The secrets of *Lost*, revealed

The Buddhist notion of "Dharma" refers to a state of affairs where people are liberated from the cycles of both birth and death.  Babies cannot be born on the island and it is an open question whether one can really die there so the island is an attempt to realize this ideal.  Of course the original project on the island is called The Dharma Initiative.  The Buddhist notion of Bardo involves reviewing the major events of one’s previous life, as represented by the show’s frequent flashbacks.  More generally the islanders are most likely experiencing a cycling of bardos and it is no accident that we are now peering into their futures.  Ben and Widmore represent two evil spirits of the Buddhist pantheon, dueling for the power to corrupt and to control life and death.  The numbers which reappear in various contexts, including 108, and the sequence of winning lottery numbers, are taken from Buddhist mythology (see the links).  Desmond’s retreat from the world, and his ability to foresee Charlie’s death, are both very Buddhist themes.  Claire’s baby is probably a reincarnation and John Locke is arguably a Tulku and he is explicitly tested as such in the last season.  The names Rousseau, Hume, and Locke are used because one theme is Western philosophy confronting the truths of the East.  Here is more and try this too though it is vague.  Here’s the single best page.  Aldous Huxley is an influence as well.  The Buddhist interpretation isn’t new, but no one quite seems to have said "This is it."  Toss in time travel, and a bunch of women who look like underwear models, and you can explain most of the apparent anomalies in the plot.


Sounds pretty plausible. I think I would have preferred a one season run with a simpler explanation: purgatory.
For me, season 1 of this show is right up there with the first couple of Battlestar seasons, Wondershowzen, and series 1 of The Office.

I thought it was all supposed to be spun out of "The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien. (Where someone who is actually dead goes through an extended and bizarre series of events connected to his previous crimes, not realising that's the game, and probably having to repeat it. The book is vastly more hilarious than this gloss suggests.)

Thanks, I'll pass this on to my wife. We're both HUGE fans of Lost.


feh. go here:

or they are in hell similar to No Exit - Sartre.

Cchjd comment is completely spot on. They are making this up as they go. Now that the series has a defined endpoint (2010), I do expect that the writers are now putting together a storyline that will be played out over the next two seasons- they will be making up much less on the fly than they have.

As a new fan (I watched every episode last month for the first time), I have recently been reading fanblogs on the series, and I can't help but believe that the writers are reading the better one regularly to gather ideas.

Zathrus, I don't think you refuted my point. The fact that they are now figuring it out knowing they'll only go 6 seasons, is my point. It's just like most shows. They meticulously planned out the first season, had some ideas of the second season assuming the show received ratings, and since then, they've been figuring it out on the fly. Now that they know when the series ends, they'll try to tie up most of the mythology they've created over the last two seasons.

Also, I should add, having attended a writer's seminar (my ex is a screenwriter) where Goddard appeared with his mentor Marti Noxon, they both said their method was so fluid that they would only have their writers complete 2-3 shows at a time, see how they shot/filmed, then sometimes completely change the seasonal arc if they thought it wasn't working. The old conventional way was to outline the whole season prior to filming, but they basically have thrown that out. Of course, they need the creators/producers to be on board and have a lot of faith in their process since it's risky, but that's what they said they do.

Wikipedia "proves" nothing.

--their writers complete 2-3 shows at a time, see how they shot/filmed, then sometimes completely change the seasonal arc if they thought it wasn't working

This is clear from various filler episodes. Recently, there was one involving two extras, who in the end, betray each other in such a way as to end up dead. These characters show up in well known scenes from earlier in the seasons, recut, it seems. Except it's clear that they weren't digitally shoved in--they were filmed, and then abandoned. Too boring, or wherever they might have gone with them didnt' work. But they had all the footage of them still around, so they put it all in an episode.

The writers had no idea where this was going, but they seemed to have stabilized on this idiotic Clash of the Titans thing. They have no idea how to explain what the smoke column is, or how the monsters got there, or how Locke's father got there. They still haven't explained why Walt was spooky. They messed up the throwaway time-travel-anomaly plot by getting the directionality wrong, too--they could have had a really cool excuse for everything: because time was moving slower on the island. ie. they could have have the Lost folks thinking it was still 2004, when they are rescued back into "now"--but instead, they had time move faster on the island. (a cool solution to their problem of "real timing" their seasons, roughly. At least in 24, they move the clock up a year in between seasons.)

Looking for answers to this is a lot like look for answers to the X files. The writers just started "borrowing" heavily from the web, and took mythologies from various oddities there. It's clear fans have thought things through more than the writers have, especially for contitunity. The writers now rely on that.

The real reason is that they CANCELED MASH! Those bastards CANCELED MASH! Why oh why??? Ever wonder why LOST is also a four-letter word show name? They also canceled SOAP.

Lost's producers had no idea where the show was going during most of the first season. Toward the end of the first season, they settled on basic overarching mythology and large-scale plot points for the rest of the series, but they didn't have a road map for how to get from point A to point B. They started constructing that map last year after being granted a definite end point. They'll keep filling in details -- and sometimes they'll change things they'd previously settled on -- as they go.

This is not quite the same as "making it all up as they go along." It's also not quite the same as having everything nailed down in advance.

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