Lost is Back in the Future

January 22, 2009

Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see
One chance out between two worlds:
Fire, walk with me.

-Twin Peaks

As all great shows do, LOST’s Season 5 began last night and answered a few questions (that most already knew) and added a whole bunch more.  So now, as great politicians do, I will pose questions for myself to answer:

 

Q: Why is Sawyer so tubby?

A:  Despite the amount of ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ required for LOST fans, I’m still dismayed by how doughy Sawyer looks.  That said, I guess I have to accept that Sawyer is played by a real human who is not stuck on a mysterious time-jumping island.

 

Q: Why is Sawyer obsessed with putting a shirt on for most of the episode, and why do they focus on him getting jabbed by a sharp bamboo stick?

A:  My best guess is that Sawyer (who was stuck in a giant Skinner Box during Season 2), will now start living through Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” theory.  In which shoeless/shirtless Caveman Sawyer can not become truly “self-actualized” until his base needs are met — Food, Water, Clothing, Shelter, Companionship… or as Sawyer would see it — mangos, beer, flannel, a tarp and Juliet(?).   In fact, as LOSTwriters are prone to do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an unsubtle hint, like a character named “Maslow”, show up on the island.

 

 

Q: Did I catch LOST using both the titles “3 years Before” and “3 Years Ago” in the same episode?

A: I thought I did… bullshit right?  It feels like they’re being aimlessly deceptive.

 

Q: Does the ability of all characters to jump through time and space revolutionize the show?

A: Prettymuch

  

 

Q: Do Tell.

A: It’s a smart move on the writer’s part.  Any loopholes that previous seasons have created can now be closed by depicting their preceding events (in the past) that haven’t been shown yet (in future episodes).

Also, it’s a great storytelling tool that allows the viewer to be sympathetic to a character’s implausible plight.  In that way it reminds me of the film Memento, where moviegoers observe a hero with no long-term memory in scenes which run backward from end to beginning — thereby projecting the character’s brain issues onto its viewers.

 

Q:  Intriguing.  Please go on!

A: If you insist, good sir…  by telling the stories of the “past”, “present” and “future” simultaneously, at some level the viewer will be rattled by revelations that the characters themselves are experiencing.

Also, if you care to geek out about physics even more so (like I occasionally try to), good ‘ol Einstein showed that all “time” really runs concurrently.  (As well as fixed and unalterable as Daniel Farrady emphatically argues.)

So… viewing LOST in what David Lynch might call “the futurepast”, with all times going on at the same time, is actually just as valid as viewing a story from what we perceive, relatively, as the right way — beginning, middle, and end.  Ohhhh, Science — fucking with my brain again.

photo via the Chicago Sun Times

Q:  I feel dizzy and humbled by this new knowledge.  Does this have any direct implications within the reality of the show beyond clever and overly-smart script writing?

A: Absolutely maybe!  For the first two seasons we’d been watching (what we thought were) real-time events buttressed by compelling (and suspiciously coincidental) background stories that manifest themselves on the island.

The first twist was that Beardy Jack (and later other characters like Sun and Kate) were being shown in what we first thought were flashbacks, then concluded were flashforwards, but know now thanks to Season 5 (and Einstein, I guess) that the correct timing of events is all um…. Relative.  I mean, it would be a flash forward or backward only if you view the Oceanic 6’s time on The Island as the “present”.  (And now even that’s messed up.)

So, now that we know that they ACTUALLY JUMP THROUGH TIME AND SPACE, all the things that seem like ridiculous happenstance and coincidence could actually be an intricate and calculated set of events put into motion not by chance, but by necessity.  (And, as a further mind-fuck, possibly set in motion by their future selves in order to set-right the only future that wouldn’t unravel the Fabric of the Cosmos).  And now, if you’re keeping score, we’ve stumbled into Donnie Darko territory.  Break out the emo eyeliner.

More on this later… some thoughts on the future/past, and maybe a sprinkling of mind/body and dream/reality concepts.  So yeah, stuff you talked about while high, or in your Philosophy 001 class, or possibly both simultaneously.

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LOST Withdrawl, Philosophy, and the Thing About the Giant Four-Toed Foot

July 11, 2008

Ahhhhhhh. How long must I wait for the next season of LOST. I can’t take it! I have been able to get my fix vicariously through a co-worker who has started renting the LOST DVD’s and stops by often to give us updates on what’s going on. She’s nearing the end of the 3rd season already, how we all wish we could watch ’em again — for the first time.

What do they say about naivite? Ignorance in bliss, but any creature that knows it is ignorant would never choose to stay ignorant. I.E., a pig is only happy because it doesn’t know what it is missing. Wow. I probably just destroyed decades of philosophy, so I’l go look it up … ah … here we go:

“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party of the comparision knows both sides.” -John Stuart Mill

Anyway … I digress. Knowing what I know about LOST, I would kill to be able to watch it over again.

LOST “Live Together, Die Alone” Season 2 Conclusion

Which brings me to the foot thing. That four-toed foot at the end of Season 2 — weird right? A few things we already know about the foot (via the LOST rumor factory

  1. It was previously supposed to have six toes (either because ABC thought 6 was “weird”, or that it was hard to tell the foot has six toes as opposed to five).
  2. “The statue may be in reference to a story “Headlong Hall” by Thomas Love Peacock, chapter 4 notes: ‘Here you see is the pedestal of a statue, with only half a leg and four toes remaining: there were many here once. When I was a boy, I used to sit every day on the shoulders of Hercules: what became of him I have never been able to ascertain.’ (Lostpedia)
  3. (I can’t find the citation to this one anymore), but in discussions with writer/producers there was a hint that the foot is allegedly a visual pun that references a physics or philosophy author by the name of “Foot”, or “Foote”

Anyway.  I was going through my old photography books and came across this:

It’s a photo entitled “Near The Hermitage” by Boris Ignatovich a communist-era Russian artist known as an “extreme realist”.  The photo itself is of one of the giant statues in New Hermitage, St. Petersburg.  One of four massive Atlas statues that hold up the Museum roof.  Now ya know.


Jeremy Bentham

May 30, 2008

I suddenly have an interest in Jeremy Bentham. I have no idea. It came to me in a dream. Oh, also, shirt sales at the green-friendly TeeCycle.Org are going really well. Good times all around.

Thanks Wikipedia:

Jeremy Bentham
Birth 15 February 1748 London, England
Death 6 June 1832 London, England

Influenced by John Locke, David Hume, Baron de Montesquieu, Claude Adrien Helvétius, Thomas Hobbes

Influenced John Stuart Mill, Michel Foucault, Peter Singer, Iain King, John Austin

Jeremy Bentham (15 February 1748–6 June 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He was a political radical, and a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law. He is best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism, for the concept of animal rights,[1][2] and his opposition to the idea of natural rights, with his oft-quoted statement that the idea of such rights is “nonsense upon stilts.”[3] He also influenced the development of welfarism.[4]

He became known as one of the most influential of the utilitarians, through his own work and that of his students. These included his secretary and collaborator on the utilitarian school of philosophy, James Mill; James Mill’s son John Stuart Mill; and several political leaders including Robert Owen, who later became a founder of socialism. He is also considered the godfather of University College London.

Bentham’s position included arguments in favour of individual and economic freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the end of slavery, the abolition of physical punishment (including that of children), the right to divorce, free trade, usury,[5] and the decriminalization of homosexuality.[6][7]