The pilot episode of LOST ended with a question that ensured the continuity of the most enigmatic, compelling television series of the 21st century. Two years later, the question continues to resonate in the hearts and minds of dedicated fans and skeptics alike. Guys, where are we?
I wrote dozens of essays after the LOST finale, most of them geared toward a reconciliation of the events of Season Six with long-standing elements of LOST mythology. I stand firmly with those who believe that the sixth season, and especially the finale, delivered complete and satisfying answers to all of the major mythological questions posed over the course of the series. Yet I stand firmly with the skeptics, the haters, the detractors, who ask the question that Charlie posed only ninety minutes into our six-year odyssey: What in the bloody hell is this island?
The reason I can claim staunch dedication to the opposing, mutually-exclusive propositions of two camps long hostile toward each other is that LOST exists on several levels. The linear progression of the story, laboriously deconvoluted from the complicated, nonlinear narrative, occupies a low tier in the multi-level edifice. The mythological elements were easily reconciled with the narrative because they, too, occur at an almost superficial level. There are deeper levels of meaning, and it is in the midst of exploring these upper tiers that I lose my bearing. I find myself seeking answers, but instead returning again and again to Charlie’s foundational inquiry: Where Are We? As it turns out, the question is the answer.Why Do I Gotta Be Punished?
Hurley, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer—and everyone else on Flight 815—not only represented us, they were us. In fact, we were all on that flight with the two future Protectors and their friends and antagonists. There is no other explanation for the vertigo-inducing thrill we experienced when, Jack Shephard at our side, we rushed onto that bewildering, wreckage-strewn beach and came face to face with utter confusion, madness, panic, and unrequited lust to see more. It was, literally, the experience of our lives. It remains so.
“Tell me something, Jacob,” Sawyer said at the final Candidates’ Meeting (Episode 6.16, What They Died For). “Why do I gotta be punished for your mistake? What made you think you could mess with my life? I was doin’ just fine ‘til you dragged my ass to this damn rock.”Even those of us who didn’t watch every episode three times the week it first aired could have guessed Jacob’s response, because the idea was central to the progression of the story and our attachment to the characters: “No you weren’t [doin’ just fine]. None of you were. I didn’t pluck any of you out of a happy existence. You were all flawed. I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.”
The immediate context indicated Jacob was doing nothing more than responding to Sawyer’s question. A disinterested observer not familiar with the history leading up to that final campfire would have determined that Jacob’s remarks were in no way unusual, that he was simply adhering to an ordinary television storyline that had managed to maintain some vestige of integrity over six years. That disinterested observer would have been far off the mark. Those of us who had been absorbing the series for the prior 118 episodes knew Jacob was not really speaking to Sawyer. He was addressing each one of us directly, personally, with a quiet insistence on the true nature of our attachment to mythos and mission.
The true thrill is greater than anything we might have experienced, even if Jacob had turned to address each one of us by name. The true thrill is that there are no disinterested observers of LOST. You participate, or you do not. If you participate in the story, you are there on the beach, staring into a reckless, reasonless ocean of confusion that could only defy science and logic.
The assault on science was unrelenting. It was not Jack who suffered Locke’s merciless attacks. It was you and me. We were under attack for a purpose, for a reason, all of us. Each one of us was under attack for a reason.
Under attack? And who was attacking us, John?
The Island attacked us. This was no ordinary place. We saw that, we know we did. But the Island chose us, too. It was destiny.
I play with the words. You know I quote Episode 1.24, Exodus, the Season One finale. I manipulate Locke’s famous torchlight speech to Jack. But I don’t change the words’ meaning, do I? The fact is, the overwhelming sense of disorientation we experienced every week was not an isolated feeling, not an unintended side effect, not a sign of our inability to comprehend the first-ever television drama to demand the deployment of every faculty of thought. Disorientation was intentional, and the bewildering sense of mental nausea we experienced was the sure sign of our immersion and participation in the story.
Our participation was necessary because the story was about us. The torn, frayed, burning, confused maelstrom on the beach was an honest glimpse into the frail reality of our lives. Who among us would not accept tabula rasa on condition that it be served up with generous helpings of mind-bending explorations of reality that denied logic at every turn?
“I want to tell you what I did—why he was [chasing] after me.”
Jack just shook his head. “I don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter, Kate, who we were—what we did before this, before the crash. … Three days ago we all died. We should all be able to start over.”
We think the condition unattainable, that we can only wish for the happy accident that allowed Kate and Jack, in a single slice of fate’s knife, to start over, to remove from their psyches and their thoughts every encumbrance of past mistakes and commitments that framed their lives and determined their futures. What we would give, we tell ourselves, to find that sharp blade of fate and cut off the hurtful and compromising bonds that prevent us from becoming the people we could be. The people we were destined to be.
But Tabula rasa was part of the question—the thesis—of LOST. We should not be surprised, but probably we find ourselves shocked anyway—I know I am always flabbergasted—to learn that Tabula rasa was not offered up as a tantalising condition we should never hope to experience. Rather, as with every other aspect of LOST, it was given to us not as some hypothetical we can evaluate from a dispassionate, disinterested distance, but as a vital and real opportunity integral to our existence. LOST offers us the razor-sharp blade of fate, ready with a single cut to sever the connections that prevent the fulfillment of destiny in our lives.
But destiny is not something we can fashion in our own image and likeness. Destiny carries us where she will, often against our will. We yearn for the Island, but almost everyone who steps onto the warm sand and follows destiny through the humid jungle will die. Unceremoniously and without regard to any claim of dignity. And if we do not die, we will suffer. Even if we are called to serve the Island—no, especially if we are called to serve—we will suffer. Jack could not obey the dictates of destiny without inhabiting the hopeless ground shared with depression and suicide. We know he could not kill himself, and I suppose we think ourselves better off for this knowledge. But I wonder what respite any such knowledge could have brought to Jack in his darkest hour. Could he have taken any comfort in a Groundhog Day-like existence in which he could never achieve relief from the despair that gripped him?
We are left with the truth that destiny will take us where she will, that she will unquestionably force us to accept responsibility for situations not of our making. She will demand our acquiescence to psychological and spiritual torments such as we never could have imagined. We use the sharp blade of fate to lyse the cords that bind us to fathers we love and hate, only to find that destiny demands this same father become the embodiment of our deepest dread (Man in Black) and our greatest hope (the Island). What do you most fear, O’Brien asks Winston in 1984? You will face this greatest of fears in Room 101 in a moment that will seem to last a lifetime.
LOST takes Room 101 to an entirely new level. You will face your greatest fear, not for a moment, but literally for the remainder of your life, and your ordinary fears of father or mother will be magnified a hundred-fold. Your father is dead, you say, you at least have earned release from the physical pain of his presence. No, that’s not how it works. You chose to loose the ordinary bonds of pain and suffering, but Destiny will force you to face new, geometrically-multiplied levels of fear and loathing and despair. Your father is dead, you say? No, not now. Now your father is very much alive, haunting you, walking the jungle in front of you, beckoning you to come beside still waters, but also calling you to the cliff, virtually pushing you off the precipice into endless chasms of pure terror. “You don’t have what it takes.” Now it is no distant memory, but a flesh-and-blood reality, laughing at you, mocking you, confronting you every day. You did wish for your destiny, after all. You got it.
There’s no mythology here. This is nothing less than an arrow to the heart of who we are.Fathers and Sons
We know one of the producers suffered enormously in his relationship with his father. Those of us familiar with this aspect of LOST, the nuts and bolts of the storytelling process, know more about this side of the story than we could ever be comfortable knowing. But if we queried all of the writers and were allowed carte blanche to inquire of the most intimate details of their relationships, we would discover in each case pains and hatreds and loves so deep and so real that they dwarf every other concern in life. Now, if we queried our closest friends and posed the same intimate, probing questions, we would receive precisely the same types of answers. Finally, if we could find a way—perhaps through meditation or through some extraordinary act of humility—to face ourselves honestly, we would find that we, too, reserve our greatest hatred, our greatest fear and loathing, and yet our greatest love, for our own fathers and mothers.
Mothers and fathers affect us to our core. The bonds of love and hatred between father and son have been explored in sculpture and painting, novels and films. LOST gave us a new, raw, honest depiction of the father-son relationship but it was not the first visual expression of the primacy of this bond.Franco Zeffirelli framed the early life of St. Francis of Assisi as a question of fathers and sons. The first enlightened act of the saint was the stripping of his clothes in the public square of Assisi.
Zeffirelli’s St. Francis said, “I want to be a beggar. Yes. Yes, a beggar. Christ was a beggar, and his holy apostles were beggars.”
But here’s the rub, and it’s the same as the condition of freedom we saw in LOST: If you wish to be truly free, you must sever the ties that bind you to your former self. In this scene, Francesco’s father, Pietro di Bernadone, reminded his enlightened son of the bonds they shared.
Pietro: Even beggars show respect for their fathers.Francesco: I’m not your son anymore. What is born of the flesh, is flesh. What is born of the spirit, is spirit. I now am born again.
Naked, St. Francis turned to Pietro, and handed over to him the clothes he had been wearing. Born again, this time of the spirit, he no longer had a father. St. Francis was free of the ties that had bound him to Pietro. But just as in LOST, he was now captive to his true destiny, which forced him to navigate realities far more treacherous than those he would have traveled as his father’s cloth merchant son. By the end of the film, St. Francis came face to face with the decadence and sheer power of Rome. Rather than reading the dry petition handed him by the canon lawyer, he knelt before the Pope, dropped the scroll, and lectured the Holy Father on the essence of Christianity:
“How little faith you have! No man can serve two masters, for he will love the one and hate the other … you cannot serve both God and money!”
His contempt for the prerogatives, power, and prestige of the Pope got him dragged out of the grand chamber and thrown onto the street—until the Pope rose from his throne and demanded that St. Francis be brought back.
The Pope addressed Francis as “my dearest son”, and we understood at this point that we had come full circle. St. Francis, born-again spirit though he was, still needed a father.
Francis, throughout this scene, is reaching out for the Pope, or holding his hand, at times beside himself with longing for the Pope’s touch. He sees in the Pope the spiritual father he knows he needs if he is to fulfill his destiny. Surrounded by jaded men who have become slaves to power and wealth (which Zeffirelli masterfully symbolised with the enormous, heavy crosses worn by the bejewelled princes of the church), the Pope has the final epiphany that evades even St. Francis. The Holy Father stares into the eyes of the barefoot saint and understands St. Francis has already found the spiritual father he had been seeking throughout the film. He bows down, then, before St. Francis, and presses his lips to the saint’s dirty, naked feet.
Jack experienced a similar and equally moving epiphany at the end of LOST, which also completed the father-son circle. In order to fulfill his destiny, Jack had to face his deepest fears. Struggling with the Man in Black, now in the guise of John Locke, a fatal wound in his gut, his nemesis held a knife to his neck and gloated.
“You died for nothing!”
Jack did die, but not for nothing. In the end, the true nature of the Man in Black was revealed: he truly was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. He claimed to have occupied Christian Shephard’s form, but it was not so [for my analysis of the Man in Black’s Christian Shephard apparitions, see LOST Humanity, LOST Identity, or LOST Thought]. His claim was as empty as the smoke that was his only real physical form.
We saw the real Christian Shephard in the final scene at Our Lady of the Lamp Post.
True to his name, Christian Shephard turned out to be LOST’s Shepherd of Souls. Christian, we discovered, had indeed been leading his son beside still waters. It was Jack’s fear and hatred of his father, and therefore of himself, that had driven him off the side of the cliff nearly to his death. He was saved by the faith he lacked at that time, personified in the character of John Locke.
The truth did not come easily or without enormous cost. Jack could discover the truth of his father’s identity only through his own physical death. The truth was no easier for Sawyer; though he was not obliged to die, he had to surrender Juliet, causing a pain much deeper than any knife through the gut.
The pain Sawyer endured ought to entitle him to a response for his question—if not on the Island, at least in the pages of this essay. “Why do I gotta be punished?” I do plan on providing an answer, but to do so, I am going to have to return to the Island, to an nighttime meeting between Sayid and Hurley.Coming From Anytime
“Well, there is no ‘now’ here.”
We had our first inkling of that truth in the pilot episode, with the endlessly repeating loop of Danielle Rousseau’s despairing message, “Il les a tués. Il les a tous tués.” The initial idea, then, was that the passengers of Flight 815 survived the crash only to find themselves consigned to a monotonous, endlessly-iterated doom. The terror of the place was all the more frightening because it had no rhyme or reason. Polar bears roamed the Island, and with their strong predilection for children’s toys, it was clear that they were also in the habit of making a meal out of any available young‘uns. Black smoke seemed to come out of nowhere, destroying trees and choosing human victims without warning or rationale.
Hope came from an odd source, in an unexpected form, no less random than polar bears or smoke monsters, but much more welcome, all the same. Glen Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” never sounded as good as it did on the beach in 2004—or was it 1939?
Hurley: Whoa, you hear how clear that is? It’s gotta be close, right?
Sayid: Radio waves at this frequency bounce off the ionosphere. They can travel thousands of miles. It could be coming from anywhere.
Hurley: Or, anytime.
It could have been any hit from the 1930s. But “Sing Sing Sing” would have imparted a much different atmosphere to the beachside appreciation of a radio signal from far away and long ago. “Moonlight Serenade” was the only choice really, if the objective was the establishment of perfect contrast with the chaotic nature of the daily terrors the survivors were dealing with. “Sing Sing Sing” wouldn’t have worked. It was too primal, evoking images of teenage girls in long pleated dresses having altogether too much fun, forgetting themselves, enjoying the chaos of the moment. Even something like “In The Mood” would have been too strong, too structured. “Moonlight Serenade” was perfect in so many ways. Not only did it convey a sense of order, but it was simultaneously peaceful and forceful. Bright, cheerful, slow, repetitive, but in a playful way, it is a kind of in-your-face optimistic statement that can never fade into the background. It occupies centre stage, disarming those within hearing range. It is not the kind of piece that supports ambivalence. As with LOST, you either participate in the music, or you do not. Probably there are few among us who do not lose themselves in a piece like “Moonlight Serenade”, and that is precisely the point of the music, at the multiple levels of understanding in which this scene played.Listen to the Light, See the Music
The reality of the Island was never a backdrop. It was never less than forceful, never allowed anything other than complete engagement. “Moonlight Serenade” was a kind of auditory representation of the Island, enveloping the listener-participant, much as soothing light would later envelope Desmond and then Jack.
The idea is that there was an iterative reality, a constancy to the Island, that did not partake of the disorienting polar-bear terrors and chaotic madness of the place.
If there is no now, then there is no past, no future, no need to follow a particular course of action. It was necessary not to act, but to be. It was essential not to invent, but to inquire. The disposition of will, the attitude of the mind was the crucial aspect of character requiring Jack’s attention.
“You know, when we were here before, I spent all of my time trying to fix things. But...did you ever think that maybe the Island just wants to fix things itself? And maybe I was just...getting in the way?”
We believe that Jack’s refusal to “fix” Ben in Season Five is a mistake, a statement of passive, detached irresponsibility at odds with his future position as the most engaged and responsible person on the Island—the Protector. But having seen Episode 5.11 just a few days ago, with the yellow-green glow of the Source burning bright in my mind’s eye, I have different thoughts about this episode. I think Jack was beginning to approach the healthy attitude that would serve him well in the critical hours of his guardianship of the Island. “Did you ever think that the Island just wants to fix things itself?”
Certainly there can be nothing passive or irresponsible about a Protector. But any Protector worth her salt is going to have to be sensitive to the Island’s wishes. The Island was no passive or irresponsible rock, either.
But this was not Fantasy Island.
The Island was no touchy-feely, if-it-feels-good-do-it laboratory for the personal and private exploration of past sins. It was not a passive venue for the reconciliation of sons and daughters with fathers and mothers. Redemption was not something one could pursue on the Island as if enjoying a hobby after hours and on weekends. There was no personal space or compartmentalisation of activity on the Island. Everything that happened on the Island necessarily occurred within the Island’s domain, its purview, and therefore all people and events were subject to its needs and desires.
“The Island chooses who the Island chooses. You know that.” (Richard to Widmore, Ep. 5.12)
“Boone was a sacrifice that the Island demanded.” (Locke to Jack, Ep. 1.24)
“The Island killed him.” (Locke to Charlie, Ep. 3.08)
Even when the Protector wanted something, such as placing Ilana in a position to help the Candidates, the Island could decide to disrupt the Protector’s plans, as it did when it decided to bring Ilana’s life to an end:
“Ilana. There she was - handpicked by Jacob, trained to come and protect you candidates, no sooner does she tell you who you are, then she blows up. The Island was done with her.” (Ben, Ep. 6.12)
The Island’s actions seemed capricious at times, but it did not act alone, either. The Island could not be alone. It needed not only protection, but specific human interventions and interactions.
“You have to give the island something.” (Locke to Charlie, Ep. 1.06)
In addition to a Protector, the Island needed a prophet. From Season One to Season Three, Locke was the prophet. He was the one who gave voice to the needs of the Island. No one else among the crash survivors had the audacity to say anything like “Boone was a sacrifice the Island demanded.”
“The island wanted me to get sick and it wanted you to get well. My time is over, John. It's yours now.” (Ben to Locke, Ep. 4.11)
Paradoxically, even as Ben recognised his time as leader was over and he prepared to pass the mantle of leadership to Locke, Ben continued to act as the Island’s prophet, as in this exchange with Jack:
“The island won't let you come alone. All of you have to go back.” (Ben to Jack, Ep. 4.13)
What the Island most needed was Jack. Locke knew this, and he pleaded, conveying to Jack the most important truth of Locke’s life, the truth that would guide Jack in spite of his denials and evasions:
“This is no ordinary place, you've seen that, I know you have. But the Island chose you, too, Jack. It's destiny.” (Locke to Jack, Ep. 1.24)
But Jack refused leadership. He refused to acknowledge that the Island had needs. Even at the end of Season Four, Jack considered the Island an inanimate rock in the ocean.
LOCKE: If you have to go, then you have to lie about everything...everything that happened since we got to the island it's the only way to protect it.
JACK: [Sighs] It's an island, John. No one needs to protect it.
This is why, in my opinion, Jack’s statement in Season Five that “the Island just wants to fix things itself” was an enormous step in the right direction. He continued to couch his belief in impersonal terms, though: “Did you ever think that maybe the Island just wants to fix things itself?" His words indicated he wasn’t sure.
Within days of accepting his final destiny, though, Jack had become the Island’s most faithful prophet:
SAWYER: You got a decision to make and you make it now. Either you’re with us, you keep that damn crazy talk to yourself, or you're going in the water.
JACK: James, this is a mistake. And I know there's a part of you that feels that. The island's not done with us yet.
SAWYER: Yeah, well, I'm done with this island. So, if you wanna take a leap of faith, Jack, then take it...Get off my damn boat.Responsibility Has No Strings Attached
Jack’s conversion was not a mere matter of moving from denial to faith, it was more importantly a movement from disengaged, self-centred activity (“fixing”) to a very engaged listening. Jack didn’t just hear “Moonlight Serenade” with his ears. He felt it wash over him and through him, like the cooling waters of a river. Now, now he was ready to see the Light of the Source, because he would not see only with his eyes, but with every aspect of his being.
He stood in the river, not fixing, not doing, just listening. He had achieved the most important prerequisite of any position of ultimate responsibility and authority, which is a surrender of self to higher authority. He emptied himself of desires to become the servant who listens, not just with his ears, but with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength.
In the end, this is what the Island required of everyone who honestly sought her own destiny. Cutting oneself free from past pains and responsibilities, wiping the slate clean, did not allow carte blanche. The sharp blade of fate sets one free from the concerns of self to face the greater concerns of destiny, which necessarily require intimate interaction with others and deeper responsibilities than those associated with the care and feeding of one’s own desires.
As I’ve said in previous essays, the coin called freedom is indeed stamped with the word “freedom” on the obverse. But the opposite side of the coin is stamped with the word “responsibility”. The two words seem to say quite different things, but in fact they share precisely the same meaning. If one wishes to give up personal responsibilities (expressed in Kate’s case as the cares and concerns of her pre-crash life), one must also surrender personal freedoms. In order to acquire true freedom, one must be willing to accept the heavy yoke of true responsibility, which is accountability toward and service of others. In the case of LOST, highest responsibility was the surrender of self to become the ultimate servant, the Protector of the Island.
There are no strings attached because a true surrender of self means complete devotion to destiny. Denial of destiny would mean having to give up destiny, to give up that which was intended and required for the fullest development of self. Of course, there is no “self” as we understand it—some independent identity cut off from connection with anyone or anything else. True freedom means cutting all strings, which means becoming absorbed into, becoming one with that which one serves. Jack was of all the characters in LOST most free because he gave so completely of himself that he expressed in every one of his final actions the thought, volition, and essence of the Island. In a sense, Jack became the Island. Jack became his destiny. Jack became free.Our Destiny
“Why do I gotta be punished for your mistake? What made you think you could mess with my life? I was doin’ just fine ‘til you dragged my ass to this damn rock.”
No, Sawyer was not doing fine. He was not doing fine precisely because he found no value in assuming Jacob’s mistake as his own responsibility. Sawyer believed he was pursuing destiny in orienting his life toward the single objective of finding Anthony Cooper and killing him. The Island allowed him to reach his goal. He wrapped Anthony Cooper in chains, read him the 28-year-old letter, and killed him.
How many of you reading this believe Sawyer’s life mission was accomplished in the belly of the Black Rock, pulling on the chains that suffocated Anthony Cooper? Was he a changed man, then, walking out of the ship and back into the jungle? Was his life suddenly in balance?
I believe James Ford found the fulfillment of destiny not in the chains that bound him to Anthony Cooper, but in the freely-given flower that bound him to Juliet Burke. Sawyer was a man so centred in himself that he could never be self-possessed. The only way he could possess himself, truly, was to give himself to another, and this he accomplished in giving himself freely to the woman who loved the James-self (the healer, Juliet) rather than taking for himself the woman who shared in and helped perpetuate the Sawyer-self (the criminal, Kate).
And there is LOST’s challenge to us. Two players, two sides. We see them as black and white, dark and light. But they are the same. The beautiful light of the Source gives life, but it also kills. The energy that gives the light its sparkle and its power is raw, unfocussed, angry red energy. The only way we can focus and harness that energy, to turn it into the magnificence of water and light is to engage, to commit to guarding the Source, which means protecting it, guarding it, remaining vigilant, and in an important sense, becoming one with it.Two players, two sides. We see them as black and white, evil Man in Black and angelic Jacob in White. Responsible Protector and freedom-loving, get-me-off-this-island Smoke Monster. But they are the same. We are Jacob, and we are the Smoke Monster.
Two players, two sides. The challenge is to see in the inscription on the Cork Stone a set of values worth living for, a set of precepts worth dying for. The challenge is to understand that true freedom is found not in leaving the Island, but in our slavish devotion to its needs. In the end, the Island needs what we need. We all need a purpose, a goal, a destiny—something to assure us that our life has meaning and value even beyond any price we could name. With the Island, we possess such meaning, our lives express and contain this value—a value beyond price.Participation and Passion
If you remain dispassionate about LOST you do not understand it. Even two years after the final episode aired, LOST remains a phenomenon. My book, LOST Humanity, continues to outsell books on every current television series. Every few days, LOST Humanity is the #1 Bestseller in Television Guides and Reviews at Amazon. It has never slipped out of the top 20. Never in the year and a half it’s been on sale. This has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the fact that LOST touches us deeply and personally. How many of you have cried like a baby at the conclusion of any other television series? How many of you know anyone who has ever had such a reaction to any book or film or television program? LOST caused 30 million people around the world to cry real tears on May 23, 2010, not once as the credits rolled, but several times during the final two hours.
LOST is rare—unique, in fact—on many levels. Intellectually, it is without a doubt the most challenging piece of television ever created. Emotionally, it delivers as no television program ever has. Scholars are only beginning to plumb its depths. Fans, especially those who peruse the pages of LOST Thought (http://www.amazon.com/LOST-Thought-Leading-Thinkers-Discuss/dp/0615603785/), are finding to their great surprise that this adventure of a lifetime can be understood from so many different angles that the story remains fresh and challenging and vital even after repeated viewings.
I discover new questions every time I watch an episode. I have written three essays on Christian Shephard, each time shifting my attitude slightly from the previous essay. When I write a fourth book on LOST you can be sure it will contain a fourth essay on Christian. What exactly is the nature of the Island/Man in Black interface? I have written multiple essays on this question, too, and my concept of the relationship is always changing.
In the end, the best thing I can do is stand with Jack in the stream, eyes closed, arms out, listening, making no requests or demands, but simply listening. But before I open my ears and my heart and my soul, before I give every ounce of strength to the great responsibility of listening, I open my eyes, look toward the mountains, and form with my lips the most important question we can ask:
Guys, where are we?
21 May 2012