Wednesday, May 26, 2010


i love the tv show LOST. my buddy Jason got me hooked on it around at the beginning of the third season and it's been one of our favorite shows ever. between that and the new Battlestar Galactica, we were in tv heaven.
i've resisted posting too much on it until now, so if you don't want to read any spoilers, read no further.


don't read if you think you'll watch the show....

you sure?

okay... here we go...

wait, really? you're not going to watch it? or have you already... okay, i'll quit stalling...

i love the whole narrative of LOST, it has something for everyone. it is very post-modern this way as it largely could be experience in a variety of ways. if you like drama, it had it. action, tons! mystery, how 'bout a big freak'n smoke monster, Egyptian statues, a 1800's ship thousands of yards inland, and strange science stations littered around the island protected by a mysterious group of "natives." but largely, the narrative was character driven, so however you watched it, it had to be done with the characters and their connections and relationships in mind.

LOST can't be categorized either. it had everything. " 'Lost' is in a class by itself," ABC's programming chief, Jeff Bader, said this week in this WashingtonPost article. "It is the most successful cult show ever." so what the hell was it about?

I think the show was offering us a big ol' allegory, for everything! The primary one is on how life should be lived. Namely an ongoing effort to understand each other and ourselves and this can only happen to it's fullest when undertaken with a community of people. a plane crashes, people meet up and figure out how the live together. their motto is "live together, die alone." and that was initially in reference to, "live with us and behave, or go out and get killed by a polar bear, the smoke monster, or the Others." but i understand that differently now.

we live together, we are defined by our relationships. yet no one can tell us who we are, we make our own narrative. yet we don't do this alone, we intersect and get feedback and such. we come into the narrative, the conversation, and it's already going on, and it will continue long after we're gone. who started it? not important. what is it about? about life itself. about what's real and what's worth paying attention to, how we should live and what "this" is all about. when we have listened long enough, we may enter in and vigorously discuss. but everyone does, articulately or un, explicitly or implicitly, live in relationship to the conversation. and after all our striving and figuring out, and trying to understand this existence comes to a close, we die alone.

yet not alone. we are surrounded by our memories of those who have come before us, and maybe, just maybe, we may find that the exact same people we lived with, already there, waiting on us. at least, that is my hope, some don't believe this, but Lost puts it in there and i like it.

the show was an awesome riff on Apokatastasis as everyone is together and reconsiled at the end. what we know is that there was a plane crash, people survived and lived together for a time. there is also a "side-ways universe" where they meet again and remember the island and everything that happened on it. it turns out that this place of meeting is an after-life, a place to reconnect and remember. and they move on from there.

this story gets us to ask many questions, and the questions we ask about "the island" are the exact questions we ask ourselves today. the main three at 1. what is the island? 2. why are they on it? 3. what happens when they leave? this can be translated to 1. what is existence? 2. why are we here? 3. what happens when we die? these are important questions... much like the ones Al raises on his most recent post.

i loved the "inclusio" in the finale. Lost started with an extreme close-up of Jack opening his eye and ended with him closing it. that was a bit of poetry and really stuck with me. great narrative move by the writers.

I like how this EWonline Article summed it up:
Lost is asking ''what if?'' What if our actions on this planet counted against some eternal reckoning? How does that possibility change things for you? If that possibility does inspire you to live a better life, then... how? And even before then, what is a ''better life''? Is it doing ''good''? But what is ''good''? Lost doesn't have answers for these questions and the others that they raise — it's just demanding that we ask them and discuss them. Together. Are we? Are you? Am I? Do you even have a choice? 
There is a lot to chew on. There are also many questions left unanswered, some of which aren't really all that important. what is important is the relationships formed during the time these people were alive. they were with each other on the journey, and still are. and they may forever be as far as we know. 


Sabio Lantz said...

Now we have fiction we BOTH like and can discuss! And we can agree it is fiction !!
I loved Lost also.

"it's fullest when undertaken with a community of people"

By living, we are in community -- with our colleagues at work, our neighbors, our friends, our families, our clubs and all the people we deal with. (Just in case you are saying , "See, this is why you need church". Smile.)

I like how James McGrath puts it (and you probably will too):

"And so that's what we're given at the end of LOST: the suggestion that everyone, even the "good guys," will be wrong about some things, the realization that every answer leads to another question, and a challenge to appreciate human connections more than answers, because the former are, in the grand scheme of things, more valuable. And whether you like LOST's vision of the afterlife, or don't think there is an afterlife at all, I suspect that its message about there being more to life than solving mysteries is still one that most of us can appreciate - even, and perhaps especially, those of us who spend our lives exploring puzzles and trying to answer unanswered questions, since we are best situated to confirm that it is indeed true that every answer only leads to more questions.
-- James McGrath"

To me, it is all about YUAN.

Even if we don't buy into afterlife stuff and being re-ibncarnated with friends, we can value relationships and the complexity of people.

I wonder if the writers go to church or if their society is their community. The trick is to love others as you love yourself (or better yet, as you love your children or mother -- as a Buddhist would say). You can do that in your neighborhood. But it is tough all the way around, eh.

Luke said...

yeah, church is just one of the communities that we deal with, so i wouldn't say "we need it" as many ppl don't.

i do like how McGrath puts it. he's my main source for all things Lost.

what was your fav. episode? fav. character?

Anglican Gurl said...

We love Lost too! Finally something my husband and Sabio can agree on, LOL!

What did you make with the whole "Good God/Bad God" Jacob and the Man-in-Black deal? That left me really confused.

Sabio Lantz said...

My eight-year daughter said something profound about Lost (she has only seen parts of it a few times):

"I don't like LOST because no one laughs there."

There was indeed a paucity of joy on those shows except for lovers.

I can't think of a favorite character, actually. I rarely watch shows for favorites, I don't think. Odd. Never thought about that.

Luke said...

AG: the Jacob/MIB story-line was one of my favorites, and more-so because it left us without answers. it had everything! it was a creation narrative, showing the two boys born and the mysterious woman killing their mother after birth and raising the kids. it was an interesting study in family systems theory with the MIB rebelling against the teachings of the "mother." we have sibling rivalry, we have a misguided MIB who isn't all that bad, but you can see what caused him to go bad. just interesting all around! and in the end, we don't even know his name.

Sabio: good point by your daughter. I think it showed how grim just surviving is. yet there are moments where smiles come, and those to me make it all the more wonderful. that's why Hurley was my fav. character. he always brought some levity to the situation and the occasional Star Wars reference.

my father-in-law had a good point the other day. he said that his greatest revelation in his life was to stop waiting on perfect days and go after perfect moments. it is very rare that we have a day that is perfect, but if we learn to respect the moments that are perfect, maybe that would be the better path to take. i agree with him and i think Lost echoes this as well, esp. in the Sun and Jin story-line.