The presented paper discussed the issues of life and death, the importance of mystery and the dichotomy of past, present, and future, among others, in relation to the TV drama series called Lost. The TV show reveals the story of the survivors of the airplane crash, who attempt to adjust to the living in the wild conditions within a hostile environment. In the paper, it is stressed that the sci-fi drama is actually important due to the lesson it teaches the viewers, in particular, to treasure the present moment and not to mourn for the past or worry about the future because it is still undetermined. It also teaches us to realize that death is inevitable and that one should prepare for it. More than that, the TV show makes the viewers reconsider the issues related to justice and the redistribution systems functioning within the society. In total, the drama offers the opportunity to reflect and gain a new perspective on the things that are usually taken for granted.
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The sci-fi TV show Lost definitely attempts to provide the interpretations of the dichotomy between life and death, the spiritual life, and the mystery of post-life existence while teaching the viewers how to behave while they are still a part of the community living on the Earth. The relations of the characters are aggravated with the double meaning, which makes the TV series more enjoyable and engaging for the viewers. This paper specifically addresses the most critical moments of the TV show while reflecting on the issues of death and life, struggle and loss, deception and truth, together with other crucial issues that make up the exploding cocktail called Lost.
The TV series Lost is probably among the top sci-fi shows not only in the United States but also in every country where it aired. There are, of course, many reasons the series gained much popularity, and some of them are discussed in this paper, considering their ethical, philosophical, and sociocultural interest. It offers a range of emotions to be experienced by the viewers. As Davies (2011) stresses, "Lost evokes both laughter and tears," and it can be added that the situations in the series make one reassess the values and worldviews.
Dealing with Unknown Situations and Incidences
Yet, the first and the main feature that draws the attention of the viewer refers to the behavior of those who have survived. As Davies (2011) notes, "we are introduced to the survivors, who all share the same predicament." The TV show starts extremely fast as the heroes are shown immediately on the screen after they have experienced the airplane crash. The beginning is rather intriguing, as there is a need to save a pregnant woman. However, apart from this daily routine of the island life, it should be stressed that this incident and survival raise many questions regarding the characters, their past, their role on the island, and the reasons they stay alive. More than that, it forces the viewers to make their presumptions regarding the inhabitants who live on the island. Apart from that, the viewers might also build theories regarding the way the characters will behave within the new realities.
Still, the situation of the plane crash and the need to save human lives during the pilot episode actually draw the attention back to the characters and make the viewers turn off their conscience and analytical skills. They usually just watch, living the moment. At this very point, two basic things should be mentioned. First, the series shows the way the routine might absorb human beings. Usually, one does not notice the days, weeks, and months spent accomplishing a certain goal and performing the obligations and duties of different kinds. Life is constructed in the way that the human being should always respond to the threats and challenges without the opportunity to sit and reflect on what is actually happening. It is especially true in the era of globalization and urbanization when everything is moving faster with every day and more duties are added on a daily basis. Indeed, there are those who still find time to reconsider life priorities and reflect on various things. Nevertheless, the majority of the Earth inhabitants continue to move at an enormous pace, trying to earn some money to pay for their basic expenses or earning the tenth billion.
On the other hand, the pilot episode actually teaches the viewer to live here and now. There are definitely those situations when there is no need to reflect on the past and hold strategic sessions regarding the future. Sometimes, one just needs to stabilize the situation, make it less dramatic and uncontrolled, and only then make the decisions regarding the future. Perhaps, in terms of survival, this strategy is the most important one since it helps people to go through the most critical period in their lives and to experience it to the fullest extent possible. The philosophy behind the mindfulness actually provides for the complete inclusion in the "now."
The pilot episode simply draws one attention to the complete chaos and offers no answers instead. It invites millions of viewers on board without having explained the purpose of it. The next episodes of the TV shows introduce even more questions and mysteries (Burcon, 2012). Overall, at a certain point, the viewer understands that the mysteries will continue to grow in number and quality. In this sense, Lost actually reminds the life as it is: full of mysteries, unexpected challenges, even less expected surprises and many non-understood episodes. Just as easy as watching this show, humans let this uncertainty come in and settle in their lives. One can bet that almost all adults have turned the point when they realize that there are issues that cannot be anticipated or calculated ahead. They just happen out of a sudden and one should simply deal with them. In addition, while struggling one realizes that the challenges actually help to grow and to develop the personality. However, it only applies to those who accept the call to fight and try to win no matter what happens. Moreover, those who give up too soon or panic are left out of the boat. The same actually occurred to the characters who died first.
Uncertainty of the Characters
Another important characteristic of the movie refers to its characters. It should be stressed that none of them is pure kindness or evil. There are the characters one can hate and adore during one episode and change the attitude during another one. All of them change in the course of the TV show under the pressure of the circumstances with which they have to deal. Some of the characters tend to change themselves. A parallel should be drawn here as well. The people in the real-life also tend to change over the course of time. It usually happens that the most unexpected features of character are revealed in the course of the extreme situation when the issues of life and death are weighted. One would agree that nothing remains stable and that the change is the ultimate state of everything that exists in the world, no matter dead or alive. The changes might not be always notable; however, with the flow of time, one definitely observes them.
The most questionable character in this regard was Jacob, a mysterious figure riddled with importance. He is definitely a strong central character who, at the same time, remains on the periphery of the TV show. His actions are not always meeting the moral standards. However, his intentions are noble regardless of the fact that he actually brought all these people to the island. At the same time, it should be noted that all of them have the direction to move despite the fact that they were totally lost.
It is also worth mentioning that the TV show teaches the viewers to perceive all changes in a positive way. Regardless of everything, the island inhabitants learn how to laugh at difficult situations and how to live together on the shared territory with limited resources. Even the most stoic characters make jokes to enlighten sad moments. The laugh actually helps to go through the peripeteia of life and to remain afloat even when the feeling of hope is disappearing.
The Confrontation of Faith and Science
Lost is considered a famous sci-fi TV show despite the fact that science is actually not much employed in the series. It does show how to deal with the challenge of being brought to the island and looking for food and other supplements, as well as staying alive despite all the dangers. However, in the traditional sci-fi meaning, there is little science presented in the TV show: no android colliders, quantum leaps, or magic users. However, one of the less unrevealed debates in the TV show actually refers to the confrontation of science and faith (Burcon, 2012). There were many mysteries in the series related to both the science and the faith. However, the final episode does not resolve this debate, hence leaving it for the discretion of the viewers. They should decide whether religion, faith or science are primary in the series. Yet, it seems that there is no scientific explanation of the events that had taken place on the island. Therefore, faith seems to rule in this case.
It should be stressed that faith is definitely hard to attain in the place that reminds nothing of the Earth. It is hard to reflect on its history, essence, and origin. Therefore, it is hard to identify possible orienteers for behavior in this new environment. The faith that is frequently connected to the religion serves as a certain kind of protection for the Earth's inhabitants. For some of them, it is a haven to escape from the everyday routine and the only hope in life. Some people try to explain everything happening with the help of faith (Burcon, 2012). The religion and faith might also serve as the structure or matrix for living on the Earth.
However, within the chaotic environment that is driven by the unknown, it is quite hard for the characters to determine the role of religion, its value, and its utility. Therefore, the characters usually fail the faith test whenever they are involved in the tricky or questioned experience. Still, the search for faith requires the characters to be at least disciplined. Sometimes, while they are seeking faith, they have to encounter the powers that have other than Earth origin.
Coexistence of the Inhabitants
From another perspective, the movie teaches the viewers much about the coexistence of completely different characters. Of course, the scenery of the TV show is made up and all the characters might have died on the first day from inflammations, wild animals, or thunders, among others. Nevertheless, in some way, they manage to survive and make a certain kind of rules to guide their common living. At this moment, it should be stressed that the characters were quite different, including a convict, a gangster, a pregnant woman, a surgeon, a confidence trickster, an officer of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard, and many other mysterious characters. However, as Davies (2011) notes, they are "on the Island of Second Chances, and such distinctions have been erased by the crash of Oceanic flight 815." The TV show is a miniature for figuring out how different communities and people, in particular, learn to live together under the same roof. It brings the viewers back to the times where people had to deal with nature. Of course, the series demonstrates a number of tensions and conflicts among the characters, sometimes the bloody ones. Yet, they all learn to live together in a more or less peaceful way.
In addition, it actually demonstrates that within the natural environment, the human being feels less protected (Clarke, 2010). More than that, being alone, a person is considered more vulnerable to the world of nature since the human being can die from a wild animal or nasty weather conditions. Further, people might be bitten by a snake and die from poisoning. At the same time, it is important to realize that every character brings value to the common table. Each of them has a unique capability that could be used in the new conditions of living. The ability is not always physical or touchable; the talent to heal with the word is also appreciated. However, the thing that is to be especially stressed here is that people tend to find the compromise faster if their lives are endangered by nature. They are more afraid of tomorrow, possible threats, and attacks, which makes them united. It helps to stop the conflicts and find a solution to the situation that endangers the life of every person. Consequently, in the course of finding the solution, the social agreement can be reached.
Nowadays, humanity is less dependent on nature. In fact, the human being has created comforting conditions for living that help to fight or at least anticipate the natural disasters. Therefore, the threats are not uniting humanity anymore. Perhaps other issues do, for example, terrorism or organized crime, but not the necessity to find the solution. As a result, it is quite disappointing since organized crime and terrorism are the symptoms of civilization and they cannot help to unite humanity on the large. Not all are interested in fighting against them.
On the other hand, the environmental activists urge people to reconsider the way they live since the Earth and its resources are limited, and, considering the cataclysms that are expected due to the climate change, the Earth might also one day remind the island with the limited resources and people living on it. Most probably, it would be the moment to reach the consensus for all.
The Issue of Death in Lost
One of the most critical themes of the series refers to the confrontation of life and death. For many times death is reproached in this TV show. During the three latest episodes of Lost, the viewers are almost assured that all characters are going to die since the majority of them have already been dead. To a certain extent, this prognosis comes true since the end of the TV show reveals that all the characters died eventually, though some of them died on the island while some might have lived a happy long life after returning home (Stolworthy, 2014). However, it should be underlined that despite all human efforts to escape death, it is definitely inevitable no matter where: in real-life or in the scenery of the popular TV show. In fact, the final episode brings the viewers to the end, to the inevitable death.
There are many characters who disappear during the first season of the TV show. Yet, the loss became more apparent and touching after the death of the first main character Boone Carlyle. Most probably, the reason for that was the attachment that has already emerged among the viewers to this character. The episode of Boone’s death actually reveals human behavior. People might be concerned about the death of others; however, they are less affected by the funerals in case they do not relate to them (Clarke, 2010). The loss, if it is real, is always referential and personal. Thus, the TV show teaches the viewers to demonstrate empathy, even in case the death does not concern them personally. On the other hand, it teaches them to treasure their time on the Earth, as they never know when the death will knock on their doors.
Distribution of Resources
The dichotomy of death and life is actually addressed from the very beginning of the TV series and leads to another crucial issue. In the first episode, the characters find themselves on the island that obviously has a limited number of resources. Therefore, the survivors should have questioned themselves on the principles of distribution of the resources among them. They might have supposed that the biggest part should be reserved for Jack Shephard as the only doctor or they also might have thought that resources should be distributed among all inhabitants. Here the issue of death coincides with the concept of justice.
On the one hand, all the residents of the island are equal and no preference should be given to any of them. From another perspective, there are definitely those who are the greatest treasure for the life of others, such as Jack as he can help the characters to escape deaths. From another perspective, there are also people who are affected by certain factors such as Shannon, who is suffering from asthma and needs more help from the community. As has already been stated, Lost models the society, even a little country that has to deal with many issues without the preliminary preparations. In other words, Lost might serve as the platform for considerations regarding the distribution of the resources within the state, the existing forms that are currently offered, and their efficiency. Of course, it is not a central theme of the movie but it definitely resonates with the issues of life, death, and the survival in between. More than that, these issues are actual for the present time. Consequently, the viewers can definitely benefit from the TV show and reflect on these themes in the meanwhile as many schemes and behaviors are often taken for granted and people do not consider their utility or the overall role for the society.
It should be stressed that Lost is the TV show that has lasted for six seasons and has taught its viewers many critical issues. First, it represented the small model of the coexistence of extremely different characters within the limited space with limited resources. It also demonstrated the impact nature might have on the lives of the characters, as well as their behaviors. It made one reconsider the attitude to the environment and understand or anticipate the consequences of globalization and urbanization that are now spreading at an enormous pace. It is presumed that human beings will become more and more disconnected since there are no longer natural cataclysms endangering their lives, hence and uniting them around the same problem and its solution.
More than that, the TV series urges the viewers to reconsider the issues related to death. It is emphasized that in the face of death humans no longer care about the mysteries, history of the island, or the material things. On the contrary, they seek a reunion with their loved ones and their forgiveness. Lost also teaches the viewers to focus on the present moment instead of mourning for the past or worrying about the future. The only thing should be kept in mind that life eventually ends, regardless of all human attempts to postpone death that is inevitable. Therefore, the viewers should live their lives, keeping these two ideas in their heads and behaving as if today was the last day of their lives.