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Lost: 411 | 114

What if Keamy had a sibling? What if Keamy killed that sibling?

There's some reason to consider this, but it'll first take some working through "Cabin Fever" and the multitude of narrative and mythical mirror-twinned and paralleled coordinates. Every now and then an episode like "Cabin Fever" helps the audience (and probably the writers) get a snapshot of just where and how these coordinates are related, and they're so prevalent in this episode, this piece could almost be written in two columns to map out the conjunctions.

Start at the macro level, with the overall shape of the narrative. The first three seasons went through the Lostaways first encounters with the Others; their first encounters with the Tailies and the DHARMA Initiative; and the Survivors clash with the Others. The end of the third season seemed to be some kind of hinge where the second half of the narrative — the next three seasons — reflexes back upon the first three seasons. That means some of those original coordinates will be revisited, but since we're working back, not in the same way. Now we're seeing role-reversals and narrative mirror-twinning that expands beyond characters into groups, scenes, themes, and even structure (flashbacks and flashforwards).

There once were the Others and the DHARMA Initiative, two factions in a struggle over the island who protected the island from outsiders who mean the island harm. Now the survivors have split into their own two groups caught up in a minor struggle over domain, and they all in turn side with the Others (at least Ben) to protect the island against a new group of outsiders, the Freighties. The Survivors have taken on the role of the Others.

A number of episodes from this season contain scenes that mirror moments from previous seasons, thematically tying the scenes together (again in a very mirror-twin fashion). Consider the scene from "Confirmed Dead," when Jack and Kate walk Miles and Faraday through the jungle; when Miles's scanner starts to beep, he pulls his gun and wants to follow the signal (turns out it's Vincent). Jack tells him to put the gun down, that he has people in the jungle with guns aimed at their Freightie heads, and a warning shot is let out from the jungle. This mirrors the scene from the second season episode "The Hunting Party" where Jack, Locke and Sawyer meet Tom out in a clearing, guns drawn. Tom tells the Lostaways to put the guns down, but Jack challenges him, saying (like Miles) that he doesn't believe Tom had anyone else out in the jungle with him. At that Tom yells "Light 'em up!", the Others light their torches, and they find themselves surrounded by people with guns. It's the same plot, but the roles have been reversed. Likewise, "The Constant" pointed back to "Flashes Before Your Eyes," and the tenth episodes of each season has so far concerned themselves with parental themes ("Raised By Another," "The 23rd Psalm," and "Tricia Tanaka is Dead"). There are many more such connections; just take a look at the books appearing in the narrative for some roadsigns.

The flashforwards are also working their way backwards, so the flashforwards earlier in the season occurred later in the narrative time of the off-island Oceanic Six, and those flashes are working their way back to when they first made it off the island. While one narrative timeline (the island) heads in one direction, the other narrative timeline (the flashforwards) work in the opposite direction; one heads from order to disorder (the island), and the other leads from disorder to order (the flashforwards). This would be a good place to review the concepts of entropy and the arrow of time, but that's been written about here before, so let's not take too long a sidetrack. But it's worth noting that in thermodynamics, entropy tracks the direction of energy moving from order to disorder, which is also how we measure time. Nineteenth century Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who built on the work of Michael Faraday and whose namesake was used for the Maxwell Group in the alternate reality game Find 815, had a famous thought experiment about how thermodynamic entropy (and time) could be reversed — Maxwell's Demon. Think about that when we watch the island narrative time moving in one direction, into increasing disorder, and the flashforward time moving in reverse, into increasing order; the narrative itself is demonstrating one of the principle subtexts.

The clearest mirror-twining in "Cabin Fever" is with Locke and Ben. For some time now, the power dynamic of the scientific Jack and the spiritual Locke has shifted to a new dynamic between Locke and Ben (which also plays into the focus shift from the Survivors to the Others, and the Survivors as the Others). Locke was recruited by Ben and the Others last season, and had to sacrifice his father, Cooper, to prove his intentions. Ben has played on Locke's nascent sense of exceptionalness, and it's now clear that the Others have been trying to recruit Locke for some time; Ben, typically playing all sides of an issue, at once helps by bringing Locke into the fold, and also attempts to take Locke out because he represents a threat to Ben's leadership. Ben seems to recognize both the parallels, and the differences.

Locke and Ben were both born prematurely into single-parent homes, and both mothers are named Emily, but Ben's Emily died, whereas Locke's Emily gave him up for adoption. As boys, both were quiet and had displayed a certain facility for learning (especially science), but the one who was recruited to the island rejected his calling, while the one who ended up on the island embraced it. They both have some kind of psychic sync with the island; whether that's through Jacob or has something to do with the island itself remains to be seen.

But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Ben is a pretender to the island throne. We got the intriguing suggestion that he was ordered to commit the purge, presumably by Jacob, but we also know Ben seems to always have more reason to bend the truth than disclose it, so this isn't certain. Did Ben orchestrate his own coup for leadership, or was he somehow chosen by the Others? And what might have been if Locke had just picked the book instead of the knife when Richard visited him as a boy? Or if Locke had just gone to science camp when he had the chance? Because if Locke had chosen correctly, Locke would have been on the island and most likely already the de facto leader of the Others by the time of Ben's birthday purge.

Richard came to young Locke with a very Professor X offer of an education at a school for extremely special kids. The test Richard gave Locke (and we assume was not administered to Ben) is one the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes as given to him when he was two years old. The 13th Dalai Lama died in 1933, the year Lhamo Thondup (Tenzin Gyatso) was born, and a retinue of Tibetan Buddhist monks set out in search of his reincarnation. The idea is that once the Dalai Lama dies, his spirit would be reborn in another individual, who is then sought out and trained in order to fulfill his highest capacities as a spiritual and political leader.

The Tibetan Bardo Thodol (Book of the Dead) describes the process an individual undergoes when they die and enter the afterlife. Someone who has sufficiently prepared his mind/concentration/soul will be able to avoid the journey and catch the early exit to nirvana; otherwise, increasingly unnerving tests await the individual. How one lived life (one's karma), helps determine whether a person will be reborn as a human, animal, or in some sort of heaven or hell. The realm to be reborn into, especially for a Dalai Lama, is the human realm, as it provides the best environment to work towards enlightenment.

Sidenote: The friend of the real Richard Alpert, Timothy Leary, thought the Bardo Thodol was the best expression he'd found of the psychedelic experience; he, along with Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, wrote a kind of guidebook to psychedelics based on the Bardol Thodol called The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Two years after Thubten Gyatso died, his corpse still lying in-state, his head strangely changed positions, and was found facing northeast rather than south. So the monks headed northeast, and after some other signs and omens, they came across little Lhamo Thondup and gave him a particular test: They showed him a number of items, some of which belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. If the boy recognized the items as his, that would be evidence that the Dalai Lama had been reborn. When they showed the boy the collection of items, he immediately claimed that items belonging to Thubten Gyatso were his, and that's how Lhamo Thondup became Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. That's just what the ageless Richard Alpert did with young John Locke.

Sidenote: The Mystery Tales comic book Richard laid out had a sneaky clue with the floating city and the question 'What is the secret of the mysterious "HIDDEN LAND?"' At the end of the episode, Locke reports that he's supposed to move the island. How? Maybe Jonathan Swift can help. In the third book of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver finds a floating city, Laputa. Its inhabitants are quite educated in mathematics, astronomy and technology, and they make their city float through magnetism. They also consistently fail to put their knowledge to practical use, and end up in a war.

However, Locke wasn't quite ready. Locke's namesake, the 17th century philosopher, wrote about how the mind and education in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693). He argued (after Plato) that the mind was a blank slate, tabula rasa, and a child's particular aptitudes should be acknowledged and encouraged. The environment a child is exposed to would in large part determine the shape of that child's mind and how he forms and associates ideas. If little John Locke had not been raised in the insecurity of the foster care system, he may not have been preoccupied with asserting his physical strength over his mental strength. If young Benjamin Linus had been raised by a less overbearing and abusive father, he may not have grown up to look for every exploitable angle that would benefit him in any given situation.

But even as a boy, Locke let his desire overcome his reason, and after some deliberation over the items Alpert presents, Locke chose the sand (correctly), the compass (correctly), and the knife (incorrectly). Given Locke's will to physical vigorousness (despite his failure at it), the weapon may symbolize the combative power that Locke wanted to identify with, whether or not he knew it belonged to him already. Alpert leaves rather angrily when Locke chooses incorrectly; he seems to know that Locke is indeed the person he's looking for, but perhaps Locke needed to demonstrate his true self on his own terms. It's interesting that on the island, Locke is almost never without his knife.

The item that young Locke passed over was a dusty tome called Book of Laws. There is no author given on the cover, and no identifying markers other than its being an old edition. Try looking up Book of Laws in any database, and see how many hits you get-there's almost no way to narrow it down to any specific book, with any specific meaning relating back to Lost. The most common book with a title like that might be Aleister Crowley's Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law), which he claimed was dictated to him by some kind of non-local consciousness named Aiwaz while he was in Cairo. Crowley was a late-Victorian-era British theosophist and occultist who was a member of a number of secret societies and esoteric orders (the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, A∴A∴, possibly a Freemason, and founder of the Abbey of Thelema). He was also an aristocrat and with racist tendencies who played up to his media-forged image as the 'wickedest man in the world.' Through the occult, sexuality, and drug use, Crowley indulged in the very things that drove his buttoned-up society into fits.

Contemporary theosophy isn't quite the dime-store occultism generally presented in contemporary culture. It's a pantheistic wisdom tradition approach to spiritual development, sometimes with a heavy focus on consciousness, ritual and magic (or magick), and recruits tales of lost lands like Atlantis and Lemuria. Practitioners like Crowley were interested in assimilating as much knowledge from as many spiritual approaches as possible in order to forge a new esoteric system for their contemporary world; theosophists embraced rather than rejected links across different traditions, and sometimes referred to themselves as scientific illuminists — the motto Crowley adopted was "The method of science — the aim of religion." Theosophy and its cognates has a mixed history in the modern world, attracting some extraordinary people (Carl Jung, Mohandas K. Gandhi, W.B. Yeats — who, incidentally, couldn't stand Crowley) and abhorrent opportunists (some Nazis, Charlie Manson). It persists today in organizations like the Rosicrucians and what's left of Crowley's own Thelema movement, and is somewhat expressed in Freemasonry, among other places.

The complicated symbols and rituals found in theosophical circles are not intended to be the focus in themselves, but functions for accessing intention and gaining knowledge of the psyche or spirit. The ritual experience itself is then supposed to open a window into the inner self and expose its connectedness to the greater world (or something like that). In other words, the symbols themselves aren't the point; the experience of working with and through the symbols is. The use of symbols to access possibly hidden knowledge is nothing new to Lost or its audience; arguably, part of the function of these symbols is to generate interaction and discussion amongst the audience, not to find some final meaning.

Lost symbols

In 1904, Crowley was in Cairo, Egypt, and had been ritually invoking the falcon-headed Egyptian god Horus when his wife became possessed and told him he would be contacted. (Note that the god shares the same name as the dead wood-chopping mathematician.) Crowley followed his wife's instructions, and over three days, he was supposedly contacted by a representative of Horus named Aiwaz. Aiwaz dictated the Liber Al to Crowley, which he recorded through a kind of automatic writing. The book laid down the main precepts of Thelema (Greek for will), "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"; "Love is the law, love under will"; and "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." This doesn't quite mean do whatever you want; Crowley tries to explain how each individual's destiny (that fickle bitch) is influenced by that individual's past experiences, upbringing, and own nature — which actually echoes the philosopher John Locke's argument regarding education and the association of ideas. According to Crowley, then, both Ben and Locke shouldn't reject their respective histories and natures, but intensely employ them as a general guide to life (don't tell Locke what he can't do).

Liber Al describes how each age of 2,000 years is governed by a different star, or god. First was Isis, the earth mother who gave rise to matriarchal governments; then was Osiris, the father who represented love, death, resurrection and patriarchal governments; now, Crowley (or Aiwaz) argues, is the coming of Horus, child of Isis and Osiris who represents "the individual as the unit of society" (which is why one needs to recognize one's own will). In his commentary, Crowley claims this age as already underway, and is marked by the neglect of sin, the loss of sexual inhibitions and the rise of bisexuality, and a drive towards progress without taking precautions to guard against larger fears that haunt civilizations (like filling gulf coast wetlands that act as hurricane buffers, building on earthquake zones, and political blowback). The weak and humble will be crushed in this age, he says, in a kind of might-makes-right move; democratic societies will fail, and war will take civilians as well soldiers. In some ways he was prescient, but sort of in the way Nostradamus was.

Crowley set out to build a system around Liber Al, and continued communicating with esoteric emissaries from the other world. About fourteen years after the Cairo incident, Crowley was visited by another being called Lam, who was invoked to continue what Aiwaz started. Here's where things get more twisted up with Lost; Crowley did not refer to Lam much in his own work, but he did draw Lam's portrait for the frontispiece of Madame Blavatsky's 1919 book The Voice of the Silence, with this caption: "Lam is the Tibetan word for Way or Path, and Lama is He who Goeth, the specific title of the Gods of Egypt, the Treader of the Path, in Buddhistic phraseology. Its numerical value is 71, the number of this book." Lam was Crowley's Lama. What's more, theosophy had taken root in the United States by the late 19th century, and one of its more famous adherents was L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, another foundational text of Lost. His text has provided people of a mystical mindset many hours of symbolic scavenger-hunting enjoyment, which was not lost on the creators of the 1939 MGM film. Many have noted the similarities between the names 'Aiwaz' and 'Oz,' as well as Crowley's drawing of Lam and Oz himself from the film.

The Oz references have been prevalent throughout Lost for some time now; just take Benjamin, who was both Henry Gale and the man behind the curtain. The final episodes of the fourth season, by the way, are titled "There's No Place Like Home." So through Locke's unchosen Book of Laws and Aleister Crowley's Book of the Law, we find our way back to Horus/Horace, enacting one's will, the concept of the Tibetan Lama, and The Wizard of Oz.

But let's try another book: Among other things, Lost is about colonization. The Others were the natives of the place, while the DHARMA Initiative played the role of colonizers, bringing the modern world to the wild place. Eventually colonizers become natives of a sort, others arrive in the position of colonizers, and a cycle of conflict and cooperation is revisited. One of the more well-known colonial efforts, at least from a Western perspective, was the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts (1620-1691), famous for its scarlet letters and its bloody war with the Wampanoag, Pokanoket, Narraganset, Pequot, and other tribes when the colony expanded too far into native territory.

The Plymouth Colony recorded its own legal guidelines in the 1636 Book of Laws, which was reprinted in 1658, 1672 and 1685. One of the arguments for this being the referenced text from "Cabin Fever" is that law books tend to be hefty; Liber Al is only around 20-some pages long, the book Richard produces is quite a bit larger than that. Among other things, Book of Laws forbade settlers from acquiring land from any natives without prior permission from the General Court; the settlers traded with the natives, and often traded iron goods for land, but they knew if they moved too far into native territory, they risked squeezing out the natives and sparking incursions.

Which is what happened by 1675, when a Wampanoag leader came to power who didn't trust the colonists. His name was Metacomet, but the settlers called him King Philip. Metacomet's father and brother had maintained a certain peace with the settlers for half a century. After Metacomet's brother died under suspicious circumstances, Metacomet came to power and openly mistrusted of the colonists, including their penchant for converting the natives to Christianity. The short of it: As the colonists expanded their territory, word got out that Metacomet may be planning to attack the edges of the newly-acquired land. The person who relayed the message to the colonists, a native Christian convert who also advised Metacomet, was murdered before the claims could be checked out. Three Wampanoags were convicted and subsequently hanged.

In "The Hunting Party," Tom addressed the "misunderstanding" between the Survivors and the Others: "Right here there's a line. You cross that line, we go from misunderstanding to something else." Hanging the three Wampanoags was seen as an assault on native sovereignty, and one of the first New World wars over colonization was on, King Philip's War. In terms of the numbers killed, it was proportionally one of the bloodiest wars in American history. In their book King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict, Eric Schultz and Michael Touglas report that some seven of every eight Native Americans involved, and 35 of every 60 settlers, were killed in the one-year struggle. King Philip's War was effectively a colonial Purge.

By the way, guess who the Greek god of colonization is (hint: He has a candy bar).

(Hang in there; this is all coming back around to Keamy.)

Mirror-twinned counterparts are as prevalent in mythology as in Lost, and mythology forms a good deal of the the connective tissue in the Lost narrative. The Greek and Egyptian cultures interacted for ages, and certain figures from one pantheon shared characteristics with figures from the other pantheon, and over time the figures often merged. Just as Ben and Locke are counterparts, mirroring each other's aptitudes and weaknesses, Apollo had his own similar cognate in the Egyptian god Horus and his own mirrored counterpart in the Greek god Dionysus.

Apollo was associated with the sun, order, harmony, and colonization — colonization, from the point of view of the colonizer, is about forging an order that adheres to a particular worldview. How Apollo becomes associated with a chocolate indulgence is anyone's guess; it's Apollo's counterpart Dionysus who represents indulgence. And just as Apollo has an Egyptian cognate in Horus, so does Dionysus in Horus's father Osiris. Both Dionysus and Osiris were emblems of resurrection, both had similar mystery cults that revolved around a sacrament, and the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus draws a number of other similarities, including their cultivation of wine. Osiris is to Horus as Dionysus is to Apollo; Crowley's Age of Horus, then, is effectively the Age of Apollo.

But for all the order and stability Apollo brings, Dionysus disrupts it through ecstasy and resurrection; Jack tries to be Apollonian and controlling, while Christian is more Dionysian and won't stay dead; in fact, there seems to be a lot of something like resurrection going around, with Christian, Charlie and Claire, and certainly with Mikhail. This Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy can also be read along narrative lines, coordinating entropy with mythology; the flashforward narrative time, heading towards order, would be Apollonian, while the island narrative time, heading towards disorder, would be Dionysian.

Apollo and Horus share one other coincidental link through the Roman poet Horace. As the counter to Dionysian excess, Apollo represented moderation; at his oracle at Delphi, two inscriptions were seen on the walls, "Know Thyself" and the anti-Dionysian golden mean, "Nothing in Excess." Horace was a flippant and ironic poet who liked to give advice in some of his work; he was famous for denying any afterlife, so one had to seize the day, but he deplored excess, so if one is seizing the day, one should do it in moderation. Did I mention Horace played with irony? (Horace the poet may have denied an afterlife, but we have yet to learn if Horace Goodspeed does.)

In his second book of Odes, Horace demonstrates these positions in two concurrent poems to depressives, X and XI. In X, Licinius has been acting out, so Horace tells him "Steer not too boldly to the deep / Nor, fearing storms, by treacherous shore / Too closely creep." In other words, nothing in excess. In XI, however, Quintius is becoming a recluse due to his depressed state, and Horace tells him to get out there and drink up "a life so simple" — seize the day. Ode X would be good advice for Ben, and in the flashback Abaddon basically tells the wheelchair-ridden Locke what Horace tells Quintius; get out there and have a walkabout before you lose your chance.

The coordinates so far: the Dalai Lama, the Book of Laws, Aiwaz, Lam, Oz, Horus, Apollo, Dionysus, Osiris, and Horace (forthcoming: Set, Cerberus, Anubis, Mercury, Mars, Mayans, dogs, birds, and private military companies). Of all these points, Horus may be the most complicated; he represented the daytime sky, had a twin named Set who represented the night sky, his eyes were said to represent the sun and the moon, and he existed in various forms long before Osiris. But over a few thousand years, Horus was assimilated into a pantheon shift where he became Osiris's son and Set's nephew. This shift occurs around the unification of two lands, Upper and Lower Egypt (upper=southern, lower=northern), which is allegorized in the battle between Set and Horus. Similar to Jacob and Esau, and Ben and Widmore, Set challenged Osiris dominion over Upper Egypt. But rather than make a bad bargain with Osiris (as Jacob did with Esau), Set murders him, tears his body to pieces, and scatters the bits around the country. Skip ahead a bit, and Horus is raised in Lower Egypt by his now-mother Isis to avenge this murder, and in a battle with his uncle, Set injured Horus's left eye; that eye became representative of the phases of the moon, while his right eye becomes a symbol of protection:

Eye of Horus

That might be worth keeping in mind when we see the iconic shots of an eye opening (or of Mikhail's missing eye).

In the Egyptian pantheon, Horus's defeat of Set represents the unification of the two parts of the land. We definitely have a Horus figure on the island, a dead mathematician who repeats himself, but a Set figure may be up for grabs. But like the other gods, Set had a Greek counterpart, Typhon (from which we get 'typhoon'), and Typhon had a kid — Cerberus, one of the names for Smokey as seen on the Swan Station blast door wall. In the shifting pantheon, Set is also the father of Anubis, guide of the dead and our guide to Keamy.

Anubis is the canine-headed god who guides the newly-dead through the underworld. Have we seen Vincent lately? Vincent seemed to recognize the newly-dead Christian in one of the mobisodes. But Anubis had a Greek counterpart in Hermes/Mercury (the same), the messenger, trickster, thief, god of boundaries, travelers, luck, and half-sibling to Apollo. Mercury met the newly-dead and helped them over into the afterlife. His name is also the root for merchant and mercenary — and we have our mercenary in Martin Keamy, the traveling death-messenger.

It's been pointed out here and elsewhere that Keamy's last name is a homophone for a Mayan glyph for death, Cimi. The name Martin also derives from Mars, the god of war. Keamy is a quiet, treacherous killer; his cool, detached approach to dealing death echoes the past warlord Mr. Eko (who in some ways mirrored the Cormac McCarthy character Judge Holden from Blood Meridian). Another link back to ancient Mesoamerican cultures comes by way of dogs; just as the canine-headed Anubis (cognate of Mercury) guides people into the afterlife, the dogs themselves do the guiding in Mesoamerican mythologies. It could get interesting if Keamy ever meets Vincent.

Keamy's tattoos have sparked some interweb chatter. The actor, Kevin Durand, came with the tattoos, but we've already seen how Matthew Fox's pre-Lost tattoos were worked into Jack's biography. Durand had the bear claw/snake/compass tattoo at least by his 2007 role as an assassin in the film Smokin' Aces, and the interweb lore is that Kevin got the bird tattoo — a Native American symbol he called it — on his own.

The discussion around the bear claw/snake/compass tat is that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the controversial private military company, Blackwater International; Keamy's tattoo has the colors reversed, a more elaborate compass surrounding the bear claw, and of course the snake in the middle (Ben has already mentioned Keamy's work for mercenary organizations in Uganda).

If you search the web for ancient Native American thunderbird petroglyphs, you'll see images that are pretty similar to Keamy/Durand's bird tattoo, including some with the split tail. But the bird tattoo, could pose an interesting narrative possibility.

Keamy is beyond anything else a predator. The bird outline on his shoulder most closely resembles a swallow, because of the split tail. Swallows are hardly deadly, but one species of predatory raptor has a similar tail, the swallow-tailed kite. There are two branches of this species, one prevalent in Central and South America, and one found in Africa, including Guatemala (where the Mayan come from) and Uganda (where Keamy worked as a mercenary). Consider the motifs of twins, pairings, and counterparts: A 1997 study of Guatemalan swallow-tailed kites found they only lay two eggs at a time, and the older, larger chic always kills its sibling. Will Keamy get a flashback/flashforward? If so, it will be interesting to see if he had a sibling, and if he killed that sibling on his path to becoming death for hire.

Finally, "Cabin Fever" was an episode about how Locke was exceptionally special, perhaps with a capacity to out-lead Ben. At one point Ben thinks Locke psyched Hurley into continuing on through the jungle, but Locke denies it: "I'm not you." "You're certainly not." (Of course we have seen Locke pull a Ben Brain Bender when he got Sawyer to kill Cooper, much as Ben got Sayid to become a killer for him.) There have been three episodes about the exceptionality of certain figures: one on Walt (season one, "Special"), one on Ben (season three, "The Man Behind the Curtain"), and one on Locke (season four, "Cabin Fever"). Locke and Walt shared a particular connection that isn't really there between Ben and Locke (or presumably Ben and Walt). Narratively, "Cabin Fever" and "Special" are linked as the only two episodes where a person is hit by a car and survives, and they both happen to be parents (Michael and Emily). What's more, "Cabin Fever" was episode 11 of season four, 411; "Special" was episode 14 of season one, 114.

411 | 114

Even the episode numbers are mirror twins of each other.

We'll get an entirely new take on twins soon enough, when we find out more about the Orchid Station and how there were two Dr. Ray's hanging around at the same time, one dead on the island and one on the freighter.

(A storm blew out power and satellite connection on Thursday night, so I wasn't able to see the episode until late Friday/early Saturday; I and mother nature apologize for the lateness.)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Classics) Used Trade Paper $2.95
  2. Tibetan Book of the Dead Used Trade Paper $7.50
  3. An Essay Concerning Human... New Trade Paper $17.00
  4. The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel... New Hardcover $22.95
  5. The Wizard of Oz (the Wonderful... New Trade Paper $7.25
  6. King Philip's War: The History and... Used Trade Paper $11.00



  7. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening...
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  8. The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual...
    Used Trade Paper $12.50


J. Wood is the author of Living Lost: Why We're All Stuck on the Island

97 Responses to "Lost: 411 | 114"

  1.  
    sosolost May 12th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Brain-bending and thought-provoking as always (worth the wait!).

    Wanted to note that the "symbol of protection" (Horace's right eye) is similar to the scar on Locke's right eye.

    That injury occured during the crash - was he "marked" for protection from the island, Others, etc.???

  2.  
    Bhoutros May 12th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I'm not worthy.......

  3.  
    Ginny May 12th, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Wow...I am definitely going to have to read this one several times! I agree that this was worth the wait. Great job as always, J. I'm not sure what I have to say yet, but will try again after I re-read. Thanks!

  4.  
    LennyP May 12th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Your post was worth the wait as always. I wonder about the accuracy of Locke's description of the message he got in the cabin; recall that when Eko died, Locke said (to Sayid, I think) that Eko's last words were "we're next," when Eko would more logically have said "You're next," a statement that could have been in the second person singular or the second person plural (either way, Eko appears to have been wrong about who the smoke monster would go after next). Why suspect that Locke got this wrong (as Jack appears to misinterpret what he should so with the sat phone Lapidus drops from the copter)? Hurely tells Jack in the season opener that he's sorry that he went with Locke; Hurley's going to New Otherton with Locke has not yet seemed to have any downside for the Oceanic survivors; perhaps he refers to going with Locke to the cabin, and Locke's emergence from it with his (mistaken) mission (although Locke comes to find the cabin without Hurley's help, so perhaps his guilt is not rationally related to a consequence he actually caused as opposed to choosing the wrong side).

  5.  
    Doctor Slop May 12th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Many people seem to think that the idea of a libertine “Abey of Thelema” (a sort of anti- monastery, literally an abbey of desire) and the motto, “Do what thou wilt” originated with Crowley in Egypt in 1904 during the automatic writing episode. However, the Abey of Thelema and the motto go back Rabelais and the 16th century. Rabelais devotes the last six chapters of the book “Gargantua” (from “Gargantua and Pantagruel”) to describing the construction, and customs of the Abey of Thelma, an anti-monastery that Gargantua causes to be built for the warrior-monk Brother John as a reward for his service in a senseless war in which Gargantua became entangled. The motto of the Abbey was “Do What Thou Wilt.” (M.A. Screech translation). That being said, and admitting that I’m a much bigger fan of Rabelais than of Crowley, I think that the 1636 Plymouth Colony “Book of Laws” is closer to the mark than Crowley’s book.

    I laughed out loud when Alpert showed up beaming at the infant Locke in the maternity ward. Is the non-aging Alpert based, perhaps, on some legendary immortal such as “the wandering jew” (see wikipedia)?

  6.  
    KWeed May 12th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Apollo had a twin sister, Artemis.

    If Jack is Apollo, is Claire Artemis?

    Apollo is associated with the sun, Artemis with the moon.

    Just found it interesting...

  7.  
    Annie May 12th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Great read, as always. Lots to chew on! Thanks.

    While watching the scene in which Horace cuts down the same tree again and again, I was struck by how similar it was to the scene in Star Wars, when a holograph Princess Leia delivers her plea; 'Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope'; her message repeats itself again and again. Are we to deduce from this that Locke's dream was machinge generated, as was the holograph? Or was this simply a nod to Goerge Lucas? Or is it nothing?

  8.  
    Leah May 12th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    With these last couple of episodes and the resulting talk about the similarities between Ben and Locke, it's making me think back to Locke's first encounters with Ben (Henry Gale) in the hatch. At some point, once Ben was uncovered, Locke asked him why he was out in the jungle anyway, and he says he was on his way to get Locke. At the time you don't know what to believe…. I've wondered why Ben would be out in the jungle, alone, and how he could have gotten caught in one of Rousseau's traps, which had been there who knows how long. Now I wonder if he got caught on purpose, to make his story more believable? With Ben, it seems like he takes a lot of risks, and things always seem to turn in his favor. If he was trying to get discovered by the losties, getting caught in Danielle's trap doesn't seem to me the most efficient way to do that. I also can't imagine it was an accident.

    When Ben is in the hatch, he sticks around when he could have escaped, and helped Locke when there was a close call with the computer/numbers. Mind games aside, what was he doing? Maybe he was assessing Locke in his own way before leading him to the Others? Was it his idea to “go get” Locke, or someone else's? Alpert's? Speaking of Alpert, do you suppose Locke recognizes Alpert from his childhood encounter? After all, he looks exactly the same.

    And what about Abaddon? Is he, like the psychic with Claire, anticipating that the plane will crash on the island, so he tells Locke to go on a walkabout? There seem to be too many variable factors (not to mention huge scope) for this all to be orchestrated by a person or group of people.

    As far as Locke being like Ben, I see a distinct difference in the way Locke deals with people as opposed to Ben. Locke, after all, could not personally kill his father (who had tried to kill him), while Ben killed his own father in cold blood. And remember it wasn't Locke’s idea to use Sawyer to kill his dad (Richard Alpert gave him the file; before that he didn't know the connection with Sawyer. He didn't trick Sawyer into killing his dad; Sawyer had waited his whole life to do that—he just gave him the opportunity. And with Hurley—I think Locke cares about Hurley and honestly wanted to give him the chance to leave, not manipulating him as Ben insinuates. Ben is trying to show Locke that he is no better than Ben. Locke points out he's “not like” Ben, which Ben affirms, probably thinking that he is stronger or more capable than Locke. Do you think there is any significance in Ben calling him John while everyone else calls him Locke?

    Another interesting thing: as a child, Locke wasn't “supposed” to choose the knife, but when he comes to the camp of the Others, his first “test” is to sacrifice his father. It would seem voilence is not his destiny from the childhood test, yet, he is pressured into violence to be accepted by the Others. (And then Alpert gives him the way to get around his daddy test).

    And what's up with creepy Claire hanging out in the pitch dark cabin with Christian? Is she dead? I would tend to think she isn't, but then why would she be there, and why would she leave Aaron in the woods?

  9.  
    Four Leaf Clover May 12th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I am totally not buying Ben's whole passive, cede-the-leadership-role-to-Locke thing. No doubt Locke has been chosen, but as we know, Ben is always multiple steps ahead of everyone else (although Alex's death was completely unforeseen). Still, as we saw in "The Shape of Things to Come," Ben is one of the alpha males, regardless of what Locke accomplishes. I bet Ben will somehow find a way to manipulate Locke to serve and forward his agenda.

    Also, Alpert walked in on Locke toying around with a backgammon set, which brings to mind the pilot where Locke briefly explains the game to Walt.

  10.  
    Four Leaf Clover May 12th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    typo *unforeseen* oops

  11.  
    thewoodstove May 12th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Great analysis, as always. Any thoughts on Abbadon's appearance this week?

  12.  
    Liz May 12th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks so much for your great blog, J.! I was so glad to see it up today, and realize it's become a necessary part of the Lost experience for me!

    One comment, though, on the movement of action in the flash forwards ("The flashforwards are also working their way backwards, so the flashforwards earlier in the season occurred later in the narrative time of the off-island Oceanic Six, and those flashes are working their way back to when they first made it off the island.") I'm not sure this is the case. In episode 1, season 4, Hurley, newly arriving at the mental hospital, first sees dead/ghost Charlie on the bench. In "Something Nice Back Home," Hurley has been seeing Charlie for quite some time now, apparently. So episode 10's flash-forwards appear to be later in the narrative time than episode 1's. What say ye?

  13.  
    Epiphany May 12th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Wow, That was another awe-inspiring analysis, and I feel smarter for having read it. I looked up the Dalai Lama ritual with the belongings, and I noticed that there was also a part that was reminiscent of Joan of arc and her recognition of the real Dauphin. Makes me wonder if either Locke or Walt will be called upon to point out the true leader of the "others" eventually. It also makes you imagine all kinds of tests they must have been administering to Walt as well.

  14.  
    Lesley May 12th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Absolutely worth the wait. Thanks J for the best analysis of a mind bending episode. So many parellels and twimmings it was hard to keep track. How disturbing was Claire in Jacob's place? Is the island protecting her? Has she made a rite of passage of some kind? And interesting to note that another son is now separated from his mother. Also, it seems like we need reconciliaion of Jacob's need for help and the sudden enlisting of Christian and company. I expect the finale will soon give us much to ponder in the coming months!

  15.  
    bksllr May 12th, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    did anyone else catch the inside of high school Locke's locker? Geronimo Jackson, the same as the shirt the under cover cop was wearing in the episode furthur instructions.

  16.  
    chinadoll May 12th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Definitely worth the wait! I also thought of Locke's scar, sosolost. And had a quick flash of memory of Vincent pulling the blanket off Nikki and Paolo's bodies---HE knew they weren't dead...

    Thanks, J.!

  17.  
    Orpheus May 12th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I was wondering when someone would get around to talking about the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead' (Bardol Thodol). That book popped into my mind during the first season amid the whole Purgatory theorizing. I figured it was a richer tapestry and I think it fits in well with the b-directionality or the overlapping time lines and the conflicts of Lost.

    Actually you might say the Bardol Thodol is less about what happens after you die as it is about what happens before you are reborn. The text primarily deals with the transitional Bardo states--these states that are outside the physical plane after death but the real direction of the book is about the return to bodiliness not about the after death state and how one gets there or even if there is a something waiting. It is already posited as true. Now the real trick is to transcend and move to the deathless state of Nirvana or be cast back into the realm of Samsara or the wheel of life and to be reborn. Sound familiar?

    I think Lost could be in that state itself. Some people trying to get off the "island", some people already keenly aware of the context in which they are in and who want to remain on the "island". There's the ever changing context of where you have been, where you are, and where you might up and direction is not at all clear. And you had better make the right decisions in those brief opportunistic moments or your fate is to repeat it all over again.

    Great recap though. Brilliant. You even managed to get A.C. and Yeats in. Amazing.

  18.  
    Paul Orentas May 12th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Fascinating analysis again.

    I have a question - The name of John Locke's rehab center was "Delerue".

    Do you think this refers directly to French film score composer Georges Delerue? (Stay with me to see the connection.)

    Delerue, like John Locke, suffered a debilitating accident in his youth which left him immobile for a time. During that period he "discovered" that he was not a pianist, rather was meant to be a composer.

    During his career he composed music for films, operas, etc. for many of France's greatest modern writers & playwrights. His big break came when he met Boris Vian (The Chevalier de Neige or the "Snow Knight") and Eugene Ionesco who wrote La Lecon or "The Lesson." This play deals with a tragic confrontation between a teacher and his student, basically the dynamics between ability and knowledge (like Ben and Locke?)

    If this reference is accurate it opens up a line of thought since Delerue is directly tied to the French theatrical movement called "Le Théâtre de l'Absurde" or The Theater of the Absurd.

    Theater of the Absurd developed as an avant-garde movement. The ultimate was in the artful use of chaos while maintaining a well defined structure within the chaos. Lewis Carroll was certainly classified as an absurd nonsensical poet and served as a precursor to the movement.

    Ionesco also used petaphysics in his plays. Petaphysics is the "science of imaginary solutions" attributed to Alfred Jarry.

    Often characters in absurdist dramas face a world where science and logic have abandoned them (clearly science is different on the island). Plots feature interdependent pairs whose relationship shifts throughout the plot.
    One common theme for an absurdist plot is to be trapped in repetition (the button) or characters find themselves trapped in a story that is already written. Often times the plots are cyclical - where the end of the story is the first line of the story - (remember "We need to go back").

    Just seemed like the name was significant as nothing is ever left to chance in LOST.

    P.O.

  19.  
    rafa May 12th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Great review J,

    A couple of points;

    Is it posible that Widmore “changing the rules” led to Richard Alpert changing the past??

    The drawing made by young Locke seems like Ben's point of view when Present-day Locke awakes from meeting Horace in his dream. The smoke being from the camp and Locke in the ground (with no hair as in the drawing).

    In the same thought, maybe that is what made Richard so angry when young Locke picks the knife, he was still the same as before his visit.


    Other thing, when high school Locke comes out from the locker, he's bleeding from the left nostril, which seems to be the same side as other time travelers (Horace, Mikowsk...)

  20.  
    Jeffrey May 12th, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Great analysis, J.

    I was struck by how the Alpert visit to John in the foster home resembled the Christopher Walken scene in "Pulp Fiction" regarding the watch. Not only is it a twinning of "time" but "Pulp Fiction" when it came out was one of the earliest mainstream films to really mess with the viewer by way of jumbled flashbacks. As with Butch's watch, John can't escape that fickle bitch of destiny.
    And here was another episode featuring a game - backgammon - which is one of the oldest and probably the best example of a game involving luck AND strategy.
    Also, could this Emily be Ben's mother as well?

  21.  
    Jeffrey May 12th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Per Wiki, backgammon might be based on the ancient Egyptian game senet which was used as a talisman for the journey of the dead. Senet is mentioned in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And sometimes a successful player was under the protection of a particular god - incl. Osiris.

  22.  
    Jeffrey May 12th, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    And lastly, sorry:

    This business with time ("Pulp Fiction's watch) reminds me of the Mad Hatter but also of the pop-cultural urban legend of linking up "The Wizard of Oz" with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" (pyramid symbol Horus' left eye) with the "Lost" obsessed themes of "Time", "Money", and of course "Us and Them".

  23.  
    DS9Sisko May 13th, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Mr. Wood,

    Brilliant, brilliant analysis as always. But I have one suggestion about the mysterious "Book of Laws":

    What if the explanation for that particular tome is that the "Book of Laws" is a stand-in for all religious texts (The Bible, the Koran, The Torah, etc) which are all, each and every one, books of law for the faithful.

    And guides toward enlightenment.

    Since Locke is the designated Man of Faith, the Book of Laws it would be the item that Alpert would expect Locke to choose.

    And by rejecting the Book of Laws (faith) and therefore rejecting enlightenment, Locke's choice of the knife is a choice toward barbarism and unenlightenment. And Alpert can not have that. In most major religions, males are presumed to be able to come to some sort of decision about their religious/faith-based training at an early age. Pre-adolescents in many cases; just out of toddlerdom for others. Still others into their teen years.

    Alpert's test administered to Locke was done at the right time in the age of children for BOTH or EITHER religious instruction or scientific study. Six of one, a half dozen of the other.

    Are Science and Faith (capital S, capital F) the true mirror twins of the Lost narrative?

  24.  
    janet in venice May 13th, 2008 at 3:19 am

    i've been wanting to post this somewhere, this might as well be it: Aaron is the first person to be natively born on the Island in a long time. the most ancient worship in human history was not of God or the Gods, or even of The Sun, but of one's ancestors, by whose care, wisdom, strangth, knowledge, will, work and all else, one owes one's life to in the present. ancestors aren't theoretical, they're factual. unlike imaginary god[s], ones life is hard proof that they existed and deserve to be profoundly regarded, otherwise oneself wouldnt be here today.
    if the island is to be taken as a primeval outpost of terribly ancient lineage, the ancestors would doubtless be its original objects of worship. there has been a lot of speculation about who is Jacob? and who can see him? why can Locke hear him but not see him? why is Christian Shepherd appearing in his chair? or to vincent? to claire? to jack? and even to Hurley???
    answer: christian is de facto the ancestor of the first native to be born on the island in a very long time. of jack, of claire, but particularly of aaron. I'm thinking that if Ben, Locke and even Walt are supposed to be "special', they're going to be nothing compared to AAron IF he remained with claire and grew up on the Island, under the spirit guidance of christian, the new Jacob. Christian IS an ancestor now, having passed across the veil into death and going to join those Who've Gone Before, so it makes sense that he would appear to his children and grandchildren when they need him or when he knows something they need.
    I suspect that Jacob was a foregoing ancestor of someone else among the Others, possibly of the last previous person who was born on the Island before Aaron was. with aaron's being born, Jacob's time moves back and Christian becomes the newest ancestor who can 'sit on the throne', so to speak. he has the most progeny on the island now. his living son is a leader who many follow, his living daughter has successfully birthed and nurtured the first living native on the island in many years: of COURSE this gives christian the most status among the ancestors!!!! of Course jacob would move aside, and let a better man have his spot.

  25.  
    faramir73 May 13th, 2008 at 5:37 am

    I assumed the *Book of Laws* Alpert showed to John to be Baha'i religion's sacred text. The idea of a link with Aleister Crowley is anyway very interesting, given my theory about the Island being the realm of Extreme Free Will, as opposed to the outside world, enslaved by time and space. Do what thou wilt, the devilish nature of Crowley, the possible fall of an angelic Ben in front of a goddish Widmore: this makes sense...

  26.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 13th, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Locke's eye -- that's a fantastic connection. It is a symbol of protection, and Locke has been well-protected on the island. Here's a pic of his scar.

  27.  
    shannon May 13th, 2008 at 5:52 am

    I've read on another Lost related site (Eye M Sick Blog) about how smokey might be related to the Egyptian god Khonsu (there may be another spelling for it.) This god is associated with protection, male fertility and other Lost related themes. I did some quick Wiki searches on the Book of Laws and Thelema-Khonsu was mentioned in them. My head is really starting to hurt!!!This is why you can't have a quick general conversation about Lost with the public. I love this site and I have your book. Are you planning on publishing another book with these posts and other info?

  28.  
    shannon May 13th, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Sorry! I went back and looked and I don't think I got the Khonsu connection from the Eye M Sick blog and to be honest I can't remember who first brought it up but it sure is interesting.

  29.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 13th, 2008 at 6:15 am

    If Locke is developed as a Horus-type figure, I wonder if Ben will end up as the Set-type figure. If so, Locke could become the person to unify the Others and the Survivors (if they're tracking the Egyptian myth that closely).

  30.  
    gator108 May 13th, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Another great recap. Thanks J.

  31.  
    Leigh May 13th, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Thanks again for the blog - always great!
    Totally off the subject: I know I'm mildly obsessed with the freighter's name, but but has anyone else noticed that it has changed back to "Kahana?"

  32.  
    Rey May 13th, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Is the Mystery Tales comic book real? It may be a good idea to read it (or get a summary of it)to check for any parallels in the stories.

  33.  
    Andrew Huff May 13th, 2008 at 8:18 am

    One slight correction on the Dalai Lama--he's actually considered a Bodhisattva, who is someone who has acheived enlightment and could enter nirvana/escape samsara (realm of rebirth), but instead remains in samsara to help others reach enlightment.

  34.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 13th, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I know there's some comments in the queue, like one considering that the Book of Laws may be the Bahai book. (If you're familiar with the Bahai faith, please comment.)

    Something that occurred to me about Horace Goodspeed's appearance: He showed up in Locke's dream. When he died his nose was bleeding from the gas, but it's also a feature of people bopping around time, like Minkowski. Doc Jensen wondered if the nosebleed meant Goodspeed was traveling forward to warn Locke of something (which would introduce some paradox questions).

    But don't the Australian aborigines talk about the dead/ancestors still existing in the Dreamtime? As I understand it, the Dreamtime is sort of like an analog to IM's or forums on the internet, where people can communicate from any time and place.

    This isn't particular to Australia, either. I know the aborigines talk about the universe being created in the Dreaming; the Kalahari bushmen talk about how there is always a dream dreaming us; and in Hinduism, doesn't Vishnu dream the universe into existence? If this is the case (meaning this is the set of texts that Lost is kicking around), then maybe dreaming is a sort of sea of detached, non-local consciousness where people can interact, no matter what their status is in regular old stuffy spacetime.

  35.  
    Born of FIre May 13th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    An interesting note about dreams as they might relate to the upcoming finale, titled "There's No Place Like Home," which is, as you pointed out, yet another obvious nod to the Wizard of Oz. The point of interest to me is that while in the original Wizard of Oz book, all of Dorothy's adventures are 100% real, while the film adaptation changes the ending so that it's all a dream. While Cuse and Lindelof have taken a firm stance against any of kind of ending that would discredit the reality of what takes place on the island (such as it all being a dream), these numerous allusions to Oz does make one wonder what kind of significance dreams DO have for the show.

  36.  
    Nathalie May 13th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Locke's insistence on choosing the knife, obviously against Alpert's wishes, reminded me of the episode "Further Instructions." In that episode Locke focuses on the sweat lodge visions that tell the person inside if he is a farmer or a hunter. At the end Locke insistes to undercover cop Eddie that he is a hunter, even though Eddie says Locke is a farmer.

    Is Locke stuck in (yet another) loop of trying to be something he's not?

    Or do you think it could be possible that Locke was supposed to select the knife and Alpert's anger was part of the test, to see if Locke would change his mind when faced with adult disapproval.

  37.  
    Leah May 13th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I found it strange that there was a comic book in the pile of stuff alpert brought to young Locke. Like that song, "one of these things is not like the others," all of the other objects seemed very old: the book, the knife, the compass, container (of sand? though the age was hard to tell). but the comic book was modern to Locke... do you think Alpert stopped off at the store to buy that one to throw Locke off (a red herring)? Anyway, the cover is really interesting, but a comic book didn't seem to belong.

    Also, with Locke's dream of Horace this week I can't help but think of his dream about Boone in season 1. Before the accident, he dreamed a bloody Boone pointing to the sky where a plane was crashing onto the island, and talking about his childhood nanny. Locke followed his dream, but all that really accomplished was Boone's death and a stash of drugs for Charlie to almost relapse with. Similarly, this dream led him to the cabin, and it remains to be seen whether anything beneficial will come of it. As of yet, I don't see any point to Locke's dreams, weird as they are.

  38.  
    Liza May 13th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    J. – when you spoke of the Survivors taking on the role of the Others in their current situation (defending their defacto island from its invaders) it reminded me of another book of laws (actually 7 commandments written on a barn). The animals revolted because they were appalled by the human’s behavior, they would never be like them. But as we all know that is not how things turned out. “No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.". Orwell/Animal Farm.

    What if the island has pulled in a series of castaways (the Black Rock Crew, Rousseau’s crew, flight 815) who have always had to battle whoever was there first, but then end up just assimilating to their surroundings and basically becoming the same as the natives they just battled. Maybe the island has been looking for the right group of people to inhabit the island – to be their own people, not to just be an updated pig version of the man who was already there. Do we know how the DaGroots and Hanso find the island to begin with? What if the island has been auditioning inhabitants to be the rightful dwellers, finding a few here and there; like Richard and Ben, maybe even Desmond, but none of them who could be the Lama, until now, until they finally got Locke.

  39.  
    Perelandra May 13th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    The bardo state and the TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD figure prominently in Philip K. Dick's novel UBIK. It's a Klein bottle situation where there are two groups of characters, each alive in their own reality but dead with respect to the other. Some mediumistic communication is possible between the groups and each can affect the other.

    Phil Dick, of course, wrote VALIS, which has been read by Ben and Locke.

  40.  
    sosolost May 13th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Re Locke/Ben:

    I keep seeing parallels w/ the Biblical story of Jacob (who, btw, had a twin Esau who was tricked by Jacob out of his birthright) and his sons -- the 12 tribes of Isreal.

    Jacob's 2 youngest sons, Joseph & Benjamin, shared a mother (Rachel), who died in childbirth with Benjamin.

    Joseph was best loved by Jacob (recall the brainwashing clip: "Jacob loves you as God loves you" or something similar). Joseph's brothers were jealous and threw him in a pit and left him for dead. He was rescued by "shepherds" and went on to become an
    Egyptian leader.

    Another reason his brothers hated him and also one of reasons he became a leader is because he had prophetic dreams and interpretted dreams.

    So... I think it's possible that Ben/Locke are brothers and that Ben knows Locke is the
    true heir of the island but will not give up/go quietly nor make it easy for Locke to understand that and reach that role. Locke is just now coming to understand his role.

    I also think it's possible that Ben is somehow responsible for the deaths of the unborn babies on the island -- another "purge" if you will because there's some kind of ancient island prophesy that a child born on the island will come to power/lead/etc. (Much like King Herod killed all male babies because he was threatened by the prophecy of a "king" being born -- Jesus.) Somehow it wasn't forseen that the child born on the island would be from a mother not of/from/already on the island.

    If we're going to toss around Greek, Hindu, etc. mythology, I think we may as well throw the Bible into the mix too.

    I feel like I need to go back and re-read my Joseph Campbell books!

  41.  
    Kyle May 13th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    We're also getting back into John the Baptist territory, with the paradigm of two men both being destined for greatness, but only one being the true savior. I've been playing with this over at thelostcommunity.blogspot, and like the dynamic of Locke=John the Baptist, Ben=Herod, and either Charlie or Aaron=Jesus.

  42.  
    lostone May 13th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Did anyone else notice the tie-dyed shirt that Horace was wearing under his Dharma jumper? I reminded me of the shirt that Hurley gave Desmond in Season 3 when Desmond was running around naked after time traveling. And with the loopy nature of that scene, maybe this is a shout-out to the time travel connection.

  43.  
    Bill May 13th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    An observation and a two part question.

    The comparison to the "selection" of the Dali Lama, if followed consistently would mean that the items would have belonged to Locke's predecessor (Jacob?) not to Locke himself.

    Were not Locke and Ben born at approximately the time the Island babies die (along with their mothers)? Is Ben behind the deaths because he knows the "chosen one" will not go to full term?

  44.  
    Nathalie May 13th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Yeah but I really don't buy Ben's statement that the island and Jacob have a new favorite now. Look at Ben in the flash forwards. Does he seem like someone not in control of everything? Hardly. His "stepping aside" is just another mind game for Locke.

  45.  
    Leah May 13th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I'm really into sosolost's Bible speculation: it makes a lot of sense from what we've seen so far. Also, the writers recently told us to "keep reading the Bible" when asked what literature to look to in reference to the show.

    Another King who killed all of the (male) babies was Pharoah when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Moses was the one who slipped through the cracks, raised by Pharoah's daughter as her own (like Alex was raised by Ben?). Moses was left by his mother in a basket made of grass (like Aaron was left by his mother in the leaves?), and he became the "savior" of his people. I don't see this going 20 years into the future, when Aaron is old enough to fight Ben or Jacob or whoever, though. And another brother duo: Aaron was Moses's older brother, and his mouthpiece to Pharoah.

    I do like the Joseph/Benjamin parallel, though Benjamin wasn't one of the "bad" brothers in the biblical story. (He was special like Joseph, because he was born of Rachel, thought to be barren).

    Also, Christian as the ancestor is an interesting idea, but the last baby to be born on the island that we know of, wasn't long ago: it was Alex. But maybe Ben's taking Alex and adopting her has his own was his way of claiming himself as the "ancestor" of a baby born on the island. Now that Danielle is dead, maybe we'll see her again.....

  46.  
    Gio May 13th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I'm not sure if you intended this to be implicit in what you were saying about Keamy having a sibling. But did you not think that Gault (or whoever the guy's name that Keamy shot) beared a close resemblance to Keamy himself. To the extent that I keep on getting them mixed up actually.

  47.  
    Joe Hogan May 13th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    As you can see, J, there is great relief that we have a new fix of J. Wood to help digest our weekly dose of Lost. And an another thought provoking one, as usual. It was getting scary out here. Some were even beginning to post Grand Unification Theories of Lost to fill the space. Oh, the horror.

    Let me throw out one random thought that struck me while viewing, "Cabin Fever". The amusing scene showing Hugo and Ben sitting and sharing an Apollo Bar put me in mind of Vladimir and Estragon sitting and sharing some vegetables while they do their famously endless waiting for M. Godot. I like to think that the writers enjoy throwing us this kind of reference from time to time. In this contect, Locke then can be seen as our Godot du jour.

    Here are few lines,from shortly before the shared vegetables, that resonate with our Lost friends:

    VLADIMIR:
    Let's wait and see what he says.
    ESTRAGON:
    Who?
    VLADIMIR:
    Godot.
    ESTRAGON:
    Good idea.
    VLADIMIR:
    Let's wait till we know exactly how we stand.
    ESTRAGON:
    On the other hand it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes.
    VLADIMIR:
    I'm curious to hear what he has to offer. Then we'll take it or leave it.
    ESTRAGON:
    What exactly did we ask him for?
    VLADIMIR:
    Were you not there?
    ESTRAGON:
    I can't have been listening.
    VLADIMIR:
    Oh . . . Nothing very definite.
    ESTRAGON:
    A kind of prayer.
    VLADIMIR:
    Precisely.
    ESTRAGON:
    A vague supplication.
    VLADIMIR:
    Exactly.
    ESTRAGON:
    And what did he reply?
    VLADIMIR:
    That he'd see.
    ESTRAGON:
    That he couldn't promise anything.
    VLADIMIR:
    That he'd have to think it over.
    ESTRAGON:
    In the quiet of his home.
    VLADIMIR:
    Consult his family.
    ESTRAGON:
    His friends.
    VLADIMIR:
    His agents.
    ESTRAGON:
    His correspondents.
    VLADIMIR:
    His books.
    ESTRAGON:
    His bank account.
    VLADIMIR:
    Before taking a decision.
    ESTRAGON:
    It's the normal thing.
    VLADIMIR:
    Is it not?
    ESTRAGON:
    I think it is.
    VLADIMIR:
    I think so too.

  48.  
    cindee May 13th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Is there any reason that John's mother, Emily, and Ben's mother, Emily couldn't be the same Emily? Could they be half brothers? Am I missing some important details that disallows for that to be the case? Help me out here.

  49.  
    sosolost May 13th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Kyle -- "like the dynamic of Locke=John the Baptist, Ben=Herod, and either Charlie or Aaron=Jesus."

    I actually was thinking along these lines as well.
    (From almost the beginning of Lost though, I’ve been afraid that, at some point, Locke will be a Judas – most likely conned/tricked into that role. I hope not but am a little afraid that might be going on right now w/ various “guiding” him this way and that – Richard, Abbadon, Ben, Christian – who’s on what side??)

    Bill -- "Is Ben behind the deaths because he knows the “chosen one” will not go to full term?"

    A definite possibility! A friend of mine suggested "Someone/some force is arranging "Island babies" being born off the Island...since all babies born on the Island are killed."

    Nathalie – I agree re Ben; he is not going to give up power easily or any time soon!

    Leah – lots of good thoughts!

  50.  
    Elizabeth May 13th, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    As far as the Book of Laws, check back in the episode in Season 2 called What Kate did.

    Here is a transcript of a conversation between Eko and Locke discussing the Book of Law:




    LOCKE: Hello again.

    EKO: Hello. I have something I think you should see. If you don't mind, I will begin at the beginning. Long before Christ the king of Judah was a man named Josiah.

    LOCKE: Boy when you say beginning, you mean beginning.

    EKO: At that time the temple where the people worshipped was in ruin. And so the people worshipped idols, false gods. And so the kingdom was in disarray. Josiah, since he was a good king, sent his secretary to the treasury and said: "We must rebuild the temple. Give all of the gold to the workers so that this will be done." But when the secretary returned, he had no gold. And when Josiah asked why this was the secretary replied, "We found a book." Do you know this story?

    LOCKE: No, I'm afraid I don't.

    EKO: What the secretary had found was an ancient book -- the Book of Law. You may know it as the Old Testament. And it was with that ancient book, not with the gold, that Josiah rebuilt the temple. On the other side of the island we found a place much like this, and in this place we found a book. [Eko unwraps the book and pushes it toward Locke] I believe what's inside there will be of great value to you.

    [Locke opens the book. A square has been cut out, and inside is a piece of film.]

  51.  
    Paul May 13th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Re: whether or not Ben is in control. One thing that seems to work against this possibility is that future Ben seems driven more by anger than by anything else. He primary motivation, as indicated in The Shape of Things to Come, is the desire to avenge Alex's death by killing Penelope.

    Another datum: it seems clear after Cabin Fever that Locke was chosen to defend the island insofar as Richard (and Jacob) had their eyes on Locke for a very long time. Note further that Locke has confronted the possibility of death many times on the island and survived unscathed - his first meeting with the monster; his inability to ascend to where the plane was, sending Boone in his stead; the hatch implosion; Ben's bullet; the attack on the barracks by the mercenaries. Destiny may indeed be fickle, but it seems that Ben's usefulness to the island has played out, while Locke still has much work to do. Recall how shocked Ben was when he say Locke in Through the Looking Glass. Yes, it was shocking to see Locke had survived, but Ben may have been especially surprised because he knew at a more basic level that Locke was the favored son.

    Someone mentioned earlier that Keamy seemed to flinch before executing Alex - I noticed the same thing as well and found it odd that a trained killer would betray a moment of remorse or doubt. I suspect that there is more to Keamy's situation then meets the eye. With all the in-season focus on Charlotte, Danielle, Miles, Frank, and Abaddon, I like how the producers have gradually eased Keamy into the position of chief antagonist.

  52.  
    Leah May 13th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Elizabeth: I knew there was some reason that title was nagging at me: the first thing I thought was Old Testament (there are 5 books of the law within the old testament), but I couldn't put my finger on why that was more prominent in Lost than any of the other "Books of Laws" that others have come up with. Thank you for bringing this out.

  53.  
    KWeed May 13th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Has anyone noticed that the bone structure of Alpert's and Abaddon's faces is remarkably similar (mirror twins)?

    http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Image:AbaddonInstitute.JPG

    http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Image:AlpertRich.jpg

    The two are like yin and yang. Despite the obvious - one is white, one black - Alpert appears to be good (pro-Island), while Abaddon evil (pro-Freighties).

    The real-life Dr. Richard Alpert traveled to India, where he was given his Hindu spiritual name "Ram Dass", which translates as "Servant of God".

    "Abaddon" is the name of the biblical Angel of the Abyss (Revelation 9:11). The name is also Greek for "destruction" or "the destroyer".

    P.S. Isn't the whole purpose of this blog to analyze and hypothesize? Maybe Joe Hogan should stifle his ego or he'll end up with a tumor on his spine, too. I'm just sayin'...

  54.  
    Ginny May 13th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Alex was born on the island 16 years ago...and what about Karl? He was the only young "other" we have seen besides Alex. And now they are both dead? Maybe...or has the island sacrificed them for some reason. Because Aaron is now the descendent of the orginal islanders to take over?

    And the scene Horace walking in circles repeating himself and chopping down the same tree reminded me of the scene from A Christams Carol when the Ghost of the Present repeats his introduction to Scrooge several times as he walks around Scrooge in a circle.

    I think Kearny and his rambo group are not part of the fantastic 4 and obviously were not sent to the island for the same reasons. I even wonder of they were sent by someone else other than Abbadon and that he was not aware of them. Remember Naomi arguing with the helicopter pilot after they boarded the boat. I don't think her group knew of Kearney and their group or their purpose. So it makes me wonder if Kearny was sent by someone else?

  55.  
    23skidoo May 13th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I'm wondering if by "move the island," Locke means to move the island in spacetime. There are a lot of "Lost" theories floating around about time looping (and Locke's dream would seem to support this notion). Such theories, if accurate, would explain quite a lot. First and foremost, it would explain why some people — Ben, Widmore, Abbadon, Alpert — have foreknowledge of what is to happen years in the future. I also wonder if the O6 won't be able to get back to the island because it won't be in their present time anymore.

    And yet, such an idea bugs me because it's so silly (and because I thought "Star Trek" had cornered the market on time-loop, deus-ex-machina storylines). Same goes for parallel universes.

    And while we're on the subject of circular loopiness, one musn't forget the greatest circular work of all time: "Finnegans Wake," which owes a debt to Giambattista Vico, who thought civilizations followed a repeating pattern.

  56.  
    23skidoo May 13th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Addendum: Another major influence in "Finnegans Wake" is the Horus-Set mythical battle royale.

  57.  
    sosolost May 13th, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    KWeed -- re Abaddon/Richard...

    They do seem to be Yin/Yang -- hard to tell if they're on the same "team" or not.

    One thing I noticed -- Richard became angry when youngh Locke chose the knife (rather than, presumably, the Book of Law); whereas Abaddon encouraged Locke to go on a walkabout with "only a knife and his wits" -- hmm.

  58.  
    Bhoutros May 13th, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Prev. post by Andrew Huff - are you Tom's son?

  59.  
    Jason May 13th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    J—

    Wonderful, enlightening analysis as always.

    I especially liked the Richard Alpert/Psychedelic experience/Book of the Dead Thread. I, like many other like-minded individuals, came into contact with all of this stuff through a not-so-mild Beatles obsession during my adolescent years. Indeed, I first heard of the Tibetan Book of the Dead via the Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows” (a fantastic title for a Lost episode, no? Certainly, the best way to describe the flashforwards). Since your discussion triggered my interest in the possible connections between the Beatles track and the Lost episode, while doing some research on the interweb I found out some fascinating connections. It seems that John Lennon first came into contact with the Leary/Alpert/Metzner text while shopping in the Indica gallery bookshop in 66. He actually was looking for The Portable Nietzsche. How does this relate to the post this week? Nietzsche’s first book was entitled Birth of Tragedy (well, his first book of note, anyway) and it was his exploration of the duality between the Apollinian and Dionysian impulse in Greek culture. Although he too observes the distinction along similar lines as you discuss in the post (i.e. Apollo=reason, individuation/Dionysus=excess, irrationality), he also demonstrates how these two dual impulses are reconciled in the Greek form of tragedy (sorry, I’ve just spent a semester teaching this stuff). In fact, Nietzsche opposes the modern man of reason (embodied in the figure of Socrates) to both Apollo and Dionysus. In contradistinction to Apollo, the Socratic man believes that knowledge in and of itself is its own virtue and that everything is ultimately explicable. In Nietzsche’s work, Apollo might bring us closer to the realm of reason, but there is an absolute interdependency of Apollo’s realm of order and individuation and Dionysus’ mystical excess. This interdependency is completely lost in modern man’s insistence on the reduction of all that is to what may be reasonably explained.

    If we were to graft this relationship onto the narrative of Lost, then the man of science, reason, etc. (i.e. the Socratic man) might be Jack who truly remains the opposite of Locke insofar as Locke still, as we have seen in this episode, is born out of the dual nature of Apollo (his interest in science as a young man—as well as his obvious connection to Dharma (which, it goes without saying, seems to embody the very duality between science and mysticism ) and Dionysus (the mystical, mythic spirit which places great emphasis on fate over reason).

    I was going to add something about the lyrics of “Tomorrow Never Knows” but now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say. Oh, and just to return to (and conclude) the discussion of the Beatles—this, of course, isn’t the first Beatles-literary reference we’ve had on Lost. A year after they released TNK, the Beatles put out “I am the Walrus”—a song whose titular character directly references Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Lest one think this is just a nice coincidence, read the following musicological analysis of the structure of the song’s conclusion: “"The chord progression of the outro itself is a harmonic Moebius strip with scales in bassline and top voice that move in contrary motion." Sounds like your analysis of the flashforwards, no (introduced, not coincidentally, in the episode “Through the Looking Glass”)? As we experience the descent of the “real time” events of the island we follow (especially this season) the ascent of the flashforwards (“moving backwards in time” as the cartoon John Lennon tells the viewers in “Yellow Submarine”). And don’t get me started on the loops/strips/things which fall back upon themselves in Lost, it’s been part of the narrative from the first episode on (RIP Rousseau). As a final point, I never really understood the reference to “Good Vibrations” in “Through the Looking Glass” since, if we follow this Beatlologist line of thought to its conclusion, certainly there should be some reference to the walrus in there, goo goo gajoob (which, btw, adds another layer of meaning to Driveshaft’s one hit “You Are/All Everybody”—“I am he, as you are he, as you are me and we are all together”). Instead all we’re left with (presumably due, materially at least, to the cost prohibitive nature of musically quoting the Beatles) Brian Wilson waiting for us at the looking glass station (eating marshmallow pies). However, two things jump out: 1) Brian (who admits to not being made for these times—much like our Losties) specifically wrote “Good Vibrations” as a response to the Beatles Revolver and 2) Brian in the documentary “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” relates that his mother once told him that dogs could pick up vibrations from people and that this was the main lyrical influence for the song. Given that Vincent seems to also be connected to the spiritual goings on on the island (see the aforementioned Mobisode), I’d say he’s been picking up some good, good, good (and bad) vibrations.

  60.  
    Ben May 13th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Always fascinating, J.

    I know that Geronimo Jackson has been getting more play on the message boards but it seems to me that Richard Burton (1821-1890) is the more interesting poster in Locke's locker. The easiest way to go here is to say that this is another tip of the hat to a literary influence; for a show so interested in narrative structures, Burton's translation of the Arabian Nights seems an obvious point of reference.But, after a bit of hasty research, there do appear to be deeper parallels. For one, both Locke's "Don't tell me what I can't do." and the above discussion of Crowley find an echo in one of Burton's more famous quotes:

    "Do what they manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause/ He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws."

    This comes from 'Kasidah of Haji Abdu Al-Yazdi', a book of couplets that Burton subtitled 'A Lay of the Higher Law.' I don't know if this makes it a candidate for the 'Boook of Laws', but perhaps it should be included in a loose grouping of texts that all point in a similar direction. I may be reaching here, and I can't claim to know the text well, but the Kasidah does seem strangely resonant with 'Cabin Fever'. In place of Ben's 'fickle bitch', Burton gives us the following:

    "And still the Weaver plies his loom, whose warp and worst is wretched Man/ Weaving th' unpattern'd dark design, so dark we doubt it owns a plan."

    And in memory of Doc Ray, dead before killed, we finda nice couplet on time:

    "How may the passing Now contain the standing Now - Eternity? - / And endless is without a was, the be and never the to-be."

    It is also interesting to note, given Locke's charge to move the island, that Burton was an avid explorer and travel writer. In a minor instance of twinning, he apparently lost use of his legs while searching for the source of the Nile. More significantly, perhaps, Burton served for four years as British Consul on the island of Fernando Po (presently Bioko) in the Gulf of Guinea. This takes us to the work of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, an acknowledged source for LOST and the subject of an earlier posting on this site. I haven't read the Illuminatus Trilogy - I rather hope that someone with knowledge of the books will take this up - but from what I understand, in the first book of the trilogy, Fernando Po is a surviving piece of Atlantis and the site of some sort of power struggle. "The Eye in the Pyramid". The Eye of Providence. And all the way back to the eye of Horus.

    A last note in an overly long post - if the island moves, perhaps Fernando Po is one of its previous locations. It is (was) well within range of any small plane trying to smuggle drugs out of Nigeria.

  61.  
    the puma May 14th, 2008 at 12:33 am

    My gratitude for the great blog jw

    I believe young John Locke intentionally picked the knife knowing it was the wrong item. As John, the high school student yelled at his teacher “no one can tell me what I can’t do!” It appears that John has been struggling between his own free will and his ultimate destiny his entire life.

    Another thing that was a little creepy was Claire’s smile in the cabin. It was as if she knew a very important secret.

  62.  
    Raj May 14th, 2008 at 12:45 am

    As always, J. I am made to feel a mere joutneyman after reading your blog.

    Howver, one other instance of mirror/twinning that I have noticed that I don't see represented here.

    The heading to return to the island is 305, which is the mirror opposite of the area code (heading for the phone number -- yeah, I know its a stretch) for Portland, OR.

    Think of it What you Will.

    Raj

  63.  
    Raj May 14th, 2008 at 12:46 am

    And of course I was not explicit in that previous post.

    Portland's area code is 503.

    Raj

  64.  
    Messenger88 May 14th, 2008 at 7:08 am

    A lot of speculation this season about the motives of characters both new and old---but I think the writers are hinting to us with the title of the most recent episode, "Cabin Fever" that a lot of viewers may be getting caught up on the wrong themes. J, however, has struck a cord that rings true with his "twinning" theory. After all, just as Jacob has a cabin, ships have cabins as well. The fever seems to apply to both. Twins again. Biblically, I am always keeping my eye out for Tom, Thomas, and variations thereof---it actually means twin and seems to keep popping up. As for the Bible, each incarnation of the Christ is preceded by a harbinger--in the case of Jesus, that "harbinger" is John the Baptist, a great man as well as Jesus' cousin. Perhaps Ben is the harbinger and Locke is the saviour figure, or Locke is John the Baptist and Aaron is the saviour. All clues, easter eggs, and symbolism within the show aside, I think the viewers would do well to remember that only one actor was hand picked for the show, and that was Terry O'Quinn. In the end, whether John Locke is good or evil, triumphant or ever-failing, he will be the "pivot point" in the resolution of the story. I will be really surprised if he isn't.

  65.  
    Regina May 14th, 2008 at 7:10 am

    To follow up on KWeed's parallels between Richard Alpert and Abaddon, I have wondered if it is possible that they both date back to the ship Black Rock--Alpert a slaver, Abaddon a slave. I'm not at all convinced that Abaddon is on the side of evil, if there is such a cut and dried concept on Lost. Like Ginny, I think Abaddon's recruits are not precisely part of the same group as Keamy and his paramilitary thugs. Abaddon's group appears to desire to do real research, whereas Keamy's group appears to be concerned with flaming the entire island.

    I also think Abaddon's pep talk (and implicit threat of a roll down the stairs, a suggestion that mortality be faced head on) was done with Locke's best interests at heart. It certainly planted the seed that eventually brought him to the island, which I don't think was a bad thing for Locke.

    I'm not sure why Abaddon was so adamant, when speaking to Naomi, that there were no survivors of 814 on the island. But perhaps he didn't want her to inadvertently let something slip to Keamy and his cronies.

  66.  
    Nathalie May 14th, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Ginny: I agree. I don't think that Abaddon necessarily knew the plans and missions of Keamy et. al. I think the freighties are actually two groups. What interests me is if Widmore is directly affiliated with either group, or if they are just using the presence of his boat to launch their own missions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but only the captain seems to have a known direct link to Widmore. Perhaps most of the crew members are just opportunist groups trying to get to the island for their own reasons.

  67.  
    Perelandra May 14th, 2008 at 8:14 am

    We have a Jacob, but where's his Esau? From whom did he swindle the Island?

    And let's not overlook another part of Jacob's story: he wrestled with an angel (or possibly a manifestation of God). He came away with a permanent limp and a name change(to Israel, then set up a pillar to mark a place of worship. (What about that pillar on the Island where Locke couldn't sacrifice his father?)

    Jacob also dreamt of angels ascending and decending a ladder to heaven. (Coming and goings of ETs?)

    Jacob ultimately makes peace with both his brother whom he tricked and his father-in-law who had tricked him. I venture to predict that LOST will end on a note of reconciliation. Faith and Reason are supposed to work together. Yin and Yang are not Evil and Good but complemenatry opposites. Are these patterns already present on the Island in the persons of Rose and Bernard?

  68.  
    Juno Walker May 14th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Great post as usual, J.

    A couple of things:

    I don't remember who wrote it, but someone up stream from my post here mentioned Ben's risk-taking. I was wondering if Ben is able to take calculated risks because of his time-jumping/teleporting ability. Can we draw the conclusion that since "The Shape of Things to Come" episode showed us he has this ability, that he's had it for the entire 3 seasons prior? Can he teleport/time-jump on the island, or only off the island?

    In addition, since we now know that Ben and Widmore have some sort of "game" going on - we don't yet know the full nature or extent of the game - can we assume that this game has been going on for some time, the rules of which apply island-wide and have applied for all 3 seasons prior? That would also give Ben confidence in his risk-taking...

    Secondly, we know Darlton are very fond of using many different types of allusions (and illusions?) from many different sources (though they do seem to include some more prominently than others - i.e., the Wizard of Oz-ish ones - and some seem to go deeper than others, peeling back more layers of the LOST onion than others, at the end of the day I think Darlton probably feel that they have created their own unique pastiche (yes, I know that's an oxymoron), and that we shouldn't read too much into them. There's no doubt it's satisfyingly fun for those who like to analyze such puzzles (myself included!), but I think that if we truly want to understand (and/or solve) the overarching "story" of the show, and enjoy the rich nuances like a good bottle of red wine, then we need to stick to what is actually going on in the actual narrative - the Canon, so to speak - and also probably most of what Darlton say and hint at in the various media outlets. I say "most" and not all, because we also know their fondness for red herrings!

    Juno

    L O S T, Hearts & Minds

  69.  
    Four Leaf Clover May 14th, 2008 at 8:43 am

    The biblical angle as relating to Aaron, Locke, and Ben is very interesting, but as someone else already mentioned, I highly doubt the show's timeline will jump ahead far enough to the point where Aaron is old enough to fight and/or become a leader. Still, The Bible could very well end up being the book that is underneath the whole Lost tapestry, and the one that holds clues about where the narrative is going.

    Paul- Ben is driven by many things in the future, not just exacting revenge for Alex's death. I think that is now just more motivation for him to continue to thwart Widmore.

    Speaking of Widmore, I very much like the idea that he was on the Black Rock, perhaps as the captain. That might partially explain his "the island used to be mine" comment to Ben in "The Shape of Things to Come." Maybe he did rule the island for a time after crashing there (imagine what he could've discovered). This may also explain his interest in obtaining the journal of the Black Rock's first mate. It may help him find the island again, or contain information that could unlock some of the island's secrets.

    Finally, some random points...

    + the producers have said Ben's childhood friend Annie will be of "seismic significance" moving forward. When, and how, will she be introduced? Any theories out there as to how she'll fit in?

    + I think there is a whole subterranean facet of the island that hasn't been unveiled yet (intricate network of tunnels, underground stations?). A precursor would be back in season 1, where we see Smokey try to pull Locke down a tunnel. Locke later says, "I've been into the heart of the island, and what I've seen is beautiful." Just food for thought...

  70.  
    Juno Walker May 14th, 2008 at 9:08 am

    J -

    You say:

    "I know the aborigines talk about the universe being created in the Dreaming; the Kalahari bushmen talk about how there is always a dream dreaming us; and in Hinduism, doesn’t Vishnu dream the universe into existence? If this is the case (meaning this is the set of texts that Lost is kicking around), then maybe dreaming is a sort of sea of detached..."

    It immediately reminded me of C.G. Jung's autobiography entitled, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," where he relates a dream he had in his old age about entering a religious sanctuary and seeing a yogi was was in the lotus position - Jung immediately "knew" that the yogi was dreaming HIM, and that if the yogi woke up, Jung would cease to exist.

    It also reminded me of Flann O'Brien's (of "The Third Policman" fame) book, At Swim-Two-Birds

    And I thought this type of "it's all a dream," or "it's all in somebody's head," had been debunked by TPTB...

    Am I wrong on that? Not sure...

    Juno

    L O S T, Hearts & Minds

  71.  
    Joe Hogan May 14th, 2008 at 10:39 am

    KWeed - Well, this is the last place I would have expected to have someone wish me a good dose of spinal cancer. Charming.

    Perhaps it is time that someone reminded you that this is, after all, just a blog, about a fictional TV series. Name calling and anonymous bad mouthing aren't called for. If you disagree with me or anyone else, great, present your arguments. That is what open discussion is about.

    As to your claim, "Isn’t the whole purpose of this blog to analyze and hypothesize," I would respectfully disagree. I think that J's whole thrust is to tease out the multitude of literary and cultural reverberations contained in Lost, so as to increase his and our understanding and pleasure in viewing the show. Yes there is also some speculation, mostly in the comments, but I would bet that by word count or any other measure, it is not the main subject.

    Besides, if I did contract cancer I would then have to unleash a scheme to bring a surgeon to the Island...let's just not go down that road.

  72.  
    foodfight May 14th, 2008 at 11:11 am

    So it is pretty safe to assume that Walt was chosen to be leader of the others after Locke/Ben? Also, what is the significance of Abaddon steering Locke towards the island?

  73.  
    Jeffrey May 14th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Don't forget that Keamy is a merc - a dog of war (Shakespeare/Pink Floyd) - and has no personal mission other than what he is paid to do. So, I don't think he's calling the shots, so to speak.
    Jason - "She Said She Said" is the other psychedelic gem from "Revolver" and could possibly be Claire's theme song. She certainly seems "under the influence" in that shack.

  74.  
    Maureen in Mukilteo May 14th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    hy Wdoes everyone assume Locke is the chosen son? Young Locke failed Alpert's test (choosing a knife-he wants to be a hunter). Adult Locke failed Ben's test (to kill his father so he's still looking for a daddy to please). He failed to help Jacob. He has never even seen Jacob (somebody notice this please).

    Ben took orders from Jacob. Locke takes orders from Christian and not the Christian we know. This faux Christian doesn't wear the real one's trademark white shoes. Instead he looks like he was plucked from Claire's or Sawyer's memory (although I haven't gone back to check clothes). Miles does not recognize the vision of faux Christian to be a ghost. Claire seems possessed -there's no other word to describe her. Jacob's last words were "help me" and now he is gone and someone else is living in his cabin, moving it around the island and giving the orders. Now we find out Locke's arrival on the island was orchestrated by Abaddon. None of this can be good.

    Alpert fell in Abaddon's trap. Alpert wanted a replacement for Ben but Locke would not fit the mold. Alpert hopped back in time at least twice to test Locke's worthiness. To see for himself the birth situation and then to test young Locke but he had no luck. So Abaddon brings Locke to the island to tempt Alpert who cannot help but fall into Abaddon's well made long con. Fate herself has brought the anointed one home(!!!) Alpert is led to believe. Yeah, Locke is healed but then so is Rose. And Jin. And probably the sock who is always gathering wood. Does that make any of them the chosen one? Being healed was the only test Locke passed and it was hardly a specific test. Lots of false positives. Alpert in his zest to get rid of Ben has brought a spy into their highest ranks. Now faux Christian wants to move the island? He will move it right into Widmore's hands.

    Did Alpert realize he made a mistake and that is why he goes back in time to see for himself how Locke was born and to test young Locke? Is that why Alpert was so upset when he leaves young Locke because he finally realizes he was played? Faux Christian and possessed Claire also send Aaron off the island, something we know should not be done. Is Aaron the true chosen child?

    Locke is no Ben. Ben is a genius who has proven he is loyal to and can protect the island. Locke is not particularly bright and is still trying to get daddy's approval. No way could he have done all Ben has done. Locke is not the chosen one. He is the real spy. The freighter hit squad was just a distraction. Killing Ben's daughter was probably the only way anyone could distract Ben when he was in island protection mode and it had the added benefit of causing Ben to doubt his faith (just as he caused Locke to doubt his faith two seasons ago). Now Widmore believes even Ben has accepted his spy and will support him. Last week he certainly seemed to (ate a candy bar while he willingly waited outside and then asked the Chosen One what his orders were). But we know better -don't we? Fate is a fickle bitch.

    Ginny: Yeah, yeah maybe Abaddon is good and knew nothing about Keamy-the writers are good at that sort of reversal. But until I can work that into my theory I'm not buying it. The writers know we are expecting a reversal of roles like that. But there is only time for one major role reversal and that is the justification of Benjamin Linus.

    Leah: Ben didn't kidnap Alex from Danielle and told Locke as much. She was 4 years old at the time of the Purge (when Widmore was the leader?) and probably being raised by a Dharma family (the Goodspeeds?). Ben would have been the only person Alex recognized when the natives moved into the housing and she latched onto her friend and wouldn't let go (can't you imagine that?). Maybe Ben wanted the Goodspeed's house for what it was built over. Perhaps Mrs. Goodspeed had her own private, little dig going on and chatty Alex told Ben all about it.

  75.  
    Rev. Mike May 14th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Great read.
    I just wanted to add that in the scene when we saw Keamy getting suited up through the portal on the ship, with what I assume was a bomb, it reminded me of a tefillin. If Keamy's god is is a war god, then his scripture is the bomb.

  76.  
    Justin May 14th, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    With respect to the possibility that the Book of Law relates to the Baha'i Faith, what comes quickly to my mind is the fact that Baha'i's believe in the unity/harmony of science and religion. Here is a link which describes the Baha'i viewpoint in greater detail: http://info.bahai.org/science-and-religion.html

    As we all are aware, the interaction between Science and Faith is a major theme of LOST.

  77.  
    Capcom May 14th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Great article and comments, creating more new avenues of interpretation as usual!

    I too thought first of the Book of law mentioned in the Bible as per the Eko epsisode since that was the first time it was mentioned.

    Also, the bird in Keamy's tattoo more closely resembles the double hummingbird in Native American symbols, but since it's a dual graphic, it can still support your theory here.

    http://www.kivatrading.com/symbol1.htm

    Scroll down to birds, for the pic and definition. It stands for pairs and ferocious fighters and defenders of territory. Kind of fits Keamy. :-)

  78.  
    Synchromystic Librarian May 15th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    many think Baum used Oz as a signifier for Osiris

    also, we have the nickname of the country that is "key to the whole game"

  79.  
    Synchromystic Librarian May 15th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    also, Apollo is the Greek "version" of the Egyptian Horus

  80.  
    Patton McGinley May 15th, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Woh! Great analysis and great follow-up commentary this time. I've got a ton of stuff to sound off on but reading all the comments has put me way off schedule.

    I DO want to take a moment and wander off into my favorite countries of Forteana and Esoterica -- and, yes, this is way off the LOST track, on the surface at least. I also, have to defend myself in advance and say that I don't (necessarily) believe any of this stuff. Like Robert Anton Wilson advised, I try to be agnostic about EVERYTHING.

    First, there's the mention of (Weird Al) Crowley and his buddies Aiwaz and Lam. It is frequently pointed out by those who dare to mix the dubious studies of ufology and occultism that these two "astral emissaries" bear an annoying resemblance to those ETs du jour (for the last 30+ years), the greys. Problem is, said probers didn't really enter the pop cultural psyche until the 70s when Spielberg ripped them off from the Betty and Barney Hill case.

    Next we jump to California circa 1946 where scifi-writing phenomenon Lafayette Ronald Hubbard and JPL cofounder "Jack" Whitesides Parsons are giddily practicing Crowleyian flavored Enochian magic (with a "k"). To the Great Beast's annoyance they decide to perform the Babalon Working rituals which were supposed to open up a portal between our universe and some astral plane allowing the spirit of some goddess-like entity to possess a woman who was in turn supposed to bear a "moonchild" -- presumably to usher in the age of Horus to full effect (or provide a script for Rosemary's Baby).

    But wait, there's more! A year and a half later pilot Kenneth Arnold sees some crescent shaped objects sharing his airspace over the Cascade Mountains. He tells some reporters that they moved like "saucers" skipping over the water of a lake. BOOM! The "modern" era of UFOs takes off and in roughly two weeks the Army Air Corp is having trouble with spaceships or weather balloons in New Mexico. (Interesting that it involved the ONLY base with nuclear armaments at that point in time).

    So, what does this have to do with price of tea in Otherton? Not much really, aside from maybe Doc Jensen's hyperdrive-in-idle theory -- BUT, J.W. had to go and mention Thunderbirds, by way of the Walkin-esque Keamy's tattoo. Maverick ufologist/forteanologist John Keel brings up a salient connection with his pet investigation of Mothman and the Native American (and nonnative American) stories about Thunderbird(s). His point being that cryptids like Mothman and Thunderbird often show up in various cultures' folklore as heralds -- or, at least, prophetic signs -- of doom, disaster and/or destruction. And, that fits Keamy to a "t."

  81.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Shannon, I think you might have seen Doc Jensen's bit on the hieroglyph for Khonshu, the Egyptian moon deity that was the protector of Moon Knight in the Marvel Comics. Lindelof is a consummate comics geek; it's hard to say just how many comics references are being ladled into the show, and maybe harder to say how many are for fun and how many are significant.

  82.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Rey -- that Mystery Tales comic is for real. It was actually up for sale on Ebay before the episode aired; afterward, its value jumped to the hundreds.

    Those are weird, weird comics. Some of that stuff is what led to the comics code. I'm way too young to be around when they were in their prime, but I've seen quite a few. There was a great court case where William Gaines (EC Comics, Mad Magazine) was being grilled before a senate subcommittee, and he was asked if a cover of a man holding a bloody ax and a woman's head was in poor taste. He disagreed, and said for it to be in bad taste, there'd have to be blood coming out of the woman's mouth, dripping from the stump of her neck, and showing some of the body.

    And he did it deadpan, without even hesitating.

    The audio is out there somewhere, and it's worth a listen.

  83.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Nathalie, that farmer/hunter nod from Further Instructions -- that takes us back to the Jacob and Esau thing. Esau was a hunter, and Jacob was a farmer. Set was also a hunter in Egyptian mythology -- I'm not certain if Horus was a farmer, but Horus/Osiris are linked with resurrection, which all comes back to the seasons and the crops dying and coming back.

    Esau was also linked up to Rome in the Midrash by some Rabbinic commentators.

  84.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Juno, TPTB did say that it won't be some sort of Bobby Ewing "it was all a dream" moment, but I don't think Lost would need to go that route to work with this concept.

    For one thing, if it's all a dream, that's about as good as saying none of it is a dream, because it leaves us/Lost in the same place. We/they are already part of someone else's conceived or dreamed universe, and can how that universe is perceived and interacted with wouldn't change one way or the other. When you get into questions of non-local consciousness, then you raise the question of if the dreamer ever woke up, would it make a difference, or would the dream just shift to a different local being... or capacitor, or something. (My brain just went *pop*.)

    But the dreamtime being another plane of existence where a different kind of communication can occur, even across time and with the now-dead, that I think could and seems to be brought in. Especially if the dream can't actually end.

    (I need to read that Jung, thanks for the tip.)

  85.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Joe Hogan, THANK YOU for bringing in the Beckett reference. I did my master's thesis on Beckett and Joyce, and focused on Waiting for Godot and Endgame. I wrote about how those characters weren't so much characters as they were literally text on stage, and they just couldn't recognize this, which is what made them stuck (Beckett had some specific stage instructions and other details that led me to this). The same sort of thing happens in O'Brien, in some of Swift's work, and I found some similarities in Joyce. I really wanted to bring that kind of reading to Lost when I saw The third Policeman, but I don't think it's there.

    At least not in the same way. That's not to say the characters don't/can't recognize themselves for what they are.

  86.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Patton, have you read Sex and Rockets?

  87.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Perelandra, I'm not certain who the hunter would be yet, but they tend not to map these archetypes precisely; they tend to mix and bend the stories a bit, but keep the essential meaning or idea of the story. So Locke would seem to be the hunter, with the knives and all, but last season it would have been Eko, and Keamy is definitely the hunter now (MAN -- THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME). If Ben is playing the role of Jacob, Widmore seems to be in the Esau position. But he may be wealthy enough to get his own hunter by proxy. But even that's a problem, because we have a Jacob, and Ben is the one who seems to have usurped his domain.

    Maureen has a point that Locke tends to fail his 'chosen one' tests. Even though people around him tell him how special he is, that could easily be build up to a fantastic bit of misdirection.

    I've posted quite a bit in a row here. Going to watch tonight's episode and get back to writing.

  88.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    (I'd like to know if the Justin who posted the Baha'i link is the only Justin I know who is familiar with the Baha'i faith.)

  89.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 15th, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Just a heads-up: Some finale spoilers are starting to leak out on the web like last year. I know some have leaked out on DarkUFO, and by seemingly the same person who had legit spoilers last year.

    If you don't want to melt the Frozen Donkey Wheel, tread cautiously online these next few weeks.

  90.  
    Perelandra May 16th, 2008 at 6:55 am

    At the risk of being pedantic, all the Biblical patriarchs were herders, not farmers. Cain was the first farmer while Able was a shepherd--and look how well that turned out.

    I wonder if Keamy survives to future seasons whether we'll be shown a backlink between him and Kelvin, the officer who recruited Sayid and was in turn killed by Desmond.

  91.  
    Kerry May 16th, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Kevin Durand's (the actor who plays Keamy) tatoos are his own. They were not placed on by the production team. So, we can't assume they have any meaning regarding the show. It's possible they built them into his character in some way though.

  92.  
    Andrew May 16th, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Baha'i religion is very similar to Theosophy in the way it supports various religious themes. I would argue that this is similar to the way Lost uses various themes to support its storyline. The themes are only support...not the actual story. Enjoy them, but it is unlikely they will give you answers.

    Another point of interest is how pregnant woman die at the end of the second trimester on the island. Has anyone made the connection that at then end of the 2nd trimester, a fetus starts dreaming & the first thing the fetus does in the 3rd trimester (week 28) is open its eyes? It has already been established in Lost, that the eyes are important. I think this could be correlated to consciousness, which is a recurring theme on Lost. The consciousness of the fetus could set up some discontinuity with the mother on the island, such as breaking a deterministic law. Children could end up as some sort of constant (many have forgotten the importance of constants). Like we saw with Desmond and Penny, constants can also save lives. It is interesting that Ben's child is dead, and this has changed the rules (or broken the laws??)

    If time is a variable...you must not consider people's age in the story. The child and adult characters may be the same people, and we know it is bad when the same Bunny is in the same room...same with people. Who is who's constant or child?

  93.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 16th, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Kerry, that's what I meant when I wrote "The actor, Kevin Durand, came with the tattoos, but we've already seen how Matthew Fox's pre-Lost tattoos were worked into Jack's biography."

    Considering how prominent they've been, I'd be surprised if the writers didn't work the tattoos in somehow.

  94.  
    eblanck May 17th, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Could Beloved by Toni Morrison be important here? 223 was an island. Sethe and her family were isolated, with occasional people getting trapped in and others fleeing for their lives.
    More important, of course, is Beloved herself, a ghost who takes on a corporal manefestation. She is alive to all who interact with her, like Claire was to Sawyer, Aaron, and Miles.

  95.  
    J. Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    eblanck, I know someone who is using Beloved in some of her PhD work and is a big Lost fan. I'll see what she has to say about this.

  96.  
    Justin May 19th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    J. I posted the Baha'i link and I'm fairly sure we've never met; I'm currently based in the Carolinas. So I guess you are aware of at least 2 Justins who are familiar with the Baha'i faith. I can't speak for the other Justin (or any other Justin for that matter), but I certainly enjoy reading your Lost analyses. Thanks!

  97.  
    westy June 4th, 2008 at 10:02 am

    First, thank you for these essays, I love reading them.

    First, thank you for these essays, I love reading them.

    Next, I can't believe I may have something to add to the discussion...

    You wrote:
    Narratively, "Cabin Fever" and "Special" are linked as the only two episodes where a person is hit by a car and survives, and they both happen to be parents (Michael and Emily).

    This is not true. Locke himself was hit by a car in season one, episode 19 “Deus Ex Machina.”

    Lostpedia transcript:
    [Shot of Locke in the store parking lot. He finds a flyer for a lost dog on his windshield, then sees Emily looking at him again. He follows her. He gets hit by a car backing up out of a parking space, but gets up and continues following Emily.]

    At the time, it was a throw away moment, just a tease regarding the yet unrevealed cause of Locke’s reason for being in wheelchair. The car crash is never mentioned again. I had to put the entire transcript portion here, though, because of the lost dog flyer. Interesting…

    But my purpose is not to point out your small error, but to get your insight on the inordinate amount of car accidents afflicting the characters in this show. Juliet’s ex is killed by a bus – seemingly arranged by Ben. The last thing Locke’s father remembers before awakening on the island is being involved in a car crash. (We have yet to see exactly what Ben meant when he told Locke “you brought him here.”) Jack’s wife and Shannon’s father are involved in a serious car crash where Shannon’s father dies. Claire and her mother are also involved in a serious car crash that leaves her mother in coma. Kate is involved in a car accident in Australia, another death results. Hurley’s mother gets hurt getting out of a car. Kate and Charlie both experience car trouble. There are probably more examples.

    Of course, crashes, or maybe more precisely, the unreliability of modes of transportation, do seem to be a theme in Lost. The crash of Oceanic 815 was only the beginning. Desmond and Rousseau’s boats crash on the island. A hot air balloon crash lands there. Yemi’s plane crashes there; far, far away from where it took off. The Black Rock and the freighter met there ends on or near the island – but not because of any failures on their parts. Now Hurley’s Camaro may be affected – or is it infected?.

    Does this all relate to what may be the ultimate means of transportation itself – a device that not only moves through space but time – the island?

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