Thursday, October 3, 2019


Joe DiMaggio said, “A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.”

In LOST, there were various characters who pushed to become leaders. It was a mix of office politics and mortal combat.

Jack was the Reluctant Leader. He got the job from the 815 survivors because he was a doctor. There were injured people who needed his help. He gave instructions . . . people listened to him. But a few did not like Jack because he got the respect they did not. Sawyer, for example, wanted the appreciation of being a leader without the responsibility. Only after the time flash skip to become the sheriff of the others did Sawyer learn what it took to protect his people.

Locke was the Hopeful Leader. He always wanted to be acknowledged and accepted for his skills so that he could be one of the popular kids. The fact that his foster home orphan upbringing gave him the anger and bitterness that would shape his adult life and decisions was not lost on the writers. For every opportunity to take a leadership role, he failed because he demanded too much. When he came back to camp with food, he thought he would be accepted as a leader. But Jack was still the man. Locke never let go of that rivalry. When Locke was thought of the chosen leader of the Others, one who could dethrone Ben, he took the chance to seize total control over the group. But the one condition he could not meet: killing his own father.

Ben was also an outcast. He grew up in the environment of an alcoholic father who blamed him for the death of his mother (in childbirth). As a result, Ben was a shy, bitter boy who dreamed of controlling his own destiny. When the Others were in a leadership flux, he took control by means of violence - - - slaying his rivals to seize total control like a military dictator. He used fear and threats to become the Absolute Leader on the island. But being a dictator brought detractors in his own group who wanted to have someone to remove Ben from power.

Leadership is a double edged sword. It can be used to offensively consolidate power, direction and support for the common good. Or it could be used defensively to hold onto power, unilaterally force decisions and abuse authority for corrupt purposes.

All of those elements were seeded in LOST's story lines. None of the main character leaders had a good final result. There leadership strengths would turn into their personal weaknesses. Even Jacob, the islands real, True Leader, succumbed to his own hubris.