Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Lost, Transcendentalism and an outpouring of National Grief

So having dragged my ass through to the last episode, having Lost the plot, picked it up, Lost it again, we finally get to the final episode.

And of course, not a lot of answers, a hundred more questions. Was the way it ended a metaphor for heaven, or as all us atheists hope, was the church at the end merely a memory palace in which is stored the sum of our interactions with others, and which to a great extent is the sum of us?

Was the Island a metaphor for death, and the man in black's efforts to escape it the struggle of man against the inevitable, while Jacob's docile acceptance was the result of a deeper self-knowledge, that ultimately, there is nowhere we can run from our end?

And all this talk of being 'special', the strong theme of 'listening to the island'; is that a bit of New England Transcendentalism dropped in there? America's favourite philosophy, full of mysticism and special people who hear messages from the divine soul. Sounds about right to me.

And in the end? We have a plane full of people, who died, resulting in a tortured journey over many years to try to give their loss some meaning. We are left with the fact that we knew them and they us, that we shared life and experience, and through that sharing there is meaning. There I think, at some level, lies the root, if not the meaning of Lost. People, in a plane, who died. Perhaps I am missing the mark here, but you don't have to delve too deep into the recent American psyche to see where the need to explore the meaning of the deaths of thousands of people who died, quite suddenly and quite unnecessarily, might arise. It might be crass, but there you are, I think that Lost, in some way, was an expression of grief for 9/11.

And that's the only meaning you're going to get out of Lost, I think.