5/25/10

Lost By the Numbers

From left to right: Faraday, Boone, Miles, Mic...Image via Wikipedia
If you still don't get Lost, if you were disappointed by the series finale because there weren't enough answers, if you find time travel and magic lights to be annoying and purposely misleading and confusing... then you didn't get the entire series. But there is hope for you yet! All the answers you need are found in a detailed study... OF THE NUMBERS!

4 8 15 16 23 42

Forget the Spoiler button. This entire post is going to be chalk full of spoilers, so if you haven't seen Lost, just turn back now.

4, 8 and 16 are obviously all related. They are all either four or multiples of four. Which makes them all also multiples of 2, which 42 is, also. 15 and 23 are left. The Principia Discordia states that "All things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5." Well, that's good! Because clearly we have a multiple of 5 here: 15! And 23? I'm sure you've all seen that terrible Jim Carey movie. Well, the 23 Enigma is a real thing. And not only is 42 a multiple of 2 and, therefore, by nature an even number, but it also happens to be the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything!

Now, there is, obviously, a simple explanation for these numbers. Each number corresponds to a Candidate, each of which is left alive and still qualified by the middle of season six. This is revealed at the Lighthouse. But this still doesn't explain how the numbers allowed Hurley to win the lottery, how they ended up on the hatch, why they're used to press the button, and why their sum is exactly how long it will take for the Swan station to blow up if the button isn't pushed. It also doesn't explain why they randomly show up in various places in every Hurley episode. Yes, these numbers have a greater significance to the plot! And if we read into them, we can start to figure it out.

Because if we read into them, one of two things will happen: 1) We'll go crazy. 2) We'll realize they're just frakkin numbers. They don't matter, so stop wasting your time.

The 23 Enigma was also referenced in Stargate Universe. Rush was going through a sort of lucid dream trying to figure out the secrets of the ship and kept coming across the number 46 in his head. Daniel Jackson (also in his head) said that 46 divided by 2 is 23 and went on to explain that the 23 Enigma is the theory that everything everywhere has something to do with the number 23. He also says that the 23 Enigma is seen by some as proof that the mind has the ability to find meaning in anything.

When presented with a mystery, our minds immediately set to work trying to solve it. And in the middle of trying to solve it, we invariably come up with questions that were never meant to be questions in the first place. We also tend to forget that some questions are better left unanswered. And this is exactly what Lost has taught us.

No, there's no good reason that the Man in Black became the smoke monster, there's no reason that the light at the core of the island should heal people or any explanation of what it does or why, we'll never know where Jacob's mother came from (either of them), we'll never know exactly how Jacob or Richard were able to live so long or why all it apparently took was a drink passed from one eternal being to the next to achieve it. Guess what: none of that matters.

In season 1 we were freaked out by the Others. In season 3 we began to find they weren't so much different from us. In season 5 we almost began to see them as friends and in season 6 we were all in it together. So all our freaking out in season 1 was for nothing. We had no idea what was in the hatch! Turns out it's just a building with a man inside who was pushing a button. Inconsequential. Everything that intrigued us about season 1... it all becomes nothing. None of it matters. The only reason we were intrigued by it was because we didn't understand it. Once we did, it meant nothing to us. And it's a good thing we were brought through the series by even more things that we could never understand.

In the course of the Island's existence, we've seen at least 4 or 5 different science expeditions try to figure out the mysteries of the Island, the most famous, of course, was the DHARMA Initiative. None of them ever figured anything out. They were all either killed or turned into Others. This hammers home what Hamlet meant when he said "There are more things in heaven and in earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" and what Solomon meant when he said "Vanity, vanity! All is vanity! A chasing after the wind!"

As a matter of fact, the entire book of Ecclesiastes comes down to this: NOTHING MATTERS. Nothing matters, except that which is eternal. We can have our fun trying to figure it out, but in the end... the greatest adventure is yet to come. And the only things we can bring with us are the relationships we start here on this Island, Earth. That's what the Lost series finale taught us. The Island may have been the most significant part of the survivor's lives, but it was nothing compared to the love they shared and the Great Beyond that was waiting for them.

This is just an aside:
Do you feel duped by the flash-sideways? Did you think it was an alternate reality caused by the explosion and did you feel like you were gypped when you found out it was some kind of purgatory? Well, how in the world could you believe that that sunken Island in first flash-sideways could ever have been the product of a hydrogen bomb in the first place?? For one thing, the buildings were still standing! I think we all had a little too much Star Trek for breakfast that morning. Ya know, the other JJ Abrams show that featured alternate realities spawning from cataclysmic temporal events. In truth, that purgatory sort of thing was everything the survivors thought they wanted. And they wanted the Island to be sunken at the bottom of the ocean.

One more thing: NO, THE ENTIRE SHOW WAS NOT IN PURGATORY!! Just the flash-sideways in season six!