The gospel of LOST: Steeped in mystical memes and Einstein’s deconstruction of time, here are 12 reasons that LOST was the most “enlightened” show on TV
BY PAUL KAIHLA — In the 2011 liturgical calendar of American TV, what have we got? Jersey Shore ?! Millionaire Matchmaker? They make Sarah Palin look seriously spiritual. And they strip all shame from the vapid Lloyd Braun-Marc Cherry content called Desperate Housewives. Also an ABC product.
In this 2011 season of Lent, we still long for LOST. Why bring up religious matters?
LOST was a religious experience. Here are 12 reasons why:
Why is LOST still so big? Spiritually speaking, no show has embedded so many hidden messages for a mainstream audience about spirituality, psychology and cosmology in the 60-year history of broadcast media.
12. Twelve is the sum of the first two digits, 4 and 8, in the numerology sequence that runs through the five seasons of the LOST series — that is, the numbers etched into the door of the “Hatch,” Hurley’s winning lottery numbers, as well as the keys that the survivors and Desmond type into a computer every 108 minutes to pre-empt the Swan station from doing an electro-magnetic meltdown .
It also goes with the picture above, “The LOST Supper,” the sly ABC marketing dept. riff on Da Vinci’s depiction of Jesus and 12 disciples. The original is a mural in Milan.
11. Characters are named after Enlightenment figures, and figures who have been enlightened
Dickens called them “ticket names.” In LOST, the geek creators tagged leading men from their liberal arts textbooks: John Locke, in real-life a founding father of the enlightenment; Jeremy Bentham, the first utilitarian economist.
Another character: Mikhael Bakunin, the 19th-century Russian godfather of anarchism (LOST version, left).
Soul’s Code favorite: Richard Alpert, based on the the real-life collaborator of Timothy Leary, now known as Ram Dass.
DO YOU LOVE ENLIGHTENMENT? OUR SLIDESHOW ABOUT “AHA MOMENTS THAT BLOW OPRAH OFF THE SCREEN”
10. The single, organized civilization on LOST is called the Dharma Initiative. In real life, it is inspired by 1970′s-era scientific communes like Colombia, South America’s Gaviotas. “Dharma” roughly translates to one’s spiritual path in Hinduism. On LOST, Dharma Initiative members welcome each other with the greeting, Namaste.
9. We used to call The Sopranos the most spiritual show on TV. We take it back: the creator is a misanthrope, some of the actors were actual murderers — and James Gandolfini read a lot of lines about therapy but seems to be clueless in real-life to this day.
8. Elizabeth Mitchell, female Bond-meets-Carl Jung (left). Her character is a doctor who detonates a nuclear device that whites-out the screen in the last shot of season 5′s finale, and re-sets the island’s clock. “Juliet” is post-modern TV’s first female mystic.
7. Speaking of Carl Jung, the underground hatches in LOST are like rabbit-holes of the psyche: a metaphor for the hero travelling into his or her subconscious, and confronting the denied parts of themselves.
- See Jung’s disciple, Joseph Campbell, Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949).
6. Einstein’s notion of “time dilation” is now the driving theme of LOST. The more you amp up acceleration or energy, the more you dislodge the rules of linear space-time as we Earth-bound beings experience it.
This rule of relativity has been realized for centuries sans scientific experiment by seers from Rumi to Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the greatest mystic of modern times.
5. Avatar is derivative of LOST. And LOST is derivate of Dune, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, even Star Trek. Oh ya, J.J. Abrams, the co-creator and exec producer of LOST, helmed the re-franchising of Star Trek as a box-office hit in ’09. Didn’t see it? A gazillion people did: Grossed a quarter-billion $’s.
4. Reincarnation and resurrection appear in LOST as both anagrams and Act 3 events in repeated episodes. Start with the protagonist, Jack. His father dies in Australia, is flown in a coffin in the cargo-hold of the jet that crashes at the island, and makes several post-mortem appearances as a kind of guardian angel. The father’s prenom: Christian. Jack’s surname: Shepherd.
3. LOST sets up a Socratic dialogue between Faith versus Science. Up until season 4, Jack represents secular humanism and enlightenment rationale. Locke is the faith-based believer in the island’s mystical powers. Like everything on LOST, you could drive a tanker-truck through the holes in this script
2. Episode 10, season 2: Mr. Eko and the slyly-titled, “Psalm 23.” You know, the passage in the Old Testament that goes, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . . He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Hmmn. Don’t recall that showing up on essentially-shitty shows like 30 Rock or an earlier ABC product, Charlie’s Angels.
1. LOST should be our time-capsule to the universe, as in the electro-magnetic information radiating from Earth since 1930′s radio and TV broadcasts. The concept was beautifully illustrated in the Carl Sagan and SETI-inspired movie, Contact. (As opposed to Hitler’s speeches at Nuremberg, which are the first visuals from Earth traveling at the speed of light to God knows where).
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