Reflections on Season 1 of Lost

Ok, so re-watching Lost has given me a lot to think about. Mainly the things that have weighed most heavily on my mind as I've watched have been the identity/role of Locke, and the religious/metaphysical nature of the Island itself. Now before I talk more, I'd like to offer up an initial apology. I frame a lot of the way I view religious ideas and allegorical identities in western Christian mythos. I do not think this is entirely accurate to any (if actually existent) allegorical content of Lost, but it is easiest for me to use terms and parallels based in the Christian mythos. You might not like this, and find better parallels in other religious faiths, or other metaphysical views of existence. Feel free to correct/adjust what I say to that end. For me this re-watch is both a re-connection with the characters and a deeper unraveling of the nature of the world of Lost.

So here goes season one reflections. I've been struggling with who Locke is on the island early in the show. I haven't though he was the same Locke that existed before the island but at the same time I haven't thought he was the man in black yet either. On reflection, and having watched the whole first season, I think Locke on the island early on is the same Locke before the island. It's more important (to me, at this point, I think) to identify who Locke represents (pre-death). I have arrived at a suggestion, and this will sound weird, so bear with me. Locke is the anti-christ. In certain ways I think he is a naive re-imagining (not by the writers, but Locke himself is more naive then the traditional anti-christ), but all the same, that's what I think he is. Here's why. Locke is a spiritualist. He is fascinated with the Island because of it's 'mystical' powers and pursues the understanding and achievement of those powers without the benefit of a moral compass. He is not pursuing moral good or gain when he begs Jack to let the monster take him, when he gets excited over the monster's appearance, when he views Boone's death as a sacrifice. In certain understandings the anti-christ is not an immoral being, but rather an amoral being. If the christian savior is the representation of good and morals, then the anti-christ is the representation of not needing either. That's (I think) a bit of a different paradigm than some might argue the anti-christ is, rather than being distinctly evil, the anti-christ is focused on power without morals. In that vein, Locke is the anti-christ. He is not immoral, (bad or evil) he is amoral. The pursuit of spiritual power for Locke has nothing to do with good or evil, but the power itself. This would also be why the man in black uses Locke's body later in the show. He's a perfect catalyst for the anti-christ in full power. That is, in the absence of morals an immortal being can be terribly evil (destroying anything) because spiritual power is no longer associated with moral good. This is also why I've been confused about who Locke on the island is early on. Put another way, Locke is the man in black, but without the power and immortality. He is a mortal version of the immortal man in black.

This brings me to a question of what the island is. Currently i'm forming a theory that the island is this world's garden of eden. Jacob and the man in black are somehow the guardians (in charge of keeping it hidden). However, Jacob is so perfectly good (absence of evil, naive) that he wants to re-populate the island. So he comes up with complicated events that can circumvent the hidden nature of the garden of eden (if we stick with the christian creation myth here the garden of eden was hidden by god and he had angels set to guard it) to repopulate it. Jacob and the man in black are most likely not God himself, but rather more like Hercules and Achilles. Lesser deities. I'm thinking because they're lesser deities neither understands the why of the island being hidden. And Jacob, in his goodness and naivety, wants to re-populate the island. And the man in black doesnt, because he thinks people will destroy it.

Anyways, I know I framed this all in western chrisian mythology (except the deity thing, because I'm thinking the spiritual side of lost's universe has many gods), but that's the easiest set of terms I have available to use. Maybe there's a better more nebulous term for the anti-christ I could use, and same with the garden of eden. But going into season 2, this is where I'm at.

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Posted by mfpantst

Ok, so re-watching Lost has given me a lot to think about. Mainly the things that have weighed most heavily on my mind as I've watched have been the identity/role of Locke, and the religious/metaphysical nature of the Island itself. Now before I talk more, I'd like to offer up an initial apology. I frame a lot of the way I view religious ideas and allegorical identities in western Christian mythos. I do not think this is entirely accurate to any (if actually existent) allegorical content of Lost, but it is easiest for me to use terms and parallels based in the Christian mythos. You might not like this, and find better parallels in other religious faiths, or other metaphysical views of existence. Feel free to correct/adjust what I say to that end. For me this re-watch is both a re-connection with the characters and a deeper unraveling of the nature of the world of Lost.

So here goes season one reflections. I've been struggling with who Locke is on the island early in the show. I haven't though he was the same Locke that existed before the island but at the same time I haven't thought he was the man in black yet either. On reflection, and having watched the whole first season, I think Locke on the island early on is the same Locke before the island. It's more important (to me, at this point, I think) to identify who Locke represents (pre-death). I have arrived at a suggestion, and this will sound weird, so bear with me. Locke is the anti-christ. In certain ways I think he is a naive re-imagining (not by the writers, but Locke himself is more naive then the traditional anti-christ), but all the same, that's what I think he is. Here's why. Locke is a spiritualist. He is fascinated with the Island because of it's 'mystical' powers and pursues the understanding and achievement of those powers without the benefit of a moral compass. He is not pursuing moral good or gain when he begs Jack to let the monster take him, when he gets excited over the monster's appearance, when he views Boone's death as a sacrifice. In certain understandings the anti-christ is not an immoral being, but rather an amoral being. If the christian savior is the representation of good and morals, then the anti-christ is the representation of not needing either. That's (I think) a bit of a different paradigm than some might argue the anti-christ is, rather than being distinctly evil, the anti-christ is focused on power without morals. In that vein, Locke is the anti-christ. He is not immoral, (bad or evil) he is amoral. The pursuit of spiritual power for Locke has nothing to do with good or evil, but the power itself. This would also be why the man in black uses Locke's body later in the show. He's a perfect catalyst for the anti-christ in full power. That is, in the absence of morals an immortal being can be terribly evil (destroying anything) because spiritual power is no longer associated with moral good. This is also why I've been confused about who Locke on the island is early on. Put another way, Locke is the man in black, but without the power and immortality. He is a mortal version of the immortal man in black.

This brings me to a question of what the island is. Currently i'm forming a theory that the island is this world's garden of eden. Jacob and the man in black are somehow the guardians (in charge of keeping it hidden). However, Jacob is so perfectly good (absence of evil, naive) that he wants to re-populate the island. So he comes up with complicated events that can circumvent the hidden nature of the garden of eden (if we stick with the christian creation myth here the garden of eden was hidden by god and he had angels set to guard it) to repopulate it. Jacob and the man in black are most likely not God himself, but rather more like Hercules and Achilles. Lesser deities. I'm thinking because they're lesser deities neither understands the why of the island being hidden. And Jacob, in his goodness and naivety, wants to re-populate the island. And the man in black doesnt, because he thinks people will destroy it.

Anyways, I know I framed this all in western chrisian mythology (except the deity thing, because I'm thinking the spiritual side of lost's universe has many gods), but that's the easiest set of terms I have available to use. Maybe there's a better more nebulous term for the anti-christ I could use, and same with the garden of eden. But going into season 2, this is where I'm at.

Edited by Petiew

 
It's an interesting perception of the events, I've never thought of it in such detail before. Most people seem to have the opinion of Locke being a religious figure on the island rather than some sort of anti-christ. Personally I have no idea, though I like that even though Lost has been over for a couple of years it can still be discussed indepth like this.
 
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Posted by mfpantst

@Petiew: ok good so you voiced the main issue I've been wrestling with. First off, having seen the whole thing on this re-watch I can 'spoil' myself ad-nauseum. That's like the benefit of hindsight except that's further aided by wiki's on the subject. I think it's a red-herring to follow the Jack is a man of science, Locke is a man of faith thinking, at least it seems so on further reflection. What that tends to assert is that religion and science are competing moral systems, like a good and bad of their own. What I'm sensing is the show's writers have created a world with a moral code not rooted in spiritualism/science, but rather plain good and evil. My observation of Locke as the anti-christ is that while he is spiritual he is often spiritual for spirituality's sake.

Here's an interesting quote from the wikipedia (terrible source I know, but I think it's ok for pop culture religiosity here) page on antichrist:

"The antichrist will seemingly provide for the needs of the people but deny them ultimate salvation"

Here's the article. Also interestingly if you go further into the article, in orthodox christianity the antichrist is viewed as a man whom the devil uses, or possesses, as a means to an end (his end being satan's rule over all the universe). Which in certain ways I think parallels nicely with how Locke is very spiritual but is being used (even as himself) to further the man in black's aims, and then how later he is taken by the man in black himself. My explanation for the quote above is how Locke is an amoral spiritualist. He provides spiritual 'feeding' if you will, especially by his driving desire to understand the island, but provides no method of salvation, people are a means to an end for Locke, not an end in of themselves.

Also, yes I really do like how people can still discuss this show after the fact. Although it ruins new hour long dramas on tv for me...