Friday, May 30, 2014


There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind. ” - - - Napoleon Bonaparte

A Napoleon complex is one of self-absorbed grandeur.  Some psychoanalysis of Bonaparte claim that his small stature but high dream expectations led him to become a tyrannical monster hell bent on conquering all of Europe. Great historical figures often have grand visions of their legacy. What better way to be remembered than enslaving an entire continent?

There were two characters who fall into the emperor category of conquest and control: Ben and Widmore.

Widmore was not a small man. He had apparently grown up on the island. He knew it contained serious power source. He wanted to control it for his own ambitions. He was once the leader of the Others, the self-proclaimed guardians of the island. Whether Widmore knew of or believed in Jacob is unclear. He had a relationship with a powerful woman, Eloise Hawking, and had a brilliant academic son, Daniel. But it was his lust for power and privilege that got Widmore expelled - - - his crime was having a child off the island (Penny) with another unknown woman. Why the island would have such a moral barometer on an out-of-wedlock daughter while allowing the Others to kidnap and kill visitors makes no logical sense. But being LOST, logic or common sense are not necessary elements in any story line.

Once forced to leave the island, Widmore used his ego and talents to build up a vast business empire. But that empire was only a means of gaining enough power to find his island and reclaim it. Widmore's quest was to return to the island, and get revenge on the man who kicked him off it: Ben.

Ben was a small man. His small size fits into the Napoleon grandeur of over-compensating for an inferiority complex. Ben did not have a good childhood. He had no close friends. His father blamed him for his mother's death at childbirth. He was lonely. He dreamed that people would look up at him in awe and fear. He wanted to control his own destiny. He wanted to rebel against the Dharma lock-step. He still had a measure of compassion when he did not kill Alex or her mother Rousseau even though Widmore had ordered it as part of Ben's initiation. Instead, Ben took baby Alex under his care and control. Perhaps this was his first lesson in turning an adverse situation into an advantage.

Both Widmore and Ben were clever in making other people do their dirty business. They both had elaborate plans to get what they wanted from other people. Ben used psychological mind games to confuse then submit people to his will. Ben became frustrated and angry when people, especially women, did not follow his orders.

When Ben got to the leadership role he wanted, he ruled like a tyrant. It was his way or the highway. In that way, even though he was a "bad" character, he was a compelling character. There is a part of human nature that would lash out like Ben did because of his back story. There is always an inner demon that burns to be liked and loved by other human beings; but when that does not happen - - - one becomes bitter, angry and more controlling over people around him.

 Ben was the most complex character. He went through the rollercoaster of being good (as a boy) to bad (as an adult) to at least repented as a dead soul.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

L & S

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. ” - - - Henry Fielding

In any drama, the ups and downs of a romantic relationship is good fodder for a story. 

Likewise, scandal, something morally or legally wrong, can juice a story line.

In the criss-cross story tangents of LOST, love and scandal rarely intersected in any meaningful way.

You did have traditional cardboard love story cut-outs: Jin and Sun's up and down marriage; Bernard's devotion to his ill wife, Rose.

You even had the addict-stalker-friend-companion evolution of the Charlie and Claire dynamic trying to answer the question: what is family?

You had the fairy tale miracle of Jack saving Sarah's life, then marrying his most successful patient. But that story ended badly in a jealous soaked divorce. The miracle was not the surgery, but why they even married in the first place. A promise to make her walk again was not a matrimony proposal.

 You had the school yard love triangle mess that was Jack-Kate-Sawyer. It is clear that Kate used her charm to be the center of attention in order to control her situation. What is unclear whether Kate could have been loyal to any one man; she was a runner - - - a person who took no responsibility for her actions. She ran away from commitment (and her Florida marriage); and she also ran away from Jack in the O6 story arc. Why Kate wound up with Jack is a matter of convenience over romantic story breakthroughs.

The love triangle itself could have been a scandal, but even that ping-pong tourney of affection was not as sizzling as a wild boar steak. For the island did not have a real moral compass in which to judge anyone's behavior, let alone punish it.

Even though most characters "found" someone to be in the sideways church, one cannot conclude that LOST was a web of interesting or compelling love stories.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


 Poor-john and apple pies are all our fare. --Sir J. Harrington.

A "poor-john" is a small European fish, similar to the cod, but of inferior quality.

In LOST, Poor John meant poor John Locke. His character did not live his life or died well. 

John was a loner from day one. Abandoned by his crazy mother, he bounced from foster home to foster home. He never made any true friends. He never assimilated into his foster homes. He was academically sound, but his fantasy-dreams of being a popular jock got into his way.  As a result of his stubborn self-imagine of himself, he left a professional career track to one of being a low wage semi-skilled worker from odd job to odd job.

Along the way, there was an inner desire to create a family. He wanted to care, comfort and support that was missing in his life. He did not find it in his various jobs with his co-workers. He was socially inept in dating circles, fumbling around even with phone sex workers. He even tried to join a commune as a means of trying to get accepted into a large group. But that was a failure. 

From an average, objective standard, John Locke lived an unhappy life. Sociologists would classify him as one of the underclass; an underachiever who failed to reach his potential. He was a reactionary to the negative events around him, and rarely ever met the challenge to change his state in life.

One can be poor economically, socially and spiritually.

Locke was poor in all three of those categories.

Because of those deficiencies, Locke grasped at his chance to be something different on the island. But no matter how he acted, how other people viewed him would return to his off-island loneliness.

Did he have any true friends on the island? No.
Did he make any lasting impacts, or change someone's life for the better? No.

Did anyone on the island mourn him when his body was found in the crate? No.

Only Jack had a drug induced reaction to Locke's death on the mainland - - - but that was not mourning Locke as a friend, but Jack realizing his own personal mistakes and failure as the castaways leader. Locke's death sparked Jack to return to the island, for no apparent reason except to finish what he had started: rescuing his fellow passengers.  But at the time, he did not know if anyone was left to rescue.

So Locke lived and died a poor life. Which is ironic since he was a popular character on the show.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


If there was ever a character who needed a real back story episode, it would be Cindy Chandler.

Cindy was a flight attendant on Flight 815. She appears to be an Aussie. She was the one who gave a nervous Jack a second bottle of vodka (on the house). She was also the person who noticed Charlie's erratic behavior. She was trying to get Charlie out of the first class restroom before the final turbulence began. However, somehow she wound up in the back of the plane when Flight 815 broke a part. (Whether this is a continuity error is unknown; or whether she was part of crash sequence from the beginning.)

Cindy wound up in the Tail Section survivors. She helped Ana Lucia and Libby take care of the wounded. She quickly became the guardian for two children, Zach and Emma (which also lead some to believe that she was an Other, who was charged with gathering any children for the collective.)

When the Others raided the Tailies camp, Zach and Emma and "other" survivors were kidnapped. We don't know if Cindy was kidnapped or voluntarily left with the children. However, we know that she quickly assimulated herself into the Others' camp. She never tried to escape the Others. 

In the final season, she went to the Temple on Ben's orders. She chose to go with Flocke (MIB) in order to protect the children from harm. We do not know what actually happened to her at the end of the series; most presume she stayed on the island under Hurley's watch.

But why would anyone want to "stay" on the island" Cindy had a life and career prior to the crash. She also would have wanted to reunite Zach and Emma with their mother, right? The only reason why Cindy would stay on the island with the children was to protect them from the truth - - - that they perished in the plane crash and they were not yet ready for heaven.

Cindy is a mysterious character that was underdeveloped in the series.

She could have been good or evil.

She could have been an Other whose mission was to kidnap the children. Ben was famous for planting spies in the enemy camp. Or perhaps, she could have been working for Jacob, who recruited off-island people to do his work.

Or she could have been a normal young woman who found it her duty to protect the people in her charge, the passengers on the plane. And she clung to the most at risk, the children.

Or, the island could have been setting her up to repeat its own history . . . . turning Cindy into Crazy Mother 2.0 and Zach and Emma as her adoptive children, Jacob and MIB, in order to reboot the island's mission cycle (whatever that truly was). 

The gaps in Cindy's story line were ripe for writer exploitation and intrigue. But alas, we will never know the true Cindy story.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


There is no fear without some hope, and no hope without some fear. ” - - - Baruch Spinoza

Fear is a great equalizer. In the battlefield, you want your opponent to fear you more than you fear him.

Fear can be considered a rational reaction to a stressful situation. Fear is also a mechanism to control one's thought processes, consciously and subconsciously, to arrive at an immediate solution if one is in danger.  It is primitive instinct behavior - - - a survival mechanism, born out of necessity when man was not top predator. Fear of the dark is common because in man's origin, the beasts that preyed upon them hunted at night. Every twitch, creak or sound in the pitch of darkness would be a signal - - - triggers the fear response and possible action.

In modern society, fears take on other forms. Some people are fearful of success, in business or relationships. They self-sabotage themselves in order to avoid the responsibility that comes with such success. Some people fear high buildings, bridges, crowds, elevators, confined spaces, the outdoors, insects - - - things that they can detour around in their daily lives. 

But in today's modern society, man does not fear death.

Terrorists strap explosives to themselves to become suicide bombers.
People recklessly text and drive on highways.
People abuse alcohol and drugs to stages of overdose.

But rarely in modern culture is fear of death represented in television shows. If at all, it is a gag comedy sketch on a show like Family Guy. Even the mayhem in the Harry Potter series, the characters were noble in the face of their own demise. Stoic. Reserved. 

In LOST, we know many of the main characters had typical fears. But can you recall any fixating on their own possible death?  Some could say when Sayid died in the temple, Jack and Hurley may have saw their future in the still body of their friend. 

Then in the sideways world, when told he was dead, Jack had no reaction. He had no reaction that everyone else around him was dead. It really didn't matter to him, or perhaps, deep down he already knew.  His one hope was to reunite with his father, which he did do. So perhaps, that hope canceled out any fear of death.

Friday, May 23, 2014


If one does not enjoy the world that they live in, it is a sinful waste of a life.

When we talk life, we tend to talk about accomplishments, relationships, and material wealth. If there is a scale to weigh one's life, one would hope the positives outweigh the negatives.

Life can be viewed as a series of obstacles or opportunities, depending on one's frame of mind.

Life can also be viewed as a series of trials and failures, and the resiliency after a set back or defeat.

Life could be a hard jungle to navigate, depending on how adaptive a person can be to adversity and change.

Life can be an adventure or a prison, depending on one embraces things outside one's comfort zone.

Life can be both good and bad, at the same time.

Life can be both rewarding and frustrating, at the same time.

One of the earliest childhood cartoons were those Charlie Brown specials. Charlie Brown was a typical kid who seemingly did not catch a lot of breaks. He was a klutz, not a good athlete, and his follies were humorous to his friends. But he kept going forward despite his set backs.

It takes time for children to grow into adults, and to integrate their childhood experiences and life lessons into a lesson plan to orchestrate their lives.

And it takes a long time for a person to realize that in this world, we are all Charlie Brown.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Do the things you used to talk about doing but never did. Know when to let go and when to hold on tight. Stop rushing. Don't be intimidated to say it like it is. Stop apologizing all the time. Learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph. Spend time with the friends who lift you up, and cut loose the ones who bring you down. Stop giving your power away. Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting. Be old enough to appreciate your freedom, and young enough to enjoy it. Finally know who you are. — Kristin Armstrong

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Ever wonder if LOST was pitched to a network today, whether it would be green lit as a series?

"The premise is that a commercial airliner crashes on a mysterious uncharted tropical island. The survivors must learn to live together when there is no rescue. The story is part Swiss Family Robinson meets Survivor meets Doctor Moreau."

I don't know if there is enough meat on that bone to allow a network to commit to 26 episodic series. It is cheaper and just as time filling to film ditzy housewives or stressed out rehab carpenters in reality shows. You need something unique to spice up the pitch.

"And there will be polar bears and a monster on the island."

Well, yes those are different and unexpected elements to a drama series set on an island. So, what do those elements represent in the overall story line?

"We can't tell you that."

End of meeting.

And that is the cliff face. If you cannot explain the fantastic elements of your story from the very beginning, you don't have a coherent story at the end.

If the pitch continued with a frame of reference that the island inhabitant was a crazy, ruthless mad scientist doing immoral experiments on animals  - - - and now has a new inventory of human beings thought to have perished in a plane crash - - - then you have a real story engine of the plane passengers having a real struggle of survival.  You would have clearly defined villains and "good" people the audience could root for.

LOST's Jacob-MIB dynamic was late to the party and it did not have the punch of a mad scientist terrorizing a band of weary humans. In fact, the broad brush streak by the show runners that the series ended on a "spiritual" plane did not help explain anything.

One would have to stress the danger and action elements to a show like LOST today as the entertainment competition is greater - - - HD graphic video games give kids a box office thrill ride on their television sets. Any pitch today for an action-adventure-drama series would have to express many of those same traits in order to capture an audience.

Depending on how the show was presented, it would probably be less than a 50% chance that LOST would be picked up as a series today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Good has two meanings: it means that which is good absolutely and that which is good for somebody. ” - - - Aristotle

Double meanings. It is a writer's diversion to trick the reader's mind to lead them to an unexpected reveal. The trick is not to so confuse the reader; but to set a mental trap to spring on them at the climax of the story.

LOST had many good characters. Characters that were good to other people. Characters who looked for the good in other people. Rose and Bernard were probably the best examples of that type of character.

LOST also had characters who did good deeds. They helped other people. They sacrificed themselves (their time, resources, capital) to help others. Jack would be such an example because as a doctor, he gave up much of his personal life to save other people from traumatic injuries. Even on the island, he gained instant support of the group by going around helping the survivors.

LOST had one absolute pure good person. One that was not tainted by life. He was too young to comprehend the things around him. He was unique in island history. Aaron had purity in his soul when he was born on the island. 

Then LOST had characters who used "good for somebody's benefit."  One vein would be an altruistic person, unselfish. There entire lives would be devoted to service of another person. Richard Alpert saw the goodness in Jacob's speech to become his immortal island liaison. Alpert sacrificed his chance of moving on in the after life (to be with his deceased spouse) to be a Jacob's side against MIB. It is odd that MIB, knowing about Alpert's loyalty to Jacob, would not have eliminated him from the island power dynamic. Was Jacob's power of "immortality" a means of stopping MIB from destroying Alpert or his soul?

Then we had LOST characters who used the term "good" in order to manipulate others to do their bidding. The master of this craft was Ben. He kept telling the survivors he was "one of the good guys" while at the same time terrorizing the camp. He had a brutal reign of a dictator under the guise of a higher purpose. In order to keep order, such a person uses "good" as the brand for their personal evil.

So the plot of LOST was a cloudy vision of what was "good." That is part of the perplexing situation that the overall story does not have a moral base. There is no life lesson learned by the characters. There is no punishment for evil acts. The whole concept of what is "a good person" is rendered moot. There is no great revelation in the sideways world on how the various "good" characters in the series got their heavenly reward. All the different elements were merely thrown back together in a church.

Monday, May 19, 2014


To err is human, to forgive divine - - - Alexander Pope
The main characters often said "I'm sorry" to each other, usually after misreading another's intentions.
But was the show about forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a pardon, absolution, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, clemency, mercy; reprieve, or amnesty.

The one person who was given the greatest pardon or reprieve was Ben, when he was spared his own death after killing Jacob. Ben had a megalomaniac history of horrible deeds, finishing with killing his own demigod, Jacob. But he was forgiven. And apparently it changed him (at least in the sideways world as a geeky school teacher who wants to make up for his island past by helping Alex and Danielle in their memory erased after life.)

The one person who had the most personal demons was Kate. Her criminal behavior rooted in a delusion of helping to free her mother from an abusive relationship did not result in punishment but clemency. She did not go to jail for murder. She did not go to jail for bank robbery or thefts. She got an unbelievable gift of freedom for a person whose entire life on the run was freedom from responsibility.

The one person who needed the most dispensation was Jack. His life turned into a downward spiral after his father's death because he could not cope with the fact he could not be his equal in his father's own eyes. (It was only after death when that reconciliation happened). Jack had built a quality life for himself: a miracle medical practice, professional respect, a loving first wife - - - that all crumbed through his mental paranoia and drug addictions. But the viewers (and island characters, especially Kate) would forgive his transgressions because deep down, Jack was an honest and good soul.

The one person who lucked out and did not stand for any of his crimes was Sawyer. He got amnesty by falling to earth via the plane crash. And his time on the island fulfilled his one vengeful desire to kill the man who indirectly killed his parents, Cooper. But Sawyer did not go to hell for his bad deeds. Instead, his sideways after life had him in a responsible position as a police detective.

The one character who was granted an indulgence was Hurley. He was self-conscious about his appearance, his intelligence, his personality that his life was going to captured in a career grease monkey at fast food franchises. He had no drive after his father left his family. He blamed himself for other people's misfortunes. He became so self-conscious that he had admitted mental problems, including imaginary friends. When his life derailed with the plane crash, it was a break from his mainland pressures. He could find the things that were missing in his life: real friends and a woman who would truly care for him.


In the alternative universe of my mind, with all the hype of the new Abrams helmed Star Wars on the horizon, what LOST characters would be cast in the SW reboot?

It should be fairly easy.

The "good guys" would be Jack as Han Solo, because he is the de facto leader of the rebel squad fleeing Darth Vader (Ben).

Kate would be Leia, because she is the lead female character.

Locke would be Chewbacca because of the hair.

Or lack thereof. Besides, Locke played second chair to Jack for most of the series.

Sawyer could be Luke, but the actual romance angle with Kate is beyond PG-13. But as the "golden" street smart guy who seems to get into and out of trouble easily, C-3PO.

Likewise, the banter allows Hurley to be R2-D2, the character that no one seems threatened by.

At least in LOST WARS, you know who you were fighting (Widmore) the evil empire. And the story would be fairly linear - - - attack, counterattack, capture, escape, victory.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Here is a crazy, ancient myth that can be applied to LOST.

In Ancient Greece, educated men were obsessed with wombs. They understood the purpose of the womb, but in order to explain the mood swing to hysteria of their women, they came up with the notion that those symptoms were caused by the womb "wandering" about the female body There was no ailment more dangerous for a woman than her womb spontaneously wandering around her abdominal cavity. It was an ailment that none other than the great philosopher Plato, as well as Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.

The womb could head upward and downward, and left and right to collide with the liver or spleen–movements, argued Aretaeus, that manifest as various maladies in women. If it moved up, for instance, the womb caused sluggishness, lack of strength, and vertigo, “and the woman is pained in the veins on each side of the head.” Should the womb descend, there would be a “strong sense of choking, loss of speech and sensibility” and, most dramatically, “a very sudden incredible death.”

These Greek men thought of the womb as "an animal within an animal," a conscious being that could cause a woman harm. The ancient medical healers thought the wandering womb had a weakness: scents. It would advance toward fragrant smells, and repel from unpleasant or foul smells.  To cure a wandering womb, physicians could lure it back into position with pleasant scents applied to the lady's parts, or drive it away from the upper body and back down where it belongs by having the afflicted sniff foul scents.

To say the ancients did not have a handle on PMS would be an understatement. But it did provide the male dominated society to assert power over their women. To keep the womb from becoming "bored," physicians would proscribe that women become pregnant as often as possible, which would mean having constant sex. Otherwise, it was told, that the womb would rebel.

As crazy as the wandering womb sounds, it does provoke a correlation to the definition of the heart of the island.

The heart of the island was described as the place of "birth, death, and rebirth."

And what is not a womb but a place for birth (pregnancy), death (stillborn to abortions) and rebirth (the passing of one's genetic material to the next generation, i.e. gene immortality).

If the island was symbolic of mankind's womb, things get strange.

We know that the producers and writers never thought of this concept, but in true LOST fan community brainstorming, it is always fun to bring new concepts to the old series.

There are some modern scientists who believe the sole purpose of humans is to procreate. Everything we do is for the purpose of procreation, from getting a quality education, to getting a job, to making money, to gather wealth - - - all positive aspects in acquiring a mate. In some respects, these scientists put our base instincts at a primitive animal level. And the ancient amino acids in our DNA may prove that out one day.

We did have the seemingly important story arc about the island not allowing pregnant women come to term. It was the reason that Ben brought medical specialists like Juliet to the island, even though Alpert complained that it was a distraction from their true (unstated) mission. Dharma women were dying during their pregnancies, while non-Dharma women like Rousseau and Claire could give birth on the island. There was no rhyme or reason for the different results.

Of course, there can be an absurd tangent if one assumes the island is a womb. If the womb is a conscious being onto itself, it may have its own thoughts, dreams (or feeds off the dreams of other people) to create its own universe. It could represent the attacking spermatozoa like Keamy's soldiers while the Others represent white blood cells counterattacking the foreign objects. These biologic elements could be represented by the characters, as avatars, to keep the bored womb excited in her own dream state. (I think this was the basis of Avatar and an episode in Family Guy.)

A womb needs "protection" from unwanted pregnancy. In modern times, a multi-billion dollar industry has developed in the reproductive consumer products and services industries. Even if a woman wants to become pregnant, there are times when a womb does not cooperate (infertility). Pregnancy, like LOST itself, is an inexact science.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


What we knew about the island is what we perceived about the island. Perceptions are reality unless the perceptions are deceptions. Then our perception is wrong.

What do we truly know about the island?

It looked like a tropical island.
It had palm trees, beaches, ocean currents, a reef, volcanic mountains and bamboo groves.

It also was "moving" away from the freighter. Daniel's rocket experiment data proved it.
It also "vanished" without leaving a massive void in the ocean space which would have created a massive tsunami. Instead, it was just a ripple on the ocean's surface.

So we have something that looks like an island but acts like a  . . .

Space ship.
A portal to another dimension.
An illusion.
Something else.

We were also told that the island needed "protection." Protection from what? It seemed that human beings could exploit the power of the island's core for evil purposes, but we never saw anyone actually harness that power. We saw individuals turn the frozen donkey wheel, but that exercise merely teleported those turners off the island. The Dharma Initiative drilled into the electromagnetic pockets in an attempt to harness the energy, but the only things that happened were time traveling bunnies and The Incident.

Like nature, the island seems untameable by human hands.

But the entire series undercurrent was the need to find an island guardian. In the first instance, Crazy Mother killed a Roman woman to steal her new born sons. She took those babies in order to have one of them replace her as the guardian of the island. That role went to Jacob. And after Jacob killed his brother, he sought to replace himself. He brought hundreds of candidates to the island to match wits with the apparent dead spirit of his brother, MIB. But the goal was the same as Crazy Mother: to give up the burden of the guardianship.  The role went to Jack for a short period to re-set the island cork and rescue Desmond from the light cave; but then it was transferred to Hurley, who also did not want the job.

But what exactly was the job? Ben said it was anything Hurley wanted to do; he could make up his own rules.

Ben also remarked that the island was like a Magic Box; if you wished hard enough, your dreams could materialize.

So, it is possible that the real connection between the island and human beings is the runaway, uncontrollable dreams of human beings that the island could actually give them - - - if there was no governor - - - something to stop someone from becoming a god.

We were told that Hurley merely wound down the island, shut down the air drops, and went to the sideways world church reunion. But there is a huge gap in between these activities. First, the sideways world is in the after life. Second, if Hurley was alive on the island, how did he get to the sideways world if he was an immortal guardian? Did he have to trick someone into taking over his island guardianship in order to escape the island's hold on him?

It would seem so. Unless Hurley's grand wish was always to have a group of close friends, a woman who truly loved him, and a place where everyone could come together in peace and tranquility. Then his Magic Box moment would have been the sideways church reunion.

Friday, May 16, 2014


The Numbers were a constant throughout the series. Fans want the Numbers to mean more than the explanation given by TPTB.

In typical in-series episode clue hunting, scratch math of the Numbers:

If we look at the "progression" of the Numbers, we find an interesting pattern. The number "19" is produced by the first four number sets and by the final number set.

How does the Number 19 apply to LOST?

In the lighthouse, candidate 19 was Nguyen, and that name was crossed out. Lostpedia references the trivia of brutal Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Mihn was born Nguyen.

In the chart of elements, Number 19 is for potassium. It's symbol is K. 

K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet.It's abbreviation denotes things like 
• kelvin(s).
• Computing kilobyte(s).
• kilometer(s).
• kindergarten.
• king (used esp. in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess):
• knit (as an instruction in knitting patterns):
• (also k ) informal thousand
• Baseball strikeout.
• karat.
• a constant in a formula or equation.
• Chemistry Boltzmann's constant,  the ratio of the gas constant to Avogadro's number, equal to 1.381 × 10−23 joules per kelvin. (Symbol: k ).

It is interesting to note so many things pop up from K. Kelvin was the character in the Hatch who lied to Desmond to keep him imputing the Numbers into the computer. He was also a military officer Many people think the characters interactions with each other was like kindergarten children. Everyone wanted to be king of the island. The turning point for Jack, in captivity, learned  the Red Sox won the World Series, reversing a fan curse. We were also told about "constants" by Daniel as the means of surviving the island's unique properties, including time travel.

Potassium is a metal and is the seventh most abundant and makes up about 1.5 % by weight of the earth's crust. Potassium is an essential constituent for plant growth and it is found in most soils. It is also a vital element in the human diet.

Potassium is never found free in nature, but is obtained by electrolysis of the chloride or hydroxide. It is one of the most reactive and electropositive of metals and, apart from lithium, it is the least dense known metal. It is soft and easily cut with a knife. It is silvery in appearance immediately after a fresh surface is exposed.

So the Number 19 is a number derived from LOST's series of numbers. Is it a clue that the key to understanding LOST can be learned through Kelvin? Probably not. He was a minor character who conveniently shows up on two different characters' background stories. The themes attached to him include military, duty, manipulation, lies, and wanting to escape. Potassium is never found "free" in nature; it must be manipulated to be obtained. Again, the clue could be that the characters had to be manipulated by the island in order to escape the traps and lies of their human existence.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I wondered what LOST would have been like if it had been set in a steampunk location rather than a tropical island. Wondering if anyone else had this crazy notion, I web searched lost and steampunk and found reference to a 1995 film called "The City of Lost Children."

Set in surrealist society, a scientist kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.

What a nice, simple and easily understood premise to the movie. Very unLOST.

But this does follow up nicely on the last post about the island, as a living being, needing younger human blood in order to extend its own life force. What if the island being was needed new human beings brought to it in order to steal their dreams - - - as a means of extending the island's life span?

We know that the island, especially the smoke monster(s), can read people's minds and dreams in order to create the visions the characters had during the show.  And what better source of "dream material" than the mixed up cast of characters that were on the island. You have people who think they are crazy (Hurley) to those who really are crazy (Ben) to emotional newborn mothers (Claire, Rousseau) to freaked out drug addicts (Charlie) to romantic dreamers (Desmond) to hardened nightmares of war veterans (Sayid) to the storytelling con men (Sawyer, Cooper) to the desperate fathers (Michael). The cast has a library full of anxiety, emotions, experiences and personal demons that could keep a dream stealer nourished for years.

Re-worked LOST premise:

Set on an unchartered tropical Pacific island, an alien life force kidnaps human beings to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow its aging process.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


There has always been a question of why the heart of the island, which is the life force that has the properties to give life, death and rebirth, needs to be protected from human beings.

It is one of those common sense questions that has no logical answer.

Which gets us to "vampire mice." 

New medical research studies published in Science and Nature Medicine state that older mice given blood from younger rodents quickly become rejuvenated, exhibiting greater strength and memory. The concept of injecting older mice with younger blood leads to immortal comparisons with literary vampires.

The studies stated that a protein called GDF11 — also found in human blood — is behind the rejuvenating properties.  Concentration of the substance appears to decline in advanced years. 

An an unrelated study, aging and death was tied to a person's lack of blood stem cells which also decline as one ages.
These findings could be used to treat age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, some scientists warn that stimulating the rapid regrowth of cells could possibly lead to increased risks of cancer.

The concept of "new blood" is an old phrase that embraces change. But now it has the meaning of prolonging life.

So why were guardians needed to "protect" the island? Perhaps, it was another red herring. The concept was not to protect the island but to bring young human beings to the island so the mythical light force (if it was a being) could feast upon the blood of the young to remain rejuvenated and strong.

If you add the pre-Columbian rituals of the ancient Mayan civilization which were very keen on human blood and blood sacrifices, there may be something to this notion of young blood. The Mayans used sacrifices, including small children, as a means to appease their gods. They believed that the gods provided them with everything, including rain and good harvests. In order to keep the cycle of life going, the Mayans had to offer blood to those gods.

Is it possible that the LOST survivors were used like cattle to feed the blood requirements of an alien island being? Was Jacob not the guardian of the island, but the person in charge of procuring the next candidates for the blood feast? This would also explain why there was no moral compass on the island. Those living on it lived and died in a brutal fashion. The island itself conformed its power into smoke monsters to take the appearance of humans in order to have those on the island have more conflict and blood shed. And if it was not at the level the island wanted, the smoke monster would rage out of control like it did at the Temple in Season 6.

If the characters on the island were only brought there to feed the blood lust of the island's heart, that puts LOST into a whole new, creepy perspective.


The BBC published an article this month on a topic discussed in past LOST blogs . . . the mental aspects of severe isolation on human beings.

We’ve known for a while that isolation is physically bad. Chronically lonely people have higher blood pressure, are more vulnerable to infection, and are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  Loneliness also interferes with a whole range of everyday functioning, such as sleep patterns, attention and logical and verbal reasoning. The mechanisms behind these effects are still unclear, though what is known is that social isolation unleashes an extreme immune response – a cascade of stress hormones and inflammation. This may have been appropriate in our early ancestors, when being isolated from the group carried big physical risks, but for us the outcome is mostly harmful.

Yet some of the most profound effects of loneliness are on the mind. For starters, isolation messes with our sense of time. One of the strangest effects is the ‘time-shifting’ reported by those who have spent long periods living underground without seeing daylight.  In 1961, French geologist Michel Siffre led a two-week expedition to study an underground glacier beneath the French Alps and ended up staying two months, fascinated by how the darkness affected human biology. He decided to abandon his watch and “live like an animal”.

While conducting tests with his team on the surface, they discovered it took him five minutes to count to what he thought was 120 seconds. 

A similar pattern of ‘slowing time’ was reported by Maurizio Montalbini, a sociologist and caving enthusiast. In 1993, Montalbini spent 366 days in an underground cavern near Pesaro in Italy that had been designed with Nasa to simulate space missions, breaking his own world record for time spent underground. When he emerged, he was convinced only 219 days had passed. His sleep-wake cycles had almost doubled in length. Since then, researchers have found that in darkness most people eventually adjust to a 48-hour cycle: 36 hours of activity followed by 12 hours of sleep. The reasons are still unclear.

As well as their time-shifts, Siffre and Montalbini reported periods of mental instability too. But these experiences were nothing compared with the extreme reactions seen in notorious sensory deprivation experiments in the mid-20th Century.

In the 1950s and 1960s, China was rumored to be using solitary confinement to “brainwash” American prisoners captured during the Korean War, and the US and Canadian governments were all too keen to try it out. Their defense departments funded a series of research programs that might be considered ethically dubious today.

The most extensive took place at McGill University Medical Center in Montreal. The McGill researchers invited paid volunteers – mainly college students – to spend days or weeks by themselves in sound-proof cubicles, deprived of meaningful human contact. Their aim was to reduce perceptual stimulation to a minimum, to see how their subjects would behave when almost nothing was happening. They minimized what they could feel, see, hear and touch, fitting them with translucent visors, cotton gloves and cardboard cuffs extending beyond the fingertips. As reported in Scientific American magazine,   they had them lie on U-shaped foam pillows to restrict noise, and set up a continuous hum of air-conditioning units to mask small sounds.

After only a few hours, the students became acutely restless. They started to crave stimulation, talking, singing or reciting poetry to themselves to break the monotony. Later, many of them became anxious or highly emotional. Their mental performance suffered too, struggling with arithmetic and word association tests.

But the most alarming effects were the hallucinations. They would start with points of light, lines or shapes, eventually evolving into bizarre scenes, such as squirrels marching with sacks over their shoulders or processions of eyeglasses filing down a street. They had no control over what they saw: one man saw only dogs; another, babies.

Some of them experienced sound hallucinations as well: a music box or a choir, for instance. Others imagined sensations of touch: one man had the sense he had been hit in the arm by pellets fired from guns. Another, reaching out to touch a doorknob, felt an electric shock.

When they emerged from the experiment they found it hard to shake this altered sense of reality, convinced that the whole room was in motion, or that objects were constantly changing shape and size.

The researchers had hoped to observe their subjects over several weeks, but the trial was cut short because they became too distressed to carry on. Few lasted beyond two days, and none as long as a week. Afterwards, Hebb wrote in the journal American Psychologist that the results were “very unsettling to us… It is one thing to hear that the Chinese are brainwashing their prisoners on the other side of the world; it is another to find, in your own laboratory, that merely taking away the usual sights, sounds, and bodily contacts from a healthy university student for a few days can shake him, right down to the base.”

In 2008, clinical psychology experiment  isolating six volunteers for 48 hours in sound-proofed rooms in a former nuclear bunker. The results were similar. The volunteers suffered anxiety, extreme emotions, paranoia and significant deterioration in their mental functioning. They also hallucinated: a heap of 5,000 empty oyster shells; a snake; zebras; tiny cars; the room taking off; mosquitoes; fighter planes buzzing around.

Why does the perceptually deprived brain play such tricks? Cognitive psychologists believe that the part of the brain that deals with ongoing tasks, such as sensory perception, is accustomed to dealing with a large quantity of information, such as visual, auditory and other environmental cues. But when there is a dearth of information, says Robbins, “the various nerve systems feeding in to the brain’s central processor are still firing off, but in a way that doesn’t make sense. So after a while the brain starts to make sense of them, to make them into a pattern.” It creates whole images out of partial ones. In other words, it tries to construct a reality from the scant signals available to it, yet it ends up building a fantasy world.

How do these concepts of isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, emotional and mental deterioration apply to LOST? All of the LOST characters shared a mutual feeling of isolation during their lives. If one takes that element and then have those people put into a forced isolation (such as a mental institution or solitary confinement in prison), the human mind will "try" to construct reality from the limited information around the subject, but ends up with hallucinations and a fantasy world that the subject believes is real.

The island can be viewed as an isolation tank; a fantasy world fueled by the hallucinations of one or all of the characters.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Monday, May 12, 2014


When a man says he has exhausted life one always knows life has exhausted him.
— Oscar Wilde

Giving up. Seems like the easy way out.

But that is how many LOST characters decided to end their lives.

Locke, frustrated and depressed that he had zero leadership skills to get the Oceanic 6 back to the island, tried to hang himself. He had given up on himself. It really should not have mattered what other people said to him. He was off the island. He had another chance to start over. But he gave up instead.

Jack, after battling Flocke to save the island, wandered off into the bamboo grove where his island journey first began, and gave up. He lied down waiting to die. Which is strange, considering we know that there were many other people left on the island that could have treated his wounds. (Including Hurley, who could give Jack apparently immortality as Jacob had given Alpert). He had another chance to start over and leave the island. But he gave up instead.

Which raises a very interesting question: why?

Jack actually did have something to go back to on the mainland. He had a medical practice. He had a widow mother who needed his support. He could have had Kate. So what exhausted Jack so much that he rather quit than go on?

Or, maybe once the island trapped his soul, his life was finite like grains of sand in an hour glass. He gave up much of his life when he gave up the guardianship as a means of trying to re-set everyone else's life timers. But there is no set answer of why Jack even believed that he had to sacrifice himself. Was it his own self-loathing - - - on par with suicidal Locke - - -  that made Jack close his eyes for the final time?

That is why Jack's end rings hollow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


In Japanese anime, television production adaptions of current and popular manga titles leads to a problem: the TV shows burn through the manga chapters faster than the creator can create new content. As a result, anime shows regularly have to elongate their stories or create "filler" (non-canon) story arcs in order to keep their TV show on the air.

It is clear that at some point early in the LOST initial story development, that some sort of filler was needed to keep the story on the air. The prime example of this was the Other 48, the tail section story arc. In some ways, this filler tried to revive the discarded original notion that the survivors would have been led by Kate.

In the Other 48, Ana Lucia was the strong female lead. Eko was the spiritual Locke character. Bernard would have been a weaker version of Jack, the medical doctor.

The filler did touch upon the same original themes of loss, parent conflict, good and evil intentions and deceptive behavior. It seems that all the passengers went Down Under (hell?) in order to investigate or find something. Eko was sent by his church to investigate a miracle he deemed a fraud; but being a fraud himself led to some inner-personal conflict. Ana Lucia came to Australia as a body guard for Christian, but she was running away (like Kate) from her personal demons back home (including a potential manslaughter charge). It seems that these characters were looking to try to change, or purge their past mistakes but they failed to come to any personal revelation in Sydney. Since they did not change, they got aboard another vessel and crash landed on the island, another place where these characters would be able to face their demons head on in order to change (purgatory?).

Eko was supposed to be a centerpiece candidate until the actor playing the role had a contract dispute with the producers. He was supposed to be the conduit for immorality and repentance. Eko was an African drug lord who commandeered the local church to run his illegal operations. As a result of his deceptive plans, his brother, Yemi was killed. Eko assumed Yemi's role of a priest in order to save his own life from the gallows. But Eko was haunted by the visions of his dead brother when he got to the island. It was not possible that a small prop plane from Africa would wind up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This vision of Yemi's crashed plane and his body were clearly created by the island (or smoke monster) from Eko's memories. The island was using Eko's memories and emotions against him; trying to force him to admit is sinful past in order to make something positive out of his life.

But in the end, Eko refused. He stood before the smoke monster and refused to repent. (In some ways, this scene is like TPTB today who refuse to acknowledge the errors in their story telling ways to the show's fans.) As a result of Eko's indignation, the smoke monster destroyed him.

Now, some may believe the smoke monster was passing judgment upon Eko for his sins. But others may believe that Eko passed judgment on himself. He was never going to change. He never wanted to change. There was no further reason for him to stay on the island, so his spirit was terminated with prejudice. (We don't see him in the sideways after life).

In some ways, even more evil people would up in the sideways world (Ben and Keamey). Ben may have come around to regret some of his actions (which caused the death of Alex at Keamey's hand), but Keamey was merely an uncaring mercenary who actually thrived on killing other people. The island allowed these individuals to continue their violent ways, but it did not allow Eko to live with his past. This is another great inconsistency that the filler arcs with new secondary characters was unable to clarify the "big picture" of the LOST island experience.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


LOST was hailed as the best written and filmed show in its television era. Fans expected a the intertwined mysteries to unwind in a tight script of revelations and satisfying conclusions. To say there were stumbles along the way would be an understatement.

The biggest problem was with the biggest lie.

Recall, Daniel is sitting in his chair watching television when the news breaks that searchers had found the remains of Flight 815 at the bottom of the ocean. There were no survivors. Robotic cameras showed footage of the wreckage.

Recall, Naomi parachuted onto the island from the Widmore freighter. She told the 815ers she met that Flight 815 had been found - - - that there were no survivors - - - they were all dead.

Later, we were told that Widmore "faked" the Flight 815 crash site in order to "hide" the island. Except there are several problems with that lie within a lie. First, every aircraft has detailed serial numbers on its parts. One cannot buy one and change the parts IDs. It was totally implausible for a fake wreckage to be made with an actual plane because each plane is also registered in the U.S. Second, if the plane and bodies were found, the authorities would have recovered them for the sake of closure for the families. The impossible explanation was that Widmore dug up 248 graves to deposit bodies on his fake wreckage. Third, the freighter captained showed us the alleged black boxes from Flight 815. However, if they were recovered, they would never have been released to a private individual. The FAA and government would have kept them as evidence. So none of the "fake" plane wreck is real.

But the real kicker is that after the world wide Flight 815 found story was the Oceanic
Six showing up in Hawaii. If the plane wreck footage found all passengers and crew on board died, then how did six survivors wind up in Hawaii? The passenger manifest cannot be altered to add five more people after the fact. Further, when Kate was arrested in Sydney, the authorities would have noticed whether or not she was pregnant (as she alleged in the press conference). None of the O6 story arc made sense.

The reasoning behind Widmore's elaborate plans, including the extermination of everyone on the island, was also flawed beyond belief. There was no reason for the O6 people coming back to the island. If Widmore wanted to keep it a secret, that was already done when the island "moved" prior to the O6 rescue. The O6 people did not know where the island was; and more importantly, the world had stopped looking for the wreckage because it had been "found."

And there was no reason for Jack to concoct the Lie that the O6 were the only survivors of the plane crash. The miracle that the five survived the crash and washed ashore on an unchartered island was enough to "verify" the Widmore lie where the wreckage site was located and found. The exact opposite should have been said - - - to save their friends left behind the O6 should have mounted a public rescue effort to beat Widmore back to the island.

And the reason why the O6 or Widmore had to come back to the island was unclear. The O6 wanted to come back for the vague notion of saving their friends - - - but they did not know whether they were alive or not. Widmore wanted to protect the island by killing everyone on it. But if everyone was to be eliminated or exterminated on the island, there would be no protectors left.

In fact, only one person had the means to actually find the lost island: Eloise. If one really wanted to protect the island from outsiders, all you had to do was take out Eloise.

So, none of the elaborate lies makes any sense, individually or as a scripted collaboration of plot points.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Many religious people believe in the damnation of Hell. It has been depicted throughout history and various cultures as being a place of fire, brimstone and eternal pain and punishment for moral sins.

Fro Gospel passages, followers overly have a literalistic view about hell.  Jesus Christ speaks about "eternal punishment" for sinners in the afterlife, so believers conjure visions of a cosmic torture chamber in which those who reject God or commit grave sins without repentance are subjected to endless torment as punishment for their transgressions. It is a ghastly analogue to equally crude and comical visions of heaven as a place where the righteous are rewarded with angels' wings and happiness forever.

For if sins are the moral failing of an individual, then it is the individual who must punish himself once he realizes he has missed out on the moral good.

Plato's Socrates stated that most people assume that when a person does something bad, he deserves retributive punishment in the form of inflicted suffering. "Hell" as it is depicted in the popular imagination is modeled on this view: It is where evildoers are sent to suffer punishment, deservedly, for their sins.

But Socrates implies that this view makes no sense. Doing the morally right thing must be good, intrinsically, for the moral person himself. (Otherwise, in what sense would it be good?) But that means that the opposite must be true as well: The person who fails to do the morally right thing suffers intrinsically by virtue of missing out on the good that comes from doing the right thing.

The implications of this position for how we think of punishment are quite radical. It implies, first, that people undergo punishment for their moral transgressions all on their own, without any additional infliction of suffering. The immoral person foolishly thinks she will benefit from her immoral deed. But she is mistaken and suffers from having cut herself off from the good.

As for those immoral people who don't sense any suffering or loss from having committed an immoral, sinful act, their proper punishment should be education in the error of their ways. They must be made to see their mistake. Once they do, they will begin to experience the pain that follows from the realization that they have denied themselves what is truly good.

All of this follows of necessity from the logic of morality itself. What makes no moral sense at all is the popular view of punishment embodied in the vision of hell as a place for the infliction of external torments. To say that an immoral person deserves to suffer for his sins is like insisting that a man with cancer deserves to have his legs broken. It's a prescription of additional suffering for someone who's already suffering.

Why is it nonetheless so common for people to think about punishment in this way? The Socratic view is that it flows from our own doubts about the goodness of morality. Part of us worries or suspects that the perpetrator of an immoral deed who isn't caught and made to suffer won't actually suffer anything at all. We fear she will have gotten away with her deed, as we say, scot-free. Which means that part of us doubts the intrinsic goodness of morality.

It is this viewpoint that begs the moral lapses (and lack of punishment) in LOST. The characters did heinous and criminal actions, but rarely if at all did those characters actually receive any punishment. In fact, several (including Kate) were given their freedom without serving any justice.

If the island was the education center where people who made immoral choices were to learn about their misdeed - - - and that self-awareness would cause them their own emotional pain and suffering - - - LOST does not fill that lesson learned either. If the sideways church was the "class reunion" of the morally deficient, only one person realized that he still had work to do (Ben). The rest of the churchgoers had no moral revelations that made them better souls.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


This cannot be a viable theory because the character of Ben was not in the original story lines. But it can be viable alternative explanation of the story if one considers the key to unraveling the mysteries is to work backwards from the sideways end.

In the sideways world, Ben went to an island with his father who took a job with Dharma. However, in the sideways story arc, they left the island for an unknown reason. Ben finished his education. He received a doctorate in modern European history and came to be a high school European history teacher.

We can assume in the sideways story arc, everyone is dead because that was what we were told by Christian. The question remains what about the overlap elements and events. Which came first, the chicken or the egg; the island or the sideways realm?

For this discussion, we assume that the sideways world is the true barometer of the series "reality." In this situation, we have Ben actually having a normal single parent childhood (abet with a short detour to the island run by a cult leader), but he is well grounded in a responsible position as a teacher. He lives with his father which means that they got along. However, for whatever reason, sideways Ben may have resented his fate in life; he did not have power or influence nor the character to change his lot in life. 

He is a single man who has devoted his life to learning about history. History is repeat with stories, chilling characters, epic battles and dangerous amorous plots to overthrow powerful rulers. He would have known about all the trials, tribulations, contests, and personalities of historical figures of Europe and the lands of conquest. That information would have been fertile ground for Ben to imagine himself transposed amongst the greats in history . . . to create his own personal fantasy history.

Ben's knowledge of the past is clearly impressed upon the elements contained on the island. It has features from Roman times, to ancient Egyptian temples and rituals, to the grand industrial revolutions of technology and militarism.

The island also contained the classic elements of history: rulers and followers, conflicts between bands of people; treaties, conflict, war and bloodshed; seizure of territory, to genocide. Ben transposed himself into the island just as a historian would imagine what those times were like in order to understand the motivations and mistakes. 

Ben was an unhappy follower. He found an opportunity to join the enemy. In order to prove his worth, he engineered the Purge. He killed his own father, which in many ancient cultures was the means to confirm and inherit power of the tribe. He began to rule like a dictator. He used fear to balance the politics of his inner circle. As he amassed more and more power, his vision of himself became grander - - - Napoleon in some respects. Instead of conquering other lands, he decided to conquer people: capture them and make them respect him. 

Ben dreamed of a world where he was the center of power; a pharoah like god among men. The imprint of a historian's eye is seen throughout the set and story lines of LOST. Perhaps, it was all Ben's heavenly diversion.

He could have been rewarded in the after life limbo we call the sideways realm with the opportunity to "live" an alternative life. He chose the opposite of his boring school teacher existence; he wanted to live the breathtaking levels of history. And he wanted to share the experience with people around him, such as Arzt, Rousseau and Alex. But at some point, Ben's emotions got ahead of his rational mind and caused many people collateral pain. It was coming to terms with that fictional but seemingly real collateral pain is why Ben decided not to move on with Hurley. 

Could the island events been the captive imagination of after life Ben? No, because the Ben character was never the starting point of the series. But since the series made so many strange twists and turns to lose its original direction, it is possible that the events were the post-death fantasies of a character like Ben.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The BBC recently had an article about the scientific research conducted with severely vegetative patients. The most revealing aspect of the article (and study) was that a patient in a deep coma awoke to tell the medical community what she experienced in her vegetative state. It was totally different than what medical science perceived was happening inside the brain of an unconscious patient.

The problem is that the scientific definition of “death” remains as unresolved as the definition of “consciousness”. Being alive is no longer linked to having a beating heart, explains Owen. If I have an artificial heart, am I dead? If you are on a life-support machine, are you dead? Is a failure to sustain independent life a reasonable definition of death? No, otherwise we would all be “dead” in the nine months before birth.

The issue becomes murkier when we consider those trapped in the twilight worlds between normal life and death – from those who slip in and out of awareness, who are trapped in a ‘minimally conscious state’, to those who are severely impaired in a vegetative state or a coma. These patients first appeared in the wake of the development of the artificial respirator during the 1950s in Denmark, an invention that redefined the end of life in terms of the idea of brain death and created the specialty of intensive care, in which unresponsive and comatose patients who seemed unable to wake up again were written off as “vegetables” or “jellyfish”. As is always the case when treating patients, definitions are critical: understanding the chances of recovery, the benefits of treatments and so on all depend on a precise diagnosis.

In the 1960s, neurologist Fred Plum in New York and neurosurgeon Bryan Jennett in Glasgow carried out pioneering work to understand and categorise disorders of consciousness. Plum coined the term “locked-in syndrome”, in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or talk. With Plum, Jennett devised the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate the depth of coma, and Jennett followed up with the Glasgow Outcome Scale to weigh up the extent of recovery, from death to mild disability. Together they adopted the term “persistent vegetative state” for patients who, they wrote, “have periods of wakefulness when their eyes are open and move; their responsiveness is limited to primitive postural and reflex movements of the limbs, and they never speak.”

In 2002, Jennett was among a group of neurologists who chose the phrase “minimally conscious” to describe those who are sometimes awake and partly aware, who show erratic signs of consciousness so that at one time they might be able to follow a simple instruction and another they might not. Even today, however, we’re still arguing over who is conscious and who isn’t. 

Kate Bainbridge, a 26-year-old schoolteacher, lapsed into a coma three days after she came down with a flu-like illness. Her brain became inflamed, along with the primitive region atop the spinal cord, the brain stem, which rules the sleep cycle. A few weeks after her infection had cleared, Kate awoke from the coma but was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Luckily, the intensive care doctor responsible for her, David Menon, was also a Principal Investigator at the newly opened Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre in Cambridge, where one Adrian Owen then worked.

In 1997, four months after she had been diagnosed as vegetative, Kate became the first patient in a vegetative state to be studied by the Cambridge group. The results, published in 1998, were unexpected and extraordinary. Not only did Kate react to faces: but her brain responses were indistinguishable from those of healthy volunteers. Her scans revealed a splash of red, marking brain activity at the back of her brain, in a part called the fusiform gyrus, which helps recognize faces. Kate became the first such patient in whom sophisticated brain imaging (in this case PET) revealed “covert cognition”. Of course, whether that response was a reflex or a signal of consciousness was, at the time, a matter of debate.

The results were of huge significance for science but also for Kate and her parents. “The existence of preserved cognitive processing removed the nihilism that pervaded the management of such patients in general, and supported a decision to continue to treat Kate aggressively,” recalls Menon.

Kate eventually surfaced from her ordeal, six months after the initial diagnosis. “They said I could not feel pain,” she says. “They were so wrong.” Sometimes she’d cry out, but the nurses thought it was just a reflex. She felt abandoned and helpless. Hospital staff had no idea how much she suffered in their care. Kate found physiotherapy scary: nurses never explained what they were doing to her. She was terrified when they removed mucus from her lungs. “I can’t tell you how frightening it was, especially suction through the mouth,” she has written. At one point, her pain and despair became so much that she tried to snuff out her life by holding her breath. “I could not stop my nose from breathing, so it did not work. My body did not seem to want to die.”

Kate says her recovery was not so much like turning a light on but a gradual awakening. It took her five months before she could smile. By then she had lost her job, her sense of smell and taste, and much of what might have been a normal future. Now back with her parents, Kate is still very disabled and needs a wheelchair. Twelve years after her illness, she started to talk again and, though still angry about the way she was treated when she was at her most vulnerable, she remains grateful to those who helped her mind to escape.

In applying this real life coma story to LOST, there is a theme of "gradual awakening" of the dead in the sideways world to the events of their recent past (i.e. the plane crash). A person in a coma, or in a state between life and death, still can perceive the world around them - - - and still have strong emotions like pain and anxiety. For those who think most people pass quietly in their sleep may have to rethink that position. With her mind still active, the coma victim is trapped inside her own head. And what was she thinking about? Escape. What was the most driving force for everyone on the island, including the smoke monster? Escape. It was the inability of the coma patient to communicate with the outside world that led to frustration and more pain. Likewise, fans continually barked at the television screens when LOST survivors continually failed to communicate with each other, or ask the simple, common sense questions to get answers. 

Many of the same elements of the coma patient study were embedded into the LOST story. It gives those fan theories about mental or coma patients more real scientific evidence to support their viewpoint of the series.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


A compass is a tool to guide someone to a destination.

A candidate is a person who wants to be a leader to guide others.

A guardian is a person who is a leader who protects others.

A light is symbolic of knowledge, direction, energy and life.

A person who has both the compass and the light is truly powerful.

When we review which LOST characters had the most traits of a compass and a light (which apparently were the embodiment of the heart of the island), the top four people are Locke, Jack, Sawyer and Kate.

Locke had the compass. He knew how to use it. He was aware of the island's special powers. He wanted it to guide him to his destination (destiny). Just as magnetic north is a constant direction, the island pushed Locke towards his fateful demise.

Kate was a natural runaway, a wanderer with a keen sense of direction and tracking skills. She was a survivor throughout her troubled life. She used her internal compass not to find a destination but to flee from one. Just as our forefathers took chances and headed west into the wild unknown, Kate embraced that wild west spirit.

Sawyer also had a focal bearing in his life: to find the person who killed his family. His life's direction was formed by his own promise for revenge. He honed his own tracking skills with the southern charm of a con artist to find the man who ruined his life.

Jack was following a trail for most of his life. The trail that his father had made through the jungles of childhood. Jack was always trying to find a way to get ahead of his father's accomplishments so his father would respect his achievements. He would symbolically look to the East, where the dawn would rise on each new day, to find some hope that the light would empower him to reach his goal.

Locke's direction was north, toward the magnetism of the island's mysterious power to give his life meaning.
Kate's direction was west, to the open opportunities and freedom to run away her past.
Sawyer's direction was south, toward the slow, simmering pace of the long, cruel road of honor and revenge to release his personal demon.
Jack's direction was east, toward the dawn of a new day where he could release himself from the shadow of his own father.

Each character had their own direction. They were set to their own paths. As a result, they did not work well together because their compass points would never align. And perhaps, that was the governor that protected the light cave - - - the candidates needed each other in order to obtain both the full compass points and the light. For in the end, none of these four candidates took the place of Jacob, the island guardian, to put their own rules upon the universe.

Monday, May 5, 2014


One of my main criticisms about character development in the series was the treatment of children, and in some respects, mothers.

Children were used mostly as disposable props, and mothers were insignificant to evil cast-offs.

The first island mother we encounter is actually in the last season: Jacob's mother. She is a shipwreck victim found by Crazy Mother. Crazy Mother earns her title by killing the Roman woman after she gives birth to twins, Jacob and MIB. So, the precedent set is that motherhood on the island is cloaked by homicidal kidnapping by a deranged island guardian.

Crazy Mother further complicates the bonds between mother and child by lying to Jacob and MIB. She tells them they can never leave the island, which puts MIB on the track of rebellion. Rebellious children will get their penance in the series. In MIB's case, death and soul imprisonment in a smoke monster is his punishment for killing the woman who killed his natural mother.

The island's other birthright was Rousseau and her child, Alex. Rousseau's research vessel was shipwrecked on the island. Her crew is killed and turned into zombies by the smoke monster. Rousseau evades the smoke monster and gives birth. However, the Others led by Widmore and Hawking do not like outsiders. Widmore gives young Ben a mission to kill Rousseau and Alex. Having regrets about his own childhood demons (his father cursed him for killing his own mother during childbirth), Ben kidnaps Alex instead - - - treating her like his own daughter. In some ways, Ben continued the tradition of Crazy Mother.

But how did the writers treat Rousseau? She was still shown as a caring and protective mother, at first, but then morphed into a psychotic crazy person obsessed with revenge and loneliness. And when she finally gets reunited with Alex, Rousseau dies. You cannot even say Rousseau's death was to protect her child, because Alex is captured by Widmore's men and quickly executed because Ben did not give himself up. Ben's decision was another black mark against how parenthood was shown in the series.

The relationship between Eloise and Daniel was also messed up. As I have theorized about the sideways world view, Eloise tried to keep everyone in the dark about the island memories in order to keep Daniel from "awakening" and leaving her in their after lives. This mixed-up reasoning was caused by Eloise killing her time traveling son prior to his own birth (which opens a hallway of unexplained paradox doors). In an unexplainable time loop, Eloise forces her son to become an advanced theoretical scientist in order to unlock the unique properties of the island, including its time travel component. We can question Eloise's motivations as being less than motherly since she would have had some understanding that she was going to sacrifice her son in order to allegedly protect the island. There was a strong undercurrent of selfishness that put aside any honor or respect for other people's lives, in order to create some purgatory "loophole" in the sideways world; her perfect marriage and family dream.

Claire's pregnancy and motherhood was also fraught with dark undertones. Claire, as a young woman, did not have the street smarts to keep herself from getting into trouble or realizing that her boyfriend could bolt at the mere thought of responsibility. Likewise, Claire wanted to discard her own responsibility for her child by putting him up for adoption (not in Australia but far, far, far away in America so there would be no chance he'd ever find her.) It seems this selfishness was caused by resentment with her stormy relationship with her own mother, for whom she severely injured in an automobile crash. It is easier to sever the ties that bind than to work out one's family issues.

And when Aaron's adoptive parents change their minds in the sideways world, Claire is in a panic. She is lost and confused because now she is fully accountable for her past actions. She does not want to be a mother. She does not want to become her own mother. In the island realm, Claire turns into Rousseau, a crazed person after her child is taken away from her. Claire turns to the darkness of the island to follow Flocke in the quest to kill off all the candidates. The series shows mother-child separation as the pathway to manic behavior.

And then, the final straw in this murky soup of mother and child relationships is Sun and her daughter. Sun abandons her own child to return to the island not knowing whether Jin is alive or dead. In fact, she saw the freighter blow up with Jin on board. There was no evidence to justify Sun leaving her own child for a wild goose chase to find Jin. And once she finds Jin, she is unbelievably trapped in the sinking submarine, instead of demanding her motherly instincts to protect her child from losing a parent, she allows Jin to stay and die by her side. (Jin as much at fault as well; he decided death was better than being a single parent.) Such an end is baffling contradiction considering Jin and Sun desperately wanted to have a child throughout their marriage - - - and when that miracle happens, they throw away their parentage like table scraps into the garbage. Sun's decisions left her daughter with a life as an orphan which is the most unmotherly thing she could have done.

The only protective mother-child relationship on the island is still mixed-up. The best protective parenting skills shown in the series was flight attendant Cindy's adoption and caring for Emma and Zach. She took them under her wing and protected them from harm. She may have been a Ben operative from the beginning, but she was independent enough to leave the temple with Flocke in order to save the children from certain death. So, the parenting lesson of the show is that strangers make better guardians than natural parents?

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Men and women do think differently. Now, research believes they dream differently too.

Geneviève Robert and Antonio Zadra, researchers from the University of Montreal, asked more than 550 subjects to keep daily "dream journals" which resulted in  a total of 9796 dream records. The researchers then analyzed the dreams, finding that of the almost 10,000 dreams, there were 431 bad dreams—which cause some unpleasant feelings—and 253 nightmares, which include an emotion so disagreeable that it wakes people from sleep. Subjects said that nightmares felt more “emotionally intense” than bad dreams.

“[N]ightmares were more bizarre and contained substantially more aggressions, failures, and unfortunate endings,” the study says. Only 331 of the participants experienced unpleasant dreams. They found that 35 percent of nightmares and 55 percent of bad dreams involved emotions other than fear.

After looking at the nightmares for general content, the researchers looked at more specific themes and found the stuff of nightmares varied by gender. Women had nightmares that focused on interpersonal strife—a fight with a partner, a disagreement with a mother-in-law, a conflict with a willful child. The emotions involved in those nightmares included feelings of humiliation, inadequacy, and frustration.

Men, on the other hand, tended to have nightmares about natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, fires and volcanoes), chases, and bugs. The women’s nightmares frequently involved a friend or family member trying to navigate the scary situation with them, while the men worked alone in their nightmares. On average, they found that women experienced more nightmares than men.

“The results have important implications on how nightmares are conceptualized and defined," the researchers wrote, "and support the view that, when compared to bad dreams, nightmares represent a somewhat rarer—and more severe—expression of the same basic phenomenon.”

 Depending on how character-centric you believe LOST was, can the raw data from this dream study shed any light on the series or character motivations?

Men tend to work alone with issues involving intense problems like natural disasters, chases and insects. On the island, the intense problem was the survival after the plane crash. The main male characters did seem to try to solve their personal issues alone. Jin went off fishing to provide food for Sun and himself. Jack wandered off into the jungle to tend to his own wounds. Sawyer went scavenging to hoard supplies to make his survival more comfortable. Locke went assassin commando to go boar hunting alone in the jungle. 

Women tend to try to work through personal strife like discord with friends and family members which include feelings of humiliation, inadequacy and frustration. Women tend to try to work through problems with another person, a navigator, to find a solution. Sun confided in Kate about her marital problems and then her miracle pregnancy. Alex confided in her boyfriend Karl about running away from Ben's control. Juliet confided with her sister about her mixed up emotions of a failed relationship with her boss, and the pitfalls of her pregnancy research. Kate told Jack about her darkest secret (being a fugitive), to which Jack remarked that everyone had been given a second chance on the island.

The dreams and nightmares of individuals may be shaped by the cultural cues of the person's upbringing and society. Men still tend to believe that they are the hunters and gatherers, the protectors of the clan. Locke embodied that role early on as the provider of food. Women tend to be defined by domestic roles, such as cooking, cleaning and running the household. Rose was seen tending to the chores at the beach camp with other female survivors. Men tend to be protective; women tend to be supportive.

Except that those roles can change inside the dream state. Kate was probably on the most missions and "jungle chases" in the series. She was out of the traditional woman role battling the Others, Widmore, Flocke and dangers of jungle. Likewise, Hurley was more timid on the island. He was a follower who rarely made any decisions (the prime exception was driving the VW bus through the Others to rescue his captured friends).

If LOST was a dream scape, then the themes of men and women's nightmares make sense. But those same traits are cultural icons to standard operating behavior.