Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lost: Hope vs Logic

It started in season one, in season two they called it man of science versus man of faith. The battle depends upon this idea that if you just followed the logical path, you would logically be rewarded versus the idea that if you believed in the island, you would somehow be rewarded. Neither is completely right and neither is completely wrong, it's just another study in finding a balance, a common ground, a compromise that satisfies the realities of the mind and the whims of the heart.

It started with Jack versus Locke. Jack being a scientist – a spinal surgeon – who has lived his life by the rules of the world, knowing that if he just followed what he KNEW was right, everything would be fine; Locke being a paper shuffler – who longs to become a hunter – who has lived his life by the hope in his heart that if he does what he FEELS is right, everything will work out.

On the island they've clashed for years, the eventual outcome having Locke martyred for his beliefs and Jack, destroyed by the results of his logic, taking on Locke's position, becoming a believer of faith and destiny.

Now on the island, stuck in 1977, Jack is complacent to believe that if he waits for some sign, if he just follows his heart and does what the island wants, he will be fulfilling his destiny and then another scientist comes along to inform him that not only is he wrong about the ideas of destiny and faith, but he's only doing more damage than good in following the ideology that has brought him back to this place.

Daniel knows a thing or two about complacency and following the instructions of others with the hopes that what they are asking him to do is right. His mother, Eloise Hawking, has been guiding him his whole life towards a destiny of mathematics and quantum physics that will lead him to be an expert on the properties of the Island. In that way he will be ready to be chosen by Charles Widmore to be on the freighter to return to the island, only to end up with the group of those left behind by the Oceanic 6 where he will travel back in time to 1977.

These travels inevitably lead to his death, at the hand of his mother; the mother who knew all the while she was leading her son to his death. The irony is that the proof of Daniel's pre-existing theory that 'whatever happened, happened' exists in the pursuit of his current theory of 'variables' being able to alter the past (and, in essence, the future) because it's this change he's trying to exact when he meets his maker.

What happens beyond this season is, as Eloise tells Penny, unknown, but as for the rest of this season, it's Daniel's change of heart that will lead Jack on one path and Kate on another and they become the constants around which the season's story will conclude: Jack riding on faith that he can change the course of history; Kate insisting on the logic that they cannot.

Jack has high hopes that if they change the past, then the hatch is never built and there's no button for Desmond to forget to press, so their plane will never crash. Kate brings up the 'Terminator' argument, if they change that past and never crash, they'll never be put on the course that brings them to this point where they want to change that past. Well, maybe she said something more like, "Whu, that makes no sense," but maybe next week she'll bring it up.

So they can either stick to the 'whatever happened, happened' theory, having everything Jack and Kate do from here on out only put into motion the events that lead to their plane crashing in 2004, or go with Daniel's new theory that variables can change an established past… and create a parallel timeline. But it would only be interesting if now, suddenly, there were doppelgangers of all characters on the island who now exist on the island as the characters they've evolved into through the stories WE'VE seen and also characters off the island who have become the characters they might have been if they hadn't crashed.

Would Claire have given Aaron up? Would she have found out about Jack? Would Kate have been arrested and put in the slammer for good? Would Sayid find Nadia in Los Angeles? Locke still be wheelchair bound, waiting for his Walkabout? Would Danielle and her crew ever have been 'summoned' by the island? Would Hurley have never heard the numbers that won him the lottery? Charlie, Libby, Ana Lucia, Eko, Michael… Boone and Shannon – still alive?

It would be curious to see just how they would handle those situations, how they would explain to these characters that now they Can NOT leave the island because if they ran into themselves, time-space might unravel and collapse upon itself. It would be curious to know how much would remain unchanged, or 'course-corrected". And also how the audience will survive the eight month hiatus after getting a glimpse into the answers.

One response to “Lost: Hope vs Logic”

Anonymous said...

What Daniel is telling Jack in his explanation of his updated equation (the one that...DUH...includes the Human Factor), is that the idea of course correction is not an absolute. That changes may be made that are irrevocable. That our individual choices can matter and echo throughout time. I think free will is in play in this story, and always has been. Dan's quest was not a success, obviously, but in passing on that information to Jack (catch the look of HOPE on his face when he hears the news), his new equation will pay big dividends later. Fate is also strongly in play still, but fate and free will, as someone said today in a very pretty way, dance together every day. And they will continue to dance in this story. I think both will be equally well represented in the ultimate end game of the story.