Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Lost - One Pagan's Perspective on the Magical Finale
I was finally able to watch the finale of "Lost" on Hulu last night. I was really happy with the conclusion of the series. Hell, I loved the whole story - plot holes and all. More on that in a moment.
"Lost" had everything a typical Pagan would love: mythical references, characters who seem like protective spirits or deities, unique legendary creatures, ghosts, multiple worlds/universes/dimensions, a compelling story with wonderful characters, magic, and mystery.
That last characteristic, the mystery, is what has kept people watching for so many years. It's also what has some audience members up in arms in regards to the finale. Sure, some of the unexplained plot devices are a bit annoying. For example, where was Walt at the end? But for the most part, I can live without knowing a lot of the answers. In fact, I was happy that they didn't tell me where certain structures came from or how The Man in Black somehow lost his powers before his death. As I've already said to some people, most explanations would, I'm sure, feel contrived. And as someone who reads and revels in mythology, I am perfectly content with magic and mystery. Will we ever know the creation story of the Celts, for example? If we don't, we will be fine. In fact, it makes for a less dogmatic, more engaging religion in my opinion. A religion is not the same as a television show, at least not at this point in history, but I hope you see what I mean.
So what if we don't know what the numbers meant, who built the temple, the wheel, and the well which was the source of light? Isn't life full of mystery?
The final scene occurred in some sort of church but it wasn't of any denomination. The creators made sure that the camera scanned over several religious icons and tools - crucifixes, menorahs, Buddha, Krisnha, etc...- to show that the Otherworld/Purgatory environment everyone had created was beyond creed. Even in death, the characters did not know what the "right" religion was. The biggest mysteries of life in general were still unanswered. That dwarfs so much of the mystery of the island which, in the end, is a symbol for the macrocosm of mystery in life. Who are we? How did we become stranded on this planet and why? The adventures on the island, while seemingly so important, happened because of what people believed - and in the end we don't know which of those beliefs were correct. Everything is left up to human interpretation and, often, this led to error. In our own lives, we go through our day making offerings to Gods that appear to us but not to everyone. We feel that we are doing what is right but, in the end, who really knows? We play the lottery and we may win. Was it luck? Fate? Neither? Is that drink you consumed in your initiation ceremony full of magic and energy? Was it only in your head? We cannot know.
In the end, the characters, who struggled through so many moral mazes on that island, reach a point where they are able to let go and realize that the unanswered questions, the puzzles, and the rituals were only vehicles towards the bonds they formed with other people. That was the point of the show - to exhibit that despite all the uncertainties in our lives, one of the only significant things we can come close to understanding and really experiencing are the relationships we create with other people (and animals. Yay Vincent!).
I cried during the final scene. How poignant to imagine that, after everyone you love has died, you are able to come to terms with the hurt or the unanswered questions, and just celebrate what you did share and know together before moving on to new uncertainties to explore. To me it was very magical and optimistic.
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