Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Relationships are tricky.  We all have been through the complex, irrational, emotional and rewarding roller coaster of life that is partnering with a special person to share experiences and memories. Relationships are like fires: some burn hot and bright then cool to embers while others are slow and steady rich and smokey affairs of the heart.

There are a few key components that bring men and women together.

Attraction tops the key element list. Physical attraction is the first cue because it is the first thing a person sees in another person. The outward appearance of a potential mate is an evolutionary mental instinct that overrides logic or intelligence. It can be the unspoken bond - - - the initial deep eye contact which some writers call the gateway to another person's soul.

Compatibility is another element. One can be physically attracted to another person, but if the couple does not share mutual interests, have similar morals, have similar goals in life - - - or nothing of substance to talk about - - - their relationship will have a weak foundation. There are some people who get together just for the sexual passion of being with another person with no long term commitment or expectations.

Respect and trust is another element that comes with time. A couple needs to have sufficient time to get to know each other. At a certain point, a person will let down their personal "guard," the space or barrier that keeps outsiders away from that person's inner secrets and desires. Once a person has the respect and trust of another, there is an inherit measure of safety and security that helps cement a true bond of friendship.

Friendship is another key element. Friendship is defined as the the emotions or conduct of friends; a closeness between friends; and  a state of mutual trust and support between people.  There is an odd split when it comes to friendship. Some believe experience teaches us that lovers can become friends while there is a barrier that friends cannot become lovers. Whether that concept was placed in small human villages as a means of stopping fights between males is better left to an anthropologist's thesis. But in our modern world, there is no reason why men and women who have a true bond of friendship could bloom into lovers.

For the happiest couples often say that their mate is "their best friend."  The person who supports them, helps them make decisions, shares life experiences, and is there for the good times and the bad times.

Perhaps that is why many viewers could not see Kate winding up with Jack at the end of LOST. The traditional means of love were backward in their relationship.

The male audience was smitten with Kate when she first appeared on camera. She was the perky, cute, American girl-next-door icon. She was feisty, reckless, witty, and fun. Men were immediately attracted to her. And Kate knew this; she used her charms to her advantage to control men - - - from getting them close to pushing them away.

When she had her quick affair with Sawyer, it was animal lust as they were caged at the Dharma research facility. Both of them never had had a lasting relationship; they used people to their advantage in a cold, con-artist manner. Some believe Kate's actions with Sawyer was only to get Jack to save Ben (the deal she made on the beach) by forsaking any feelings towards her (such as protecting her against the Others). But Kate's relationship continued with Sawyer in the beach camp until she got to close to his secrets (the letter he wrote as a child). As such, Sawyer and Kate split.

Throughout the jungle missions, Kate was always in the background supporting Jack. There were only a few times she sided with some one else, like Locke, but overall Jack could "count" on her. But there was always a hint of trust issues. Jack knew her criminal secret, but he did not care since he believed (rightly so) that the island was a chance for everyone to start fresh with a new beginning.

Relationships are new beginnings. It is an opportunity to discard the past, learn from one's mistakes, and look for the traits that will bring out the best traits in yourself and in your partner.

So when you look at Kate sitting next to Jack in the sideways church, one could think they were never meant for each other but on the other hand their island experience and friendship was so intense and strong that deserved to wind up together.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Researchers are finding that toxic proteins, including tau, may be the cause of Alzheimer's disease.

A defect that causes a plaque build-up on the brain could cause patients to lose all memory.

But what takes the place of those lost memories.

We really do not know because Alzheimer patients lack the communication awareness to explain what is happening to them. They become a version of an adult newborn.

The Others were quite keen on using drugs to ward off the effects of the island's "illness," a disease which at least attacked the fetus and the pregnant woman.  Claire was given shots by Juliet in alleged attempt to save her baby from the disease.

However, many people believe the disease was a hoax, as Desmond found out after leaving the Hatch to find his co-worker stealing his boat.

Using fear of a deadly disease to manipulate other people is a powerful weapon. You get the intended victims to surrender their free will and decision making if you offer them a cure. A snake oil salesman was the older version of this kind of con-man predator.

But what if there was some truth in the tall tale of the island illness.  The island's unique electromagnetic condition could lead to neuro-chemical disruptions in normal human brain activity. This could mimic the adverse affects of sustained memory loss. It could also have the effect of causing hallucinations, illusions and paranoia (all elements shown in the show).

The island itself could have started as a laboratory to test the bio-chemical warfare tools of a prior era, but were released into this limited environment to mutate into a psycho-tropic drug.  Claire was left in the deep jungle, and she turned bat crazy just like Rousseau.

What if the characters that left the island carried with them the island illness?

Could it be passed to the general population like an epidemic virus?

Or is it contained within the brain matter of each victim, so as to slowly cause them to go deeply insane?

Or the reverse, the deeply insane were the "test" subjects sent to the island to see if the illness could reverse their behavior which conventional treatments, including electro-shock, could not.

The concept that the island was a loony bin laboratory has some appeal, especially if the viewers were put into this sinister loop. But we were not let in on the real secret of the island and its past purpose.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Literature and popular culture have always been a source of future developments, especially in the concepts of technology. Science fiction writers in 1800s dreamed about space exploration, which would occur at its zenith with the moon landing in 1969.

Technology is supposed to be good for mankind.  It makes life easier. Work more productive. More time for man to think about important things.

But even the most tuned technologists have a grave warning about the future of technology.

Steve Wozniak,  Apple co-founder and programming whiz, recently predicted that artificial intelligence's detrimental impact on the future of humanity to warnings from the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking.

"Computers are going to take over from humans, no question," he told an Australian financial publication.  Recent technological advancements have convinced him that writer Raymond Kurzweil – who believes machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence within the next few decades – is onto something.

"Like people including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have predicted, I agree that the future is scary and very bad for people," he said. "If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently."

"Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on? I don't know about that …" Wozniak said.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has been the most vocal about his concerns about AI, calling it the "biggest existential threat" to mankind. He is an investor in DeepMind and Vicarious, two AI ventures, but “it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return," he said.  "I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on…nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition,” Musk said. “But you have to be careful.”

Gates said,  "I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned," he wrote. Similarly, physicist Stephen Hawking has warned  that AI could eventually "take off on its own." It's a scenario that doesn't bode well for our future as a species: "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded," he said.

In LOST, the island housed once was "cutting edge" technology and research facilities. It was Dharma that was looking for answers to the darkest questions and mysteries in science, including end-of-the-world scenarios. 

There has been a debate on whether Dharma killed itself off, or whether it was the technology that it created that led to the mass destruction and purge.

The smoke monster may not have been invented by Dharma, but could have Dharma "programmed" this smoke monster in an attempt to give it human thoughts and memories in order to control it?  It would seem to be a reasonable scientific inquiry. But with many science experiments, unintended consequences could happen - - - such as the smoke monster learning to mimic human behavior, including violence, anger and murder. It could have used memories as a template to shape shift into human form to feed off the emotions of other life forms. For the island was kept on edge by fear, one of the strongest human emotions. Perhaps that was the source of the smoke monster's energy.

Further, Dharma could have created the smoke monster(s) and during the Incident accidently sent them back into time to the ancient Egyptian period. For some, Jacob and MIB as smoke monsters, as well as Crazy Mother, would show an advanced being trying to shed its confusing and conflicting knowledge base of humans. And the smoke monsters did not time shift back to present Dharma - - - but lingered on the island to re-live their immortal life spans, bitter about this external prison. The game itself with human pawns could have been the reaction of smoke monsters against Dharma's research  into the power of the island light.

So, Dharma failed to heed their own warning signs in creating technology which challenged time and space itself. Remember, Daniel had worked with Dharma in Michigan after his Oxford tenure. It is the time skips that give us a clue that Daniel may have set in motion all of the destructive patterns through the power to manipulate time. His return to the island was also to make amends for the horror he had created (akin to discovering the atom bomb) which was wrecking havoc on his psyche. History is littered with scientists who regretted their inventions and discoveries that were corrupted into acts of evil.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Shannon may have been one of the best characters to symbolize low self-esteem. All the money in the world, or even a doting parent, her father, could give her the independent character to survive on her own.

Shannon had a reverse daddy issue. Her father spoiled her. He gave her money. He protected her against the real world. He got her out of trouble. When he remarried, he was the buffer between his daughter and her step-mother. But when in the emergency room, Jack made the choice to "save" Sarah instead of Shannon's father (since both were critically injured), this set Shannon's life on a slow, downward deadspin.

It appears she never held a real job. Being a cute girlfriend, a rich bitch or a party girl were not lasting career choices. She did have the gift of flirtation and sexual promise. But as in the series itself, she was more a cardboard cut-out, a centerfold without a soul, a wasted opportunity to have an interesting life story.

After her father passed away, Shannon was left on a family island. Her stepmother treated her poorly. She was put down. She had no place in the family business. Shannon was not a hard worker because her old life had been handed to her. Without a drive, personal goals or dreams she would wander aimlessly from bad boyfriend to bad relationship.

Lostpedia summarized her as follows:

Before the (Flight 815) crash, her father had died in a car crash and she had been cut off by her stepmother, who also refused to give her any of her father's money. She used men, especially Boone, to get what she wanted, which eventually led to a one night-stand with Boone. After the crash, she was very selfish at times, refusing to help the other survivors, as she insisted they would be rescued. However, she assisted in trying to get a signal on the transceiver, and used her French skills to translate Rousseau's signal. She also had an asthma attack when her inhaler ran out, but Sun eased her symptoms. She eventually formed a romantic relationship with Sayid which helped her realize her selfishness and led to a change in attitude. As she and Sayid went for a picnic, Boone fell out of a plane and died of injuries. After Boone died, Shannon sought revenge on John Locke, attempting to shoot him, but Sayid interfered. She eventually forgave Sayid, but began to have strange visions of Walt who she thought was on the raft. On Day 48 she ran from camp with Sayid to search for Walt; however she collided with the Tailies and was unintentionally shot in the stomach and killed by Ana Lucia Cortez after chasing another image of Walt.  She died in Sayid's arms having finally gained his confidence and belief in her. 

Many viewers did not find Shannon's character compelling; many felt that the death scene was merely an actor's clip reel (since so many of the characters would succumb in the next episodes). She was a "taker" and not a giver. She had to rely on other people (Boone, Sun, Sayid) in order to cope with the very basic daily routines most people take for granted. Her loss was not taken as a great defining moment in the series. 

Even after her death, her character drew ire from some fans. Why would a week long island affair be more important to Sayid than his lifelong quest to find his true love, Nadia? When Sayid wound up with Shannon in the after life, most fans were disillusioned because it really made no sense. Shannon had made no great leap or redemption in the sideways world to merit "a reward" of companionship in the next world. Further, it upset people that Shannon got what she wanted (a man to care for her forever) while Boone sat alone in the sideways church. Boone, the guy who cared and loved Shannon, and who died trying to get her rescued, got nothing for his effort.

It is a sad commentary that Shannon, the spoiled rich girl can be the Cinderella in the end by not doing anything.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Just above everybody loves the beach. Approximately 70 percent of the world's population lives on or next to a body of water like an ocean. There is something hypnotic about sitting on the sand and watching the waves slowly roll in from the horizon.

In LOST, the beach camp was the center of the survivor's island life. However, we rarely saw it. It was merely snippets of time, events, gatherings or cutaways from larger, grander stories of jungle missions or other locales. So most people have vague memories of the camp. But in some stills, it shows that like in life, it was a messy place.

The first beach camp was abandoned (that is where the airplane wreckage washed ashore). Death and the boars made the campers flee to a new beach location. But for no rational explanation the aircraft debris vanished or washed out to sea.

So the castaways were left with what they could carry on their backs or forage from the jungle palm tree line. The ragamuffin look of the camp site tended to bring a sense of reality to the show. It was not a sporting goods show sales booth.

But since the beach camp was the center of the castaways lives, why did it not factor as the main set for the series?

Part may have been production values. The lighting of a show can be affected by the glare off the water. Also the wind, surf and sand can wreck havoc with electronic equipment.

Part may have been to focus away from large scenes with extras to more personal, up close relationship shots of the main characters.

If LOST would be adapted into a stage play, the beach camp would be the main set. It is the only logical place where every characters; stories would intersect.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Viewers got a glimpse into the background story of the Dharma Institute. But we never understood how a bunch of 1970s academic researchers "found" the island, and then were able to build massive research stations while surrounded by hostile natives, the Others.

There is a massive black hole in logic and story telling.

Prior to any known character coming to the island, Crazy Mother was alone as the guardian. When a Roman ship wrecks, she steals two newly born children, Jacob and his brother. Jacob's brother yearns to leave the island after he finds a survivor camp. He uses the knowledge of the Romans to try to harness the power of the island to get back "home," which would be Rome. Jacob's brother embraced technology in order to find a way to get to his dream or goal.

Crazy Mother and Jacob did not embrace technology. They lived in a primitive camp, making due on a self-sufficiency level including weaving their own materials.  Crazy Mother destroyed the camp and its technology in order to stop Jacob's brother from leaving the island. At this point in time, Jacob and his brother stopped aging. She decreed that neither could harm the other. But when Jacob's brother killed her, Jacob's rage set off events that eventually killed his brother.

When Jacob's brother's body floated into the light cave, we see the smoke monster fly out. We would later find Jacob's brother's body down stream. Some speculated that the brother's death created a smoke monster, but most believe that smoke monsters existed prior to this event as Crazy Mother's actions in wiping out the Roman camp was the work of a smoke monster. Temple graphics from an apparent earlier age depicts the smoke monster seated in the ancient Egyptian underworld. The smoke monster then took the form of MIB in order to pester and engage Jacob in conversations and games. Both Jacob and MIB were immortal beings, and the "rules" did not allow each other to harm the other.

MIB said that he was growing tired of Jacob bringing humans to the island, since they eventually turn greedy and corrupt and die.  It seems that Jacob and MIB were playing a human pawn game of philosophy or Senet.

So if Jacob was playing a game, and he was the only person who could allow people on the island, then why did he allow technically advanced people (like the ones Crazy Mother hated and killed) to build massive research facilities. MIB was the only person aware that there could be a technology answer to allow it to "leave" the island.  Apparently, smoke monster(s) are imprisoned on the island even though they are thought to be "security systems." If MIB absorbed all the memories, emotions and logic of Jacob's brother, then MIB's purpose probably changed to match his: find a way to leave the island.

So MIB would have wanted technology advanced humans to come to the island, so it could manipulate them to find the answer that Jacob's brother was so close in finding. The question remains why would Jacob allow that? Jacob was stuck on the island for as long as he was the guardian. Perhaps that was the bargain: humans came to the island as candidates to replace Jacob while at the same time puzzle pieces for MIB to find a way to leave the island barrier.

Some believe that Jacob was himself a smoke monster. When he visited Jack at the LA hospital, the lobby smoke detector went off for no apparent reason. So if Jacob as a smoke monster could leave the island, why could not MIB?

This leads to two alternatives. First, Jacob was not a smoke monster so he could leave the island. Second, Jacob was a smoke monster and the off-island scenes we saw were illusions. That would mean that Jacob learned about mental manipulation technologies from the Dharma researchers and used it to create vivid holographic (Star Trek NG) worlds so real that humans could not tell any difference.

So it is possible that both Jacob and MIB wanted new technologies present on the island to meet their own goals. If Jacob truly wanted to release his obligations as eternal guardian, he would need to create such an environment where some human would want to become "a hero" in order to save his friends. The only way to become such a hero would be to accept the island guardianship, thereby releasing Jacob from his duties.

But that does not explain how resetting the light cave cork made MIB mortal or made an immortal being like Jacob dead. One could argue that MIB and Jacob were not real beings but holographic horror projections that seemed so real that the humans accepted them as real.

Which gets us back to the opening question. If Dharma was brought to the island for its knowledge and research, why were there other less tech people (the Others) still on the island? Perhaps the conflict between two groups was part of Jacob's plan to find his "hero."  It also could be that MIB kept certain human "pawns" to play the game with Jacob. Or, another alternative would be that the Others were actually Dharma members who splintered off from the group because they did not like the research paths established by Horus. The latter conflict would have made a good side story on why the Others were so hostile to outsiders and what were the island's true powers.

For if LOST was solely about the origin story of Dharma and the island, it would have been just as interesting as the actual story lines.

Friday, March 20, 2015


In the past few weeks, there have been many international stories revolving around the concept of free speech, its regulation and concepts of political correctness. As one commentator put it, the world is wired together but torn a part by the notion of the apparent need for "social regulation."

In the U.S., the FCC turned the internet into a telephone utility by enacting 400 pages of new rules which will be challenged in court. Internet advocates wanted the FCC to make certain that the internet be neutral, i.e. that service providers could not block content, charge extra for higher speeds, or throttle down heavy users like video streamers. That is all well and good, and opponents said market forces already regulate business plans (such as the cellphone data plan changes and unlocking of phones from contracts).

But with the FCC rule making comes with it the first government step to regulate content on the internet, something net neutrality advocates failed to understand. The FCC has "content" rules for broadcasters, what can be said when, on television using the public airwaves. Cable got around some of those restrictions because it was a private, pay service. But even then, regulators got involved mandating parental controls and v-chips to limit certain content access.

FCC utility regulation also can involve regulations which raise the cost to consumers, such as forcing internet providers and broadband services "open access" to their networks, i.e. subsidizing poor rural areas or consumers. Those costs will be added to everyone's bill.

Also in the U.S., there have been an assault on college free speech. Under the constitution, free speech is immune from government regulation or censorship. Even what some people would consider offensive or politicially incorrect speech is protected under the law. Some college administrators and some students themselves, have been trying to limit the type of speech on campus. One incident was the vote to ban the display of the American flag in campus buildings.

Social media has ratcheted up the amount of public intolerance to other people's opinions. We no longer have civil debates on important public issues by discussing facts. Today, social media are bursts on condensing snipes and snark aimed at shaming another person or organization to change their point of view. This builds a culture based on intolerance.

The waves of social regulation has to erode the pillars of society over time. Culture can overwhelm and undermine the basic moral and political foundations of a civilization.

With this current background, one can look back at LOST to see if the setting, character dynamics and stories foreshadowed today's current culture clashes.

There was always a heavy shadow of authority in the series. At one early level, the authority figure than seemed to repress, control and dominate the characters lives were fathers. The "daddy issues" element seemed to dominate many characters' focus. Jack was only on Flight 815 because of guilt over his unresolved daddy issues. Kate was on the flight as she was running away from her crimes based in part on bad daddy issues. Locke was also running away from his daddy issues by trying to become an outback fantasy survivalist. Claire was abandoned by her baby father, so she was in the midst of abandoning her own baby.

The next authority figure on the island was Dharma. It had a paramilitary bent to dominate and control the island over the alleged "native" population, which probably were taken over and destroyed by the Others (the remains of the potential candidates from Jacob's game with MIB.) Since only Jacob could allow people access to the island, everyone of the island was subject to Jacob's power (whether they realized it or not). Within Dharma and the Others camp, there was an internal struggle for power and control by leaders. It took Ben's sociopathic mass murder of the Dharma folks to solidify his complete dominance of the island. Ben's mental breakdown and quest for power has to be considered in his hatred for his own father blaming him for killing his mother.  Just as the Others felt distrust and anger toward Dharma, the Others turned on the castaways in order for Ben to control "his" island (again, even though Jacob brought the 815ers to the island as candidates to replace him.)

Even if Ben felt Jacob was his surrogate father, Ben turned on him by murdering him in a classic manipulation by Flocke. Once Ben killed Jacob, his power base was destroyed and only the mercy by one of Jacob's last followers spared Ben's own life. It was probably the harshest lesson of humility on the show, if you don't count Locke's life.

Locke continually lashed out against authority. "Don't tell me what I can do!" was his personal battle cry. But Locke never understood himself. He felt he was a strong, leader, a popular jock, a man people would look up to, respect. Except, in reality, Locke was a follower. And since he could not come to terms with his own conflicted personality, he became a fool.

Locke died a meaningless death after living a meaningless life of his own creation. In physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In humanity, a person's action will elicit a reaction. It is how a person deals with those reactions is how he or she fits into her social circle.

Locke did not fit well into the survivor's camp. The Hatch and the dumb Numbers input gave Locke an actual purpose. But when he got fed up with that, he thought he knew better - - - but he was wrong and the station went critical and time flashed the island setting off dominoes to his own demise.

The characters on the show pretty much said their own minds. Sawyer was as politically incorrect and verbally cruel as one could get . . .  but since there were more important risks to be met, his behavior was secondary to survival. One could say the more comfortable one is in their life (emotionally, financially, etc) the more one has time to criticize others. Like an old aristocratic parlor game of dunning and belittling the lower classes.

The beach camp did have his own high school-ish clique system. You had the "cool" kids (Jack, Kate, Sawyer), the nerdy outcasts (Hurley, Charlie, Sayid), the cheerleader-jocks (Boone, Shannon, Claire) the foreign exchange students (Sun, Jin) and the hip faculty (Rose, Bernard). But just in high school, these groups did function at one level together, but socially operated separately.

And these sub-social groups did start to regulate conduct amongst themselves. The cool group began to dominate the planning and execution of missions and priorities. The beach camp extras like Artz and Frogert, who may have been intelligent and had certain skills, had their opinions neutralized by the dominate voices of Jack, Sawyer or Kate. Jin and Sun took a secondary role because they knew they did not fit in with the Americans. Rose and Bernard slowly worked their way out of the politics and danger of the games the leaders were playing to set up their own retreat in the jungle.

If Jacob and MIB were the puppet masters in their island theater, they regulated the actions and interactions between the various competing social groups. There was placed in many minds that the other group was "dangerous" or "out to get them."  This mistrust was a foundational story element. Even if it was irrational and being manipulated by the shadows, it was a form of social regulation. The rules (unwritten and confusing) were the rules. But that order often created disorder.

The beach camp may have began as a democracy with everyone allowed to speak their own mind. But in the end, a new caste system emerged from the dominant personalities instilling their own cues on the rest of the group. Peer pressure may have ultimately fused followers to leaders out of a sense of necessity. In the Others camp, Ben's followers walked on egg shells around him because one offensive remark or action could lead to their own death.

It is said that television mirrors modern society. In some respects, LOST did show that even in a diverse cast of characters, a clear pecking order will emerge in any society. And once that dominance is established, social regulation certainly follows.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


In some ways, LOST was highly technical-scientific. But it is also very out-of-date in applying technology.

With all the available technology to super wizard Sayid, the castaways could never get themselves rescued from the island.

The Dharma computer systems were old. The radio tower was an ancient telecom relic. The one highly advanced piece of technology was the Frozen Donkey Wheel, built by Jacob's brother in Roman times 2000 years ago.

As a commentary on modern technology, LOST has a nostalgic nod to it but it did not help the actual characters solve very many problems.  In most cases, technology (and its downfall) was the cause of many of the LOST problems. A modern aircraft falls from the sky. A modern freighter gets blown up at sea. A helicopter runs out of fuel and crashes into the ocean.

The Dharma stations were merely sets in the story lines and not important pieces to the LOST puzzle. They could have been critical clues but became irrelevant and immaterial in the end. The Hatch and the Numbers were supposed to solve key questions on what was the island and who were the Others. Neither were important in the story's conclusion: the hatch was not made by the Others or had any useful purpose in the mission of rescue, and the Numbers were arbitrary candidate designations by a supernatural being called Jacob.

We still don't know whether the smoke monster was an organic life form or some advanced nanobot technology.

The writers led viewers down the paths of scientific reasoning to answer posed mysteries. But science did not play a large role in characters final resting place, in an after life world. Even the mechanics of getting to the after life place was glossed over by the writers - - -  was the island a purgatory underworld step to achieve some form of enlightenment in order to get to the sideways reward or was the island truly a nightmare, real world existence?

The use of technology to tell the LOST story could have been better executed by the writers. Even if the technology answers were made up or irrational or theoretical (like most science fiction genres), viewers would understand that prose and move on concurrently with the character stories. But the inability to answer mysteries posed by scientific clues is like the unwanted party guest who overstays his welcome. It is annoying, tedious and disrupts the final enjoyment of the party.

Monday, March 16, 2015


One body of LOST theory is that the show's premise resides solely in the mind(s) of a character(s).

It is a tempting premise because it discounts any factual, scientific and memory errors in the actual story lines.

A few key clues in these theories were the fact that the Others (and Dharma) brain washing facility was known as Room 23. We got two references of this room. First, Walt was taken prisoner there and subjected to the high intensity film images. It seemed the sheriff used it as a punishment tool, for which Walt respected and therefore behaved himself. Second, we got an intense look at it when Ben put Karl in the room. We got the aspect of cult programming in that scene with early reference to "Jacob loves you."

23 was also the Number for Jack, which most believe was the central character of the story. Tying the two elements together, Jack was also subjected to mind control games at Hydra, and possibly at the Barracks (or Room 23 facilities) when he integrated himself in a game a football with Mr. Friendly.

The idea that LOST was a nightmare of Jack's subconscious has some merit. Because in the End of the series, Jack got the one thing that he wanted: a chance to see his father again. And Jack's mind rewarded his imaginary friends with happiness and a sense of belonging (especially with the couples).
But the one other big clue is that Aaron, who was born on the island, was also born later in the End. That can't physically happen. So it must be mental.

Jack's mind could have forgot about certain memories in the course of concluding his dream series.

And science backs up the notion that our brains "over write" memories when recalling other ones.

Forgetting certain memories while remembering others may be a normal part of brain function, new research shows. In short, the very act of remembering may cause people to forget other memories that are overridden in the retrieval process, according to the study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Researchers from the University of Birmingham and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences unit in Cambridge, England, discovered that intentional memory recall isn’t as simple as mentally reawakening a memory. In fact, the act of remembering can actually trigger the brain to forget other competing experiences that interfere with memory retrieval.

“Though there has been an emerging belief within the academic field that the brain has this inhibitory mechanism, I think a lot of people are surprised to hear that recalling memories has this darker side of making us forget others by actually suppressing them,” study co-leader Maria Wimber, PhD, said.

While there are other studies on memory interference, researchers say this is the first to isolate the adaptive forgetting mechanism in the brain. It’s this mechanism by which remembering dynamically alters the aspects of our past that remain accessible. 

Researchers used MRI scans to monitor patterns of brain activity in study participants while they were asked to recall certain memories based on images they had been shown earlier. Over the course of several retrievals, participants were asked to recall a specific memory, which became more vivid with each trial. The results showed that competing memories were retrieved with more difficulty with each trial carried out.

The findings are not limited to specific memory types — semantic memory, episodic memory, and recently acquired short-term memories are all impacted. In fact, though people differ genetically, researchers say that it is thought that all brains are capable of inducing varying degrees of this forgetting mechanism.

There is a bright side to the study. “[Forgetting] can be incredibly useful when trying to overcome a negative memory from our past. So there are opportunities for this to be applied in areas to really help people,” Wimber says.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. It is a superstition passed down from generation to generation, culture to culture.

The number 13 was said to be unlucky because when archeologists researched the Roman Coleseum chambers where the slave gladiators were housed, the best gladiator scratched only 13 victories before his death. Once you got to 13 wins, the next time you would die, hence 13 being an unlucky number.

Why Friday and 13 got a bad rap is probably because in the modern work week, Friday was supposed to be the start of the weekend, relaxation away from work. There is a possible dread that the boss will complicate your life by adding a ton of work on that day, ask you to work on Saturday, or make an unreasonable deadline in which upsets your plans.

In any event, numbers played a role in causing Hurley to have his own bad luck. It was not his curse, but a crutch, an excuse, to smooth over his own insecurities and faults. At times, negative thoughts can instill negative behavior and actions. Even when Hurley won the lottery, his negative thoughts appeared to manifest itself in death, destruction and bad luck all around him.

There is an old saying that a person makes their own luck.

Luck is the success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions or a chance considered as a force that causes good or bad things to happen. Many believe luck is something regarded as bringing about or portending good or bad things, a pre-state of mind.

Some lucky bastards are more lucky than good, and that ticks some people off with envy, jealousy or hatred. Why is this person wealthy, prettier, successful, stress-free, or happy? Why can't I have those things? He or she is not better than me!

You can see how a negative perception of one's self can lead to an internal circular argument that some outside influence, luck, is creating your personal state of unhappiness.

The LOST world was mostly an unhappy world. Every day seemed to be like Friday the 13th. The main characters shadows were their ever present fears, phobias, anxieties and dark behaviors. Over time, these shadows began to eat away at their mental outlook on life. For some, it took them deep in the pit of despair. For others, it took them deep into irrational behavior, like Ben.

But Hurley was the one main character who readily admitted his bad luck, that he himself created bad luck, and that people should not be around him because he was bad luck.  This is the grand excuse of an introvert and loner. A hermit who built excuses to isolate himself from interacting with the real world, with real people, and to make real friends.

Locke had a similar path, except he did admit he was unlucky with family, friends, career or goals. He pretended to be an extrovert and leader, with grand ideas and hopes, but with no means to accomplish them because he could never forge true bonds with other people in order to fulfill his dreams. He built his own isolation from anger about how the world around him did not understand him, that he was smarter, better and more entitled to have the wealth, happiness and prosperity of his bosses. He was more like a hermit crab striking out at others, which reinforced a negative stereotype to others.

So Locke and Hurley created their own bad luck. And they suffered for it because they could not change their own personal outlook on life. Locke never achieved any reformation. Hurley, as best we could tell, found some peace of mind (but apparently only in the after life).

So on any Friday the 13th take heed not what is around you, but what is inside you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


LOST had a large ensemble cast, for which many were used as dramatic fodder in death scenes.

But could LOST have been better, with a tighter script, if its cast was concentrated into 6 main players?

And who would be those six?

Instead of a plane crash, a small cruise yacht could have shipwrecked off the island, leaving six survivors coming on shore.

If one was to "dramatize" Gilligan's Island, the characters would be a captain, a sailor, a rich man, a rich wife, a model, a farm girl and a professor. The closest analogous characters would be the marshal Mars, Desmond, Bernard and Rose, Shannon, Kate and the jack-of-all trades, Sayid.

This group would have the possible sub-story lines of the original pilot:

Mars could have been tracking a con-artist-murderer in Kate on this voyage, just before he arrests her in open waters.

Desmond is the one person with transoceanic experience. He may have been the yacht charter captain out of Fiji.

Rose and Bernard, both professionals, could be luxury type cruise passengers on holiday. Or, if Rose cancer story remains, both trying live life to the fullest before she dies.

The self-absorbed lazy model persona would fall to Shannon, the rich girl who expects people to be at her beck and call with a flip of her long eye lashes. She would be the center piece of conflict between the men.

Sayid played a professor like role in LOST. Whenever there was a science, mechanical, communication issue, Sayid had the answers. He fixed broken equipment. He could build things.

If you take away all the Dharma, supernatural, Numbers, Others and smoke monsters, where would this version of LOST taken us?

One would expect the idea of rescue would have been foremost in the minds of this landing party. There would have been some conflict between Desmond, the captain of the ship, and Sayid, the military-survival expert, on how to organize their camp and signal passing ships. This conflict would allow the other survivors to begin to choose sides, and work each other in political moves to make their stay on the island better.

As the one with medical training, Bernard would be called upon to be the one to keep them all alive. But he would be torn up inside with the secret Rose wants kept that she is dying. The idea of helping others live while he has to allow his wife to die would emotionally tear up Bernard.

The dynamic between Mars and Kate would be edgy and in constant conflict. Mars would probably "arrest" her, but there would be a backlash from the others who may agree with Kate that "his laws" don't apply on the island. Everyone has to work together in order to survive. This tension that Kate is having extra freedom from her crimes gnaws at Mars to the point of near violence against the others. Some see him as a threat. There could be talk of exile as Kate cons and charms her way into an important role in the camp.

While Kate may be helpful in setting up camp, the signal fires, and gathering food, Shannon appears to be aloof and troublesome. Her constant nagging and complaining would grate on the other survivors to the point ultimatums from the leaders to "shape up or ship out."  This could give Mars an opportunity to "recruit" Shannon on his side to get "a confession" from Kate about her crimes.

After some time, when rescue is not coming, the group dynamic could shift into petty jealous taunts and leadership breakdowns. Desmond and Sayid may try to build a raft to get out into the shipping lanes, while others believe that it is not worth the physical effort when survival materials are in short supply or when some of the survivors start to become ill from dehydration, and possible tropical disease. The added stress on Bernard could lead to emotional to violent outbursts which further tear apart any unity within the group.

Since JJ Abrams has a habit of "rebooting" series, like Star Trek in alternatives, perhaps if LOST returns (which is doubtful), this is the format that a new show would take, as a true dramatic survival show.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


In a recent New Yorker article, the power of suggestion is examined and its results are somewhat startling to the average mind.

The power of suggestion is not new. In 1906, Hugo Münsterberg, the chair of the psychology laboratory at Harvard University and the president of the American Psychological Association, wrote in the Times Magazine about a false confession case.  A woman had been found dead in Chicago, garroted with a copper wire and left in a barnyard, and the simpleminded farmer’s son who had discovered her body stood accused. The young man had an alibi, but after questioning by police he admitted to the murder. He did not simply confess,  Münsterberg wrote; “he was quite willing to repeat his confession again and again. Each time it became richer in detail.” The young man’s account, he continued, was “absurd and contradictory,” a clear instance of “the involuntary elaboration of a suggestion” from his interrogators. Münsterberg cited the Salem witch trials, in which similarly vulnerable people were coerced into self-incrimination. He shared his opinion in a letter to a Chicago nerve specialist, which made the local press. A week later, the farmer’s son was hanged.

It would take decades before the legal and psychological communities began to understand how powerfully suggestion can shape memory and, in turn, the course of justice. In the early nineteen-nineties, American society was recuperating from another panic over occult influence; Satanists had replaced witches. One case, the McMartin Preschool trial, hinged on nine young victims’ memories of molestation and ritual abuse—memories that they had supposedly forgotten and then, after being interviewed, recovered. The case fell apart, in 1990, because the prosecution could produce no persuasive evidence of the victims’ claims. A cognitive psychologist named Elizabeth Loftus, who had consulted on the case, wondered whether the children’s memories might have been fabricated—in Münsterberg’s formulation, involuntarily elaborated—rather than actually recovered.

To test her theory, Loftus gave a group of volunteers the rudimentary outlines of a childhood experience: getting lost in a mall and being rescued by a kindly adult. She told the subjects, falsely, that the scenario was real and had taken place when they were young. (For verisimilitude, Loftus asked their parents for biographical details that she could plant in each story.) Then she debriefed the subjects twice, with the interviews separated by one or two weeks. By the second interview, six of the twenty-four test subjects had internalized the story, weaving in sensory and emotional details of their own. Loftus and other researchers have since used similar techniques to create false memories of near-drownings, animal attacks, and encounters with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland (impossible, since Bugs is a Warner Bros. character).

Earlier this year, two forensic psychologists—Julia Shaw, of the University of Bedfordshire, and Stephen Porter, of the University of British Columbia—upped the ante. Writing in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science, they described  a false memory method,  not of getting lost in childhood but of committing a crime in adolescence. They modeled their work on Loftus’s, sending questionnaires to each of their participant’s parents to gather background information. (Any past run-ins with the law would eliminate a student from the study.) Then they divided the students into two groups and told each a different kind of false story. One group was prompted to remember an emotional event, such as getting attacked by a dog. The other was prompted to remember a crime—an assault, for example—that led to an encounter with the police. At no time during the experiments were the participants allowed to communicate with their parents.

What Shaw and Porter found astonished them. “We thought we’d have something like a thirty-per-cent success rate, and we ended up having over seventy,” Shaw told me. “We only had a handful of people who didn’t believe us.” After three debriefing sessions, seventy-six per cent of the students claimed to remember the false emotional event; nearly the same amount—seventy per cent—remembered the fictional crime. Shaw and Porter hadn’t put undue stress on the students; in fact, they had treated them in a friendly way. All it took was a suggestion from an authoritative source, and the subjects’ imaginations did the rest. The students seemed almost eager to self-incriminate.

One young woman spun a story about a kind of love triangle. In the first debriefing, she remembered the incident as a fistfight between her and another girl. In the second, she remembered having thrown a small rock at her adversary after the girl uttered a slur. By the third debriefing, the rock had grown to the size of her fist and she had hurled it at the girl’s face. “It was very emotional,” Shaw said. “Each time she’d reënact the event, the rock would fill her hand a little bit more.” Nothing in the woman’s affect suggested that the memory was false. She earnestly believed in the truth of her confession, as most of her fellow-participants did theirs. The memory was vivid, loaded with details about the crime that the interviewer had not furnished. Moreover, Shaw and Porter could find no personality traits that distinguished the false confessors from the few holdouts, and no way of identifying who was most susceptible.

Researchers conclude that these are troubling findings. They mimic, in the gentlest way, what can happen during police questioning: a small lie, told to shake loose the truth, rattles around in a suspect’s imagination and takes root. The psychologist Saul Kassin has studied interrogation and false confession for decades. He told me that Shaw and Porter’s experiment illustrates perfectly how social pressure can make innocent people admit to wrongdoing. “Think about the dilemma the suspect now faces: ‘I don’t have a memory for this, but the person who took care of me does. Therefore it must be true and I have to find a way to remember it.’ ”

After reading this article, this is another plausible premise to the LOST saga. As the plot started, we were on a fairly straight and narrow crash survival tale, but over the course of time, it moved off into very different, strange tangents unrelated to the initial premise. It is like minor suggestions were being conjured and amplified in a person's mind - - - creating a roller coaster of self-importance to criminal behavior memories. A theory is that LOST was the creation within some character's mind.


Bayes' Theorem is a mathematical formula to find probabilities of certain outcomes.

In the Bayesian (or epistemological) interpretation, probability measures a degree of belief. Bayes's theorem then links the degree of belief in a proposition before and after accounting for evidence. For example, suppose it is believed with 50% certainty that a coin is twice as likely to land heads than tails. If the coin is flipped a number of times and the outcomes observed, that degree of belief may rise, fall or remain the same depending on the results.

For proposition A and evidence B,
P(A), the prior, is the initial degree of belief in A.
P(A|B), the posterior, is the degree of belief having accounted for B.
the quotient P(B|A)/P(B) represents the support B provides for A.

In a diagram form, the theorem looks like this:

If knowledge of one independent value is sufficient to deduce several outcomes.

It is in human nature to try to predict the future or future outcomes. There is a great reward in knowing what is going to happen. One could bet on the outcome (such as a horse race or stock price) to become quite wealthy. Or one could weigh the values to determine a course of action to avoid a hazardous risk.

The latter is the basis of insurance, the calculation of certain past events and conditions is used to create the value of an insurance pool to pay claims.

There is also the ego intelligence that tries to force future outcomes by manipulating the present values. In the stock world, it is insider trading to floating rumors to affect stock prices.

When we apply probability theorem to LOST, we cannot diagram a clear valuation to the end.

Initially, we have the following starting point:

Plane crash - - -  probable outcomes: death, injury, survival.

If death, then the future factors (plot points) would be purgatory (limbo), hell (punishment), heaven (paradise/reward).

If injury, then future factors would be pain, human interaction (care), cure or death.

If survival, then future factors would be food (starvation), shelter (danger), rescue (home).

To attempt to diagram the plot probabilities of LOST, one has to start with the crash as the key starting point:

 The plane crash yields five probable outcomes for a character:

If survives the plane crash, the possibilities are living in danger on the island or going home.

If one does not survive the plane crash, the possibilities are heaven, redemption or nothingness.

Nothingness is the black void of ceasing to exist at any level. It is the worst fate for a human spirit.

So which theorem path did the LOST story take?

Friday, March 6, 2015


There is a philosophy that each person is born with a duality.

Gemini is the ‘twins of the zodiac.’ That itself kind of captures the whole concept of duality, but on a philosophical level;  you have yin-yang, positive and negative, day and night, and left and right. These are principles that we created. We made words for those things to help us understand the world that we live in. Bringing those two sides together, everybody has good and bad days, good things and bad things, and even we have good shows and bad shows. It’s just trying to balance those two things to make your life more fulfilling and trying to make it the most positive experience you can.

Each person could be said to contain two individual characters.

There is the conscious self as opposed to the unconscious self. In the light of day we have a public self, while at night we can have a private, dark self where societal rules do not apply.

There is the good behavioral person as opposed to the evil persona. Each person has within themselves to do evil. It is how we check this bad twin is what keeps normal people from becoming criminals.

We have split personalities of the work ethic and the procrastinator, where there is a moving slide mixing the two elements to determine the course of our daily lives. Some days we are work horses, other days we are lazy bums.

We also have various emotional states that are constantly in flux. Love-hate relationships. Kindness versus cruelty. Extroverted energy to introverted paralysis. There are various shades of the emotional self that has many variables based upon cultural and environmental cues.

LOST had various themes which included a duality principle.

The mirror is a reflection of one's self. It also could be considered to represent the other side of your personality (usually a darker one).

Duality is a central principle in Egyptian burial mythology, where a person's soul is divided into parts which are reunited if the person passes final judgment.

Several main characters went through drastic phases in their lives. For example, Ben was a shy, introverted school boy who deep inside hated his father to the point of being an evil mass murderer and dark tyrant. But even then, the story twists unbelievably to Ben as a sympathetic nice guy waiting to cure his sins in the sideways purgatory. Fans were drawn quickly to the evil Ben more so than the redeemed Ben.

And the fact that LOST was set in two different dimensions is still a cause of great concern. Was the sideways world purgatory, heaven, dream state or alternative universe? Likewise, was the island time line real, imagined, science fiction worm hole or psychotic?

The series raised duality concepts but failed to clearly address them in a coherent fashion.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The British newspaper, The Independent, reported the death experiences of a man who "died" twice, once after a motorcycle accident and once after a drug overdose. In both cases, his experience was exactly the same.

On the sensation of death itself:

"I had no idea, it was just black emptiness. No thoughts, no consciousness, nothing.

"Both times I was just "not there". It was just all black. I would describe it as when you take a nap. A short nap with no dream, you wake up and it feels like you've been sleeping a long time, when in reality it's only been about 15 minutes.

"The only reason I know is because the doctors were obligated to share the information with me. "So yeah, you were dead for a couple of minutes, just FYI" hahaha.

"So if the doctors wouldn't have said anything I would've just thought that I took a dreamless nap." 

On the experience itself:

"It was definitely not just a gap. Much like a dreamless nap, you don't just wake up and feel like time just jumped ahead. You know that you've been asleep for a while. At the same time, you can't really remember experiencing anything at all, unless you had a dream.

"So yes and no. I experienced something, and that something was nothing." 

On his religious viewpoint and his experiences being dead:

"I have always been an atheist, but I have always had a part of me that hoped there was a God or Heaven or something greater than us. I mean, who wouldn't want there to be a Heaven?

"I am still an atheist, and now I know that there is no such thing as God or Heaven. At least not for me. My reasoning behind that is no God would ever put a person and family through such a experience.

"I am an Atheist, and always will be. But I believe that your belief is your belief. The only thing we can share is our own experiences and let people make up their own mind. People need to stop forcing their own beliefs onto others."

On death itself:

"Death is death. Once your dead, that's it, it's over."
This is an report of one person, whose statements cannot be confirmed by science. However, when dealing with such experiences in the past, medical providers have been told by other "dead" patients of seeing a white light and a sense of being floating upward.

It may be a question of subconscious belief memories kicking in as a defense mechanism.

But if this man's account is taken as fact, then the premise of LOST, with its life and death symbolism such as the sideways world, is totally false. It would bring the premise of the series more in line with the dream state or coma theories, where the brain is still processing information to the conscious self.

Monday, March 2, 2015


We live in dark times in culture and literature, partly because of the long malaise of a deep recession and less opportunities for young graduates in their career fields. Modern culture has a clear dystopian future vibe.

In many respects, LOST also culled that genre.

An anti-hero is a flawed hero, and therefore, much more interesting then the more traditional heroes.

Anti-heroes can be working on the side of good, but with a serious flaw, or a horrible past, or for reasons that are selfish and not entirely "pure." They can also be working for the side of evil, but with hidden noble intentions, or other underlying complexities. These darker heroes can be jerks, pathetic, hard, jaded, or mean. However, all anti-heroes must have enough heroic qualities, intentions, or strength (physical including attraction or mental) to somehow gain the sympathy of the audience.

The show was filled with many (maybe too many) anti-heroes.

Ben had an immediate and strong fan base. The portrayal of a cold, emotionless psychopath was a brilliant hook to apply real danger to the series characters.

Sawyer was the traditional anti-hero. He was a loner, a criminal, a charmer and a thief. He was so easy going to be likeable and despised at the same time.

Kate was also an anti-hero but wrapped up in the mirage of the girl-next-store image. She was entirely selfish and manipulating the men who crossed her path, usually ending in very bad trauma.

Locke was never a true hero. He was the door mat that other characters used to scuff on on their way to their goals. He was a dreamer who could never connect to his dreams. He was naive, and heroes are wise. He had self-esteem issues while heroes can look beyond their own faults to the common good.

The body snatching by MIB to create an evil Flocke did nothing to restore any honor to the Locke character.  MIB, as an intellectually evil smoke creature, had similar qualities of Ben, but with no thread of heroic intentions. MIB vowed to somehow leave the island, but we don't know why nor did we care. One has to care about their heroes, including the anti-heroes.

Jack should have been the traditional hero. He had the skill set, being a "miracle" surgeon. He had the calm intellect to command order within the group. But once he got out of that traditional role to begin lead missions into the jungle or attack the Others, he fell out of favor with many in the group. The castaways first leaned on Jack for survival, but once rescue was lost and the beach camp settled in Jack's traits were no longer needed by them.