Monday, May 31, 2010

The luxury of atheism

This is the first era that has the luxury of atheism. Life was too short, with widespread cruelty, and early death too pervasive in earlier times. Life would have been unbearable without a belief in the divine and in some overarching purpose.

(No, I'm not an atheist. But I have a secret admiration for principled [a.k.a. thinking and non contemptuous] atheists.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LOST finale review

I’m a huge fan of Lost. This is my reaction to the series finale, which I watched on Monday night. I couldn’t watch it on Sunday, so I maintained a news blackout on myself the whole day Monday so the ending wouldn’t be spoiled.

First of all, I have to say that the ending was deeply emotionally satisfying for me. I didn’t feel disappointed or cheated out of anything. After further reflection, I wish some more things would have been answered, but I never expected all the mysteries to be explained.

Here’s what I wrote to some friends right after watching the finale. Forgive the shorthand:

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first impressions

the couldn't explain everything, too many details, etc, so went for deeply emotional ending instead. It worked. Very emotionally satisfying if very poignant,

miles can hear the dead's last thoughts

hurley chats up the dead

but it turns out that Desmond's really the one who can connect with the dead, since the whole sideways universe was a waiting room for the dead

in any case, what does reality really mean? What's real? The whole thing was just a TV show, so in some ways, sideways universe just as real.

I liked that it gives us space to imagine what the rest of their lives would have been like in real life (for those who lived):

Jack dies on the Island

Hurley & Ben spend years protecting the island then eventually die

They hopefully send Desmond home to Penny

Kate brings Claire home to Aaron & she raises him

Maybe Kate & Sawyer have a life together, since they both lost their main loves.

Kate says "I missed you so much" to Jack. Maybe means she died an old woman and now remembers it all & missed him her whole life.

Maybe it's not some standard afterlife, but is instead the light on the island. They're all inside the light somehow.

Leaves us a lot of space to create our own stories for the characters.

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Upon reflection, yes, there were a lot of dead ends that weren’t cleared up. There were storylines, like the temple, which were a pointless diversion. But that still doesn’t spoil the amazing feeling I had after watching the end. Jack dying on the island, happy to have fulfilled his purpose.

I’ve been reading a lot of reviews and comments about the finale online, and it amazes me how many people don’t get it. So many people seem to think that the ending meant that they all died in the crash initially and the whole story, of all 6 seasons, was some sort of purgatory.

It seems obvious to me that what happened on the island, happened. As Jack says, “What happened, happened.” The only part where they’re all dead is in the sideways universe, only introduced in season 6. If they had all died in the plane crash, why would Christian (Jack’s dad) say (paraphrased – I don’t have a transcript) “some died before you, some long after you”, and, explaining why they created the sideways universe together “the time you spent with each other was the most significant of your lives”. If they all died in the crash, they’d have been strangers. What was significant about sitting in cramped seats and eating crappy food together for a few hours? It obviously means the time on the island.

So all you Lost fans out there – what did you think?

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Update May 26, 3:25 pm:


I may keep adding to this post as ideas occur to me, especially ideas about explaining some of the mysteries. Here's the first:

Where did the numbers come from? (4 8 15 16 23 42)

They came from themselves, by way of Hurley. He won the lottery with them. He eventually becomes the new Jacob. Jacob had unexplained powers related to time & space. Hurley subsequently had the same powers. He wove those numbers into the fabric of the past of the island and the people related to it. So the numbers originated with themselves, sort of a mobius strip.