Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Understanding Lost

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 4/28/10

My kids watch a comic news report about the unfortunate spouse or family member who lives with someone who watches “Lost” and suggests survival strategies. As this astonishing concoction of soap opera, Saturday matinee, and mythical religion draws to a close, it might be worth explaining to them what is happening. This is what is going on with that: In our time, the 2000 year ages known as Platonic Months have shifted. The Age of Pisces, which began when three Zoroastrian astrologers followed a star to Bethlehem, has ended. It ended technically on January 1, 2001 and the next 2,000 year link in the 24,000 year sun cycle, the Age of Aquarius, began on that date. This is what “Lost” is about.

Each of these ages has a Watcher and that Watcher has in Jungian terms, a Shadow. In “Lost,” the Watcher (which is a kind of celestial Helper) is Jacob and his Shadow is known as the Man in Black (the smoke monster). The Watcher comes from the ancient most place in human consciousness or probably beyond (the Self in Vedic texts), but not a real physical place, a cosmic place. The Egyptian Alligator god Taweret towers over the cosmic island and its center, the Temple. The Temple suggests Temple Mount, which might be considered the portal to “earth soul” or “Unconscious” of the earth and cosmos. It is anima mundi; the eternal mother soul of the earth to which in Mircea Eliade’s expression, the race “endlessly returns.”

“Lost” is a narrative of the shifting astrological ages and although people associate Aquarius with the Sixties, the ages technically shifted in 2001 – a year which will be eternally marked by the destruction of a temple, one as relevant to our day as Temple Mount was to its 2,000 years ago, the World Trade Centers.

Jack Shephard (son of “Christian Shephard”) seems to be developing as the new Watcher of the age and John Locke as his Shadow. They replace Jacob and the Man in Black. “Lost” is about objective truth/logic and faith/intuition and comes down on the side of faith. When Jack rises to faith by trusting his intuition, “logic” personified by John Locke becomes subordinate to faith (becomes Shadow) and the world can awaken again.

Jack is the Aquarian. I think. Or maybe George W. Bush.

As critic Stanley Kauffman said about the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” back in 1978, it was an “an event in the history of faith.” “Heaven,” wrote Kauffman, “with a capital H is being replaced by the heavens and the fiction of the field [UFO flicks] is a chief pulse in the change.” “Close Encounters” could be seen, as C.G. Jung saw throughout the UFO culture, as a “modern myth of things seen in the sky.”

What is interesting about “Lost” is that it is a modern myth of things returning to earth. So is the “Survivor” series. They are myths about the eternal return to anima mundi, the mother spirit of the earth.

“Lost” could well become a kind of Mahabharata for the age ahead. I think it would make a good one. This is kind of important (for hippies, anyway) because there is something in very long swings of time that likes returns to the beginning, as Eliade suggests in his text, “The Myth of the Eternal Return.” Even history – especially history – returns to first moments.

When you return to day one of the Age of Pisces it is the birth of the Christ to which the Zoroastrians were heading, and the whole next 2,000 years seems to have spiraled out of that moment. Interesting here because when historians (or hippies or “Lost” cultists) return to the beginning of Aquarius say 1,500 years from now they will find four things in the first decade: “Lost,” the broken temple on Wall Street, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. In the mist of time everything else for hundreds of years on each side may be swept away.