LOST Theories - DarkUFO

I've been thinking a lot about “the light” in the days after “Across the Sea.” Mother said the light is something found inside every man, but too much of it can be a bad thing. When MIB absorbs all of the light, he transforms into the Smoke Monster. I contend the light itself is self-esteem, and the smoke is the personification of hubris.

Dictionary.com defines hubris as “excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance; overbearing pride or presumption.” But hubris is really more than that. In Greek and Roman times, hubris was actually classified as a crime. Things such as assault, battery, rape and libel were all prosecuted under laws barring hubris.

The classic tale of hubris involves Icarus, who created a pair of wings so that he could fly to the sun. Despite many warnings, Icarus attempted his flight, and was killed when his wings melted. In fact, in Greek mythology, hubris is often illustrated through men committing infractions against the Gods, and they usually receive extreme punishment as a result. We often see hubris as the chief character flaw in protagonists in classic Greek Tragedies. In the 2oth century, hubris is often mentioned as Hitler's greatest flaw.

How does this apply to the light? Again, Mother said a little bit of the light is good, but men always try to take more. A little bit of what causes hubris can be called self-esteem, confidence, or liking yourself. But too much of this characteristic, and you get called power-hungry, arrogant, narcissistic, bullying, even dictatorial.

We know Charles has been searching for the Island so that he can “exploit” its special qualities. Off the Island, we know that Charles is a ruthless businessman. Although he is very powerful, he always wants more. Charles is the very definition of hubris.

Then, in the ante-penultimate episode of Lost, we're introduced to “the light,” and we're told that it's the heart of the island. The light's the very thing that makes the Island special and gives it its power. We're also warned that to absorb too much of the light would mean a fate worse than death. We're told that the light needs protecting from greedy men, and that if the light goes out on the island, it goes out everywhere, and the world as we know it will cease to exist.

Then we see a self-assured man get thrown into the light. What comes out? Smokey, the physical manifestation of an esoteric concept called hubris. Smokey is over-confidence to the point of destruction. He is Superman, Holier-than-Thou, Ultimate Judge, Inquisitor, Jailor, and Condemner all wrapped into a dark cloud. Smokey is power with no humility.

Looking back, hubris has been an ongoing theme throughout the series. We have seen many instances of pride coming before a huge fall, and of men's over-confidence being the cause of their own demises. We have more than one character who chose “Confidence Man” as a career. We have assassins, torturers, and men who believe that they can fix anyone in our mix of castaways. We also have a hero who's lack of confidence has been keeping him from fulfilling his potential (Hurley). We have seen many arrogant characters be reeled in by their island experiences, gaining more realistic perceptions of their own abilities in the process. We have seen many instances of growth through humility (Jack, Sawyer, even Ben), as well as many cases where self-aggrandizement has lead to a character's downfall (Eko, Nikki/Paulo.) We have seen characters gain peace through penance, and we have seen misery from a failure to repent. We've seen arrogance punished over and over again. In many ways, Locke's inflated self-concept, or hubris, was the cause of his own demise.

I'm still thinking that MIB somehow split the light into components when he took that ride down the golden flume. If this is the case, the light is composed of electromagnetism, or a grounding force, and hubris, or the black smoke. The electromagnetism is what keeps the hubris grounded, and prevents it from taking over the soul. Together, they are the most beautiful thing anyone will ever see. But hubris without a grounding force is the ultimate weapon against humanity. If hubris was unleashed into the world without anything to ground it, life as we know it would be over. Therefore, the hubris must be re-grounded. The hubris must not leave the electromagnetism. Unleashing uncontrolled hubris would be worse than detonating an atom bomb.

The sideways world, therefore, is NOT the world that occurs when Smokey leaves the island. Rather it is the world in which the light inside us all remains grounded, a world with no hubris. That's why we see more sedate versions of all our characters, including Keamy and Widmore himself. The sideways characters are versions without hubris. Smokey has been grounded, even sunk, and the appropriate amount of light lives on in every individual's soul.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
blog comments powered by Disqus