What determines good/evil?

I would really love to think that the first couple of seasons of this show are relevant to what we are experiencing in this show right now, even though what we’re experienceing now is still extremely hard to make any sense out of thanks to some purposely aggravating writing.

It obviously appears that sides are forming. My question is, are these people (such as Claire and Sayid) destined to go to the side of evil? Or did they die at the wrong time, and E.I. just happened to be there to claim them? (E.I. is my new, hip, and megafresh name for MIB. This goes without saying, but I want to see proper credit given whenever these abbreviations are used.)

Sayid seems to be a killer at heart. This guy was murdering chickens before he could basically speak. No matter what timeline we see him in, Sayid has the deep down need to kill, and it seems as though he’s in denial about it. So Sayid takes lives, which one could argue is a trait of a “darker” soul. He could be an obvious choice to go to the side of E.I.

Claire thinks about flowers and ponies all day, at least she probably did when she was alive the first time. So how does an innocent person like this end up on such a murderous team? Is it really as simple as E.I. making a promise to her and BOOM, she sides with evil? If so, then that’s disappointing. I want to think that what we’ve learned about these characters’ personalities through these years is still relevant, and has a purpose today.

Since Hurley’s the seemingly most harmless person on this island, is he for sure going to side with “good”? Or can E.I. tempt him with a milkshake and abruptly end any chance of hope for “good” on this island?

It’s still kind of hard to decipher who’s going to which side in the coming weeks, if that’s even how it plays out. But I’d like to see some ideas. Maybe this has been figured out already. I wouldn’t know because I’ve spent all my time lately reading irrelevant posts.

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So......I guess LOST was a good show.....WAS a good show.

27 thoughts on “What determines good/evil?

  1. I don’t really see Sayid and Claire as being on Smocke’s side so much as being subborned by him. With both of them being infected they don’t really seem to have any choice in the matter. I guess it doesn’t really matter so long as they do what he says but I would like to think maybe there would be an out for Claire and Sayid if there is a way for them to be disinfected.
    Jacob’s ashes might do the trick. I don’t know who came up with Smocke so I guess I’m stealing. Sorry.

  2. So you think that who someone is, and what they do, or have done has nothing to do with what side they end up on? I guess you could be right.

    It just seems so meaningless though. I guess I’m just hoping for an answer that isn’t there yet. But yeah, I’m waiting to see what these ashes are capable of as well.

  3. I don’t see Claire as having done anything to deserve her fate. Sayid definitely has some bad karma coming but when he said he was basically a good man I agreed with him.
    With Kate telling Claire Aaron isn’t on the Island you would think Claire would start yelling at Smocke “You lied to me!” but I don’t think that will happen cuz she is his right now.

  4. Maybe this island is where gangs originated. c.r.i.p.s. = Can Really Influence People’s Spirits, just like MIB. You could roll with it.

  5. Hi Chief, this is a very ‘loaded’ question and quite difficult to answer.

    I think what we are being shown is, that everyone, all of the characters including Jacob and Nemesis have aspects of both good and evil. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding them, the balance between both of these qualities is continuously tested.

    No matter what our perceptions are, regarding the nature of good and evil, I think it is hard to define anyone as being totally good or totally evil.

    As a society on whole, we look at evil ‘acts’ as defining someone as completely evil. To this I say, “show me a serial killer, and I’ll show you somebody who loves them”.

    In terms of looking at someone as being totally good, there are people who are downright ‘saintly’. But, as we know God didn’t make man without sin.

    These are very fine lines, and nothing appears to epitomizing this more, IMO than Jacob and Nemesis. I’m still on the fence with these two.

    Thanks for making me think….

    Love the theory!

  6. I really think Sayid is a good man, but he has been dealt a really bad hand. I don’t see anything that he has done as being inherently evil. (Well, that is until now) He has always done what he has done because he believed those acts were protecting others… There was always some greater good behind his actions. Even his younger chicken killing self, appeared to be saving his brother from his father… But, I think he does feel extremely guilty for everything that he has done…

    And, we know Claire has been living with the guilt of putting her mother in the hospital, and I think she believes that she is dead. Plus, top that off with the guilt of losing a child…

    So, in my opinion, anyone living with extreme guilt can be easily manipulated. This is why I believe Eko was killed. He didn’t have any guilt for the things that he has done in his life, and therefore he wasn’t going to be manipulated by Smokey. So, he was expendable. Just as Ben wasn’t killed by Smokey, because Ben was truly sorry and feeling guilt for Alex’s death… So, to Smokey Ben was just another guilt-ridden pawn to manipulate.

    But, when it comes to terms of good or evil, I think that comes down to perspective. Sometimes what appear to be acts of evil have a greater good behind them. And, not always is that greater good known from the perspective of those who are deeming those acts as evil.

  7. HAHA,

    good one Chief.

    I think it was obvious the young Jacob/Aaron is a blood.

    Seriously though, i think whos good and evil, just like almost everything in the show, will not be clear until the last episode, or even the last few minutes of the show. Its crazy.
    We still don’t know whos actually telling the truth, MIB or Jacob, although we have seen MIB slaying a number of people.

  8. Good points Dabs and elsewhere,

    I think Dogen said it best when he was describing the scale to Sayid. Whether or not Dogen was being truthful about Sayid tipping on the “wrong” side of the scale. It’s safe to say there’s no more balance for Sayid right now. I guess I was wondering if Sayid’s violent history allowed him to be succumbed to EI, or if EI was just at the right place, right time to claim him, and it was all coincidence.

    Elsewhere, you could be very right about the guilt thing. Both Claire and Sayid have a lot to feel guilty about. That actually never crossed my mind, but I think it should be expanded on. It appears that everyone on this island could have quite a lot to feel bad about.

    It’s like when a girl (or guy I guess) feels vulnerable after a bad break up. They can be talked into anything. I should know, because I’ve seen a lot of TV. 🙂

    Anyway, I agree, Jacob would be a “Blood” because there might be an important bloodline we have yet to uncover.

  9. Chief, first off, thanks for not mentioning aliens. Seriously.

    Second, I like E.I. as a new fresh name. I seriously don’t think we are going to learn his name anytime soon.

    I think Dabs’ comment is quite accurate. She described the tension in labeling something “purely” good and “purely” evil really well, which is (for me) what makes these new sides of people like Claire and Sayid so creepy (to say the least.) The way that they are inclined toward seemingly evil acts without any remorse and for totally selfish gain is not what we have seen in them in seasons past. I would hope that there is a way to ‘uninfect’ them, but maybe it will end up being a ‘new’ death of sorts, which could be sad but possibly freeing.

    I do think that all the seasons will matter for the characters (not necessarily the “mysteries”) because as you point out about Claire, there is definitely something deeper than just a quick switch to this new darkness in her.

    But ultimately, when I started thinking about your post and thinking about how the sides are taking shape, it reminded me of the stuff about reincarnation I have been trying to consider when I think through how things could work. (I much rather consider ‘past lives’ than aliens!) When you brought up Sayid’s early tendency for killing it reminded me of the idea of Kate’s childhood issues that I had talked about…so maybe there is something to it with him, too.

    If one of our clues with John’s childhood connection to the island came in “Cabin Fever” with his drawing of Smokey – foreshadowing the deeper connection of actually becoming Smokey! – then perhaps Sayid has some past connection to “Evil Incarnate” in his killer-by-nature ways.

    I know the Jacob-Sayid-Nadia car accident scene was brought up somewhere else recently, but my thoughts on that have always been you can look at it at least two ways: 1) either Jacob is merciless, knew that Nadia was going to be hit and was using it as motivation to get Sayid back to the island or 2) Jacob was saving Sayid and perhaps giving him the opportunity for redemption. It would seem like the guy has had a lot of opportunities (now in both timelines) to walk away from being the killer… and so far, he just keeps getting sucked back into it. Ben manipulated him after Nadia’s death foreshadowing what we just saw with E.I in “Sundown.”

    Claire is another story, but it seems like all that we have seen in Sayid from all the past seasons is culminating in this new (but perhaps old) alliance.

    Oh and since I’ve written way too much already, I’ll just add on one last thing. I like the guilt angle brought up by elsewhere. That totally fits in with all of this and storylines about redemption…

    Refreshing post, Chief.

  10. Chief, I thought of you when I read this tweet from Damon:

    “It’s not about whether or not we have the time. It’s about whether or not it matters.”

    I’ll bet the title of your question/post here is the kind of stuff that matters to them as writers.

  11. No problem. I’m somewhat trying to get you to like the writers again, because I really do think we will love what they give us in the end. 😉 And I seriously think your question is exactly the kind of question they have been leading us to all along. I know we could get all caught up in Dharma’s background or how the temple water works or why Jughead’s explosion triggered something… but I think these bigger questions are the real mysteries, so the revelations surrounding them will be what helps to tie everything together in the end. (And without the use of aliens. They can use a Smoke Monster and time travel, but just no aliens.)

    But I guess it will all come down to perspective even on what matters… so maybe you’ll stay frustrated. Hope not. 🙂

  12. Right on. I’m assuming they’ll wait until the last episode to drop the big answer on us. That way we’re all guessing till the end. I’m okay with that part. The suspense, uneasiness, and mystery are what keep this show interesting anyway.

    I can’t believe everyone is still cool with the alternate timeline though. I just wish I knew what it was corresponding to. If I knew the importance of it, it would make a world of difference. That’s not important though…..Still ten weeks left to see if it’s all based around resurrections, spacecraft, Atlantis, the Garden of Eden, Purgatory, Hell, another dimension, or whatever’s left.

  13. Good or evil is simply in the eye of the beholder…plain and simple.

    I know you wont be offended Chief, and
    I dont know how to explain this without sounding like a jerk…but Im going to try…so in advance, no one take offense from this please…its an example.

    Many religions follow the word of an ancient and mysterious book, doing things that people of different religions and cultures would find odd/wrong.

    Some religions allow the word of man to intervene, and change rules of the past/books allowing things that 100 years ago would be intolerable…kind of like network televisions past and future.

    So does that make the people today who fall into the ‘new’ rules evil, and send them to that particular ‘hell’/punishment? Or are they simply forgiven due to their place in history?

  14. Take that a step further…there are some religious acts that are intent on harming others.

    In the story of Sayid and Essam, his college roommate, Essam planned on being a martyr and blowing up a building in Sydney.
    We know this occures in real life all the everyday in the world we live in.

    The question is, are the “innocent” people who are being attacked evil for going against the word of the particular religion…or are the very “martyrs” evil for killing in the name of their god?

    On one side we have people being killed for the work of a god, and on the other we have a person willing to kill and die for the same god…who is right?

    The people who die and their loved ones obviously feel that it was terrorism, while the committing person and his people feel it is the will of the lord and they will be rewarded…

    Its the question of ages…and Lost is only there to help us make our decision…

    Follow blindly into the light…or be destroyed for not following the “right” choice…

    Great question Chief…if Lost answers this one, its more powerful than any of us believed.

    I understand that your question relates specifically to Lost, but this is my prep for an upcoming theory…and as I said, a great question overall, Lost…or no Lost…

  15. No offense taken at all, you’re exactly right. It’s all about perception. In today’s society though, when someone’s labeled “evil incarnate” we all have a rather common perception of what that could mean. Sure, it’s still a little up in the air, but murder is generally a pretty shitty thing no matter what time zone you’re in. Well, you know what I mean.

    When E.I. says to Sayid, “What if I told you, you could have whatever you want?”….sounds like the devil. Temptation isn’t generally something that’s associated with the holy side of things…..sorry, I’m getting a little Sunday schoolish here……

    Anyway, to answer your last question, I assume people are forgiven due to their place in history. I obviously can’t answer that though, for I am only human. I know you weren’t asking literally, and just making a point…but I wanted to answer it anyway.

    Good analogy though. The only thing for certain about this show is that there is a white, and there is a black. Revealing that there are polar opposites of some kind. I always assumed it was good and evil like everyone else…..maybe we should just start considering these opposites as “opposite motives” instead. Maybe E.I. and Jacob just want two totally different outcomes. There’s no “evil” or “good”.

    I know some of you have been saying that forever, but it’s just more fun to believe that we’re dealing with dieties here.

  16. You all make enlightening points. Thank you for that. I am curious how you all feel if LOST does play out with some core characters fighting other core characters. I hate that idea. I want them to always be together, bonded as friends. An ending pitting lets say Jack, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Frank, Ben and Miles against Locke (?), Sayid, Claire, perhaps Kate whoever is disturbing to me. Do any of you feel that way, or am I being a sap?

  17. Not at all Lost on long island…its disturbing to me too…but so was watching Sayid walk out and stab EI(what could have been john Locke for all he knows) without a second thought…that is disturbing.

    The fact is, that although we have some who are going to choose…some will not have that option.
    Both are forcing a hand one way or the other…Jacob literally. The monster does what any good monster should do…it scares the hell out of people and kills anyone who disobeys it.

    It offers a choice of joining the party to leave…or being destroyed by the leader. To recruit, one could be persuaded at this point by a con man…or made to accept by a man who knows how to get what he wants out of people.
    A young girl, willing to destroy anyone in search of her child could cause distraction while while Richard Alpert ran away like a coward…begging you to come with him to the non existant temple…boy is he going to kick the shit out of Ben when he finds out he killed Jacob.

    The temple, what we know as the only safe place from evil incarnate is destroyed, and without the savior for the only side we have ever known as good on the island (be it true or not)…is dead.

    This, piled on top of the fact that the one person that I and many others believes is the true hope of our Losties…is currently either dead…getting married and paralyzed, or taken over in some way by the monster…

    All of these things disturb me as well…but I have come to accept them as what Lost is…a place of very light…and dark…I have to believe though…that light is obeying the rules in some manner, whether right or wrong, and dark is breaking every one along the way…that to me, is evil…but only if the rules are fair.

    In short…yes, it disturbs me to believe that the losties will have to fight and maybe even kill one another…but I do believe it…and feel it will occur just as it is ‘supposed to happen’.
    Some have innocence in their heart, and some have a darkness that will never leave in this life.

  18. Wow..this is a fantastic post from top to bottom, everybody’s comments are excellent..
    I’m still in deep thought about what to say. Let me start by bringing up a matter that has bothered me since we’ve met MIB (or EI..). When him and Jacob had their infamous discussion on the beach, EI said (paraphrasing here..) “they come, they destroy, they corrupt, it all ends same.” And EI says that with disdain, which makes me think he would prefer that if they “did come”, that they would choose NOT to destroy, and NOT to corrupt, which would PREVENT the end. So is EI this inherently evil deity whose role is to tempt man toward corruption to prove man is evil? Or is he neutral or maybe even good, and he’s given up on mankind being good, so he’d rather just unleash evil and corruption everytime man comes to the island? Does anybody understand what I’m saying?

  19. bobt, I understand what you are saying, and this is how it should be looked upon, before weighing any steadfast decision on Jacob or Nemesis.

    Both of their comments can be viewed in many ways. Thank you for saying this, as I feel this is important.

    Great observation!

  20. EXCELLENT POINT BOBT! – (re “they come, they destroy, they corrupt, it all ends same.” And EI says that with disdain, which makes me think he would prefer that if they “did come”, that they would choose NOT to destroy, and NOT to corrupt, which would PREVENT the end”). EI looks exhausted and fried when he says that and definitely trapped as stated this season. He wants Jacob to accept that it will never change, but Jacob keeps trying for centuries to prove otherwise. At that point, it is true that he does not seem evil, however, he also says “do you know how badly I want to kill you.” But like you said, it may just be that he has given up on mankind and just wants out of the “game” and killing Jacob may be his ticket out. Thanks again for giving us more to ponder.

  21. “E.I. go home”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. Chief, you say that “temptation isn’t generally something that’s associated with the holy side of things” but I’m not so sure about that. Isn’t Heaven one big temptation? Isn’t Jacob’s offer to Dogen similar religious sacrifices? I’m not completely sure that I see the significant difference between Jacob’s temptations (and manipulations) and E.I.’s temptations (and manipulations), except maybe that Jacob seems to drive a little harder bargain, demanding more personal sacrifice.

  22. Lostonlongisland – You’re not being a sap. I’d love to see it too. Unfortunately, I feel there will be some serious fights amongst our favorites before the finale. In the end though, I do think everyone will join hands so to speak.

    bobt – I too understand what you’re saying. I thought that too immediately after that conversation. That idea’s been lost to me though considering what we grown to know about these two. Like you’re getting at, we can’t just assume Jacob is “good” just because he has a harmless demeanor to him and seems nice to people. I know a few of us are still questioning Jacob’s motives.

    Which leads me to this point….How often do we watch a show or movie where we know more about the bad guy than the hero? Not often. The antagonist is generally shrouded in mystery until the end. We are learning more about E.I.’s motives than Jacob’s. Although we assume everyone’s lying to a degree, I find it interesting that we still know so little about this Jacob guy considering we’re supposed to be thinking he’s the good guy in this story. Also, when E.I. says he wants to kill Jacob, he might be thinking of all the lives that would be lost in the future if he doesn’t kill him.

    A major twist may be right around the corner.

    ilieintheshadowofthatonestatueonthebeach, I see your point. I guess “temptation is in the eye of the beholder” (as AES would say), as well. But when Sayid looks like he just melts into E.I.’s words, you can’t help but think that that was the moment Sayid was officially “claimed” by whoever E.I. is…..Excellent point though, there’s still a lot that needs played out with that.

    I appreciate all the input, it has been a solid discussion.

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