Thursday, May 25, 2006

Totally Lost

The Best Show On TV

Last night was the season finale of my favorite show, Lost. For those of you that don't watch it, I suggest picking up Season 1 on DVD. Season 1 was far more brilliant than Season 2, but no matter. Season 2 had its share of mind benders, culminating in the fantastically odd finale, which featured a remnant of a giant four toed statue, a pneumatic tube to nowhere, and a violet electromagnetic blast. If none of that makes sense to you, it doesn't make sense to people who watch the show either.

But then I read this article about invisibility. One of the biggest questions of the show is "Why hasn't anybody rescued the stranded survivors." This episode insinuated the answer is that the island is invisible, or "cloaked." When I read the article about invisibility, this quote stuck out to me:

"The cloak would act like you've opened up a hole in space," Duke University's David Smith, one of Pendry's co-authors, explained in a news release. "All light or other electromagnetic waves are swept around the area, guided by the metamaterial to emerge on the other side as if they had passed through an empty volume of space."
"A hole in space!" "Electromagnetic Waves!" Come on people... we suddenly have an answer as to the importance of "the button" on Lost that must be pushed every 108 minutes. The "electromagnetic anomaly" is keeping the island cloaked... as long as the button gets pushed. But when the button isn't pushed... well, you have russian guys in antarctica saying "We found him" to Desmond's long-searching lover.

Ok, you non-Lostheads have no idea what I'm talking about. But there's plenty of other stuff to read on this blog.

The question is, did the fail-safe key that Desmond turned keep the island cloaked forever... or did it make the island visible again?

The invisibility article also raises this point:

If optical cloaks could be designed, that would be of interest to the military as well. "One obvious thing would be that you could construct a hutch in which you could hide a tank, and the hutch would make it appear as though the tank wasn't there. ... You could also think of weightier things, like submarines or battleships, where you might want to put some of this stuff..."
Is the island a military experiment-- or weapon-- that the electromagnetic cloak seeks to hide?

And even though I'm taking this next line completely out of context:

The catch here is that the invisibility effect would work only if you were on the same plane as the hidden object...
Plane! Like the plane that crashed on the island?

And the invisibility article isn't the only one casting light on Lost and the mysterious Hanso Foundation's Dharma Initiative. The Hanso Foundation website talks about many scientific advances... but highlights "Life Extension." This article about Life Extension also appeared today:

In Oscar Wilde's novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," the main character barters his soul for eternal youth but becomes wicked and immoral in the process.

Leon Kass believes humanity risks striking a similar Faustian bargain if it pursues technology that extends life spans beyond what is natural.

If our species ever does unlock the secrets of aging and learns to live forever, we might not lose our souls, but, like Dorian, we will no longer be human either...
Is this how "The Others" or "Good Guys," as fake-Henry calls them, became evil/scary?

And why have a hatch that forces people to complete meaningless tasks? Well, thats in the life extension article too:

Instead of worrying about what longer life will do to our sense of humanity, Callahan and Hackler wonder what the heck people are going to do with all their extra time. Longer life means more time for boredom to creep in.

"Let’s face it, most peoples' jobs aren’t all that fascinating," Hackler said. "They put in a 9-to-5 and they’re glad to have the weekend. So you wonder if having twice as much of this is a good thing, or if you’d get totally burned out."

Hackler can't imagine himself ever getting tired of living, but he knows not everyone will feel same way. Determining how much ennui the average person can bear will be important if life extension ever becomes a reality, Hackler says, because extended boredom could result in prolonged unhappiness or higher incidences of suicide.
Goosebumps. It's like they timed these articles to come out the exact day after the season finale of Lost gave us all this to think about.

My Lost Theory:

The Hanso Foundation discovered "The Island" had certain properties, chief among them, the ability to heal and extend life. Concerned with the potential ramifications that could come from announcing such a discovery, they chose to keep the island secret, devising a cloaking device to keep the island safe from prying eyes. They conducted a series of experiments on the island: for example, seeing how different animals (polar bears, giant birds, boars) reacted to the island's unique properties. And other experiments designed to gage human reactions to eternal life. All was going swimmingly... until the moral ambiguities of potential immortality started to prey upon the scientists, some of whom were in the dark about their mission at the island. Some went mad. They became "The Others."

The island is more than a scientific anomaly. It's a portal to fate, God, the existential. The Dharma Inititive attempted to control the island, but the island ended up controlling them.

This leaves the question... How did all these people, linked to each other in many different ways, end up on the island? Was it by accident? Couldn't be. But it could be that Locke, in Season 1, was right. It wasn't the Dharma Inititive that brought the Losties to the island. It was the island itself. "The Others" are just as clueless as to why these people were brought to the island. Which is why they want to "test" them.

Now... I'm not sure what all this means, necessarily. But I hope the Lost writers do. This show is driving me insane. And I can't wait till next season.


Hot Mama said...

Brilliant! I think you are on to something. I also read that invisibility article today, but I never made the connection. We can only wait till next season to see if you are right.

Adam said...

The half leg/four toed statue is referenced in Thomas Love Peacock's Headlong Hall... which I'll now have to read.

Kathryn Is So Over said...

The men actually said "we found it," not "him." This lends strength to your argument - the island was cloaked until Desmond turned the key. They found it.

Stef said...

I love the cloaking idea! I could definitely imagine a privately-funded military experiment to cloak a whole island.... very interesting.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

The island was cloaked until they didnt push the button. When the electro thingy stopped working or went crazy, that is when the PORTUGUESE (they weren't speaking Russian) folks found the island on radar. I think Desmond turning the key restored the invisibility. Or destroyed it altogether. But if that's the case, it wouldn't take someone very long to find them at all, whereas the prospect of it being recloaked means Penny will have to find the island again.

Also, they sort of explained why the Losties are there. Desmond didn't push the button, so the electro thingy went haywire and pulled the plane out of the sky. So the island didn't bring them there in any sort of destiny sort of way.

I also don't think "the others" are crazy at all. I think they are doing just what they were sent to do.

The one topic you didn't discuss is the illness that killed Rousseau's team members and has her all freaked out. Why isn't she with "the others" if they all were sent there for the same mission. Why would the people in the Pearl hatch watching the people in the Swan hatch be interesting to the Dharma Initiative. Why isn't anyone reading the shit in the pneumatic tubes? Why is Libby always wearing some really horrible wig in those flashbacks?

Adam said...

haha, I have no idea about Libby's horrible wigs. You raise some of the hundreds of questions that still remain. That's why, though I feel I've figured the overarching plot out, I'll continue to watch and be utterly ammazed.

I think The Pearl was designed as a Skinner Box, which many people originally thought the button was. The orientation film mentions that the DeGroots were influenced by B.F. Skinner, the inventor of the Skinner box, a scientific study where test subjects are rewarded for correctly performing a repetitive task. What was being tested? It might have something to do with this type of stuff, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Phil said...

I would do Mary Ann over Ginger.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

Oh very true. I guess the people filling out the notebooks with observations on the button being pushed were actually being studied since they too were doing something over and over. My only question is what does that have to do with the island or the healing powers of the island or what not? Seems like that could be an experiment conducted anywhere else. I'm sure we'll learn more next season. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall when the writers are sitting around hashing out the plot for this show.

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