LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Many theories try to situate characters as to how good or evil they are. Is Ben good or is he bad? Who will be good Jack or Locke? Is Sawyer right to beat Jack senseless? Should Locke have knifed Naomi? Man of faith vs. man of science? Some even guess at Jacob and the MiB's true dispositions. I think this analysis is valid in the sense that the backgammon analogy has been with us the entire series.

Still, maybe a deeper debate is taking place and depending on what starting points a given character accepts what that character sees as good and evil will shift. I think the Season 5 finale hinted at one of many major binary conflicts presented on lost - cyclical versus linear conceptions of history.

Jacob seemed to adopt an eschatological view of time in which history is going somewhere and aiming at something. He said as much to MiB on the beach and his reading of Flannery O'Connor's collection of short stories with a Teilhard inspired title also implies an eschaological view of history moving somewhere. We could start parsing out whether Jacob has a Jewish, Christian, Islamic, or Marxist view of the culmination of history and then once we arrive at that parse out if he is a Teilhard Omega Point guy or more of a Jansenist or ... but the point is Jacob views history as being both open to progress and aimed at a desired end goal. If history is headed somewhere and needs certain people in certain places to make good, can't putting people into those places be morally justified?

MiB sees time as cyclical and that when it comes to humans inhabiting and being exposed to the gifts of the Island the ending is always violent and bloody. If the cycle keeps repeating itself and the repetition is unpleasant, then limiting or even eliminating the cycles is probably a moral or ethical thing to do. A lot of Eastern faiths have a cyclical view of time, Greek philosophers for the most part did as well, and Nietzsche had his notion of eternal recurrence. Once again we could parse out what type of cyclical time MiB subscribes to, but the bigger point is this competing world view leads to different conclusions of what is good and evil, who is right and wrong, what is ethical and unethical etc. So in this sense the narratives we use to understand time, reality and history sit above the questions of good and evil.

If Jacob keeps trying to break unbreakable cycles and in doing so gets a lot of people killed by the hands of others Jacob also brought to the Island would killing Jacob be justifiable? If history needs to reach a culmination and people need to be brought to the Island to do so, would that not be a moral thing to do? One's starting point for understanding reality as either unfolding toward a goal or as an/(a sacred?) eternal cycle dictates what is good and evil in each system of thought. I don't think Lost will end on a 100% relativistic note as it may settle the question of how history moves in the Lost universe. Once it settles that we will know as viewers who the writers and creators saw as being good and evil.

2 side notes

2. So in each corner you have major world religions and major philosophical minds that could be used to back up either a cyclical or goal oriented view of history. Whatever conclusion Lost offers (my guess is they back a goal oriented view of history) is unlikely to end the philosophical debate.

2. On a relativistic side note, in a game of back gammon the two colors do not represent good and evil. If you are playing the black pieces, then the actions of white are frustrating your end goal and vice versa. I say this not to promote relativism as much as to avoid the cliched image from Western Movies of the good guys wearing white and the bad guys being in dark clothes. I hope Lost has something deeper than that to say.

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