'Lost': Daemon Seed!

Lost | BLACK TO THE FUTURE If you follow Doc J's line of daemonic thinking, it may define the pecking order between the Man In Black and…
Image credit: ABC
BLACK TO THE FUTURE If you follow Doc J's line of daemonic thinking, it may define the pecking order between the Man In Black and Jacob


Finally, Cyprian says there's no shaking these devilish buggers — at least, not until the daemons are destroyed or just grow tired of you: ''The only remedy from them is when their own mischief ceases.'' Reading that last sentence evoked the whole idea of Jacob and MIB as god-like game-players, competing against each other by using the castaways as chess pieces — a metaphor richly illustrated by that killer Spanish Lost promo, with narration adapted from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and music from Radiohead's ''Everything in Its Right Place.'' If you haven't seen it check out the video at the bottom of this page. I live to serve.

My bottom line: Lost is lousy with daemons. My theory, inspired by this research, is this:

Or: What happens when people stop going on Walkabouts.

The Island is a ''sphere'' of ''daimonic reality,'' designed to facilitate ''daimonic journeys'' for mortals who seek it. This realm has a patron daemon, a ''Genius Loci'': Jacob. He is a cog in much larger celestial/spiritual wheel of life and death, redemption and damnation. Jacob is akin to a guardian angel, possibly one of many. He represents hope, second chances, progress — change and improvement.

Now, Jacob has helpers on his daimonic island — entities that are daemons in their own right, autonomous and powerful, but subordinate to him. One of these daemons is the Man In Black, a multifaceted, multipurpose daemon that plays many roles in the Island's daimonic operating system. In fact, like a computer daemon, the MIB daemon activates and begins running the moment new mortals step onto the Island. One of MIB's primary jobs is to test these souls. Hence, he is morally ambiguous and fearsome in nature, because he often must play the role of adversary (sometimes via his own set of willing or unwilling human or supernatural agents; think: the Others or Ghost Christian) or judge.

In more spiritual times (or, if you prefer, superstitious times), the ephemeral, nebulous realm represented by the Island was a widely accessible expanse. However, time has not been kind to Jacob and his daimonic wonderland/underworld. Two thousand years of monotheism has marginalized and demonized them, while the past 300 years of God-denying philosophy and science has produced a faithless world that fails to recognize or even believe in them. As spirituality has shriveled, their place in this world has literally shrunk — to a mysterious Island in the Pacific, a junkyard of old ideas, the last bastion of the Unknown. But Jacob refuses to surrender. Where once mortals actively sought out the eye-opening, life-changing, soul-expanding daimonic journey (a veritable Locke-esque walkabout), Jacob now must scheme and conspire to bring people to him. In many ways, he has a new mission: to remind mankind that their lives are actually heroic journeys — and that the journey is profoundly spiritual in nature.

The problem with all of this is the Man In Black. Subordinate to Jacob, MIB is bound to participate in Jacob's Island schemes and perform his archetypal functions in the Island Mythology Machine. But MIB has grown wary of Jacob's shenanigans. The people he brings to the Island — especially in recent times — always fall short in their heroic journeys, always fail to pass his tests and judgments. Cynical and tired, MIB has given up on mankind — and he really wishes Jacob would, too. And so MIB has turned traitor to the cause of faith. His ambition: to finish what the surging cause of reason has started. The story of Lost, then, is the story of MIB's decades-in-the-making scheme to break free from his enslavement to Jacob and bring the futile daimonic enterprise that is the Island to an end. But it is also the story of Jacob's counter-attack to MIB's revolt. If Jacob wins, the Island soldiers on. If MIB wins, then the twilight of the gods will have finally reached its permanent night.


Wow. That got heavy, didn't it? But that's Lost for you: A show that inspires pretentious meditations of the spiritual nature of mankind — and also inspires word pictures involving torture monkeys with the wet hot dogs. Yes, I am blameless! I blame Lost for my inappropriateness! I am Mr. Eko: ''I have done nothing wrong!'' But perhaps I should quit while I am only very far behind. Next week, I'll have the results of my DVD/glyph challenge and a couple more cool things I got cooking that you won't want to miss — including a theory that reveals the Man In Black's connection to a real life man in black. Hint: Not Johnny Cash. But don't ''Hurt'' yourself thinking about it — just come back next week!

Doc Jensen

Daily Lost posts on Twitter: @ewdocjensen
E-mail: docjensenew@gmail.com

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Originally posted Dec 07, 2009
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