Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Pity Party Island"

Most everyone on the Island of the LOST series, came there with personal mega-baggage. A person can hardly be a functional human being and not have any historical baggage, but some of the Losties seem to have their share and then some. A good portion of their heavy yokes seems to be their fears. For some it's fear of failure, bad luck, uselessness, loneliness, intrusion, or of the future. For other characters it's fear of their pasts in general.

The LOST Powers That Be utilize the Losties' past behavior a great deal in the show as a tool to tell the story. Personal fears seem to be what drives a lot of the characters' actions and the outcomes, good or bad, of their choices. Many of the decisions that are made by the castaways are knee-jerk and thinly thought out reactions to their anxieties about themselves. The images in the Swan Station mural illustrate the feelings of fear, dread, and hopelessness that are woven into the episodes and the psyches of the characters. As well as the chaos that appears to be going on inside their heads as they live each day on the Island. Really, I would not want to be inside of the minds of many of the castaways, they seem to be so frantic and tortured all the time.

A life lived in constant fear is not a productive life. Fear makes us weak and impotent in our decision-making skills, and sabotages the good things that God wants for our lives. I have known a lot of spiritual people who forget the parts in the Bible about trusting God and not being afraid, giving themselves lots of excuses for not doing certain things out of fear (or fear of failure). I lived the first two thirds of my life that way as well! But I'm trying to do better for the remainder of my life. Nothing productive comes from using fear as an excuse to fail. We could justify succumbing to fears if the Bible wasn't filled with so many verses that say, "Fear not", "Don't worry", etc. God doesn't say that we won't ever be afraid, but like Joyce Meyer says, if you have to do something fearful, don't just wimp out and avoid doing it, "do it afraid" anyway! Courage isn't doing something without fear, it's doing it in spite of the fear. And not acting, out of fear, cheats us out of the best that life has to offer us. It also cheats those we interact with (like the fellow LOST castaways), or those we teach by our example, out of the positive results of courage. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Courage is much more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run it is easier." The fearful decisions (or non-decisions) that I made in my life proves that out.

Giving in to our fears also allows us to feel pity for ourselves, which is lame. I used to do this to myself a lot. And I say, "to" myself, because destructive self-pity has only a negative influence on the way we live our lives. The only good part of the movie "G.I.Jane", is the D.H. Lawrence quote, "I have never seen a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A little bird will fall dead frozen from a bough, without ever having felt sorry for itself." This is a great quote to live by, and made it worth the waste of money for the movie ticket to learn it. Not that I have anything against movies about Navy Seals, it's just that why, when someone finally makes a movie about BUDS training, do they make Demi Moore the good guy, and the SEAL recruits and officers to look like a bunch of ignorant rednecks?! Navy SEALS philosophy is all about taking yourself beyond what you think that you can do, because you can usually do more than you think you can. So, HOOYAH!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Paradise Found"

Out of the many avenues of information that I have pursued in gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of the LOST series, my favorite serendipitous find so far has been the discovery of the Russian artist, writer, archaeologist, teacher, scholar, adventurist, etc., Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947). I first found information about him while scanning the Internet on the connections between LOST and the classic book The Lost Horizon. While studying the similarities of the two stories I also found research done by Roerich, including his hundreds of paintings completed while on expeditions in places such as Asia. His life and achievements are extraordinary.

Roerich was a man who was somehow born into finding the perfect opportunities to live out all of his dreams. Not only did he seek out his own opportunities, they also found him on a regular basis. It seems as if whenever he was ready in his life for the next logical step to attain his dreams, the right series of events happened to make that step possible. It's truly amazing and he was very blessed! Positive synchronicity seemed to follow this fellow around, constantly offering up one fortuitous opportunity after another.

From a very early age, Roerich had a desire to see and be a part of the exotic places in the world. As a young boy he heard stories about faraway locales inhabited by mystical people, and he set his mind on visiting these places when he grew up. He filled his life with his dreams and the eager pursuit of them, apparently being born an extremely ambitious person. He often studied for more than one degree at a time, and held down jobs simultaneously as well. All his diligent work paid of when his life began to take on the attributes of his dreams and he embarked on trips to Asia, particularly Tibet. He married well also, to a creative woman who enjoyed accompanying him on his excursions. Throughout their travels, he painted hundreds of the exotic and holy images that he encountered on his treks. The peaceful Himalayan mountains, the mountainside dwellings of Tibet, and other sacred places, were all captured in dreamlike composition and tranquil colors. Having been affected by the peaceful aura of the stops on his lifelong journey, he also began a quest to spread peace throughout the world, and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Albert Einstein and President Roosevelt were among his many admirers.

I have always been fascinated by people who are goal oriented achievers, and who aggressively seek to attain their dreams and aspirations. I try to learn and imitate their plans and methods. Nicholas Roerich is one of those people that should be imitated. But what I love the most about Roerich is his artwork. His paintings sometimes have a sort of primitive quality, but at the same time they seem full of the details that he feels about the subjects that he has painted. The colors are rich, harmonious, and tranquil.

As with so many other paintings that Roerich did of the holy places he documented with art, this one, titled "Holy Island" is so reminiscent of the LOST Island, it's eerie. It even has its own Falcatraz next to it! The Island in the TV series has many times been referred to as being special and possessing innate powers of some sort, and Roerich really captured that feeling with this painting. The island here looks lovely and benign enough, but also has a very ominous presence of the unknown to it, compared to the tiny visitors paddling toward it. I have not found any documentation on this painting yet, to be able to learn why the island in it is called holy. But with LOST's strange Island in mind, I can sense what Roerich might have been trying to convey in this painting. To learn more about Nicholas Roerich, visit the online museum here:

Monday, June 25, 2007

"All's Fair In Love And Science"

Information given in The Lost Experience game last summer led players to believe that Alvar Hanso may have lost a loved one, possibly a wife and/or the mother of his daughter Rachel, to a mental or physical illness. This loss was also hinted at having inspired his interest in a lifelong scientific quest for solving the health issues of the world, in lieu of not being able to help his wife. Eventually Hanso created a complex corporation led by a core mission to advance all aspects of research, in every scientific discipline imaginable.

But long before Hanso’s ambitious project began, a humble Latvian man named Ed Leedskalnin was also motivated to accomplishing amazing works, due to the loss of his only love, a girl named Agnes Scuffs, whom Ed called his “Sweet Sixteen.” Not-so-sweet Agnes cancelled their wedding the day before, and left Ed forever pining for his lost love. So what did Ed do to express his love for Agnes? Like any other man, he made monolithic statues and structures for his true love with multi-ton blocks of coral, all by himself, and with no visible means of conventional mechanical equipment, of course!

The amazing works that Ed accomplished, are known as the Coral Castle site, in Florida. It is an outdoor structure comprised of living areas of a sort, including stargazing apparatus, fountains, pools, and Flintstone type furniture. All are made out of the huge blocks of coral, that in some cases defy gravity in their movement and agility. And which in all cases defy logic as to how Mr. Leedskalnin, a sickly 5 foot tall 100 pound man, manipulated and moved these monolithic boulders into the sensual sculptures that make up his Coral Castle.

To make the strange story even stranger, not only did Ed build the Coral Castle alone, he then moved it 10 miles away to its current location, with no visible equipment to onlookers but a large trailer! He loaded the trailer in secret at night, a driver hauled it to its new home during the day, and again Ed moved the sculptures off the trailer at night. No one saw Ed arranging any equipment for picking up and loading the sculptures, and no one saw any tools for unloading at their destination. Needless to say, theories and speculation abound since then but none have discovered how Ed defied gravity and moved the heavy pieces. Nor has it been discovered how he managed to balance many of them, such as the main gate, with a pinpoint accuracy allowing the coral tonnage to swivel freely with only a gentle nudge. After years of wear, some repair has been necessary, but the engineering adjustments made have not been able to duplicate the delicate balance that Ed originally built into the moving boulders.

How did a man with only a 4th grade education, use and manipulate the laws of physics and gravity to accomplish such Herculean tasks?! Today we have only a few of his notes and published pamphlets, and a strange pulley-like contraption in one of his towers, to give us any hints at his creative process. Did Ed accidentally stumble across one of the greatest discoveries in the history of man? Did the power of love give his psyche the extraordinary ability to contemplate and surmise the power structure of the starry universe that he also loved? Or was this man with little formal education somehow schooled in the secrets of the Cosmos? Secrets that also seem to be in play on the Island where Alvar Hanso set up his Dharma Initiative, that are accessed by the mysterious original Island inhabitants, and anyone else that the Island might deem worthy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Moonbase Dharma"

Among the many intricate project stations that the Dharma Initiative seems to have built in its short existence, I wonder if TPTB thought about the D.I. establishing a station on the Earth’s Moon? If the D.I. wanted privacy, the Moon is as private as it gets, even on the side facing the earth. If you could manage to set up shop on the far side, your facilities could be virtually unseen unless satellites circling the moon might catch it. Go underground, as the D.I. is wont to do, and you could be invisible save for whatever topside access hatches and radio equipment might be sticking up.

Imagine that Hanso and Dharma actually existed, as they do in The Lost Experience game and TV series. After the U.S. Apollo project was aborted by politics, the plans and equipment from the final few missions were left with no purpose other than for interesting exhibitions at museums. While Hanso gets the D.I. in operation, he contacts NASA about purchasing all the remaining equipment of the Apollo missions, and then rents a launch pad south of the Cape Kennedy complex at the Air Force launch area. The USAF complex would be far more private and secure (even from the government) than the NASA facilities. After the D.I. begins to launch and set up their moonbase, activities fall into the “business as usual” mode and are minimally monitored by the Air Force as Dharma missions leave from the launch pad on a busy and regular basis. The Moon itself has some very unusual magnetic properties, a favorite pet project of Dharma, that could keep them busy for decades. Not to mention the many applications they could study using the natural elements in the Lunar materials.

Meanwhile, back on Earth the Hanso Foundation and the D.I. are quickly duplicating and building upon NASA Apollo technology, as they set up manufacturing sites and new launch pads on Earth at areas undisclosed to the governments of the world (before
Google-sat-cams, that is). Eventually the D.I. thanks the Air Force for their cooperation (due to Alvar’s copious funding of government coffers) in completing their space experiments, and says that the USAF complex will no longer be needed for any more space missions. Then some time in the 21st Century, a Chinese lunar satellite scanning the desolate terrain for possible lunar mission landing sites, somehow picks up a few stray communication signals from various locations on the Moon that should not be there at all!

Maybe if TPTB create a sequel to LOST, they could crash-land a rocket full of scientists and wealthy space tourists on the Moon, that were only supposed to be circling it on a three hour lunar tour package. Imagine the conflicts between the straight-arrow nerdy scientists and the excessive and spoiled tourists! There could also be some spies on board, to check out the signals that the Chinese satellite intercepted. As to the now compromised moon station, the Dharma Initiative on Earth has failed and fallen, but no one has told the inhabitants of Moonbase-Dharma why their communications have failed to get responses from the D.I. stations on Earth (even though their supply drops are still somehow being delivered in perpetuity, of course!). The Lunar Tour crashes near a moonbase hatch and the occupants seek shelter from the lunar elements. Confused and panicked Dharma-ites prepare to defend their station from the incoming intruders, and the excitement begins!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Tesla and the Dharma Initiative"

Many of the weird-science aspects woven into the TV series LOST, are areas that Nikola Tesla experimented with in his amazing lifetime. Although there have been no open references to Tesla seen yet in the series, there is no mistaking his imaginative imprint on the many projects of the Dharma Initiative. Electromagnetic manipulation, magnifying transmitters, the transmission of electrical energy without wires, and the Teslascope for extraterrestrial communications, could have all fit into the D.I. footprint of heuristic endeavors. Surely the early Dharma scientists must have been inspired by such a man who dared to step outside the realm of the possible, to experiment with the impossible! We are told this same sentiment and aspiration is one that Alvar Hanso himself lived by.

There are also similarities between Tesla's dreams ending in tragic misfortune, and the abrupt halt to the D.I.'s scientific progress and existence. While many of Tesla's achievements and applications have been the building blocks of the advancement of modern civilization, he was also misused and cheated by his early employers, governments, and competitors, resulting in the inability to receive much of the money that he earned and the due attention that his later and more obscure works deserved overall. Even in death he was not able to fulfill his biggest dream of supplying free electric energy to the world as it is said that his papers mysteriously disappeared from his hotel apartment, leaving little of his later plans behind for us to follow. As for the Dharma Initiative, while its idealistic aims to save the world began with noble intentions, the group seems to have evolved into veering off the path of its intended altruism. We are told that in its recent history the Initiative was corrupted, compromised, and overturned by internal and external forces, causing a premature end of the D.I.'s zealous project of saving the world from itself, leaving not much behind but a small secretive and otherworldly society.

If only Tesla, Hanso, and the D.I. could have lived and worked in the same era! With Hanso's limitless fortunes, Tesla could have had all the financial backing that he needed to realize even his most outrageous ideas. And The Dharma scientists could have secretly manufactured his projects on the island, without the fear of the aggressive and destructive competitors that haunted Tesla. Then the D.I. could possibly have attained their goal of solving and changing the Valenzetti Equation variables, and giving it as a gift to the world.

WORK IN PROGRESS...something to do until LOST returns for Season 4.