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Friday, October 20, 2006

Lost: Gaia Theory

Honestly, I'm waning on the whole "try and figure out Lost" thing. Part of me is now suspicious that the producers are doing their best to string viewers along. In short, the show is beginning to feel a bit like a tease and less like a puzzle.

For one thing, I'm not buying the "scientific principles" as a method of explaining much of anything on the island. They've tossed too much hocum pocum into the mix for me to try and look up how gravity or electromagnetism actually works and apply it to the show. Once you start putting "science" with "not necessarily proven or accepted as" in front of the concepts, the task starts to feel a little more realistic.

Which got me thinking - Locke keeps referring to the island as a living thing. Not just as a character in the show, like say New York in a Woody Allen film - but as a mover and player. In fact, the mover and player. The thing that brought them all there and gives him purpose and does everything. The Island is the Iago of Lost. It's virtually responsible for all the plot to be pushed along.

In the 1960's, Lovelock offered up his Gaia theory. This hypothesized that the Earth is like a living organism. The sum of its biomass is essentially an entity. How sentient and/or capable this being is depends on how radical one wants to apply the theory.

Let's apply it radically. The Earth is an intelligent and powerful entity on its own. You are a gnat on its backside. OK? Let's go.

The Island
The Island is the Earth's heart. It's a powerful nexus of biomass. The Earth protects this area when it sees fit through subtle changes of the weather. Boats in its path will narrowly miss it. Plane will narrowly fly past, or not see it due to cloud cover, etc. When it feels the need to - it drags people here. That's how a plane from Nigeria could drop here - freakish storm literally sucks it from one spot to another. This Oz without the ... well, Oz.

Think of The Island as Gaia's secret HQ. So from here on out, we'll just refer to The Island.

Four toed people, Black Rock, Magnus Hanso.
The Island has always had protectors. The original four-toed natives for one. When Magnus crashes his boat into the Island (or rather, the Island crashes his boat into itself) ... he becomes another. And by extension, so does Hanso and DHARMA.

Hanso and DHARMA
DHARMA's stated purpose is to extend the life of the planet - not surprising if we thing of Magnus as someone who has been employed by The Island. Along comes Valenzetti and his equation which predicts the (more or less) precise time for the end of the world ... and from that we get the numbers. So the numbers, the end of the world, DHARMA and the Island form more or less a straight line here.

The Numbers
From The Lost Experience - we know that the numbers are the output of the equation. They have to be adjusted to keep the planet moving. So let's think of the numbers as a cardiogram of the planet's health. This cardiogram is going to be present everywhere, because the planet's heartbeat is present everywhere. So these numbers crop up more than they randomly should because The Island is more present than it randomly would be? Why?

Coincidence and Fate
The Island works in mysterious ways. It doesn't always go tossing a tidal wave or knock a plane out of the sky to get things done. Sometimes it's subtle. Wings of the butterfly and all that. "Fate" and "coincidence" is really just The Island Getting Things Done. What caused the tear in Kelvin's suit that lead to Desmond refinding his boat and killing Kelvin and missing the countdown and crashing the plane? The Island.

Healing Powers
The Island is one big life force engine - but remember its also thinking. It can decide who to heal and who not to heal.

Telepathy, possession and precognition
Consider these all powers The Island possesses. It can get in your head, mess around, communicate thoughts. It can somewhat see the future (and tell people about it) because its always got the "big picture" of what's going on. Think of it like playing chess where you can only see one square, but The Island always gets the whole board.

The Current Conflict
Stuff ain't going right for planet Earth. So it's bringing the war to the home front. The Others and the Losties might be a grand recruitment drive to try and get the forces in line to keep the globe spinning. The Others feel justified in their actions because they're saving planet - but they're still the good guys. They can organize lists and information because they've got the best intel on the planet - The Planet.

Wacky? Oh hell yeah it's wacky. But it also feels to me to be in line with where the show's narrative is going. Rose's stories pretty much back up most of it and Locke handles a decent part of the rest ... so its not nearly as much conjecture as it might seem. It's also congruent with certain other theories, like Mu or Lemuria or whatnot.

I'm not a big fan of this notion, don't ge me wrong. But I'm thinking if we apply the basic principle of The Earth as a powerful, living being - it merges the hocum pocum and science at (overly) convenient crossroads.

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jvm said...

Good stuff. Frankly, I like LOST this season a bit better than last. As someone who was ok with The X-Files for several seasons, the pace we've got now is just fine.

On the other hand, I think next season should about do it, unless they start some seriously huge new angle that makes it interesting to continue.

Josh said...

I'd be up for that, for it closing doors this season or next. I would rather have a couple of fast-paced seasons which bring the action to a close than dragging out.

Winkyboy said...

A problem with this theory, however, is the fact that the island was at one point, apparently, easily discovered. Enough so, that entire bunkers, towers, and villages were able to be built. That requires regular travel to and fro by large ship.

Also, the Others are apparently able to travel and communicate back and forth to/with the rest of the world at their leisure.

From that information it is logical to conclude that the island is being purposefully hidden. (This hiding could quite probably have had something to do with the electromagnetism -- and now that the hatch has imploded, will the island be more easily found? I doubt it, but it's something the writers might use.)

Josh said...

Except that the earliest "discovery" we have is Magnus Hanso and The Black Rock. The Island could easily have "lead" his ship there. Once there, Magnus is more or less recruited to the cause of The Island.

Alvar Hanso, descendant of Magnus, becomes a public face, forms the Hanso Foundation and later the DHARMA Initiative for the sole purpose of ... keeping the Earth alive. All just part of The Island's plan.

So Hanso's not so much responsible for keeping The Island secret, it's just party to what has been going all along.