Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BACK IN TIME

New research by quantum physics infers that it may be possible, in theory, to time travel. However, the scientists believe that one could only go back in time.

LOST had a bad mix of time travel events. Did the frozen donkey wheel create the time travel episodes? Or was it the containment field from the Swan station? Or was it all a red herring by the writers?

The island's "rules" lacked clear continuity. In the Star Trek universe, Gene Roddenberry set down a specific set of rules, including science fiction elements, which carried the series through to today. LOST's showrunners did not take the time or have the patience to forge a realistic, compelling and believable sci-fi doctrine.

The weird science is explained by the strange electromagnetics of the island, inferring that those island experiences are in a different sequence in time and space. When Sayid gets the radio working, they hear a radio broadcast from the 1940s. When Sayid, Frank and Desmond left the island, they experienced events in a different sequence. When Desmond survived the Swan implosion, he began seeing future events. When the freighter doctor's corpse washed up on shore, it was out of sequence with the real time on the freighter (where he was still alive).

In the orientation film for the Orchid station, scientists talked about the island allowing DHARMA to conduct experiments to move rabbits ahead in time and in space. When Ben and Locke turned the frozen donkey wheel under the Orchid station, they found themselves 10 months in the future in a desert halfway around the world.

When the survivors left behind after Ben's wheel turning experienced a time travel change, there was a blinding purple flash (similar to when the Hatch imploded). After Locke fixed the wheel, there was one last flash, but this time the flash was bright white, rather than purple. In all instances, the travelers experienced severe head pain, most likely caused by the extremely loud noise occurring during the flashes. 

People who weren't affected by the time travel appeared to be unaware of the blinding flash and loud noise. For example, Danielle didn't react to or mention the noise or light before Jin disappeared, and when he reappeared in her future, she thought Jin was sick because he disappeared.) It was the inconsistent treatment of people in the same situation which left the story weak and confused. There was no justification for allowing only certain people on the island to time skip while others did not.

For there to be a rational explanation for the differences in time travel on individuals, one must take into consideration that it may not have been time travel at all. How one experiences the passage of time is through consciousness and memory. If one can take an individual and alter, through mind control or neurologic drugs, their consciousness and memories, one could instill false memories including false time. It get backs to the possibility that much of LOST's story is not based in reality, but in the altered mind, memories or subconscious of the characters.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

DREAMS OR DELUSIONS

There is a fine line between dreams and delusions.

A dream is a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. It is a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings. Dreams also include cherished aspirations, ambitions, or ideals; a perception of something or some one as being wonderful or perfect.


But if a dream is an unrealistic or self-deluding it becomes a fantasy.


A delusion is an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder. Or it can mean the action of deluding someone or the state of being deluded, for example,  what a capacity television has for delusion. Delusions of grandeur a false impression of one's own importance can cloud a person's judgement.

In LOST, the characters struggled along this fine line.

Jack had a dream to reconcile with his father. He could never meet his father's expectations. He felt that he was trapped in his father's shadow. He dreamed that his father would one day respect him as an equal. That seems to be a reasonable goal.

Kate had a vague dream about getting out of her boring, dull and suffocating rural Iowa life. However, her dream turned dark when she took the abuse her stepfather had on her mother to an extreme. She then went on a fantasy crime spree to hide from justice. 

Locke had a simple dream. He wanted to be reunited with his parents; to be part of a normal family. But the bitterness of being abandoned by his parents and bouncing among foster families led him to be disillusioned about his fate. He tried to fantasize about having a new life, with a wonderful spouse to being an adventurous outback hero. His outlook crippled him, literally and physically, when he was scammed by his con artist father. 

Ben's dream was from his lack of self-esteem and friends. He was blamed for mother's death. His alcoholic father never cared for him. He took his sorry lot of life for a long time until the island gave him an opportunity to feed a delusion of revenge and power. For Ben to be important and in control of his path, he believed that he had to be in charge, be the leader, to have control over others. He seized on the notions of absolute power against the conventions of normal human relations. He turned into a cold blooded killer and an absolute dictator.

Sayid had a common dream. He wanted to leave his war-torn homeland to live in peace with his true love, Nadia. His focus was to find her. In the end, we are unclear whether Sayid's affection for Nadia was real or imagined to cover up the pain of the tortures he made on others. 

Hurley had a dream to re-unite with his father. To pick up where they left off when he was a child. But that only happened after he won the lottery. His father came back not to love him, but for the love of his new found money. The dream of a happy, healthy and wealthy family turned into a personal curse that led Hurley into mental institutions. 

Sawyer had a mean dream. He vowed to kill the con-man who destroyed his family. His obsession with his revenge turned him into the man he hated - - - a con artist preying on the weakest. He began deluding other people by tapping into their fantasies of romance, wealth or fame. The fact that he was no better than the man who killed his parents made Sawyer believe that he was a worthless human being - - - in need of no compassion, friends, family or goals. Once he killed Cooper, his dream was gone and effectively, the focal point of his life was gone.

If you look to the island as the experimental extrapolation of each characters' dreams or desires, then many of them crossed the fine line. Jack's grief of losing his father before he could reconcile with him led him to madness (but not after showing the world he could be a good leader in a time of crisis.) But Jack's reconciliation only happened in a dream like state of the after life (or a projected version of it).

Kate's island dream was fulfilled because she never really had to account for all the crimes she committed in her real life. Were all those crimes merely unfulfilled fantasies of a young farm girl?

Locke had the opportunity to become the great outback hero, but his own personality flaws crashed and burned his own fantasy leading to his own projected tragic death at the hands of Ben.

Sayid's dream finish was confusing - - - as he re-connected with his long lost love, but then ended up with the exact opposite, Shannon, a spoiled rich girl with no talent and no ambition.

Hurley's island life contained more friends and finding Libby who would love him just as he was - - - but since Libby was seen as a pre-island mental patient in Hurley's day room, was Hurley's happy island ending just another delusion?

Sawyer's island life was only a means to an end. The end of his search for Cooper. And his fantasy revenge was fulfilled when Cooper was miraculously dropped in his lap. Once that occurred, Sawyer was merely a loner only looking out for himself. When he left the island, he had no prospects, no dreams, no aspirations. In one aspect, his life (purpose) died on the island.

Whether the island was a fantasy fulfillment zone is a question that viewers will continue to debate and theorize about. But it was clear that the island was the intersection of character dreams and delusions.

Monday, November 6, 2017

BEING LOST

LOST means different things to different people.

But what is the word lost?

As an adjective, it means being unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts; unable to be found; (of a person) very confused or insecure or in great difficulties.

It also could mean something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered like an attempt recapture one's lost youth. Or an opportunity not used advantageously or wasted.


The word also means having perished or been destroyed such as a memorial to the crewmen lost at sea. 


It could also mean a game or contest in which a defeat has been sustained by a player.



However, the origin of the word "lost" comes from  Old English losian  for ‘perish, destroy,’ also ‘become unable to find,’ from los ‘loss.’

The above denotes the various layers to LOST, the TV show.

First, the characters each had a backstory that showed them unable to find their own way through their lives. They were very confused or had great difficulties in their lives finding true happiness.

Second, many of the characters had lost something or someone in their lives that put them on a dark path of regret, anger or hopelessness.

Third, many characters wasted opportunities or friendships that led them down the path of loneliness.

Fourth,  the main characters seemed to be both lost at sea and perished at the hands of the island guardian(s).  Whether they were merely pawns in a game by the island powers is a plot debate point.  But the word, as with the show, was about winners and losers in the struggle of power and conquest (the heart of business and personal relationships such as love).

Lastly, the origin definition may come the closest to telling what LOST was truly about: if you are unable to find (someone), you will perish and be destroyed by life.

 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SEXISM

In the past weeks, Hollywood's dirty open secret of sexual harassment by powerful men has led to a landslide of resignations and terminations. The casting couch mentality is still prevalent in the entertainment industry. It is not exclusive to the United States as many stories are surfacing in South Korea about directors abusing actresses with non-agreed sex scenes in productions.

Sexism is a prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. This happens frequently in the choices producers make in casting and developing series.

In LOST, the character of Kate Austen was supposed to be the main focal point. She was the one with the troubled background who would become the leader of the 815 survivors. It would have been interesting to see her use her charms to manipulate the male characters to do her bidding (like she did in her flashback crime sprees). In some ways, her character could have been on a parallel track with that of Ben.

But after shooting the pilot, the producers dramatically changed direction. Jack Shephard, the good looking, caring doctor was supposed to be killed to show the "reality" and danger that the island posed to the survivors. But since Matthew Fox had a previous network series with some fan following, the producers decided to make him the lead character instead of newcomer Evangeline Lilly.

It is not that a female character could not lead a network series. For seven seasons, an actress led the crew of Star Trek Voyager on a dangerous quest to return home from the Delta Quadrant. Kate Mulgrew, a stage actress, could command the center stage of the bridge. She could be tough, decisive and kind or introspective during an episode. No viewer questioned her competency as captain because she was a woman.

The leader of a star ship or band of castaways on a remote island controls how a series can unfold its stories. It can show more growth from an underdog character such as a small town woman in Kate who has to learn on the job, balance the inequities and fight the demons of prior prejudices against her. Jack's character had already garnered respect as a talented surgeon from his colleagues and patients. He was used to being in charge of a group in the operating room. His growth as an island leader would not be as great as it would have with Kate.

LOST could have been a totally different series if the original plan of Kate was the 815 leader instead of her secondary role as being a supporter of whatever man she needed to use to continue her own personal survival.

Friday, October 20, 2017

BRAIN LIVES ON

There is a haunting story from the UK Sun.

A UK study on what happens to cardiac arrest patients (where the heart stops) that "come back to life" indicates that brain activity continues after death. Specifically, a person's consciousness continues to work after the person has died. In other words, your brain knows you are dead when you die.

Dr. Sam Parnia and her team from New York University Langone School of Medicine  set out to find the answer in a much less dangerous fashion, looking at studies in Europe and the US on people who experienced "out of body" death experiences.

“They’ll describe watching doctors and nurses working and they’ll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them,” Parnia said.  Their recollections were also verified by medical staff who reported their patients could remember the details.

Death, in a medical sense, is when the heart stops beating and cuts off blood to the brain.
This means the brain’s functions also stop and can no longer keep the body alive.

Parnia explained that the brain’s cerebral cortex — the so-called “thinking part” of the brain — also slows down instantly, and flatlines, meaning that no brainwaves are visible on an electric monitor, within 2 to 20 seconds.


This study adds a factual context to several LOST theories. For those who believe that the series premise was contained inside the mind(s) of a character, then the after death experiences (which could seem to last for a long time like short REM dreams) could explain LOST's mysteries and inconsistent parts. For those who believe that LOST was staged in the after life underworld, the vivid life and death dreamscapes could be from the moments right after death - - - the brain pulling memories, fantasies and information from a still-active brain after the body has died.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BIOHACK

The New York Post reports:

If you’ve ever tried out a virtual reality headset, you will understand the disarming sensation of pulling the headset from your eyes once it’s game over.

It’s incredibly easy to trick your mind into feeling sensations like fear, panic or even total calm and now — according to scientists in London — dreaming.


Scientists are beavering away at methods that can coax the brain into changing its perception of what’s real.


A group of scientists in London are putting volunteers into a dream state even though they are awake.
Carl Smith, director of the Learning Technology Research Center (LTRC) in London  that they have been successful in the process, called “context engineering.”


They can do this using a method called binaural beats, where a tone of a particular frequency is played into one ear and a different tone of another frequency is played into the other.


The brain tries to regulate the sound and creates a third tone that balances the two by creating an equal frequency.


Focusing on this third tone, a method called “delta entrainment,” allows people to drop into a dream state – without going to sleep.


Smith said:”When people want to go into a dream state they can do a 15-minute delta entrainment so their brain actually goes into the delta state, a sleep state, even though they’re not sleeping – and that’s just through listening to binaural sounds.”


It’s not just for inducing different levels of consciousness, these methods can help us regulate sleep patterns, calm us down and help us focus, they claim.


There are a variety of exercises you can perform to train your brain into focusing on senses we typically ignore.


This includes concentrating on your peripheral vision to gain a sense of calm, something athletes are adopting to focus their mind.


It’s part of a subculture called biohacking, which has gained notoriety among amateur scientists. 


The implications of this new process engineering the mind are intense. Tricking your mind to feel intense emotions such as fear and panic could be weaponized against an enemy. A soldier in a panic attack state is not concentrating on his training. He is vulnerable. A weak link.

The use of sound, a tone to stimulate delta sleep patterns, to force a waking person to go into a dream state seems like a plausible Dharma experiment. Viewers often questioned why the main characters were oblivious to their surroundings, the lack of questions to get answers, and a general malaise from the beach campers.

When Faraday remarked that the light on the island was "different," he was seeing it as being diffused or interrupted in its normal pattern. Like light, sound is also a wave form. It is possible that the island light refraction was a byproduct of tonal "context engineering" of the island inhabitants. In the last season, there was a strong hint that the characters had to "awaken" in order to be saved. Saved from what? An island experiment into mind control? The re-training of one's human brain to change into an altered state of consciousness to pass on to another dimension (as the ancient Egyptians believed in their burial texts)?

You can put all the characters missteps, misinformation, misguided missions and missed opportunities on the fact that they were sleepwalking through the series. Literally. Sleep deprivation by putting their minds into delta wave patterns mimicking sleep when they were not at rest. You could then "suggest" patterns of behavior like programming a computer to run simulations. For example, when Hurley's imaginary friend came to him in the island and convinced him it was all a dream - - - in his head - - - and the only way to "wake up" was to jump off a cliff, Hurley was going to do it until Libby showed up out of nowhere. And to keep Hurley grounded, Libby then became his unlikely girlfriend. This dramatic shift in Hurley's thought processes could be an example of how he was programmed to change course. And to keep him on the right path, Libby was constructed to give him a new purpose.

Is there a state of consciousness between being awake and being asleep? Does daydreaming create the bridge between those mental states. And can one scramble their defined positions to change a person's personality, thoughts, morals, goals and fears?

LOST was a series of manipulations. Powerful personalities were always looking to manipulate behavior in others. Some did it by intelligence. Some did it by force. Some did it by instilling fear. But the manipulation was to create order, obedience and leadership.

If these manipulations were a series of experimental biohacks, that puts the series in a new light. None of the characters were dead or truly alive. You could think you were immortal (like Jacob and Patchy) if those images were planted in your mind. They were lab rats in an open experiment.

But what was the end game of the experiment? If it was to get the characters to merge their collective thoughts to find the same finish line in the church, then they succeeded in that task. But what was the church? Was it the afterlife or was it merely the end of an elaborate video game? And the idea of the characters walking out into the bright white light (the symbolism of out-of-body death experience) could be the means of bulk erasing their memories by the scientists conducting the experiment.

Or it could have been a crazy military experiment to try to "expand" the territory of mankind by trying to find a way to "jump" into parallel universes or alternative realities (such as heaven after one dies and their spirit is released). One could have a great military advantage is one could control another world embedded in the present reality. People like Widmore saw the power in controlling the island (and its mind altering possibilities).

This news story sheds some more credence on a biohack premise to the show. The character(s) may have been mere test subjects outside the realm of Earth's physics and cultural common sense.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

LEGACY

When one looks fondly back at events during a lifetime, what stands out sometimes is the hardest thing to understand.

LOST. It was a show that ended the era of "must watch TV." There were no "binge viewing" services. There were no dark web pirated shows. Fans had to arrange their schedule to watch each weekly episode. You could record it for playback - - - to investigate the nuisances, hints, Easter eggs and theories.

LOST was an academic show. Fans went into chat rooms to discuss each episode. They began to post their own answers to the mysteries. The interaction between people after each show became more important than the show itself.

LOST was about building a community on a dangerous island. LOST fans built their own communities outside of the show because it was confusing, contradictory, fun, reckless, nerdy, nail biting and strange. The search for meaning when the show runners sought to do end runs around the truth was part of the show's charm (and down fall).

People researched to explain quantum physics to other fans. People investigated ancient Egyptian culture to translate the messages on the set props. People found meaning in the soundtrack song lyrics. The compelling back stories helped fuel speculation on what the characters would do on the island.

As weirder the story lines got, the more involved the fans got in the show. It was an addictive cycle of story, action, reaction and analysis. As one person's theory seemed to be vindicated, another tangent would make people's heads spin.

It was a roller coaster ride without rails.

Now, years after the last episode. Years after all the emotional autopsies. Years after the cast and writers said their final words. LOST continues to sit fondly in the memory banks of most viewers.

It is the legacy of the last grand network drama shows. Cable giants like HBO and start up streamers like Netflix have become the critic's darling content producers. But LOST would not be able to live in today's fractured digital landscape. Personal consumption of entertainment has become too personal. There is no longer a need to have a group watch and after-show discussion.  Most programs, including reality shows, are spoon-fed dribble lacking complex story telling.

LOST was a unique show with highs and lows, a rabid fan base, intelligent discussion and the atmosphere of college bull sessions in search of answers that really did not matter.