The Simple Answer to Lost’s Biggest Question
So many posters on this site have such a problem with the religious aspects of Lost, especially the theme of good versus evil. I just read a post where the writer said that Lost is concerned with religious themes, and very rightly described the story of Jacob and Esau, and even said that he or she very much enjoyed the seasons/episodes where religious symbolism was introduced, but then went on to express dismay that the series will end with a simplistic triumph of good over evil. Now this good vs. evil theme is at the heart of Lost as it is in every major religion in man’s history. I agree that lots of situations are shades of gray, and that most people aren’t all good or all evil. BUT to say that evil doesn’t exist is ignoring all of history. I can’t speak for all religions, but as a Christian I believe that God didn’t create evil—he gave man FREE WILL to choose to do good or evil, and when man chooses evil (like flying planes into buildings and killing innocent people, or committing child abuse or mass murder a la Hitler or Pol Pot) it’s not God’s doing. It’s God giving man the choice to do what he wants that creates the evil. That’s how I see Jacob, he’s allowing people to look at their lives, and their situations, and to choose the right way, without having Jacob spell out for them exactly what to do. The Man in Black isn’t really a person at all—he’s the personification of all the evil that can exist in man’s heart that, if left unchecked, would doom mankind.
Okay, you say, what about someone who’s been wronged their whole life–bad childhood, bad marriage, etc.–and they go out and commit a crime like murder or theft, aren’t they not really evil but just reacting to their bad situation? Aren’t they justified in their bad choices because of their misfortune? I say no–I say they can be redeemed, they can turn away from their past and start anew. (Sound familiar?) How many times have you heard a story about someone from very unfortunate circumstances pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make good? About adults who have been abused as children NOT repeat the past and become model parents? There has to be some sort of moral compass that we as human beings and society at large subscribe to in order for us all to live in peace, whether on a magical tropical island or in the mundane place we call planet earth.
This whole series is a wonderful allegory for mankind’s condition, and if we understand the underlying message, then all the details about time travel, whispers, dead/undead?, are irrelevant. Certainly they add to the reason we keep coming back week after week to watch, but the big picture really is very simple.