LOST Theories - DarkUFO

One of my favorite contemporary philosophers, Slavoj Zizek, writes that cinema is the ultimate pervert's medium, because it teaches us not what to desire, but rather how to desire. While LOST is not cinema per se, being a television show, it is without doubt that this show lived true to Zizek's claim, provoking a great deal of desire among its fan base - a desire for answers, for resolution to an investment of six years.

The structure of cinema is such that the viewer is entitled to perceive things which daily life would not allow. This is best illustrated with romantic encounters. Even a mundane romantic exchange, with nothing more than a kiss exchanged in the comfort of a home, is something that we would not expect to be allowed to casually observe in real life. If nothing else, our presence in the scene would fundamentally alter the other participants, and the affection we're allowed to observe on film would not happen the same way if we were truly there. Most of us would feel awkward if we were actually present for a bout of passion between an actually existing Kate and an actually existing Sawyer, and if not, "real-Kate" and "real-Sawyer" might feel awkward at our presence. In this way, film and television offers the viewer to be a voyeur while removing the elements of guilt, shame, or other difficulty, that would typically come along with watching such activity.

While this logic is obvious with romantic affairs, this is no less true with our island mysteries. I believe the mysteries of LOST appealed to so many people precisely because they gave us a voyeuristic look into what a world enchanted with mystery might look like, because the world of a 9 to 5 job, two kids and 1.5 vehicles in the garage is oh so mundane. It offered us an experience that real life does not frequently present us. The island was a peek into something that we could not see in real life, for reasons not dissimilar to the romantic scenario. There have been writers from the beginning of mankind that have written about the world being an enchanting place. Plato himself, father of philosophy, wrote that "All philosophy begins in wonder." Yet, if we were to approach the world in this way, there would be doubt as to how we were perceived. Science has conquered mystery, even faith has become a disenchanted formula worth no more than a guarantee that this mundane existence will continue ad infinitum. And perhaps we all desire something more in this life, but cannot express it for fear of the consequences. In that way, LOST as a show is itself the ultimate proxy, it is a proxy for our desires for this world.

Now, there are two approaches that can be taken with our voyeuristic journey into the mysterious. We can demand answers, which ultimately denudes this world, explaining it in a fashion that ultimately reveals the tits of the matter, so to speak. Or we can take the themes of LOST, of faith and hope, redemption, and love, and wonder why we are drawn out of our actually existing world to peek into a world where these themes are more prominent.

But, something unexpected happened on the way to The End. We became perverts, of a sort, salivating for that money shot where the "ultimate answer" would be given. I think the one character from the show that most accurately reflects the fans is Radzinsky - consequences be damned, we must drill to the center of it all! I'm not holding myself above reproach here. I've theorized with the best of them, I remember the anticipation I felt for the day when it would all be revealed. And looking back, I realize that I was missing the plot. That, like an attractive female, sometimes there is more sexiness when the clothes are left on, although that sexiness comes at the expense of a longing left unfilled, and a perverse desire to strip away all curtains, such as film allows for, left unfulfilled.

In this sense, the outrage over the loose ends in the finale is justified - the essential structure of the cinematic experience has been violated, meaning that we, the viewer, have in a sense been violated. Yet, getting back to the idea as LOST as a proxy for the real world in which we live, perhaps the violation of this structure mirrors all too many lives that don't go according to plan, people for whom unexpected twists and turns on the journey have taken them to places they didn't imagine. In real life, when this happens, there is only one healthy response - to let go, and to live. And in this sense, the finale to LOST truly gave us all the answers we need.

I fully acknowledge this is a convenient analysis which may have absolutely nothing to do with what the creators of the show intended to convey from day one. Yet, if this wasn't their intention, I think the finale to this show rates as the most beautiful accident sense the invention of penicillin. It's time to get over unmet expectations, it's time to let go.

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