'Lost': Men of science and faith meeting in the middle
I try and read every comment that you leave here on the "Lost" blog. Not only was I not held enough as a child and therefore crave any and all attention that I can, but you guys quite often challenge and provoke in a way that makes me either refashion the way I think or spur me to think about elements in a brand new way.
And some comments, like the one below, compel me to not just write a quick comment in response, but an entire entry. It's not that I dismiss this comment below; it's just that it goes so contrary to the way that I personally view things that having both viewpoints in the same entry might be a way to illuminate a similar schism that may exist in the "Lost" fan community now.
Here's the comment, from "wooster182," in response to my desire to see a scene between Jack Shephard and the real deal John Locke in Season 6:
Locke's death has somehow propelled Jack to become a man of faith. Okay, more specifically, the fact that he's too spineless and dimwitted to keep Kate drove him to be a man of faith, but he believes John now.
What I find more interesting is that Jack has basically become Locke, following anyone blindly, feeling as though he has a destiny while Sawyer has fully taken Jack's position as leader and nonbeliever in destiny.
I started to address this before Season 5 started, but I'll continue the thread here, since most of the points are still valid. The title of Season 2's premiere episode, "Man of Science, Man of Faith" has a dual meaning. On a surface level, it's about the opposing viewpoints of Jack and Locke. But on a more fundamental level, it's ALSO offering a solution to their conflicting worldviews. It's not a question about which perspective is right. I think Darlton would argue (and have demonstrated) that neither is sufficient. Locke died a patsy; Jack ended up bearded, pilled, and suicidal.
The solution? Not a schism, but a fusion. I think wooster182 has the right idea that Jack turned into Locke this season, but in doing so, Jack missed the point. AGAIN. Another reader did a nice job in breaking down just how little these two titans of the show have actually interacted in the past three seasons. Each of those intermittent encounters was essentially a riff on the same themes, with little to nothing changing. Until, that is, Locke mentioned Christian.
The mention of his father sent Jack careening from one extreme to the other. Season 5 Jack surrenders to the flow. He finds fate in coincidence. He trusts instinct over logic. And while none of these are inherently bad things, they also require moderation. It's one thing to take an occasional leap of faith, to borrow the phrase Locke used to convince Jack to start pressing the button in Season 2. But it's another thing entirely to cede all personal responsibility and decision-making to some higher power.
I come down on Jack a lot, but here's a man that for five seasons has stuck to his stubborn guns in the vain hope to fix things around him. It's an understandable folly, and one that we as outside observers have the luxury of mocking. His utter and complete conversion to the Gospel According to Locke came after years of regretting the decision his head made on the Island. But in turning on his heart, he managed to shut off his brain. Big mistake.
And that's why I think there needs to be one final scene between the two men. Had they worked together from the outset, taking the best of their selves and incorporating it into their flawed outlooks on life, maybe things could have worked out for the better/best. One final encounter, still possible in the wake of John's death, is still possible on the Island. And in that encounter we'll finally see a new theme emerge. Understanding. Trust. Compassion. The fusion of science and faith. Mind and heart. Jack and Locke. After all, no man is an island. But on the Island, these two men can still become one.
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