Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Previously on LOST

Yesterday Facebook was buzzing with Inauguration Day chatter and commentary. These days, even the most exciting news gets old quickly, so I thought I'd make light of the big day with this post on a thread at a new friend's page.

ME
"now we can focus on the real issue- where did the island go on LOST?"

PERSON I DON'T KNOW
"huh? Ohhhhhhhh....I don't watch T.V. it'll rott your brain"

Don't you just love getting lectured by someone you've never met? I wanted to say something about how LOST, unlike most shows, actually stimulates lively conversation, encourages reading of the classics and exploration of history, etc. but I also didn't want to get into it with a stranger from San Francisco on someone else's page.

Later on down the thread, I did get a kick out of a follow-up post by the same person.

PERSON I DON'T KNOW
I do enjoy the forensic shows though:}

So which is it? "Kill Your television" people who still watch multiple cop shows are kinda like vegans who smoke cigarettes. Which one is it gonna be, because you can't be both and still ride the high horse!

Anyway.

I forgot about that brief exchange until this morning when I was thinking about LOST in the shower. Sorry if that's TMI, but the Season 5 Premiere is tonight.

Maybe my brain is showing signs of "rott" after all...

I was thinking about why the show still holds so much interest to me, and I think it goes beyond the usual razzle-dazzle of the much-discussed mysteries of the Island, the Numbers, the Dharma Initiative, the Hanso family, the Smoke Monster, the Donkey Wheel, etc.

It's about people.

Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds, but bear me out here. I have become a big believer in the importance of reaching a point in one's life where you can no longer point your finger at anyone else for your failings, and you only have to look in the mirror to see the source of your successes. That may be an idealistic state of mind, but it seems to me that even striving for it is extremely beneficial because of the burgeoning awareness gained that you can no sooner change your parents or your genes than you can change your past.


The Dharmacakra, symbolizing the path to enlightenment, is featured prominently on LOST.






But what you can change is the future. That is, unless, you continue to let the unchangeable past dictate who you are today.

Someone close to me has let the phrase "I've had a hard life" enter the conversation a few times lately. Now, it's not up to me to determine the veracity of that statement, and even if I could, those kinds of statements are all relative. But what I feel I can determine is how much the belief that one's life has been "hard" up to now hinders one's ability to create a less "hard" life from this point forward.

What I want to say is "That may be true, but a lot of people's lives have been hard. Would you rather have an excuse ("You've had a hard life") for your present state of unhappiness, or would you rather achieve happiness and use that same statement to signal how it used to be BEFORE YOU TOOK CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE and did what you had to do to make your hard life easier and more enjoyable?"

People win despite being dealt bad hands all the time, and the same is true for people dealt fabulous hands finding a way to lose anyway.

***LOST SPOILERS FROM SEASONS 1-4 AHEAD****

Our characters on LOST all have "daddy issues" that they are being forced, one way or another, to overcome. And isn't that a good thing? I don't recommend literally killing the father figure, as Ben Linus and Kate and Locke and Sawyer have, but isn't some sort of ceremonial dumping of those issues necessary for one to really flower as an adult?

Virtually all of the characters have endured struggles directly related to their socioeconomic status as well. The poorer have either compromised themselves by turning to crime (Sawyer, Kate, Eko) or to status-seeking (Jin, Desmond). The richer have felt it constricting (Sun, Jack), divisive (Boone, Shannon) or downright dangerous (Hurley, Charlie).

On the island, all material things are stripped away so that everyone is playing the same game with the same tools. To borrow the marketing tagline for this season, destiny has called every single one of them, and we will see who answers the call.

This sensation is the primary correlation with my own life and, I think it's fair to say, all of our lives. Destiny is calling every one of us, and we all have the tools inside of us to hear the call and to embark on a life that we make our own.

To me, life is the best possible combination of fate AND free will.

A quick look at the name "Dharma Initiative", the organization that I believe tried to harness the island's power to force people to evolve into a higher state of consciousness, is revealing:

dharma
noun
1 Hinduism: the principle of cosmic order.
• virtue, righteousness, and duty, esp. social and caste duty in accord with the cosmic order.

initiative
noun
1 the ability to assess and initiate things independently :
2 [in sing. ] the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do :

LOST is so compelling because I believe one of its major underlying themes is that no matter where one is from, every individual must take charge of their own lives in a virtuous way if collectively we are ever going to overcome the suffering of this world.

Well, that and the time travel and cool monsters and stuff.

4 comments:

Peter K said...

I have a theory about where the island went...

Same place Desmond went, another dimension, which also entails another place in time because dimensions arent all necessarily parallel in time.

Mrs. Word Player said...

Here's what I want: Less Kate. Less Jack. More Hurley. More Sawyer. Sun to be ruthless. Ben to not have a scratch on his face for ONE episode. John to not be dead. And Sayeed to talk with her real accent which would really confuse things. And I would like for SOMEONE to figure out what the damn smoke monster is!

Sara G said...

Mr. Word Player,

The 5th season is upon us! Oh happy day- and I thought my week could not get better after yesterday.

I'm not saying I disagree with you for wishing for all those things this season, but part of the fascination with LOST, at least for me, is the way characters I once thought could do no wrong (Jack), can grate on my every nerve now, and vise versa... Characters who were repugnant to me (John) I have caught myself rooting for.

Perhaps our entitled Kate will change our minds about her once again this season? Maybe some of Sawyers likeableness will fade away and he will be the chauvinistic ex-con we were introduced to in the first season? In any case, it's never that simple and so fun to watch.

Ben's scar is calculated, I agree...

Sayeed isn't even Iraqi- he's indian raised in london so he has a british accent which would be funny...

And, I don't even think the creators know what the smoke monster is. Did you read the article in the NY Times about the guy who has to keep track of all the characters? (I forget what they are called) That guy seems to be just as confused as we are.

I am so looking forward to watching, and I'm sure I will be texting you during juicy parts!

Thanks for being my LOST pusher and getting me hooked!

xoxo

Sara

Peter K said...

WOW - I need to watch five hours of Teletubbies while eating cap'n crunch to counteract that skull f. THAT WAS AMAZING.

The movie industry is OFFICIALLY in trouble now. I don't plan on going to the movies again until this goddamn season is over. That blew away everything they have done until now. I found it really interesting to note the trailer for the Grey's Anatomy episode. The plot was literally a kid who needs a transplant but the only donor is a psychopath. Oh, and that Patrick whatever-the-douche is proposing to whatever boring chick.

WOW- the human race is splitting, some of us are regressing backward while the writers of Lost FIND THE INFINITE!