Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FATE WORSE THAN HELL

One of the theories about LOST and its quirky sci-fi story line inconsistencies was that the characters were not "living" in a real world environment, but part of some grand experiment or alternative world (through technology like networking brains of coma victims).

Science may be catching up to some wild fiction.

The Daily Mail (UK) reports the scientists have kept alive pig brains outside of the body for the first time as part of a controversial new experiment. The radical experiments could pave the way for human brain transplants and may one day allow humans to become immortal.

The report suggests to ethics experts that any experiments to reanimate dead brains could lead to humans being locked in an eternal "living hell" and enduring a" fate worse than death."

That's according to Nottingham Trent ethics and philosophy lecturer Benjamin Curtis who made the comments in light of controversial experiments on pig brains.

"Even if your conscious brain were kept alive after your body had died, you would have to spend the foreseeable future as a disembodied brain in a bucket, locked away inside your own mind without access to the sense that allow us to experience and interact with the world,' Curtis said. "In the best case scenario you would be spending your life with only your own thoughts for company.
'Some have argued that even with a fully functional body, immortality would be tedious. With absolutely no contact to external reality it might just be a living hell. To end up a disembodied human brain may well be to suffer a fate worse than death."

Last month, Yale University announced it had successfully resurrected the brains of more than 100 slaughtered pigs and kept them alive for up to 36 hours.

Scientists said it could pave the way for brain transplants and may one day allow humans to become immortal by hooking up our minds to artificial systems after our natural bodies have perished. 

In LOST, viewers were conflicted about who, what, where and how the main characters were interacting with each other on an island that was not an island (where the laws of physics and smoke monsters roamed). Immortality was seen through Jacob, who shipwrecked as a baby on the island during Roman times. The Man in Black appears as an immortal smoke monster savagely imposing judgment on humans. Even the character of Michael appears to be trapped as a "whisper" on the island as a soul that cannot move on in the after life.

The idea that LOST could have been merely a network of reanimated brains now has a thread of truthful basis in current science. And the nightmare of being trapped on an island hell is what Mr. Curtis alludes to in his criticism of the experiment's potential outcome.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

CULT OF THE GODS

One of the main background themes to LOST was the temple and the clear Egyptian artwork that told the stories of Death and the Afterlife.

In ancient Egypt, it was believed that a person's soul would travel a dangerous journey through the underworld. It would be tested and a final judgment would be made if it would reunite with a body in heaven. It was said that the soul would be weighed against a feather by the god of the underworld. If the soul was heavy with sin, then the soul would be condemned to hell.

So Egyptian kings and queens and royals were buried in elaborate tombs and temples to "help" them on their afterlife journey. They were buried with gold and jewels to bribe ferrymen across the River Styx. They were buried with food and wine to sustain their souls on the journey. They were at time buried with their servants who would serve and protect them.

Egyptian rulers believed that they were gods from the stars. That there final place was to return to the heavens.

There are some who believe that there may be more truth in that myth.

The ancient Egyptians built thousands of years ago the largest free standing masonry structures in the history of the planet. Massive stone blocks were moved, placed and perfectly aligned to the stars. In modern times, the largest stone supported skyscraper was 10 stories. In ancient Egypt, it was 23 stories. Modern engineers still do not know how ancient people with stone and bronze chisels could move and lift 10 ton blocks to create the massive pyramids. Even with today's heavy industrial equipment and cranes, it is doubtful that we could achieve such structures.

So the mystery of how the pyramids were constructed is joined in the religious attributes of its creators. If the ancient kings were in fact aliens from another planet with advanced technology to move large stones with ease (which would show their great power and "magic" over the human race), then our own perception of history would be false.

Beyond Egypt, there were other ancient cultures who built massive pyramid structures in harsh climates and locations. Those ancient engineers also had a detailed and accurate grasp on astrophysics and hydrodynamics to built temples and water systems which could sustain a population of more than 50,000 (which is a huge amount in ancient times).

One explanation is that our ancient forefathers were a lot smarter than we think they were. We, today, think we have the most knowledge and savvy because of our own education, experience and accomplishments. But our ancient relatives were more tuned to nature and its properties since they were more dependent on direct interaction with nature than we are today in a our processed economies. After more than tens of thousands of years of trial and error, our forefathers could have developed technology to move large stones with ease - - - something completely lost on us today.

This is not as far fetched as you might believe. In the dark middle ages, much of human knowledge was lost (it was kept alive by monks writing manuscripts). Much of the great ancient inventions were lost in the great fire of the Library of Alexandria.  Those inventions may have included the first computer, navigation devices, the first automatic door and water fountains. Recall, inventors around the time of the Roman empire were magicians who entered the royal courts with fancy machines and usual feats of mechanical engineering. Leonardo had concepts of flying machines and modern tanks.

So ancient temple priests may have been the magicians of their time because they had superior knowledge. Knowledge equated to power. While much of human thought was harnessed in order to create the next superior weapon for conquest and defense (which is even true today), such knowledge could have been applied to solve the mysteries of life after death.

The pyramids could have been the launch pads for the exploration into outer space. Observation decks to the heavens or portals (physically or metaphysically or interpretive) would have been the quest of the powerful rulers who wanted "immortality" as their legacy.  All major religions believe in some form of afterlife. The ancient Egyptians may have tried to find the pathway to the afterlife and bring it into their present.

Likewise, LOST's island could have been a metaphor of the quest for the pathway to immortality. A weigh station along the underworld journey of lost souls trying to reach a final judgment; to release the burdens, sins and regrets attached to their human souls. The guardians of the island were like the cults of kings who oversaw the graves and temples of ancient Egyptian rulers. They stood guard over the buried souls so the living could not disturb the dead's journey. In the LOST story line, "outsiders" like Widmore wanted to come to the island to disrupt the guardians and to take the island's power to their present. It is that grave robber dynamic that pushed the guardians, including Jacob, to recruit his own army of "followers" (including the 815 castaways) to defend the island against the likes of Widmore and his kind.

Friday, April 13, 2018

RANDOM FODDER

 One of the issues in LOST's narrative was the apparent continuity errors. Some were viewed as production issues, others as easter eggs. In a very random exploration, let us discuss a very minor Other named Jason.

Jason was a minor  character who, on numerous occasions, aided Pickett, Ben and Ryan Pryce on various tasks against the 815 captives. He was once termed one of the ten trustworthy minions of Ben. Even though he was in the midst of several missions against the 815 captives, he did seem to be slightly different - - - he appeared to have a conscious.

During Season 3, he was first seen assisting Other named Michael in the Hydra operating room as Ben tried to convince Sawyer that he was in control. Jason told Sawyer to bite down on a stick to manage the pain while he held him down during the operation (which allegedly included planting a mini-bomb in his chest which turned out to be a hoax) and at the time Ben discussed Sawyer's fate at the Hydra Island lookout point.

Jason also assisted Jack at Colleen's funeral.

When Ben in surgery with Jack, Jason tried to convince Pickett, who was assisting, not to leave the operating room to go kill Sawyer. Jason went with Pickett to the cages, but instead of killing Sawyer, Pickett and Jason were beat up by Kate and Sawyer and left in the cages. Once they got out of the cages, they went to the beach to try to capture Kate and Sawyer, but they were unsuccessful.

Jason was one of the men who raided the 815 beach camp. Jason survived the initial ambush explosions to help capture Jin, Sayid and Bernard. As they were lined up on the beach waiting execution by Pryce, Hurley drove the van through the jungle striking the Others. Sayid tripped up Jason to the ground, then broke his neck to kill him.

However, several days after Jason's beach death, he is seen at Richard's camp. Ariston Green, the actor who played Jason, admitted in an interview that he was the person in that scene.

It was probably a production issue where the director needed background members and Green was available. But some would think that the producers and director would have known they killed off a character before this shot - - -  which could lead to viewer confusion.

But one of the oddities of series was the strange "reincarnations" of certain characters on the island. Patchy was the prime example as the mad Russian got killed several times over but seemed to reappear to take revenge on the castaways.

But Jason reincarnation could have been a "reward" for not being purely evil, but just a foot soldier taking orders. That view would give the show at a least a partial moral fiber to the actions and consequences of some actors. If you have some morally positive attributes, you could be saved from final judgment or given a second chance in your island life.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

PROS AND CONS

Some people use horoscopes and astrology signs to determine whether they are compatible with other people, especially in relationships. The positive and negatives of each sign are mere generalizations. However, some people are comforted by those general attributes.

Likewise, you can always put together the pros and cons of characters with each other in their potential relationships.

JACK and KATE.

Pros: Both have lost Daddy issues so they have a common focus.

Cons: Jack tries to fix his problems to gain his father's favor, while Kate runs away from her problems.

SAWYER and KATE.

Pros: Both have a reckless, wild and manipulative to criminal mindset.

Cons: Both have a reckless, wild and manipulative to criminal mindset.

SAYID and SHANNON.

Pros: Both feel abandoned by their families but for different reasons.

Cons: He is sentimental while she is too selfish.

LOCKE and HELEN.

Pros: Both longed to have their own family.

Cons: Locke was obsessed with his past to not see a hopeful future with Helen. Helen was too naive and supportive of Locke to tell that he would never change.

HURLEY and LIBBY.

Pros:   Both tend to be introverted followers with an easy sense of humor.

Cons: Both have hidden emotional and psychological scars that block them from opening up to others.

CHARLIE and CLAIRE.

Pros: Youthful spirits that are trying to run away from their personal faults and failures.

Cons: Charlie's addictive personality traits and Claire's psychological paranoia to the pressure of family life.

JIN and SUN.

Pros: They share the same culture but from different parts of the social spectrum. They are both rebellious against their position in life. They share a similar goal.

Cons: Their personal ambitions lead to personality conflicts with other people. Personal goals outweigh relationship goals.

DANIEL and CHARLOTTE.

Pros: An analytical and practical mind tend to work well together as a team.

Cons: Daniel's sheltered life with his dominant mother makes it difficult for him to communicate, while Charlotte's personal drive stifles other people around her.

As in real life, the LOST characters' relationships had their strong points and their weaknesses. In the eight relationships noted above, five failed. One was a dubious affair and the other two bonded apparently in the after life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

WONDERLAND

What would it be like to be caught between worlds?

The world of the living and the world of the dead.

The world of the living and an other world of a distant alien planet.

Both are plausible explanations of the island in LOST. It is true because of the lack of concrete canon to support the sci-fi story lines with actual physics.

Peppered throughout the discussions of the island are scientific concepts like "portals," "worm holes," time travel experimentation, psychological conditioning, and unique electromagnetic properties. But to suspend belief in a science basis for the island, what do we have to consider?

An island that cannot be seen or mapped from the sky is not an island. It is something else.
An island that can move and disappear is not an island. It has to be something else.

But since Eloise Hawking could calculate its apparent location (with some assumptions), the island's movement must follow a pattern. Nature follows patterns. So does the Earth's electromagnetic grid. The island could be moving to intersection points along with Earth's electromagnetic grid. This makes the island a ship and not an island.

Electromagnetism and bending of light are principles in research for stealth technologies. To make things appear invisible, magicians use mirrors and distraction (such as a pretty assistant) to make the illusion complete. Mirrors, distractions and illusions were all story points in LOST.

What is the purpose of an island moving along an electromagnetic grid? It could be "recharging" itself from specific deep core entry points. It may need a certain amount of energy or flow to "contain" its own power system (which malfunctioned several times to create time skips and purple skies).

Some viewers believed the island was a space-time portal. The teleportation of Locke and Ben to Tunisia was proof of it (in a small scale). The capture of Flight 815 from the sky could be another example as well as all the ship wrecks. It could also explain the "immortality" of Jacob since he controlled the island and thus controlled time itself. One could equate Jacob to that of being a Time Lord.

No one has really thought about the island as being a TARDIS like device piloted by aliens. But in a UFO observatory conspiracy theory, an island would be a good cover to house a base to spy on human beings. A remote island would be a great place to bring humans to do experiments on. You don't need to be gray aliens to poke humans; as shape shifting beings you can create yourself in the image of your laboratory animals.

Jacob and the Man in Black did admit that bringing humans to the island was part of their grand game. An experiment on how humans react to the island conditions, with MIB lamenting that humans always screwed up in the end. MIB was so frustrated with it that he wanted to go "home." But Jacob would not let him - - - basically making him/it a prisoner on the island. So MIB used the corrupt humans in order to rebel against Jacob, to seize control of the island ship to leave Earth.

It does sound like a Dr. Who story line: who controls the TARDIS can control the universe. As Widmore desired control of the island, there were others like Ben who tried to protect it from becoming a weapon of power. But Ben was corrupted by that same power when he purged Dharma.

Therefore, we have the literary means of the island being the center piece between two worlds. The debate is what is the other world?  Is it the religious connotation of the after life (as adored by the temple and the Egyptian mythology)? Or it is a sci-fi based drama based upon the Faraday notebook and Dharma stations?

In either situation, it puts our castaways not as lost survivors of a transportation disaster, but human guinea pigs in a science fiction fantasy world.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A BAD MAIN THEME

There is one bad theme that ran throughout the LOST story lines.

Bad parents.

The affect of parents' treatment of their child had a dramatic effect on how that character was as an adult.

Jack's father never gave him the praise or encouragement Jack needed in order to complete his socialization process. As a result, Jack was not capable of having strong relationships with other people. His displeasure for his father's treatment of him was transferred onto other people he cared about when he was an adult.

Sayid was pushed into being a man as a child. He had to kill the chicken when his older brother could not do it. Sayid was trapped into following authoritative directions. He lost his own free will to serve his superiors (his father, his army commander). As a result, he did things he did not want to do (torture people) and to give up any dreams he had for his future (Nadia).

On the other hand, Hurley's dad's abandonment of him caused Hurley to develop a severe introversion with other people. Even when he had the courage to socialize, it was with the fear of rejection and abandonment. When the store clerk he liked ditched him for his best friend, Hurley's only escape was into his own dream world, a safe place where he could not get hurt.

Sawyer's mother and father ruined his life. His mother was conned out of the family savings, and his father went nuts by a murder-suicide with his wife instead of trying to rebuild his family trust and savings. That led Sawyer to a life of crime and revenge that de-humanized him to become the person he hated the most in the world, the con man Cooper.

Kate's parents divorced when she was a baby. Her mother fooled her into believing her second husband was her father. This deception led Kate not to trust men but to use them as puppets in her own bizarre rebellion. Kate's situation led her to a life of refusing to take responsibility for her actions, and to run away from her problems like her parents did when they divorced.

Jin and Sun were opposites tied together by their hatred for their family class status. Jin fled his poor fishing village life to vow that he would become a rich man. Sun rebelled against her strict, patronizing industrialist-criminal father. She would never get the status or position in the family business because of her gender. She took satisfaction that her father could not stand her taking a poor man like Jin as her lover. But she mistook Jin's desire for wealth over true love when he turned into her father's lackey. There relationship was based more on fighting back against their parentage than true feelings for others. In a way, there childish selfishness against being like their parents was their demise. No one can believe that one parent would orphan their child by drowning in a submarine; death was better than being a single parent?

Locke's traumatic childhood was the deepest cut of all. He could not find the family that he was searching for. He was blinded by the thought of a perfect, suburban picket fence reunion with his real parents. But their loathsome self-absorbed personalities destroyed Locke for a second time. Locke was so beaten down by his upbringing that he could not see the one woman who truly cared for him. He was so bent on his past he could not live in the present. He lost his family and the one woman who loved him. He created his own destiny of being a poor, miserable, bitter man because of his parents abandonment of him as a baby.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

RELATIVE

Scientists have used Einstein's Theory of Relativity to calculate how time is measured in deep space flights. The conclusion is itself a paradox. For a deep space mission, the astronauts may age much more slowly traveling at the speed of light. For example, they may age 28 years on a light speed travel across the universe, but return to Earth 1,300 years later.

The fact that deep space travel can cause a return trip to take 1,300 years in "local" time explains why aliens have never returned to Earth.

Another factor in deep space travel is that human beings do not do well with forces over 1 g. We are basically water bags that can pop under pressure. Scientists think the best deep space travelers would be spiny, thin, small alien grays.

As private space firms have advertised in their speculative missions to colonize Mars, even solar system space travel is a one way street.  If you plan to go out into deep space, the chance of your returning home is near zero.

Which brings us to a hypothesis in LOST.

Some believe the island may have been some lost alien space craft. If true, then Jacob, the island guardian would have been the alien pilot and his brother his co-pilot. If these space aliens came from a distant solar system with advanced technology, they could have crash landed on Earth without the means of repairing their ship.

The clues of being space aliens comes in the form of their physical presence. Jacob and especially MIB appear to be shape-shifting smoke monsters. They can change their physical structure, morph into human beings or monsters. This would make sense for deep space travelers to avoid the pitfalls of human bodies. If these alien travelers were not humanoids but energy beings, they could survive deep space flight.

A further clue on the island aliens is that Jacob's narrative that people who come to the island are from "shipwrecks."  This mirrors his own situation. By bringing people to the island looking for a solution to his problem, Jacob cleverly puts the humans in the same position he is in: lost, looking for a way "home."

And the human beings brought to the island have been a clever bunch. Dharma and the military brought vast resources including nuclear technology and experimentation on electromagnetic properties including time travel. Perhaps these Earth technologies were being used to try to re-boot the space craft island so Jacob could indeed return "home" as MIB kept saying to the castaways. But MIB continues to get frustrated with the humans who want to take their advanced technology and use it to increase their own power on Earth. In order to control them, Jacob and MIB use human history of "gods" including borrowing ancient Egyptian rites, to control the humans on the island.

In essence, the series concludes not with the humans getting home, but the aliens finding a way to end their existence on a distant planet far away from their home. After centuries of failed attempts to get their ship technology working, Jacob and MIB apparently release themselves from their species protections (the immortality we saw during the show) in order to cease to exist. In that way, their alien technology does not corrupt the Earth society as they had found humans to be barbaric and crude in their emotional states.