LOST.
THE ADVENTURE OF LOST
This six-year adventure became the most monumental endeavour in the history of television. Millions of us around the world spent hours each week, not watching a programme so much as engaging our senses, immersing ourselves in an experience unlike anything ever presented on the small screen. We attended online lectures by professors of linguistics, Egyptology, and quantum string theory. The tome in Sawyer's hand or the thin volume on the Swan Station bookshelf became our weekly order from Amazon. We listened to Al Trautwig, Carmel, Mr. James, Iain Lee, and Doc Jensen. Lostpedia was our bible, Vozzek69 our prophet.
We scoured every scene for clues. Hurley is buying Ho-Hos. Hurley and Jack play horse, but they proceed only as far as HO before Jack decides to leave. Hurley is in the recreation room, and behind him, conspicuous to our fanatical eyes, a plastic sculpture of the letters HO. This is rich fare for a guy who spends sixty hours a week in pharmaceutical laboratories, and I immediately reach for the periodic table in my mind's eye. Holmium, a heavy metal, a lanthanide, atomic symbol Ho. Can't say I know much more about it than that--it is obscure, even to a professional chemist. So I turn to the chemist's best friend: Google. Holmium has the highest magnetic susceptibility of any element, several times more magnetic than iron. The Swan Station has peculiar and extreme magnetic properties. Is Holmium the key to understanding the significance of the Swan Station?
I know this because of my acquaintance with Mr. Friendly. To his complete amazement, I'm sure, I explain to him every nuance of mutually-orthogonal four-dimensional electromagnetic space, and how the unusual concentration of unstable energy at the Swan explains not only the local magnetism, but also the strange light scattering properties of the Island, which are due to shifts away from the normal range of Mie and Fraunhofer diffraction. Five hours later, when I've explained every detail of electromagnetism in the Land of Mittelos, Mr. Friendly just shakes his head in amusement. "That's not what the Island's about, Pearson."
What is the Island, then?
I'm going to apply the Mr. Friendly Rule to the remainder of this book. If a concept useful to full understanding of the core reality of the Island requires graduate-level expertise in a physical science, then the concept is not essential to that understanding. Studying the non-intuitive etiologies deriving of Schrödinger’s Cat and other quantum phenomena is entertaining, but at least for the purposes of my discussion, I'm going to bring the question to Tom Friendly and Flight Attendant Cindy Chandler. If they can't figure out what I'm talking about, it probably is not relevant to the deeper aspects of the story. The Island is not a Mr. Wizard science freak show.
What is the Island?
The question is daunting. The series generated over five hundred questions, thousands of details that must be woven together to figure out just what Jacob's Eye of Horus might signify, why it contains important Egyptian and Greek elements, and why nine individuals are depicted as bowing in obedience to the Eye. Jacob's tapestry, laboriously spun from wool and woven on a hand loom, is symbolic of the tremendous investment in time we must give to reconciling unusual phenomena, extreme and unpredicted events, and most of all, the strange circularity and interconnectedness of Island, people, and time.
Much more than science is required to understand the Island. We gain important clues to the deeper appreciation of Mittelos' significance from the narrative structure of the story itself.
Normal storytelling does not work on the Island, because LOST cannot unfold in linear fashion. The chronologies of cause and effect were difficult to track long before the time travel of Season Five, before Daniel Faraday demonstrated the bizarre curvature of spacetime around the Island in Season Four, before even we heard Mama Cass exhorting Desmond Hume to make his own kind of music in Season Two.
Why is the story nonlinear?
A woman's body is found unmoving in a pool of blood in a basement apartment. A neighbour calls the police, detectives arrive, interview tenants, landlord, husband. They search telephone calls, internet usage, medical records. Police identify suspects, assign motives, make an arrest, and there's a trial. The bad guy goes to jail, and the world is safe again. Best thing is, it took only forty-three minutes (not counting seventeen minutes of commercial messages) to tell the whole story from start to finish.
Law-And-Order storytelling could not possibly work on Jacob's Island. I suppose one might imagine LOST as a simple story of good versus evil, much in the manner of CSI, Law and Order SUV (Or is it CSI-SVU?) or any of the other programmes that seem to fill prime time in North America. But LOST brings much more to our dialogue: Free will versus Destiny, Destiny versus Fate, the philosophical imposition of Rousseau, Locke, Dogen, Burke, Bentham, and the religious sensibilities and histories of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Even Greek mythology and ancient Egyptian religion are heavily represented. The story alludes to modern stories, classic literature, and archaic texts. It invokes ancient civilisations, timeless themes, and current culture.
As Lex Luthor said thirty-three years ago, "Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it was a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe." LOST is not a simple adventure story. A bare-bones recitation of the dialogue alone consumes 3800 pages. If LOST were rendered in novel form with the required narrative support the story would fill over ten thousand pages. The story was complex, with dozens of major themes, hundreds of characters, thousands of interconnected pieces. Only the concerted application of several forms of analytical technique, aimed at illuminating key interrelated facets of the story, will allow us to unravel the deeper significance of this television masterpiece.
The Island operates on a hierarchy of values. Any valid thesis regarding LOST must account for the vital and mortal truths of Mittelos. Theses addressing only scientific phenomena, character relationships, or pure mythology will fall short of identifying the most potent and enduring of LOST's ideas.
LOST must be presented in a nonlinear, non-chronological, non-causal manner because of the complexity of the hierarchy. Most of the time Cerberus (the Smoke Monster) can mind his own business, curl up under the Temple and contemplate getting off the rock he has been stranded on. Sometimes he gets ornery; knowing when the Man in Black is in a bad mood--and where he is at the time--constitutes useful information to anyone interested in prolonging her stay on the Island. Sometimes the rules of the Island or his own constitution and caprice dictate that he will kill. Being aware of the conditions that oblige Smokey to execute the full force of Island law or to fulfill his personal objectives is a matter of life and death.
The mythology of LOST is not a single strand. It is a grand tapestry, with warp composed of literature ancient and classic, with weft comprising the strongest cords of spiritual sentiment and tradition. We cannot follow a single strand of this woven masterpiece and hope to elucidate every nuance of significance. In fact, if we do not take into consideration the rich and sometimes conflicting facets of the work, we will never attain to an appreciation of the deepest meaning of the series.
The Swan Station was built by modern scientists but it referenced the Greek mythology of the sun god, Apollo, and it incorporated Egyptian mythology into the counter clock. The station studied electromagnetic phenomena, but its primary purpose, post-Incident, was to prevent the extreme effects of a massive and uncontrollable discharge of electromagnetic energy. But the overarching mythology of the station belonged to LOST, with the creation of the doomsday Valenzetti Equation. The word “Valenzetti” was never spoken during the six years of LOST, and it appeared only once as feeble scratchings in the midst of hundreds of notations on an immense blast door map. But such is the depth of mythological association that we cannot understand the Swan Station and the concepts it represents without first gaining a full appreciation of the doomsday equation.
We cannot consider events or characters from a single point of view. The Smoke Monster provides an excellent example in this regard, but we might equally consider the case of any of the major characters or occurrences.
Consider the complexity of the The Man in Black. He is the black death, evil incarnate, a representation of the unholy depravity that holds the hearts of women and men. We have seen him before, we think: The Invisible Man of H.G. Wells, the night-abiding evils of the vampire, the werewolf, the goblins and monsters of fantasy and lore. If so, then we can categorise him, define him, place him into a pigeonhole and in this way determine the significance of every single interaction in which he ever participated. But we will miss crucial strands if we do this. The Dharma Initiative knew the MIB as Cerberus, from the Greek myth of the guardian of the gate between Hades and Earth. He inhabited the underworld—the Island Hades—under the Temple, the place where Montand lost his arm. The place where Rousseau lost her sanity. We saw the great pillar of smoke stand in judgment of Juliet, of Ben, of Mr. Eko.
Weaving these strong strands into the tapestry we find ourselves no longer sure of our original assignment. Is the Man in Black evil incarnate? Is he a “security system”? Is he arbiter of law, a judge of the hearts of women and men? Guardian of the Temple? Is he all of these things, or something else entirely? Only a careful consideration of every one of these marvelously woven strands, and the way they are connected to the larger embroidery, will allow us to come to a determination of his significance.
The goal of LOST is not creativity for the sake of innovation. LOST is the most creative programme ever produced for television, but this is not its unique or most important objective. Neither is it intended as Lex Luthor's adventure-story interpretation of War and Peace. The intention is to create an idea of permanent value. The story created, conflicted, and ultimately resolved hundreds of plot threads and concepts in breathtaking fashion, establishing enduring purchase in the literary world.
The genius of LOST is its profound connection to our awareness as human beings, to the deepest sensibilities of our nature. A story becomes literature, I think, when it engages the reader, plunges her into the story, and forces her to examine and perhaps even reconsider her own values in light of choices made by the characters in the difficult situations created by the author. Literature best achieves these ends when it weaves into the story elements of thought immediately recognisable to the reader.
His name is Kambei Shimada, a ronin who lived five hundred years ago. He is an aged, balding, unemployed swordsman, symbol of a dying breed of men useless in an age of muskets. His story required only two hundred seven minutes of celluloid. We think we know him: hero, defender of peasants, leader of men. But his story does not end with one year's barley harvest, or even an entire nation's movement into the modern age. If we are to understand LOST, we must have a deep appreciation of Kambei Shimada and his significance to Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, “The Seven Samurai.”
Kambei Shimada did not act alone to save the farmers from marauding thieves and bandits. Akira Kurosawa did not restrict himself to self-referential creations. The master storyteller reached back to over a thousand years of Japanese history to invoke themes and ideas that have stood these many years, proof to wars, plagues, and all manner of human imperfection. Kurosawa examined poverty, nobility and altruism, gratitude—and the lack of it—and the injustice of a class-based society, among the grand themes of the film.
Kurosawa gave us memorable characters, most notably in Shimada, the balding leader past his prime who, on first attempt, failed to convince other ronin to follow him to the village. But more than memorable characters and situations, the director wove his story from the strong yarn of enduring culture. His film stands not only as an irreplaceable pillar of modern Japanese culture, but is considered by many the greatest film ever produced.
Few in North America have experienced the genius of The Seven Samurai, but the most frequently offered movie on American television is familiar to almost everyone on the continent: The Magnificent Seven.
Set in 1880s Mexico, seven unemployed gunslingers agree to risk their lives for twenty dollars to protect a village of farmers. The lead role of Chris Adams, an aging bald man past his prime, was played by Yul Brynner. John Sturges' characters were as memorable as Kurosawa's, most notably in Chris Adams, who, on first attempt, failed to convince gunslingers to follow him to the village.
The story of the Seven Samurai works perfectly well in any culture because the enduring and necessary elements of any culture transcend time and place. One of the notions that works equally well in sixteenth century Japan, nineteenth century Mexico, or the twenty-first century South Pacific, is the idea of perfection. In both the Kurosawa classic and the American remake, perfection is expressed in a number: Seven. In Japanese, Hebrew, and Western cultures, the number seven is perfect. The perfect number of selfless men to protect a village? Seven. The perfect number of selfless individuals to protect an Island?
The very stressed characters on Jacob's Island were striving toward some better condition. They strove toward perfection. As Jacob said, "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that—it's just progress."
Six survivors: Shephard, Austen, Reyes, Jarrah, Kwon, Littleton. Six Swan Station numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Six Candidates: Locke, Reyes, Ford, Jarrah, Shephard, Kwon. But six did not prevail against the Smoke Monster. Six could not defend the Island. All of Jacob's plans, all the Temple Master's work, the hopes of Jin and Sun, the faith of Jack and Locke, were found wanting in the end.
If you are reading these lines, it is almost certainly because you have seen most or all of the 121 episodes. Perhaps with millions of us around the world, you have absorbed repeated viewings not only of the episodes, but every one of the mobisodes, the Hanso Foundation commercials, and the hour-long “Mysteries of the Universe” series. You own copies of the Sri Lanka video, the Norway video, the Hanso Industries film. But even if you have not immersed yourself to this extent in LOST lore, you may be reading these words with a degree of scepticism in your thoughts. “What do you mean, Pearson, when you say ‘the plans and hopes and faith of Jack and Locke were found wanting’? Jack killed the Man in Black. The plan worked.”
I do not dispute the objective truth that the Man in Black was defeated. I do dispute the view that Jacob’s original plan succeeded and that his vision was sufficient to determine the outcome of the 2000-year-old game of Senet. In the end, neither Jacob nor Jack prevailed. Something much grander occurred, and it is the aim of this book to come to terms with the eloquence of the profound statements that LOST made about us in those final minutes on the lava cliffs.
Many of us with degrees in language or literature share an interesting hubris: We believe we enjoy not only innate curiosity regarding the nature of the human condition, but also an obligation, essentially a moral imperative, to find the means to engage others in a contemplation of the meaning of existence.
Usually the artist is thwarted in her attempts to engage the audience. She must feed herself, after all, and employers are not interested in art for art's sake, they're interested in selling a product or service. Radically new ideas, risky by definition, are not generally seen as worthy of investment. So the artist becomes a waitress, or sells commodities at the Chicago Board of Trade, or works sixty hours a week in a pharmaceutical laboratory... and the sculpture goes unseen, the screenplay unread, the great symphony unheard.
Sometimes the artist gets lucky. A small work gains attention, a former employer earns a profit on the artist's work, a second employer, willing to take a risk, agrees to feed the starving artist while she whips up another small creation. That was the intention with LOST, as far as I can tell. But something unexpected occurred: 18.6 million viewers.
What does an artist do when she's given a nice salary and carte blanche? Building 23 at the ABC complex in Los Angeles was full of cartes blanches, and for nearly six years the writers filled them with scenarios, plot developments, character arcs, storylines, and most of all, cultural references.
The writers knew the best way to engage the audience was to weave LOST into the very fabric of our lives. They were able to do this only because the basic material was already there. The greatest demonstrable skill of the artist is not the creation of new ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The greatest skill is the ability to engage an audience. If, in order to achieve this end, the artist must use fabric already present in the viewer's psyche, she must endeavour to choose the strongest, most enduring yarns from that fabric, then re-weave them into something new. The bottom line for us: Regardless of any story innovations, LOST must rely on cultural motifs we all recognise. The necessary connections between culture and the completed plotline provide a basis for a reasonable understanding of the story.
The Island is Shangri-La and LOST is James Hilton's Lost Horizon, updated to the internet age and stuffed with a hundred-fold more cultural references and statements regarding our humanity than Hilton ever thought to include in his masterwork. The Darlton Shangri-La surpasses Hilton's creation in ways critical to the telling of the story. Most importantly, Mittelos is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Shangri-La with origins in Tibet, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Hawaii, and Japan, deep spiritual roots in Judaism and Christianity, and mythic roots in Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. Those in the Western world will recognise elements of Eden: Adam and Eve, harmony with nature, timelessness (e.g., Ricardus' immortality), inaccessibility (a trait shared also with Lost Horizon), guardian angels (the Man in Black and Jacob). Mittelos references myths from around the world because this is a story for the entire world—for all of humanity.
But this is only a small portion of the reality of the Island. We must also understand the literary strands, the references to William Shakespeare and Stephen King, C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, Joseph Conrad and Joseph Heller, and a hundred other authors and works, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to The Third Policeman. We need to understand Jacob’s connections to The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, the Man in Black’s connections to Jurassic Park and Lord of the Flies.
We will see that the Island is far richer than any particular strand of mythology, literary allusion, or reference to religion, history, or philosophy. Even the characters of Mittelos are more complex than any ever before seen on television, and we will explore exactly how this is so. This book is only an introduction to the intricacies of thought that must be applied to this fictional structure to glean the deepest possible enjoyment of the series.
WHAT THE ISLAND IS NOT
The Island most emphatically is not Cheech and Chong's pot-smoking, hippie-infested free-love paradise. The Temple Master’s assistant, Lennon, may have worn love beads around his neck, but he felt no emotion of any kind when he relayed the command to exterminate prisoners. Lennon was one of the final representatives of the hippie counter-culture. Darlton have made clear to us their unreserved disdain for any organisation on the island expressing hedonistic ideals. Hedonism in LOST is a ploy, a diversion used to mask the true agenda of those in command, and that agenda is the acquisition of power over others. Culture, on Darlton's Island, seeks the Common Good. Counter-culture seeks to concentrate power into a single dictator and her minions. Counter-culture is what it implies: a radical opposition to culture. It is the purest expression of evil because it rejects everything of humanity that endures and is worthy of being held as ideal and exemplar of thought and behaviour.
One of the most useful realisations we can bring to the comprehension of LOST is the necessity of confusion. We need to be confused because LOST assaults and tears down many of the assumptions we apply in attempting to understand drama, causality, and human nature. LOST makes unique statements in all of these areas. If we are to accept, appreciate, and finally admire these novel proclamations, we first need to be willing to part with the deep biases that inhibit our ability to synthesise radically novel ideas from the dramatic material supplied by the series. Allowing ourselves to succumb to the disorientations of frenzy, chaos, and conceptual disorder, we are stripped of useless preconceptions and we have new eyes with which to begin the piecing together of insights and epiphanies that will become the foundation for true understanding.
Much of the complexity of LOST was attained through a bewildering array of disorientation techniques: lies, incomplete thoughts and actions, long-term misdirection and deception, short cons, long cons, and the disorienting effects of unexpected events and strange connections between people, mythologies, and unusual occurrences. I found confusion and severe disorientation became the normal state of mind after an episode of LOST. Disorientation spurred research on the internet and at the library. We sought clues not only to plot elements, but tried to find enough supporting information about a book, line of dialogue, or image on the Island to make sense of the current disposition of the story so we would be ready for the next week’s bewilderments.
At the beginning of Season Three, Jack, then Ben’s prisoner on Hydra Island, asked, “What do you want from me?” Ben’s response: “I want for you to change your ... perspective.” He was speaking to every one of us viewer-participants.
The effort to disorient viewers was not accidental, but very much intentional on the part of writers and directors. They did not seek shock and awe so much as they truly hoped to effect a change in the way we perceived the story. In fact, as I will relate later in this book, those of us who came to understand the series were not viewers at all, but participants in the story. This claim might sound rather fanciful, but as I will demonstrate, there is in performance art a long and quite respectful tradition of forcing those attending a performance to cast themselves in the role of participants—fellow actors in the drama—in such a way that passive attendance at the event is not possible. If you are not actively involved in LOST, you will never understand it. Thus, disorientation—the aggressive attempt to knock us free of conventions of perception and understanding—was an essential component of the LOST experience.
FAITH VERSUS SCIENCE
The struggle between science and faith was a major theme of the series. During the first four seasons Locke and Jack clashed on an almost daily basis. While Jack grew in faith, Locke became progressively less sure of himself, to the point that he was ready to take his own life. Given the task of returning the Oceanic Six to the Island, he died believing he had failed. But John Locke proved to be the greatest of the LOST prophets, and the man responsible for the Oceanic Six’s return to Mittelos. Jack died considering Locke his spiritual master.
Although LOST pitted Locke and Jack against each other, they were not the primary exemplars of faith and science. The series made crucial statements about the validity and utility of both the scientific- and belief-based worldviews. As with most of the work’s themes, the final statements were not black and white, but heavily nuanced and derivative of the show’s primary themes. Our goal of understanding the full import of LOST’s thesis and core statements will become achievable only if we commit ourselves to a robust analysis of this important leitmotif.
Trust, especially as it related to John Locke, was a recurring theme. LOST made challenging statements regarding the value of trust and its place in human civilisation. We will give a full chapter to this theme, as it provides the basis for the more important concepts of faith and the Constant.
Trust did not enjoy plentiful or wide distribution on the Island. Several factors had direct bearing on this poor representation of a crucial virtue. Certainly the perceived value of the Island and its abilities had striking effect on the ambitions of people like Charles Widmore, but he was far from unique in having an agenda that replaced trust and good will with expediency and single-mindedness as daily protocols toward his objective. With as many as five different groups simultaneously competing for resources to fulfill unrelated or opposing goals, courtesy and cooperation were not often the first thought when groups came into contact. Trust was risky and often dangerous. Lack of trust was no less dangerous, and proved deadly on at least three occasions. LOST proposed a means of escaping the dilemma posed by trust in a dangerous and contentious environment.
Although the motif of faith is often coupled with religious symbols, the concept of faith in LOST is independent of sentiments and doctrines of any organised religion. The accoutrements of the LOST variant of faith are not all that different from those of any other system of knowledge and belief grounded in spiritual trust rather than scientific logic. I will attempt to resolve those elements relating to faith from the sometimes closely aligned constituents that tend more toward the province of religious symbol, mythological tradition, or literary allusion.
I will devote some effort to defining and categorising types of allegory and allusion, as these ideas are important to an understanding of LOST’s type of faith. We will see that LOST is rich in literary, religious, and mythological allusion, and more often than not these elements intersect and built upon each other. Gaining an appreciation for the multi-tiered nature of faith-related elements will help us in analysing the grand themes and the final thesis of the series.
The writers of LOST devoted nearly a quarter of Season Six to development of the idea of the Constant, and with good reason. The concept superficially seems no different than the modern-day notions of soul mate or partner. Although the ideas are not unrelated, they are nevertheless distinct. In fact, with this theme LOST makes a new statement with far-reaching effects within the story, but also provides rich food for thought regarding the nature of friendship, marriage, and the spiritual bonds between people.
The Constant became a major theme in Season Four with the story of Desmond’s spiritual bond to Penny. By the final episode in Season Six, most of the main characters, both living and dead, congregated in Constant-pairs inside the church. The pairings seemed entirely natural developments based on stories in both the sideways and Island realities, but there was something odd about the Constant-pairs. With more happy couples than one is ever likely to find in the pages of the most saccharine romance novel, one would expect to find the word “love” and like terms in high abundance in the corpus of LOST. In fact, though, the word “love” occurs only 267 times throughout the whole six years, including the mobisodes. The word “believe,” often closely associated with the idea of faith, occurs 275 times. I will take a close look at this disconnection between the Constant and the traditional idea of love since the distinction carries great relevance to the major themes of the work.
LOST presented us with a diverse ensemble cast and a wide range of leaders of several varieties. Some of the leaders fit into traditional roles. Charles Widmore was the autocratic tyrant, Sayid Jarrah was the martyr to a just cause, John Locke was the natural expedition captain who led by example and experience, Michael Dawson was the father who sought the best for his son at great expense to himself. That these characters fulfilled traditional roles does not at all diminish the richness of their stories or their essential contribution to the main plot.
It is in the category of leadership that LOST made some of its most original contributions to television fiction. Sawyer was a self-absorbed renegade, but he had been a voracious reader his entire life. When he met Juliet, hidden talents made their way to the fore. Sawyer, the confidence man, became the most effective leader of the entire series. The leadership style of the Man in Black, in his perfection of the art of deception, and more importantly, in his unconscious acquisition of sentiments not entirely his own, will require the most research of any of the characters. We plumb the depths of LOST only by going through the deep well of this disembodied entity’s character.
Finally, Kate and Jack present unique leadership traits that require their own in-depth analysis. The scope of this book does not allow the full treatment that Jack, Kate, and the dozens of other characters deserve. But we do not understand LOST without studying each one of them, and this will be done in my second book, “Lost Principals,” to be published about six months after the book you hold in your hands appears in stores.
Even the most profound expressions of philosophical inquiry start with simple and common ideas. We will begin our analysis with traditional, “linear” examinations of key concepts in LOST. The thesis of LOST, defined in Chapter Two, will serve as a guide for the following seven chapters devoted to “linear themes.” These are analytical essays of the type that might be found in any of the popular companion books treating LOST. I have included them because I believe the themes covered in these chapters are necessary or useful to an understanding of the later, “nonlinear” chapters addressing multi-dimensional aspects of the series.
Chapters Ten through Thirteen examine the storytelling tools themselves: Disorientation, literary structures, metadrama, and nonlinear character relationships unique to LOST that I refer to as “Strange Attractors.” Having studied these strange and fascinating aspects of the story, we will move on to examine advanced topics. These include concepts requiring the nonlinear methods described in earlier chapters. We will look at topics such as literary connections to the Seven Samurai, the significance of the green pill, and the meaning of the Valenzetti Equation. Most importantly, we will use these advanced studies to deepen our understanding of the core ideas of LOST, their attachment to the thesis, and the impact they have on our conception of human life.
We may believe that the blue colour of Dharma vans and jeeps is real, that it represents something attainable. In like manner, we may believe the yellow colour of the Light is something we already possess. But these are incomplete, linear, and practically meaningless depictions of reality, as we shall see. The only reality we can attain is the truth of the green pill. Science (Dharma blue) and faith (the yellow Light) make us complete. Blue and yellow make green. This book will approach our green reality from four distinct directions.
LOST is unlike anything you have experienced on television, in cinema, in fiction—in life. The series is about a band of survivors on a tropical island, but more than that, the show concerns all of us: our conflicting cultures, our shared humanity. LOST makes bold statements, unique to fiction, regarding the nature of human aspirations and human civilisation.
You must get LOST.
Getting LOST is not for the lukewarm, the faint of heart, the casual viewer. You do not "watch" LOST. You experience it. Absorb it. Put your mind and heart and soul into it. You must let go, succumb to confusion, allow yourself to be carried by the story.
Welcome to the adventure. Prepare to get LOST.
"LOST Humanity" by Pearson Moore is available at Amazon.com for $3.99. The book is published in ebook format: all you need to read "LOST Humanity" is a computer, a Mac, a mobile phone, or a Kindle. Download FREE ebook software at Amazon.com so that you can read this Kindle edition on your computer.
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LOST as you've never experienced it before--