Thursday, November 24, 2016

HUGO

Author Victor Hugo wrote, "There is nothing like a dream to create the future."

In Dream Theory, your subconscious mind recreates worlds in which to run simulations, fantasies and comparisons with data collected by your conscious mind. This duality or mirror image of information is used by humans to frame future references, categorize experiences and hard wire memories.

The signals get crossed when the  subconscious mind escapes from the darkness of the dream state and into the light of reality.

Escape, such as the release of the huge "purple wave" when the Numbers were not put into the computer in time. The Numbers, a sequence of digits to be imputed by rote into the operator's mind. It is symbolic of counting numbers backward in order to fall under anesthesia or like counting sheep in order to achieve slumber.

Once the subconscious mind bleeds over into the real cognitive operations of the mind, one may become unstable, delusional, paranoid, extremely introverted, isolated or angry at the harsh inconsistencies between what should be (as found in the dream state) and what is (reality).

There were many fan theories about LOST which centered on the fact that Hurley was the key character who was always around the action, but never got hurt. Why? Because in the dream state, the person's build in primal safety mechanisms of instinct and reaction will not allow you to get hurt. And if you live in the dream state long enough, you can begin to control it - - - and its perceived outcome. Once you believe you can control your own destiny, you can stand by the sidelines and watch the action knowing that since you created it, you cannot get hurt.

Not getting hurt is another basic human defense system. No one outwardly goes forward in life wanting to hurt themselves, either physically or emotionally. People try to connect at deep, interpersonal levels, to help to cope with the pressures, struggles and pain of normal life activities and relationships. Families are the first and foremost bonds of safety and companionship. But if that bond is weakened or broken early in life, a child may rush to the safety of his own dream state in order to cope with a terrible loss.

Hurley did so when his father left him. His abandonment issues were never resolved in the pre-island world of reality. One could speculate that the island, with a broad base of strange people, was created by Hurley's dream state in order to find permanent replacement friends to fill the void of his lost father since as a child he decided he did not have a future without a father figure to guide him.

Hurley was the one character that got along with everyone on the island, which is a statistical improbability unless Hurley predetermined he would get along with everyone on the island. It is the self-fulfilling prophecy which in itself is a self-directed con, or cheat. He created great, lively, charismatic imaginary friends in order to create a fun, adventurous future for himself (a loser with no ambition or prospects in real life).

In this context, LOST is really a sad, sad story of a young man escaping his own reality in order to hide in his subconscious dream state.

Friday, November 18, 2016

DAYDREAMS OR NIGHTMARES

A Japanese proverb states, "Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."

Modern people are caught in a cruel dilemma. Cultures impose upon individuals a sense of what is expected of them during their lifetime. Families also impose certain structures, values and goals upon their children which may or may not be realistic. Early experiences shape future actions more than people realize, especially the psychological underpinnings of self-esteem, self-worth, shyness, openness or personal anxieties.

The biggest governor in a person's life is the hard wired defense mechanism that a person does not want to get hurt. Hurt, being physical or emotional. As we grow older, the emotional buffer grows stronger because the mental pain of rejection hits deeper.

This post will not get into whether LOST was a daydream or nightmare premise of some character(s).

It is interesting to look deeper into the proverb's claim.

The hardest thing a person has do mentally is set forth action to overcome a difficult thought.

The classic example of this is a young man getting the courage and inner strength to ask his crush for a date.  The ramifications for him are huge. If she says yes, then the weight of the world melts from his shoulders. She likes him. OK. That is the start he was looking for (nervous success to follow). But if she says no, then the young man is crushed. He let himself be venerable by asking the question with the high expectation of a "yes" answer. This experience of pain can haunt him, especially the next time a similar situation happens in his life.

Everyone's mind is a set of dominoes of these types of experiences. One may set off a chain reaction of withdrawal from society. One may set off a relief valve of wayward expectations being corralled into common sense. It is how people work out and balance the fear factor to the potential reward is how one can live a meaningful and happy life.

A happy life is not necessarily what other people give you. A happy life is what you make of yourself.

But if you are leading an unfulfilled  life, one may get more and more caught up in the daydream of a better life. In your mind, the perfect world can be created to insulate yourself from the pain, fear and pressures of interacting with real people. When a daydream takes over a person's focus and bleeds into their daily routine, the person becomes their own anti-social island. Within the confines of their dream island, nothing can go wrong or hurt them because they control the outcome.

But in real life, you don't control the outcome of events. It may be random chance, hard work or a factor of opportunity over latent skill that leads to variable results. You can do the same thing over and over again to get variable results. There are infinite possibilities even in finite situations.

But if the insulated daydream takes over you to the point of not being able to cope in normal, real world situations (which makes your work suffer, your family estranged, or become a shut-in without friends), you create your own island prison of self-contempt.

It is tough to reverse that course because a person builds up layers of defenses to keep from feeling any bad memory pain. The more the defenses, the more difficult it is to open up your mind to gauge reality from fiction.

Hurley is probably the best example of this daydream-nightmare dynamic. His parental abandonment led to deep seated pain and anxiety about his self-worth. He was depressed to the point of changing his appearance to keep people away. He became secretive. He became a wall flower. When he had the courage to ask the record store girl to go out with him, he was on top of the world until his one best friend turned on him - - - after he kept his lottery winnings to himself. Hurley lost the girl and his friend. He retreated more into his fantasy world (creating imaginary friend, Dave, to take the place of everyone who had hurt him).  But it was actually Dave's last appearance on the island that was the path for Hurley to break free of his daydream nightmare. He had to leap off the cliff of self-delusion in order to "wake up" to the reality that he is a good, nice person who had a place in the real world. People would like him. He could find new friends. He could find a good job. He could find a girl and be happy.

But Libby, his dream girl, stopped Hurley from making that great mental leap. And that is the pull of the dream world - - - it keeps one in a safe illusion of happiness even though you are hurting your chances to find real happiness.

Hurley is symbolic of the average person caught between the expectations of others and their own personal issues or demons. You want to be accepted by your peers. You want to make your parents proud. You want to enjoy what you do. But the voice in your head keeps telling you that if you take that action, you will be sorry.

The greatest regrets in life are those "what if" moments of inaction. If you act and fail, then chalk it up to experience. If you don't act (and don't get a positive or negative result), then you are stuck in personal quicksand and that opportunity is lost.

As you can tell, many LOST themes are woven into this situation, including illusion, island, regret, depression, mental issues, and friendship. The idea of self-growth being self-directed is the base line coda of human life. You cannot wait for someone to come by to make you instantly happy. It never happens that way - - - even in the movies.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

THEORY OF ANCIENT MINDS

In the television re-boot of Westworld, one of the characters recently explained the theory behind the level of "consciousness" in the robotic hosts.  He explained a theory that had been kicked around since the mid-1970s. (Again, when sci-fi shows base their own mythology on actual theories, the premise of the show is enhanced in viewers.)

Bicameralism (the philosophy of "two-chamberedness") is a hypothesis in psychology  that argues that the human mind once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking", and a second part which listens and obeys—a bicameral mind. The term was coined by Julian Jaynes, who presented the idea in his 1976 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, wherein he made the case that a bicameral mentality was the normal and ubiquitous state of the human mind as recently as 3000 years ago.

According to Wikipedia, Jaynes uses governmental bicameralism as a metaphor to describe a mental state in which the experiences and memories of the right hemisphere of the brain are transmitted to the left hemisphere via auditory hallucinations. The metaphor is based on the idea of lateralization of brain function although each half of a normal human brain is constantly communicating with the other through the corpus callosum. The metaphor is not meant to imply that the two halves of the bicameral brain were "cut off" from each other but that the bicameral mind was experienced as a different, non-conscious mental schema wherein volition in the face of novel stimuli was mediated through a linguistic control mechanism and experienced as auditory verbal hallucination.


The bicameral mentality would be non-conscious in its inability to reason and articulate about mental contents through meta-reflection, reacting without explicitly realizing and without the meta-reflective ability to give an account of why one did so. The bicameral mind would thus lack metaconsciousness, autobiographical memory and the capacity for executive "ego functions" such as deliberate mind-wandering and conscious introspection of mental content. When bicamerality as a method of social control was no longer adaptive in complex civilizations, this mental model was replaced by the conscious mode of thought which, Jaynes argued, is grounded in the acquisition of metaphorical language learned by exposure to narrative practice.


According to Jaynes, ancient people in the bicameral state of mind would have experienced the world in a manner that has some similarities to that of a schizophrenic. Rather than making conscious evaluations in novel or unexpected situations, the person would hallucinate a voice or "god" giving admonitory advice or commands and obey without question: one would not be at all conscious of one's own thought processes per se. Research into "command hallucinations" that often direct the behavior of those labeled schizophrenic, as well as other voice hearers, supports Jaynes's predictions.


There is application to this theory to LOST. Several fans once remarked that many characters, mostly secondary ones like the Others, were more rote in their thinking and actions than a normal human being. Some tied the work of the Dharma scientists (including mind control) with the possibility that people were brought to the island to supplement, interact and experiment with "conscious androids."

 It is not out of the realm of possibility. LOST's world collides with many random scientific disciplines. Ben was a master of mental manipulation in order to seize and retain his power. Likewise, the idea of reversing the brain's mental polarity back to the ancient way of processing thoughts (3000 + years ago) would back track to the world of ancient Egyptians, another major theme.

As in Westworld, one really does not know who is real and not real on the island. How did some people survive the plane crash, while others did not? Why did the characters have constant "flash backs?" Was it that their "mind" was being reprogrammed with virtual memories? And if these firmware updates tried to over write existing memories, is that why some characters lashed out, had mental breakdowns or began to have nose bleeds?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FREE MEMORY

"It takes a huge effort to free yourself from memory."- - - Paulo Coelho

People are often filled with regrets. Regrets are the lingering pain from experience. A bad break-up can haunt a person for years. The memories and "what I did wrong" without answers can led to life long fears and depression.  It takes a conscious effort to erase the past in order to move on into the future.

Some LOST characters were paralyzed by their pasts.  Many were haunted by abandonment issues. Many were haunted by "daddy" or parent issues. Many believed they were abused. Many believed that they were chosen by fate to have lousy lives. Many believed they were be punished for no apparent reason.

Many characters wanted to escape their present circumstances. Many dreamed of grand adventures. Many believed that they had godlike skills. Many thought they could turn back the clock and change their past.

But in the end, none of them could change their pasts. The only thing they could do was to wake up and acknowledge their past life . . .  and accept it. Accept the consequences of their own actions. Release their regrets and anger against others. To purge themselves of guilt. Free themselves of their own self-pity.

Otherwise, they will continue to rot from the inside to become soul less loners who would contribute nothing to society. They would be crippled by their own memories of a past that was re-written to make them more and more the victim. Victimization can lead to withdrawal and paranoia. It can lead to anti-social behavior. It can lead to a life of perpetual misery.

That is why so many people rely on therapists to help them through their issues. They need to talk their way out of their plight. They need someone to throw them a life preserver. They need someone who believes in them.

LOST's island life was not the true life preserver for the main characters. It was more an amplifier of their fears, anxieties, emotional darkness and loss of life. The island experiences did not set the characters "free" of their memories. No, it reinforced them in a negative way. In some people, like Ben, it emboldened them to act in a more negative manner. Their internal monster's thoughts became a raging real life monster. That is not personal growth but personal destruction because they could not free themselves of the negative memories of their past.

You need to realize that the past is hurting you in the present in order to stop painful memories from stopping you from becoming a better person. We don't think any of the main characters got past their past when they reunited in the church. It seemed like an awkward  25th year high school reunion of long lost strangers than a pivotal change in their lives.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DARK MATTER MODEL

Science wants to have unified answers to the Big Questions. So did LOST viewers.


A new physics model of the universe, formulated by Guillermo Ballestros at the University of Paris-Saclay in France and his colleagues, may be the answer to  explain dark matter, neutrino oscillations, baryogenesis, inflation and the strong CP problem.



Dubbed SMASH, the model is based on the standard model of particle physics, but has a few bits tacked on. The standard model is a collection of particles and forces that describes the building blocks of the universe. Although it has passed every test thrown at it, it can’t explain some phenomena.



For example,  science does not understand dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up 84 per cent of the universe’s mass. Nor why there is more matter than antimatter. Nor why the universe grew so rapidly in its youth during a period known as "inflation."  


Something is still fundamentally missing from the standard model. Scientists think they new "new" particles to help balance or explain the formulas.



Some models, like supersymmetry,  add hundreds of particles – none of which have been spotted at colliders like the LHC. But SMASH adds only six: three neutrinos, a fermion and a field that includes two particles.


SMASH is several theories smashed together. It builds on Shaposhnikov’s model from 2005, which added three neutrinos to the three already known in order to solve four fundamental problems in physics: dark matter, inflation, some questions about the nature of neutrinos, and the origins of matter.
SMASH adds a new field to explain some of those problems a little differently. This field includes two particles: the axion, a dark horse candidate for dark matter, and the inflaton, the particle behind inflation.



As a final flourish, SMASH uses the field to introduce the solution to a fifth puzzle: the strong CP problem, which helps explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

Why is this important? Curiosity about the heavens has been the main focal point of humanity from the very beginning. Our first ancestors looked up to the sky and wondered what it was. The sun and the moon orbits fascinated people. They used the sky to help organize their lives to correspond to the seasons. Some sociologists believe that the questions about nature helped develop mankind's brain function to be the planet's alpha species. 



To unlock the building blocks of the universe may be the key to understanding everything: what causes cancer, why humans have a limited life span, what elements of the universe are or are not on Earth?



As these questions continue to puzzle science, they are also used by writers to speculate on how the lack of knowledge can be captured into dramatic prose. The "what if" premise of film and television shows stokes the curiosity of the viewer. If there is a real sci-fi backbone in the stories, it can mentor people to find scientific careers (as many NASA employees admit Star Trek did for them.)



LOST had an opportunity to inspire a new generation to science if it captured the essence of any new theory about the universe in its mythological story foundation. But it did not. It still remains a disappointing lapse by the show runners. These new scientific theories could have helped explain the time/space tangents, the strange EM radiation and the Numbers used in the Hatch.

Friday, October 28, 2016

HAPPINESS

"A day without laughter is a day wasted.” - - - Charlie Chaplin

Friday, October 21, 2016

HEADING DOWN THE ROAD

As October creeps toward Halloween, with scores of creepy clowns popping up along the roadsides of America, the season gets us back to one element of LOST - - - dream theories.

But in this holiday season, nightmares.

One can broadly classify dreamers into two categories:

1. The upbeat, positive daydreamer who fantasizes about a better life for him or her self.

2. The depressed, anxiety ridden, negative sleeper who tosses and turns at night with ghastly visions of danger and horror.

Many scientists believe that dreams during sleep have major conscious contributions to a person's life. They believe that dreams are the mind's computer running simulations of potential events to gauge how the person (sleeper) will react if the simulation comes true. This is part of a probable ancient self-protection mechanism to teach instinct and survival skills.

The human mind is a complex thing which probably has hard wired in itself self-preservation.

So, one could presume that people who have happy dreams are living happy waking lives.

The counter part to that presumption is that people who have nightmares are living unhappy lives.

There is probably a gray area of people who lead mixed waking lives (people who are caught in a rut, dream of better things, or at times fear the worst.)

When you look at the scope of LOST's story lines, most center upon what would consider a negative path. The drama that incorporates danger, death and violence is easier to comprehend and compel viewership.

Each of the main characters on the show had deep seeded concerns about their lives. There were more negative emotions driving character actions than happy-go-lucky personalities.

Many characters had deep, unresolved emotional issues such as abandonment, abuse, social anxiety disorders and irrational fears. Many characters were heading down the road to nervous breakdowns, anti-social behavior or addiction/retreat from society.

So it is no wonder that these characters "wound up" together in the same place.

The place (and what it represents) is a matter for another discussion. But the series may have been an attempt to work through the characters underlying secrets, unresolved conflicts and personal angsts in the form of living island nightmares (real and imagined).