Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Understanding “Lost"

I recently got hooked on the ABC series “Lost,” but this is one addiction I think I’m going to stick with. In fact, I actually think I’m supposed to be watching it. If you have read this blog before, you know that there’s a lot of writing about emergence, chaos theory, complexity, etc. Well, Lost seems to tap into all that. I’ve been looking for some places in the blogosphere that touch on these subjects and can recommend a few sites:


The numbers
Lostpedia
Egoplex

Any other ideas?

The themes that I like are: 1.) the science-based Jack versus the more faith-based John. I know there have to be others out there, who believe as I do that the two really need each other – the two people and the two theories. Think of all the parallels to the state of politics in the U.S. Is no one broad enough in their thinking to bridge the gap? Maybe Lost will show the way. 2.) Order out of chaos: what a great opportunity this show has to show how the most unlikely of people can come together to achieve a greater purpose. You should read about Mitch Resnick’s slime mold experiments in Stephen Johnson’s book Emergence (links available on this site). Instead of “what do I want,” the question, as Locke puts it, is “what does the Island want?”

Making sense out of chaos is a great theme – the struggle is what makes it interesting. Putting all those unique brains and characters together, they might be able to figure out the mystery of the random numbers. It’s going to take a larger theme like this to get the folks on the island to work together… but does that make for good ratings? We’ll have to see.

There are so many ways to go with this. I’ll put a few out there. First, are there teachers out there who are using this show as a metaphor? I can see government teachers using this as a way to show the need and purpose of government, math teachers using this in a number theory lesson, world history teachers to explain the development of civilization and on it goes…

And, for the love of God, is anyone on the island going to make some coffee?!

…or did I miss that episode.
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