Lost: An Exercise in Faith and Scepticism

Lost is undoubtedly a show about the struggle between faith and scepticism. It is to me the central theme that runs beneath the show. Everything turns upon acts of faith: Locke’s pushing the button, Charlie’s self-sacrifice, etc.

Of course the flip side of the coin is the scepticism: that everything on the island makes no sense, that there is no “answer” that will neatly wrap up everything. This scepticism is embodied by Jack, who argues with Locke that pushing the button is useless.

Pushing the button in Lost assumes an almost Sisphusian dimension: Locke must push the button over and over again. But of course the creators throw a wrench into the whole thing by making Locke doubt himself, just like Desmond did. Desmond questioned why he can’t get outside the hatch, and by disobeying, he made the plane crash. The show is not clear on the full implication of Locke’s disobedience.

Now, Locke regains his faith and starts to trust everything that he gets from the island, from Walt, from Jacob.

The faith vs. scepticism dialectic also plays itself out on a meta-level among the show’s viewers. I know so many people who gave up on Lost because they simply got tired of the fact that the show asks more questions than it answers. They think that there is no possible way that the show can end by wrapping up all the loose ends.

Then there are those who has some kind of faith in the show, faith that all the random, inexplicable stuff (like the smoke monster and the polar bears) will all be explained. In a way, they are almost like millenarians, believing that the end is near, that an answer must be given. The fact that the producers have said that the show will definite end in two years have helped them in their faith.

But then there are people like me, who doesn’t believe that a definite end date indicates a definite ending. I would not be the least surprised if the producers simply left stuff hanging, as an act of post-modern concluding the show, even more so than how the Sopranos ended.

Of course this ending will piss off many people, but not me, because if I were the show’s producer, I would probably fuck with people and see how they react.


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