Those Whining about LOST Completely Miss Show’s Message
“Sick of people griping over how much they hated the ending, answers not given, etc. Don’t blame #Lost for how poorly you paid attention.”
In one recent griping article at Big Hollywood, I read a snarky question that I have seen in other griping articles that are out there as well, regarding the origin of the polar bear on the Island.
“Five years of secret hatches. Ancient four-toed statues. Teleporting cabins. A string of lottery numbers popping up everywhere. Weird pseudo-science. Steampunk technology. The Dharma Initiative. (Remember that?) And what the heck was a polar bear doing on a tropical island?”
These griping whiners put out this snarky question in order to feel so superior and clever, when it just exposes them as being ignorant fools. The polar bear issue was answered long ago (it was brought to the Island by the Dharma Initiative for test purposes and later escaped the cage in which it was held after the Dharma people left the Island). But let’s not let that obvious fact get in the way of a good whining session by these people.
I wrote this earlier after reading some of the comments to that article:
I’ve been reading a lot of comments on blogs regarding the TV show “LOST” and the series finale. A lot of people are whining and complaining and bitching and moaning about things not making sense and questions unanswered and this and that and the other. And it strikes me that this correlates greatly to the message of the show: stop complaining about not understanding life and just… live it.
And cherish your relationships with people along the way. Stop focusing so much on the all the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ and just focus on living and loving and appreciating loved ones in your life. The people complaining about the show and all the unanswered questions and such are focusing on the negative. As such, instead of enjoying the show for what it is, they are complaining that they ‘wasted the last 6 years’. That’s ridiculous.
I would really be interested in a poll regarding people who liked the show and those who did not. My speculative guess is that those who are more inclined to Christianity and spirituality and faith probably came away from the show really liking it (as I did). But those who are more inclined to science-over-faith and atheism came away disappointed and angry.
Yes, it is good to ask questions about life, but not at the expense of enjoying the journey of life. That’s the message I took from “LOST”: Live and Love and don’t get too caught up with all the distractions of ‘why’ and ‘how’ and ‘what for’. Those are not as important as living one’s life, letting go of all that pains us and loving those who come into our lives.
And really, the same message can be made for the enjoyment of the show: just enjoy it for the amazing show that it was and don’t focus on negative distractions from the beauty of the show and its wonderful relationships and message of faith and spirituality and Love by complaining about unanswered questions and mysteries and such. If you do, you miss the wonderful beauty in the show.
The same message that LOST brought about Life is the message people need to take about the show: if you enjoy all its beauty, you can be fulfilled. But if you let yourself get caught up in all the why/how/what, you’ll end up unsatisfied and miss out.
It strikes me that the message of LOST is about Faith and Love and relationships in life. Those who focus their lives on that will be able to enjoy life. In the same parallel way, those who focus on the Faith and Love and the relationships in the TV show LOST itself will be able to enjoy the magnificence of the show and come away from its finale very satisfied.
I also found it interesting that the same smug arrogance of atheists towards theists is found in LOST-haters vs LOST-fans. Case in point, these comments left at the article to which I linked above:
“I will miss the superior smug feeling I got whilst listening to Lost devotees debate the endless contrivances knowing all the while it would mean nothing. Hmmm… kinda like the Matrix films, fun to watch only if you ignore the nonsensical philosophy.
“I had the same feeling of smugness on occasion :)
All that wasted time, talking about all these nuances, all these weird changes in the rules of the island, and everyone trying to make sense of it. How could they not realize that it was all a whim? That the logic would not play out? And yet so many of those same people seem content that their endless debating over the details was essentially brushed away with a wave of the hand by the writers.
I remember a lot of the same sort of speculation going on in the middle of the Harry Potter series. The difference there being that we knew that we’d *know* at the end who was right and who was wrong. It was a wonderful, cathartic moment in reading that last book and being proved right (and wrong), and seeing it all come together. Losties will never have that. Maybe they don’t care, but I swear when they were all in the middle of arguing it all, they *did care.* So many of them swore there would be a reason. I think some of them are deluding themselves.”
The “smugness” in these comments and their message remind me a lot of how atheists mock believers about their faith. “Don’t you know that there is no God and there is no Heaven and there is no afterlife and all this squabbling you do over faith and religion is stupid and pointless and in the end we’re all just going to die and ‘it was all a whim’?” I have seen this mocking, smug condescension from atheists quite a bit on blog comments and in casual conversation. And now to see it emerge its ugly head again with regards to LOST, it is just as annoying.
And it goes back to what I stated that these people are missing the message of the show. They want to focus on the negative, while missing what makes life important: living, loving, cherishing relationships. In a way, these smug whiners are correct. In the end, we all die. Which is why it is so important to live our lives fully, to love one another and to cherish the relationships we make along the way in order to appreciate our gift of Life. Which is where faith plays a very big part of people’s lives. Faith puts us at ease in order to enjoy our journey through life, when questions arise, when situations occur which do not make sense to us, when pain fills our hearts and we have no logical reason to explain it.
There was so much about LOST that did not make sense. But just as in Life, instead of focusing on that, focus on the beauty of the show: the messages of Faith, Hope, Love and relationships. If you do, then you will realize that the last 6 years of being devoted fans of the show were not ‘wasted’ at all, but a fulfilling journey… just like Life.
From the comments of the above article, someone who ‘gets it':
I’m (for once) not going to agree with the column. I suppose that means a bunch of thumbs down, but so be it. Fact is, I loved Lost from the start, got bored by the middle like a bunch of other people, but got sucked by in when the story got back on track in the last two seasons with a clear ending in sight.
I like a lot of TV shows, but the truth is that they rarely have satisfying conclusions. Some, like Firefly and Kings, have amazing potential but are cut short due to lack of viewer or network support. Others, like Supernatural or Buffy, run on well past their “best before” date. American shows are built around surviving for “one more season”, meaning there are rarely if ever good conclusions, or satisfying story arcs. It’s a shame, because they often have a lot more potential than movies.
Which brings me back to Lost. Lost had a vision, a purpose, and an overaching narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was deep, brilliant, original. It had countless fascinating mysteries, and managed to answer most of them. But what impresses me the most is the simple fact that the show managed to emphasize what was important with its ending: our daily lives, the choices we make, our friends, those we love. Sure, the mysteries and dangers were important, too, but that’s not what truly matters when life is over and you’re being judged, standing in the light and looking back at your life.
Lost was, to me, a wonderful, Christian, spiritual show that did what nothing else on TV has managed to do. It is more conservative, too, yet in an intelligent, profound way. The liberal elite want us to believe that liberalism is for the intelligent, while conservatism is for the ignorant. Lost proved the opposite.
I could not have expressed it any better than “Joey” did at The Young Oak:
[ … ] Thank you for allowing LOST to transcend genres and be what it was – a show about about people, a show about us. Lost people without all the answers, trying to make sense of our lives, trying to figure out the right thing to do. Lost people that are hurt, angry, and hopeful. Lost people that are better off together than alone.
Thank you for respecting us enough not to spoon feed us answers and lessons. Thank you for asking real questions about faith, reason, science, and why we’re here in the first place. Thank you for not solving those questions for us. Thank you for reminding us how to use our imaginations and how to disappear into a story. Thank you for reminding us how great it is to read.
Thank you for giving us something to talk about with our friends, and thank you for giving us an excuse to get together. In other words, thank you for LOST.
Amen to all of that. And that does remind me of that fact that LOST was the first show for which my friends and I got together to watch together each week. I suspect that is true for many, many people around the country and probably the world. As Joey notes, LOST told us that we are better off together than alone. LOST brought so many people together for an inspiring show with an inspiring message of Life, Love and Hope. Many of us will be forever grateful for that.
A great analysis by Jeff Jensen at Entertainment Weekly. An excerpt:
It’s funny that so many people cynically bitch about Lost not having ”a master plan” — the Lost story is all about the folly of ”master plans.” Anyone who has ever had a master plan on this show has failed catastrophically. Mother. Jacob. The Man In Black. Ben. Charles Widmore. Jack. Sawyer. The best we can do is live our lives with enlightened improvisation — to be so self-aware and fearless that we can live fully in the present and redeem our every moment and every human connection. Last night, Sawyer asked Jack if becoming island guardian made him feel any different. Jack thought about it and laughed and said, ”No. Not really.” He was right. Jack was still every bit the fixer junkie he used to be before he took holy communion from Jacob. But as he moved into the final conflict of his life, Jack was able to apply the best parts of him to the crisis at hand, and minimize the influence of his worst parts. Which isn’t to say he couldn’t make mistakes — and didn’t have more to learn. If there was something he had gained, it was this: grace for his own uniquely imperfect mess.
Absolutely great comment left by “Wintyre” in reply to this article at Big Hollywood. He summarizes how I felt about the show much better than I did in this entire post:
I think the Island really existed (in the show), and was a metaphor for the world – every answered question just leads to another question, and in the end, the mysteries of the world are impenetrable.
Another reason for the indecipherable mysteries was so that one couldn’t get an ironclad grip on who was good and evil, and what actions were right and wrong. Just as in the world such questions are difficult to answer, in the end all we have to go on is the faith in god, ourselves and others, and that there is a plan or purpose involved.
The ending – the sidewasy flashes, the “preliminary afterlife” scenes – showed that what was really important in life isn’t solving the mysteries of the world, but the love in our hearts for others; our capacity for forgiveness and redemption. In the afterlife scenes, nobody asked about, or even cared about what the smoke monster was, what the light was, etc., because “it doesn’t really matter, brotha”. What is truly important are how we have grown our own heart, and those we reach out to and connect with, because that is all we will carry with us forward.
Great article at Screen Rant by Kofi Outlaw: ‘Lost’ Finale Explained: Answering the Unanswered Questions [Updated]
It must be noted that unlike sites like Lostpedia, I haven’t done years and years of research on this. I’m just a moderate Lost fan who happens to have a good mind for literary analysis. So here goes nothing. And in case you haven’t guessed already:
[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!]
THEY WERE NOT “DEAD THE WHOLE TIME”
I don’t know why people are having trouble understanding this, as it is CLEARLY explained in the final minutes of the finale episode by Christian Shephard (Jack’s dad). The original Oceanic 815 plane crash happened. Everything on the Island through seasons 1-6 happened. The “flash sideways” universe introduced in season 6 was a sort of stop-over point between life and afterlife (referred to here as the “purgatory universe”).
Each person in this “purgatory universe” created a reality for themselves based on their lingering issues in life – that which they could not “let go” of. For Jack it was Daddy issues; Kate, the guilt of murder; Sawyer, the quest to find “Sawyer” and be a better man; Sayid, the unrequited love of Nadia; Charlie, looking for something “real” in his hollow life of fame, etc…
Everyone was still attached to their Earthly concerns (we’re getting very Buddhist here, bear with me) – but when they made contact with those people they’d met on the Island, they remembered the journey and growth they had experienced because of the Island, and could finally understand the connections and “purpose” brought into their damaged lives by being there. With that greater understanding of themselves, they were each ready to “leave” or “move on” to the next phase of existence – i.e., the true afterlife.
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