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Oct 3, 2005

Guest Post
Here is an interesting e-mail I received from my ex. We both have an affinity for the show Lost and the symbolism behind the show. Jeff, however, has a better grasp of the philosophers of democracy. He has found several very interesting parallels, and I thought I would share them with you all. Please feel free to comment, and tell us what you think of his theories. He is interested to hear what others think. So without further ado:

When I first started watching the show, I found one character to be quite fascinating. There was a paraplegic who regained mobility in his legs at the time of the plane crash whom the survivors referred to as Locke. As I watched additional episodes, I heard survivors not only refer to him as "Locke" but also by his full name, "John Locke". Now this is very interesting to me, seeing as I am a dedicated follower of John Locke, the English philosopher. John Locke the philosopher is credited by many as having the greatest influence by any individual on the US Constitution. He published many works, but is best known for Two Treatises of a Civil Government. The underlying theme that is found throughout Two Treatises and his other works an extreme opposition to authoritarianism and Divine Authority. Locke preached equality in humans from a socioeconomic, gender, and to a lesser extent racial point of view. On the television show, there is has been a large amount of conflict between the characters of Jack Sheppard and John Locke. Much of this conflict can be attributed to Locke's unwillingness to follow Jack's every stated and implied command. In my opinion, this displays a strong correlation between the character John Locke's actions and the philosopher's beliefs.
John Locke, the philosopher, also made some very interesting points surrounding different forms of government. Locke suggested that the most noticeable difference between a dictatorship and a democracy was the amount of rights that the people had to release under each respective form of government. Locke implied that the people must give up all natural rights under a dictatorship, but under a democracy they must sacrifice a few natural rights. The interesting point here is that many Americans are so spoiled that they do not believe that we should sacrifice ANY rights, but Locke makes it very clear that their must be a small amount of rights sacrificed for the good of the whole.
In the television show there is a very interesting argument where Jack asks Locke, "Do you want to tell Boone about Destiny?" Locke's response is very interesting, "Boone was a sacrifice that the island demanded". I believe there to be a very strong correlation between the character's and the philosopher's inherent political beliefs.

If you have bought into any of this gibber-jabber than you are probably thinking, "Then who is Jack Sheppard?" I believe Jack Sheppard to be symbolic of English rule. Even though Sheppard has an internal conflict with the issue of leadership and responsibility, he truly believes that it is his calling to lead and care for the survivors. This is his "Divine Authority" given to him by God or another power. This may sound a bit like a stretch but the name Jack can be attributed to the English Flag, "The Union Jack". His last name, Sheppard, is hardly ever mentioned but if one wants to tie this in as well, one could link it to Jack's calling to care for the flock.

Lets get back to the philosopher John Locke. When people speak of Locke, they frequently link him to two other influential philosophers of his time, Hobbes and Rousseau. Is it coincidence that there is a "Rousseau" on the island in the form of, Danielle Rousseau, "the French woman"? Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French philosopher who had many ideas that coincided with those of John Locke, but also had many ideas that were not in sync with Locke's and centered around socialistic concepts. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that technology and advancement did not help mankind but rather served as a detriment. I have not witnessed any correlation to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's theories and the "French woman's" actions, but we have not yet had the opportunity to get much insight into the views of the French Woman.

Lets talk about Hurley (Hugo Reyes) for a second. I had a difficult time finding a historical figure to link to Hugo. My initial thought in terms of historical figures was that of Victor Hugo, but I could not find anything in his life or Les Miserables to link to the character on the show. How about Hugo Grotius, the Dutch philosopher? I really don't know anything about Hugo Grotius but after a little bit of research I found this,

One of the pioneering natural rights theorists of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Grotius defined natural law as a perceptive judgement in which things are good or bad by their own nature.

Do you think that there is a correlation between the inherent "evilness" of the numbers and this statement? Very interesting...

The next character that I would like to take a look at is James "Sawyer" Ford. In my opinion, the name Sawyer is symbolic of James Ford' attempt to regain the lost childhood innocence that can be linked to Mark Twain's character "Tom Sawyer". Sawyer feels that the "one action" of killing the man who stole his childhood will redeem the innocence that was taken from him. There is a very interesting conversation in the show where Kate asks Sawyer why he wants to get on the raft so bad. When asked this question, Sawyer cannot give a justified response. I find it very interesting that rafts play a large role in the novel Tom Sawyer.

The next character that I would really like to focus on is Kate. The only two historical figures that I can "half-way" link her to are, Big Nose Kate, and Catherine the Great. The link to "Big Nose Kate" is very simplistic. Big Nose Kate was the lover of Doc Holliday, and history denotes her as being as being a close equal to that of her lover in terms of rowdiness and lawlessness. Big Nose Kate and the character Kate Ryan in Lost both show a strong ability to "keep up with the boys". Kate Ryan can also be linked to Catherine the Great in terms of Catherine's affinity for lovers, and Kate's love triangle with Jack and Sawyer.

I am still working on a few of the other characters. I hope that you enjoyed. I would love to get your thoughts or thoughts on my little "conspiracy theories". If you think that I am a wacko, please let me know. It won't be the first time that I have heard it. : )
posted by Ty @ 10/03/2005
At 3:08 AM, October 04, 2005, Blogger Toryssa said...

I'm in the UK, putting me a series behind people watching from the US. I don't have as much character assessment time.

I think the Locke stuff is quite interesting. Even if the show has no deeper relevance, because really, I have little confidence in any television programs striving for anything more than good ratings... still interesting though. The rest... might be stretching it. ;)

At 7:32 AM, October 04, 2005, Blogger Ty said...

You might be right, but keep watching, and let me know what you think in a few weeks! Other conspiracy theories are that they are all dead and this is purgatory, or heaven, or limbo...It gets very interesting. I think this show has more behind it than most, regardless of whether the writers really meant for it to have philosophical undertones. :) I am interested to hear back from you when you have had a chance to view more episodes!


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