Saturday, April 25, 2009

URBAN LEGEND: LOST and Philosophy

*Posted June 18, 2008*

As many have come to realize, the characters of LOST have names that ring throughout history and philosophy.I have skipped over many, CS Lewis, Edmund Burke, etc, but these few seem to be the most important.I got most of this information on Lostpedia.It is a great site for any type of LOST fan.

John Locke - The historical Locke was an enlightenment philosopher from the 17th century that dealt with the relationship of nature and civilization.He believed that all humans were born in a state of nature in which they had to fend for themselves but yet had rights as equals.The fictional Locke definitely follows this idea of nature and the belief of an every man for himself mentality that succumbs to egalitarian rule.One of the real John Locke’s mentors was a politician named Anthony Cooper.Locke’s father on the show is also named Anthony Cooper.Historical Cooper followed more of an ideal of self-interest, like the Cooper on the show.Real John Locke supposedly also helped Cooper recover from a liver infection.On the show, Locke gave fictional Cooper his own kidney.In the season four flash forward finale, we learn that Locke has been going by the name Jeremy Bentham.Historical Bentham advocated utilitarianism which basically means the worth of an action depends on its outcome, the ends justify the means.Later in life Bentham spoke out against the ideals of the French Revolution, which was lead by the Jacobin Club, but we will get to that later.

Mikhail Bakunin - Historical Bakunin was a radical Russian anarchist, who believed that his only freedom was the freedom of all.Bakunin strongly rejected the teachings and writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau that dealt with the social contract between the people an its government.Rousseau believed that humans are born pure but are turned into noble savages by their corrupted governments.Fictional Rousseau lived many years on the island as a noble savage.Although both characters, Bakunin and Rousseau, are presumed dead on the show, I am hoping that a little bit of their background, and possible connection, as they clashed in history, will eventually show up in a flashback.

Jacob - Who or what the hell is Jacob?Well, in the Bible, Jacob was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham who was the leader of the twelve tribes of Israel.His youngest son was named Benjamin.A more interesting connection concerns the French Revolution.The leading radical group of the French Revolution was called the Jacobin Club.It’s leader, Maximilian Robespierre, instituted the Reign of Terror using the guillotine throughout France in order to purge those who were against the revolution.Robespierre would even go as radical as to implement the idea of “the Cult of the Supreme Being” who represented what a perfect revolutionary should be.This cult was based on the ideas of, you guessed it, Rousseau.Robespierre is eventually guillotined himself by a part of his own faction.As stated before, historical Bentham speaks out against the action of the Jacobin Club during the French Revolution.Could these historical facts foreshadow what is to happen on LOST?Robespierre and the Jacobin Club ultimately reach too far to radicalism and are basically succumbed within themselves.Does something happen to Jacob or the island?Locke being in the coffin suggests a struggle between Locke and the island/Jacob, just like the historical dispute between Bentham and the Jacobins.

............I can’t wait until Season 5.

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