In anticipation of TRON: Legacy, I recently re-watched a bunch of simulation-world films including The Thirteenth Floor, eXistenZ, and the original TRON, which I hadn’t seen in over twenty-five years. While I remember being somewhat confused watching the futuristic Disney film as a kid, seeing it again with new eyes, I was amazed at how clearly it expressed the “life as illusion” theme I’ve been so fascinated by as an adult. In the original movie, Jeff Bridges is considered a “user.” While Bridges often plays users in his films, in this case, it refers to a computer user who manipulates the scenarios of a digital world that is very similar to our own. In the original film, users are considered mythical, messianic figures who can help free the programs from the game they find themselves in. This got me thinking.
On the evening of October 6th, 2009, I awoke from a deep sleep with the sensation that there was a bright light shining on me from behind my head. Not only could I see this light, I could feel it and I soon became very hot. It felt almost as though the light were cooking me, but I didn’t want to move—or maybe, I couldn’t move. Eventually, the light faded and I fell back to sleep. So, what was it? Was it all in my mind? Was I getting some kind of program download or vibration upgrade? Was it a celestial connection? An angel communication? An alien probe? I wasn’t sure, but my forehead was very red the next morning and soon began peeling as though I’d gotten a sunburn. But this was October, and I hadn’t been out in sun for any length of time. Completely baffled, I decided to seek the help of my trusty mentor and longest childhood friend…television.
In “Across the Sea,” Lost finally gives us the origins story for Jacob and the Man In Black. The episode was pure, 100% mythology. Those who watched the episode based on the surface story alone were probably disappointed. Let’s face it, taken literally, myths are silly: talking snakes, little boys defeating giants, jealous gods, immaculate conceptions, mortals with superpowers, a sword stuck in a stone, the Force, Never Never Land, Wonderland, Oz, the Matrix, the Island. On the surface, all myths seem like children’s stories. It’s only when we dig deeper that we find the truth worthy of a wise old soul—a soul that knows where it really came from.
Once upon a time, you believed that you were very special. That you’d grow up to make a difference in the world, be paid handsomely for doing so, find true love, have some equally special children, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life hasn’t worked out quite as good as the fairytale. So, were we all lied to? In Lost’s “Happily Ever After” Desmond discovers that there is a reality where all his dreams can come true. So where is this reality and do we need to be as special as Desmond to get there?
For many of us, our lives don’t work out the way we planned. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a plan. It’s very apropos that Lost’s “Dr. Linus” episode was named for a teacher since it taught us some very valuable lessons about who we are and what our purpose here may be. In other words, it really was all about you.
You’ve probably noticed that in every flash-sideways so far on Lost this season, the central character of the episode has been shown looking into a mirror. Kate looks at herself in the auto body restroom after discovering that Claire was pregnant, Locke in his own bathroom just before attempting to call Jack, and Jack looks at himself both in the airplane while noticing the strange mark on his neck, and again in “The Lighthouse” when noticing an appendix scar that he doesn’t seem to remember. The easy metaphor of course, is that we are looking at secondary versions of these characters through the looking glass. But what’s the deeper meaning for us?
I just watched what is quite possibly the most brilliant and hysterically funny movie review I’ve ever seen. This masterpiece critique was created by Mike of Red Letter Media and consists of seven parts that can all be viewed on YouTube. I highly recommend everyone viewing at least the first two parts of his videos, but it will not be necessary to understand what I’m about to say. His analysis brought to the forefront something that I’ve pushed down deep into my psyche for over ten years and am only now ready to release: The Phantom Menace is not only the biggest disappointment in movie history, it is also very likely completely responsible for screwing up our world’s history. Yes, I’m completely serious. Before I begin proving my point, let me begin with some facts that will be a little easier to swallow.
When I first saw The Matrix back in 1999, I instantly became fascinated with its “virtual reality world” concept. At the time, and for many years afterwards, I saw the theme as a metaphor for the illusionary material world we live in—a world of time, space, and the assumption that we are all separate individuals. My belief, in line with what I had taken from kabbalah, was that in reality, we were all one united energy force. Call it God, the light, Buddha, Allah, the universe, sentient energy, whatever. The point was that this energy created our illusionary world in order to experience itself. After all, since it was an all-knowing, all-powerful energy, existence was pretty boring. This energy wanted to experience the one thing it couldn’t know: what it was like to not be it. So, it created an imaginary world of time and space and separated itself there into different material elements that eventually evolved into human beings.
Before I go to sleep at night, sometimes I ask the universe a question about my destiny. The answer, as bizarre as it may seem, usually comes in the form of a song that wakes me up on my clock radio the next morning. While I haven’t done this in awhile, last night I once again had the urge. I asked the universe (God, the light, soul guides, my future self, whatever you wanna call it) what is going to happen on December 22, 2012—the day after the Mayan calendar abruptly ends. The answer I received really surprised me.
While most mythological stories explore at least one or two truths about the way our world works, Lost is unique in that it explores hundreds of them. It’s almost as if Lost is a spiritual guidebook to life. While I sometimes joke around about it, I’m beginning to truly believe that fans of the show will be better equipped to handle the strange new world we are going to inherit in the upcoming years. Whether consciously or subconsciously, it is almost as if Lost is training us to be able to mentally handle the future. The Good Book says that the meek shall inherit the earth. Perhaps it was referring to Lost geeks.