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Lost is proof that we still crave for metanarratives

LOST‘s final sixth season is about to begin starting tomorrow at 8pm on ABC.

With so many questions up in the air, will the show be able to answer them all in the end? I am sure millions of fans worldwide are dying to know. But that is not as important as whether the characters can find resolution in their story arcs, for that is where we viewers have most of our emotional investment. Who cares what that smoke monster is, really? What we care about is whether Jin and Sun can reunite, who Kate loves the most, if John has really died in vain, or if Hurley can really break the curse in his life.

I think LOST is proof that Lyotard‘s definition of “postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives” is not entirely correct. Yes, we are incredulous about modernistic, overly-optimistic, manipulative, and oppressive metanarratives, but we still crave for metanarratives that can explain the lingering mysteries and tie all the loose ends together. Deep in our human psychic has this craving for resolution. It’s in our DNA. We’d go crazy if LOST just ended with season 5.

LOST perfectly demonstrates that small, local narratives can co-exist with a larger metanarrative that gives meaning, or at least enrich the meaning of our human existence. If we only have local narratives that are radically different and mutually exclusive, I believe we will end up with tribalism and even more antagonism in our humanity. If we only had a single metanarrative that seeks to explain everything but ignores the intricate differences and diversity of our human experience, it will also lead to an ahistorical and inhumanistic structuralist view of life that fails to touch the human soul. Rather than opting for either-or, why can’t we have both?

I believe LOST gained such popularity worldwide because it is able to make each of us resonate with the characters and the experiences that they struggle through, while hinting that there is something larger going on out there that ties all our experiences together, and that there IS a meaning behind all those seemingly improbable coincidences. LOST is only fictional, yet it has already tapped into the deepest needs of our human soul. What if there is a real metanarrative to our common existence? What would that mean to us?

That, is why I have been called to be a story teller…. telling this metanarrative that ties all the threads of our lives together.

Posted in Biblical, Culture, Philosophy, Posts in English, Psychology, Television.

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3 Responses

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  1. Timothy Chan says

    LOST is proof that people want to find meaning in things and events happening in the world. When we see Kate escaping with Aaron after a lawyer wanted to do a DNA test on them, we connected that with her past tendencies to run whenever she gets in trouble. When we see some of the characters being connected even before they got on the island, despite how ridiculous those coincidences could be, it is comforting to know that there’s always a plan and things are explainable. In a way, although LOST is famous for its mysteries, I think LOST provides more answers than most other TV shows about why things happen the way they do. And people like that.

  2. Wayne Park says

    Lost has re-infused meaning in a meaningless universe.
    On paper we don’t believe in destiny, sovereignty, “God’s plan” – we refuse to.
    But our addiction to Lost shows that deep down inside we crave for metanarratives, and it is an essential part of our human being. It won’t go away. Without meanign we cease to exist.

  3. Wayne Park says

    what’d u think?