Lost In Myth: “The End”?


Lost is dead. Long live Lost. And so it ends, in much the same way it began: with a close-up of Jack’s eye, staring straight up past the tall stalks of bamboo that circled the sky above. This time however, that eye would close, and with it, our six-season journey that took us right back to where we started—with questions about a mysterious show that seemed to parallel the mysteries of life. For some, the journey was far more compelling than the destination. For others, it was the perfect resolution and they can walk away feeling fulfilled. Whatever you thought about the conclusion, the one thing most viewers can agree on is that the show challenged us to think in ways we might not have otherwise. In short, Lost was a real trip. And what a long, strange trip it’s been.

While it’s the mysteries that got us hooked on Lost, it’s the characters that kept us interested enough to care. It should seem logical then that Lost would resolve both of these important elements of the show. Concerning the characters, “The End” brought an emotional and mostly fulfilling resolution to their stories. Though some may take issue with the means in which this resolution was provided, for the most part, the arcs of the main characters were absolutely closed. Concerning the mysteries however, their answers were pretty much put in the hands of the viewers to decide for themselves.

Not only did Lost not provide the big answers fans wanted, it didn’t even provide a context for us to figure them out on our own. The biggest answer it gave was to a question that wasn’t introduced until season six started. That answer was that the flash-sideways world was an illusionary holding area or purgatory that the Losties created for themselves so that they could all reunite and move on to the next stage together. While the story seemed to make this pretty clear, other viewers argued that a different explanation was implied. So, before deciphering the ultimate meaning of Lost, we first need to look at these two different interpretations of its last fifteen minutes and understand the implications of each.

The Flash-Sideways as Purgatory: The Titanic/South Park Resolution
Most of those who believe that the flash-sideways were supposed to be a purgatory of sorts, also believe that the island was supposed to be real. These viewers base their conclusion mostly on what Christian said to Jack at the end of the episode. He said that he was real, Jack was real and “everything that’s ever happened to [Jack] is real.” He also said, “The most important time in your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone Jack.”

This interpretation is very similar to a recent episode of South Park where the ghost of Michael Jackson is having trouble moving on but finally joins other recently dead celebrities (on an airplane-like purgatory) to all move on…to hell. It’s even closer to the end of Titanic where the 90-something Rose character dies only to be reunited in the afterlife with the crew of the Titanic, including her lost love, Jack. While one would think that members of her family (who had been with her for a much bigger portion of her time on earth) would’ve greeted her at the threshold of the next realm, like Lost, the message is that it’s actually those who help you grow the most, including your soul mate, who are actually the most valuable to your life.

Personally, I believe that the family, friends and lovers who are closest to you are exactly those who are meant to help you overcome your biggest challenges, explaining why they are in your life for so long. However, the island on Lost and the ship on Titanic are both metaphors for our world. Therefore, the metaphor works since the characters depicted in each afterlife were those who helped the protagonists grow the most during their time in each place. Perhaps the only exception would be Ben who definitely provided the challenges to help the Losties grow, but he chose to wait it out and not join them in moving on to the next level.

If the sideways-flash was purgatory and not an alternate reality as fans originally thought, we can infer that Faraday/Jack’s plan with the bomb did not work, but in fact helped cause the Incident that killed Juliet, and ultimately caused Flight 815 to crash. The implication here is that while people may be the variables who can make choices, they cannot make choices that go beyond the realm of the equation. In other words, while you can carve your own path to your destiny, you cannot create a new destiny for yourself. The universe will course correct whenever you begin to stray. This also is in line with my own beliefs.

Despite seeming to be the intention of the writers, there is admittedly something confusing about the realistic sideways world turning out to be the fantasy-like purgatory and the fantasy-filled magical island actually being real. However, once again, there is a message here. The message is that things are often not as they appear. Most of us assume that the physical world we live is real, and many assume that the mythical idea of a world beyond this one—whether it be heaven or some other dimension that exists beyond our own—is the stuff of religious fairytales. But as Lost has shown us, an afterlife world, while completely imaginary, might seem very real to its occupants while a mythical island that seems to be an illusion, might in fact be the true reality.

This begs the question, “what is real?” Is the world we live in now, the one that most resembled the flash-sideways world, real? Have we all really died and now need to let go of our lives in order to move on? Or, is this world simply some illusionary dimension that hides the real truth of existence? Lost doesn’t answer these questions, it just presents them. But in doing so, it seems to be presenting us with some deep concepts that we at least might want to explore.

Another implication of making an imaginary realm real and a realistic realm imaginary is that these two worlds are connected, and one is no realer than the other—all is one. I’ve written before about how the island seems to represent our world and the off-island reality more like heaven, but that the reverse could also be true. The metaphor is interchangeable because one realm reflects the other, and vice-versa (this explains all the reflections in the sideways-world). In other words, what happens in the earthly realm corresponds with a happening on the celestial plane. (“As above, so below.”) Lost has shown us how the events of the flash-sideways world corresponded to events that happened on the island, and vice-versa. Kate helped Claire deliver her baby, Charlie helped Desmond get to Penny, Lock helped Jack find faith, etc. So what if the world we live in now is running according to events that have been written someplace else? Again, Lost isn’t giving answers; it’s just giving us something to think about.

So far, the mythological messages one can infer from this interpretation of the finale seem to resonate. Let’s take a look at the other interpretation to see if it fares as well.

The Island as Purgatory
After watching the finale, some Lost viewers felt, at least initially, that the Losties had been dead ever since the plane crash and that the island was an initial level of purgatory where they would stay until they overcame their earthly issues. While this group has been accused of “not getting the point” or “not paying attention,” there is definitely a value to exploring the implications of this view even if it wasn’t what the writers had intended. Often in mythology, there is meaning beyond what its creators intend, and since this is the explanation that resonated with a rather significant group, perhaps we should at least look at why.

From this group’s perspective, the island was a purgatory of sorts and its occupants found themselves there either from dying in the crash of Flight 815 or from earlier deaths (i.e., Richard Alpert, Desmond, Rousseau). Those who lean towards this explanation site two main pieces of evidence.

The first has Jack returning to the same point where he died. While this makes a nice little loop from a mythological perspective, it can also be interpreted that this is the spot where Jack had originally died, so he was returning after being redeemed. Since “coming full circle” has been a theme of Lost, Jack returning to the spot we first saw him does make sense with just about any interpretation of the ending. Still, it does make more sense within the story if Jack is returning to the spot he died after finally overcoming his earthly issues and being able to move on to the next level. Otherwise, he could’ve just died anywhere.

Another argument involves the shots of Oceanic 815 wreckage on the empty beach that were shown during the end credits. The implication seemed to be that the Losties did die after all and none of them ever really wandered the island in a physical form. There has been a lot of arguing over this point. Fans denying the purgatory implication have interpreted the shots to stand for everything from a show homage or elegy, to an indication that like the Black Rock, Henry Gale’s balloon, and Yemi’s plane, the wreckage would serve as yet another remnant of people who had come to the island and are now gone, giving viewers some kind of explanation about the 4-toed statue, hieroglyphs, and temple. Turns out however, that ABC themselves inserted the images “to soften the transition from the moving ending of the show to the 11 p.m. news” and that “they were not part of the Lost story at all” but just a nostalgic look back at where the show began. (LA Times)

Okay, so the scenes were not part of the Lost story, but does that make them irrelevant? Perhaps. Or, perhaps as Lost has taught us, everything happens for a reason. Perhaps there is a deeper message going on here, one intended not by the Jacob-like powers of the show creators, but the island-like powers of the universe (more on this differentiation later).

If the island were a purgatory of sorts, the purpose of Lost’s flashbacks could’ve been to show that the Losties were lost and alone in their lives, and thus weren’t moving forward. The flash-forwards illustrated that their lives wouldn’t have gotten any better had they lived. The island helped these lost souls so that they could move on. Having solved their issues on the island-purgatory, most of them then met up in another level of purgatory—a place they created. The purpose of this flash-sideways reality was to help them see how their lives could have been had they solved their issues while they were alive, and to be able to let go of that reality as well. This theme of a multi-leveled afterlife is not without precedent. It has been featured throughout mythology and movies, including Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and the 1991 film Defending Your Life where Albert Brooks’ character must go through a series of trials in a purgatory-like holding station in order to move on to the next level. Similarly, the multi-leveled afterlife could make sense on Lost.

As Lost has depicted, there are usually two sides to everything. In this case, the island purgatory helped the Losties grow and deal with their fears while the flash-sideways purgatory helped them let go of regret—the life they never had. Whether you agree with or like this interpretation or not, it does have merit.

The implications of each of these two perspectives really requires some in-depth thought as opposed to knee-jerk reactions that one side or the other is definitely the “correct” analysis. Both viewpoints have their pros and cons.

If the island were “real” then the finale seems to be considerably clearer. Christian meant what he said about Jack’s experiences, and Jack really did save the world. The downside is that this explanation only really solves the mystery of the flash-sideways, and really could’ve been used to explain a show that had nothing to do with a mysterious island. In fact, it almost divides the show into two separate myths—that of the island and the flash-sideways, with their resolutions being “Across The Sea” and “The End” respectively. However, since Lost does deal with dual themes, this double myth does follow along with its own template. The dual themes also both come from the root “life as illusion” myth (The Wizard of Oz, Alice In Wonderland, The Matrix), which relates to the idea of another world going on behind the scenes that the show has alluded to so often. Still, while most fans agree that this flash-sideways-as-afterlife explanation is the intention of the writers, they also agree it doesn’t feel as fulfilling as a conclusion that could’ve explained both the sideways universe and the island. A unified Lost resolution would have been more fulfilling.

If the island were “purgatory,” it is better at paying off the mystery of the island. The reason why the Losties died there once their issues were resolved also makes more sense with this explanation since that’s one of the functions of purgatory—to help souls move off the borderline into either heaven or hell. And pretty much every other mystery of the island can be seen as relating to the tests created for purgatory purposes. This explanation also gives a chilling new insight into the bogus Flight 815 that Widmore had supposedly planted in the ocean. What if the plane really was the doomed Oceanic plane and the corpses inside the dead Losties? It certainly doesn’t make any less sense than Widmore planting the plane in the ocean full of dead bodies, a task that would be impossible to do in secret.

One possible flaw with this interpretation though, is trying to make sense of what Christian said about himself, Jack, and everyone else being real, and everything that ever happened to Jack (presumably including the island) also being real. For this interpretation to be true, does Christian have to have been lying? No, everyone Christian was referring to were actually dead, and not residing in a part of reality as we think of it at all. Therefore, when he says that everything that ever happened to Jack was real, he can simply be saying that everything Jack went though on the island purgatory was equally valid to everything from his life because they were both real to him. His experiences were real—as real as they are in this otherworldly dimension talking to the ghost of his dead dad. And since the Losties’ time together on the island helped them get to heaven, it was the most important part of Jack’s experience as Jack. So, Christian’s statement, while more metaphoric, is not a contradiction for this interpretation.

Another possible issue with this island-as-purgatory explanation is why Desmond, Danielle, and the Others were there. Well, perhaps they had all died as well (at sea, in air balloons, etc.) and were waiting on the island for those who could help them move on. Explaining Daniel Faraday and the freighter crew is also possible. After all, Faraday was involved with experiments that bridged reality to other dimensions. Perhaps he found the one that contained purgatory. The message for us is that purgatory, heaven, hell, and all of these afterlife themes are really just alternate dimensions that we get to experience when we’re done with this one. They exist to further purify the soul. Of course, they can also relate simply as a metaphor for multiple timelines, which gives credence to a third group who do not believe that either the flash-sideways nor the island was a purgatory-like realm at all, but just a bunch of parallel timelines.

The Flash-Sideways Were a Parallel Reality
Besides the two purgatory theories explored so far, there are hundreds of more explanations that viewers are using to make sense of the show. Some viewers don’t think that either the island or the sideways flashes were purgatory but parallel timelines. Their argument is that if the flash sideways universe was just all about Jack, what was the point of seeing the back-stories of all these other characters (i.e., John Locke’s relationship with Helen)? Some purgatory fans (from either camp) point out that the finale was just the experience from Jack’s perspective, and that each of the Losties had their own experience that wasn’t shown.

Whatever theory you’re leaning towards, or if none of them because you simply didn’t like the ending, there is a message here: no ending Lost could have delivered would have fulfilled such a complex storyline, rich mythology, and high viewer expectations. The writers were well aware of this and that’s why they acknowledged it in the show with Kate laughing about Christian Shephard’s name, reminding us that the story was an allegory from the start. Man in Locke’s comment about Jack being the predictable choice for Jacob’s replacement was another clue that the story shouldn’t be taken so seriously, but to instead look to whatever deeper meaning resonates with you.

I’m not apologizing for the writers’ reliance on building up mysteries they never intended to answer. Nor do I think that it’s impossible to pay off a complex mythology with a simple truth. Had Lost gone in a different direction, I think The Myth of Lost theory could have done just that (and perhaps in a sideways universe, it did).  Still, even that theory polarized fans of the show and could not have satisfied everyone. The point is that Lost’s story acted like an outline to introduce us to many different complex scientific, spiritual, religious and mythological principles, and amazingly, it was able to bring them together in an intriguing way that made viewers want to learn more.  Whether you realize it or not, you are wiser for having experienced Lost.

Lost’s creators have graciously left the task of understanding it up to you. After all, fans have come up with far more fascinating answers to mysteries than most of what Lost provided this season (The whispers were ghosts? The Black Rock was the victim of a tidal wave?). Might as well have them finish the job! Right now, a lot of fans have a sort of uneasy feeling in their gut. Was the ending a cop-out? Did the writers screw over fans by not at least offering a way to plug the island into a metaphor we could use to explain its mysteries? Like the questions left open by this show, only you can answer this. But I’d at least like to provide some glimmer of hope that watching Lost was well worth your time investment. Let’s begin by looking closer at the messages of the finale.

The Wisdom of the Finale
There is a lot of wisdom hidden within Lost’s finale that isn’t contingent upon any particular interpretation of its final moments. In pretty much any interpretation, Hurley becomes the new Jacob and Ben the new Richard, and based upon their conversation in the flash-sideways afterlife, they had a successful time guarding the island (whether it was real or an earlier level of purgatory). So, despite his decision to allow the candidates to have freedom of choice, even Jacob himself was powerless to control the island’s choice for candidate. The island chose Hurley, not Jack.

The message then, seems to be that in life there really is no choice. Even the God archetype has no control over fate. Perhaps that’s because fate is ultimately the program that life must follow, and even God must abide by those rules, even if He himself created them. Perhaps this is why God does not interfere in our world or cause grand miracles that would make His existence more apparent. This would also make sense if we are all a part of God, as I believe, since while we are all fellow creators of this world, we are not consciously aware of where it’s going or what will happen. Someone who believes in complete freewill may offer another interpretation of this scene: that Jack couldn’t be manipulated into becoming the guardian and instead Hurley chose to. Equally valid. Like I said, these answers are up to you. I’m just bringing some of the major themes to a conscious level so you can have an opportunity to decide which feels the best based on your own experiences.

Another scene of the finale had Jack sacrificing himself to save the island. In effect, Jack still died attempting to fix something, which might explain why it took him longer than most of the other redeemed Losties to remember his island life experiences and move on with the rest of them. Even in that realm, he created a troubled relationship with a son he never had so that he could fix that—an attempt for him to come to terms with his own father’s accusation that he didn’t have what it takes. Even this wasn’t enough though. Jack then met up with John Locke so he could fix him. It was not until Jack met up with is dad at the end that he really was able to let go, just as his father’s voice echoed to him while he was still on the island (while in the cage at the Hydra station).

The message for us is that we create the drama in our lives. Some of us have a need for pain and suffering or an endless list of things to do to distract us from the pain we hold onto—pain that we don’t really want to deal with. But if we become conscious of the repeating patterns in our lives, we can refuse to continue the charade, and let go of our compulsion to do something that eases the subconscious pain we can’t get to.  Once we become aware of the real source of that pain, we no longer need to create life experiences to temporarily deal with it. We can just see it for what it is, and let it go. The concept is simple but takes a lifetime or several to be able to accomplish.

While Jack took longer to let go, there was also Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Faraday and others who were apparently not ready yet at all. Of course, since there was not supposed to be time in that realm, this idea didn’t really make sense within the context of its own metaphor. Had they wanted to, the Lost gang could’ve just departed at the moment everyone was ready to leave so that they could truly be together. The point however, was just for us to understand that ultimately we’re all going to get to where we’re going eventually. If you decide to go anywhere at all, you have all the time in the world to get there. Our time, here, in this imaginary realm is all about us experiencing who we are. When we are ready to grow and leave this particular existence behind, great, there will be another one waiting with further challenges and pleasures. If we prefer to stay here and experience more, as Eloise Widmore did, that’s fine too. No worries.

The fact that the finale seemed to be all about Jack didn’t sit well with many viewers who wanted to see John Locke be redeemed—especially in light of Man In Black’s insistence on him being a sucker. While not obvious, Locke was definitely redeemed. His true redemption came from passing on his faith to Jack, and Jack using it to have the courage to stand up to Man In Black and kill him, saving the world.  The message here is very similar to that found in It’s A Wonderful Life. We often don’t know how many lives we’ve touched over our lifetime. And may times, the people we’ve helped don’t even realize it themselves. The fact is though, we have all helped many, many people discover who they are and uncover their destiny. We’ve helped them get through challenges and stay balanced when times are good, or bad. Sometimes, our main contribution to this world even isn’t even fully realized until after we’ve died. Just look at Jesus, or John Locke. The archetype is the same, as it is with Superman. Much like him, you too are here for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem like it—your life is very necessarily to help us all get to where we want to go.

In this reality we live in, we are all in it together. Each of us is like a different piece of a clock, all of which are necessarily to make it function. Like Christian said, nobody does it alone. We live together and we die together too. In fact, according to many spiritual practices, groups of souls are reincarnated together. So your mother, best friend, worst enemy, coworker and lover have all been in your life before and will be again, taking on different roles. Perhaps this was one of the most fulfilling concepts of the Lost finale. Whether you believe it or not, it’s comforting to think that we never really lose the people we love. That like Michael Landon said in the Little House On the Prairie scene James watched in the sideways world, “people aren’t really gone when they die. We have all the good memories to sustain us until we see them again.” Knowing that James was himself dead while watching this scene makes it even more chilling, and relevant.

While I have been able to interpret much of the meaning of Lost in a way that makes sense to me, these answers may not work for you. There are also some aspects of the finale that I need more time to understand, like why Charlie was still a drug addict in the flash-sideways afterlife, but seemingly drug-free when Hurley saw his ghost at Santa Rosa. Was this a version of Charlie that existed after moving on in the church? Perhaps there’s meaning in this that will one day be clear to me, or perhaps it never will, and in that realization there is a message—that we cannot understand everything in life. Lost has helped with a lot, but like life, it too has its flaws.

Lost’s parts were greater than its whole. It worked best as a group of individual myths that turned out to have a rather awkward way of tying them together. Since the show never really provided a direct link that could explain the mysteries of the island and make them relevant to our world, we are left without a deciphering key for decoding what they all meant, and therefore, are left wondering about Lost’s ultimate meaning. On one hand, this is unfortunate because it leaves us struggling for a way to make sense out of what we just saw and make it relevant to our experience. On the other hand, that struggle has led to debate that will help us understand Lost as it applies on a more personal level. The answer to the show is in you, not the writers. They just provided the means to help us remember what we already know, and that includes the discussion and debate that I hope will continue for a long time to come. For my part, I’d like to help fuel that discussion by sharing my own thoughts of what the show was ultimately about—and these thoughts actually manage to bridge the sideways world with the island into one unified myth.

Making Sense of Lost
For me, the most important theme of Lost is that all these characters found themselves in a place that challenged them to overcome their deepest issues, and once they did, they died.  Because of this, I have a problem with both purgatory explanations for the finale. If the island was real, what was the significance of the characters’ deaths after solving their issues? Apparently, the island felt that only a character with issues that would take eons to resolve would make a good steward of its golden heart. But after fixing that heart, why was Jack no longer eligible since his issue was to always fix things? Even if I’m looking into this too deeply (if there is such a thing), what does any of this have to do with the purgatory the characters ultimately find themselves in, since many of them didn’t even die on the island but long after?

I also have a problem with the island is purgatory explanation. For starters, I don’t think the creators would have lied about it if that was what it was the whole time. I also don’t think they would have been purposely misleading with Christians’ final statements—vague perhaps, but not misleading. Regardless, what was the point of the island’s time travelling if it was supposed to be an afterlife? This mixing of metaphors doesn’t seem to make the mysteries of our world any clearer.

I have an explanation that makes sense no matter which finale theory you want to believe. Either way, the challenges the Losties faced on the island helped them to grow tremendously to the point of redemption. This shared experience was so crucial, they all felt the need to move on to the next level together, and so created the sideways world as sort of a holding station where they could meet up.  Okay, but how does this realm really connect to the island? It seemed that there were many people in this purgatory existence that were not on the island and not ready to wake up. And that’s the point.

It was only when the Losties remembered their incredibly challenging island experience that they were able to wake up from the illusionary sideways-world and “move on.” They did this by connecting to their constants—those who helped their souls grow the most during this very trying time. Translated literally, the message is about how the growth we experience in life, dictates how far we are able to go in the afterlife. Another way of looking at it deals with the times we live in today—behind an illusionary veil, and the apocalypse, or “revealing” that has been prophesized to come. Those who have grown enough up until now, will be able to move into this new age. And those who haven’t will still have work to do. Perhaps neither party will even realize that they’ve left the other, due to the existence of…wait for it…multiple timelines.  At last! A unified explanation of Lost bridging spirituality, science, religion and myth as well as the three main interpretations of the ending sited above!

Once you overcome your challenges, you can move on. Lost had a different explanation but the same message as The Myth of Lost. In the book, the Losties all entered an imaginary realm to help them overcome their issues. And once they did, they could get out to live lives that would presumably be better than what they had before. On the show, the Losties all entered an imaginary realm after overcoming their issues where they were able to live lives that were presumably better than what they had before. Watching this season, I thought that the sideways world was going to turn out to be the Losties lives after getting out of the simulated world. I guess it’s appropriate that my favorite character on Lost was John Locke because much like him, I was wrong. But I was right about the sideways world happening after the events that occurred on the island, which I claimed since the season premiere, and right that the myth of Lost was ultimately a new rendition of the “life-as-illusion” myth.

Ego aside, the message works either way. In fact, it works best if you combine the two perspectives. We live, we are challenged, we are redeemed, we move on, we live, we are challenged, we are redeemed and on and on. Which is the real world and which is the imaginary one? Is fate written in the heavens first, and then we live it, does it happen simultaneously, or is it the other way around? Where does this story begin, or is it just a cycle that has no beginning? Perhaps the next modern-day myth to come along will help us with answers to these questions, now that Lost has helped us learn how to ask them.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you interpret the story of Lost because the messages are the same. Whether you saw the island as a real, albeit mythical place, a level of purgatory, a simulation, a nexus to other dimensions, a dream, hallucination, Interactive game, or just a complete waste of time, it taught you much about the world we live in. You may not be conscious of it, or you may be conscious but don’t believe it, and that’s fine. The choice to accept or reject is part of the journey. Either way, you have been awakened to knowledge that you can use once you realize how.

What We Learned From Lost
The wisdom of Lost is a lot like The Karate Kid. At the beginning of the original film, Daniel must go through these seemingly meaningless tasks of wax-on/wax-off, paint the fence, sand the floor, and paint the house. Not until Mr. Miyagi comes around to show Daniel all that he learned can he begin to use his new-found skills. Similarly, through discussion, debate, blogs, podcasts, articles, and thought, we can figure out the messages of Lost for ourselves and how they apply to us. There have been so many lessons.

Lost taught us that we’re all connected, we’re all here for a reason, and that we get clues from the universe to uncover what that reason is. It taught us that these clues are everywhere and has trained us to look for them without most of us even realizing it. We’ve learned that no one is all good or all bad, and when you let yourself get to know people, you begin to understand why they act like they do. Through scientific, spiritual, mythological and religious themes on the show, we’ve learned that there are many ways of getting to the same truth. We’ve also learned that once we get beyond the illusionary world we live in—whether by dying or some cosmic revelation that pulls back another truth-concealing curtain—there will be another level there with its own set of challenges, and then possibly another and another. There are likely many, many levels to go through.

Finally, we’ve learned that there will always be mysteries. And while we may long to get the answers, once we have them, we long for the mysteries again. As we see with Lost and life, often the searching is more fulfilling than the finding. It is within the search that we discover who we are and how far our imagination, creativity, and growth can reach. The answer we uncover often puts a limit on that process. Perhaps then, we shouldn’t let it, and instead continue to explore this island we find ourselves on and keep our eyes open for clues and listen out for the whispers that can guide us. There will always be smokey monsters of self-doubt and fear that will try to stop us. But the thing to remember is that we all have a little light inside of us that connects us to one another. In our world, we are the candidates and Lost found us so that we can find ourselves and help other do the same.

In my journey watching Lost, I have gone through quite a transformation and would like to thank everyone who helped me get there. You have helped me on my journey and I hope that I’ve managed to return the favor. While I will continue writing about myths in the media on The Layman’s Answers to Everything blog, this is the end of the “Lost In Myth” column and this chapter of my life. Thanks for helping to make it a journey worth taking. See you in another life and namaste.

Marc Oromaner
is a New York City writer whose book, The Myth of Lost offers a simple solution to Lost and uncovers its hidden insight into the mysteries of life. He can be contacted in the discussion section of The Myth of Lost Facebook page or on his new blog The Layman’s Answers to Everything.

The Myth of Lost is available on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com.

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The Layman posted at 2010-5-26 Category: Season 6

28 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #1Ingrid Cabrera @ 2010-5-27 09:10 Reply

    Thank YOU, Marc!

  2. #2Ruben @ 2010-5-27 09:19 Reply

    Great article, as usual.

    While I agree there are some parts of the finale that can make it look like the Island was also some sort of purgatory, I think the most important part of what Christian said was that ‘some of the died BEFORE you and some LONG AFTER’. Do we have to assume then that he was talking about dying in Purgatory #1 instead of dying in real life? That doesn’t really make much sense. Also, Kate and Sawyer were apparently able to leave Purgatory #1… so would this mean that they didn’t really leave? Something happened to the plane?
    Also, what about their lives as the Oceanic 6? Was that also part of Purgatory #1?

    Even thought the idea of multiple purgatories isn’t really that impossible, I think they’ve put enough hints in the finale for us not to interpret it that way.

    • #3The Layman @ 2010-5-27 09:42 Reply

      Hey Ruben,

      I agree that the creators most likely didn’t intend for the island to be interpreted as purgatory, but they purposely left a lot vague so we could take our own meaning from it. Christian could’ve easily said that the “island” was real,” but he didn’t. He said “everything that’s ever happened to you was real.” Well, isn’t talking to the ghost of his dead father something that’s happened to him? So, is that real too?

      As far as Christian saying that “some of you died before, and some long after” Juliet could’ve died before and Penny could’ve died long after, and everyone who escaped purgatory could’ve too. Perhaps there was a way out and Kate and crew found it. The flash forwards could’ve also been an imaginary realm like the flash-sideways, or perhaps an escape from the purgatory dimension. It’s about cheating death.

      Again, I don’t think this is the intention, but I do find it interesting that it fits and that ABC happened to add in those scenes at the end, almost as though we should take some additional meaning than what the creators intended.

      Thanks for allowing me to clarify!


  3. #4Jacob's Revenge @ 2010-5-27 10:16 Reply

    Marc, I’m a critical thinker, so don’t expect whitewashing praise of your analysis like so many other sheep here. I’m taking issue with many of your statements and premises here:

    “In other words, while you can carve your own path to your destiny, you cannot create a new destiny for yourself. The universe will course correct whenever you begin to stray. This also is in line with my own beliefs.”

    This is the typical arrogant attitude of the human as center of all things. Really, Marc, you think the whole freakin Universe cares about your own personal, white-bread “destiny” ?! You and most others here represent the privileged, well educated First World populace which thinks everything is about them. What about the rest of humanity without access to everything we take for granted ?! You think they have the luxury of destinies, friends, lovers, not to mention the propensity to kill anyone when it suits their purposes ?! No, Marc, this is a “white-society” idealized fantasy that’s pathetic in its shallowness and transparency. (note: “white society” is not to be read as a racial reference, rather as meaning uniform, bland, and representing the First World societies and interests.)

    “But as Lost has shown us, an afterlife world, while completely imaginary, might seem very real to its occupants while a mythical island that seems to be an illusion, might in fact be the true reality.”

    You speak again of LOST as being a hallowed reference, when it’s just a set of guys like you and me writing a story. And LOST hasn’t shown us this! This is Philosophy 101 which THEY borrowed as a foundation for their story.

    “no ending Lost could have delivered would have fulfilled such a complex storyline, rich mythology, and high viewer expectations … I’m not apologizing for the writers’ reliance on building up mysteries they never intended to answer.”

    BS, Marc! They had THREE freakin seasons to craft an excellent ending! Other scifi series have done better with less, the Stargate finales come to mind. You’re making excuses once again for them for some unknown reason. And though you deny being an “apologist” for them, your writing speaks differently.

    “Lost’s creators have graciously left the task of understanding it up to you. After all, fans have come up with far more fascinating answers to mysteries than most of what Lost provided this season.”

    There you go punting again! Now they’re “gracious” for not completing what they started!! Marc, do you even read what you write ?! Then you go on to basically state that fan-fiction is better than the authentic series. That may be right but for entirely the wrong reasons.

    “Like Christian said, nobody does it alone. We live together and we die together too.”

    Again, more of the “normal white society” schtick. There are MANY people in this world without friends, without family, who actually live alone and die alone often in circumstances we find disgusting. So don’t try to make LOST out to be representing a general metaphor for humanity because it simply is not. It’s very idealized with preference towards First World societal constructs.

    “Lost taught us that we’re all connected… We’ve learned that no one is all good or all bad, and when you let yourself get to know people, you begin to understand why they act like they do. Through scientific, spiritual, mythological and religious themes on the show, we’ve learned that there are many ways of getting to the same truth.”

    These are good insights, yet I take issue with your phrasing that LOST teaches, again, the show is NOT an authoritative source, it references ideas already out there, it’s a TV show, not a online college course, it doesn’t teach.

    Your analysis, like many others, forgives D&L for betraying the mysteries that kept us interested across six seasons. We did not come back year after year for love and relationship stories, that stuff is available on Lifetime and other network dramas. LOST was unique for its scifi-based mysteries and D&L totally sold us out for hugs and kisses and what was basically a cast wrap party in that cliche church scene. And bloggers like you don’t help the cause by apologizing for them and rationalizing their ending. It was a full betrayal of our interests and I will forever revile them for that. I sincerely hope they fade away like The X-Files’ Chris Carter after his shameful finale and failed films.

    And to be clear, I and those like me, didn’t want every mystery answered and the such. We just wanted the series to be true to what made it great in the first place. Instead, they morphed it into a saccharin, emotionally manipulative love story ala Titantic and that’s where alot of our intense disappointment comes from. But in the end, it’s just a show, I’ve deleted all its episodes from my DVR, and will move on to next Great Series and just hope its creators stay true to its basic premise. Namaste dude.

    • #5Sal @ 2010-6-2 18:30 Reply

      Whaaa!!!! Well, I guess you’re one of the fortunate ones that can afford a DVR and has a computer and internet access. Sounds like you don’t have friends and Marc hit a nerve. You’re just an angry person spouting off about, who the f cares! Ha, you’re funny.

    • #6The Layman @ 2010-6-23 16:57 Reply

      Well, at the very least JR, I hope this article allowed you to vent because it seems like you are holding in a lot of anger that probably doesn’t have that much to do with what I wrote here. Still I will do my best to respond to your diatribe.

      For starters, I believe everyone has a destiny–no matter how rich or poor. The destiny is unique to the individual. If someone is homeless or living in poverty, it may be their challenge to find shelter and help others do the same. We are all given life-challenges that are appropriate for our given situation. This is not unique to me or any other “First World” citizens. When I use stories of my own destiny, it’s to help people recognize their own path, and perhaps learn from my mistakes and observations, just as I like to do from the stories of others–including character archetypes in movies and television.

      Lost is a myth, and like all myths it borrows from earlier myths. All myths do this, creating updated versions of older stories to make them relevant to our current experience. When I wrote that “‘Lost’ has shown us this,” I did not mean to imply that it originated it, just that it has indicated it within its story. Perhaps you see people as ordinary and insignificant, but I do not. I believe we are all important and have a role to play in this world. For the writers of “Lost” it was channeling this very important story from our collective unconscious, the our collective conscious, where we can recognize it more clearly and use its wisdom to help us in life.

      As you yourself state, I have no reason to apologize for the ending of the show. If anything, I should be one of the people criticizing it since my book came up with a different resolution that, in my opinion, is better at resolving the mysteries of the myth. In fact, I have been critical in this article and elsewhere about the resolution twist only solving an aspect of the show from its final season. To me, this divided the story in two–an island myth, and afterlife myth. Still, perhaps there is a message in that. Many, many viewers liked the ending, and it made most of us think. Even though it’s not as apparent in the story as I would’ve liked, the answers are there within the mythology. You just have to search for it and discuss it to find it.

      The point of the writers being “gracious” for leaving many of the answers up to us is because they respect us enough to be able to come up with solutions that apply to our individual lives. They also were humble enough to realize that their answers were perhaps not good enough to satisfy their intelligent and demanding audience. There was also a bit of tongue-in-cheek in there, recognizing the frustration that many fans had, myself included, with the way the creators built up the mysteries they didn’t plan to answer. There’s a part of me that’s disappointed too, JR, but much like the lesson of “Lost,” I am learning to let go.

      Most people in this world who live alone have gotten to that stage through decisions they have made in their life. None of us is born alone, and since I believe we are all connected, i do not believe that any of us are ever really alone. Even many people who live alone, are able to connect thanks to the Internet, TV, or shared stories in books and magazines. And many others who are alone in the wilderness feel a connection to the world that you might not realize. Perhaps its time you took your own walkabout to see the world through different eyes.

      Do you really believe that only original information constitutes teaching? Everything taught in a school came from some place! Even the information in the Bible was culled together from ancient Egyptian and Greek myths. And the fact that “Lost” contains wisdom that exists elsewhere only seems to reinforce the idea that there must be some truth to it, if it’s been passed down for so long and among so many different cultures. I have never once insinuated that “Lost” is originating this wisdom. It has existed for eternity. “Lost” was just original in how it put it all together for us today.

      The answers you are looking for from the show exist within it’s episodes. Some can be figured out from piecing together the story, i.e., the pregnancy issues occurred due to the Incident when the energy of “life, death, and rebirth” leaked out from the Source, and some from its deeper mythology, i.e., the Losties were all connected because we are all connected and get reincarnated with one another to help us live together and reach our destiny.

      While I have mixed feelings about the “Lost” finale, I do not feel it failed to the extent of X-files. Had it tried to piece everything together in a coherent story, however, it probably would’ve. The only fulfilling resolution for the show was a twist, and for whatever reason, the creators decided not to give it to us. Perhaps it was supposed to be purgatory, or even a simulation, but hearing some of the reactions to those endings, they changed their minds to give us something that was more up to interpretation.

      I’m sorry you feel that “Lost” was a waste. I think your deep disappointment in the ending however proves otherwise. Perhaps you are partly angry just because it’s over and there’s nothing else out there right now that can reach you the way this show did. I also get that you feel betrayed by the ending, but then why not just create your own ending–one that works for you? That’s what I did. When I get bummed about the ending, I just think about the one in “The Myth of Lost” and how it totally works for me in explaining the show’s mysteries and connects them to our world. Perhaps in an alternate dimension, that’s how the show did end, or your way is how it ended. Think of a satisfying resolution for you, and focus on it. Perhaps your sideways flash will be a world where your ending was the reality.


    • #7The Layman @ 2010-6-23 18:32 Reply

      JR, read what Maureen wrote to you below.

  4. #8buzmeg @ 2010-5-27 10:24 Reply

    I heard your Lazlo talk. You referred to the closing images and made them part of your conclusions. Perhaps you may want to re-think your comments as the end scenes were not meant to be part of the finale.

    According to the L.A. Times, those closing images were added by ABC executives, not “Lost” executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and they were not meant to imply that no one survived the original voyage of Oceanic Flight 815. They were not meant to imply anything, actually; they were meant to serve as a transition to local newscasts.

    “The images shown during the end credits of the ‘Lost’ finale, which included shots of Oceanic 815 on a deserted beach, were not part of the final story but were a visual aid to allow the viewer to decompress before heading into the news,” an ABC rep told the L.A. Times.

    • #9The Layman @ 2010-6-23 17:12 Reply

      Thanks for the update buzmeg, but I actually mentioned this in the article above:

      “Turns out however, that ABC themselves inserted the images “to soften the transition from the moving ending of the show to the 11 p.m. news” and that “they were not part of the Lost story at all” but just a nostalgic look back at where the show began. (LA Times)”

      This information actually doesn’t change my opinion at all. Was it an accident that ABC decided to include these shots and fans interpreted them in a way not intended by the creators? If anything, it serves to strengthen my entire argument about the show–that it’s creators were channeling information that is bigger than themselves. Perhaps they weren’t completely true to the story they were meant to convey, so the universe interfered by adding in new information for audiences to digest. There are no accidents.

      For the record, the “island-as-purgatory” theory is not how I interpreted the show. But I do see it as a valid explanation no less true than the island being real. I provide reasons for this in the article above.

  5. #10Janet @ 2010-5-27 12:23 Reply

    Thanks so much Marc for your thoughtful comments. I’ve discovered that I am still too emotional about The End to start my rewatch, but I will, and hope that I can remember your words and look at it from a new perspective. I know there will never be another show with characters I love and feel I know the way I love Lost.
    It was quite a ride, and I’m grateful to have had it. Glad to know you are going to continue to share your thoughts, I need all of the help I can get. 🙂
    And, @Jacob’s Revenge, for someone who says it’s just a show, you are entirely too worked up about this. Chill dude, jeez. Peace.

    • #11The Layman @ 2010-6-23 17:15 Reply

      You’re welcome Janet. And if you would like to one day experience another show that you care about as much as “Lost” simply open your mind to it. What we know, becomes our reality. So instead of knowing that there will never be another show you’ll love as much, know that there one day will be.


  6. #12jemron @ 2010-5-27 12:48 Reply

    Thank YOU! I wish I had found your blog sooner.

    • #13The Layman @ 2010-6-23 17:16 Reply

      You’re welcome. And you probably found it at the exact right moment you were meant to.

  7. #14Esteban @ 2010-5-27 17:25 Reply

    Excellent Marc! Thank you very much for all the wisdom that you’ve shared since you started reviewing LOST. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of your reviews. I have yet to finish The Myth of LOST (I’m halfway through) and though I don’t like the computer simulation approach, I DO like the life-as-illusion allegory. And the way you tied it up with the mythology and still made it digestible, was great. You really took this journey to the next level and the only thing I regret is that you didn’t start reviewing the show earlier. See you in another life, brotha! Namaste

    • #15The Layman @ 2010-6-23 17:31 Reply

      Thanks Esteban! As you know, I only began watching the show live during the third season. I think I needed to go through the process the way I did to come up with the articles I did. No regrets.

      Glad you’re digging the book! Take the parts that work for you and disregard the rest. For those parts you’re on the fence about, see how perhaps with a few tweaks to your accepted beliefs that might make sense. If they still don’t, disregard those parts too. There is no right or wrong, only what resonates and what does not.

      The simulation resolution was just a way to make the life-as-illusion allegory relatable to our world. The show used this same root-myth in their story, but only made it apparent in the flash-sideways scenario. The island was a different kind of illusion, one that seems illusionary, but is the true reality. It is the realm from where our story is created, to be played out on the illusionary game board. This realm can be thought of as heaven, or the afterlife. “Lost” kind of switched the metaphors around, and perhaps this was to make the point that “as above, so below”–each is interchangeable and a reflection of the other–hence all the mirrors.

  8. #16Dharma Chameleon @ 2010-5-27 19:19 Reply

    I found the finale to be a comforting notion for those in mourning. Both for those that have lost loved ones as well as those pondering their own mortality.

    I think most would agree that the worst version of “what happens when you die”, would be to experience it alone.

    Live together, Die together! Brilliant notion indeed.

    My “as viewed” interpretation, was that they all died in the plane crash and Christian’s comments suggested that Jack’s experiences where real, despite not being tangible (imo). However, their experiences did have an impact on their progression through the afterlife.

    Thanks Marc

    • #17The Layman @ 2010-6-23 17:39 Reply

      Yes DC, and don’t let anyone tell you that you “didn’t get it.” There are many levels of interpretation to the show. Perhaps those keeping only to the most obvious surface story see the “island-is-real” as the intended interpretation and anyone who didn’t get that as missing the point. But there is an even deeper level that goes beyond what the characters said, that can have any number of meanings.

      One thing I forgot to mention in this article was that on the island, Jack said to Desmond, “I’m already dead.” Hmmm…

      Having recently lost my mom, yes, I would agree that the ending of being reunited with loved ones at death is a comforting notion. At the very least, I like to think that I will be reincarnated with those I care about from this life in the next one.

  9. #18Maureen @ 2010-5-27 19:52 Reply

    Marc, I want to thank you again for helping me to see what the myth of Lost was saying. While I don’t agree with you on everything, it’s all been worth chewing over.

    I do want to say that I am one of those who believe that the island was real – what happened there really happened, and it really did have a connection to the rest of the world. It is too easy in the contemporary west to assume our lives don’t matter, that we are random accidents amidst a universe that is itself a random accident and what we learn and accomplish is for our own growth alone.

    I do think what we do here matters – the choices we make matter. Not just to ourselves and our families and communities, but to the larger world. We can tilt the world towards the good, or – by our choices and through our actions – we can tilt the world towards evil. We will all make mistakes, get “lost,” and hurt others, but it does make a difference to the world. That’s my understanding from the little bit I have learned of Kabbalah – that in healing myself, I help to heal my community and even heal the world a little. That’s tikkun, yes?

    And Jacob, you make important points and present a point of view that is both needed and necessary. It sounds to me like you long for a world that’s filled with justice. Perhaps helping Westerners to understand how our lives of relative luxury are built on the poverty most of the rest of the world is what you are called to do. Perhaps your destiny is to alleviate that suffering: as Hurley said, nobody can tell you why you are here. I am sorry you were so disappointed with the finale . . . Darlton left an awful riding on those 2.5 hours and if they could not (or would not) reconcile faith with science, then I can see why their choice of “faith is better” would really make you angry. But the science-fiction is there – and maybe you can tell the story in a better, more cohesive and satisfying way.

    For me, that myth and faith aspects were what made the whole experience worth it. But once they decided to come down on one side rather than the other, it was inevitable that some would love, while others would feel that Lost had been betrayed.

    Thanks again, Marc. I’ve learned a lot in the last 5 months.

    • #19The Layman @ 2010-6-23 18:48 Reply

      Thanks for making those points Maureen and sharing your insight with Jacob’s Revenge. I hope he reads them (I posted a reply under his name for him to read what you wrote).

      I have accepted both interpretations of the finale and many more. However, for those who only believe the island was part of the afterlife, I would not presume this to mean that they also believe their experiences there didn’t matter. It mattered a lot, because their experiences there were real to them.

      I do not believe that the world we live in really exists. I believe it is all an illusion or even a simulation. However, I also believe it matters a great deal because it all seems real to us, and helping us to have the experiences our souls desire. The point is, just because something isn’t real, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. At the most basic, any TV show or movie or novel isn’t real, but its story and messages mean a great deal to a lot of people. “Lost” is one such example.

      And yes, everyone IS important. In fact, I wrote an entire article about just this topic for “the Variable” episode which you may enjoy: https://thelaymansanswerstoeverything.com/2009/04/30/lost-in-myth-the-variable—choosing-to-sacrifice-for-the-sake-of-the-island/

      At the heart of most spiritual practices is the idea that if we heal ourselves, we’ll heal the world. The concept was echoed in “Heroes” “save the cheerleader, save the world,” the idea being that the simple, ordinary person (us) can make a difference.

      Glad I helped you to experience some clarity with “Lost.” As I replied to Esteban above, take what resonates and disregard the rest.


  10. #20Target-Addict @ 2010-5-28 01:32 Reply

    Marc, as always, you have some interesting insights. However, my thoughts are leaning more with those of @Jacob’s Revenge. As he pointed out, the writers had THREE FRIGGIN YEARS to work on the ending. The show’s creators announced the end-date of Lost back on May 7, 2007. That was more than three years ago. And the past two seasons have also been shortened (with approx. 16 eps. each) with a LONG hiatus in between each (8 or more months). That was more than enough time to figure things out and wrap up all the loose ends. Instead, we were left with too many rabbit holes to go down and too many storylines to wrap up properly.

    I love Lost and have been a fan since day 1. I own seasons 1-4 on DVD, which I plan to re-watch at some point. But I don’t plan to purchase seasons 5-6, because I think that somewhere early in season 5 the show jumped the shark. It was somewhere around that time that they introduced the Man in Black, put more emphasis on Jacob, and then ultimately introduced the Sideways World. I did enjoy the resolution at the very end at the church, and the sentiment that we are a “collective soul” or collection of souls and will be with those most important to us in the end in eternity. I just didn’t like how the writers got there.

    For me, Lost simply went in too many directions. There were already plenty of mysteries afloat (Dharma, Eloise, Desmond and his “uniqueness”, the Ben/Widmore rivalry, the friggin island itself, etc.) before they introduced the history of Jacob and Smokey, their mother, the Temple people, the whole time-travel thing and the Sideways world. The writers should have concentrated on the known mysteries than introducing new ones in the last couple of seasons. I heard a really discouraging comment by Alan Sepinwall on his podcast this week that he was told by a former Lost writer that late in season 3, they hadn’t even thought of the time travel twist yet. This tells me that Damon and Co. were simply being indulgent with their writers, and allowing them to try anything at the expense of the show. The “let’s throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks!” method. And thus, the show ultimately suffered for it.

    I am sad that the show is finally over, but even more discouraged for what Lost MIGHT have been if the show had better vision and direction.

    • #21The Layman @ 2010-6-23 19:13 Reply

      I don’t disagree with you Target-Addict. I was disappointed with the ending as well. But I recognized that I was going to be around the time of “Ab Aeterno” and began to come to acceptance about that. The story didn’t end the way I felt was the simplest way for it to explain the mysteries of the island as I explained in “The Myth of Lost.” Whether or not fans liked that ending, most agreed it was the simplest way to explain the mysteries. I wrote that ending because I was afraid that the creators would wind up with a resolution that was not true to the myth. This did not occur. Their ending was true to the life-as-illusion myth, only it needed to create a sort of side-myth to accomplish that.

      I believe they created this extra myth to satisfy both main types of Lost fans–those who wanted the island to be real, and those who didn’t. However, in trying to please both, they didn’t really hit a home run with either side. Still, the other reason two resolutions may have been needed, was to explain the dual-realities of our world–the illusionary world we live in and the real, heaven-like realm that corresponds to everything that happens in the other world. By mixing up the two, the writers made a direct relation between these two worlds. Which world creates the events first for the other to follow? It’s irrelevant because whatever happens on one will happen on the other.

      As for the story being created as it went along, this is how most organic, pure storytelling happens. The problem is not that they came up with new ideas for each season, the problem was that they did not have an overall plan to explain all the mysteries they were creating. For me, this is where the show was flawed. But as I’ve said, there seems to even be a message here. The message that life is not about getting all the answers. Personally, I think there could’ve been a more satisfying way of getting this point across, but I do think in sum, “Lost” was a powerful, intriguing show with an equally powerful and intriguing ending that at the very least, resolved the character issues and explained many of the mysteries about the island.

      While I wish I could jump into the universe where the show ended more like the ending described in “The Myth of Lost,” I also feel that their ending provides meaning that “The Myth of Lost” ending did not–meaning that perhaps is going to be more relevant to our current dimension moving forward.

  11. #22Marion @ 2010-5-29 11:56 Reply

    There’s a small but important part that you overlooked in the evidence that the Island is “real” and not Purgatory Part I. We clearly see the tennis shoe in the tree in the pilot and the same shoe in the same tree in The End. The first time in the pilot, in 2004, it’s white and new. The second time in 2007, it’s gray and deteriorated.

    • #23The Layman @ 2010-6-23 19:21 Reply

      Thanks for bringing that up, but who’s to say that objects and people don’t age in Purgatory Part 1? Walt, Aaron, and the kids all aged, the Black Rock was destroyed as was the statue. In the sideways world, Aaron was born, Locke was healed, and Jack’s neck was cut, but that world was supposed to be an afterlife. So it would seem that time can exist in these realms.

  12. #24lostiscrack @ 2010-5-29 18:10 Reply

    lol why is lost the only show that cant accept that the islamd was real part of a story.i watched goodtimes in the 70s they lived in the ghetto yet they never locked there doors did every1 question where they lived..star wars was outer spade noone is saying was there world real..For the last time the island was real just like southfork on dallas ..things happened there the problem is you have the need to find it and bottle the light now i see why it needs protecting..lol Great writing marc calm down jacob count to 5…if lost told us anything and it told me alot,when you make your on game you write your own rules so when you write your own show have your own rules..

    • #25The Layman @ 2010-6-23 19:27 Reply

      Some good points about the writers’ rules. As far as why the island being real is any different than any other TV show, it’s about the suspension of disbelief. Understanding “Goodtimes” is a sit-com, people are wiling to forgive it’s many unrealistic aspects. However, with “Lost,” its mysteries were written for the exact purpose of making the audience wonder about them. The show revolved around mysteries, not characters discovering the explosives on the Black Rock and shouting, “Dyn-o-mite!”

  13. #26lostiscrack @ 2010-5-29 18:18 Reply

    just be happy we got some great storytelling acting scenes music writing and debates.so for all the haters just plug in your on ending if it makes you happier
    why arent all the churches and religiuos folks out praying to stop the oil spill hmmm

    • #27The Layman @ 2010-6-23 19:36 Reply

      Yes, I made the same point above about imagining your own ending. The story belongs to all of us because whether or not you realize it, you helped create it–both on an apparent level, and a more subliminal one. Do you think “Lost” would’ve been different had the creators not interacted with the fans? Definitely. Also, they told the story we were ready (or not so ready) to hear, from the collective unconscious.

      As for why the churches and religious folks aren’t out praying to stop the oil spill, actually, they are! Mostly from their churches or places of worship. Many light workers are using positive imagery and intention to help as well. Read here for more: http://grandmothersspeak.com/messages/20100527.php

  14. #28Keith @ 2010-6-29 22:18 Reply

    A very insightful and enjoyable read I must say. I came to many of the same conclusions about the show, and enjoyed reading your opinions that differed from mine. I haven’t read every one of your write-ups (just this one) but after this one I’ve decided to go through and check them out. I liked your reference to “Defending Your Life” as it was something I immediately thought about also, after seeing and then re-watching the finale. I’m a “lover” of the show and the finale and each time I re-watch it I enjoy it more for the small pieces I catch. As you know, a lot of the same complaints or praises are given for the reasons why people either hated or loved the ending (and the series in general).

    I’m sure you’ve mentioned this somewhere else, but I think since Lost withheld it’s “style” until the very end it felt manipulative to many people. What I mean is that most shows, upon viewing the first episode, tell you exactly what type of show it is and (pretty much) where it’s going. It only takes one episode of “Law & Order” to figure out the bad guy gets caught at the end and confesses (or something in that fashion). You only need to watch “24” once or twice to understand that Jack Bauer is going to shoot some people and rescue some other people, while negotiating with some devious character on a cell phone. Then he’ll diffuse the bomb from going off with the secret code as he exposes the infiltrator within the company and the American can flag can once again wave proudly. And it only takes one or two episodes of “House” to realize that Dr. House is going to correctly diagnose the ridiculously complex illness, while also splattering the audience with his bizarre and eccentric humor making him the lovable asshole that you just have to respect.

    But Lost withheld that sort of information. The format, or “genre” if you will, was a bit ambiguous. Is this a Drama? Is it Action/Adventure? Is it just pure Science-Fiction? Obviously a bit of all three but what is the exact ratio? How much should we pay attention to these scientific mysteries and how much should we be focusing on the character resolutions? What really matters here? Or are we watching some abstract, “artsy”, melodrama in terms of the island and the events on it being just a fantasy world created by their subconscious’ because they’re all in some sort of group hypnosis therapy session? (I threw that in because it was one theory I was so sick of hearing from “newbies” as they started the show after me and would repeatedly claim, “Eureka!! I’ve figured it out!”) But seriously, just what’s going on here? How do I label this show so I can understand it’s message?

    So with all that mystery and intrigue the fans grew a little “arrogant” because so much theorizing, I think, tends to start to become conducive to demanding it be verified. In other words, it wasn’t enough to just have fun theorizing and talking about the show while enjoying what the writers had in store for next week. It wasn’t enough to just enjoy using your imagination to ponder the possibilities and come up with your own ridiculous theories, but remember that it’s their story and they’re telling it in a certain way for a certain reason. No, you wanted to be right. That became the focus, “Am I right about what I think is the answer?” And this is NOT the focus of the show. It never was.

    The fact that the first 80 episodes (three seasons) were mainly sitting around talking about their issues and then some mythology would be introduced that would only serve to give them something to do…. then they go back to just sitting around talking and bonding, well that alone should inform you how to look at the mythology or the science in terms of it’s relevance. All they ever did was show an off-island pre-crash problem being dealt with by the behavior on-island post crash.

    They weren’t a team of scientists that landed and immediately broke out the gadgets and started running tests. The story wasn’t told from the perspective of The Dharma Initiative and their arrival, or Rousseau’s team and theirs. Had one of them been the framing device, then yes I can see them possibly going deeper into the science or the mysteries because that was the primary focus of those groups.

    The first few episodes as they met and then each characters first centric told you pretty much everything you needed to know to understand that person’s arc that was going to be resolved in the duration of the series. Again, no scientists in the core group. No gadgets on the beach (other than the transceiver radio). No title card describing a mission to explore a strange report of a scientific island with unique properties, or an objective of the clandestine group of agents sent in to understand the bizarre data from a secret facility in Los Angeles that found an electromagnetic anomaly in the south pacific.

    I went into season 6 with just as many complex (pseudo-)scientific theories that I hoped/expected to be addressed or revealed as explanations. Then the reveal in the end hit me across the face and I remember sitting there for about 15 minutes going, “What the fuck?” I asked myself if I really liked what I just saw…. and I realized, “Yes. Actually… I did.” Why? Because finally I realized that what I had been watching wasn’t a story that was meant to be “solved” in terms of science fictional answers or verification of my theory or “a theory.” It was a metaphor for life and the process of overcoming fears and personal setbacks by offering and accepting help from others around you. Simple, cliche, cheesy, poetic…

    So that was the “reveal” to the mystery (for me anyways). My imagination was sparked for 6 years and even though I thoroughly enjoyed the ending and felt that it fit perfectly with the show’s theme and message, I still enjoy theorizing, discussing and writing fan-fiction for the science as well as tie-ins for characters backstories that we didn’t see. So Lost is still fun (for me at least) because I’m having just as much theorizing now, as I did a year ago during the season 5-6 break. But that’s just me and how I choose to enjoy what I experienced. I can see how some people don’t find that solution satisfactory.

    Anyways…. I could rant and rant, but the bottom line is I think you have to either learn how to enjoy the show for what it was, or learn how to hate it for what it was. No more answers will be given via any more episodes. So you can go back through the series and see that there were indeed things foreshadowing the season 6 reveals (like in “?” with Charlotte Malkin delivering the message to Mr Eko from Yemi, that she was “in between places” and “even though he’s pretending, his brother thinks he’s a good man and will see him soon” …. or in “Further Instructions” where Locke sits inside of Eko’s church and has a sweat lodge vision eerily similar to the flash-sideways visions, complete with some characters in different roles, and in which Boone tells him, “You have to bring the family back together” ….. or in “Dave” in which Hurley questions whether the reality around him is real or not and it takes the reassurance and encouragement of a loved one to console him…. or the dozens of other hints and clues and use them as pieces that make the show a cohesive story.

    Or you can spend time wishing they would’ve answered a few more mysteries so you could have the excuse to like it. I’m not implying they absolutely knew every line of dialogue and had written or envisioned every single scene of the ending back in season 2. But I’m confident that the series works as one cohesive tale, with plenty of relevant foreshadowing, while also providing enough mythology to provoke imagination and discussion for the fans to satisfy themselves with.

    These people were spared from death as strangers on a plane with personal issues. So yes, it makes sense that they would spend time after they died reliving how they overcame those issues, and using those memories of what they did with that second chance at life, to draw strength/encouragement/support from. Then, they once again come together as a group to move on.

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